ALTHOFF/KRUSE Extended Family & Friends
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ALTHOFF/KRUSE Extended Family and Friends
Fred and Elsa Althoff

A word about Family and Friends: In August, 2005, my California family flew to Minnesota for the Althoff family reunion. While visiting a local state park, I picked up a book about the many Germans who immigrated to America. It states first thing that Germany played the greatest role in the peopling of the United States. It was surmised that the most effective stimulus to German immigration was possibly the letter home, encouraging others to come to America, as they could  do better here than in Germany. It was interesting for me to see by looking at census data that our own immigrant ancestors enjoyed a group of friends and family that moved together between the communities of Moody or Brookings counties, South Dakota, Pipestone county, Minnesota and Kanabec or Whited counties, Minnesota. There were undoubtedly more connections than can be told by census forms. If you are reading this and know more to the story, please share with me at [email protected]  A. Brohmer

Read about Fred's siblings:  
         ROSNOW family

         PENK family
         RUTZ family
         Brother Emil

Read about Elsa's extended family:   
         KAEMPER family
         RUTZEN family

Read about family friends:

VIEW Extended family and friends photo file

Fred and siblings in America:

    Minnie immigrated in 1892 (August Rosnow, in1883)
    Thersa immigrated in 1893 (Louis Penk, in1882)
    Emil immigrated in 1894
    Ottilie in 1895 (Fred Rutz, in 1895)
    Fred in 1895
    Theodore - not known to be in America


The ROSNOW family:

Though census data tells us that Fred Althoff immigrated to America in 1895, our first knowledge of his whereabouts place him with his sister "Minnie" Rosnow and her family. In 1900, the Rosnow family lived in Ward township, Moody county, South Dakota. Minnie is listed on other census forms as "Wilhelmine", one lists her middle initial, which looks like a "K," and another report reflects the name "Wilhelmine Caroline Rosnow." "Minnie" earned her Rosnow name by marrying August Rosnow. August immigrated to America in 1883. Minnie immigrated in 1892, at about age 20. Their first child, Rosa, was born in 1896, in South Dakota. Interestingly, child number two, Freitrich Emil (named after two of his uncles) was listed as being born in Minnesota, in 1898. Child three, Otto, born in 1900, was born in South Dakota.  No 1910 census information is available, but in 1920 the August Rosnow family was now in Hillman township, Kanabec county, Minnesota. Three more children are listed. The first, Paul, born in 1902 in South Dakota, the next two born in Minnesota, Leo in 1903, then William in 1905. One additional note from census data which is of interest is that on the 1930 census, August lists the "place of birth" as "Poland", where previous census forms listed "Germany." The boundary changes resulting from World War I were likely to have caused this shift for many "German" immigrants.

On the 1900 census, Another Rosnow family is listed, which is likely to be August's father, mother and siblings. The family of William and Henrietta Rosnow are listed as immigrating the same year as August, 1883. (William would have been 43 and August would have been 12.) This 1900 census listed one child born in Illinois, one in South Dakota, then two more in Minnesota. William was listed as a blacksmith on the 1900 census, and was a neighbor to August and Minnie. In 1920, William and Henrietta were living in Pipestone city, Pipestone county, Minnesota. (This is where Elsa Kruse Althoff was born.) The census reports that Henrietta was mother to ten children, all living, though only four were living with them at the time of the 1900 census.

Another Rosnow found in Altona township, Pipestone county, Minnesota is Gustave Rosnow and family. This could possibly be a brother to August. He is listed as having immigrated the same year as August and William, 1883, and would have been 8 years old.. Gustave and family are listed on the 1900 census in Minnesota, then in 1910 had moved to Ward township, Moody county, South Dakota. Gustave married Sophia and had three daughters that we know of, Marie, Lydia and Elma, all born in Minnesota.

Another more obscure possible connection between the Althoffs and the Rosnows may link back to a Rosnow named Julius. He is found on the 1880 census, living in Bismark, Sibley county, Minnesota. If he IS related to the other Rosnow families, it may be that he is William's brother, or a cousin. He came at least three years earlier than the other Rosnow family members. The reason that this family caught my eye is that Sibley county is where Fred's sister Thersa and her family settled. This begs the question as to whether these families knew each other in Germany and settled near each other when they arrived in America.

Some links you might enjoy if interested in the ROSNOW family:

     1) Write-ups of Moody county, South Dakota life, with mention of William Rosnow as the first blacksmith (2 sources):

        "History of Ward" write-up

        Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church history write-up
     2) For ROSNOW researchers, August's nephew Alvin Klitzke's obituary (2 sources):

        Black Hills Pioneer Obituary

        Plainsman Obituary

    3) Brown county, South Dakota atlas listing for W. H. Rosnow:

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The PENK family:

Early Althoff family reports noted that Fred had a sister named Thersa, whose married name was Penk. A review of the name Penk turned up a Thersa Penk living in 1900 in Bismark township, Sibley county, Minnesota with her husband Louis and their children. There were three children at the time, named Ella, age 4, Agata, age 2, and Errich, age 1. Louis is listed as being a farmer in 1900. The Penk family stayed in Sibley county over the next 30 years, not joining many of the other families in the Althoff friends and family clan  in the South Dakota, Pipestone, Minnesota and Kanabec county, Minnesota travels. Of the siblings and their extended families, Thersa's husband is the first to have immigrated to America, in 1882, when he was 18 years old. He may have been the catalyst for the Penk relatives and Thersa herself in coming, and it is interesting to speculate what the recommendations might have been to those who came after. (See also the note about Julius Rosnow, above, in this same small town in Minnesota.) If, indeed, Louis Penk arrived first, was land surrounding him all taken by the time the others followed? Maybe there was just talk of more land, maybe reportedly better land available elsewhere. Interesting to speculate.

Indeed, other Penk families came, living in the same county. The 1900 census shows Ludwig Penk and his wife Augusta as neighbors to Louis. It is likely that they are Louis' father and mother, though we cannot be sure. Ludwig is 31 years older than Louis. Augusta is listed as having 7 living children (of 11 total, per census), though only two sons live with them at the time of the 1900 census, Otto, age 25, and William, age 20. This family unit of four Penks all immigrated to America in 1890. Records of Otto's death in Minnesota in 1955 list his mother's maiden name as "Dupsluff." This fact helps to tie in another Penk living in  Minnesota. Gustav Penk immigrated to America in 1889. We first see Gustav on the 1910 census in Arlington Village, Sibley county, with his wife Augusta and children Erna and Roy. We can tie him to Ludwig and mother Augusta because a Minnesota death record for Gustav lists his mother's maiden name as "Dufslaff." Indeed, this maiden name is what clued this online genealogy researcher to another sibling to Otto and Gustav (and, likely, Louis). Emilie Penk's family has submitted some of the Penk genealogy history online with the "One World Tree" service, as follows:
    Ludwig Penk One World Tree listing
    Otto R. Penk One World Tree listing

The 1910 census reports a move to for the Louis Penk family to Gibbon Village, Severance township, still in Sibley county, Minnesota. Louis is now reported by the name of Ludwig, likely named after his father. Two more children have been born, Irene in 1905 and Hertha in 1908. Another child had apparently died, as Thersa is listed as mother of 6 children, 5 of whom are living. Louis/Ludwig is now listed as a "laborer" doing the work of "teaming." Census reports list Thersa as "Theresa", Agata is now listed as "Agatha" and Errich as "Erich." Thersa, per family records, has been listed on census and other records as Theresa, Tiresa, Theresia, and with full name of "Thersia Mathilda Penk" 1930 census lists Thersa as a widow, living with daughter Irene.

A genealogy research treasure??

The connection of the Dufslaff (sic) family may have blown the cover (to this researcher anyway!) as to where in "Germany" our Althoff ancestors were from. Thersa's mother in law is listed as being born in "Osswa, Marienfelde, West Prussia, Germany." The "Osswa" data yielded no results, but "Marienfelde" pulls up a region, indeed in West Germany, near Cologne. I thought it possible that Louis' family and the Althoff's may have originated from the same area, but this was only a possibility. However, in trying to answer the question as to what happened to Louis and Thersa's daughter Hertha, I found her listed on the 1930 census as a tecnitian (sic) at Harlan Hospital, Harlan town, Harlan county, Kentucky. She lists her place of birth as Minnesota and the place of birth of both her father and mother as "Marienfeld." Note: in trying to locate "Marienfeld" in Germany today, I come up with three distinct and very different areas, so the verdict is still out as to just where this is. We can combine this data with reports of "West Prussia" to narrow things down.

See the following link for information on West Prussia (note a couple of towns with the "prefix" "Marien.."

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The RUTZ family:

The first "official" published family tree data for the Althoff family included a brief summary of Fred and Elsa's parents and siblings. The listing mentioned a sister named Ottilie, with note of last name "Rootes." After having success in finding information about other extended family members, (see Rosnow and Penk summaries, above) it was a little bit disappointing to find no information about Ottilie Althoff or Ottilie Rootes, and the thought occurred that perhaps Ottilie remained in Germany. However, after biting the bullet and paying for an annual subscription to, a connection was found that was both a wonderful discovery and a cause for concern. Two people in the internet genealogy world have put up some information about Ottilie Althoff. (See link information, below.) Both are from the "One World Tree" system. In reading how that system works, states that their computer program "stiches" together information from all provided sources, and that information may not necessarily be correct! There are some reasons to suspect that some of the information about Ottilie falls into this category. For example, both listings show "Andy Althoff" as Ottilie's father. We know from family data that Fred's (and Ottilie's?) father was Ludwig Althoff. A Minnesota death listing from also lists the mother's maiden name for "Ottilie Rutz" as "Winters," and we know that Fred's mother was Rosa Schauer. Of course, it could be possible that Fred and Ottilie had a different father, or mother, due to the death of one or the other. So, what information is correct? At the least, these One World Tree listings connect Ottilie Althoff with husband Friedrich Carl Rutz. This at least made clear why I had not found anything about Ottilie "Rootes", and it seems very likely that "Rutz" is a good match. Indeed, data for Ottilie states that she was from "West Preussen" which also lines up with the rest of the Althoff clan. Another note of interest is that data for Friedrich, or Fred, Rutz states that he was born in "Westpreusen, Marlenfelde, Germany." See notes on the Penk family for the significance of the "Marienfeld" location. Also, given the fact that the Rosnow family lived at various times in Pipestone county, Minnesota, and that is where we find Ottilie from 1900 to 1930, it seems even more likely that this is our gal! Assuming so, what can we learn about the Rutz family? The 1900 census listing for Gray township, Pipestone county, Minnesota lists Fred C. Rutz living with his brother Louis John Rutz and his wife Hulda. Fred was 26 years old, listed as a "laborer." Louis John was also listed as a "laborer" and census data tells us that he and Hulda has been married just two years. It also tells us that Hulda was the mother of two children, only one of which was living. However, no child is listed on the census. Hulda was also listed as 26 years old, Louis John was 31. There is a Minnesota death index listing for "Hilda Wilhelmina Rutz," though all census data lists Louis' wife as Hulda. There is also another One World Tree listing for Hulda Domke, who married Louis Rutz. (See link information, below.) On this listing, daughter Elsie is listed as being born in 1900, which may explain the phantom child on the 1900 census form.

The 1920 census shows (at least) three Rutz households. Fred is now listed with Ottilie and three children; Helen, age 13, Hellmut, age 11, and Gertrude, age 6. We learn from this census that both Fred and Ottilie immigrated in 1895 and were naturalized in 1897. Fred is again listed as a "laborer" with note of "RR Section" under the column for further definition of "Industry, business or establishment in which at work." Several other families were noted as working on a/the "RR Section," with one neighbor listed as being the freight agent at the railroad station. Louis and Hulda Rutz are now also in Pipestone city or township, now listed with a daughter, Irma, age 12. Louis is listed as a "Teamster" with the "Oil Co." as his employer. This census notes that Louis immigrated in 1884.  (The 1930 form showed 1883.) 1920 data showed year of naturalization as 1900. Another Rutz household in 1920 is that of Eldora Rutz, a 44 year old woman, listed as divorced, with four children; Philoa, age 31, Theodore, age 18, Marian, age 16, and Arnold, age 10. Eldora is listed as having been born in Wisconsin, with father and mother born also in Wisconsin. All children were born in Minnesota. As listings show a lot of Rutz families, it is unclear whether this family is related at all to Fred and Louis. However, related or not, there is some confusion with all the Rutz records, such as the fact that Eldora's son Arthur is noted as having married to a girl named Gertrude. This causes some confusion in looking up data for Fred Rutz's daughter Gertrude...which Gertrude Rutz are we looking at?

A newsworthy note: Fred Carl Rutz filled out a World War I draft registration card. It was completed on September 12, 1918. On it, his permanent address was listed as being in "Ward, S.D.". This was crossed out, and "Pipestone, Minn" written above it. His occupation at that time was noted "farmer" with "place of employment" being "Ward S.D.". The listing for "Nearest Relative" was filled out as being "Mrs. Ottilie Rutz" and her address as "Ward S.D.". Here is another connection with the Althoff's in South Dakota. Interestingly, this foray into South Dakota occurred between censuses, so this never would have been known if not for the draft registration card.

Several data sources tell us that Fred Carl Rutz died in 1922 in Pipestone Minnesota. On the 1930 census Ottilie is listed, as a widow, living with daughter Gertrude, now 16 years old. Census reports that Ottilie is working as a nurse, ("practical.") Transcription of this census had Ottilie as "Ottillie Reetz." Louis Rutz is now also a widower, living with daughter Erma and nephew William Lukoski.

Some internet links you might enjoy:
    One World Tree listings for Ottilie:
        Listing One
        Listing Two
    One World Tree listing for Hulda Domke Rutz
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Fred's brother EMIL:

The first time we see Emil show up on U.S. Federal Census data is in 1910, though that same census tells us that he immigrated to America in 1894. He was living in 1910 in Whited township, Kanabec county, Minnesota. He is listed as a farmer. He is still living there in 1930. This census tells us that Emil in a "general" farmer. One of the Kruse extended family pictures made special note about Emil on the back of it (Emil is the man in the front, on the ground, with a buttoned sweater.) View this picture.

The KAEMPER family:

Elsa's mother was Eliese Wilma Kaemper. I'll start off this brief writeup of the Kaemper connections in Fred and Elsa's life by relaying a story. Recall that Elsa's father William had been married before he married Eliese. Reports were that William and Otillie together had nine children, "most of whom died (4) of diptheria in South Dakota." It is not clear how or when Otillie died, but when she did, it was obviously quite a hardship for William to farm and take care of the household and children. It could be generally agreed that William needed a mother for his children. The story goes that Otillie's family felt this so strongly that they put William in contact with Eliese, who was reportedly "hired out" on another farm at the time, perhaps as a nanny. William basically interviewed her for the "job" of mother - and wife - by confirming the skills she had. Another story, Eliese's granddaughter confirmed that, while she couldn't speak much with her grandma (Eliese) because she didn't speak much English, she enjoyed watching her spin flax, which she made into yarn after carding the raw fibers. She would then knit mittens, socks, scarves and the like. Perhaps it was these very skills that allowed her to "pass the test" and become our ancestress!

We don't know for sure anything about Eliese's parents or siblings. However, there were the following Kaemper families on census records in South Dakota and Minnesota, as noted:

Lette Kaemper is listed on the 1910 census for Elkton township, Brookings County, S. D. She is a 68 year old widow in 1910, so would have been born in     1842. She immigrated to America in 1888 and was the mother of eight children, seven living as of 1910. As Eliese was born in 1863, it would be possible for Lette to ber her mother, or another relation. (Note, Eliese is listed on different censuses as having immigrated in 1884 and 1885.) A record of  the death of "Lisette Kaemper" is recorded for Brookings County, South Dakota on April 6, 1924. No birth date is given, but this doesn't match any known Kaemper family. It may a formal name for "Lette" or perhaps record of a child.

Another Kaemper family found in Elkton Township, Brookings County, SD in 1930 is headed by another widowed woman, Anna Kaemper. She was born in 1872, so would more likely be a sister-in-law to Eliese, assuming a relation. Her late husband was William Kaemper, who appears on the 1900 census, but not on the 1920 census. He, like Lette, above, immigrated in 1888, making him 17 at the time. William and Anna had six children in all: Fred W., Martha E., Margaret A., Marie H., Anna M., and Louisa E. Kaemper. If William was Eliese's brother, these would be cousins to Elsa. Records show Anna's maiden name as Wolff.

Herman Kaemper also immigrated to America in 1888, at age 22. In 1900 he lived with his wife, Minnie and children Emma, Elsie, and Rudolph (born Nov. 1899, see also below). Also living with them, a "boarder" - Emma Schaefer, of whom Elsa had a photo. This family was living in Altona township, Pipestone county, Minnesota. By 1920, the family had moved to Woodland City, Yolo County, California. Emma was not listed with the family at that time, and son Alfred had been born, sometime in 1902, in South Dakota. The 1930 census showed Minnie F. Kaemper living in Santa Barbara City (unincorporated), Santa Barbara County, California with her daughter Elsie and son-in-law Dan E. Grove. Official records mark the death of "Minna" Kaemper in Yolo county in 1947.

One more Kaemper family, headed by Rudolph Kaemper, also lived in Altona township, Pipestone County, Minnesota in 1900. This Rudolph is probably uncle to Herman and Minnie's son. He was born in July, 1875. He married Rose, or Rosalie, and had two children, Laura and Florence. "Mrs. R. Kaemper" is the sender of a postcard style photo of two girls, likely Laura and Florence (see photo file). Rudolph Kaemper died in 1907, in Moody County, South Dakota. In 1910 Rose, Laura and Florence are now living in Ward township, Moody County, South Dakota. In 1920 we find "Rosalia" remarried to Emil A. Zander. His son Albert is in the household, as well as Florence A. Kaemper, noted as "step daughter." In 1930, Albert has moved away and the household is listed as Emil Zander, wife Rosalie and step daughter Florence A. Kaemper. A record of marriage in 1932 shows Florence marrying Mr. John Thiele of Brookings County, South Dakota.

Another Kaemper, found through internet genealogy resources, is Christine Kaemper Rutzen. See the listing for the RUTZEN family, below.

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The RUTZEN family: is an internet based genealogy information service which includes many public record listings which help family researchers. Elsa Althoff had a picture postcard signed "Bertha Rutzen", mailed in 1909 from Elkton, S. Dakota. Census records list the Rutzen family in Elkton Township, Brookings County, South Dakota in 1900. Bertha's  father's name is not listed very clearly, but other records confirm that his full name is Ferdinand, who sometimes goes by Fred. Bertha's mother is listed as Cristina. Other records provided to subscribers are listings for birth and death records for each state. It is through the "South Dakota Births" records that we can link the Rutzens and the Kaempers, and, thus, Elsa Kruse Althoff. The Rutzen family listed in 1900 included Ferdinand, Cristina, and Bertha, as already mentioned, along with additional children Emilie, Anna, Emma and Rose. Also living with the family is Ferdinand's father, John Rutzen. While there are no birth listings for Bertha or Emilie, there are listings of the birth of Anna, Emma, and Rose. These forms list "Mother's name" and "Father's Name," which are a big help in linking family members. In this family's case, all of these forms list Mother's name as "Cristina Kaemper." (Actually, there are variations of spelling for her first name, but all list Kaemper.) So, what do we know about Cristina Kaemper Rutzen? She is listed as having immigrated to America in 1887. She was born in 1866, while Elsa's mother, Elise Kaemper was born in 1863, so they could be sisters. Cristina and Ferdinand married in about 1890. She is listed as the mother of six children, five of whom were living in 1900. Twenty years later, on the 1920 census, none of these first five children are living in the household, and five more children have been born. They are: Franklin, Clarence, Walter, Mary and Selma. (See also information about Ferdinand, Jr., below.) The family is still in Elkton City, Brookings County, South Dakota. Interestingly, this census lists "Fred" as being born in what looks like "Pomeria" (Pomerania) and "Christina" is listed as being born in "Holstein." These notes are overwritten with "Ger" throughout the form.

1920 census listings show two of Fred and Cristina's children now living in Altona Township, Pipestone County, Minnesota. Ferdinand, Jr., age 17, escaped our notice on the 1900 census and was, as mentioned, no longer living at home in 1920. However, sister Emma is living with him, now at age 23. Ferdinand lists his occupation as "farmer." Both list their father's birthplace as "Pommeria" or "Pommern", again overwritten with "Ger."  By 1930, Ferdinand, Jr. is now married, to Hilda. Living with them are son Vernon, brother Franklin, and father Ferdinand, Sr.. Listings for Minnesota death records show "Christine" Rutzen passing away in 1924, and Ferdinand Rutzen passing away in 1932, both in Pipestone County.

Be sure to see the Extended family and friends photo file, as one photo postcard is likely to be of the Rutzen family. It is signed, "Your Cousin, Emilie." Seven children are depicted, with mom in the background (Cristina?), and the dog.

Putting together information from census data and photos in Elsa's collection, it seems pretty safe to conclude that Cristina Kaemper Rutzen was Eliese Kaemper Kruse's sister.

Rutzen family historians may wish to see the One World Tree file for Anna Alvina Rutzen.

Other Rutzen family notes: Information is available from a database on showing Fred Rutzen arriving in America on May 17, 1877 on the ship "Vaderland." The "Place of origin" of the ship was Germany, and the "Port of Departure" was Antwerp, Belgium. This listing shows Fred at age 17. Age and year of immigration line up with census data for Fred, so this is a likely match. The roster page from ship records doesn't show any other Rutzen family members with Fred.

There is one other listing for Albert Rutzen in Elkton Villiage, Brookings County, South Dakota in 1900. Albert was living alone in 1900, 55 years old, and shown as arriving in America in 1867. His occupation is listed as "Machinery Dealer."

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Family friends:

The LOMKER family:

Several of the photos in Elsa's collection were from, or of, the Lomker family. Someone going through these pictures, perhaps with Elsa, noted on the back of one picture of three lovely girls, "Lomker. Were neighbors in Dakota - also lived in Mora." As with many of Fred and Elsa's extended family members, the Lomker family was represented in Elkton, South Dakota, Pipestone, Minnesota, and Kanabec township, Kanabec County, Minnesota. The Thomas Lomker family lived in Elkton, South Dakota on the 1910, 1920 and 1930 censuses. Thomas and Wife Luella were close in age to Fred and Elsa. Over the three census periods, we see their children Ralph, Stella and Elbia/Ebbie. Thomas works as a carpenter for the City.

In Altona township, Pipestone County, Minnesota, The 1910 census shows the William Lomker family, including wife Caroline and son Henry. In 1930, the census reports Caroline as "Carrie" and son Irwin has been added to the family.

Also in Altona township, Pipestone County, Minnesota in 1910 is the Fred Lomker family. With Fred is wife Amelia, and children Fred, Jr., Robert, Bertha and Lenard.

The Kanabec County, Minnesota Lomkers were Henry Lomker and wife Phillimina. On the 1910 census, children are listed as William, Rene, Thomas, Ida, Emma and Herbert. By 1930 the census listings show sons William and Thomas now head of their own households. The Thomas Lomker household includes his wife Grace, mother "Mina", now widowed, and siblings Herbert, Walter and Anna.

It seems likely that the four Lomker men listed in the various cities in 1910, Thomas, William, Fred and Henry were brothers. In 1910, Thomas was 33 years old, William, 31, Fred 38, and Henry 42. All four list being born in Kansas, with both parents born in Germany.

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