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Shaking the Branches of the Family Tree

Tracking down Old Records in the Library and City Hall


View 2008 Winter Road Trip on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

24 January 2008

As we drove in we passed a shoe factory - I thought my great grandfather might have worked in a similar place
Shoe factory

Shoe factory


Unidentified Statue

Unidentified Statue

Our first stop today was the City Hall.
City Hall

City Hall

City Hall Clock

City Hall Clock

City Hall foyer ceiling

City Hall foyer ceiling

3d835d30-b10a-11ea-9b88-67504ade89b9.jpgInside City Hall

Inside City Hall


I first stopped at the death records department and they basically said that they couldn't help us and it would be $10-$15 for them to look. So then we went down to the Marriage records, and here we hit a gold mine.

First the lady there was able to find on microfilm a copy of the city hall record. It said
Copy of a handwritten record

Copy of a handwritten record


"Koke

State of Missouri, County of St. Louis} This is to certify that on the 28th day of November AD 1857 I united in the holy bonds of matrimony by virtue of authority in me vested Fr W. Kaken and Sophia Elizabeth Uelzen. Given under my hand this 6th day of February 1858. Fr. Picker Pastor
Filed and Recorded February 16th 1858 C. Kermle Recorder
."

We couldn't read the pastor's name very well, and she tried to look him up in the Catholic diocese list and couldn't find anyone of that name. So she called the diocese and they would talk to her (i.e. they answered the phone). They said, "oh yes that's Fr Picker - we've had a lot of trouble with him." By which I think they meant that a lot of people asked about him.
Looking back to the arch from downtown

Looking back to the arch from downtown


Then we went to the Civil Court to see if we could get the naturalization records. They wouldn't let me take my camera in and they wouldn't even let Bob's cell phone in because it would take a picture. So I went up alone, but the records were sealed and in another location. So I left my name and address to see if they could get them and send them to me.
Leaving City Hall

Leaving City Hall


We then went to the City Library to see what we could find. Bob found out about Picker in a book there.
Old Picker's Cemetery

Old Picker's Cemetery


It said Old Picker's Cemetery was named for a minister who founded Holy Ghost E&R Church, and that the current Picker cemetery was at 7133 Gravois.

I found on-line several Koke immigrants through NY.

New York passenger lists

New York passenger lists

Wilhelm, and Frederick among others all of whom came from Eitelsbach Germany. However the name Koke was written so that the final E looked like an L and it was listed as Kohl in the printed book.
Koke, Fr. Wilhelm

Koke, Fr. Wilhelm

I had two problems on this search - one was that the name was often spelled phonetically (my grandfather was listed as John Coca on the 1880 census by his adoptive father). The other was in reading the handwriting in the old records.

I also looked up the death records on microfilm that Cousin Brett gave me. Wilhelm Kooch died at age 15 days of convulsions and he was buried at St. Pauls. Heinrich Koke was 30 years old and died of congestion of the brain from alcoholism and heat. The attending physician was Pruitt or something like that he the undertaker was City and he was buried in the City cemetery.

We decided to try to find Picker's cemetery, so we drove out Gravois through some more rather seedy neighborhoods.
Abandoned building

Abandoned building


By this time it was almost 3 pm and we still hadn't eaten, so we stopped at a
Jack In the Box

Jack In the Box


Bob doesn't like to eat in the car, so we went in
3936032-Other_side_of_the_menu_Saint_Louis.jpgPart of the menu

Part of the menu


Bob got a hamburger and shake
Burger

Burger

Tray with shake and fries and burger (wrapped)

Tray with shake and fries and burger (wrapped)


and I got a #3. The place turned out to be where a homeless black man was hanging out. He asked us for 99 cents to get a hamburger. Bob said he didn't have any money, but I gave him my french fries, which he ate.

Then as we were driving down Gravois, I thought it might be better to go to Concordia cemetery where we knew one of the Kokes was buried, so we did.
54f7d9a0-b10a-11ea-92f6-1de0214ac2b5.jpgConcordia Cemetery Gate

Concordia Cemetery Gate

100_3349.jpgConcordia Cemetery

Concordia Cemetery


We didn't find the stone of course because there wasn't one (I hadn't gotten my phone messages yet), but we walked around. Then since it was very cold we got in the car and drove around and looked at the stones including a huge monument with stained glass windows in the middle of the cemetery to Rev Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther who was a pastor at Trinity Lutheran in St. Louis.
864960513869751-Rev_Carl_Fer..aint_Louis.jpgRev Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther's monument

Rev Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther's monument


During our visit a police car came into the cemetery. I don't know why.
Police car in the cemetery

Police car in the cemetery


We drove back to the condo and had pizza.

25 January 2008

We went to the county library, and found the records of the Holy Ghost church, but could not find their baptismal records which did not appear to be in either date order OR in alphabetical order. But I did find the original record for Frederick Wilhelm Koke, which was CLEARLY spelled Koke. It was in German script and I can't read it, but I got a copy. They also had the naturalization paper which said

April Term 1858. April 5, 1858. William Kokes a native of Germany who applies to be a citizen of the United States, comes and proves to the satisfaction of the Court that he has resided in the United States for at least five years and in the State of Missouri at least one year immediately preceding this application, during which time he has conducted himself as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same: and the Court moreover, being satisfied that said applicant has taken the preparatory steps required by the laws of the United States concerning the naturalization of foreigners, and he declaring here in open Court, upon oath, that he will support the constitution of the United States, and that he doth absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure forever, all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Power, Prince, State and Sovereigny whosoever, and particularly to The King of Hannover of whom he is at present a Subject therefor the said William Kokes is admitted a citizen of the United States.

By this time it was almost 1500 and we had not eaten lunch. So we skipped lunch.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 16:50 Archived in USA

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Comments

Hi Rosealie, Really interesting story, thanks for sharing. Stay Safe Alec.

by alectrevor

Thank you - I was a bit worried that it was too specialized to be interesting.

by greatgrandmaR

Not too specialized :) I paid attention to the scetch of the Main House and wonder if the scetch is drawn wrong or have the original building been remodeled to the other side of the chimney..

by hennaonthetrek

I would guess that it was remodeled. A lot happens to buildings over time.

by greatgrandmaR

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