Monday, July 2, 2012

Mystery Monday - Finding the Dork's

Eva (l) and Lucy (r)
A couple of my recent posts have alluded to my Dork ancestry. My great-grandmother, Louise "Lucy" Wilhelmina Dork, was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1895. I made many summer birthday trips to Michigan to visit Grandma Lucy and Grandpa Bill for awesome birthday cakes! Back then, I was much too young to even ponder my heritage. I am fortunate that their daughter, my grandmother Dolores, was able to help me with information when I really began my genealogy quest. The problem was, Grandma remembered the names but even she was unaware of the actual relationships. She had lots of "aunts" and "uncles"!

Lucy had four siblings: Frank, Eddie, Carl, and Eva. Frank may be a bit of a black sheep; I know next to nothing about him and Grandma didn't offer much. Eddie and his wife Nellie had no children, but were close to the rest of the family. Carl married, had two daughters (one for whom my mother was the wedding flower girl!), and they ended up "out east". Eva married twice and her only son Carl was close to my grandparents.

That was a good start. So how about Lucy's parents, Otto and his wife Minnie? Wilhelmina "Minnie" Kopkau Dork died of heart disease at age 41 (death record at Grandma Lucy was only 19 when her mother died and as the eldest daughter, much of the housekeeping and childcare fell to her. She married Grandpa Bill just a year later, and they were always living with or very close by Otto and her other siblings. For better or worse, geography played a big role in this family.

Frank (l) and Eddie (r)
Much of my earliest searching was done prior to the release of the 1930 census and the multitude of online research websites. I was able to search earlier censuses at the local Family History Library, as I was living in Michigan at the time. Generally, both Otto and Minnie were listed as being born in West Prussia or Germany.  I also tried searching the IGI database from I figured there couldn't be *that* many Dorks, right? Not only were there not very many in the United States, but the records I found were concentrated in just a few locations: Michigan, Texas, Ohio and Illinois. Finding more about Otto Dork's family and origins might be easier than I thought! Well, except for that whole West Prussia or Germany or Poland part.

Above is a snippet of the 1910 Lansing, Ingham, Michigan census, showing the family in its entirety. This is the only time the whole nuclear family was enumerated together on a census record.

To be continued...

© 2012 Sally Knudsen