The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

 Catherine Josephine “Katie, Katy” <I>Erdmann</I> Arndorfer

Photo added by ROBBIE DECKER

Catherine Josephine “Katie, Katy” Erdmann Arndorfer

  • Birth 16 Jan 1884 New Vienna, Dubuque County, Iowa, USA
  • Death 4 Jan 1923 Hettinger County, North Dakota, USA
  • Burial Algona, Kossuth County, Iowa, USA
  • Memorial ID 80869720

Is it common for someone with an Irish nickname to start off in a German family? Record transcribed from St. Boniface Church in the Diocese of Dubuque say she was baptized Jan. 12 1885 (very quickly after a birth recorded as Jan. 14. Perhaps priests were plentiful, so could make home visits? Or, maybe the family lived very close to the church, and bundled up for the trip?)

Her baptismal name was written as Catharinam Josephinam Erdmann, so Catherine Josephine Erdmann. Her parents were recorded as Bernhardi Erdmann and Elisabeth Varnhold (one of multiple spellings of that last name). That fits the German name of Bernhard, which would later "anglicize" into Bernard. The church and family are in a place called New Vienna, Iowa, founded by other Germans who had come to the States earlier than this family did, the others coming to Iowa, not directly, but after living in Ohio.


The Erdmanns eventually moved to Kossuth County. By the time she marries Joseph Arndorfer, who has moved in from Beaver Dam, Wisc, in St. Benedict, it will be Feb. 9, 1904. Though ethnically German, she will be calling herself by the Irish nickname of Katie. Her parents will similarly use Irish-sounding nicknames, going by Barney and Lizzie. That makes it hard to find this marriage record if you only have the gravestone names or her baptismal record to use as guesses.


A 1900 Census gives more info. She is still Catherine, still listed as born Jan. 1885. Her German-born parents now go by Barnard and Elizebeth, born Aug. 1857 and Oct. 1864. They had both married and immigrated to the States in 1884, so the year before Catherine was born. Before her marriage in eastern Kossuth County, her German-born parents will have moved from New Vienna to South Dakota, then back. They made the trip to South Dakota sometime between the birth of two brothers, Alexander/Elexander and Herman, so between Feb., 1887, and Mar. 1889. They returned to Iowa after Paul was born, in Nov., 1896, but before Anthony, who is the baby, under one year old for this census, not born until Deb. 1899, so Anthony a "turn of the century baby".

Catherine is not the only girl. There are Matilda and Emma, two more girls, like Herman and Paul, born in South Dakota

The family still spells its name as Erdmann, with two n's. It is not anglicizing it to Erdman, at last, not yet.

To where in to Iowa do they return? This time, they return to rural townships just south of Algona, so, to Cresco and Riverdale Townships, where a winding rural road can be taken out of them, past Irvington, then, via "the ridge road", east-ish, out to St. Benedict. St. Benedict will, in turn, be tied to Wesley just beyond by Germanic culture and kinship, not just the rail tracks. St. Benedict and Wesley had been railroad towns, so easily attracted Germans who came in by rail.

Algona and Irvington had instead started 20-30 years earlier as river towns, with very few Germans. The day of river towns attracting New Englanders who drove cattle and pioneer wagons along river terraces had passed. Both Algona and Irvington competed to get railroads to come through. Algona won, Irvington lost, so Irvington started pretty early on its path to near ghost town status. Its New Englander-descended youth left for city jobs and too few Germans replaced them.

courtesy of contributor JBrown


Jan 16 1884
Jan. 4, 1923

Note: Her parents said her name was Catherine Erdmann and her birth date 1885, yet her inscriptions on her stone indicate something changed. People realize too late they should have asked for more information, and will now have to guess, as the parents who could answer are now gone. (Contributor Jbrown #48697180)





  • Created by: Dale & Corinne Wise
  • Added: 23 Nov 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 80869720
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Catherine Josephine “Katie, Katy” Erdmann Arndorfer (16 Jan 1884–4 Jan 1923), Find A Grave Memorial no. 80869720, citing Saint Benedict Catholic Cemetery, Algona, Kossuth County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by Dale & Corinne Wise (contributor 47132213) .