Category Archives: German Research

Surname Saturday: Harney (Part 2)

I promised you that I would continue my search for Fredrick Harney.  This is Part 2, where I am continuing trying to break down this brick wall.  You can refresh your memory of what I’ve already found by reading Part 1.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census:
Thanks to a comment left by Cynthia on part 1, I was able to find Fredrick Harney in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. His household is as follows:
*Fred Horni – male, white, age 64, widowed, born in Germany, parents born Germany/Germany, immigrated to U.S. 1872, naturalized, black smith in own shop
*M. Foster – servant, female, white, age 54, widowed, born Germany, parents born Germany/Germany, immigrated to U.S. in 1884, housekeeper for private family
I knew Fredrick was hiding somewhere in the 1910 census. He is indexed as “Fred Horm”, but when I look at the document, I see “Fred Horni”, which is easy to confuse.


Based on the 1900 and 1910 federal census, Fredrick immigrated to America in 1872.  So I began my search on, but I’ve been unsuccessful thus far.  I’m noticing that my difficulty is that I only have a possible year of arrival.  I don’t have any idea as to what port he came into, what port he left from, who he was traveling with, or a date.  I am lucky in the sense that I have a possible year, but I also know that Fredrick is an ancestor who is good at hiding.

Did He Marry Again?
I find it to be unlikely that Fredrick married again since he was not married in the 1910 federal census and he died in 1911.  However, it is possible that he married again but I have not found a marriage record to prove that.

The Final Resting Place
Over the last week or so, I began asking my mom some questions about what she knew of the Harneys.  I knew that in the 1980s she had taken a trip to Indiana.  She told me that she has seen the actual stone with Fredrick Harney’s name on it.  I got so excited that I immediately grabbed the closest pen and paper.

Then I hit a brick wall again.  When my mom had visited the cemetery, it was in the middle of a snow storm.  As a native Californian, she considered the weather too extreme.  When she went to see the stone, she stepped out of the warm car and snapped a quick photo.  She wasn’t concerned with getting a good picture – she was concerned with getting back in the warm car!

I’ve found the pictures my mom has taken.  While a stone can definitely be seen, the picture is taken from too much of a distance to read the words on the stone.  So close, yet so far away.

Still Stuck…
While I moved a few bricks, this is ancestor is still a brick wall.  If you have any further suggestions or comments, I would be greatly appreciative of any help you can bring me.


Surname Saturday: Harney (Part 1)

My great-great grandfather, Fredrick Harney has been a brickwall for me since I began doing my genealogy. His story has been a bit of a struggle for me to find because he is an Austrian immigrant and German/Austrian genealogy is not my strong point. To make matters more complicated, his wife has been married before, has kids from this former marriage, and rumor has it he married his daughter-in-law’s sister. Are you confused yet?

I first came across the Harney family in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. The family is living in Hobart, Lake County, Indiana. The household is as follows:
*Fredrick Harney – white, male, age 35, married, blacksmith, born Austria, parents born Austria/Austria
*Margaret Harney – white, female, age 38, wife, married, keeping house, has Neuralgia, born in Prussia, parents born Prussia/Prussia
*Mary Harney – white, female, age 14, daughter, single, school, born Austria, parents born Austria/Prussia
*Frank Harney – white, male, age 10, son, single, school, born Austria, parents born Austria/Prussia
*Edward Harney – white, male, age 2, son, single, born Indiana, parents born Austria/Prussia
*Frederick Harney – white, male, age 6/12, son, single, born Indiana, parents born Austria/Prussia
*George Becker – white, male, Grandfather, age 76, widowed or divorced, cannot read or write, born in Austria, parents born Austria/Austria
Based on the above information from the 1880 U.S. Census, here is what I can know:
  • Fredrick Harney was born about 1845 in Austria.
  • Both of Fredrick’s parents were born in Austria.
  • Fredrick is a blacksmith by trade.
  • Margaret Harney was born about 1842 in Prussia.
  • Margaret is ill with a disorder called Neuralgia, which causes pain in nerves for no reason.
  • Both of Margaret’s parents were born in Prussia.
  • The two oldest children, Mary and Frank, were born in Austria.
  • The two youngest children, Edward and Fredrick were born in Indiana.
  • Based on Edward’s age and place of birth, the family has been living in Indiana for at least 2 years.
  • George Becker is probably Margaret’s father.
Next, I found Fredrick Harney in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census in Hobart Township, Lake County, Indiana.
*Fr Harney – Dad, white, male, born Nov 1846, age 53, widowed, married 24 years, born in Germany, parents born Germany/Germany, immigrated in 1872, been in U.S. 28 years, naturalized, blacksmith
*Fred Harney – son, white, male, born Nov 1880, age 19, single, born in Indiana, parents born Germany/Germany, day laborer
*May Hemstreet – daughter, white, female, born Sep 1865, age 34, married 9 years, has 4 children, 4 children living, born in Austria, parents born Germany/Germany, immigrated in 1873, been in U.S. 27 years, naturalized
*William Hemstreet – grandson, white, male, June 1892, age 7, single, born in Illinois, parents born New York/Austria
*Frank A. Hemstreet – grandson, white, male, Apr 1894, age 6, single, born in Illinois, parents born New York/Austria
*Margaette R. Hemstreet – granddaughter, white, female, Sept 1897, age 2, single, born in Illinois, parents born New York/Austria
*Frederick E. Hemstreet – grandson, white, male, Feb 1899, age 1, single, born in Illinois, parents born New York/Austria
*M.T. Hemstreet – son in law, white, male, Apr 1864, Apr 1864, age 36, married 9 years, born in New York, parents born New York/New York, book keeper
So based on both the 1880 census and the 1900 census, here is what I can know so far:
  • Fredrick Harney was born in November 1846 in Austria or Germany.
  • Fredrick Harney is a blacksmith by trade.
  • Fredrick Harney probably married his wife, Margaret, around 1876.
  • Fredrick immigrated to the U.S. in 1872 and is naturalized.
  • Frederick Harney was born in November 1880 in Indiana.
  • Mary (Harney) Hemstreet was born in September 1865 in Austria.
  • Mary (Harney) Hemstreet immigrated to the U.S. in 1873 and is naturalized.
  • Mary (Harney) Hemstreet has four children, all of which are born in Illinois.
  • Mary Hemstreet is most likely married to M.T. Hemstreet, born April 1864 in New York. The couple was probably married about 1891, possibly in Illinois.
I then began to wonder when Fredrick died. A search on in the database, Indiana Deaths, 1882-1920 gave me this find:
*Frederich Harney, Sr. died on 11 Apr 1911 in Hobart at age 65.
But this still leaves me with so many other questions:
  • If Fredrick really is naturalized, then where is his record?
  • Where is Fredrick and Margaret’s marriage record?
  • Where are Fredrick and Margaret buried?
  • Where are the passenger lists that list Fredrick, Margaret, and the kids?
  • Where is Fredrick on the 1910 census?
  • Are the rumors true that Margaret was previously married? If so, then to who?
  • Did Fredrick marry a second time after the death of Margaret?
Stay tuned until next week, when I will write part two of this series of posts.