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."




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