Saturday, July 7, 2012

Surname Saturday- Buhr Family of Louisiana


Another German name in my family collection of names. I suppose most folks would pronounce it as Burr, or Bo-er. My family pronounced it as Bow-er. Now, there are not many with this surname in Louisiana, and I have had zero luck in tracking anyone down who has this surname and is related.

For unknown reasons a young man left his homeland of Germany behind and came to Louisiana around 1850. His name was Phillip Buhr. He married a young German immigrant named Catharina Hartmann. They had four daughters between 1855 and 1862, with one dying at two years of age.

  • Phillip joined the Union Army during the Civil War and is found listed as:
  • Phillip Bohr Co:C Unit 5 La Infantry, Private
  • He lived on Dauphine Street, and worked as a lamplighter. 
  • He was born in Diededfeld, Pfalz, Germany, about 1829. 

My grandmother did not know much of him, saying only that he had died and her great grandmother had remarried and had more children. 

An obituary in German for Phillip Buhr was in my collection as well as one in German for the little daughter who had died. Not knowing anyone capable of reading this obituary, I turned to the Ancestry Message Boards for help. I soon received a reply asking for me to scan the image of the obit and they would translate it for me.

It came back with a grim warning that I may not like what I was about to read.
The obituary told of Phillip Buhr having died on July 4, 1864 by committing suicide. He had jumped off a bridge and drowned. 

He was only 35 years old. His children were 9, 7, and 2 years of age. What could have made a person who had so many things to live for choose to end his life this way? It was obviously something never talked about in my family. He came to America to make a new start, what went so wrong?

Secrets are the tragedies of genealogy research. 
One more mystery to solve in the tangled tree of my family. 

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