Jacob Weik - Family Came from Germany
Jacob Weik and family came from Germany in the 1850's to settle in Illinois and make a better life for his family and to prosper in America.
He is my 2nd-great grandfather. He was born on September 15, 1813, in Kitsch in the District of Schwetzingen in the Grand Duchy of Baden Germany. It is not known who his parents were in Germany or if they came to America with him.
Jacob Weik married Gertrude Huber/Hoover on May 3, 1837, in Katholisch, Kitsch, Mannheim, Baden. Gertrude was born in 1811. I have not discovered who her parents were in Germany.
Jacob and his family arrived in the United States in 1854 as per his obituary in the German Newspaper "Deutscher Anzeiger" in Freeport, Stephenson, Illinois. It looks like from the Illinois Censuses that Jacob and Gertrude had eight children, six boys, and two girls. They are as follows; Edward, Otto, Frank, Eva Katharina, John Edward (my great-grandfather), Louis, Verena Susanna and Richard Weik.
My father told me the story that his father had told him that when the Weik's arrived in America they would only learn to speak English because they were in America now. But he also told me that when there were disagreements towards someone in the family that the German language would come out in full force.
Jacob wanted to pursue becoming an American citizen so he started the process on August 30, 1956, as he had renounced forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty whatsoever, and particularly to the Grand Duke of Baden-Germany where he was a citizen or subject. He did so in Stephenson County, Illinois.
In the 1850s - Nearly one million Germans immigrated to America in this decade, one of the peak periods of German immigration; in 1854 alone, 215,000 Germans arrived in this country.
There were a series of steps that had to be taken by the person who wanted to become a United States Naturalized Citizen. You had to renounce your former country, you had to be a resident of a city in the United States for a certain amount of time and you needed friends or neighbors to vouch for you that you were a citizen that would adhere to the U.S. Constitution. Jacob meant all the criteria and on September 20, 1859, he became a Naturalized citizen. I can just imagine how proud he must have been that day to take the Oath of Citizenship.
On the 1860 Census Jacob and Gertrude were living in Harlem, Stephenson County, Illinois. The spelling of their last name was Wike, over the years, their spelling of their last name went by several versions, Weik, Wike, Weick, or Weeks. The census taker did the best he could in trying to spell their name. I can certainly see how that would be true because I always had to spell this last name for teachers, employers or even friends.
Jacob Weik was listed on the Special War Tax of 1863 U.S. IRS Tax Assessment List still living in Harlem. In 1871 on the U.S. Index County Land Ownership Map he was still farming in Harlem.
Sometime in 1874 he and Gertrude moved to Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois until his death on January 11, 1876.
I wish to thank Tim Weik from Illinois for seeking me out after he was going through some genealogy paperwork of his late aunt and found letters that she and I had written to each other in 1997. We are now working together to discover new information about our Weik relatives. Even though we live in the technology world it is always good to hang onto those old letters from people you once communicated with for later confirmation with other relatives.