When looking at my Cleff ancestors, I have to wonder, "why would a parent send three young children (13, 10, and 8 years old), apparently by themselves across the ocean to New York, and then on to Chicago." What happened to Helena Cleff's parents? I believe i have found Helena's father in the United States, but it will take a little more research to be sure I have the right person. Helena and two of her brothers Walter and Wilhelm immigrated in 1892, why not Otto, who would have been about 12. Otto and the younger brothers not making the journey in 1892 did not immigrate until the 1920s. Did their mother Helene remain behind with the other children? Had Helene died and the others remained behind with other relatives? Looking at the first and middle names of the children, I am wondering if Otto or Helene (the parents) had brothers with the names Wilhelm (used as a first name for one child and the middle name for another), Fredrick, Eugene or Alfred. My grandfather also talked about "Rudy." Was this an uncle or a cousin? My next project is to use the immigration records, what my grandfather told me, and any other information I may have already found and put Helena's siblings family groups together. By examining collateral lines, maybe I can find out who Otto and Helene (the parents) were and what happened to them. It's like being a detective!
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Author - Dr. Kathryn M. Watts
I live in Orange, California with my husband Bill, and my service dog Timber. Genealogy is one of my favorite past times.