Over Labor Day weekend in 2015, my dad’s cousin and I met in Cleveland to do some in-person digging into our family tree. We planned to drive through the old ‘hoods to find the family homes, find as many headstones as we could, spend some time at the Cleveland History Center to take a gander through old documents… and, of course, to take gobs and gobs of pictures!


Our first stop was Knollwood Cemetery and Mausoleum. Ginny and I had been their previously, on separate occasions. She with her father, Clifford; me with my grandfather (Ginny’s father’s brother, Richard), both approximately fifteen years ago.

Clifford and Richard Frohmberg, both under the age of 10, late 1920s.

Even though we both had old photographs of our family crypts, we were excited to return. We hoped to find hints about Richard and Clifford’s grandparents’ (Ignatz and Lena Frohmberg) social life — particularly their friends named Boehm and Messmer.

Lena, son Paul, and Ignatz in an undated photo; probably around World War 1.
Knollwood Cemetery and Mausoleum, Cleveland OH.

As it turns out, Ginny brought documents with her that showed Ignatz and Lena first purchased plots at Woodland Cemetery. The receipt shows purchase date of May 1903; however, it seems that the couple paid for their bigger purchases in payments. It’s possible that they began their payments in 1899 after their daughter, Margaretha, died tragically young.

Certificate of purchase of Lot 55, Section 86 at Woodland Cemetery, 5 May 1903.
Certificate of purchase of crypts at Knollwood, 15 April 1929.

At first Ginny and I thought we weren’t going to be able to find the Boehms and Messmers, but then we decided to just wander the mausoleum. And we found them!

Ignatz and Lena’s friends, Knollwood Cemetery and Mausoleum.

Later, I found a note in one of Grandpa’s files that said “Lillian lived to be 100”; I thought it was in reference to Lillie Dellinger (other side of the family, Grandma’s maternal grandmother), but it was with the notes on the Messmers and Boehms… and Lillian DID live to be 100!

I don’t know anything else about these couples. I do wonder if they were part of the German Community Center that Ignatz and Lena purportedly spent a lot of time with. Grandpa talked about concerts and bake-offs and various other “social gatherings.” I wish I had thought to ask him more questions…

Knollwood Chapel. It was so peaceful and beautiful!
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