©2009-2016 Becky Higgins

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.  


  1. Congratulations on the find and busting down that brick wall.

  2. Congratulations! And once you get into those French records, you'll be amazed at what you will find! Good luck!

  3. Becky, Amazing how much you can do from home. Discovering a new surname is wonderful news, your trip is the icing. Have a wonderful time.

  4. Congrats! I'm always astounded how beautiful the handwriting is on these old documents. It's like a work of art.