Hi, my name is Bailey Martin and I’m a Konzen descendant – this sounds a little bit like I’m introducing myself and confessing to an addiction at a group therapy session. My love of genealogy might be described by some as an addiction, but to me it’s just about enjoying another part of history. History’s important to me. I’ve always loved it.
I grew up hanging out with my grandpa Kermit Konzen who was a huge history buff. His house resembled a museum with wall decorations ranging from Charlie Russell’s prints to hardtack (Basically a really stale cracker that was eaten by soldiers during the 1800s) to American Indian pieces. My grandpa was such a history buff that he participated in at least one archaelogical dig at the Little Bighorn Battlefield and he used to reenact the Battle of the Little Bighorn for his kids. Growing up around him, I couldn’t help but love history.
Unfortunately my grandpa died before I was old enough to ask him questions about his family. With the help of my grandpa’s siblings and genealogy sources and websites, I started doing the genealogy of my grandpa’s family about 10 years ago. But I kept running into walls. I was able to find out a lot about my grandpa’s mother’s family, the Kuskes, because my grandpa’s siblings, Kay and Karl, had quite a bit of information about them – and they weren’t as complicated as the Konzens. However, all that I knew about the Konzens were that my grandpa’s father (my great grandfather) was named John Charles; he was German; he was born in 1870 in Iowa City, Iowa; went to business college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; he died in Montevideo, Minnesota, in 1942; and his parents were John and Katherine Konzen.
Eventually, I tracked John Charles and his parents back to Chickasaw County, Iowa, all the way to the 1860 census – he wasn’t born in Iowa City by the way (I’m not sure who ever came up with Iowa City, either). Then through records and looking at other people’s family trees, I started believing that John was the son of Peter and Theresa Konzen. I hit another roadblock because I was unable to confirm any of my suspicions, but someone wonderful named Michelle contacted me in May of 2011. Michelle, another Konzen descendant, shared information with me about some books written on our Konzens by Vernon Auderer. According to Vernon’s books and research John was the son of Peter and Theresa Konzen and the brother of Theodore Konzen, Catherine Konzen Meyer, and Susanna Angela Konzen Hansen. We later determined that Catherine Konzen Meyer and Susanna Angela Konzen Hansen were not siblings of Theodore and John. However we did find four more siblings for them, Johan Mathias Konzen, Anton Konzen, Maria Konzen, and Margaretha Konzen Kout.
But, Vernon didn’t know my side of the family’s story because John moved from Dubuque County, Iowa (where the rest of the family settled) to Chickasaw County. So I was able to provide Vernon (He’s descended from Susanna Angela) and Michelle (She’s descended from Theodore) with information about John’s family and they gave me information about the rest of the siblings. In the months, Michelle and I have been sharing information and finding new facts, Paula (a descendant of Susanna Angela) has joined us on our hunt for Konzen information and genealogy. Michelle also found Sandy, a descendant of John Konzen and Catherine Pitz, and she is a ton of fun and has done a lot of research on her side of the family.
I’ve created this blog to make the hunt for Konzen genealogy easier for others, to find more family members, to share my family tree, and to share with readers the “search” for the answers to the Konzen questions.