Friedrich Wilhelm Germs was born circa 1823 in Sorsum, Lower Saxony in the district of Hannover, and emigrated to New York in 1855. At some point, he ‘Americanized’ his name to William.


When the Church of the Nativity, the first Catholic church in Fosters Meadow, was built in 1857, Wilhelm became the teacher of the school in the basement. When the first St. Boniface Church was built in 1869, he moved with the school to the basement of that building and was its only teacher until the arrival of the Sisters of St Dominic in 1886. Around 1867, Wilhelm married Juliana Schaeffer who was 27 years his junior. Juliana was born in NY and lived in the Town of Newtown prior to their marriage. He was naturalized on 14 Oct 1876. The 1880 Census finds him living in Fosters Meadow. Wilhelm died 18 Apr 1887 in Fosters Meadow and is buried at St Boniface Cemetery. The family moved to New Hyde Park after his death.  Wilhelm and Juliana had eight children, all of whom were born in Fosters Meadow, as follows.


Paulina was born 18 Jun 1868. She married Sebastian Strockbine of Jamaica (1854-1897) in the late 1880s and had a son John William (1893-1956). Sebastian died 7 Mar 1897 in the Town of Jamaica. She then married Sebastian Herte (1863-1906), a widower, c. 1903 and had two children, Edward F. (1903-1949) and Leonard Jacob (1906-1964). “Lena” did not remarry and worked as a laundress and office caretaker to make ends meet, while living in various locations in North Hempstead.  Edward became a coal dealer and Jacob a mail carrier, both buying homes in Williston Park. Lena died 30 Apr 1934 and is buried at St Boniface.


Augusta Margaret was born Jan 1971. She married Frederick E. Wulforst 1889-1930, son of Henry and Sabina Wulforst of Fosters Meadow. Frederick was a hotel keeper and later a laborer in the Town of Jamaica. They had four children: Henry J. (1890- 1927); Lena S. (1891-1933); and Alice Henrietta (1894-1975), and Francis (1898-1898). Augusta died Aug 1913 and Frederick Feb 1905. They are buried at St John Cemetery in Middle Village.


Mary Helen was born Jul 1853. Helen married John Schuck (1870-1857) in Jan, 1895.They initially lived in Hempstead where John worked as a laborer but soon moved to Franklin Square where he worked as a bricklayer and plasterer and eventually as a farmer. They had ten Children. John Joseph (1895-1968), Joseph (1896-), Jacob George (1898-1972), Frederick (1900-1963), Edwina Augusta (1904-1993), Helen (1906-1935), William Joseph (1910-1987), Elizabeth (1914-2003), Anna Sophie (1915-2007). Sofie Florence (1919-2014). John died in Jan and Helen in Feb of 1957 and both are buried at St Boniface.


Alice was born in Oct. 1875. In 1892 she is working as a domestic in the Town of Jamaica. Alice married Jacob C.W. Seidler (1870-1924) in 1894. He was originally from Brooklyn but moved to the Town of Jamaica in the 1890s. Jacob was a house carpenter by trade and moved his family several times to different parts of the Township. They had four children: Augusta Mary (1896-1964), Alice Loretta (1898-1919), Joseph (1902- 1960), and John Raymond (1907-1998). Jacob died 10 Nov 1924 and Alice found work as a practical nurse to support herself. She died 18 Jan 1937. Jacob and Alice are buried at St Boniface Cemetery. There is a St Boniface baptism record for Elizabeth Germs born 18 Oct 1875. Either Elizabeth decided to go by Alice, or she was Alice’s twin who did not survive.


Gertrude was born circa 1878 and married Joseph Finn 1875- of Fosters Meadow in Manhattan 30 May 1896.They had three children, all born in Manhattan: Francis (1896-1896) Herbert (1897-1964) and Viola Finn (1901-1991). Joseph seemed to have an intense interest in vehicles. He is recorded as a bicycle mechanic, automobile driver and garage mechanic while living in Manhattan and sometime before 1915, moved his family to Long Island City where he owned his own garage. Gertrude and Joseph divorced c. 1930 and she married William Young that year and continued living in Long Island City. William died in 1955 and Gertrude in 1971. They are buried at Second Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, NY.


Frances was born October 1879 and married David Gaynor (b. c. 1872) at Floral Park c. 1900. They had two children, David (1900-1973) and Gertrude Gaynor  (1903-1995). The family lived in the Town of Jamaica where David Sr. was a florist and driver and eventually, he owned his own tavern there. Prohibition soon made an end to that and David and Frances moved in with daughter Gertrude’s family in Hempstead where David worked as a gardener and Frances as a cook. From there it was back to Floral Park where he was a janitor and she a helper in a cafeteria. David died in 1951 and Frances in 1984. Both are buried at the Cemetery of Holy Rood in Westbury.


Joseph was born c. 1882. His only appearance was in 1910 when he was living with his sister Gertrude and her husband Joseph Finn in Long Island City, and working as an automobile mechanic.


Mary was born 1885 and only appeared in the 1900 census with her mother and stepfather. No other information is known about her.

After the death of her husband, Wilhelm Germs, Juliana Schaffer married a widower, John Wuerfel from the Town of Jamaica c.1889. They had three children: William Wuerfel b.c. 1890; Margaret Wuerfel b.c.1892; John Wuerfel b.c 1895. John was a farm laborer and the family lived in Hempstead. John died in 1901 and Julia in 1915. Both are buried at St. Boniface. 


Submitted by:

Virginia Herte

Paul Hoffman 


February 2020.