Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mother of 17 Children, Mary DeTemple

Frank DeTemple, the husband of my great-aunt, was one of 17 children. At first I thought it might be a typo, but both the 1900 and 1910 censuses point out this fact.

Frank's mother, Mary Schmidt, married George DeTemple in Germany at the age of 18. That year of 1868 most likely was full of hope and plans to start a family. At some point over the next decade, George and Mary talked about moving their family to the U.S. and eventually made the journey. By 1882, they were living in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (now part of Pittsburgh).

By the age of 50 in 1900, Mary had given birth to 17 children. Sadly, 10 were no longer living by then. Unfortunately, it wasn't a typo on the 1900 census. The 1910 census says the same thing: 17 children, 7 still living. I haven't found any children deaths in Pittsburgh, so perhaps they all died in Germany.

Mary passed away at the age of 70 on June 4, 1920, and was buried in Pittsburgh's North Side Catholic Cemetery (now called Christ Our Redeemer). After spending decades without them, she finally was reunited with her children.


  1. Joanne,

    I continue to really appreciate your blog posts!

    My grandmother and her parents were born in Pittsburgh. I'd love to know how her parents met & married, and how their families felt - my gr-grandfather's parents had come from Germany (& were Lutheran); my gr-grandmother's parents had come from Ireland (& were Catholic)!

    Both families lost many children.

    My Irish gr-grandmother, Mary (King) Gallagher, had six children, with two living in 1910. I have never been able to find her on the 1900 census, so there is a huge gap from 1880 to 1910. Just this past week I found another of the ones who were never on a census; still need to find one more.

    My German gr-grandmother had 10 children with 5 still living in 1900. By the end of 1901 her second husband had died, and her youngest son had died - burned to death in a fire, while training as a plumber.

    The statistics contain many stories!

    1. Oh my, your great-grandmothers had to deal with a lot of sadness during their lifetimes. You are so right about the stories behind the numbers, and the importance of finding the children who died without ever appearing on a census record. Thanks for your comment, Anita!


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