MS VIRGINIA HANN [pronounced Hane]
604 E 4TH STREET
SANDWICH IL 60548 An organization which might be of help to you is :
FRIENDS OF ALSACE
NORMAL IL 61761
I have copies of some photos and birth certificates of my ancestors, but they all came from Ms Hann who is quite a geneologist. She traced parts of our family back to an ancestor we have in common with Albert Schweitzer [my 8th cousin twice removed]. The ancestor was Mougeon Schmid, my 9th-great grandfather, who died in 1639. The name changed to Marchal after the Thirty Years War.
Mougeon's 5th-great granddaughter (my great-great grandmother), Paisible Charitá Yendt (1816-1881) married Jacob Conservá Gletty (1802-1891) on 22 June 1836 in Belmont, France. Jacob and Paisible came to the United States on a ship (I have the name somewhere but I can't find it just now) from May-July 28, 1844 [43 days]. They got to Chicago somehow, and then went by wagon to Somonauk, Illinois (southeast corner of DeKalb county) and set up farming with the 6 children they brought with them [eventually had 12]. My great-grandfather, Fráderic Guillaume Gletty was the youngest to make the transatlantic trip (b. 5 January 1844; d. 17 April 1930). He was born in the family home at La Hutte, France, which (along with Belmont and Waldersbach, where Jacob was born) is in the Ban de La Roche area of Alsace. These towns are a bit Northeast of Sálestat and Southwest of Strasbourg. La Hutte is listed in the old French records as an Annex of Belmont. A family named Morel built a mill there and others built near it.
Jacob, in the military at the time of his marriage, was bilingual (French & German), speaking, reading, & writing both languages indifferently; at least that's the way the story goes. The family was Catholic but became Protestant within a generation after arriving in Illinois.
Fráderic Guillaume (went by his middle name) had 12 children (7 girls, 5 boys). My grandfather, Ralph Lee Gletty, was born in 1876, and was the only male to have a son, my father, Clinton Ralph Edward Gletty (b. 1918). The whole bunch lived in the Somonauk - Sandwich, Illinois area. My father married Erdine Ruth Babcock [mostly German ancestry] in 1945 while both of them were in the military just before the end of World War II and have lived in Waterman, Illinois (my mother's hometown in the center of DeKalb County about 60 miles West of Chicago) for their entire marriage.
I was born in 1946, grew up in Waterman and moved to West Allis, WI in 1969 after graduating from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. I have lived in the Milwaukee area ever since. I married Dianne Gardner, who was born in Chicago in 1952 and grew up in Arlington Heights where her parents still live, in 1978 and we have 2 daughters, Meredith 14 & Lauren 9. My wife is mostly German, but is part Welsh and some French (La Motte is the family on her father's side - lived in Hempsted and Baltimore, MD. The La Motte estate is in or near Bordeaux, France). She lived with a French family in Avignon for 6 months in 1970 after graduating from Marquette University.
Dianne's mother's-mother's-mother's-mother, Melissa Irena [sp?] Traut was French and lived in western Wisconsin. That's all my wife knows, but we'll do some more research if you'd like.
My grandfather, Ralph Gletty, said that French was his mother tongue, but by the time I came along, all he could remember was that, "[Y]ou sneezed it," instead of speaking it. My father never spoke French. I took some French in high school and college, but am very poor at it. I had to learn French phonology to sing chansons as part of my degree in vocal music education. My wife, Dianne, studied French from 6th through 12th grade, and still speaks relatively well. Her phonology is quite good. When we visited France together in 1994, people spoke too rapidly too her, she said, because they thought she was a native. I managed to get by when I was in Belgium and France in 1967 on a University of Illinois choir tour. The two of us visited Montreal briefly in the fall of 1988. I had fun trying my French there but encountered some irritation with some who only spoke English.
My daughter Meredith attended the French Immersion school in Milwaukee from kindergarten through 3rd grade and does reasonably well, but hasn't had the opportunity to use what she knows much since then although she took a year in 8th grade this last school year.