Category Archives: stern


I recently visited FamilySearch, the world’s largest genealogy organization provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Over the last while, they have been working on digitizing and indexing the microfilmed records held at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Of course, it will take quite a while to complete this project — they have MILLIONS of records — but there are some useful records already available.

I was delighted to find that digitized images of records from the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, are available online. They aren’t searchable yet, but they are easy to browse through. I found baptism, marriage and burial records for some of my great-great-great grandparents and their family.

Some of those records had some interesting clues to expanding my family search. For example, I already knew that my great-great-great grandparents, Christian Stern and Anna Maria Jan (or John), were married in Belleville, Illinois, on 15 Jul 1847, and I found the original record on FamilySearch in the records of the Cathedral of St. Peter. One of the witnesses is Charles Jan — likely a relative. Charles is also listed at their first daughter’s godfather.

So, I decided to search the 1850 census for Charles Jan in the Belleville area. I found a Charles John, born about 1800 in Germany, living in Centreville (now Millstadt), Illinois — the same town that my great-great-great grandparents lived in. Given Charles’ age, he could possibly be my great-great-great-great grandfather, though I don’ t have any other evidence of that yet.

Next steps: find more information about Charles John and see if there are connections to Anna Maria John.


Estella Clausse West, 1890-1967

From The Ogden Standard-Examiner, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 1967:

Estella Clausse West obituary

Estella Clausse West obituary

Estella C. West

Mrs. Estella C. West, 77, of 2098 Harrison, died Monday at St. Benedict’s Hospital.

Mrs. West was born Dec. 1, 1890, in Galveston, Tex., a daughter of Joseph and Pauline Stern Clausse.

She lived in St. Louis, Mo., as a child and came to Ogden in 1897.

On March 26, 1913, she was married to James Alva West in Ogden. Mr. West died March 12, 1946, in Ogden.

She was  a member of BPO Does, Ladies of Woodcraft and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

Surviving are the following sons and daughters: John A. West, Joseph E. West, William H. West, Paul B. West, Mrs. Samuel (Pauline) Attison, all of Ogden; Mrs. Ernest (Betty) Yanni, Murray; 16 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren.

Requiem Mass will be celebrated Thursday at 10 a.m. in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

Holy Rosary will be recited Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Lindquist and Sons Colonial Chapel where friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m.

Burial will be in the Ogden City Cemetery.

Source: “The Ogden Standard-Examiner”, 26 Dec 1967, p. 5B; digital image online at <>.

(Estella Clausse West is my great-grandfather’s younger sister.)

Joseph James Clausse, 1886-1965

From The Ogden Standard-Examiner, Monday, August 16, 1965:

Joseph J. Clausse

Joseph James Clausse obituary

Joseph James Clausse, 79, of 1603 Childs, died Sunday night in a local rest home.

Mr. Clausse was born May 19, 1886, in Ogden, a son of Joseph E. and Pauline Stern Clausse. On Nov. 21, 1910, he was married to Maude Weigel in Salt Lake City.

He was an iron worker in construction. He was a member of the international Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers, Local 27. He had lived in Idaho six years.

Surviving are his widow, six sons and one daughter, J. Lewis Clausse, Harold A. Clausse, both of Sacramento, Calif.; Gerald E. Clausse, Ogden; Kenneth L. Clausse, Orem; Joseph J. Clausse Jr., North Ogden; Mrs. John J. (Barbara) Silber, Silver Springs [sic], Md.; 23 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, one sister, Mrs. Estella West, Ogden.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the Myers Mortuary with former Bishop Delbert Thompson officiating. Friends may call at the mortuary Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Wednesday prior to services. Burial in Ogden City Cemetery.

Source: “The Ogden Standard-Examiner”, 16 Aug 1965, page 7B; digital image online at <>.

(Joseph J. Clausse is my great-grandfather. His one daughter, Barbara Clausse Silber, is my grandmother.)

Barbara Stern, 1860-1945

From The Ogden Standard-Examiner, Wednesday evening, November 28, 1945:

Barbara Stern obituary

Barbara Stern obituary

Barbara Stern

Miss Barbara Stern, 85, died at nine forty-five Tuesday evening at the home of her niece, Mrs. J. Alva West, 2098 Harrison, following a heart attack.

She was born March 16, 1860, at Millstadt, Ill., to Christian and Marie Annie Jones Stern. Miss Stern was for many years a nurse and continued in this career until her health failed at about 80 years of age.

She was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic church, the Altar society and League of the Sacred Heart. She had been a resident of Ogden since 1890.

Surviving are the following nieces and nephew: Mrs. William Doyle, Mrs. Joseph J. Clausse, Mrs. J. Alva West, Lee L. Clausse, all of Ogden.

Funeral services will be conducted Satruday at ten a. m. at St. Joseph’s church, by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. W. J. Giroux. Arrangements are in charge of the mortuary at 466 Twenty-fourth. Interment will be in Ogden city cemetery.

Source: “The Ogden Standard-Examiner”, 28 Nov 1945, p. 14; digital image online at <>.

(Barbara Stern is my great-great-grandmother’s sister.)

Pauline Mary Stern Clausse, 1857-1923

From the Ogden Standard-Examiner, Thursday evening, November 8, 1923:

Pauline Mary Stern Clausse obituary

Pauline Mary Stern Clausse obituary

Mrs. Pauline Clausse Dies

Mrs. Pauline Mary Stern Clausse, wife of Joseph E. Clausse, died Wednesday evening at the residence, 3232 Washington avenue, of general debility. she was born in Millstadt, Ill., November 3, 1857, the daughter of Christian and Mary Jones Stern. She came to Ogden in 1855 and had resided here continuously since that date. Mrs. Clausse was a devout member of St. Joseph’s Catholic church. She is survived by her husband and the following sons and daughters: Mrs. William Doyle, Joseph J. Clausee [sic], Mrs. Alva West, Leon L. Clausse, 15 grandchildren, all of Ogden, and the following sister: Miss Barbara Stern, Ogden; Mary Stern, Mrs. Annie Backer, Mrs. Regina Daken [sic}, all of St. Louis, Mo.

Funeral arrangements are in charge of Larkin & Sons, undertakes, and the time and place will be later announced.

Source: “The Ogden Standard-Examiner”, 8 Nov 1923, p. 12; digital image online at <>.

The funeral announcement followed in the next day’s paper:

Pauline Mary Stern Clausse funeral announcement

Pauline Mary Stern Clausse funeral announcement


Funeral services for Mrs. Pauline Mary Clausse will be held Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock at St. Joseph’s Catholic church. Monsignor P. M. Cushnahan will preside. The body may be viewed Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday until 1 o’clock at the home 3232 Washington avenue. Interment will be in the City cemetery.

Source: “The Ogden Standard-Examiner”, 9 Nov 1923, p. 10; digital image online at <>.

(Pauline Mary Stern Clausse is my great-great-grandmother.)

Joseph Edward Clausse, 1855-1934

From The Ogden Standard-Examiner, Sunday morning, April 15, 1934:

Joseph Edward Clausse

Joseph Edward Clausse

Clausse Services To Be Conducted Tuesday Morning

Funeral services for Joseph Edward Clausse will be held Tuesday morning at ten o’clock in St. Joseph’s Catholic church with the Rev. P. F. Kennedy celebrating the mass.

Recitation of the rosary will be held at the family home, 3232 Washington avenue, Monday evening at eight o’clock.

Friends my call at the home this afternoon and evening, all day Monday, and Tuesday until nine a. m. Interment will be made in Ogden city cemetery under direction of Larkin & Sons’.

Mr. Clausse is survived by the following sons and daughters: Joseph J. Clausse, Lee L. Clausse, Mrs. William Doyle, Mrs. J. Alva West, all of Ogden; also a sister, Mrs. Barbara Stern, with whom he had made his home since his wife died in 1923; another sister, marie Esmert, and a brother, Lucian, residing in France; 19 grandchildren and five great-grand-children.

Source: “The Ogden Standard-Examiner”, 15 Apr 1934, p. 5; digital image online at <>

One typo that I noticed from this funeral announcement: Barbara Stern is Joseph’s sister-in-law, not his sister. She never married, and is referred to in her sister’s obituary (Joseph’s wife, Pauline Mary Stern Clausse), as Miss Barbara Stern.

(Joseph Edward [or Edouard] is my great-great-grandfather.)

The “Stern” Dam has broken!

If you like genealogy success stories, READ ON! I lived on this weekend!

A couple of weeks ago, not long after first starting this blog, I found a website that transcribed newspaper stories from the “County News” column in the Belleville, Illinois, Weekly Advocate from 1880-1894. My great-great-great grandparents lived in Millstadt, St. Clair County, Illinois, from 1850 to at least 1880. Their names were Christian Stern and Anna Maria Jan.

When I found this website, I did a search for the word “Stern”. I didn’t find any mention of my GGG Grandfather, but I did find several references to a flour mill in town called Becker & Stern, or Backer & Stern. After running across the mill several times, it suddenly struck me that the 1880 census lists my ancestor’s occupation as “miller”. When I double-checked the census, I noticed that the Stern family lived next door to the Becker family. That was pretty good evidence for me to say that my GGG Grandfather owned the Becker & Stern mill with Mr. Becker, his neighbor. I love little bits of history like that! It makes the names and numbers on census records real people with real lives.

This past weekend, I was trolling some genealogy blogs that I look at, and found a story on DearMYRTLE about a relatively new genealogy database called GenealogyBank . GenealogyBank is a searchable database of historical newspaper articles, obituaries and other documents. It is a subscription site (about $20/month, or $80 for an annual subscription), but you can still do free searches with a teaser bit of the scanned newspaper article–you just can’t see the full article without a subscription. I did a quick search for some of my family names, and one of the names I searched for was “Christian Stern”. Wouldn’t you know it, but I get a hit from the Belleville News Democrat dated 9 January 1901. Fortunately for me, the teaser bit just happened to have all the information I needed–“Christian Stern, formerly of the firm of Becker & Stern, died in St. Louis last Monday.”

I couldn’t believe my luck!! Not only had I only recently heard of the Becker & Stern mill, now I had a definite connection with the mill and a Christian Stern. While I was pretty sure that this was my GGG Grandfather, I wasn’t positive. He had a son named Christian as well, and the paper could be talking about him. It could also be a completely different person altogether. (I like to be absolutely positive about things before making the leap–I’ve been wrong before. In fact, I assumed that this had to be his son’s death because I had found bits of circumstantial evidence that said that my GGG Grandfather died before 1889.)

I didn’t take too long to satisfy myself. A little more searching on found the actual death notice–7 Jan 1901 in St. Louis, Missouri. It even gave the address–1705 Russell Ave (which Google Earth shows was at the current interchange of I-44 and I-55). Then I happened to notice that there was a second death at the same address–Magdalena Stern. Christian’s sister, Magdalena, lived with him and his family her whole life, so this was a very good sign. Still, it could have been his son.

By now, I was charged with energy and determined to find anything I could. I ended up, somehow, on the website for the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of St. Louis where I did a burial search for “Christian Stern” and found him buried in Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery on 7 Jan 1901. The search result has a feature that lets you see who else is buried around that person, and I ended up finding his wife, Mary Ann Stern, his son, Jacob, his sister, Magdalena, his daughter, Magdalena Miller, and two of her children.

From there it just snowballed. I found my GGG Grandparents living in St. Louis in the 1900 census (thanks to the address in the death record), living with their daughter, Magdalena Miller, and two of her children. She was a widow, but with that information, I was able to backtrack and find her in the 1880 census with her husband and more children.

It just kept going from there, and it’s far from complete. The doors/floodgates/whatever-cliche-you-care have opened wide and the information is flowing at me almost faster than I can keep up. So far, the only clue to extending the line further back is from the 1900 census–my GGG Grandparents immigrated from Germany in 1835 (although they weren’t married until 1847 in Belleville, Illinois). But that’s more information than I had last week!