Sunday, August 9, 2015

Follow up on Stephen Brennan

In a previous post on Stephen Brennan I mentioned he was one of my “brick walls”.  I am happy to report that there is now a chink in the wall. 

Recently released its indexed collection U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 which has Social Security Applications and Claims from 1936-2007.  I looked up Stephen Francis Brennan to see what I might find.  I found Steve Frances Brennan.

So I sent for the original document.  It only took about two weeks to receive it.  It confirms everything I have on Stephen to date with the only new information being his parents’ names.  Interesting to see his actual signature.

Of course, ever since I found this clue, I have been looking for William and Margaret Brennan with the known children.  I have searched every known combination with and without surnames.   Marion had mentioned that there were Brennan relatives near West Chicago, Illinois.  I found a William and Margaret in the US Census in Winfield which is near West Chicago, but am not able to confirm they are “my” William and Margaret Brennan. Another brick wall to chip away at… 

According to Marion (Stephen’s daughter) this picture is of Margaret (perhaps know as Maggie?) and her daughter Mary.

Anyone recognize them?  Please let me know!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Benjamin Petrich and Pauline Stroech

Will the real Benjamin Petrich please come forward?

I have a 3rd great uncle named Benjamin Petrich (sometimes found as Gottlieb Benjamin) who is the brother to my 2nd great-grandmother Susanna Petrich Stroschein.  He was also married to my 3rd great-aunt Julianna (sister to my 2nd great-grandfather Friedrich Primas).  Are you confused yet? He and I are related two different ways.

Benjamin has been easy to find in on-line research as he left many children and grandchildren in the USA.  The descendants’ story was that he had been married twice in Prussia before coming to the USA and marrying a third time.  My 3rd Great-Aunt Julianna (Primas) was his first wife.

Pauline Stroech was married to Benjamin Petrich and had several children with him before they immigrated to the USA.  For many years, I thought she was the second wife to Benjamin.  Working with a Petrich cousin in Germany caused me to re-evaluate this relationship.

When my great-grandfather Paul Primas came to the US in 1883 he arrived with a Benjamin Petrich, aged 40.  I assumed this was his uncle – his father’s sister’s husband (Gottlieb Benjamin from above).  Now I believe it was his uncle – his mother’s brother (Johann Benjamin Petrich).

Ship Manifest showing Benjamin Petrich and Paul Primas

I have noticed in my German ancestors they re-use names a lot as well as being called by their “middle names” in daily use.  Hence Johann Benjamin was called Benjamin and that is how I find him in the records.  Johann is only found in his baptismal record.

Based on the records I had found, I created this comparison chart:

Comparing the Benjamins

Upon further investigation I found more information to convince me that Johann Benjamin was the man married to Pauline Stroech. 

Johann Benjamin Petrich was born in Pidda (Posen Province, Prussia) on 5 July 1844, the fourth child and first son of Gottlieb Petrich (born 1812 in Turostowo Hauland, died 18 May 1853 in Pidda, Posen) and Johanna Wilhelmine Petrich (born 13 June 1818 in Pidda, Posen, death date unknown but after 1855 when she married her second husband Johann Michael Weidner).  Yes, Wilhelmine (as she is found) was born a Petrich.  I do not know how close the relationship was for the two.  The Petrich families of Posen are a topic for another time.

Benjamin had seven sisters and one brother that I can find records on.  The brother died shortly after birth.  The only sibling known to grow to adulthood is Amalie (married to Friedrich Primas). Several of the girls died as infants or children, the rest I have not found information on yet. 

Benjamin was baptized Johann Benjamin Petrich on 21 July 1844 in Schokken.

Benjamin married Pauline Stroech (also found as Ströch) probably about 1873 or early 1874.  I am still looking for Pauline’s parents and the marriage record.  I also still need to find Pauline’s baptismal/birth record.  There are many Stroech families in the area and they inter-connect with Petrich, Primas and other related families.

The couple had eight children I can find records on:
  1. Hulda born 3 Oct 1874 in Nekla; died 27 Jan 1959 in Los Angeles, California; married Henry Rausch.
  2. Wilhelm Traugott born 12 Feb 1877 in Tischdorf, baptized the same day and probably did not survive.
  3. Ludwig born 11 Aug 1879 in Tischdorf, died 11 Jan 1880 at age 5 months.
  4. Bertha Amalie (found as Mollie in USA records) born 3 Feb 1882 in Nekla, died after 1966 probably in Florida; married Otto Krueger then Richardson.
  5. Pauline Wilhelmine born 27 April 1884, baptized 3 May 1884 in Nekla – note on her baptismal record states father Benjamin Petrich went to America in Nov 1883; died 27 Sep 1966 in Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois; married William H Struwing.
  6. Emily born 16 Oct 1886 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; died 13 Sep 1964 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; married Wiseman then William J Talbot.
  7. Edith Martha born 25 Nov 1888 in Cook, Illinois, died 7 May 1962 in Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois; never married.
  8. Helen C born 18 Dec 1894 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, died 13 Feb 1919 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; never married.

As mentioned earlier, Benjamin left for America on the ship Kaiser with his nephew Paul Primas, leaving Hamburg on 20 Nov 1883 with stop in Glasgow.  He left his wife in Nekla with two small children and he may or may not have known about the child on the way.

Ship departure detail

Note in Pauline's birth record that father Benjamin has gone to Amerika

Pauline left Hamburg 5 Sep 1885 on the ship California with children Emilie (Bertha), Hulda and Pauline who was 9 months old.  They arrived in 21 Sep 1885 arriving in New York, stated destination is Chicago. 

Pauline departure details

Arrival details

Looking at the Chicago City Directories, it shows that Benjamin and his nephew Paul Primas are living on the same street for a time.  Benjamin is at 815 Hinman in 1888 and at 767 Hinman from 1890 to 1893.  Paul Primas is at 753 and 788 Hinman in 1890 and 1891.  After the street re-naming and re-numbering in Chicago in 1909/1911, these addresses are now on the 1700-1800 block of W 21rst Place.  It appears the original houses are still there.

Center house is probably same as when Petrich family lived there

House where Primas family rented down the block from Petrich

I believe that Pauline and Benjamin reunited in the US because they had three more daughters in Chicago – Emily, Edith and Helen.

Benjamin died in Chicago on 24 April 1899.  He is buried in Concordia Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois.  Because he arrived after 1880 and died before 1900, there are no census or other records I have found for Benjamin.

1899 Chicago City Directory

Pauline died in Chicago on 17 May 1906.  She is also buried in Concordia Cemetery, as is their daughter Helen who died 13 Feb 1919. 

I cannot find Pauline and the girls in the 1900 census.  There would have been Pauline and 5 daughters as only Hulda was married at that time.  In the Chicago City Directory, Pauline is listed as widow of Benjamin in 1899, but disappears in 1900.  Perhaps they went to stay with relatives or the older girls found jobs working in homes (although I do not find them listed either).  In the 1910 census, the three youngest girls (Emily, Edith and Helen) are living with their older sister Pauline now married to William Struwing.

Benjamin and Amalie, his sister were three years different in age.  If they were the only children of the family to survive to adulthood, it would be reasonable to think that they remained close.  When Amalie was a young widow with a son, she might look to her brother to develop a relationship with him, since her father is already gone.   Amalie (now married to Reiter) is mentioned on the baptismal / birth record of Benjamin’s son Wilhelm Traugott.  There is a special note clipped to the record.  Because it is in German, I haven’t been able to understand what the note says at this point.

Note mentioning Amalie Reiter on Wilhelm Traugott baptismal record

Baptismal record of Wilhelm Traugott Petrich

I have requested death certificates for the members of this Petrich family that I can find documentation on.  I can also go to Concordia and find their grave markers, it is not far. I will keep chipping away to find the secrets until I find another branch of the tree to follow.