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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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A. A. THALDORF, an energetic general agriculturist of Berrien County, Mich., has been one of the leading men of Three Oaks Township for a score and a-half of years, and as a School Director and public-spirited citizen has materially assisted in matters pertaining to local progress and improvements. Mr. Thaldorf was born in Ohio January 11, 1842, and is a native of Mt. Gilead, Washington County. His father, Frederick Thaldorf, was born in Hanover, Germany, and received an excellent education in his native land; but, a lover of books, after arriving in the United States perfected himself in the English language and studies common to the schools of our country. The paternal grandparents were worthy and industrious people, and the father had been carefully reared to thrifty and self-reliant habits and had earned his own way some years before he left the Fatherland. Frederick Thaldorf was twenty-six years of age when he crossed the broad ocean to the world of promise beyond the sea. Aside from his moneyed capital, he was possessed of youth, enterprise and energy, and the future was rich in hope.

The first location of the father in his adopted country was Little York, Pa., but later, removing from that State, he made his home in Baltimore, Md., where he engaged in the wholesale dry-goods business and was a successful merchant of the city. He married in the Quaker State Miss Mary Ann Cremer, a lady belonging to an old Pennsylvania Dutch family. About 1841 Frederick Thaldorf left Maryland and located in Ohio, where he went into the fur business, He finally settled in Mansfield, Richland County, and in 1852 passed away, regretted by his family and many friends. The mother married a second time and afterward came to Berrien County, Mich., but while visiting her childhood home in Pennsylvania suddenly died, in the year 1881. The parents were blessed by the birth of six children. Charlotte H. is the wife of Edwin Smith. Our subject, A. A., is the second in order of birth. Then follow Frederick L.; Agnes, wife of Jolm McKie, deceased; Theodore William, deceased; and George W. Our subject has cared for himself ever since he was ten years of age, and having but little chance to gain an education is literally a self-made and self-educated man.

Mr. Thaldorf was about eighteen years of age when he came to Michigan, and was employed variously for a time, accepting any work which his hands could find to do. In the mean time he attended school as he could. What education he received in schools he got after his eighteenth year, and he eagerly embraced every opportunity to increase his stock of knowledge. When a boy he learned the carpenter’s trade, and was, as well, a wagon manufacturer, having an especial aptitude for tools. Our subject was married December 14, 1863, to Miss Augusta T. Owen, a native of Indiana and a daughter of Edwin and Maria (Salsbury) Owen. Mrs. Owen was born in the State of New York and passed away in Berrien County. Edwin Owen, born in Kentucky, died in California. He was of Welsh descent, his father having been born in Wales.

Immediately after his marriage, Mr. Thaldorf embarked in the carpenter’s business and also became a wagon-maker, and, combining the two trades, was financially prospered, for some time giving his entire attention to those lines of business. About 1866 he devoted himself to the pursuit of agriculture, and he now owns a highly cultivated homestead of seventy-one acres, well improved with a commodious residence, substantial barns and other buildings, attractively located three miles southwest of Three Oaks.

The home of our subject and his estimable wife has been cheered by the presence of four children: William A., Llewellyn, Florence M. and Anna W. Mr. Thaldorf has been a member of the Disciples Church for twenty-five years, and Mrs. Thaldorf has been a communicant of that religious denomination from her early girlhood. They have both been active in church work and benevolent enterprises.

Our subject cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln and is in political affiliation a strong Republican. For a number of years he has served efficiently as School Director, his practical advice and appreciation of the value of educational advancement making him earnest and energetic in behalf of the children over whose interest he has kept guard. Our subject is esteemed by his old friends and neighbors and regarded as a man of sterling integrity.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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