The Family of Bill Dean collection includes many death notices cut out of mostly German-language newspapers. This obituary tells of Anna Gerdes's, the local preacher's wife. Born in Forsbarg, East Friesland in 1845, she immigrated to America in 1857 with her parents and married twice, first in 1863 to Heinz Kollmann, who died in 1894 and two years later in 1896 to John Gerdes. John and Anna had one adopted son and Anna was a faithful member of the German Methodist Church in Humboldt.
Anna Gerdes belonged to the same church as the Schuetz-Sutorius family, maternal ancestors of Bill Dean. The family began with Gottlieb Schuetz and Anna Parli who came from Canton Berne, Switzerland to Humboldt, Nebraska in 1870. A son of soap manufacturers Hans (John) Schuetz and Magdalena Luthi, Gottlieb was born in 1838 in Canton Berne, Switzerland. He married Anna Parli, also from Canton Berne, in 1863 and immigrated to Humboldt, Nebraska in 1870. Their daughter Maria (Mary) Schuetz, born in 1867 in Switzerland started the Dean family line marrying German-born Dirk Sutorius in 1889. Sutorius' daughter Emma, born in 1890 married a recent emigrant from Germany (1908) Edo F. Harms in 1914. All three generations lived in Humboldt, Nebraska in close proximity with various relatives (Emma Sutorius's uncle John Schuetz lived right next door to her family according to the 1930 census).
First settled in 1855, Humboldt, Nebraska is very close to the Nebraska borders with the three states: Missouri, Iowa, and Kansas. The town was a home to a vibrant immigrant community uniting people from Germany, Switzerland, Bohemia, and later Czechoslovakia, England, and various other places in the United States and beyond. The German-speaking community organized around the German Methodist mission that established a church in Humboldt in 1879.
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