For many years I have been trying to find proof that Catharine Thill Becker's parents were Nicholas and Mary (Matz) Thill. Catharine's death certificate said so, but I wanted something other than a death certificate. The problem with a death certificate is that who knows who gave the information and, maybe, just maybe, they really had no idea the names of parents or where they were born, or anything! A genealogist would never use a death certificate for proof of anything other than the actual death of a person so for years, I looked and looked with no luck.
About a year and a half ago, I stumbled on a website that had a family tree which included a Josephine Thill Kleiman. Josephine's parents were Nicholas and Barbara (Matz) Thill. They even lived in Cincinnati. Very excited, I emailed the owner of the page asking about his Josephine. I mean, how much closer could you get? Sure, the mother's name was Barbara, not Mary, but I really felt as if I had found a vital clue. A return email was very nice, but did not have any information that tied my Catharine to his Josephine. I still had to find proof.
Then, lo and behold, I found the Hamilton County Probate Court web site that I wrote about in a previous post. I quickly read how the wills were organized and made my way to the T's...and there he was! A Nicholas Thill was right there in the index! Back on the Wills main page, I entered the Volume and Page Number in the boxes, hit my Enter key, and in a few seconds, there was the will, all four pages, in very small cursive writing.
Thank goodness for a zoom button because I would not have been able to read the screen without it! I scanned through the first page which was legal probate information and made my way to the second page where the word "Will" was written. The first name I noticed was a daughter Mary Ann Miller who received the majority of Nicholas's property including real estate and furniture. Further down the page was the name of his son, George, and then I read Josephine Kleimann's name. I made a mental note to contact the aforementioned fellow as I was sure he would want to see this will.
Next came a son, Joseph, then a son, Nicholas. At this point, my fingers were crossed, and I was saying a little prayer when there she appeared! Catharine Becker, nee Thill! Her father had requested that a promissory note for the $1400 that was owed to him by her, be destroyed. I found her! After all those years, she had been hiding on a piece of paper in a courthouse.
I had the proof I needed to connect Catharine not only to her father, Nicholas, but also to siblings. True, I still don't know her mother's rightful name, although with the information in the will, I was able to locate the family in the 1860 census, where her mother is listed as Barbara. I'm not sure why Mary is on the death certificate. Maybe Barbara went by the name of Mary or maybe Catharine's son thought his grandmother's name was Mary. I don't know, but I intend to try and find out. As for her last name being Matz, Nicholas's will also mentions a Nicholas Matz as receiving money so maybe there is a connection there. I don't know yet, but with my finding this one will, I now have so much more to research and discover.