Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Costumes, 1916

If you're giving out candy this Halloween, you'll see children wearing lots of different costumes. The advertisement below from The Philadelphia Inquirer shows what kids might have worn a hundred years ago.

Advertisement for Snellenburgs store,
The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 25, 1916
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Young Alien in Kansas, 1918

Paul Wiechmann, 1918
In 1918, a teenager from Germany, named Paul Wiechmann, registered for a permit in Wichita, Kansas, to move freely through the area due to work. The document, which is available on the FamilySearch website, provides an interesting look at Paul's life and provides a glimpse of how aliens were scrutinized during World War I. Here's part of the document (words in bold were typed onto the application):

   "I, Paul Wiechmann, a native, citizen, denizen, or subject of a country at war with the United States, being male and fourteen years of age or over, residing at 618 Madison, Wichiata [sic], Kansas, hereby apply to the United States Marshal for the [blank] district of Kansas for a permit to pass through an area within one-half mile radius from all zones for the purpose of performing duties as messenger.
   I solemnly swear that I was born at Parum, Wittenburg, Mecklenburg, Scherin, Germany on or about the 29th day of October 1902; that I have resided 11 years in the United States from October 15, 1902 [sic], to Sept. 6, 1918, at the places and been employed since July 1, 1914, in the occupation and by the employers hereinafter stated:
   Wichita, Broom labeling, Southwest Broom Co.
   Wichita, Messenger, Western Union Tel. Co."

Paul probably didn't even remember his time in Germany because he was only 5 when his parents brought him to the U.S., but that didn't matter. He still needed to comply and complete the required paperwork. Even Wichita farmer Henry Lohkamp, who had been in the U.S. for 52 years, was required to apply for a permit, and his application and photo can also be viewed online.

This FamilySearch collection, "Records of the U.S. Attorneys and Marshals: alien application for permit, 1917-1918 (Kansas)," isn't indexed but can be browsed. Similar alien permit applications are available for Kentucky and Missouri as well.

Do you have an ancestor who was required to register as an alien or apply for a permit to move around an area of the United States?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Discovering a Divorce in Ohio

Court of Common Pleas,
Washington County, Ohio, 1900
While browsing Ohio divorce records on the FamilySearch website, I noticed that the documents often showed the wife didn't know what happened to her husband. The collection, "Ohio, Washington County, divorce records, 1894-1960," isn't searchable, but you can view each page of the filing, including the petition, detail of clerk fees, and the court's decision.

One example of a missing husband involved William B. Hite. According to his wife Julia, as stated in the court documents, William "went to the state of Virginia, ostensibly for the purpose of obtaining work, but that since September 1899 plaintiff has not heard from defendant, and received nothing from him towards her support, and that of her child, and she has been compelled to support herself - that she has not been able to locate defendant, although she has written to the point from where he was last located in 1898, but he has left said place, and she cannot discover his hereabouts..."

In 1880, the family was living in Marietta, Ohio, where William worked as a blacksmith. In the 1900 census, he was recorded twice: once with his family in Ohio (although he had not lived there for some time) and also as a boarder in Huntington, Cabell, West Virginia. Due to the divorce in 1900, it's likely that they never saw each other again, and neither remarried. William died in 1929 in Cabell County, West Virginia, and Julia died in 1935 in Marietta, Ohio.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Anniversary of a WWI Death

The Pittsburgh Catholic, February 28, 1924
Last week was the anniversary of my great-uncle's death in France during World War I. George J. Stenglein was born to German parents just 1 week after they arrived in New York in 1891. The family soon settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. George served in the Army from September 21, 1917, until his death on September 26, 1918. My grandmother was only 10 years old when her oldest brother was killed in action.

Several years after George's death, The Pittsburgh Catholic listed him among the names of the city's Catholic soldiers who were buried in the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery. Here's part of the newspaper article:

     "Many Catholic graves in the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery, located at Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, (Meuse), France, have been recently blessed. The graves of American heroes from the Diocese of Pittsburgh are listed below.
     The location of this cemetery is within the area of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the greatest engagement in which American troops ever participated. During the forty-seven days' struggle 1,200,000 Americans were engaged, suffering 120,000 casualties.
     Upon completion of concentrations there will be 13,969 interments in the American cemetery. The data on the Catholic heroes has been assembled through cooperation of the pastors, the Catholic press, and the Bureau of Records, N.C.W.C. [National Catholic Welfare Conference]
     The following are grave records of young men of the Pittsburgh diocese who, serving in the World War, made the supreme sacrifice and whose bodies are buried in the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery..."

Each man's military unit, date of death, and grave location in the cemetery were also provided by the newspaper.
  • Paul Adamski, Braddock
  • Joseph Battaglia, Sharpsburg
  • Anthony Broestel, Pittsburgh
  • John F. Coakley, Washington
  • Dominico Colaizzi, Pittsburgh
  • Patrick Paul Collins, McKeesport
  • James Connolly, Pittsburgh
  • Edward R. Connors, Pittsburgh
  • John Patrick Corrigan, McKeesport
  • Patrick J. Cronin, Pittsburgh
  • Domenico Dimasi, Greensburg
  • Andrew Early, Pittsburgh
  • Barton W. Elliott, Springdale
  • George W. Fleischer, Butler
  • Oscar John Gallas, Pittsburgh
  • Stephen Gasper, St. Vincent
  • Lorenzo Gentile, Jeannette
  • Paul Grabowski, Braddock
  • Albert Jacob Hohman, Pittsburgh
  • John Hutchinson, New Salem
  • John P. Jene, Pittsburgh
  • Alex Johnston, Turtle Creek
  • Walter R. Johnston, Pittsburgh
  • William B. Kamer, Ford City
  • James M. Keady, Pittsburgh
  • Daniel R. Kelley, Mt. Pleasant
  • John P. Kirby, Pittsburgh
  • Andrew H. Klein, Pittsburgh
  • Karl Kleinert, McKees Rocks
  • Joseph Kohuth, Glencampbell
  • Louis F. Krezanosky, Avella
  • Walter Kudzman, Vandergrift
  • Andrew Leap, Pittsburgh
  • Ellsworth J. Lew, Carrick
  • Donato Maesano, Sharpsburg
  • Fiore Marchegioni, Bradenville
  • Samuel Martello, Braddock
  • Marco Mercurio, Greensburg
  • Peter J. Och, Pittsburgh
  • Vincenzo Piccirillo, Butler
  • John Plehta, Uniontown
  • Stanley Price, Glassport
  • Michael Puskat, Burgettstown
  • William A. Reinhardt, Pittsburgh
  • Frank J. Rieble, Pittsburgh
  • Ludwig Rigotti, Sutterville
  • Sylvester Rombach, Pittsburgh
  • Anthony Ryder, Braddock
  • George A. Schafer, Millvale
  • William E. Schaffer, Duquesne
  • Alphonse A. Schmidt, Pittsburgh
  • George Schmidt, Pittsburgh
  • George Joseph Schmitt, Pittsburgh
  • Nicola Serago, Jeannette
  • Michael Snee, Kittanning
  • Christopher A. Steighner, Coylesville
  • John Steininger, Blairsville
  • George J. Stenglein, Pittsburgh
  • John H. Theuret, Freeport
  • Bernard W. Travers, Castle Shannon
  • Emanuel G. Tschippert, Pittsburgh
  • George J. Wintz, Pittsburgh
  • Steve Wolf, Connellsville
  • William H. Zewe, Duquesne
  • Mike Joseph Zoldak, Coral

You can search issues of The Pittsburgh Catholic (1844-2001) in Duquesne University's Gumberg Library Digital Collections.