Wednesday, October 21, 2015

3 More Children in My Family Tree Identified

1910 Federal Census
Since the censuses of 1900 and 1910 asked how many children a woman had (and how many were living), we can tell if we are missing any names in our family tree. If a child was born and died in between censuses, this may be the first hint we have that they existed.

Looking at those two censuses, I was able to see that my Stenglein great-grandparents had a child who must have died young. In another branch of my family tree, these censuses showed that I had three Kiefer cousins I hadn't identified. As I mentioned in a previous post called The Kiefer Children Died Too Young, Peter and Philippina Klein Kiefer had a total of 8 children, but I only knew about five of them.

Since both of these Pittsburgh families were Catholic, I contacted the Diocese of Pittsburgh to see if the volunteer researchers could help. The general public can't access the sacramental records, so I filled out the research request form and patiently waited. While they couldn't provide all of the answers I wanted, I'm grateful for what they did provide:
  • A burial record shows that my grandmother, Gertrude Stenglein, had a brother named John (the second brother with their father's name) who died on December 19, 1903, when he was only a day old and was buried in St. Michael's Cemetery on the same day;
  • Baptismal records show that Anna Marcella Kiefer, who was the second daughter with this name (the first died two years before this one was born), was baptized on May 15, 1898 at St. Peter's Church on the South Side of Pittsburgh;
  • Mary Catherine Kiefer was the name of another of the unidentified children; church baptismal records show she was born on September 11, 1900, and was baptized on September 23 of that same year; 
  • The third Kiefer child is still unknown because no baptismal record was found. The death of this third Kiefer child, as well as the deaths of Anna Marcella and Mary Catherine, are unknown because there are no existing burial records for St. Peter's Parish from May 1899 through March 1920.
Church records are an invaluable resource when civil registrations of births and deaths are unavailable. 


  1. I too have some "extra" children to locate based on census records. And a divorce record also confirms another child for one family. I'm still trying to hunt down records. Glad you were able to find out some information from the church.

    1. Since it wasn't uncommon for children to die young, I'm sure there are many of us who still need to track down records to identify these unknown children. Thank you for reading my post and taking time to comment!


Do you have a genealogy problem or need guidance on where to search next? Send me a message if you'd like me to help!