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Homrich Family Mystery - Kent/Allegan, Michigan
Posted by: Kelly White (ID *****5517) Date: August 24, 2005 at 21:36:38
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Always growing it was repeatedly said that we had an indian squaw in our family. This has become the mystery to solve of course because I cannot seem prove it and was beginning to believe it was just a tale. But then on a trip to the Byron Center Historical Society I met other descendants of the pioneer families of the towns of North Dorr and Byron Center, MI. They too have heard this same rumor. It could only be one of two women and more likely than one than the other. The woman that I suspect is first recorded on the 1860 census as Onie Debri. The parents were from Prussia, Peter and Maria Debri. In 1870, this same child born in 1858 in Ohio is named Emma. Her name is later recorded as Anna Maria when she marries Henry Homrich but is recorded differently on children's birth certifacates and death certificates; Known as Emma, Anna Maria, Johanna. I am looking for any information about her true origins - suspecting that even though her parents had three children born in Prussia, another older girl in Ohio besides Onie, and two more children in North Dorr, she may have been adopted. I do have a photo that's origin is not explained. Appears to be a darker skinned man dressed in semi-formal 1850s clothing with a young indian-appearing daughter in a sort of baptismal dress. Wonder if this was Onie and her real father?? I would like any information about this individual or about indian child adoptions in general. If born in Ohio, could she have been adopted given the period in time and the relocation of indian communities? After Onie/Emma married Henry, they began having children right away and they lived on a family farm, a portion of his father's large land holdings but later gave the farm up to his brother, more controversy, and they moved to the city, Grand Rapids, and he became a stone mason. There's much history to talk about but would love to solve the mystery. email Kelly at

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