Manuscript Group 1623, Guide to the Papers of the Friedrich and Graessle family 1852-1927 (Bulk Dates 1899-1927)


Descriptive Summary
Biographical Note
Scope and Content Note
Access Points
Related Material
Administrative Information

Container List

Personal and Immigration documents

Guide to the Papers of the Friedrich and Graessle family
1852-1927 (Bulk Dates 1899-1927)
MG 1623

The New Jersey Historical Society
52 Park Place
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Contact: NJHS Library
Phone: (973) 596-8500 x249
© 2004 All rights reserved.
The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Douglas Baldwin.

Finding aid encoded by Julia Telonidis. September 2004. Production of the EAD 2002 version of this finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Finding aid written in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Friedrich and Graessle family
Title: Papers of the Friedrich and Graessle family
Dates 1852-1927
Abstract: Contains family chronicle, immigration documents, funeral receipts and other personal documents of the Friedrich and Graessle family, spanning the years 1852-1927.
Quantity: .06 linear feet (one folder)
Collection Number: MG 1623

Biographical Note

There is limited information regarding the families referenced in the documents in this collection. Wilhelm Friedrich (b. 1854) emigrated with his wife, Mary (b. 1850) to the United States in 1883. That same year, Christian Frederic Graessle (year of birth unknown) and his wife Wilhelmina (b. 1853) also emigrated to the US. As was customary during that time period, both Christian Graessle and Wilhelm Friedrich used altered versions of their names upon reestablishment of their families in America. Christian Graessle adopted his middle name as his first, and went by the name Fred Graessle. Meanwhile, Wilhelm Friedrich changed the spelling structure of his name so that it read: William Freidrick. Both families settled in Newark, NJ.

According to 1895 Newark directory, at that time, Christian Graessle worked as a baker. Between 1883-1900, both families produced several offspring. Wilhelm and Mary had four children in that time, Lena (b. 1889), William Jr. (b. 1891), George (b. 1893), and Tillie (b. 1900). Christian and Wilhemina had seven children who were, Mary Graessle (b. 1883), Ernst (Ernest) Graessle (b. 1885), William Graessle (b. 1889), Henry Graessle (b. 1891), Adolph Graessle (year of birth unknown), Albert Graessle (year of birth unknown), and Fred Graessle (year of birth unknown).

According to the 1905 Newark directory, Ernst was working as a tanner in Newark, and for the first time Wilhelmina Graessle is listed as widow, as the result of Christian’s death.

1910 US census data reveals more information about the Graessle family. At this time, Wilhelmina is listed as the head of the household and is working as a jeweler. The family resided at 19 Peshine Ave. in Newark. Meanwhile, her four children still lived with their mother in Newark, and are listed as having the following occupations:

Mary Graessle- servant for a private family
William Graessle- weaver for a sweater factory
Ernst Graessle- a suborer for an auto manufacturing company
Henry, the youngest of the siblings, was employed in the same occupation as his brother Ernst.

The 1915 Newark directory data indicates that Tillie Friedrich worked as clerk in

1920 US census data, converse to the 1910 census data, reveals more information about the Friedrich family. The census reveals that both William Jr. and George were married. William Jr. was married to Mini Friedrich (b. 1898), while his brother George was married to Emma Friedrich (b. 1898). In 1920, the brothers’ and their wives were cohabitating at 26 Brogaw Ave. in Newark. Likewise, both men were employed as knitters. It should be noted that according to the same census. Both Henry and Wilhemina Graessle had moved from their Newark residence to Irvington, NJ.

According to this same census, there is record of William Friedrich Jr., and his wife Mini, having two children: John Friedrich (b. 1918) and George W. Friedrich (b. 1920). After 1920, there is very little information on the family members referenced by this collection. It should be mentioned though that William (Wilhelm) and Mary Friedrich’s eldest child, Lena Friedrich (who in 1915 worked as a clerk like her sister, Tillie), is not listed on William Friedrich’s naturalization document with his three other children. This may be due to the fact that she was no longer residing with the family at the time of her mother’s naturalization. Needless to say, Lena Friedrich eventually married William Graessle and together became the parents of Irene Graessle, the donor of the collection.

Historical Note

Both the Graessle and Freidrich families emigrated from Germany to the United States during the time of the largest influx of Germans to America in the 19th century. It has been noted that in all but three years between 1854 and 1894, German Americans represented the largest group of immigrants to the US. Furthermore, the 1880’s was the heaviest decade of this emigration, when 1,445,181 German Americans settled in the United States. Just as a brief note, the year of the highest number of emigrants during that decade was 1882, the year before both families came to the United States.

During that time, several factors could have contributed to their emigration here. This period in German history was one of instability. The several Germanic countries and provinces, which operated independently of each other, had been finally reunified under Otto Von Bismarck in 1871, culminating in the declaration of the Second Reich. The persecution of liberals and democrats in Germany, along with the anti-Socialist laws of 1878-1890, created a condition of political unrest.

Also, the Industrial Revolution was causing a change in the economic viability of the German people. The search for factory and manufacturing jobs had many deserting their farms for the cities, flooding an already saturated city workforce. Part of the reason attributed to this abandonment and break-up of German farms was the new inheritance laws that were enacted. These laws, requiring even distribution of inherited property, causing farms to be sold or broken down to accommodate families with several children. Furthermore, many German citizens were unhappy with the recent trend of high taxation.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection contained various documents belonging to the Friedrich-Graessle family. The papers regarding the Friedrich side of the family include a ‘permission to emigrate’ letter issued to Wilhelm Friedrich, which was required for him to come to the United States. The document is stamped and approved by an official from the Erbach province, which was one of provinces in the Hesse area of Germany. Also included are a US naturalization certificate issued to Wilhelm in 1910, making him a US citizen, and several receipts for undertaker and funeral costs for the Friedrich family, which included flowers, coffin, embalming, and services.

Regarding the Graessle side of the family, the papers in collection are baptism and confirmation certificates for Ernst (Ernest) Graessle, and a family chronicle of vital records taken from the Graessle family bible. Copies of the first two pages of the family bible are contained in this collection.

The collection also includes two greeting cards. The parties listed are the cards are unknown, although one name listed on one of the cards, Emilie, could be the donor’s aunt on her mother’s side, Emma Graessle. This is according to the donor of the collection.

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Access Points

The entries below represent persons, organizations, topics, forms, and occupations documented in this collection.

Subject Names:

Friedrich family.
Graessle family.

Subject Topics:

Bible records–New Jersey– Newark.
Confirmation records–New Jersey–Newark.
Funeral homes–New Jersey.
Funeral service–New Jersey.
German Americans–New Jersey.
Naturalization–New Jersey.
Undertakers and undertaking–New Jersey.

Subject Places:

Newark (N.J.).
New Jersey–Emigration and immigration.

Document Types:

Baptismal certificates.
Immigration records.
Naturalization records.

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Related Material

For related collections, see:

Manuscript group 582, Charles Reid Letters
Manuscript group 1038, Landau-Cairns-Nichols Family Papers
Manuscript group 347, First Presbyterian Church (Hanover, NJ)
Manuscript group 717, First Reform Presbyterian German and English Church (Knowlton, NJ)
Manuscript group 733, Fourth Presbyterian Church (Newark, NJ)
Manuscript group 839, Guide to Presbyterian Church Records
Manuscript group 1323, Lehlbach-Smith Family (Newark, NJ)
Manuscript group 1211, Jennie Ogden and Jennie Ogden Miller Papers
Manuscript group 1539, Voorhies Family Genealogy Collection
Manuscript group 1175, Ogden-Van Assen Funeral Home
Manuscript group 1259, Terrill Funeral Home

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 1623, Papers of the Friedrich and Graessle family, The New Jersey Historical Society.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Irene Graessle to the New Jersey Historical Society in May 2004.

Processing Information

Several of the documents contained in this collection are printed in German. There are two or three documents in this collection that are brittle, specifically the funeral receipts, and already have significant tearing.

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Container List

Personal and Immigration documents
Box Folder Title Date
1 1 Family chronicle 1852 to 1898
1 1 Copies of first two pages of Graessle family bible 1878 June 10
1 1 Official German ‘permission to emigrate’ document issued to Wilhelm Friedrich 1883 June
1 1 Two (2) greeting cards 1897
1 1 Confirmation certificate for Ernst Wilhelm Graessle 1899 March 26
1 1 Four (4) bills for funeral costs 1903-1927
1 1 Receipt for marble step 1905 April 29
1 1 US Certificate of Naturalization for William (Wilhelm) Friedick (Friedrich) 1910 May 24
Box Folder Title Date
OS 1 U.S. citizenship certificate of William Friedrich and two (2) German church issued papers 1900-1913

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