©2009-2016 Becky Higgins

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Who Is George Schrub?

So here's the story. Back in 1995, when I went to Rose Hill cemetery in Chicago to take photos of the Ruch family graves, I also found a stone for George Schrub. It's a simple stone giving only his name and b & d dates, 1844-1911. However, the design does match the stones for the Ruch family members. (That is with the exception of Fred Siegler's which I'm sure his wife and sons placed there.) George is also listed on the plat record.

I asked my father-in-law and mother-in-law if they knew who he was. They didn't but they thought Margaret Ruch would know because she had been doing some Ruch family history. We set up a meeting and Margaret generously came and shared a great deal of information with me. However, all she could say about George was that he was a "friend from the old country."

Since then I've pretty much just left him alone but for some reason he was bothering me today. I tried to find him using Ancestry this afternoon but came up with nothing; literally - nothing. Since I have his death date from the plat record, I went to the Family Search Pilot site and, happily, found his death certificate.

The record states he was born in Germany (Alsace was part of Germany in 1911); he was a widower; he worked at a tannery from 1886 to 1908 and then was employed as a laborer at the Kellogg Switchboard Co. until his death. Also noted was he father's name, George, but his mother's name was unknown. He had been a resident of the US for 38 years putting his immigration at about 1873.

So who knew all of this information about this man? Why, Selma (aka Salome) Ruch of 1514 Tell Place. Our Salome. Most likely he was indeed a friend of the family and probably from the "old county".

So far, I haven't found anything else about him. For now, this will do. At least, I know more than I did this morning.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thinking of Salome

Ah, summertime. I love it; I love being outside soaking up the warmth after a long, hard winter! I also love working on my genealogy research and writing; however, I can't do both at the same time. I'd love to sit on my deck with my laptop - killing two birds... - but, since we were burglarized a few years ago losing two laps, I don't do that anymore. :-( I'll just do the best I can to enjoy both.

Lately, while I've been away from the computer, I've been thinking about Salome Siegler Ruch and how she might have felt upon giving birth to twins only months after arriving in a new country. She would turn 23 years old just days after the babies were born.

At first, I thought she probably felt a great homesickness for the family she'd left behind. She was suddenly with great responsibility and no one to advise or assist her. Perhaps she felt inadequate to the task at hand, even to the point of being overwhelmed.

But, then I started comparing my early marriage years to hers and my thoughts are changing. I was married on my 18th birthday (young, I know, but we're still together 48 years later. So there!!) and was not quite 19 when our first daughter was born. Younger than Salome by several years.

I left my family in Chicago to get married in Alaska - my husband was in the Air Force at the time. We lived there for about a year and a half. So, I was just as alone as Salome. I went through the whole pregnancy, birth and early child care with just my husband. And it was wonderful!!!

As much as having family nearby can be wonderful, having no family nearby has its merits as well. There was no one watching over our shoulders, no one making constant suggestions about how we should be doing things, no one to tell us the better way. We had each other and had to learn together - what a wonderful bonding experience.

Now, don't think we left the family completely out. There were plenty of letters exchanged - in which we told them what we wanted them to know - and there were lots and lots of pictures, especially once our little girl arrived. It's just that when advise comes in a letter it can be taken or tossed much easier than when it comes face to face.

Anyway, I've learned a lot about Salome over the past few years. I know she had to be a strong woman to have survived many of the events in her life - not the least of which was the Franco-Prussian war. I'm now inclined to think she was future minded or, at least, present minded and not likely to dwell on the past. She most likely took the birth of her twins in stride even though twins may have been a bit of a surprise.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Davey 1937

Alice (Davey) Higgins, Alice Augusta (Christiansen/Larsen)
and, I believe, Clarence Larsen in Chicago, 1937

New Things I Love

I'd like to share a couple of new items I've been using and thoroughly enjoying of late.

Thanks to a tweet and suggestion from FootNoteMaven a little while back, Quote Pad came to my attention. This is free software for taking notes on the computer and from the internet. If you're on a website, you can highlight a paragraph, or what ever, and bring that into Quote Pad, including the URL. Of course, you can also type notes as you go along. The software very subtly stays open  - you can barely see a little red line at the top of the screen, for easy access anytime. Another great feature is you can download a portable version so you can take  it anywhere on a flash drive. How cool is that!

Another new toy I'm loving is Google's Blog This feature. Download this to your browser's toolbar and you can blog information from any webpage you may be reading. It pulls in all the citation data so credit is given where credit is due.

Now I must get back to my genealogy work and stop playing with my new toys.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Here's the mission from Randy Seaver:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- The Time Capsule

Hey genea-fanatics, it's Saturday Night, time for more Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you deign to accept it (come on, it's fun!), is to:

1) Go to the dMarie Time Capsule Website - http://dmarie.com/timecap/

2) Select a date in your family history that you want to know about. You might pick a birth date or wedding date of your parents or grandparents.

3) Enter the date into the search form, and select the news, songs, toys, books and other things that you want to feature.

4) Share the date, why you picked it, and the results of your Time Capsule study on your own blog, in a comment to this post, or in a comment or post on Facebook.

I picked 05 Aug 1903, the day Emma Ruch and Thomas Higgins were married. (I didn't realize it was a Wednesday, huh!)
Prices in 1903: Bread, $0.04/load; Milk, $0.29/gal (Thomas was a milk dealer so this is an interesting piece of information to me.) You could buy a house for $4000 and mail a letter for $0.02. The average Income was $703/yr.

Theodore Roosevelt was President; the hot new toys was Crayola Crayons; one of the top songs was Mother o' Mine by Rudyard Kipling; and top book was the now classic The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

Great site, Randy!! I'm sure I'll be using it often while writing my ancestors' stories. Only wish the earlier years  had a bit more info.

Friday, May 21, 2010

More Walls Come Tumbling Down

One of the first things I like to do when researching a family or individual is get all the US census records available for him/her or them. So it was several years ago I started due diligence for the Ruch and Siegler families. Being that they came to the US in the 1870s, I really didn't have too many records to find, at least for Charles, Salome and Fred. A cinch! Ha! Until just yesterday and today, I had them all except  for the 1880 census, the first one in which they should be listed.

Granted, for a time I wasn't sure where they would be found - Pennsylvania or Illinois; but, it really wasn't long before I learned enough to know they should be in Chicago by 1880. Ah, good old Chicago! I tried every which way I could think to find them in the various indices online and on paper. To no avail; why, oh why, couldn't I find either Fred or Charles, I just didn't know
What I did have was the addresses for both from the city directory. Knowing that, I decided last night to bite the bullet and try to figure out what enumeration district (ED) to browse for the address. I went to Ancestry for the 1880 census for Illinois, Chicago, and perused the descriptions of the EDs looking for likely candidates.

Turns out Fred was the easiest because he lived at 56 Rees Street and Rees (a very short street, happily) was used as a dividing line for several EDs. I chose four possibilities to begin with, got a glass of soda and dug in. Within an hour, I found the family and saw why I'd never been able to find them before.
They are listed as family 298 at 56 Rees Street under the surname Siedler; Fred and Fred, Jr. are listed as Fritz and Jennie is listed as Fransika. Fred 's occupation is tanner - at least that matches - and they are all listed as born in France (French) even though little Fred was born in Chicago. (One thing I'm quite sure of is that the census taken was German - Frederick Luehmann; he even spelled Halstead St as Halstadt.)

The morning I decided to tackle Charles and Salome. Their address was 46 W. Division. Again, Division is a border street for many EDs; however, in this case, that was deceptive. There were thirteen on my list, although a couple I had already checked while I was looking for Fred last night. Trying to make a long story short, between working with an 1880 Chicago Ward map found at A Look At Cook and a 1873 Chicago map I'd purchased at the Newberry Library on an earlier visit and the descriptions on Ancestry, I found the right ED to browse and there they were:

This time they are listed with a surname I had tried, Ruch, but I'm betting the indices have it as Buch. C & S listed as being born is Prussia, probably because in 1880 Alsace was under Prussian (German) rule. One major find on this census is the listing for son, Charles. I have no record of a child born between Julia/Emma and Mary. There is a son, Charles, born in 1886, however. Did the first Charles die?

I guess I'll just have to look into that. "It's always something; if it's not one thing, it's another."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What I Have Written So Far

I finally got back to a bit of writing yesterday and brought C&S to Erie. I'm still not sure if the format I'm using will be the one I stay with but for now, at least, I'm making progress. What slows me down is trying to make sure I source everything that wouldn't be general knowledge. I'm thinking it might be better to just write the story and add a bibliography at the end.

If I write it more in a "novel" format than a "biography", I think I could add much more interest. Then, again, is that really the purpose of this writing? Oh the dilemma!

Anyway, I put what I've written so far on a separate page. Maybe one of you has a thought about how it should go? I didn't upload all the pictures that go with the story but the story can be found here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #19

Week 19: Examine the “Genealogy and Military Records” page on the National Archives page (http://www.archives.gov/veterans/research/genealogy.html). (Non-U.S. folks: examine the military records information from your country’s national archives.) Click the links and read everything you can. If you’ve ordered a military file before, read this page again and refresh you memory so you can help others. Authors of genealogy blogs can write about records they’ve received, comment on the National Archives page, or ask questions of their readers via their blog.

I did go out the NARA website which is wonderful and very helpful. However, I’ve decided to write about the military records I’ve received from them in the past. In each case I ordered both the military and pension files (complete). My veterans are Peter Miller (1836-1911), Eliphalet B Miller (1840-1887), Benjamin A Stewart (1840-1914) and Burwell S. Blue (1821-1877). These are all Civil War Veterans
I learned so much from these records it’s hard to know where to begin. I’ll have to just give a few highlights from each:
Peter Miller (my great-granduncle):
Ø      I received 120 pages in all.
Ø      I learned that Peter had flat feet and, during the war, lost much of his sight.
Ø      I learned of a first marriage and child I didn’t previously know about at all. Papers regarding that divorce issued 08 May 1865 were from the lawyer’s office because the county records were burned in the Chicago fire of 1871.
Ø      Before I received these papers, I had lost Peter’s whereabouts. The records traced him to Oklahoma.
Ø      I learned about his family and his wife’s eventual move to Texas.
Ø      And much more.
Eliphalet Miller (my great-grandfather):
Ø      I received about 100 pages in all.
Ø      It contained affidavits for the births of his children born in Illinois. (According to their guardian, Charles Miller, the family had not attended church in that state and it was before county records were required. Other than Bible records, these have been the only corroborating evidence for these children I’ve found.)
Ø      Affidavits were presented for the marriage of Eliphalet and Mary (Blue) Miller and also for each of their deaths. Eliphalet died one year after the death of Mary in childbirth – leaving seven children orphaned.
Ø      And much more.
Benjamin Stewart (my great-grandfather):
Ø      I received 260 pages in all
Ø      I learned that he joined in August of 1862, came down with the measles in November 1862 in Gallatin, Tennessee and was discharges 30 January 1863.
Ø      He stated there was no room in the hospital at Gallatin and that he and several others were “moved from place to place” often in the rain.
Ø      There is an affidavit in his words regarding his movements from his discharge to his pension claim in 1883 which is revealing.
Burwell Spurlock Blue (my 2nd great-grandfather):
Ø      I received 120 pages in all
Ø      I learned he mustered in on 20 December 1861, mustered out 26 February 1864, reenlisted 27 February 1864.
Ø      He was wounded in the shoulder by gunshot at Franklin, Missouri. 01 October 1864, returned to duty 21 January 1865 at Eastport, Mississippi, discharged 10 September 1865.
Ø      He died in 1877 and his wife, Malvina, tried for years to get a pension to no avail.
Ø      She lived in abject poverty, even having to place three of her children in the Soldiers and Sailors orphanage in Indiana.
Ø      And much more. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Mother's Day

Gladys - age 19
Gladys E Miller Stewart
1917 - 2002
It’s Mother’s Day and I’m wishing I had this one more with my Mom. I know many would say I’m just too close to the subject to be objective and probably they’re right but Mom was a wonderful example to me.
 Oh, she had her faults as we all do, I’m sure. My recollections must be dimmed because I can’t come up with any to put on the list. Guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with remembering her many good points.
She was nothing if not long-suffering. She was loyal, kind, and wise. My siblings and I have often marveled at how open-minded she was. Her provincial upbringing put aside she chose to accept all people for whom they were, not what they were.
Most of all, she loved her family with passion. There was nothing within her power she wouldn’t do for her children and, when there was nothing she could do, her hugs and support sufficed.
I miss you, Mom. Here’s hoping I’ve been half the mother to my children that you were to me.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Erie, Pa Research Trip – Part 3 - Final

After several hours of sitting our old bones needed some activity, so when we left the Historical Society we headed for the docks and a little walk. The wind was up and we were blown around a bit but it was warm and felt good to be moving. Standing on the main dock, we looked out not on Lake Erie but on Presque Bay and the peninsula that protects it. This is how the dock looked about 1870; it’s clean, modern and inviting now.

The Presque peninsula is now a state park and it seemed to be calling to us so we jumped back in the car a headed over there. What we found was gorgeous! A wonderful place to walk, bike or drive! I’m thinking that the landscape is much as it was when C&S were in the area. Probably outside of the town itself the countryside would have been wooded and lush. Here’s a sample of what we enjoyed.

After our sightseeing adventure, we had dinner and then headed for the Blasco Memorial Library which is at the Lake shore right next to the Maritime Museum. I got to meet, Alice, the woman who has been so much help to me; it’s always great to meet good peopleJ
We spent our library time added more info to our growing knowledge of Erie’s history. We were also looking at rail routes C& S may have taking when they left Erie. Of course, they may have come to Chicago by boat through the Great Lakes but I’m inclined to think they took the train. More research in needed on this.
So for now, that’s about it. It was a whirlwind trip but a very successful one!

Erie, Pa Research Trip – Part 2

After a wonderful morning, as described in my Part 1 post of May 6, 2010, Jim & I discussed the next stop on our agenda while having a quick lunch at MacDonalds. (We always try to stop at Macs once while traveling - just love their fish sandwiches!!)  The Erie County Historical Society opens at 11am on Tuesday and, even though they’re in the midst of exhibit construction, the library and archives are intact and accessible.

We were greeted warmly as we entered the research area. Once I explained our mission - my goals for this location were primarily to learn what I could about the Streuber tannery, Jacob Walther and family and gather general information about Erie in the 1870s - Anita directed us to the various areas within our interest. With a collection of this size, it’s especially helpful to understand the layout. We would focus on the several county histories, city directories, naturalization indices and maps in the collection.
We found some interesting items. For instance, Charles is listed in only one city directory in Erie (Atkinson’s Erie City Directory for 1874-5). At that time they lived at 1526 State (pg250). This is the description of State from that Directory:
STATE, the main business street of the city, and the starting point of all streets running East and West…commences at the Public Dock, but is not numbered until it reaches Front Street, when it commences with No. 100 and runs south to Twenty-sixth street; 100 feet in width… (pg25)
In that same Directory Streuber & Son’s Tannery is described. (I’m quite sure this is where Charles and Fred worked and learned the tanning trade.)
Streuber & Son’s Tannery – State street, between Eighteenth and Nineteenth. Capital $23,000, Number of employees 10. Material used annually, 2,600 heavy hides, 4,000 calf skins, 400 cords of hemlock bark. Value of annual products; sole leather, $18,200; calf skins, $12,000; other varieties of leather, $10,400. (pg129)
The County histories provided even more descriptions of the tannery and also biographical sketch about Jacob F. Walther (witness at C & S wedding). Maps & atlases gave us visuals of our couple’s living and working locations.
I’d say it was a well-spent few hours! I’ll finish up our research day in my next post.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Erie, Pa Research Trip – Part 1

Wow, I had forgotten how much fun a research trip can be!! Even a short stop, like this one, gets you out to places you’ve never been and might possibly have never gone, if not for genealogy. Best of all, though, are all the wonderful people you meet and learn from along the way.
This morning, March 04, 2010, after a breakfast at the hotel, Jim and I set out to take pictures of some of the key locations for Charles and Salome (C&S) – their address in 1873, the tannery where Charles and Fred worked (probably) and the church where they were married and where Caroline, Eva, Emma and Julia were baptized. The first two places are really no longer in existence so we just did the best we could to come close to how things might have been but St. Paul’s UCC (formerly St. Paul’s German Evangelical Church) is as it once was.

On the way to the church, I called the office to see if we could get inside to take some pictures. The answer was a hearty, “sure, just ring the bell and I’ll let you in.” A few minutes later we were graciously met by Rev. Wayne Sova and Cheryl Pierce. I explained about C&S’s marriage and the childrens' baptisms and Cheryl said, “Would you like a copy of those records? [I have the abstracts but not the originals.] They would be in German.” Of course, I jumped at the chance. So, while we talked with Rev. Sova and took pictures of the sanctuary – which is much as it was in 1873 -

Cheryl busied herself with finding the records in the old ledgers; not only that but she, also, found a picture of the altar area in 1901 before any remodeling had occurred.

We were enjoying our visit so much we could have stayed and talked for hours but didn’t want to take up all their time. We reluctantly said goodbye to two helpful and interesting people!!
Cheryl Pierce and Rev. Wayne Sova
What a great start to the day! The next stop: Erie County Historical Society. More on that later.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jennie Siegler's Maiden Name

Okay, I know, I’m suppose to be getting ready for my trip to Erie but, really, I think I have everything ready now. I’ve listed my goals for the trip, determined where I’ll be going to research, called each place to be sure they will be open and accessible while I’m there. I have my research log prepared the addresses, phone numbers, even check boxes next to the goals.
In other words, I’m ready so I don’t feel guilty about branching off a bit. Truth be told, I’m very happy I did because I made a discovery I’ve been tracking for at least ten years now. I’ve mentioned Salome’s brother, Fred, before, but he’s not the mystery. It has been his wife, Jennie.
On Fred’s tombstone is written, “Our Father and Beloved Husband of Jennie Siegler” and, on the 1900 Federal Census for Chicago, Illinois, Jennie is listed as Fred Siegler’s wife. She was born in France about 1858. (1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 14, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T623_261; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 419. Fred Seigeler [sic] household) My question has been: what is Jennie’s maiden name?
My best guess, based on the age of their son, Frederick, was that Fred and Jennie were married before 14 Jul 1877. She was also, according to the census, ten years younger than Fred which makes it unlikely the marriage occurred much before 1874.
Since 2002, I’ve known that Fred was in Erie, Pennsylvania in March of 1874 (filing of Declaration of Intention) and, according to Lakeside Directory of Chicago, he was in Chicago in 1876-77. Did they marry in Erie or Chicago?
Making of very long story somewhat shorter, the other day I decided to go back, yet again, to the FamilySearch Record Search site to look for this marriage. Usually I’ve been going directly to the Chicago records but, this time, I opted to search for “Fred Siegler” from the home page to see what else might come up. Lo and behold, there in the Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, records - that I’ve searched a zillion times - was a marriage record for Fréderic Siegler and Eugénie Bedel on 19 Sept 1875. She was 18 and he was 26. Hmmm, could Eugénie be Jennie? I have never considered Eugénie as her given name; Jennifer, Jeanne, etc. but not Eugénie.

Then, further along in the returns from my query, was a birth record for Frederick Riegler. (Huh?) He was born at 521 Halsted [sic] St, ward 14, Chicago; mother: Eugenia Riegler from France, nee Bédel; father: Frederick Riegler from France, a tanner; return date 16 Jul 1877. Fred and Jennie’s son, Fred, was born 14 Jul 1877 according to his WWI draft registration.

Ah, I feel so much better now that I can take the “UNKNOWN” from Jennie’s surname and give her back her identity: BÉDEL.