I took on a challenge today. The surname, Goller, enters the German Family Tree in 1900 and only shows up in records until about 1920. Ancestry.com family trees for today’s character, Christopher Goller, are not plentiful, nor do they contain much documentation. As it turns out, I was more successful finding documentation on Christopher Goller’s life than I anticipated.
One of the reasons I really wanted to know the story of Christopher Goller is the fact that he shows up so prominently in the plat map for the village of Frohna when it was produced in 1915. His property was located right in the midst of other prominent Frohna names such as Lueders, Fischer, Oswald, and Palisch. I found myself asking myself, “Who was that guy?”
One of the keys to discovering additional facts about the life of Christopher Goller was a passport application that he completed in 1912. This document provided me with important details, such as his date of birth, which we do not find in our German Family Tree. I am going to display this passport application in two images so it’s easier to read. Another Frohna resident, Theodor Goehring, filled out this form. I find his penmanship very readable.
The above form says Christopher was born on August 22, 1875. It also says his place of birth was Rottlersreuth, Bayern, Germany. The map below shows that small village.
A zoomed-in satellite map shows how small that village is.
The above passport application also indicates that Christopher Goller immigrated to America in 1893, even though it says that he could not remember the name of the ship. This information turned out to be enough for me to find out that he came to America aboard the ship, Aller. We find his name on the passenger list for the Aller. It says his intended destination was St. Louis.
I also managed to find a photograph of the ship, Aller. It appears to be on some stationery that may have been given to its passengers. You can see that this ship was a combination of a steamship and a sailing ship.
Next, I will display the bottom portion of Christopher’s passport application.
Here we see that there are a few notable Frohna residents who were witnesses for this application. I think the two names are Theodor Bachmann and Rudolph Oswald. They testified to knowing Christopher for about 12 years, and I now figure that he arrived in Frohna around 1900. There are also some interesting physical characteristics for Christopher listed here.
Now, we will turn our attention to Christopher’s future wife. Her name was Christina Christisen (there is some debate about the spelling of her surname). She was born on November 1, 1880, the daughter of Anton and Margaretha (Poehner) Christisen. There is some debate about Christina’s birth date. Her death certificate says she was born on November 2, 1880. However, a baptism record from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville, Missouri, gives the November 1st birth date. If that is the case, today would be her 140th birthday.
Christina’s parents can be found in the 1880 census for Bois Brule Township, but Christina was born too late in the year to be listed.
Since Christopher Goller and Christina Christisen were married on February 20, 1900, Christina is never found in a census as a single person. These two were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. Below is this couple’s church marriage record.
We can also view their marriage license from Perry County.
The above marriage records gave me a clue for finding this couple in the 1900 census. I knew I wasn’t going to find them in Perry County. These documents both indicate that the groom was from Monroe County, Illinois, and that is where I found them in the 1900 census, which was recorded 4 months after their marriage. This entry states that Christopher was a blacksmith. I wonder how a blacksmith from Illinois found his bride in Perryville.
These two were married in Perry County, then lived in Monroe County, Illinois for a short time, but by the end of 1901, we have evidence of them once again in Perry County, living in Frohna, Missouri. In November of that year, their first child was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. By the time of the 1910 census, we find this couple living in the village of Frohna where Christopher had his own blacksmith shop. Frederick Kahnert was living in their household, and he apparently worked as a blacksmith with Christopher. The Goller’s had all three of their children by this time.
It was in 1912 that Christopher applied for a passport. He did indeed travel to Germany that year. He is found on a passenger list for the ship, Hamburg, which was returning to America in 1912.
I found a photograph of that ship also.
In 1918, Christopher had his World War I draft registration completed. This document, the above 1910 census entry, and the passport shown previously were all completed by Theodor Goehring, a Frohna neighbor.
Sometime during his time in Frohna, Christopher went duck hunting with Henry Palisch, a Frohna storekeeper, and Paul Lueders, a Frohna photographer. They came back with 76 ducks and had this photograph taken. It is the only photo I found of Christopher Goller, seated at the right.
As near as I can tell, the WWI draft registration is the last evidence that Christopher and Christina were living in Frohna. When the 1920 census was completed, the Goller parents are not found living in Perry County. I could not find them anywhere. However, I found their son, Fred, living in Wittenberg working at the swing factory, and their daughter, Irma, still living in Frohna with a Fischer household and working as a bookkeeper at the Frohna Bank. Here is Irma’s entry.
I think Irma, at age 18, would have been living with her parents if they were still living in Frohna. The next census in which I could find Christopher and Christina was the one taken in 1930. In that entry, we find them living in the Central Township of Perry County and Christopher working as a farmer. None of their children were living with them.
Then, in 1940, we find these Goller’s living in St. Louis. Irma was back living with her parents. Also, a boarder by the name of Leo Jungclaus was living with them.
In 1942, Leo Jungclaus had his World War II draft card completed. That form shows C. Goller as the person who would always know his address, and it describes him as a brother-in-law. However, Leo’s son, Fred Goller, had married Leo’s sister, Edna Jungclaus.
Christina died in 1955 at the age of 74. Her death certificate is where we find her birthday shown as November 2nd.
Christina, and later her husband, Christopher, would be buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in St. Louis. However, there are no gravestone photos for them.
I am thinking that after his wife’s death, Christopher moved back to Perry County. When he died in 1961, his death certificate says he was living in Perryville. He was 86 years old when he died. This is another document that verifies his birth date as August 22, 1875.
I have to admit that what interests me about this story is the search. I think I learned a few things about family research in the process of writing this post.