Six Finger Grandchildren for Free

I confess.  I wrote the title of this post as click bait.  However, there is method to my madness.  There indeed were six Finger grandchildren, and there is a reason I state that they are “for free”.  It all starts with a wedding in Germany.  The marriage took place on April 20, 1881 in Lettin, Germany.  Here is an image of a portion of that marriage record.

Finger Telle marriage record Lettin, Germany

The red boxes show the names of the bride and groom.  The groom (the top box) was Friedrich Franz Wilmar Finger.  The bride (the bottom box) was Erduthe Liberta Telle.  Liberta in some records is listed as Liberty.  Or could we say with tongue-in-cheek…Free(dom).

This Finger couple had their first child in 1883 in Perry County, Missouri, so they must have come to America not long after they were married.  Their third child, Hugo Finger, was born on this day, May 21st, in 1886.  He was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  Here is his baptism record.  It takes two images.

Hugo Finger baptism record 1 Immanuel Altenburg MO


Hugo Finger baptism record 2 Immanuel Altenburg MO
Hugo Finger baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

I managed to find this photo which claims to be Hugo when he was rather young.

Hugo Finger early

The 1900 census shows the Finger family living in Brazeau Township in Perry County.

Hugo Finger 1900 census Altenburg
1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In some previous posts, it has been noted that several young men from Perry County, most of them from Immanuel Lutheran Church, moved to Bremer County in Iowa around the turn of the century.  Apparently, Hugo became another one of those young men.  In the 1910 census, we find him working as a farm hand near Denver, Iowa, not far from Waverly.

Hugo Finger 1910 census Bremer CO IA
1910 census – Bremer County, IA

One year after this census was taken, Hugo got married.  His bride was Bertha Hein.  These two images show the Iowa marriage record for this wedding.

Finger Hein marriage record 1 Iowa

Finger Hein marriage record 2 Iowa
Finger/Hein marriage record – Bremer County, IA

We have this photo of the couple’s wedding.

Hugo and Bertha Finger wedding
Hugo and Bertha Finger wedding

Apparently, after this marriage, Hugo and his wife moved back to Perry County.  In 1912, their first child was born, and he was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.

Karl Finger baptism record Immanuel Altenburg MO
Karl Finger baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

It is just a guess, but I think Hugo and his family were living on his parents’ farm in those years.  If so, this 1915 land map shows where that farm was located near Seventy-Six, Missouri.

Wilmer Finger land map 1915

Another child was born and baptized in Perry County in 1913, but after that, a few more children were born in Bremer County, Iowa.  Hugo and Bertha must have moved back to her home territory.  One document that proves this is Hugo’s World War I draft registration.  It shows Hugo living in Denver, Iowa, but also working for the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Works.


The 1920 census shows the Finger family in Waterloo, Iowa.

Hugo Finger 1920 census Waterloo IA
1920 census – Waterloo, IA

At that time of his life, Hugo is described as being a plumber’s helper.  After 1920, one more child was born in Iowa.  Then in 1926, their last child was born, and that child was baptized once again at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg.  The 1930 census shows the Finger family living in Perry County.

Hugo Finger 1930 census Altenburg MO
1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

At the end of that year, December 7, 1930, Bertha died of tuberculosis.  Here is her death certificate.

Bertha Finger death certificate
Bertha Finger death certificate

Bertha was buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.  Here is Bertha’s gravestone.

Bertha Finger gravestone Immanuel Altenburg
Bertha Finger gravestone – Immanuel, Altenburg

In 1938, Hugo married again.  His second wife was Caroline Grosse, the daughter of a blacksmith from Apple Creek, Missouri.  Here is that marriage license.

Finger Grosse marriage license
Finger/Grosse marriage license

The 1940 census shows an interesting situation.  First, Caroline is found living with her widower father in Apple Creek.  One of Hugo’s sons from his first marriage is living there, and there is an infant child who was a product of his second marriage.  However, Hugo is not listed.  I could not locate him in another census.  Information on a family history on indicates there may have been two more children born into this family.

The next document I found showing Hugo was his World War II draft card.

Hugo Finger – WWII draft card

He was living across the river in Anna, Illinois and working for a company based in Marion, Illinois.  There is no reference to his wife, Caroline, on this form.

Hugo would die in 1961.  Here is his death certificate.  He died in Perryville, Missouri of prostate cancer.

Hugo Finger death certificate
Hugo Finger death certificate

If one would have thought Hugo and Caroline were divorced, this document indicates otherwise.  Caroline would die in 2001.  A Social Security document lists her last place of residence as Lakota, South Dakota.

Hugo and Caroline Finger are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville, Missouri.  Here is that gravestone.

Hugo and Caroline Finger gravestone Immanuel Perryville
Hugo and Caroline Finger gravestone – Immanuel, Perryville, MO

In conclusion, you might think that my title was not only corny, but wrong.  Hugo almost certainly had more that six children.  However, Grandma Liberty died in 1938, the same year of Hugo’s second marriage.  She was only alive for six grandchildren from Hugo. One other thing.  I think you would agree with me when I say this:  Just like the digits on my hands were busy writing this story on this keyboard….the Fingers were always moving, and one Finger in particular (my mouse-clicking finger) was doing several different jobs.

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