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.