Wilhelmina Mathwich



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Wilhelmina Mathwich (1817-1899)

Wilhelmina Mathwich was born in 1817 in Hansfelde, Posen, Prussia.

There are roadblocks to finding out more about Wilhelmina’s origin. Her parents may have been Daniel Mathwich and Anna Marie. She probably had several siblings. But, her birth and baptism records have not been confirmed by this researcher. The records to prove everything probably exist on microfilm that can only be viewed at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Every year, more and more records are scanned and made more generally available, but for now, this record set is not conveniently accessible. We can depend upon the research of others, who have viewed the films, but we need to then take a leap of faith that the strangers who did the research got it right. I have a policy of never, ever, completely believing what I see in the public trees of others, but in this post I will mention what I am seeing so that we might have clues to finding out more in the future. …I sure wish I could get my hands on that microfilm…

Wilhelmina’s birth date was recorded as 14 Feb 1817 in cemetery records, but supposed church records show a date of 3 Jan 1817. The following birth record was posted on Ancestry with no source information. In other words, the person posting did not say where they found the record. But, it looks official…

(Probable) baptism record for Wilhelmina Mathwich.

Based on the baptism record and the work of other family researchers as published on Ancestry.com and WikiTree.com, Daniel and Anna Marie Mathwich (or Mathwig or Mathwick) were Wilhelmina’s parents. They also list several siblings, namely, Anna Christina, Friedrich Gottfried, Johann Ludwig, Ernst George, Johann, Gottlieb, Martin August, and Henriette Mathwich (or Mathwig). It is pretty likely that at least some of this is accurate. Brother Friedrich Gottfried is said to have died in Eau Claire County, Wisconsin, Johann Gottlieb lived in Berlin Township (Town of Berlin), Marathon County, Wisconsin, and Martin August died in Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County, Wisconsin. As you’ll see, Wilhelmina ended up in Wisconsin too.

Another way that we might someday prove the connection to Wilhelmina’s siblings and parents is through DNA testing. As more and more people take DNA tests, we probably will find a Mathwich connection.

It is proven that when she was about 19-years old, Wilhelmina Mathwich married Friedrich Samuel Aschbrenner, son of Friedrich August Aschbrenner, about 1837 in Hansfelde, Posen, Prussia. Hansfelde is now called Gieczynek, Wielkopolskie, Poland.


Friedrich Samuel Aschbrenner and Wilhelmina Mathwich began their married life in Prussia and had the following children:

  1. Gustav Edward Aschbrenner was born on 21 Sep 1837 in Hansfelde, Posen, Prussia. He married Johanna Fenhaus on 27 Jun 1866 in Town of Berlin, Marathon, Wisconsin. He married Emilie Friedricke Caroline Graveen on 19 Sep 1867 in Town of Berlin, Marathon, Wisconsin. He married Johanne Caroline Wilhelmine Kluender on 16 Feb 1871 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin. Gustav Edward Aschbrenner died on 13 Apr 1907 in Easton, Marathon, Wisconsin.
  2. Frederick Wilhelm Aschbrenner was born on 14 Feb 1839 in Hansfelde, Posen, Prussia. He married Anna Teske on 07 Mar 1866 in Marquette, Wisconsin. He married Bertha Auguste Henriette Kluender on 03 Mar 1871 in Town of Berlin, Marathon, Wisconsin. His brother, Gustav had married Bertha’s sister just a month earlier. Frederick died on 29 Dec 1935 in Stratford, Marathon, Wisconsin.
  3. Adolph Friedrich Wilhelm Aschbrenner was born on 13 Jun 1841 in Hansfelde, Posen, Prussia.  He married Friedrike Mary Wilhelmine Woller on 15 Mar 1875 in Marathon, Wisconsin. He died on 16 May 1913 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
  4. Herman August Ernest Aschbrenner was born on 29 Sep 1843 in Hansfelde, Posen, Prussia. He married Wilhelmina Henrietta Louise Prechel on 18 Dec 1868 in Town of Berlin, Marathon, Wisconsin. He died on 18 Sep 1909 in Merrill, Lincoln, Wisconsin.
  5. Mathilda Alvine Aschbrenner was born on 13 Aug 1847 in Hansfelde, Posen, Prussia. She married Johannes Casper Fenhaus on 27 Jun 1866 in Town of Berlin, Marathon, Wisconsin. She died on 20 Jan 1939 in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin.
  6. Albertina A. Aschbrenner was born on 19 May 1855 in Hansfelde, Posen, Prussia. She married Ferdinand F. Quade on 18 Oct 1877. She died on 13 Mar 1916 in Wisconsin.

When Wilhelmina was about 39-years old, the family immigrated to America. A relative already in Wisconsin encouraged them to make the move. Friedrich and Wilhelmina sold their Prussian farm for less than it was worth and brought their family to America. They sailed on a ship called the Shakespeare and landed in New York on 20 Aug 1856. Their children ranged from 18-years old to less than one when they made the voyage. Their children later claimed that Friedrich and Wilhelmina sacrificed so that their children could have farmland. They would have not had that opportunity if they had stayed in Prussia.

The Shakespeare.

The family cleared land and built their farm in Wausau County, Wisconsin. They lived in the township called, “The Town of Berlin.” Pioneer life required hard work and was not comfortable. They lived in a dugout the first winter they were in Marathon County. Wilhelmina was probably pretty happy when the log house was built the next summer. She made milk from the family cow into butter and picked eggs from her chickens. When she needed something that couldn’t be raised on the farm, she would take butter and eggs to Big Bull Falls, as the town of Wausau was called then, to trade for groceries.

As they settled into their life in Wisconsin, her son Frederick Wilhelm went off to fight in the Civil War. It must have been terribly hard on Wilhelmina to send a son to fight a war for their new country. It must have been a joyous time when he returned home. Gradually, the children all married and grandchildren arrived for Wilhelmina. The grown children remained fairly near their parents, so Wilhelmina and Friedrich got to know grandchildren and, eventually, great-grandchildren.

1870 Federal Census, Aschbrenner.

Friedrich passed away, on 9 December 1885, leaving Wilhelmina a widow when she was 68-years old.

Wilhelmina Mathwich Aschbrenner died on 19 Apr 1899 at the Town of Berlin, Marathon, Wisconsin. She was 82-years old at the time of her death.

She was buried with her husband in Friedenshain Cemetery, Town of Berlin, Marathon, Wisconsin.

Friedenshain Cemetery records.

Where is she in the tree?

Relationship chart, Selma Cornelia Aschbrenner to Wilhelmina Mathwich.
Pedigree chart, Wilhelmina Mathwich.

Where can I learn more?

The Aschbrenner Family

Selected Sources:

Ancestry.com, New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006), www.ancestry.com, Database online. Year: 1856; Arrival: New York, United States; Microfilm serial: M237; Microfilm roll: M237_165; Line: 50; List number: 819.

“Berlin Memories,” p. 10 ( http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/WI/WI-idx?type=turn&entity=WI.Berlin.p0012&id=WI.Berlin&isize=M&q1=Aschbrenner : accessed 19 Oct 2018)

Ancestry.com, 1870 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2003), www.ancestry.com, Year: 1870; Census Place: Berlin, Marathon, Wisconsin; Roll: M593_1724; Page: 441B; Family History Library Film: 553223.

Jerome S. Lund and Edith E. Carpenter, editors, Marathon County, Wisconsin, Cemetery Inscriptions – An Every-Name Index (Marathon County Genealogical Society: Wausau, 1986)

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