Tag Archives: Schuck

How We Found the “lost children”…

17 Oct

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 11.36.13 PMPoking through Puzzilla led me to August and Mary (Gilbert) Schuck. August is one of the sons of my great-great-great grandparents, Jacob and Elizabeth Schuck. I noticed that August and his wife only had two children listed, which wouldn’t be out of the ordinary except that they lived in the 1870’s when birth control wasn’t the norm, and having more than two children was. So, curious, I decided to try to see if August and Mary had more children that we didn’t know about.

I’ll make a long story much shorter…

I wound up in the 1910 US Census because I knew that it would list the number of children a mother gave birth to as well as the number of children that were still living in 1910. If there was a difference, then we’d know there were more children (assuming that she reported correctly). Here’s what I found:

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.49.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.48.55 PMNoticed that she has listed 6 children being born, but only 3 still living? There was the clue I needed. Now, knowing that three children weren’t still alive in 1910, I started searching death records with August and Mary as the parents. Very quickly I found two death records, one for Addison and one for George. Both died before they were 6,  but not as infants, so I’d like to find the cause of death, but I haven’t searched that far yet and I’m not sure I’ll be able to find the causes. Here are their indexed death records:

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I would imagine that 1879 and 1880 were tough years for the Schuck family. And, as you can tell from my story, I haven’t found the other two missing children. We’ll see what we can find in the coming weeks.

You’ll notice that the death record has a street address where the family lived when these two young boys passed away. Using Google Maps, I found the area and where their home would’ve been, but the house or building has been, sadly, torn down.

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She travelled where?

9 Jan

I recently found my great-great-grandmother residing at the YMCA in Philadelphia in 1930. She “expired” eight years later, and I’ve been feeling kind of bad that her circumstances weren’t a little better during the last decade of her life. But now I think I’ve found that maybe things were better than I was imagining. I mean, if things were so bad, would she have travelled all over the world in 1924?!

Maybe she would have. I don’t know. Maybe it was cheaper to travel back then. Or maybe I don’t know how money works.

Where did I find the information? Ancestry’s Immigration records! I found a 1924 passport for William’s ex-wife, my g-g-grandma, Marie Elizabeth (Schuck) Ziesel. Here it is:

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It is kind of a goldmine of information. For instance:

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Her son Edward went with her. And, for some reason there is a marriage date here (June 27, 1889). Now, we have her marriage date (to William) as June 26, but this says June 27. So I’ll have to get to the bottom of that.

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We have her birth information here, and William’s birth area, and that in 1924 William was living at 1626 Spruce Street in Philadelphia. That’s nice, because the census records would only show his residence in 1920 and 1930. They were divorced at this point (even though she said she was married on the passport) which explains his residence being different from hers.

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See? She is living in Wildwood, New Jersey in 1924. And she is not employed. I’ve heard that William gave her a hotel in Wildwood after the divorce, but I don’t know. Maybe this is how she made her living.

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Here we find a list of the possible destinations. I don’t know if she went to all of them. That’s a lot of places to go on a cruise, but it is totally possible. This part of the record also says that they were going for her son’s health. But then it is crossed out and something is written to the right of it (and if you can figure it out, please comment). They were on the S.S. Leviathan (kind of a neat article on the S.S. Leviathan on Wikipedia) and were leaving in May of 1924.

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Also, here’s her signature. That’s fun to have.

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Lastly, here is what I presume to be a picture of my great-uncle Edward about age 20.

I already have a lot of info on Marie, but if I didn’t, this passport would be so helpful.

I also found the passenger list where Marie and Edward are listed as passengers coming home. If what I’m reading is correct, this trip lasted from May of 1924 to October of 1924. That’s a long trip. And she doesn’t come home on the Leviathan so I’m assuming they stayed in one of the countries they travelled to. Were they visiting family? Were they really at a hospital for Edward’s health? Ahh! What were they doing? I’m nosey enough to have to know!!!

Here’s the passenger list:

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The only new information I find here is her residence address, which appears to be 222 East Maple Avenue in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Next, I need to figure out how to use land records to determine stuff. I have no idea how to do that, but when I figure it out, I’ll post about it (I know, exciting…)

About that YMCA…

2 Jan

As you may recall, I was looking at addresses on census records some time ago and found that my great-great-grandmother was on the 1930 US Census, living alone (well, not really, but without any family around that I can find), at 1421 Arch Street in Philadelphia. And, as reported, that is currently the Le Meridien Hotel and I emailed them to get little history of the building.

Screen shot 2012-12-27 at 9.27.19 AMScreen shot 2012-12-27 at 9.31.59 AM

And, as previously reported, the Le Meridien actually started as a YMCA and was eventually renovated into the nice hotel it is now…

So, my questions:

1. Was this building a YMCA or something else in 1930?

2. Was Marie staying there permanently or just visiting Philadelphia and staying there like it was a hotel (was that even possible?)?

To find these answers, I started by emailing the Le Meridien directly to see if they had any answers. I was delighted with the response.

Here is my original email:

Hello,

I am conducting some family history research and found that in 1930, my great-great-grandmother, who had been divorced years earlier, was listed as a “lodger” at 1421 Arch Street in Philadelphia. There were more than 50 people listed as lodgers at the same address.

Is this the same building as the Le Meridien? Was it a YMCA back in 1930? I am just hoping to get a little history on the building so that I can more easily picture my g-g-grandmother’s circumstances.

Thanks!

Brian

And here is the response, a few days later, from Adi:

Mr. Mickelson:

I am happy to confirm that you are correct in concluding that our building was originally opened as the Central YMCA in 1912 and continued service in this role until 1972 when it was taken over by the District Attorney’s office. We began renovating the building in 2005 and opened as a hotel in 2010. We do not have a large amount of information related to the YMCA years as most of that was removed when the DA’s office was here but I can share that our building was part of a two building complex that included what is now the Metropolitan apartment building; it is hard to know if your grandmother stayed here or there or perhaps during her time stayed at both.

You may potentially find information related to life at the Central YMCA through there archive at the University of Minnesota Library. https://www.lib.umn.edu/ymca

Enjoy the journey of discovering you Grandmothers life and please let me know if I can assist further.

Adi.

First off, how great of the hotel to have employees that are so helpful! Wonderful!

Here is what I picked up from the email:

1. Yes, in 1930, this building was the YMCA, so that is where g-g-grandma was staying.

2. I can find more info at the Univ. of Minn library (which I’ll check out when I get a second).

3. Maybe the DA’s office can help, but I doubt I’ll bug them. They are solving cold cases and stuff…

4. Maybe I’ll go stay at the Le Meridien because they were so helpful.

What I still don’t know:

1. Was Marie staying there permanently? Or just visiting?

2. Had she ever heard “YMCA” by the Village People?

More to come!

How Google Books was a game-changer…

26 Dec

I know that “game-changer” is dramatic, but, well, Google Books really was a game-changer. At least in one instance. Here, let me show you…

Early on in my research of William Ziesel, I was watching some video from the FamilySearch “learn” section.

(FamilySearch.org –> Learn –> Research Courses –> type in a word and see if there is a course about it)

I can’t recall the video, but at some point the presenter talked about Google Books. Google has been scanning books into their library for a few years now. Here’s an overview of Google Books.

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I went to Google Books and just typed in “William Ziesel”…and found that he had published a book back in the early 1900’s about gum disease (exciting, I know, but he was a dentist).

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It does look to be a stunning page-turner, and Google Books will let me read it entirely on-line, but I decided that since I was in the middle of research I didn’t have time. Oddly enough, I still haven’t read it…

There were actually numerous copies of that book on Google Books, but then I found this, and here is where Google Books was a game-changer:

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Check that out. The proceedings of a court case where my g-g-grandmother was going against my g-g-grandfather! What are the chances that of all of the court cases in the world, my ancestors’ case would be described, published, and then scanned by Google Books!? So I scanned the article and found this!

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From this I find a marriage date (which may be wrong by the way), and also that they had three children by the time they were divorced. I know, from other records, that they had a child who passed away early in life, but this record clues me in to the fact that I’m probably not missing any other living children. I also saw a divorce date, which I didn’t have.

But here was the real kicker:

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Here it mentions that William married again (which we kind of knew about) and that he and his second wife had a daughter (which we did not know about at all!). We also learn that the second marriage was in a state of disrepair, which eventually opened the door for discovering a third wife…

Since this case was decided in 1921, we know that this mystery daughter was born before 1921 and (presumably) after the divorce in 1914 (which, thankfully, was the case).

And this was the start of my research that turned up Eleanor Ziesel (1916-2008). And I’ll discuss her a little later…

Well, lookey what I found on a Passport…

25 Dec

So, in my search for William Ziesel, I was also looking for clues regarding his first wife, Marie Elizabeth Schuck. After they were divorced, apparently Marie and her son Edward took a trip overseas. That required a passport. I found it on Ancestry.com! Here’s what the indexed page looked like:

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Ok, obviously Marie’s husband wasn’t named “William William”. I don’t know why that’s on there. Lame. Either way, I checked the orignal record and the husband is “William Ziesel”. Another indexing error, I’d suppose.

Here’s what I saw when I clicked on “View Original Image”:

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On here I found that Marie listed William as her husband. I thought they were divorced by 1924 (the year she travelled). Wait, the address she lists for William is in Pennsylvania, and the address she lists for herself is Wildwood, New Jersey. I don’t know why she lists him as her husband, but there isn’t a place to write “ex-spouse” or anything like that, so maybe she just did the easiest thing. Who knows?

There was a lot of other useful info on the passport, which maybe I’ll discuss later, but I was particularly excited to see the little picture on the bottom left corner of the passport. Here, take a closer look:

Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 10.09.34 PM

Taped to the passport, and scanned into Ancestry.com is a picture! My guess is that this is Edward, Marie and William’s youngest son. I don’t know for sure, but Edward was abut 20 years old when they went on the trip and this looks like a 20 year old to me.

Just a fun little moment of coincidence from finding a passport!

Addresses on the Census Record…

24 Dec

I wish you could look up US Census records by address. Maybe you can, I don’t know. I’m going to go look it up on Google.

Ok, nope. I don’t think you can.

Here’s why I care…

At some point, William Ziesel purchased a home at 1639 Franklin Street in Philadelphia. He must have purchased the home sometime before 1900, because he is listed as living at that address in the 1900 US Census. Here’s what it looks like on the actual record:

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William’s name is underlined in blue. The street is underlined in green. The address is underlined in red. Not every census has this, and you can’t always read them. But in many cases the person doing the the census wrote the street they were working on along the right hand side of the census document. You ought to know that these addresses aren’t indexed, meaning, you’ll have to look at the actual record to see the address written along the side of the record.

He is listed at that address in a couple census records.

In the 1920 book, “Who’s Who in Philadelphia in Wartime”, William is listed, and it lists his home and dental office as 1639 N. Franklin Street.

By 1930, the census shows William and his new wife, Mary Kniveton Ziesel living at 1626 Spruce Street in Philadelphia. So, I’m guessing he moved (maybe that’s obvious). His ex-wife Marie Elizabeth is listed as living at 1421 Arch Street in Philadelphia. She is listed as having no children (they’ve all grown up and moved out) and is listed as a “Lodger” along with over 50 other lodgers. The address for Marie Elizabeth is listed along the left-hand-side just like the other census records.

I went to Google Maps and found 1421 Arch Street. It is currently the Le Meridien Hotel. It looks old (if you use the “street view” of Google Maps) so I’m guessing it is the same building. I found the website for Le Meridien and just emailed them to get a little history of the building. I did google it and found that the building started as a YMCA, so maybe my ancestor was living at the YMCA for awhile. Here is what the building looks like now:

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Ya, it looks nice now. Pretty posh. Rooms run about $150 a night. But I doubt the YMCA was like that. If this is all true, that tells me a little about her life. At one point she was a dentist’s wife with multiple properties, and by 1930 she is living alone at a YMCA. This info helps me gain a little better understanding of her circumstances.

“Mary E” or “Mary O”?

24 Dec

I’m a novice. Or, I feel like a novice as far as family history goes. And that explains why I was a little confused until I started looking at actual documents…

As far as our family is concerned, William was always married to Marie Elizabeth Schuck. Fine. But we also figured out that he was divorced and remarried at some point (actually twice, but we’ll get into that later).

I was searching on FamilySearch.org and I happened upon a Mary O. Ziesel in one of the indices. In my noviceness I thought, “Yes! I found another wife! This is easy!” Of course, I really couldn’t find another “Mary O. Ziesel” listed anywhere, ever, which got me wondering…

Here’s what it looked like:

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This is what the indexer thought they saw when they looked at the 1900 US Census for Philadelphia. It quickly dawned on me that those were the same children as Marie Elizabeth and William had. So, where is Marie E. Ziesel? Did “Mary O” do something to “Mary E” and take over as mother?

So I clicked on the “view image” link:

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I found the actual census record that has been scanned into FamilySearch and this is what I saw (and maybe you’ll see it, too):

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Fine. Let me zoom in to exactly what caught my attention…

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At first glance, it looks like “Mary O”, but if you really squint, you can see that the “O” is actually just a beautifully written “E” with a giant bottom and a little top.

So there we have it. She was “Mary E.” all along. Good.

It pays off to look at the actual record.

So what if it is indexed wrong (the person doing to looking and typing so that you can find your ancestor’s name on the computer typed in the wrong letter, etc)? Here’s a post I recently read regarding the subject…

Happy family historying…