My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

MONDAY'S MOTHER - Barbara Frisse Brunett (1822-1893)

Barbara Frisse Brunett
St. Jacques Catholic Church
Seingbouse, Moselle, Lorraine, France
Barbara Frisse was born on May 13, 1822, in Seingbouse, France. She was the oldest of nine children born to parents Joseph Frisse (1796-1864) and Marguerite Lang (1802-1868). She was baptized on the day of her birth at St. Jacques Catholic Church in Seingbouse; her godparents/sponsors were her paternal uncle Jean Frisse (1792-1876) and maternal aunt Barbara Lang (1806-UNK). The Church was built in 1730. It is the same church her parents, my 4x great grandparents, were married in on May 15, 1821. Both sets of her grandparents (my 5x great-grandparents) were also married here - Jean Frisse (1756-1838) and Anna Marie Weisse (1763-1826) on May 22, 1782, and Pierre Lang (1760-1831) and Christine Bour (1763-1833) on May 10, 1801.

Seingbouse is a village in the department of Moselle, in the region of Lorraine, in northeast France. The name means "the wood cleared by slash and burn". Lorraine is the only region in France to be bordered by three foreign countries - Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. Seingbouse covers 3.11 square miles and has a current population of a little over 1900 people. During the time that the Fries family lived in Seingbouse, between 1655 and 1846, the people spoke a German dialect called Platt. This was because of the area's close proximity to Germany.

There are at least six different spellings of the family name - Fries, Friesse, Frisse, Frise, Fris, and Frisz. In 1655 the spelling was FRIES; in 1750 the name was spelled FRISSE. The changing of the spelling from German to French was a gallacizing of the name (to make French). The German pronunciation of FRIES and the French pronunciation of FRISSE is the name - it is pronounced FREASE as in GREASE. In 1868, at the time of their mother''s death, the seven Fries boys were using several different spellings of their last name. While at her funeral the boys got together and voted on one common spelling, and FRISZ was chosen. At first everyone pronounced it FREEZE; now it is commonly pronounced FRISS - except by the descendants of Christopher in Vincennes, Indiana, who still pronounce it FREEZE.

In May of 1846 Barbara joined her parents and seven of her eight younger siblings - Jacques (Jacob), 18; George, 16; Jean (John), 12; Michel, 9; Anne, 8; Pierre (Peter), 6; Joseph, 2 - as they packed up their belongings and boarded the James N. Cooper at LeHavre, France and set sail for America. Brother Christopher, Henry, two years younger than Barbara, remained temporarily in France where he served in the French Navy (he arrived in America in 1851). After a 62-day journey they arrived safely in New Orleans, Louisiana on July 20, 1846. They then took a riverboat up the Mississippi River to Cairo, Illinois, then up the Ohio River to Madison, Indiana. From here they travelled approximately 30 miles north to St. Ann Village, Jennings County, Indiana, where friends from the old country had previously settled. They soon bought land and settled down on their farm.

St. Anne's Catholic Church
Jennings County, Indiana
Traveling also on the J.N. Cooper was Jean Michel Baptiste Brunett, age 28, who married Barbara on August 11, 1846 at St. Anne Catholic Church. They were married just 23 days after arriving in the United States. Jean Michel was also born in Seingbouse, France. His parents, Ludovici (Louis) Brunett (1800-UNK) and Catherina Schmidt (1800-1881), were residents of Moselle, France.

Barbara and Jean Michel had ten children - Mary, born June 7, 1847; Anna, born April 23, 1849; John, born November 3, 1850; Barbara F., born April 15, 1852; Margaret, born 1854; Peter, born August 7, 1857; Magdalen, born 1858; Catherine, born 1859; John George, born March 30, 1861; and Virginia "Jennie", born April 14, 1863. Their daughter Barbara is my great-great-grandmother.

Barbara and her family were some of the original members of St. Anne's Catholic Church. As her husband farmed their land, she cared for her home and children - ten in 16 years! Unfortunately their last child Jennie was born three weeks after the death of her father Jean Michel - he died at the age of 45 on March 24, 1863. Their son John had died at the age of three in 1853, so Barbara was left to raise their nine surviving children, including a newborn and four others under the age of 6.

There was no life insurance or health insurance for farmers in that day. Barbara had no daycare or preschools for her to use so that she could make money. One must assume that she went to her parents and her brothers' and sisters' families for help and support. Her father Joseph died a year after her husband, in October 1864 at the age of 68; her mother died at the age of 66, in 1868. They are all buried at St. Anne's Cemetery near North Vernon, Indiana.

Barbara lived to be 71-years-old. She died on August 22, 1893. She had given birth to ten children; she was eventually to have forty-three grandchildren and literally hundreds of great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. There are at least eleven "Barbara"s who have received their names, passed down from this first-in-the-family Barbara in America.

[HOW'S IT RELATIVE? Barbara F. Brunett married Phillip Huber (1847-1901) and they had seven children including daughter Mary "Mayme" (1873-1913), who later married John Martin O'Donnell (1865-1937). MaymeJohn Huber O'Donnell (1905-1964) - my maternal grandfather.]

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post! My great-grandmother was a Frisz from Vincennes, from the line of a brother of Barbara's. I never knew my great-grandma and am having a little trouble gathering some of the Vincennes-related info, though I have most of the Fries/Frisse/Friss line.