Friday, May 13, 2011

Sarah Louise Voegtly Ericke

I am named after my grandmother, my mother's mother. Her name was Sarah Louise but they called her Sally. My mother's middle name was also Louise, and fittingly, my brother married a woman who's middle name is also Louise. And they had a daughter and named her Emily Louise... ok, I'll stop now.

My grandmother was born Sarah Louise Voegtly. I'll never forget when my mother told me my grandmother was 19 years old on November 19, 1919. I can't tell you how many times I've repeated that to people who could care less. I thought it was cool, back in the day.

Turns out my grandmother's family is steeped in Pennsylvania history, which I learned about when I signed up for earlier this year. This ancestral line apparently links me to Italian royalty! Since I started to search my family tree in late January, beginning with my father's extensive research on his Norwegian relatives, I have connected 545 people to my family tree from both sides of the family.

Sally Voegtly was born in 1900 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, later known as Pittsburgh, to Adolph Nicholas Voegtly and Nannie Hays. She only had one sibling, a brother, John, born in 1903. He died in 1955, at age 52, about ten years earlier than my grandmother. Here's a photo of Nannie Voegtly with Sally and John. What a beautiful photo.

Sally Voegtly attended Goucher College, an all-woman's college formerly known as the Woman's College of Baltimore, prior to the campus acquisition of 421 acres in Towson, where Goucher is now located. In 1920, only 7.6% of women went to college, and more than 70% of them went to coeducational colleges. She was the first generation of college women, and back in those days there was a genuine fear that a college education would diminish a woman's chances of getting married and having children. More than 50% of woman did not marry or delayed marrying so it explains why my grandmother was 29 when she married my grandfather Carl Oscar Ericke. She wore a simple, dark brown lace dress for the occasion, which my mother has kept all these years.


  1. Do you know who Adolph's parents are? I am pretty sure I do and I knew his sister and brother. I am curious if you have researched the Voegtlys at all. My great grand aunt was Louise Steiner who married John Voegtly. I am pretty sure that is where your name Louise comes from.

  2. Hi Bonnie, yes, I've been doing research for about six months now and yes, Louise Steiner is my 2nd great grandmother! We are related! I don't know who Louisa's parents were, or any of her siblings. Have you been using I have a public tree if you want I can share it with you. Also, I have a lot of photos of the Voegtly family and I have no idea who some of these people are. Maybe you would??

  3. Hi Sarah, yes I do know who Louise's parents and grandparents are. I use ancestry but haven't put my trees on there. I will probably send you a descendant chart and some other items.

    Briefly, Louise's parents were Jacob John (sometimes he used John Jacob) born in Switzerland Oct. 14, 1812, died Nov. 6, 1896. He married Frane (Fannie) Koomer in Belmont Co. OH in 1836. They had nine children including your (Barbara) Louise and my John Jacob (born 1841-1908). Most of the children were born in Monroe Co OH. In addition to these two the others were Philip Charles, Anne, Caroline (Carry), Ida, Mary, Charlotte, Amelia. The family eventually settled in Bakerstown, Butler Co PA.

    When I was a child I used to visit my great aunt (Etta Amelia Steiner) who never married. In later life she lived with Henry and Clara Voegtly her cousins in Pittsburgh--these two were Adolph's sister and brother. Clara had never married and when I knew her she was confined to a wheelchair. She was simply amazing a very charming lady as well as Henry who still worked at his hardware store in the city. Henry had lost his wife and I think they either never had or lost children. I vaguely remember hearing about another family member but somehow had skipped over him until I saw this last week.

    Since I was a child/teenager when visiting I actually never knew how I was related until about 10 years ago. I do have some earlier pictures of either Clara or Flora but I don't know which was which. (Flora never married and died fairly young). My mother died in 1979 so I never asked questions. My uncle told me that both Clara and Flora were very attractive women.

    There is an online tree in ancestry by Jennifer Klein which shows some of this--she is descended from Philip Charles.

    I find some family resemblance in your pictures--


  4. Hi Bonnie,
    It's amazing that we connected through my blog. I'd love to share some more photos with you; I'm hoping you can help identify some of the people or places. I did also recently reconnect with my mother's first cousin (daughter of John Voegtly – brother of Sarah Louise) and she had some additional info on that side of the family. Here is my email address: I would love it if you connected with me through email so I can send you some photos and we can continue this research. This is very exciting!

  5. Hi Sarah,
    It was just by accident that I got back into looking at these families and surprised to find connections at ancestry and then through this blog.

    Will be in touch through e-mail.


    my email: