Wednesday, March 12, 2014


In April of 1848, ‘Gottfried’ Friedrich Zimmermann (1799-1873) and his wife Dorothee Leceralin Caroline Thieme (1806-1885) -my great-great-great grandparents- left their homeland of Brandenberg, Germany and set sail for the New world on a ship named the ‘Howard’ with their eight children, ages 6 to 23.  Their journey aboard the Howard, from Brandenberg to the New York Harbor took 5 weeks and 3 days.  The family did not, however, settle in NY, instead sailing up the Hudson River to Albany, New York.  From there, the family headed for Wisconsin via a train, arriving in Evergreen City in Sheboygan county, WI on June 5, 1848.  Along the way the family stopped in Buffalo and Rochester and passed by three great lakes.

Gottfried and Caroline were married March 1825 in Germany and had 7 sons and 1 daughter,  all born in their native country.

Gottfried was the son of Fredrick Zimmerman (b. 1770) and Sophia Sejdow (b. 1774) both of whom were from Brandenberg in Central Germany.  Records indicate that they had 2 sons in addition to Gottfried who also emigrated to the united states.  The oldest, Johann, also settled in Wisconsin although his year of arrival is unknown. Caroline’s ancestry is unknown.

Upon arriving in Wisconsin, Gottfried, who was a shepherd in Germany and perhaps also a lawman, according to his application for emigration, purchased a ‘quarter section of land (160 acres) to farm in Wilson township.  In 1850 he added 120 additional acres.   Gottfried passed away in 1873.  Caroline then moved in with her daughter, Caroline Zimmermann Georges and resided with her daughter’s family until her death in 1885.  The oldest son Frederick Zimmerman (1825-1895) remained in Sheboygan county owning several business’ and holding political office.  Much of the family history is documented in a historical biography of Frederick Zimmermann in the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center.  Additionally, some records and photos were found at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Sheboygan.

The third youngest child, Michael Friedrich Emil (Emil) Zimmermann (1838 -1919)  married Elizabetha (Lizzie) Keuper  (1841-1935) on June 25, 1866 in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin- also my great-great grandparents.   Lizzie Keuper was born in Lewis, NY (near Syracuse), the daughter of Johann Jacob (John) Keuper (1807-1889) and Maria Dorothea Pfeiffer (1816-1886) who were both born in Thalfang, Germany which is in the southwest part of the country near the border of Belgium and France.  It is unknown when they emigrated to America or if they were married in Germany or the United States.  John Keuper’s family can be traced back another 4 generations in Germany to Johann Nickel Keupper (1714-1780) and his wife Anna Elisabetha Weinig (1716-1781).

Emil and Lizzie Zimmermann moved to Chicago between 1870 and 1880, according to the census records.  They had 6 children, one of whom was Dorothee Louise Elizabeth (Lizzie) Zimmerman.  The younger Lizzie married William F. Syska, Sr. in 1891.  The Syska family moved to New York sometime between 1900-1910.  Refer to previous post for the continuation of the Syska family tree.

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