Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Finding Family Information about the Brocke Family

One of my wife's ancestral surnames is BROCKE - the first family of the name is John and Christina (Webber) Brocke who settled in Cedar County, Nebraska in the late 1850s and the next generation moved to Latah County, Idaho.

While I was at Linda's brother's home over Christmas holidays, we talked a lot about family history.  Paul had interviewed his father, some aunts and uncles, and some cousins from the Brocke family over the years and found his rough notes.  One of his notes about the Brocke family was that they settled at Brocke Flats in Nebraska, and we both wondered exactly where that was.  Another note said that the Wiseman family, which suffered a massacre in 1863 in Cedar County, lived on the Brocke land.

This was enough to get me started - I quickly went to the USGenWeb Project, picked the Nebraska GenWeb link and then picked Cedar County, Nebraska:

Further down the page is a table with links to various topics:

The site has a Marriage Index link for an index for records into the 1930s and 1940s.

I clicked on the "Bl-By" link to get Brocke entries, and was rewarded with three:

There was the marriage date for Linda's great-grandparents, John Nicholas Brocke and Anna Greiser.  I had the date and place from Paul's family papers, but did not have a source for it.  Now I do!  And I can order a copy of the marriage license record from the Cedar County Clerk if I care to (it's in Volume 1, page 81).  That was cool.  I found that the other two Brocke marriage entries were Nicholas's siblings, so I added the spouses, and the source citations, to my database also.

What else is there on this site?  I decided to do a site search in Google using the string:
brocke site:http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/county/cedar/

That brought up a number of matches on the Cedar County GenWeb site:

The most interesting one was the first one, which is a story about the first schoolhouse in Cedar County which was on the John Brocke property (see http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/county/cedar/social/1929516sch.txt):

This transcribed newspaper article from 1929 describes the first schoolhouse, and provides quite a bit about John Brocke's settlement and life in Cedar County, Nebraska.  The most interesting paragraphs say:

"Built originally on the old John Brocke land, so long ago that folks now living cannot tell just when, although they are sure it was either in the late sixties or early seventies, the first site of a building has long since been washed away by the Missouri River. Among the men active in getting this early school which is believed the first school in Cedar County was John Brocke, for whom it was named, although the spelling has often been slightly changed during the years. Mr. Brocke who came to the county about the same time as did the Wiseman family, is the father of Mrs. August Lubeley, George Beste, and Mrs. Frank Thoman. His old homestead is now being farmed by his great-grandson, Emery Lubeley, whose house includes four rooms of the old Brocke log cabin.

"The bottom was named after Mr. Brocke because he was the first white man to come to the community to live. One other man was there before Mr. Brocke but he left, while Mr. Brocke built a home and remained for the rest of his life. Since his time the river has eaten his old land until now the grandchildren have not even a tree that used to be on the old yard. For many years a large elm tree that used to be on the front yard, still stood along the river banks, but even it had washed away this spring."

How great is that! If I can find where Emery Lubeley lived in 1929, I can find where John Brocke settled! Off to the 1930 U.S. Census (close enough, I hope), and found that Emery Lubeley resided in Dixon county, Nebraska. Rats. What about in 1920? He lived with his parents in Precinct 6 in Cedar County, the oldest son (age 18, born Nebraska) of his parents, August and Catherine (age 41, born Nebraska) Lubeley. There is no address given, but it narrows the search down to Precinct 6 (assuming that the house he lived in is the same one mentioned in 1929).

It turns out that Emery's mother was Catherine Beste, a daughter of Theodore Beste and Catherine Brocke (1851-1887), the daughter of John and Christina (Webber) Brocke. It also turns out that the three names listed as children of John Brocke are his grandchildren (by his daughter Catherine), rather than his children.

Where is Precinct 6 in Cedar County? There is a map on the Cedar County web page that shows the precincts (from the History of Cedar County, by Twila Anderson):

Precinct 6 is the most northeast precinct in Cedar County, bordering the next county (Dixon) to the east and the Missouri River to the north.

There is a memorial to the five Wiseman children killed in 1863, and it is #11 on the map below (from the History of Cedar County, by Twila Anderson):

With the help of these maps, and the other collected information, Paul and I should be able to find the John Brocke land in Precinct 6 of Cedar County, Nebraska.

I also found a report online (Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey, Reconnaissance Survey Final Report of Cedar County Nebraska, 1988) which included a description of the Wiseman Monument site as located in the SE 1/4, NE 1/4, Sec. 16, T. 32 N, R. 3 E.

I used the land description for the monument to "fly" to it in Google Earth using the www.EarthPoint.us web page, and saw:

Section 16 of Township 32 North, Range 3 East is shown on the map above.  Zooming in on the Section, I can draw a rectangle around the Southeast quarter of the Northeast quarter of the Section:

The buildings within the red box above have geographical coordinates of 42° 45' 07" North and 97° 04' 45" West.

From the Google Map for this area, the nearest intersection (just below the red box above) is 893 Rd (going east-southeast) and 573 Ave (going north-northeast). Now the challenge is to go there to see the place where the Brocke family settled and resided for over 30 years.

That was fun!!! I appreciate the free USGenWeb sites, and the wealth of information available through the efforts of volunteers over the past 20 years. I also appreciate the free Google Maps, free Google Earth, and the free Earthpoint websites.

Now I'm wondering how long it will take for a distant cousin who still lives in Cedar County will contact me!

The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/01/finding-family-information-about-brocke.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


QuiltinLibraryLady said...

Now you're talking my neck of the woods. I grew up in neighboring Knox Co. and have lived in Antelope Co. since marriage. DH has distant relatives living in Cedar Co. as well as a niece & her family. Anyone in this part of the state with an interest in history has heard of the Wiseman massacre. Small world.

CarmenMJ said...

I live in Lewiston, ID and am familiar with the Brocke surname. Lewiston is major town in the area and therefore the Lewiston Morning Tribune is the predominant local paper. At one time the Kendrick, Juliaetta area was part of Nez Perce Co., ID before part of it was siphoned off to Latah Co., ID. So, if you are interested in looking at the archives of the Lewiston Morning Tribune to find additional information on the family...go to http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=BtfE7wd9KvMC and it will bring up the archives. They are by no means complete but there is a lot of information. By the way, my family also come from Nebraska in Burt Co. - and my father and I were just back there in September. Small world!

Carmen Johnson

wendy said...

Thanks for posting these search tips! It gives me ways to search - especially via maps & Google Earth - for land my ancestors settled on.

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

Randy, it is great to talk to others in the family about your family's history. You never know where it will lead!

Linda Schreiber said...

I always enjoy your posts, but this one had two *WOWs* for me. I had seen the Google search type 'site:' mentioned before, but had never realized how much it might find beyond a search at the site itself. And I had never heard of EarthPoint before. You can enter township-range specifics and SEE THE PLACE!
Between the two, I am going to be very, very busy.... Thanks!!