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The Family of
Ferdinand J. Thomas
&
Agnes A. Schneck

by Mary E. (STEINER) BIERMAN and Rev. Milton A. THOMAS, O. S. C.

edited by Margaret GALUS SANDLIER

The Family of Ferdinand J. Thomas & Agnes A. Schneck
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The first draft of the Thomas Family History came about through the efforts of two of my Mother's first cousins in 1989. Because of illnesses and other committments the book was never published. In the fall of 1995, because of my interest in my family history, I was given the boxes containing the data that had been accumulated years before. After four months of organizing the data in my genealogy program and editing the draft of the story, I published the Thomas Family History in April 1996.

I've done some additional editing and reorganizing to put the story into a better format for the Web. I'm proud to share the story of my Thomas ancestors with you.


Dedicated to
Erna Thomas Steiner
August, 1989

This "THOMAS HERITAGE BOOK" is presented to you from the invaluable recorded Chronicles of Erna (THOMAS) STEINER, daughter of Ferdinand (known as "Fred") and Agnes (SCHNECK) THOMAS; from personal interviews with family members and other relatives; from remembrances; from countless replies of descendants; and from historical research. This book will refer to Fred and Agnes THOMAS as grandparents, since it is being compiled by two of their grandchildren, Mary E. (STEINER) BIERMAN and Rev. Milton A. THOMAS, O. S. C.

In order to put this "Thomas Heritage Book" into its proper perspective, it is well to know some of the background, sparse as it is. At the time our ancestors immigrated to the United States the Kings of Prussia were the emperors of the German Empire. Otto von Bismarck was the Iron Chancellor from Prussia who instituted "The Kulturkampf" (July 8, 187l) in order to oppress the Catholic Church.

William II, King of Prussia, dismissed Bismarck in 1890. In that same year on or about April 18, 1890 Franz DOLLERSCHELL with his wife Anna nee SCHNECK (a sister of Agnes SCHNECK THOMAS), and their son Otto John DOLLERSCHELL immigrated from Bremen, Germany. --Bremen is not the town they were from originally, but the town from which they departed for the United States.-- The DOLLERSCHILL family arrived in Baltimore, Maryland on the vessel "Main", and settled on a farm near Madison, Nebraska. Franz, born January 12, 1861, and Anna, born March 28, 1864, and their oldest son, Otto, born August 28, 1888, were all born in Luisenthal, Prussia. Franz and Anna had six children: Otto, Alfred, Adala, Anna (same name as her mother), Hetwig, and Lawrence the last 5 children were born near Madison, Nebraska.

(Back row) Alfred, Anna, Hetwig, Adala, Otto
(Front row) Franz Dollerschell, Lawrence, Anna (Schneck) Dollerschell
  • Otto, born August 28, 1888 married Catherine, born January 29, 1895 in Petoskey, Michigan . They had 3 children (maybe more)
    • Arnold Frank, born February 20, 1912.
    • Wilfred Otto, born May 11, 1916.
    • Raymond Louis, born September 30, 1919.
  • Alfred, born June 14, 1892.
  • Adala, born March 13, 1894, married George SCHURE (SCHUHR) on June 11, 1912 at Humphrey, Nebraska They had two sons:
    • John of Sterling, Colo.
    • Dick of Humphrey, Nebraska married Janette ALBRACHT, born May 1, 1925 at Lindsay, Nebraska on August 22, 1945. They had six children:
      • Gayle L., born [private], married Lee MAUSBACH
      • Richard, born [private] married Marilyn MURPHY
      • Janice K., born [private] married Randy VAVRINA
      • Louise J., born [private] married Dale L. MIKSCH
      • Jess R., born [private]
      • Sherry M., born [private]
  • Anna (the daughter), born November 11, 1899, married Arthur MAHONEY, born June 13, 1895 at Alliance, Nebraska and were married either in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska or in Humphrey, Nebraska on January 12, 1921. Arthur MAHONEY died November 19, 1979 (84) at Columbus Manor, Columbus, Nebraska. One son, Paul, preceded him in death. Surviving, at the time of his death, were his wife, Anna (now deceased), a son John of Clarinda, Iowa; and 4 daughters, Mrs. Rudy (Mary Ellen) KROUPA of Omaha; Mrs. James (Patricia) MIKKELSEN of Auburn, Mrs. Ed (Joan) PIETERS of Columbus, and Mrs. Orville (Phyllis) SPETZ of Columbus.
  • Hetwig (also called "Hap" or "Hattie"), born October 12, 1904 married Ed HELMBERGER.
  • Lawrence, born October 11, 1909.

Ferdinand J. DOLLERSCHELL, a brother of Franz, came to the US from Bremen, Germany, born in Lubzien, Prussia, January 20, 1864. Ferdinand came over on the vessel "Meier" on May 12, 1893, and brought his wife, Lena, born in Johannesthal, Russia with him. Ferdinand and Lena DOLLERSCHELL settled in Norfolk, Nebraska.

We don't know why Franz and Anna DOLLERSCHELL decided to immigrate to the US. Possibly to avoid the military draft, or to avoid religious persecution, or maybe they had the adventurous spirit to move to a new and promising land. But, it is Franz and Anna who provided the money for our grandparents, Fred and Agnes SCHNECK THOMAS, to immigrate to the US. In April 1893 our grandparents brought their two children, Herman and Adolph; and Maria Magdalena THOMAS SCHNECK, the mother of Agnes SCHNECK THOMAS and Anna SCHNECK DOLLERSCHELL. Maria Magdalena was 51 years old at that time. Although Maria Magdalena's maiden name was "THOMAS", it seems she was not related to Grandpa Ferdinand THOMAS (very distant if she was). We have a document written in German by the Catholic Pastor of Louisenthal, Prussia, dated March 12, 1893, with the parish seal, which reads:

    In the year 1841, the 15th of August was born to the property owner Andreas Thomas of Louisenthal and his wife, Anna Maria (Hase), a girl Maria Magdalena and she was baptized on August 23, 1841.
    Signed by Pastor Raschke.
    Click here to see copy of original document

Agnes & Anna SCHNECK It seems that Agnes and Anna were the only two SCHNECK children to grow to adulthood. Maria Magdalena married Carl SCHNECK, a tailor, who died in Louisenthal. Maria Magdalena stayed with Franz and Anna DOLLERSCHELL, who lived in Norfolk until 1923 or 1924. When and where Maria Magdalena Schneck (sometimes spelled "Sneck" or "Scheck") died and was buried in the US is unknown.* She may be buried in the Catholic Cemetery at Battle Creek, Nebraska since the Sacred Heart Church in Norfolk did not have a Catholic Cemetery. Records of deaths and burials were not kept by Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk in those years, nor by the State of Nebraska until 1904.

* Newspaper clipping from The Norfolk (Nebraska) News, Thursday November 21, 1901, received from Gerald Thomas October 1997: "Mrs. Helene Schneek, aged 60 years, died last night at her home in Nenow's addition and will be buried from the Church of the Sacred Heart tomorrow afternoon at 2:30, Father Walsh presiding. Mrs. Schneek was born in Germany but has lived in this country for some time. She is the mother of Mrs. Dollerschel and has a number of other relatives and large number of friends in this vicinity. She has been sick since about four years ago when she had an attack of pneumonia from which she never recovered." Maria Magdelena was buried in Prospect Cemetery in Norfolk, NE, November 22, 1901.

The Family of Ferdinand J. Thomas & Agnes A. Schneck
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