Two Willies

Recently, I had found where my paternal great-great grandparents were buried. I headed off to the cemetery that day, with not much time to really spend there. Luckily, it was a smaller cemetery and with two of us looking, we were able to not only take a lot of cool, fall cemetery pictures, but we found the grave site as well. See William and Marie Jonas and Surrounding Jonas Grave for pictures from the cemetery.

I really did not have much information to start on and no clue about the family. My research was truly census records and 1 birth record, for William and Marie’s daughter Ella. Other than that, I really had nothing. Here and there, I would get lucky and find a record, save it and hope that the next time I would be able to find a little more.

A year or so ago, I found a death record for William Jonas, William and Marie’s son (one of the their 14). Anyhow, when I found the grave of William and Marie I was so excited because of the surrounding Jonas graves. One of them belonged to Willie Jonas and he had died young. I did not give it another thought. Was excited to find his grave, I took a picture and moved on to the other stones. How exciting two finds in one day!

Well, that is until a few days later when I started updating my information. I noticed there was a few years difference from the grave and the death certificate. I then turned to FamilySearch to see if maybe there was another William/Willie out there. And behold, a death index, this one for Willie Jonas!

Death Certificate for William Jonas

And, here is the index for Wilie Jonas:
Name: Willie Jonas
Titles and Terms (original):
Death Date: 23 Feb 1916
Death Place: Des Plaines, Cook, Illinois
Gender: Male
Marital Status:
Race or Color:
Age: 22
Estimated Birth Year: 1894
Birth Date: 28 Apr 1893
Birthplace: Ill
Father: John Jonas
Father’s Titles and Terms (original):
Father’s Birth Place: Germany
Mother: Anna Gilsaw
Mother’s Titles and Terms (original):
Mother’s Birth Place: Germany
Burial Date: 26 Feb 1916
Burial Place: Town of Niles
Digital Folder Number: 4007972
Image Number: 1085
Film Number: 1530530
Volume/Page/Certificate Number: cn 9
Collection: Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947

So, lets break the information down.

William Jonas b. Apr 1893 d. 22 Aug 1911, Chicago, Cook, IL.

Willie Jonas b. April 1893 d. 23 Feb 1916, Des Plaines, Cook, IL

Both William and Willie were born in April of 1893, what a coincidence. Or is it? From here, I moved into census work to look into Willie’s family. I want to know more about them.

I find it very interesting that this Jonas family lived in Main Township, Cook County, as my Jonas family lived in Niles, Cook, IL. For those that do not live in this area, they are only a few miles apart. This got me wondering if the family is related. Looking at the census record above (and a few others as well).

John and Johanna had at least 8 children, they are:

Charles b. Aug 1879

Minnie b. 1884

John Jr. b. Apr 1888

Anna b. Apr 1890

William b. Apr 1893

Fredia b. 1873

George b. 1875

Mary b. 1877

William and Marie had 14 children, they are:



Emma b. 16 Jan 1887

Annie b. Sep 1888

Wilhelmena (Minnie) b. Mar 1890

Louisa ( Bertha) b. 14 Jan 1892

William b. Apr 1893

Martha b. Dec 1894

Otto b. Nov 1896

Ella b. 12 Apr 1898

Max b. Dec 1899

Matilda b. 1902

Margaretha b.24 Aug 1904

Theodore b. 17 Dec 1906

(I should add that one of the unknown children I believe is Augusta, I get this information from an Aunt and I did see mention of her in a newspaper article surrounding the death of Martha. I just do not know if she is child 1 or 2.)

Going through the children’s names, I have to really wonder about a family relationship between John (Johann) and William (Wilhelm) Jonas. Their children share the names of William (both born in 1893), Minnie (born 1884 and 1890), and Anna/Annie (born 1888 and 1890).

I have started a new tree on ancestry just for Jonas families in IL and I have made contact with one woman who descends through John and Johanna and she is supposed to mail me copies of the information she has on her family to see if I can make some sort of connection between the two. At this point, I only have a gut feeling I have. As I go through these two families and try to figure everything out, I will continue to report my findings.

Tell me, what do you think about these two families?



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  1. I had a similar problem about 20 odd years ago, before the Internet was as successful & useful as now. I had an Ellis family in Elstead, one in Puttenham 3 miles away. Both were a George & Sarah. I had nothing but a strong hunch they connected. A few years later my Cousin, who like me descends from the Puttenham Ellis family invited me over. Her husband descended from the Elstead Ellis. I could not speak. Then I was shown a series of photos & documents that allowed me, with further research to show that the two George’s were in fact Cousins. Sometimes, we have to start with a hunch & keep digging.

    1. Julie, I am sure many others have come across this problem as well. Which is why I posted about it. I wanted to see if others started their work off a hunch or just continued to follow the trail. For me, I will follow the hunch and see where I end up. Thanks for reading and replying to two posts today.

  2. Terri, had the same thing happen to me two Munday families in the same county, similar ages, turned out they were brothers that both sides of the family (mine and theirs) had “forgotten” they were related. Huh! Sounds like a falling out to me…but what do I know I don’t have any siblings.

    Anyway, found your post interesting. Did do a little digging for you and found these at

    Looks like the same people from the 1900 census and gives a place of birth for both of them. Interesting that they are living in Niles, the same place that your William was living in 1900.

    It’s interesting on this birth record of Emma, daughter of your William and Maria, that they are also living in Niles and the same doctor delivered all three of the children.

    Also noticed on this birth record that William and Maria are both born in Pomerrania like John & his wife.

    You may already have all of this information but just thought I would send it to you just in case you didn’t. Hope it helps and keep us informed of the continuing story.

    Oh, yeah, if you have any trouble opening the above links let me know.

    1. Deb, I do have all three of those records, never noticed the doctor information. At this point, I am saving records to both families hoping to find the connection some point in the future. I am currently looking for John’s obit to see if it will include his siblings. I looked for Williams and had no luck, so far. I will not give up.

      Thanks for taking the time to help with my research, sometimes you just need another set of eyes to see things. As for keeping everyone informed, I definitely will do that.

    1. Not sure if I have those, I think I looked at them and did not save. So, now they are saved to my computer and will see if I can get a look at the actual certificates.

      Thanks again for your help and hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving!

  3. Here I am again. I am determined not to buy anything on this black friday and couldn’t get your Jonas “brothers”….ha!ha! out of my mind.

    Did a little digging and found John’s obituary in the ancestry collection of newspapers. After shortening the humongous url it is now:

    A long obit for him is located in the second column from the left about half-way down. A shorter obit is in the column for Morton Grove closer to the top. Unfortunately, neither of these names any siblings.

    He is also listed twice on this page with, I think, the same obits.

    If you don’t have a subscription to ancestry just let me know and I email you the images.

    Hope this helps.

    1. Deb,

      I love that you spent Black Friday in search of my Jonas Brothers, too funny! Definitely better than shopping. I spent it at a few cemeteries, which I will post pictures throughout the next few weeks. Found a few of the Jonas brothers which are my great-great uncles. Also visited with an aunt from this line and received some pictures of the Jonas women.

      Thanks for the link to the obit for John, I did not have that. I also found one for his son Charles. Again, no mention of my William or his family. I just know in my heart I will link these families together someday. I think I am going to visit the historical society of Park Ridge to see if they have any information on the John Jonas family.

      Thanks again!

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