©2009-2016 Becky Higgins

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Writing and Searching; Searching and Writing

Once again I sat down at the computer to add to the Ruch story. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m putting in a paragraph or so on each of the children. Yesterday, I actually finished “the girls” so this morning I began with Charles J. E. Ruch. I managed one complete sentence before I felt the need to wander off to check something out on the internet. One whole sentence!!
I knew where Charles moved when he left home in 1891 (from divorce records) and I knew where he lived in 1900 (from the federal census) but I wondered where he’d been in-between? When he married in 1895, where did the young couple begin their lives together? When did they move to their home on Monticello where they were in 1910? Those were the questions bounding around in my head and when things like that start pinging my brain I have no choice, I must go searching!
So it was off to Footnote and the Chicago City Directories. Back in the day, I had to go the Arlington Heights Library and read microfilm which would take most of a day, but, thanks to Footnote, I was hard at work within seconds. I always browse these databases because, for me, it’s just easier to find what I’m looking for, especially since the Ruch surname is seldom spelled the same way twice from year to year. I’ve learned I have to check Ruch, Rush and Rusch in these directories.
Now I have a good sense of where Charles was in any given year, at least through 1930, and what his occupation was as well. A side result from this search was a clarification of the name (changes) and ownership of a family restaurant. I’ve seen this information before but seeing it again made it plain: in 1905, Mary Ruch and Louis Bouchonville (Mary’s sister, Eva Ruch’s husband) owned the Ruch & Co. restaurant on Ogden Ave; between 1909 and 1911, Mary must have bought Louis out because in 1911 the restaurant is listed under Mary Miss Ruch with no Bouchonville included.   
Even though this little research project only took a little over an hour, I really need to get back to writing about Charles. Maybe I can get more than one more sentence in this time.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Silence Equals Progress!

I know I haven’t been doing much blogging of late but, mostly, it’s because I’ve actually been working on the Ruch family story. This week I finished the Charles & Salomé section. Yea!!!! Yea!!! I also decided to add an abbreviated section about their children (and Henry) and have almost finished with the girls. If I can keep up the pace, I should be able to put “the story” into editing/proof-reading phase in early August.
Once I’ve handed that off to others, I’ll begin working on the actual genealogy reports and charts I’m planning to include. Then, it’s deciding what pictures and documents will best go along with the publication.
Just a month or so ago, I was very concerned about not making enough progress. I felt like I was jumping around too much. Every time I wrote a sentence or two it seemed I needed to do more research or look for more evidence. Doing that slowed down the process considerably. But, at last, I think I’m almost there.
It’s mid-year and I feel I’m mid-way through the project. Who would have thought!!! 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Salome Wiedermann Divorce Papers

Amy Coffin's Week 29 of 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy suggests we "Practice reading handwriting..." and one blogger theme for Monday is Amanuensis [transcribing] Monday. So, today I'm able to "kill two birds with one stone", so to speak.

I've reached the point in writing Salome's story that requires telling about her second marriage and subsequent divorce. For some time I've needed to transcribe some of the documents found in the court papers. Because of Amy's challenge (thanks again!!) I managed to get through two important document articles yesterday.

First is the actual divorce decree which, probably, was written by the Court Clerk, Victor L. Schlaeger. The writing is greatly slanted to the right. At first, it was difficult to read but became easier as I went along. The transcription is below:

Date June 28 [18]92
Tax Fee Book 91, Page 311
Victor L. Schlaeger – Clerk – 437 County Bldg.
[Boilerplate text is in normal style; handwritten text is in italics]
Salome Wiedemann
No. 139873                             Decree
 Gottfried Wiedemann
This day comes the complainant hereto, by Eldredge & Finch her Solicitors, and this cause coming on now to be heard upon the Bill of Complaint filed herein, taken as confessed against the defendant, and the Court having heard all the evidence adduced herein by the complainant, and the same having been reduced to writing, and a certificate thereof filed herein, and having heard the arguments of Counsel, and being fully advised in the premises, finds all the material allegations in the bill of complaint herein are true and have been sustained by the evidence; and that the defendant has is guilty of habitual drunkenness for the space of two years prior to filing the bill of complaint herein.
It is Therefore Ordered, Adjudged and decreed by the Court that the complainant be, and she is hereby divorced from the defendant, and released from the obligations of her marriage, and restored to all and singular the rights and privileges of an unmarried woman. And it is further ordered, adjudged and decreed by the Court, that the defendant be and he is hereby perpetually enjoined and restrained from entering, being or remaining in any house, or upon any premises, in which the complainant is now, or may hereafter be in lawful possession.
 The defendant is also perpetually enjoined and restrained from molesting or interfering with the complainant or her property in any manner whatsoever.
                                                                                      [signature illegible] 

Unfortunately, this decree issued on the 28th of July didn't seem to mean anything to Gottfried. Salome was back in court on Monday, July 1 asking for more help:

This petition was harder to read. It was probably written by someone in the attorney's office and seems to have been dashed off very quickly.

Cover Page:
C. No. 139873 –  3178 Superior Court of Cook County
S Wiedemann vs. G. Wiedemann
Petn for Attachment
Filed Jul 1 1892
[signature] Clerk
Eldredge & Finch
Attorneys and Counselors
Suite 314 Chamber of Commerce,
S. E. Cor Washington and LaSalle Sts.
[Petition is all handwritten]
State of Illinois
Cook County                           In the Superior Court
Salome Wiedemann
Gottfried Wiedemann
            To the Honorable Francis Wright, Judge, holding a branch of said Court:
             The undersigned Salome Wiedemann respectfully represents unto your Honor that she is a resident of said Cook County and is the complainant in the above entitled Cause. That on the 28th day of June 1892 there was entered in the above entitled cause by you honor, a final decree granting the complainant divorce from the defendant and enjoining the defendant from entering being or remaining in any house or upon any premises in which the complainant might thereafter be in lawful possession, or in any manner interfering with the complainant. But not withstanding said injunction said defendant did on the 29th day of June 1892 return to the defendant’s house in a drunken condition, and demand admittance. When refused, he threatened the life of the complainant and finally went to sleep in complainants room, and that he still remains around the complainants house in violation of said injunction.
Wherefore complainant prays that the defendant may be ruled to have cause why he should not be attached for contempt of court.
                                                                        [signature] Salomé Wiedemann
A contempt of court injunction was filed on July 1, 1892 and it appears Gottfried finally got the message as we don't hear about or from him from that day forward.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

SNGF - Who Do I Write Like?

Saturday Night Fun from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings:
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1) Find something that you have written that you are really proud of - the best of your work. Do an Edit > Copy of it.
2) Go to the website
 http://iwl.me/ and Paste your text into the waiting box.
3) Tell us which famous author you write like. 

This was great fun! I'm very humbled and pleased by the results, however, it makes me want to pay much more attention to what I'm doing. (I think that's a good thing!!)

 I chose three writings and got three different answers:

First, I submitted a portion of Memories, basically my autobiography which is not nearly finished and not posted online anywhere. Apparently, this writing resembled that of Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons and more.

Second, I copied the Life and Times of Charles Ruch and Salome Siegler page from this blog. This page was likened to Kurt Vonnegut who "wrote works blending satire, black comedy, and science fiction" (from Wikipedia).

Finally, a blog post for Wisdom Wednesday, Grandma Miller's Wisdom, went into the box. This time the analyzer brought back David Foster Wallace. According to Wikipedia, he is best know for his novel Infinite Jest "which Time included in its All-Time 100 Greatest Novels list (covering 1923-2006)."

Hmmm! That's a lot to live up to!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Charles Ruch Burial Mystery Solved

I’m learning one thing as I’m writing the Ruch family story – little things mean a lot or things I may have assumed before need proving. I’ll be typing away about events in the family, suddenly come across a “minor” contradiction, and realize some extra research is needed. Whenever possible, I want to clear up inconsistencies. Of course, with my time restraints I won’t be able to review each minute item but when something glares at me, it glares at me.

A few days ago, the glare got so bad I nearly had to put on my sunglasses to finish typing a sentence. I was dealing with the death and burial of Charles Ruch in Chicago, Illinois. Years ago, I’d had a very difficult time finding his death certificate because he name was reported as “Chas Rosch”. All the other information on the certificate matched my Charles including his address, age, birth date and nativity, so there’s no great mystery there.

The real mystery comes with the location of burial. The certificate lists Graceland Cemetery as his final resting place but the Rosehill Cemetery record has him in Rosehill. I also have the photo of his headstone which I took at Rosehill.

Originally, I thought (yes, one should never assume anything, I know.) Graceland had been Salomé’s first choice but, for whatever reason, had changed to Rosehill after the certificate had already been filed. This thought isn’t that far-fetched; it can happen; it might have happened; but it didn’t happen that way.

Confused – a not-so-unusual state for me – I studied the Rosehill plat record for about the hundred-millionth time. It was then I realized the first burial listed was that of Alice Ruch (Charles & Salomé’s daughter) who died 12 Feb 1899. The second listing is for Charles who died 10 Dec 1888. The last five records are listed in chronological order. It only makes sense that each burial is added to the plat as it happens.

The fog lifted – Charles was probably buried at Graceland but moved after the death of his daughter. However, I needed more evidence than a plat record. Hoping against hope, I found Graceland online, thinking I’d need to send a letter and agonize over a response. But, no, there is a tab called Genealogy! One click and I had instructions for phone, fax, or email requests: Basically, give the request, it may take a week, there could be a small fee.

Needless to say, I sent the email request. The next day I had this answer (no fee required!): “Yes, Charles Rosch was interred at Graceland in a single grave plot.  He was removed to Rosehill on May 17, 1899.  Our records do not show who authorized the removal to Rosehill Cemetery.” (Thank you, thank you, Graceland!)

When Alice died, Salomé purchased a family plot (8 gravesites) at Rosehill and, three months later, she moved Charles from Graceland. One more mystery solved. Now, I can finish that paragraph without sunglasses!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Children of Salomea Siegler Ruch – A Dilemma Developing

The Question: How many children were born to Salomé, aka Selma.

From my personal experience within the family, interviews with children and/or spouses of Selma’s children and results of my genealogical research thus far, I can account for 10 children.
Nine with her first husband, Charles Ruch:
  1. Eva Salomea born 09 Sep 1873 in Erie, PA
  2. Caroline Magdalena “Lena” born 09 Sep 1873 in Erie, PA
  3. Louise Julia “Julia” born 21 Nov 1874 in Erie, PA
  4. Lisette Emma “Emma” born 21 Nov 1874 in Erie, PA
  5. Charles John Emil “Charlie” born 18 Jul 1876 in Chicago, IL
  6. Mary Anna born 21 Nov 1878 in Chicago, IL
  7. Margaret “Maggie” born 24 Mar 1882 in Chicago, IL
  8. Alice born 24 Mar 1882 in Chicago, IL
  9. George Henry 29 Dec 1885 in Chicago, IL
 Charles died 10 Dec 1888.

Selma remarried to Gottfried Wiedemann on 06 Apr 1889.
She had one child with her second husband:
  1. Henry born 27 Feb 1890 in Chicago, IL
She divorced Gottfried in June of 1892.

She remarried to Anton Ziebel on 15 Jul 1893.
She divorced him on 11 May 1899.
No children were born to this union.

A dilemma is now coming to light. Of course, one cause of this dilemma may be the missing 1890 Federal Census!! On the 1880 census, Charles and Salomea are listed with 6 children – the same as numbers 1-6 above.

I only recently was able to find Salomé on the 1900 and 1910 censuses. She is listed as “Salma Rush” in 1900 and as “Salma Roch” in 1910. In 1900 only the two youngest boys are still living at home. (Henry is also listed with her same last name.)

So, big deal you say!! We all know spelling and hand writing make census research interesting. Yes, but that’s not my problem. My problem is that on both of these censuses she is listed as having 12 children with 9 nine living. (Alice died of 15 Feb 1899.) The numbers are clear and reported the same way 10 years apart. I’m pretty sure the information would have been given to the census takers by Selma herself as she is listed as the landlady in 1900 and with no occupation in 1910. She was most likely home. Who would know better than she how many children she had?

This will be a toughie as I’ve never heard a hint of more children – another set of twins? But then no one ever mentioned Henry either until I found evidence of him. (My father-in-law just knew there was a Henry hanging around a lot but never knew Henry was his half-Uncle.)

Salomé’s probate papers are no help here even though I have transcripts of the testimony given by George (No. 9). When asked “How many children were born of their [Charles & Salomé] marriage?” George replied, “Eight” and proceeded to name children 1-7 & 9 above. He did later name Henry when asked about the second marriage. Perhaps he misunderstood the question, thinking they were only asking about living children.

I’ll continue to work with what I have while writing the story. If I’m able to resolve this issue, wonderful; if not, I’ll just have to address it in the publication and give someone else the opportunity to search. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On To Chicago

Just thought I'd share my take on Charles and Salome's move to Chicago.

While Salomé adjusted to the new arrivals, Charles continued his work at the tannery, learning his trade. As was common at the time, he probably worked long hours for the most minimum pay. Perhaps the Zuschauer began reporting about opportunities in Chicago, Illinois or perhaps word of mouth spread among the workers regarding job openings at the many tanneries in that city. However he heard about the possibilities he must have foreseen better times in Chicago.
One day he must have said something like, “Salomé, I hear there are better wages for tanners in Chicago. What do you think of moving there?”
“Move? Now? How can we do that? We have four babies to think of. I am just beginning to feel strong again; thinking about getting out and letting the children play with friends. This is our home.” Salomé countered.
“I know, but in Chicago you’ll make new friends and so will they. With a better job, we’ll be able to get a bigger place and provide more for the babies. Just think about it.”
“And what of Fred?” she replied. “Am I to leave my brother here while we traipse off to unknown places?”
“Oh, no, we won’t be leaving Fred. He is going ahead of us. In fact, he’s packing up now! Just like before, he’ll get things ready for us.”
Salome sighed, “Well, I guess there’s little choice then, is there? We’re headed for Chicago.”...


1876 saw the establishment of the Chicago White Stockings (now known as the Chicago Cubs) in the new National League Ball Club; that, however, was not what drew the Ruch family to the city. What drew them were the many tanneries found along the Chicago River. These tanneries were supplied with an abundance of hides from the ever growing meat-packing industry and stockyards. Chicago, with its rivers, railroads and Lake Michigan recovered quickly from the great fire of 1871 rapidly becoming the flower (if not sweet smelling) of the West. The city posed great opportunities of employment for young men with experience at tanning hides and leather production.
The 1876 Chicago city directory lists 22 Tanners, 12 of which very near the lodgings of Fred Siegler and Charles Ruch. Fred in listed at 88 W. Division and Charles at 84 W. Division. At that time these addresses are just west of the North Branch of the Chicago River and close to Elston Avenue. By 1888, the list of Tanners is down to four but three of them are on Elston Avenue and are among those listed in 1876. Based on that information, Fred and Charles probably worked for one of these three tanneries: C. Lambeau’s Sons, Loescher Bros., or Paul Populorum.
By 1878, Charles and Salomé are living at 46 W. Division where they remained until 1888. Fred, by now married, moved from place to place until settling at 56 Rees for about six years. However, he didn’t stray far from the Ruch family.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tomb Stone Tuesday - Isaiah Stewart

Back some 13 or 14 years ago, I took this photo of my 2nd great-grandfather's headstone. It was practically illegible at the time and I imagine is much worse today. I wish I had know how to clean it up some to get a better picture but this is the best I have.

Headstone for Isaiah Stewart

born: 24 Feb 1791 in Montgomery, Kentucky

married: 1. Jane McCullough about 1811
             2. Mary Jane Benefiel 24 Mar 1821

died: 20 Nov 1868 in Jefferson, Indiana
buried in Canaan Cemetery, Jefferson, Indiana