After Thirty Years: the Parents of Barbara Siefert Found!

After three decades of looking, I may have the name of the parents of my oft-married ancestor, Barbara (Siefert) Bieger Fennan Haase Haase. Barbara was born about 1825 in Germany and died in 1903 in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois.

The name of her parents appear in a state copy of her marriage record from 1882 in Ft. Madison, Lee County, Iowa. Years ago, I had the records searched and the local records gave me the date and marriage officiant, but I was told that no return (with parents’ names) was extant. I assumed (incorrectly) that the state copy of the record would not have the parental names. It did: Frederich and Maria Barbara Siefert.


This was Barbara’s third legal marriage and her second legal marriage to Conrad Haase. The record indicated that this marriage was her “2d to her 1st husband.” That is incorrect. It was her second marriage to Conrad Haase. They had been married before in 1859 in Hancock County, Illinois, where they had divorced in the early 1870s. This 1882 marriage would also end in divorce.

The immediate lessons here are:

  • look at everything-I had assumed that the duplicate copy of the record at the state level would contain the same information that was in the local record. I was wrong.
  • look at all marriages-I descend from Barbara’s first marriage to a Peter Bieger. Barbara and Haase had children during their first marriage. There were no children of this marriage and yet it provided the most information.

I decided to take another look at the 1882 marriage when I remembered that had put the state copies of the marriage records on their website.

The citation for the marriage records is incomplete, but the essential information is there. The volume number of the marriage records I used gave me problems. iowa-marriage-recordsWhoever created the digital images of the records used by did not make an image of the spine of the book. However, when I went to the early images on the “roll” for the volume I was using, I noticed a yellow card with “Marriages 1882 Emmet-Lyon Vol 12” written on it. This seemed to indicate that the volume number of the entry I was using.

The record at indicated a different volume number: 308. The math teacher in me wants to say it is a different number base. The realistic genealogist in me is thinking that the larger number is perhaps sequential for all volumes and the smaller number has another meaning. At this point, I used both numbers indicating from where they came.


The real question is where my research should go next. I’m still working on that. However, here’s a quick summary of what I know about Barbara and the “early part” of her life.

She was born about 1825 in Germany, perhaps in the general vicinity of Darmstadt. She married in 1849 to fellow German immigrant Peter Bieger in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. They came to Hancock County, Illinois, by November of 1850 and Barbara remained that county until her death.

There’s no reason to doubt the veracity of the names she provided for her parents on this 1882 marriage record. Barbara would likely have had first hand knowledge of her parents’ names.  Her obituary indicated that she came to the United States as “a young girl,” suggesting she immigrated with her parents. That obituary reference could easily have been incorrect and based upon a misconception held by one of Barbara’s children who were the likely obituary informants.

Before I start typing Frederick Siefert in every search box I can find, I’m going to stop, pause, and reflect, for just a little bit.

It’s taken me thirty years to find Frederick and Maria Barbara’s names. I can take at least thirty minutes to analyze what I have before I start searching for them.




4 thoughts on “After Thirty Years: the Parents of Barbara Siefert Found!

  1. First–I giving you a memory that is 53 years old … but “Maybe!” it is of some value. I went to Northern IL U. with a girl whose name, I think, was Carol Seifert. (of course I could be wrong)
    We were in the education department together. And I know she lived int the general right area
    where you are looking. I looked at the small town names in the area and the one that seemed most familiar was definitely LaMoille…on? 34 west of 39. I am all but positive that was where she was from. I cannot remember whether she was a town resident or not, but rather think she
    was from a farm in that area. Of course her last name has probably changed…and who knows if she is still in IL…I’m not…but there are people in my small town who would recognize my maiden name. So maybe its a lead if you run out of them.

      • Carol would be 75 now, give or take a few months. I think I remember hearing she had married…but have no idea of her husband’s surname. So ask for maiden names of Seifert. I’ve done a good deal of research in the Plano, IL (Kendall Co) area and there are many people that my mother taught me about that I still know by their maiden names. (I have the great advantage of having a mother who knew almost everyone in town as a young woman…and often told me the stories about them that she had heard back then. It was a wonderful gift!

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