Tuesday’s Tip: Why Did Everyone Move in 1886?

When I first started researching in the early 2000s I spent hours plowing through microfilm of the Baltimore City Directories at my local library.  One thing I noticed when I put my information into my spreadsheet was that all my Baltimore City ancestors moved in 1886.  And most of them just moved to another house on the same street.  It was weird!

I also thought that there was some kind of weird printing issue in the 1887 directory.  I couldn’t understand why there were numbers before AND after the street names.  For example, my 4th great grandfather’s widow’s address was listed as 1217 e Chase 243.

Then one day in 2008 I decided to do some research and figure out what was going on.  I learned that most of my ancestors didn’t move (although one set of 2nd great grandparents did in fact move that year), the streets of Baltimore were renumbered in September-December 1886.  The new system used Charles Street as the new divider between east and west (it had been Calvert Street) and implemented “hundred blocks”.

Once I understood the changes I FINALLY stopped trying to figure out where my 2nd great grandfather’s produce store was at 141 West Baltimore Street in current day Baltimore.  Now I knew that it was at 209 East Baltimore Street and he occupied the same building from 1875 until 1899.

For those looking for more information on the renumbering, the 1887 R.L. Polk City Directory is a great resource because it included the new numbers as well as the old numbers (hence the 1217 e Chase 243 for my 4th great grandfather’s widow).  The new address was 1217 e Chase, the old address 243 e Chase.  The directory also included a complete listing of the renumbering starting on Page 45 of the directory.

As of today, I could not find a complete 1887 R.L. Polk Baltimore City Directory on-line for free.  However, the Baltimore City Archives has a PDF of just the street renumbering information from the 1887 directory here.
Fold3.com has the entire 1887 directory included in its records but you need a subscription for access.
***Note that there is an 1887 Business Directory free on archive.org but that does not include the renumbering information.***
For print and microfilm versions of the 1887 R.L. Polk Baltimore City Directory, go to the Baltimore City Archives City Directory listings.

Mappy Monday: Maryland Map, City Directory and Land Resources

Maps and Land Records are my favorite records to search.  Since I had many ancestors that lived in Baltimore City, Maryland, city directories are invaluable for me as well.

If you are researching in the state of Maryland, you may not be aware that there are several on-line resources (mostly free) for Maryland.  This list is not all inclusive, but a list of my favorite and most helpful resources.

https://mdlandrec.net – Maryland Land Records
All land records are available with a free account.  There is a learning curve.
**Once you get your account and log in, be sure to read the “Help” menu for hints on using the system.

http://planning.maryland.gov/finderOnline/finderonline.html – FINDER Online
Web based GIS system hosted by the Maryland Department of Planning.  Provides property maps and parcel information.  Also links to the Real Property Data Search (below).

http://sdat.dat.maryland.gov/RealProperty/Pages/default.aspx – Real Property Data Search
Provides current property information from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.  Very helpful when tracing a property backwards from the present day.
**Read the “Guide to searching the database”

plats.net – Digital Image Reference System for Land Survey, Subdivision, and Condominium Plats
Access to various plats (many times referenced in deeds from Maryland Land Records.
**Read the “Beginners Guide”

http://mdhistory.net/msaref07/html/index.html – Papenfuse Map Collection

http://www.prattlibrary.org/research/database/ –  Enoch Pratt databases
An Enoch Pratt library card is required for access to Sanborn maps through ProQuest.

https://www.fold3.com/browse/232/hdGkjD9D9 – Fold3.com Baltimore City Directories
Requires a fold3.com account.  (If you do not have an account, be sure to check your library or society to see if they have institutional access.)

http://baltimorecityhistory.net/baltimore-city-directories/ – Baltimore City Archives listing of Baltimore City Directories (electronic or otherwise).

http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/ – Newberry Library Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
**Unfortunately the interactive maps are currently unavailable but the site does have a downloadable KMZ file that can be used with Google Maps and Google Earth.

As always, please be sure to read the copyright information for usage restrictions.  If you find a resource particularly helpful, also look for a “Donate” button.  This helps get more of these great resources on-line.

Sibling Saturday: Henry Sisters

I have Henrys on both sides of my family (unrelated).  Here is my 2nd great-grandmother Charlotte Virginia Blatchley Henry and her daughters Mary Bessie Henry Cantville, Florence Edna Henry Penn, and my great-grandmother Ruth Augusta Henry Pisani. They had another sister Edna Scholl Henry who died shortly after her first birthday (and 3 months before my great grandmother’s birth).

The photo is undated but the location given is the “Henderson St home”.  Henderson Street no longer exists, it current location would be Venable Avenue, Waverly in Baltimore, Maryland.

(L to R) Bessie Henry Cantville, Charlotte Blatchley Henry, Ruth Henry Pisani, Florence Henry Penn

Friday’s Faces From the Past: Mystery Relatives?

When I was given a box of old pictures, news clippings and obituaries that belonged to my late maternal grandmother, with help from relatives we were able to identify most people in all the pictures.

Everything that was in the box involved family members, the majority from her parents’ families.  So the surnames involved in other items in the box be Pisani, Bull, Vicari, Henry, Epple, and Blatchley
The picture below is a complete mystery.  There is nothing written on the back.  I have sent this picture out to extended family members and no one has had any idea who these two children are.

Mystery Children

Hopefully one day I will solve this mystery.

Those Places Thursday: Great Seats to the Game?

In researching my Epple family, I have learned through the Baltimore City Directories that my 3rd great-grandmother lived at 136 Little (or South) Green Street in Baltimore City, Maryland for from about the late 1860s until her death in 1883.  I knew from a Maryland Real Property search that the house (and street) do not exist anymore. 
A closer look allowed me to find the 1879/1880 Sanborn map of the area on the Maryland State Archives website.

136 Little Green Street (Red Box) from Papenfuse: Atlases and Maps of Baltimore City and County, 1876-1915 & Block Maps as of April, 2005.  Image: bc_ba_atlases_1876_1915-0638

From my knowledge of Baltimore City I knew that the present day area would be around Camden Yards.
But I wanted to know exactly where.

I was able to overlay that map onto Google Earth and low and behold the house was on the current 3rd base side of Oriole Park.

136 Little Green Street (Red Box) on Google Earth with Sanborn Map overlayed.
136 Little Green Street (Red Box) on Google Earth.

Being a huge baseball fan, I thought this was pretty cool!

Epple Go-Over – Part One and a Half

In Part One of my Epple Go-Over I looked at the information I had in my database regarding Rose Epple and her family.  In doing so, I realized that much of the information I had was either unsourced or improperly sourced.  So I spent some time going back and re-sourcing the census information I had and re-examining that info to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

In addition, I pulled out what I had for Rose’s siblings.  Since I am dealing with an immigrant family, anything I can find on the siblings may help link the family back to Germany.
As I pulled out various documents I have collected through the years, both electronic and paper, I realized that I already have a lot of clues that I missed the first time around.

So…that is why I had to have a Part One and a Half.
I have been busy organizing and pulling all the clues out of those documents so I can come up with a clear set of goals for my Epple research.
Stay tuned…

Tuesday’s Tip – Read Source Introductions

I have been looking for one of my ancestors for years in the 1800 Census.  He lived in Baltimore County, Maryland.  It seemed as though the entire county was missing from every source I looked at.

Well, I finally discovered why.

During a trip to my local public library I pulled the book “Maryland 1800 Census Index” from the shelf.  I decided to read the introductory pages…and there it was:

Jackson, Ronald Vern., and Gary Ronald Teeples. Maryland 1800 Census Index. Bountiful, UT: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1973. Print.

So, read the introductions of sources to find out what is and what isn’t there.  I have known this tip but obviously haven’t followed it.  Maybe if I write it down I will now practice what I preach.

Sibling Saturday: My Grandmother and her siblings – 1925

Charles, Adelina and Ruth Pisani

One of my favorite pictures of my grandmother and her siblings.  This picture was taken in 1925, probably at the farm they lived on in White Hall, Baltimore County, Maryland. They were the children of Angelo Louis Pisani and Ruth Augusta Henry.
Charles Angelo Pisani, a World War II veteran, was born on 1 JUL 1919 in Baltimore City, Maryland.  He died in White Hall, Baltimore County, Maryland on 12 MAR 1955 in a motorcycle accident.
Margaret Adelina Pisani Bull Wilson (my grandmother), was born on 14 JAN 1921 in White Hall, Baltimore County, Maryland.  She married and became a mother at 16, lost that son at 17 and then had 3 daughters.  She died 27 MAR 2002 in Hampstead, Carroll County, Maryland.
Ruth Louise Pisani Allen was born 8 JUL 1922 in White Hall, Baltimore County, Maryland.  She married her husband right before he went overseas in World War II.  They had one son.  She passed away on 23 AUG 2015 at the age of 93.

Epple Go-Over – Part One

In light of Thomas MacEntee’s “Genealogy Do-Over” (which I have been watching since its inception but haven’t jumped into), I decided to do a “Go-Over” for some of the families in my tree.  I decided to pick families that I haven’t really pursued seriously since I did the initial research on them.

One family in my tree that makes me scratch my head endlessly are my 2nd great-grandparents Massimo Hazeltime Pisani (Sr.) and Rosine Margarethe Epple.  Both were immigrants, he from Italy in the late 1850s and she from Germany in 1852.  I still have many questions about Massimo but I decided to first take another look at his wife’s family.

My original research on this family started in 2003, when I first caught the genealogy bug.  Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away in 2002, so I never got the chance to talk to her about the family.  So, I talked to my mother, my great Aunt Ruth Pisani Allen and my great aunt’s cousin.  I inherited 3 pictures of Rose that my grandmother had.  All 3 photos were from after she married my 2nd great-grandfather.  Only one picture had any date on it and another was the only picture that had any names associated with the people in the picture.  Beyond the pictures, after those conversations, I had names, birth dates, death dates and spouses for three of Rose and Massimo’s five children.  I knew a couple places in Baltimore that they lived and that Massimo was a fruit dealer and confectioner.  But what I knew about my 2nd great-grandmother herself was that her name was Rose Epple, and she was born in Germany.  That was it.  No dates, no parents.

So I started my research.  It looks like I didn’t source the information I have very well but as of today the information I have for Rose is:
Rosine Margarethe Epple was born in Germany (presumably Waldenbuch) and came to the United States, more specifically Baltimore, on 29 November 1852 when she was 3.  She arrived with her parents (Johan Georg-47 and Catherine-37) and 2 sisters (Albertina-13 and Paulina-5).  The Wuerttemberg, Germany Emigration Index and the Baltimore, Passenger and Immigration list (the ship name was Bessel) as sources for this.
Once in Baltimore, 1860 census information lists the family (minus Albertina) in the 14th Ward of Baltimore City along with 2 more sons (Lewis, who is actually a daughter Louise-7 and August-3) who were born in Maryland (presumably Baltimore).

I was unable to find Rose in the 1870 census but I did find her mother and 3 of her siblings. Her father Johann (or John) seems to have died, her mother Catherine (listed as being 26 years old) appears to have remarried a John Gerth (a 45 year old laborer who was born in Prussia).  Pauline (23), Louisa (14) and August (12) are also in the household in the 16th Ward of Baltimore City, Maryland.

By the 1880 census Rose had married Massimo and they were enumerated at 141 West Baltimore Street in the 9th Ward of Baltimore City, Maryland.  Also in the household was M. Fisher, a 39 year old single female, listed as a servant.

The 1900 and 1910 census’ list Rose and Massimo living in the 9th District of Baltimore County, on York Road. 

In the 1920 census finds Rose and Massimo living with their daughter and son-in-law Adelina and Louis Vicari.  Rose is listed as immigrating in 1852, Massimo in 1858.  Both are naturalized, with a date of 1885 for Massimo.

The 1930 census lists Rose as a widow (Massimo died in 1924), renting part of a house at 517 Turnpike Road in the 27th Ward of Baltimore City, Maryland.  She is listed as first being married at age 20, immigrating in 1853, and being naturalized.

“Rosey M. Pisani” died on 4 Oct 1937 at 500 Murdock Road in Anneslie, Baltimore County, Maryland.  She died of cardio-renal disease.  Her birth date is listed as 23 May 1849 and she is listed as being born in Stuggart, Germany.  Her father’s name is not supplied and her mother’s name is listed as “Katherine J. Epple”.  The informant for the information was her daughter “Mrs. Vicari” who lists her address as 500 Murdock Road.  Wm. Cook was the undertaker.  Rose was buried on 7 Oct 1937 at Western Cemetery in Baltimore City, Maryland.  It is also important to note that in the area of the deceased name, “Katherine Jacobina” was originally written and then struck through and “Rosey M.” written above.

So now I want to start filling in some of the information about Rose’s early life.  I also want to make sure I go back and source all the bits and pieces I already have. 
I have collected several newspaper articles, city directory pages, random documents that I haven’t sourced, or even organized.  I plan to go through all that information as well and see what I can learn from all the “stuff” I already have.

Stay tuned for more!