Don’t Stop at One

My family tree includes a large German heritage that settled in Baltimore in the mid-1800s. As such, when doing newspaper research I often consult Der Deutsche Correspondent, hosted on Chronicling America, for my German folks.

I outlined using Chronicling America in a previous post “Are You Using Chronicling America? If You Had Germans in Baltimore, MD…You Should!

Here is yet one more example of why you should look in multiple papers for news items.

Back in 2013 I came across the following article in the Baltimore Sun about my 2nd great grandmother.

“Fell Through a Skylight.” The Sun (1837-1992), Aug 10, 1875, pp. 4, column 4. ProQuest, <https://search.proquest.com/docview/534228488?accountid=34685.&gt;

This article has pretty good detail of the event.  There is no more to find out. Or at least that is what I thought at the time.

Since my Italian immigrant 2nd great-grandfather ran a fruit shop, I had come across numerous advertisements in Der Deutsche Correspondent for his shop. So numerous in fact that I thought that I was beginning to think that was all I would find.  I persisted and it paid off!

I eventually found the article below.

Der Deutsche correspondent. (Baltimore, Md.), 10 Aug. 1875, pp 4, column 5. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045081/1875-08-10/ed-1/seq-4/&gt;

I don’t read German, but I was able to pick out the address in the article and knew this was probably my 2nd great grandmother.  Checking the date of the newspaper mentions I had for her from the Baltimore Sun, I realized this was probably the same article I found there, just in German.  But, I saw what looked like the mention of a doctor, promptly posted to the Genealogy Translations group on Facebook and impatiently waited about 15 whole minutes before I got a translation back.

“Dangerous fall through a skylight –
Mrs. Pisani, wife of Massimo Pisani, owner of the bakery
(confectionery bakery) at 141 West Baltimore street, went
on the roof of the building shortly before 12 noon, to
check if it was ok to hang the wash up to dry. As she was
talking to the maid about this, the wind blew the hat from
her head; while she was running after it to catch it she
stepped on a 3 foot by 4 foot skylight that was not strong
enough to support her. The glass broke with a loud crack and
she fell from a height of about 15 feet into the store below,
partially on to the desk at which her husband was working.
Her husband was not injured so he was able to come to her aid
immediately. Coincidentally Dr. W. D. Booker of 143 North
Eutaw street was passing the store; he was called inside to
offer medical assistance. She had a cut on her leg, a sprained
ankle and a cut on the back of her head. The injuries are not
serious and she will soon be well again.”

This version of the event answers one question I had when I found the article in the Sun…”what the heck was she doing on the roof?”  I also get a visual of her running across the roof to catch her hat.  And they had a maid? There are some discrepancies. Did she fall into some shelves? Or did she fall onto Massimo’s desk? Either way, it seems she was very lucky that she wasn’t hurt worse.  She could have broken her neck and died, or gotten a deadly infection from the cuts. As this event happened 15 years before the birth of my great-grandfather, it could have drastically changed our family.

After looking at a map, although my 2nd great-grandmother was a German immigrant and I had found several members of her family in Der Deutsche Correspondent, I believe this event was covered in the German paper because it was unusual.  And because of proximity.  The location of the shop at 141 W. Baltimore Street is now 209 E. Baltimore Street, 2 blocks from the location of the paper’s building at E. Baltimore and Post Office Avenue (now Customs House Avenue).

I imagine that at that time, the event would have attracted some attention and word may have gotten to the paper’s office just down the street. Maybe a reporter picked up pencil and paper and ran the 2 blocks to get “the scoop”.

Or maybe not.  Either way, between the two articles I now have a richer description of what happened on the day my 2nd great-grandmother fell through a skylight.

New On-Line Database for New Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore

Thanks to a demo last night at one of the genealogy group I belong to I learned of a great new resource for Maryland.

If you have ancestors in New Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore, there is great news for you!  There is now a burial database available for FREE!

Let’s take a really quick tour.

To access the burial database head over to https://www.newcathedralcemetery.org/.  Next, on the top menu bar on the right side of the page, select Genealogy>Research Your Past.

NewCathedralSearch

Next, scroll down to the Free Basic Search.

NewCathedralSearch2
Free database search at http://www.newcathedralcemetery.org

Now you are ready to search.

NewCathedralSearch3
Search box at http://www.newcathedralcemetery.org

Plug in your names and see the results.  In this example I just searched on the Last Name Henry and got the following results:

NewCathedralSearch4

Some things to mention:

  • You will notice in the image above the first name in the list is Edward L Henry.  In reality the first listing is for Albert J Henry.  However, the column headers are static, they do not move when you scroll the list.  So, when scrolling, be sure to scroll all the way up!
  • Notice there is more information to the right.  I know that because of the scroll bar.

NewCathedralSearch5

NewCathedralSearch6

  • Currently it does not look like wildcards work when searching.
  • You can only search by name, not by Section, Lot, etc.
  • It looks like you can copy the results and paste them into a spreadsheet (YAY!)

Remember to pay attention to those in the same lots, even if they have a different name.  Maybe a search of the Baltimore Sun for those people will yield some new information.

Although I have not spent an extended amount of time searching the database (yet), I am excited to get in there and dig in.

So, search the new database and have fun!

 

I scream, you scream!

I had a little bit of genealogy serendipity happen today.

Back story – Recently while doing some collateral research on a line on my maternal grandmother’s side, I found a 1st cousin 5 times removed, a man named Jacob Fussell, Jr.  Jacob, a Quaker, was the first ice cream manufacturer in the United States.  His business started in Seven Valleys, York County, Pennsylvania in 1851 after an older Quaker asked him to take on a business that he had acquired by way of a defaulted loan.  In 1854 Jacob moved his business to Baltimore City, Maryland and eventually expanded to several cities in the U.S.

Two weeks ago I did a presentation at a local genealogy discussion group that I belong to that included some information on Jacob.  On my slideshow I included a picture of Jacob Fussell’s ice cream wagon that I had found on Google.  During the presentation, some discussion ensued about the ice cream cart and where was it today.  After saying that I had gotten the picture from Google and hadn’t actually taken it, a few people speculated on where the cart may be.  Someone said that they thought they had seen it at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Also, on an unrelated but related note – I belong to the Maryland Historical Society, with a joint membership to the Maryland Genealogical Society.  I needed to renew my membership and while in the process of renewing on through the internet the other evening I was interrupted and never completed the process.

Now on to this morning – I work 3 days a week in downtown Baltimore, about a half mile from the Maryland Historical Society.  Since this morning was so nice and I usually try to get a lunchtime walk in on nice days AND I hadn’t renewed my membership, I decided to kill 2 birds and walk to the Historical Society and renew in person.

I walked in the door and look what was parked in the lobby:

Jacob Fussell Ice Cream Cart at the Maryland Historical Society

WOW, I had chills!  I also lost my head because in my excitement I failed to read the placard that you see in front of the cart.  I found out that the cart had in fact been at the Museum of Industry, on loan from the Historical Society.

Luckily I will have the opportunity to go back (probably tomorrow) to read it and snap a picture or two.

On a side note, in 1951 the Historical Society erected a plaque at the site of his factory at Hillen and Exeter Streets.  In looking at Google Street View I couldn’t locate the plaque on any of the buildings that still stand at the intersection.  So, I am trying to find out if the building is still standing and if it isn’t, what happened to the plaque??  I talked to a couple people at the society today and the consensus is that it unfortunately probably ended up in a dumpster.  I hope not.

Now, if Jacob’s ice cream cart could lead me to his father-in-law’s burial location I would be eternally grateful!

Are You Using Chronicling America? If You Had Germans in Baltimore, MD…You Should!

One FREE resource that has been very valuable to me is from the Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers site.  This post will cover some basic information for the site and an example of the value of using the site.

If you aren’t familiar, Chronicling America provides information and content for historic newspapers in the United States.

Information about newspapers – One of the cool things on the site is the U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present.  This allows you to identify U.S. newspapers by locations and dates AND how they may be accessed.  As of the writing of this post, there are 153,913 newspaper titles listed.  The directory search allows you to search by various fields such as state, date, language, keywords, etc.

For example, I want to find information on what German newspapers were published in Maryland.  I have a lot of German ancestors that immigrated to Maryland and many remained in Baltimore.
I fill out the search form as such:

Chronicling America Newspaper Directory Search for German Newspapers in Maryland

Pressing “Search” gives me a list of results:

Chronicling America Newspaper Directory Search Results for German Newspapers in Maryland

Clicking on any of the newspapers in the list will provide a page with tabs that have information on when the paper was published, where it was published, how often it was published and where it can be found:

About Täglicher Baltimore Wecker. (Baltimore [Md.]) 1867-1877 
Libraries that Have It: Täglicher Baltimore Wecker. (Baltimore [Md.]) 1867-1877

Content – The other cool thing on the site is the content.  They have free, yes FREE digitized historic newspapers from 1836 to 1922.
Disclaimer:  They do not have all newspapers, nor do they always have entire published date range for a particular paper.  As of the writing of this post, there are 10,610,118 digitized pages available.

For example, I want to see what digitized German newspapers are available for Maryland on the site.
I fill out the search form on the “All Digitized Newspapers 1836-1922″ tab”

All Digitized Newspapers 1836-1922 search

The results show that there are 2 newspapers available:

All Digitized Newspapers 1836-1922 search results

Next, we will look at an example of why I LOVE this site for my research.  Let it be noted that I am lucky in that “Der Deutsche correspondent” covers the location and time period that I am interested in.

As I said previously, I have many German immigrant ancestors that came into Baltimore and decided to stay in Baltimore City, so it is very possible that “Der Deutsche correspondent” may have articles about my ancestors.

So for my example we are going to look at my 3rd great grandfather Heinrich Bensel.
I first found the exact death date for Heinrich in June of 2004.  I narrowed his death down by searching using the U.S. Federal Census and the Baltimore City Directories and headed to the local library to search microfilmed newspapers starting in 1898.  Finally in the July 19, 1898 edition of the “Baltimore News“.  I found 2 articles.

On page 1 was a simple death notice that read:
BENSEL – Died. Monday, at 6:15 P.M., after a short illness, HENRY BENSEL, aged eighty years and five days.
The funeral will take place from the residence of his daughter, Elizabeth Enders, Wednesday, 20th inst., at 3 o’clock.

On page 11 I found a more extensive obituary that read:
Henry Bensel
Mr. Henry Bensel died yesterday morning at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Enders, 2120 East Fayette street. He was born July 13, 1818, in Germany. He emigrated to this country in 1847, two years later marrying Miss Mary Stocker. He was a skillful carpenter, at one time being in the active service of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad until he was put on the pension list. His wife died on April 2 of this year. Two children survive him. They are John Bensel and Mrs. Enders.

A few months later I went to the Maryland State Archives and got his death certificate.  There wasn’t much more information except that his “short illness” was thermic fever that he had for 4 days.

That is all the information I knew until I decided to search “Der Deutsche correspondent”. I searched Maryland papers for “Heinrich Bensel” and came up with several results around the date of his death.
The first one was on July 19, 1898, page 6, column 4:

“Der Deutsche correspondent” July 19, 1898, page 6, column 4

Well, the first problem is that I do not know German,  Luckily, the site allows several options for seeing the page:

First, I saved and filed the PDF file to my computer.
Next, to try and “read” what this says I used the “Text” option.  This displays the page in OCR text:

Then I searched the page for “Bensel” so I could find the section that had the article:

Next I highlighted the area of the text I wanted and did a Ctrl +C to copy the text.
Now I head to Google Translate and paste my OCR text and see what happens:

Google Translate results

You will notice that because of the line breaks in the original, some of the translation doesn’t work.  By editing the German side and taking out the breaks I get a better result:

Google Translate results after editing

You will see that this article does not give me any more information than I already had.  Actually, there is some conflicting information.  Did he come to Baltimore in 1842 like the German paper said, or 1847 like the American paper said?
Further searching found an article about his funeral in the July 21, 1898 edition on page 6, column 8:

“Der Deutsche correspondent” July 21, 1898, page 6, column 8

I tried the same process for translating the article in Google translate and no matter how much massaging I did I just couldn’t get a good translation.  Since I don’t read German, I cannot recognize all of the OCR mistakes that the article may contain.

No worries, there are plenty of resources to help with the translation.
My first stop will be social media.  In my case, that worked.  I took a screenshot of the article and headed over to the Genealogy Translation group on Facebook.  This is a closed group but it has been so very helpful to me in translating documents.
I posted my request at 4:40 PM on March 14 and had a translation at 8:13 PM:

The burial of Mr. Heinrich Bensel, who passed from this life on Monday at the age of 80 years in the home of his daughter, Mrs. Elisabeth Enders, 2120 East Fayette St., occurred yesterday afternoon from the mortuary to the Loudon Park Cemetery. Pastor/Reverend John Hörr from St Martus Church on Broadway and Fairmount Avenue officiated, and six grand children of the deceased acted as pallbearers: Friedrich, Johann and Wilhelm Enders and Harry, Johann and Louis Bensel. Mr. Bensel was born on 18th July 1818 in Lobenhausen near Ulrichstein, Grand Duchy of Hessen and came to New York in 1847, and shortly thereafter to Baltimore. Two years later he married Miss Marie Stocker. The marriage produced 8 children of which two, Mrs. Elisabeth Enders and Mr. John Bensel, are still living. Also surviving the deceased are 21 grandchildren. His wife died on the 2nd of April of this year.

This gave me so much more information to start looking at.  I now have a church name to search records for, children to double-check to make sure I have them all, grandchildren to check (names and number of grandchildren).  I also have an immigration city and and location of birth.  I always assumed he came directly to Baltimore and I could never find his immigration information,  Now I know I need to check New York.  This article is the only place that gave me an exact location of birth.

Had I not been able to get an answer within the translation group, my next step would have been to reach out with local societies that I belong to to see if anyone within the society could help.  I have had success with that in the past.

So, in summary:
1. Check out Chronicling America.
2. For your immigrant ancestors, take some time to investigate foreign language newspapers.
3. See if Google Translate can help with foreign language translation.
4. Seek help with translations from social media or local societies.

Happy searching!!

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.

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…