Heinrich Ludwig Wilhelm Schröder: A Question of Paternity (52 Ancestors #43)

As I’ve mentioned before, my grandma gave me a pedigree chart years ago.  I use this chart as a road map to finding out more about my ancestors.  On this chart, my grandma gave my great-great-grandfather’s, Frederick Ludwig Schroeder, birthday as December 12, 1850 and his parents as Heinrich Ludwig Wilhelm Schröder and Louise Reese.  I have yet to figure out where she found this information.

Years ago, I entered my family tree on MyHeritage.com and, in so doing, connected with a cousin I never knew I had.  This cousin provided me with a photograph of Heinrich and his parents, Friedrich Wilhelm Schröder and Auguste Wilhelmine Besser.

Frederick Wilhelm Schroeder, Auguste Wilhelmine (Besser) Schroeder, and Heinrich Ludwig Wilhelm Schroeder (ca. 1875)

Frederick Wilhelm Schroeder, Auguste Wilhelmine (Besser) Schroeder, and Heinrich Ludwig Wilhelm Schroeder (ca. 1875)

Earlier this year, I began to get curious about Heinrich.  I looked for him on FamilySearch and found an index to his baptismal record.  He was christened on January 5, 1851.  If that date is correct and Frederick’s birth date is correct, there is no way he could be Frederick’s father!

Unfortunately, there was no image attached to the index and it didn’t give much information.  Fortunately, I work in a place that is certified to receive film on loan from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  I ordered the associated roll, Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898 (German Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898), and looked for Heinrich’s record.  My German is very basic, but I managed to find and decipher it.

Heinrich Ludwig Wilhelm Schröder, son of Friedrich Wilhelm Schröder and Auguste Wilhelmine Besser was born on December 13, 1850 in Prussia.1  Definitely not Frederick’s father.  I feel as though we must be related if we have a photograph, but I haven’t yet figured out how.  Could Heinrich and Frederick be cousins?

It’s disappointing to have to take two generations off of the tree, but I’d rather have it be right.  There is still much work to be done on Frederick to find out who his father was.  My biggest hurdle is that Frederick didn’t live very long.  Consequently, I’m a little stuck as to where to look next for evidence of his parents.


Sources

  1. “Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,” , FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NZ5S-8XJ : accessed 12 August 2015), Friedrich Wilhelm Schroeder in entry for Heinrich Ludwig Schroeder, 05 Jan 1851; citing ; FHL microfilm 1,050,751.

Harmon Wiseheart: Hard to Find (52 Ancestors #42)

Harmon Wiseheart is an ancestor for whom I’ve had to think outside the box to find records.  Some of them were easy, because Harmon/Harman and Wiseheart/Wisehart all come up in the soundex search.  After I had completed my initial run of hunting and gathering, I noticed that I was still missing Census records for him for 1830, 1840, and 1850.  Since he had married Jemima Jacobs in 1830, I could reasonably assume that he would have been head of household in those years.

I decided to look for his wife in 1850, since Jemima is a fairly uncommon name.  I didn’t turn up a Jemima Wiseheart, so I looked for Jemima Jacobs, on the off chance that her maiden name was listed.  What I found was a 17-year-old Jemima Jacobs living with an 80-year-old William Jacobs.  William is Jemima’s father, but my Jemima would have been about 40 and theoretically living with Harmon.  The 17-year-old may have been a niece.  I diligently glanced over the rest of the page and the next household was Armin and J. Wisehart.  No wonder I had such trouble!  And, I sure am lucky that they lived next door to her father.

Next, I looked for Harmon in 1840 and found him pretty quickly.  I must have just missed it in my original search.  I moved on to 1830.  After much searching, with a variety of name combinations, I finally found him.  He had been indexed on Ancestry as Harmon Jacobs.  The actual record clearly shows Harmon Wisehart, but William Jacobs is above him and William Jacobs Jr. is below him, so I can see how this might have happened.  I’m just glad I stuck with it and didn’t give up the search.  Harmon’s story is now more complete, and fairly interesting.

Harmon Wiseheart was born circa 1809 in Kentucky.2,3,4,5,6,7,8  He married Jemima Jacobs on March 14, 1830 in Jefferson County, Kentucky.1  He and Jemima had a farm next door to her brothers, Price Jacobs and William Jacobs Jr.2  In 1850, they were living near Jemima’s father, William.  Both Harmon and William were blacksmiths at this time.3  Their children are difficult to figure out, but I believe Harmon and Jemima had six chidlren:  William Henry, Sarah Katherine “Kitty”, George Allen, James Luminous, John S., Jacob E. Thomas.3,4,5,6,8  By 1860, Harmon was a farmer again.5  In 1870, Harmon was a chair maker, an occupation his sons William and John shared with him.6  Harmon died on April 28, 1876 in Jefferson County, Kentucky.  He was 67 years old.7,8

Price Jacobs and Harmon Wiseheart, circa 1850.

Price Jacobs and Harmon Wiseheart, circa 1850.


Sources

  1. “Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F43W-XVD : accessed 19 March 2015), Harman Wisehart and Jemima Jacobs, 14 Mar 1830; citing Jefferson Co., Kentucky, reference ; FHL microfilm 817,868.
  2. Ancestry.com. 1830 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.  1830; Census Place: Jefferson, Kentucky; Series: M19; Roll: 38; Page: 136; Family History Library Film:0007817.
  3. Ancestry.com. 1840 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.  Year: 1840; Census Place: Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: 115; Page: 154; Image: 312; Family History Library Film:0007828.
  4. Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.  Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: M432_205; Page: 217B; Image: 439.
  5. Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.  Year: 1860; Census Place: District 2, Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: M653_377; Page: 1093; Image: 350; Family History Library Film: 803377.
  6. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.  Year: 1870; Census Place: Floydsburg, Oldham, Kentucky; Roll: M593_493; Page: 35A; Image: 73; Family History Library Film: 545992.
  7. Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.  Kentucky. Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records – Microfilm (1852-1910). Microfilm rolls #994027-994058. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.
  8. “Harmon Wiseheart (1809 – 1876) – Find A Grave Memorial.” FindAGrave.com. Dorothy Gronefeld, 29 Oct. 2008. Web. 17 Oct. 2015. Find A Grave Memorial # 30962063.

Joseph Rakestraw: A Colorful Claim (52 Ancestors #41)

Long have I heard stories about George Washington having commissioned a weathervane from Joseph Rakestraw, my seventh great-grandfather.  If true, this would be a pretty cool addition to the family history.  But how do I prove or disprove it?

I began by looking for information on George Washington’s weathervane and any mention of a Joseph Rakestraw.  As it happens, Washington wrote a letter to a Joseph Rakestraw of Philadelphia on July 20, 1787, requesting that a weathervane be crafted.  This weathervane was to have the shape of a bird with an olive branch in its mouth.1  A weathervane of that description can be found on the cupola at Mount Vernon today.

Cupola and weathervane at Mount Vernon. Courtesy of MountVernon.org.

Cupola and weathervane at Mount Vernon. Courtesy of MountVernon.org.

Now, I have been researching Rakestraws for a long time.  In 1787, there were about five or six Joseph Rakestraws in and around Philadelphia.  Most likely all related somehow, but still, how do I know which one fashioned the weathervane?

As I continued my research, I found that the Joseph Rakestraw to whom Washington had written was not a metalworker, he was a carpenter.2,3  This narrowed it down some.  I know at least two Josephs were carpenters and one was a printer.  I am unsure about the others.  Of the two I know to be carpenters, one had moved out of Philadelphia in 1786, leaving only one that I know for sure was a carpenter.4,5  This one is the one I believe was my seventh great-grandfather.

The Joseph Rakestraw who produced the weathervane was a member of the Carpenters’ Company.  Indeed, he was president of the Company, which is probably why Washington wrote to him.  Joseph was born circa 1735 and Carpenter’s Hall records state that he died of yellow fever in 1794.6,7  The man I believe to be my seventh great-grandfather was born circa 1735 and died in 1794 at the age of 62.  He was buried on the 10th day of the 5th month in 1794.8  He was a Quaker.  Quaker records show that he was married to Rachel Ogilby (or Ogilbey) and had children:  Justinian, Elizabeth, Hannah, and Joseph.9,10

Joseph Rakestraw, who was married to Rachel Ogilby and died in 1794, was the man whom Washington commissioned to create a weathervane for Mount Vernon.  I believe this to be the same Joseph Rakestraw who is my seventh great-grandfather, but I am still trying to prove that his son Joseph and my sixth great-grandfather Joseph, who married Rebecca Gilbert, are the same person.


Sources

  1. The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition, ed. Theodore J. Crackel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008.  Accessed 07 October 2015.
  2. Manca, Joseph. George Washington’s Eye: Landscape, Architecture, and Design at Mount Vernon. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins UP, 2012. Print.
  3. Greenberg, Allan C. George Washington, Architect. London: Andreas Papadakis, 1999. Print.
  4. Walton, William. A Narrative of the Captivity and Sufferings of Benjamin Gilbert and His Family, Who Were Taken by the Indians in the Spring of 1780. Third Edition. Philadelphia: Printed by John Richards, 1848. pp. 222-223.
  5. Ancestry.com. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.  Haverford College; Haverford, Pennsylvania; Minutes, 1768-1789; Collection: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes.
  6. Moss, Roger W. “Rakestraw, Joseph (c. 1735 – D. 1794).” Philadelphia Architects and Buildings. The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, 2015. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.
  7. Karsch, Carl G. “The Yellow Fever Connection.” Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, 4 July 1995. Web. 7 Oct. 2015.
  8. Ancestry.com. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.  Haverford College; Haverford, Pennsylvania; Births and Deaths, 1754-1806; Collection: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes.
  9. Ancestry.com. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.  Swarthmore College; Swarthmore, Pennsylvania; Women’s Minutes, 1744-1765; Collection: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes; Call Number: MR-Ph 561.
  10. Ancestry.com. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.  Haverford College; Haverford, Pennsylvania; Minutes, 1768-1789; Collection: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes.

John Wiseheart: Which John Are You? (52 Ancestors #40)

I’ve been trying to source the Wiseheart line on the pedigree chart that my grandma gave me.  It’s been very difficult.  I can get it back to my third great grandfather, but proving his connection to the man that I believe is his father is, so far, impossible.  The pedigree chart says that my fourth great grandfather is John Wiseheart (1775-1837), who was married to Catharine Razor (1787-1850).  John was born in Pennsylvania.1

Here’s where my biggest problem comes in.  There were two John Wisehearts (or Wisehart) born in Pennsylvania in 1775, at least.  But of the the two I’ve come across, is he John, son of John, son of John, or John, son of Hans Nicholas, son of Henrich?  The only thing I’ve been able to find for John Wiseheart and Catherine Razor is a marriage record, which does not give his father’s name.

The only thing I have been able to find about John is that he married Catharine Razor in Jefferson County, Kentucky on October 9, 1798.1,2,3  According to the transcription on Ancestry.com, Catharine was born in 1787, which would have made her eleven years old.1  Now, this isn’t totally unheard of, but it seems highly unlikely to me, as the print index done by The Filson Historical Society does not list consent given.  That would have been a requirement for an eleven-year-old.  Having read some old handwriting myself, I think it’s far more likely that a 6 looked like an 8 or a 1 looked like a 7, or some combination thereof.  John Razor was the bondsman.3  Perhaps trying to find John Razor and Catharine Razor on a record together will yield some information.

In the end, all I really know about John Wiseheart is that his wedding anniversary is in two days.


Sources

  1. Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.  Source number: 4178.015; Source type: Family group sheet, FGSE, listed as parents; Number of Pages: 1.
  2. Dodd, Jordan. Kentucky Marriages, 1802-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997.
  3. Dawson, Nelson L., ed. Jefferson County, Virginia-Kentucky, Early Marriages, Book I, 1781-July, 1826. Owensboro, KY: Cook-McDowell Publications, 1980. Print. p. 32.

Louise Seewer: Just Your Average Female Farmer (52 Ancestors #39)

Louise Seewer turned out to be an interesting ancestor to research.  I began looking at her because I was at a loss as to whom I should write about next.  Being the left-brained person that I am, I printed a fan chart of my ancestors and marked off all of the ones about whom I had already written.  I then picked the next person closest to me on the chart, thinking that person would theoretically be easiest to research.  Louise Seewer was the lucky winner.

I began as I always do, by looking to see what records I already had for her.  I had Grandma’s pedigree chart, a few census, a marriage record, and a printout of her FindAGrave.com memorial.  From all of this, I knew that Louise was born in Switzerland on October 26, 1879.1,2,4,5,6,7,8,9,11,12  Her parents were Johann Jakob and Lucia (Gander) Seewer.1,2,9,11,12  She came to America in 1881.1,2,4,5,6,7,8  Louise married Edward Von Allmen on October 29, 1902 in Louisville, Kentucky.3  They had eight children:  Louise Marie, John Edward, Theodore Adrian, Frederick, Victor Emmanuel, Robert Alfred, Margaret Elizabeth, and Lena Mae.5,6,7,8,9,11  Louise died on September 22, 1949.9,11,12

Edward and Louise Von Allmen

Edward and Louise (Seewer) Von Allmen, 1902.

Louise (Seewer) and Edward Von Allmen, circa 1930. Photo courtesy of Douser on FindAGrave.com.

Louise (Seewer) and Edward Von Allmen, circa 1930. Photo courtesy of Douser on FindAGrave.com.

A former neighbor of the Von Allmens told me that she remembers “old Mrs. Von Allmen” delivering milk from their dairy farm.  I began to get curious about her, so I examined the census more carefully.  In 1910, 1930, and 1940, her occupation is “none.”  However, in 1920, she is listed as a farmer.  I thought about how unusual it is to see any occupations for females other than “none,” “housekeeper,” “servant,” “teacher,” “nurse,” or “seamstress.”  I looked into it and it turns out that it really isn’t all that unusual for 1920.

At this point, I tried to find Louise in the 1900 Census.  She wasn’t married yet and she was no longer living with her parents.  I found a Louisa Seever living in the household of Laf Joseph in Louisville, Kentucky.4  Her occupation was “servant.”  As Louise married in Louisville in 1902, I believe this is her.

While I was looking for her in the census, I accidentally stumbled upon her immigration record!  I had looked for it before, when I researched her father, and couldn’t find it.  I had been looking for Johann Seewer.  It was under Jacob Sever.  Soundex just couldn’t pick it up.  When I looked for Louise, I looked under both Seewer and Seever.  That’s when it turned up.

Louise came over with her parents in April of 1881 on the S.S. Labrador.  She was listed as an infant.1,2,10

S.S. Labrador Passenger List, April 1881

S.S. Labrador Passenger List, April 1881

Image from Ships of Our Ancestors by Michael J. Anuta, 1983.

Image from Ships of Our Ancestors by Michael J. Anuta, 1983.

I love the ancestors that lead to breakthroughs.  These are the days that make it all worthwhile.

As I sat down to write about Louise, I realized I had no documentation to confirm her death date.  I only had the pedigree chart and FindAGrave.com.  Not good enough.  I managed to find an obituary and a death record for Louise, with conflicting information.

The obituary, which appeared in the New Albany Tribune on Thursday, September 22, 1949, says that she “died at 5 a.m. Thursday,” meaning that morning, the 22nd.11  The death record says that she died at 5:00 am on September 23, 1949.12  So, either the paper miraculously reported her death a day early, the coroner pronounced her dead a day after she actually died, or whoever was writing the record had his days mixed up.  I’m guessing the latter, though she lived out in the county and the second option is feasible.

Louise died on September 22nd, but September 23rd is the commonly accepted date of death.  Why?  Because vital records are more official than newspaper articles.  After all, we all know newspapers get things wrong sometimes.  But in all truth, vital records can be, and often are, wrong too.  It’s on us to figure out what really happened.  This is a case in point why one source document just isn’t enough.


Sources

  1. “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVSK-TTLJ : accessed 13 September 2015), Louise Sever, 1881; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm .
  2. “United States Germans to America Index, 1850-1897,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KD75-TCL : accessed 13 September 2015), Louise Sever, 13 Apr 1881; citing Germans to America Passenger Data file, 1850-1897, Ship Labrador, departed from Havre, arrived in New York, New York, New York, United States, NAID identifier 1746067, National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
  3. “Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F43W-8XC : accessed 15 July 2015), Edward Von Allmen and Louise Sewer, 29 Oct 1902; citing Louisville, Kentucky, reference ; FHL microfilm 826,072.
  4. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.  Year: 1900; Census Place: Louisville Ward 5, Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: 530; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0056; FHL microfilm: 1240530.
  5. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.  Year: 1910; Census Place: Albermarle, Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: T624_483; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0026; FHL microfilm: 1374496.
  6. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.  Year: 1920; Census Place: New Albany, Floyd, Indiana; Roll: T625_429; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 62; Image: 15.
  7. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.  Year: 1930; Census Place: Lafayette, Floyd, Indiana; Roll: 587; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0006; Image:626.0; FHL microfilm: 2340322.
  8. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.  Year: 1940; Census Place: Lafayette, Floyd, Indiana; Roll: T627_1043; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 22-6.
  9. “Louise Seewer Von Allmen (1879 – 1949).”FindAGrave.com. N.p., 21 Jan. 2010. Web. 27 May 2011. Memorial# 46948695.
  10. Anuta, Michael J. Ships of Our Ancestors. Menominee, MI: Ships of Our Ancestors, 1983. Print. p.158.
  11. “Deaths (Obituaries)” New Albany Tribune 22 September 1949, Thursday ed.: 1. Print. column 3.  Accessed 22 Sep. 2015, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room.
  12. Floyd County Health Department. Microfilm. Floyd County, Indiana Deaths (1943-1950): book H-11, p.62. Retrieved 22 Sep 2015 from Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room.