28 April 2011

Ancestor Biography: Louise Fredrike Zastrow

Louise Fredrike Zastrow, my maternal great grandmother, was born in Prussia on 9 April 1856.  She is one of my brickwalls.  I haven't been able to determine her parents.  Researching Louise Zastrow is further complicated by the fact that there is another Louise Zastrow who immigrated to Wisconsin around the same time.

Nineteen-year old, Louise Zastrow, left Bremen, Germany aboard the ship, Donau.  Also on the ship's passenger list was Johann Zastrow, a brother, perhaps.  Louise Zastrow arrived in New York on the 24 April 1875.  The passenger list is indexed as Zastran.

Source:  Manistee, Michigan, marriage certificate no. 653 L.2 p44,
Johann August Fredrick and Louise Fredrike Zastrow;
Manistee County Clerk Office, Manistee, Michigan.

Two weeks after Louise's arrival she married Johann August Fredrick, on 8 May 1875, in Manistee, Michigan.  John Zastrow was a witness to their wedding.  An unsubstantiated family story tells of J. August Fredrick writing back home asking for a woman to come to the United States to marry him.  I don't know if they knew each other before their marriage or not.  J. August Fredrick was eleven years older than Louise.  Family members believe Louise left a twin sister in Prussia/Germany.

J. August and Louise (Zastrow) Fredrick started their married life in Manistee, Michigan.  They are living on Filer Street in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Manistee, Michigan.  Sometime between 1900 and 1910 they purchased farm land on Coates Highway, in Brethren Michigan.  They were living there in the 1910 and 1920 U.S. Federal Census.  This farm is still in the family today.

Louise Zastrow Fredrick on family farm, date unknown

J. August and Louise Fredrick had eight children:
  1. Emma A:  Born 1876; Married James Burnett Chalmers
  2. Otto August:  Born 1878; Married Daisy Ellen Graf
  3. Augusta 'Gustie':  Born 1881; Married Herman Breen
  4. Mary H.:  Born 1884; Married John Bruce
  5. William L:  Born 1890; Married Grace L. Fillacy
  6. Alma:  Born 1893; Married Joseph Prantle
  7. Leonard 'Sonny': Born 1897; Married E. P. Smith
  8. Leonia:  Born 1897; Died 1899

Source:  Year: 1930; Census Place: Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan; Roll: 1001; Page: 13A;
Enumeration District: 32; Image: 26.0.

Sometime after her husband's death in 1924, Louise moved to Grand Rapids to live with her daughter Mary Bruce and family.  Louise Fredrick can be found living with the Bruce (Indexed as Buice) family in the 1930 Census for Grand Rapids, Michigan.  She lived here until the time of her death.

Louise Zastrow Fredrick died 24 July 1940 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Manistee, Michigan. 
Source:   Manistee News Advocate-Manistee Daily Advocate, 24 July 1940, page 3; column 3,
microfilm owned by Manistee Public Library, Manistee, Michigan.

Gravestone photographed by Brenda Leyndyke July 2010
Oak Grove Cemetery, Section Q, Manistee, Michigan

My mother was ten years old when her grandmother died.  She remembers her as being a tiny woman.  My mom says she was petite like my daughter, Kirsten, is.  She remembers going to her funeral and grave side services.  She tells the story of one of her Bruce cousins, crying and begging for his grandmother to come back.  He says he will be a good boy if she does. This is the family Louise was living with when she died. My mom says she still remembers his voice to this day.



  1. Beautiful post with rich details about your great grandmother's life and what is known. The photos, documents, and newspaper along with gravesite make this a mini-story. My grandparents left from Bremen as well-- a popular departure port. Great sleuthing and cool post.

  2. Linda, thank you for your lovely comments.