27 February 2012

Follow-up to Max's side of the family

Just found that John Stadler died 29 Sept 1927 in Warren, Rhode Island, and is buried in St. John's Cemetery, Warren, Rhode Island. Now have good info to follow up on....

26 February 2012

Max's side of the family

I recently stumbled upon my Aunt Bea's -- Beatrice V. Stadler's -- birth certificate, showing her birth in Providence, Rhode Island on 30 Oct 1922 of Maxwell W and Beatrice A. (Providence, RI: Alphabetical Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1636 - 1930). That got me thinking about taking another look at her Stadler line.

I first find Beatrice A (the name Bridget Mulvanerty adopted when she immigrated to the US) and Max working together at the State Hospital for the Insane for the SE District of Penn., she a nurse and he and attendant. Max is 21 years old, and is listed as having been born in Mass. of German parents.

In Sept 1918 Max, like all young men, registered for the draft. He lists his occupation as hospital nurse at the Grafton State Hospital, Worcester, Mass. He gave his birthday as 29 March, 1898. Next research steps would generally be 1910 census and 1900 census in that order, or to Mass. vital records to get his birth info.

Through one of my favorite genealogical site, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, it's easy to find Mass. vital records. Max's birth was recorded in East Freetown. His parents are listed as John Stadler and Mina Karle. John was a farmer; both John and Mina were both born in Germany (agreeing with the 1920 census). It's plausible that Mina was short for Wilhelmine given her German birth. John and Mina were my aunt's grandparents.
Going back to those intervening census records shines a light on other aspects of the family. Working backwards, the 1910 census is of particular interest because for the first time is should show Max still living with his parents. We see it indeed shows the John Stadler family living in Warren, Rhode Island. Max is age 12 as expected. There is a surprise: John's wife is named Berta 15 years his junior, not Mina. It's John's second marriage, and Bertha's first; they were married about 1903. There are a pair of infant twins in the family, John and Lena born about January 1910 -- Max's half-siblings. Also noteworthy is that John is listed as having had 5 children, only one of whom -- Max -- is still living at that time.

The 1900 census thus turns out to be a pretty important document then since it should answer questions about John's other 4 children (those deceased by 1910) and whether he was still married to Mina. But try as I might, I haven't been able to find it. Nor can if first birth records for Stadlers in Mass. or Rhode Island for that time range. There probably are some records, but I haven't found them yet. But I did find one document that's interesting.

In 1902, a year before marrying Bertha, there is a ship's passenger record showing John returning with some of his kids to New York from Bremen, Germany on 1 April 1902. Returning with John are 2 sons, Adolf and Max (lines 27-29). Still, more questions: 3 of 5 of John's children are unaccounted for; neither Mina nor Bertha is with him, and given that he's traveling with an 8 and a 3 year old that can't be easy. I have a theory: perhaps after the death of his wife Mina and 3 of their children, John took his two surviving children back home to Germany for family support. There's a fair amount of work yet to prove or disprove this theory, although it does explain why the family can't be found in the 1900 census. Other directions of research are to find the birthplaces of John and Mina more accurately than just Germany so that their ancestry in the homeland can be traced. I know John lived in Providence 1923-1926, and it seems likely his obituary would be there for the finding. Also, John was naturalized as an American citizen in 1904 and those documents might show where he was born.

Lastly, this is the ship, the Batavia, on which John and his two young children traveled for their trans-Atlantic voyage during March 1902.

07 June 2010

Narrow Escape in 1700s

David Ward is my 5th-great grandfather (b. 9 Apr 1785 Virginia – d. 25 Nov 1879 Ohio). The events below probably took place in the 1790s:

David's father, George Ward, did not live a great while after his marriage, dying in mid-life, leaving a widow and three children, George, David and Mary. This mother, who lived in one of the border counties of Virginia, on a certain evening went to the home of a neighbor with her children expecting to remain for the night. The neighbor was busy making a powder horn, his good wife was churning and the visitors were happy in the enjoyment of the hospitality of their friends. Roaming Indians came to the door, and when the neighbor extended the hand of friendship and peace, the savage yell was given, and the marauders sought to destroy the entire party. The neighbor and his son were shot to death, the wife made a prisoner and little Mary Ward fell a victim to the tomahawk. Mrs. Ward seized her two small sons and with them escaped through a small window in a rear room, but not until David had received a wound from a tomahawk, the scar of which he carried to his grave. The three fugitives fled in terror for a distance of five miles, wading a river twice in order to evade their pursuers. The mother of the family with whom they had expected to spend the night, saw her husband and son murdered and her home destroyed, and was herself carried away a captive of the Indians, although she afterward made her escape and returned to the white settlement.

Google books (books.google.com) is a great resource for genealogists. There are tons of old books out of copyright and which are fully searchable and viewable. I’ve used Google books in a few ways:

Search for your ancestor's names, search for where they lived, or their trades.

I know of errors in the Historical Sketches book. Besides that, a fellow researcher told me that the copy of the book Google had scanned was missing a couple of key pages that were in a physical copy that researcher owned. As always, use typical discretion when relying on these sources since most will not be primary.

On a philosophical note, it's amazing to think that but for a window in the back of a colonial cabin my ancestral line might have come to a end (or rather have never existed)…

31 May 2010

Letter home from the siege of Atlanta

During the Civil War my great-great-grandfather James Lindsey and his brother Solomon served in the Civil War as privates in Company A, 73 Ohio Regt (Union). Their company took part in the siege of Atlanta. Here is a letter that Solomon wrote home:

Camp near Atlanta
August 13th 164 [1864, presumably]

I just read the letter I got from you. I was glad
to hear from you. The boys is as well As Could be
expected from the hardships we have indured. It
is the same old story Still Hamering Armery At the
City. We have laid A seage on it. And we have
got so Close to their works that we Can shoot from
our works to theirs. We Keep up A regular
Canonaiderr All the while. I was on picket the
other day or on the skirmish line rather. We Are
Close [to] each other And I got A good Shot At A
Johnie. I dont no wether I hit him or not, But I
no that he disipearded from site very soon. I
regret to say that we have lost two of our best
generals we had in this Army you no that generl
McFerson was killed And generl Hooker has gon to
the Army of the Potomack. We regret his loss to
us but he will do good wherever he goes. Well
About that money if you stay At home just keep it
for me And if you have to go to the Army Again
leave it with mother So if I want Any She Can send
it to me for I don't no wether we will get paid
off or not. Well I must Close And get in my
breastworks for they Are shelling is prety smart.

Nomore At Preasant
Solomon Lindsey


On this memorial day my thoughts are with Max who served in WW II; Art who served in WW I; James, Solomon, and Jesse who served in the Civil War; Jacob and David who served in the War of 1812; and George who served in the Revolutionary War.

30 May 2010

Fractured Family

Frederick William Ford was born in Boston to Timothy and Ann (Cowan) Ford just a month after the Great Boston Fire of 1872. He would have thought of himself as the oldest child in the family although that was technically not the case: before he was born both his older sisters died within 10 days of each other of diphtheria.

While a young child Fred's family moved to Chelsea where he grew up, and before age 20 he was employed as a bookkeeper. He met Ellen “Nellie” J. Mahoney, a native of Chelsea, and on 30 December 1894 they were married. Both the bride's and the groom's parents were native Irish. They eventually had 7 children: Alfred Joseph, b 5 Mar 1896; Arthur Stewart, b 3 Feb 1897; George Francis, b 15 Sep 1898; Marie A., b. 14 Nov 1900; Ethel, b 30 Apr 1902; Gertrude Elizabeth, b 14 Aug 1904; and Helen, b about 1906.

Tragedy struck the family within a year of the birth of their seventh child. Marie died 27 Aug 1906 after 3 days of convulsions caused by diphtheria, just 5 years old. Then, 7 Feb 1907, Fred's wife Nellie died of septicemia (possibly a complication of her daughter Helen's birth). Fred was now a single dad with 6 kids, sons age 11, 10, 9, and daughters age 5, 3, and 1.

Fred hired a live-in housekeeper to help. Still, I imagine things were difficult. Three years after Nellie's death the family was living in Revere, Massachusetts. One would also expect to find the family in the 1920 census -- quite possibly without the older boys still living at home, but the younger girls would typically not yet have left home. But there is no such family a decade later. I found just one of the girls, 15 year old Gertrude, living with three “cousins”: Mary, Sarah, and Edward, all of whom are between the ages of 50 and 62. How did Gertrude end up with these cousins, and where are her sisters?

I found (eventually!) that Gertrude Ford had married Gordon Belbin about 1924. The 1984 obituary for Gertrude Belbin listed various surviving descendants, one of whom was her daughter Helen, granddaughter of Fred Ford and cousin of my father. I connected up with Helen via email. Here is what Gertrude's daughter told me:

Subject: Re: Genealogical Research-Ford
From: Helen Belbin

Hi Dan,

There is quite a story with my mother and her sister Helen. My middle initial is G. for Gertrude after my mother. After a while her father could not keep the girls at home and put them in the New England Home for Little Wanderers. He kept the boys with him. He allowed them to be put up for adoption and my mothers sister Helen was adopted. My mother was not. She was still there as a teenager. she was a handful. She said they would dress them up ever Sunday and have people come and look at them. After her father got married again he came to take her home but my mother would not go with them. He then got two old maid aunts (Sarah Collins was one) to take my mother in to help them. She went to school, worked in a shirt factory sewing and took care of the Aunts. She loved the aunts and took care of them until they died. Sarah had to be put in a Catholic home as she had Alzheimer.'s She said she only saw her father a few times after that. She did not see her brothers that I know of. She kept in close contact with her sister all her life until her sister died of a stroke in her fifties. ...


Family found! :)

How you can find info like this:

To find girls later in life, assume they got married and changed their surname. However, they don't change their first name or their birthdate (usually, anyway) and I knew both for Gertrude. By looking up in the social security death index all the women named Gertrude with her exact birth date, I came up with a list of potential women who might have been the married Gertrude. Then I researched each candidate until I proved or disproved them as the Gertrude for whom I was searching. It took a couple months, but it proved to be worth it.

Although retold moving from the past closer to the present, researching ancestral lines is done working from the present further into the past.

  • In this case I started with my grandfather, AJ Sr., and found him in the 1930 census. (US census, Census 1930 Northborough, Worcester, Massachusetts; Roll: 965; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 243; Image: 132.0; Family 124, Lines 46-50). The family shows AJ Sr. as head of family and an electrician, wife Beatrice (Bridget's Americanized name), children Maxwell and Beatrice (born in Rhode Island) and AJ Jr. (born in Mass.).

  • Next stop is the 1920 census (US census, Census 1920 Chelsea Ward 3, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_743; Page: 36A; Enumeration District: 630;Image: 534; Family 742) where AJ Sr., a building electrician, is a lodger. He is single at this time.

  • Next stop is the 1910 census (Year: 1910; Census Place: Revere, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll T624_626; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 1683; Image: 1231; Family 161) where for the first time AJ Sr. is a child in the family and we see Fred Ford, widow, as head.

  • Finally, in the 1900 census (US census, Census 1900 Boston Ward 15, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T623 683; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1383; Family 29, lines 79-85) we see Fred and Nellie married. So far only their 3 sons have been born.

Supporting Helen Belbin's story above, we also see in the 1920 census (US census, Census 1920 Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_706; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 20; Image: 879; Family 249) that Gertrude, daughter of Fred andNellie , is living with sisters Mary and Sarah Collins and described as their cousin. The term “cousin” may have been used in less than the strict technical sense because Gertrude is 15 years old but Mary and Sarah are 62 and 50 respectively.

What might be next steps?

After finding new information you always want to ask yourself what new research is suggested. Even given the above information about the daughters of Fred and Nellie (Mahoney) Ford, there is lots still to be discovered. Who adopted Helen, and where did her family line go? Nor do I have information on Ether Ford past when she was 8 years old in 1910.

Helen said “After her father got married again” which is the only evidence I have that Fred remarried. The last record I have of Fred is the 1916 WW I draft registration card for his son George where Fred is listed as closest family member. Perhaps he did remarry but I don't have solid evidence of that.

Occasionally you get lucky: looking closely at the 1900 census you see that living with Ford family are two other relatives, Charles and Letitia Hilton, listed as the brother- and sister-in-law of Fred. Letitia is Nellie's sister, and that opens up another line of research.

Perhaps the most obvious avenue to pursue is to find out just what the actual relation was between the Collins sisters and their “cousin” Gertrude. I have done that, and in so doing uncovered a whole new immigrant branch of the Mahoney (Fred's wife's) family from Ireland to the US. That's another story.

22 May 2010

Bridget (Mulvanerty) Stadler

Following her arrival in New York in 1913, Bridget Mulvanerty married Maxwell Stadler. The marriage apparently occurred after 12 Sep 1918 (when Maxwell listed his father as his nearest living relative on his registration for the WW I draft), and before 1 Jan 1920 (the date for the 1920 census where Maxwell and Bridget were listed as married).

Sometimes there are romantic stories about where couples met or courted. This isn't one of them. The earliest I've found Maxwell and Bridget together is at the State Hospital for the Insane, Norristown, Pennsylvania. On the plus side, they were not patients -- Maxwell was an attendant and Bridget was a nurse (see the census, lines 38-39). By this time Bridget had changed her first name and was going by Beatrice, too. Maxwell and Beatrice probably left Pennsylvania soon after the 1920 census because their first child, Maxwell Jr., was born in Rhode Island about 1920 and their daughter Beatrice was born about a couple of years later.

Eventually Beatrice married Alfred Joseph Ford, Sr. in Worcester Massachusetts. Beatrice and Maxwell had divorced (her ex-husband continued to be listed in city directories as living in Providence, Rhode Island, from 1923 through at least 1932). I don't know what became of him after 1932.

Maxwell Sr. identified his father as John Stadler in his draft registration. The family can be seen here in the 1910 census (lines 5-9). John's wife in the census is not Maxwell's mother: the marriage is listed as John's second and they've been married 7 years, but Maxwell is 12 years old. Maxwell's biological mother is identified on his birth registration record from 29 Mar 1898 in East Freetown, Massachusetts as Mina.

On all his census records John Stadler is listed as having been born in Germany, and the 1920 census says Baden specifically. One census says he immigrated in 1879, another 1880, and that he was naturalized in 1904. Although I haven't found his initial immigration, I have found a record of what apparently is the family returning from Bremen, Germany 1 April 1902 to the US. This ships passenger list shows Johann Stadler with two kids, Adolf and Max. Johann is the right age to be John Stadler, and also the right occupation (farmer). Max is the right age to be Maxwell, and is noted as a US citizen. They are listed as returning home, so perhaps they had been on a trip to visit relatives in Germany. Alternatively, perhaps the reason I haven't been able to find the family in the 1900 census is because they were in Germany from 1900 until this return: maybe after Mina died Johann returned to Germany with his young sons and only came back to the US in 1902 when Maxwell was no longer an infant. Below is a picture of the ship the family took when returning to the US, the Batavia.

19 May 2010

Date announced for 1901 Irish Census release

Posted today by the National Archives of Ireland:

1901 Census material, with all data transcribed, will be launched before on [sic] 3 June 2010. The data for every county will be launched all at once rather than in tranches as with 1911.

Please, don't bother me that day.