Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

#54--Living a Long Life--Maria Huelster Eitlbach

This week’s theme is living a long life.  People in my family tend to live a long time so I had a number of ancestors to pick from.  Plenty of my ancestors lived into their seventies or eighties so I began to look for people who lived longer than that.  So I want you to meet Maria Huelster, my great grandmother, my Oma.

Schmallenberg, Germany
 Oma was born in Schmallenberg, Germany in February of 1865, one of four children of Johann and Maria Franciska Monig. In 1885, she married Louis Eitelbach.  They lived in Hagen, Germany until 1896 when they, along with their four youngest children—Walter, Louis, Maxmillian and William—came to the United States.  They settled in Brooklyn, New York at 1287 Greene Street.  After their arrival, Maria had two more children—Harry and Frank.  I often wonder how she managed six boys.  I do know one thing--My mother told me that when they were small, on Sundays, before they went to church, she would dress each one and sit him on the sofa with directions not to move until they were all ready and dressed. Then, they would go to church.  Maria’s husband, Louis, died in 1927 and after that she lived on her own.  In fact, she lived alone in her apartment until very shortly before she died.

Maria Huelster Eitelbach "Oma"
I do have some memories of Oma.  This is how I remember she looked.   I also remember that we  would go to visit her several times a year.  I do not remember much about those visits as I was rather young.  I do recall that she liked to speak German with my parents.  Her English was perfectly fine, but since both my parents had studied German in school, I think it was fun for all of them.  Oma also would come to visit us.  Here is a picture of her holding me when I was about two years old.
Oma and me
Every Christmas Oma would come and spent Christmas Eve with us.  We always sang Christmas carols that night and Oma would sing Silent Night and O Tannenbaum in German for us.

Oma died on November 3, 1958.  She was survived by her four sons—Walter, Louis, Harry and Frank as well as 13 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren.  If my research is correct (and I believe it is), anyone in the United States who has the last name of Eitelbach is a descendent of Maria Huelster and Louis Eitelbach.  So if you are an Eitelbach, please contact me.  I would love to meet you.


  1. I am reading all your blogs. Oma, along with Opa, were very dominant in my father's life helping raise him. Warren Chester was born May 3, 1908. His mother died when he was 7 months old from the Flu Epidemic of 1909. Oma and also Opa helped raise my father, Warren Chester, until my grandfather, Maximilian, remarried. My whole life I grew up hearing about Oma. Texas is where 5 of Warren's 6 children live with the exception of me - Elaine Marie (as named for a half sister of my father, I live in Alabama.

  2. Elaine--I do not remember anyone talking about your father, but I certainly remember my mother talking about your grandfather, Max. My impression is that of all her uncles, Uncle Max was her favorite. She told me how he took her for a ride on his motorcycle one day. I have a great picture of him in his Navy uniform. I checked yesterday to see what I have on him. I have the usual census information, etc, but I also have a number of articles from the New York Times about his real estate business. I would be happy to send them to you along with some pictures. If you are on a more secure site like Linked IN, let me know and we can exchange e-mail addresses. I live in Michigan now, but grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Interestingly, I go to Houston for every Christmas.