Magdalena “Lena” Grimm was born at 4 PM on 15 July 1847 in Oberhoffen Les-Wissembourg, Bas Rhin, Alsace to George Michel Grimm and Catherine Miller (spelled Müller in the old records). On the Bas Rhin birth record, her French name is used: Madeleine. Lena was the second child born to George Michel and Catherine, but the first born after they married. One elder sis, Catherine, was born 1842, married Philip Guenther from Alsace. and lived in Buffalo.Thus far we have found one younger sister, Marguerite, b. 1850.
Here is a transcription of her birth certificate:
Madeleine Grimm, born in Oberhoffen, the fifteenth of July, at 4 PM, a legitimate daughter of George Michel Grimm, age 27, a mason, born in Oberotterbach, Bavaria, now living in Oberhoffen and of Catherine Müller, age 29, living in Oberhoffen.
The infant is present here, and is a female.
The first Witness is Martin Wehl, age 40, a laborer living in Oberhoffen, Bas Rhin.
The second Witness is Michel Roll, age 30, profession of Garde Forestiere, living in Steinseltz, Bas Rhin,
I, Michel Grimm, father of the infant, have declared this birth.
George Wenner, is the Mayor and civil officer present.
When 23 years old, Madeleine married Fréderic Kieber (27 years old, a farmer) at 11 AM on the 19th October 1872 in Oberhoffen Les-Wissembourg, Alsace. The witnesses were:
Henri Kieber, 59, a weaver, living in Oberhoffen, an uncle of the groom.
Georges Buerger, 53, a farmer in Oberhoffen, an uncle of the future groom.
Jean Jacques Zimmerman, 57, a farmer in Rott, Bas Rhin, an uncle of the bride.
Martin Rohé, 46, a farmer in Oberhoffen, the godfather of the bride.
We don’t have the emigration record yet,but there is consistent evidence that the couple left Alsace at the end of the Franco-Prussian War (remember that Germany won and now governed Alsace).
The first record in this country that we have found is the 1880 US census. Magdalena (32) and Fred(33) have settled on the farm in section 078 in E. Amherst (known then as Transit Station) NY with their four children: Frederick (6), George (5), John (3), and Emma (1). Her husband Fred is listed as disabled to the point of interference with the duties of ordinary life. They both list themselves and their parents as born in Alsace. Their farm of about 120 acres was reportedly what is now the first nine holes of the Transit Valley Golf Course.
The family attended the newly built Trinity Evangelical Lutheran church in East Amherst. Today the building has been relocated to the living history site in Amherst. It’s worth a visit!!!
When Lena was 48 years old, February 1895, the year she would have celebrated her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, her husband, Fritz, died of pneumonia, leaving Lena with 10 children to raise by herself. Six of the children are under ten years old!
In 1900 Magdalena (52) is living in the southern part of Amherst township in ED 4 next door to the Stoll farm. She is widowed, living with her son Martin (19) a Farm Laborer, Katherine (15), Lena (13), Mary (11), and Clara (8). She owns her home, free of mortgage.
The 1905 NY census lists Magdalena was 56; she’d been in the US for 32 years, living on Stoll Road in Amherst’s third district with her youngest daughter, Clara 13.
In 1910, Magdalena (63) is living in Amherst section 0243 with her widowed son George (35 – a miller at a flour mill), and granddaughters Esther (9) and Mildred (7). Magdalena is keeping house for a private family. She can read and write. They are renting their home.
The 1914 Buffalo City Directory shows Magdalena, wid. of Fred living at 592 Masten as are sons Martin and George, who are both motormen.
The 1915 NY census lists Magdalena (66) living at 592 Masten Street in Buffalo’s Ward 17, A.D. 08 E.D.02 in son, George’s home. His daughters, Esther (14) and Mildred (12) also live there along with his brother Martin (34). George (40) and Martin are motormen (drivers) for the streetcar.
In 1920, Magdalena (71) was living at 1678 Jefferson (sp?) Street with son-in-law Emmons Perkins (37-a clerk in a grocery store) and her daughter, Marie (39) and their children Norma (6) and Robert (2).
By 1925 Magdalena (76) had moved to 573 Masten Street in Buffalo’s Ward 17, now with son-in-law Homer Flint (42- a salesman of Catholic goods) daughter Lena (38) and their children,Phyllis (7), and Jackson (3).
By the time of the 1930 US census, Magdalena was 81, living with her son-in-law Homer Flint and her daughter Lena.
Lena died on 8 August 1932 n Amherst. She is buried with husband, Fred at the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran cemetery at 8950 Transit Road, Amherst NY (enter from the Transit Valley Country Club parking lot). There is a beautiful tall monument at the site.