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Monday, August 26, 2013

Discovering the Life behind a Face in an Album


My mom inherited through her mother, her grandmother Bertha’s blue photo album. Cloth-covered, the album is about 8-1/2” x 6” and about 2” thick. On the cover is a silver detail, hand-engraved with the initials B.G. and the year 1887. Its contents range from 4” x 5-1/2” and 2-1/2” x 4” mostly sepia photos to almost a dozen 2” x 3-1/4” and 2-1/2” x 3-3/4” tintypes. Most of the photos have the backboards trimmed down so the photos fit into the paper frame slots.


Unfortunately, only a few of the photos have names associated with them. Great Aunt Helena at one point in the 1970s added Anna to one tintype’s paper frame. One photo I identified by recognizing that the same photo was reproduced in a church anniversary booklet. What I had hoped might be Uncle Ernst (Bertha’s brother), turned out to be Pastor Arendt. I realized then the album was likely a mixture of family and friends.

In 1887, Bertha would have been 23 years old. She would not marry (for the first and only time) until 2 years later. Was the album a gift or did she buy it herself? I don’t know.

In December 2012, I decided to scan the photos in the album. Years ago (before digital CD with film processing) I had photographed these photos to help preserve them. I decided scanning them would make them more accessible and allow me to compare them to photos that were in Great Aunt Helena’s possession (which I have been granted access to scan).

One photo in great-grandma’s album carried the inscription “…from Fredricke Pump.” I knew she more than likely was not a relative since I have thoroughly researched Mom’s family and PUMP is not one of our family surnames. So one night I decided to see what I could find about this woman in great-grandma’s album.

Had I done this search years ago (even four years ago) it would have taken much longer than essentially one night to accomplish. But thanks to digitized record images and index databases available online, the search time was greatly reduced.

The first question: was PUMP her maiden or married name?

I started my investigation with the Michigan Deaths 1867-1897 index and images collection located on the www.familysearch.org website.1 Knowing nothing about this woman I thought this collection might give me a chance of either catching her as married or single, or as a mother of a deceased child.

The search brought up one result: A Fredericke Fisher who died on 12 June 1894 in Shelby Township at the age of 25 years 8 months and 10 days. She was married, born in Michigan and her parents were given as Michael and Lena Pump of Waldenburg, Michigan. From the age at death her birth figured to about 2 October 1868 making her about four years younger than Great Grandma Bertha.

But is this the Fredericka that I sought? Very likely. I am able to say that because I have some 20 years of genealogy research experience and a lot of experience with Macomb County’s early German community. Pump was not a common surname in the area.

This also meant based on the inscription that Bertha and Friedericke had met before either had married. It is sad to think Friedericke had such a short life. But knowing she was married at the time of her death, the question became did she have any children?

So the next things I looked at were the 1900 Federal Census on Ancestry.com2 and the Michigan Marriages 1867-1925 index and images collection on FamilySearch.3 (Using two browser tabs I was able to search both databases at the same time.)

From the Michigan Marriages database, I learned Friedericke married Julius C. Fisher on 9 November 1889 in Detroit.3 She was listed as Ricca age 19 residing in Detroit employed as a domestic and her parents were given as Michael Pump and Lizzie Nay. A Willie Pump of Detroit was one of the two witnesses. By the age given, this would place her birth as 1870 not 1868.  We’ll get to the birth date and mother’s name discrepancies in a bit.

From the 1900 census, I found Julius Fischer living in Utica, Sterling Township, with wife Elizabeth and sons Gerhard born August 1889 and Anga born August 1893.2 On the census, years married was given as three for both Julius and Elizabeth with her being the mother of 2 children (2 living). Knowing Friedericke’s death date and the years married given, the children would be from Friedericke not Elizabeth. From my experience with the answers for this question on the census, usually only the children born to that wife were counted and not step-children though sometimes they were added to the children living total. I wonder how this particular enumerator had phrased the question during the visit and who answered the questions (we don’t get to learn that until the 1940 census).

So now the questions were when did Julius marry again (1897 as per the census) and which wife was the mother of each child (confirm what is indicated/suspected)?

So the search for these answers brought me again to the Michigan Marriages on FamilySearch3 and to the Michigan Births 1867-1902 index and images collection on FamilySearch.4

While locating Julius’ second marriage on 6 May 1897 in Detroit to Elizabeth M. Yerge,3 I spotted the marriage of his son Gerhard.  Gerhard married on 24 December 1915 in Detroit to Clara M Ebert.3 His parents were listed as Julius C Fisher and Recca Pump.

Looking at the Michigan Births 1867-1902 index and images on the FamilySearch website, Gerhard was found to be born 20 August 1890 in Detroit as the son of Julius and Fredericca Fisher.4 The interesting thing is that Anga (listed as a son on the 1900 census) was found to be Angia born on 10 August 1893 in Shelby Township as a daughter of Julius and Fredericka Fisher.4

Looking at the family forward in time using the federal census, Anga/Angia reveals to be Angeline M. or N., an unmarried daughter on the 1910,5 19206 and 19307 census enumerations.  According to the Michigan Death Certificates 1921-1952 index on FamilySearch, Julius died 23 January 1932 in Highland Park.8 But Angeline has “disappeared” and has not been found on the 1940 census. Did she marry or die? No probable death entry for her has been found in the Michigan Deaths and Burials Index 1867-1995 on Ancestry.com.9

From the 1920 census, Gerhard and Clara had a son Richard in about November 1916.6 Gerhard died 9 December 1926 in Detroit.8 Clara remarried and had additional children with her second husband as seen on the 19307 and 194010 census enumerations; in both cases Richard was still in the household.

Back to Friedericke’s birth and parents.

A check of the Michigan Births 1867-1902 index and images on the FamilySearch website4 initially did not locate a birth record for Fredericka (using an 1867 to 1869 birth range). This was not so surprising since compliance with the vital records law took several years to achieve meaning not every birth was recorded in the earliest years after the law took effect. But I noticed in the hits list entries for a Michael and Lenah as parents of a Rickey. These were entries with the parent listed in the left column not the child so the Events information in the second column was for the parent’s residence not the child’s birth. Clicking on the entry brought up the child’s birth information: Rickey born 17 August 1870 in Macomb Township to Michael and Lenah Pump.4

Later on I was able to verify that Friedericke’s baptism record from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Waldenburg states she was named Friedericke Juliane Therese born on 17 August 1870 to Michael and Engeline Pump and baptized on the August 29.11

So what about the differing birth dates – October 2 and August 17 for Friedericke? A search of the civil births and the church baptisms revealed no other children born to Michael and Engeline Pump. My guess (sorry guys) is that the husband Julius provided the information for the death and the marriage records and simply got it wrong. (This includes the incorrect mother’s name. See below.) But as I said, it is my guess.

Using many of the same database collections (Michigan Births, Michigan Marriages, Michigan Deaths and earlier years of the federal census) already mentioned I was able to sketch out the following basic information about Friedericke’s parents and siblings.

Michael Pump, age 32, married Engeline Kiernkranz, age 31, on 22 May 1866 in Macomb Township.12 By the 1870 census they had a 3 year old son John.13 (Friedericke was born after the census day.) On 28 August 1874 Engeline (Lena) died in Macomb Township.1 On 2 June 1875 in Detroit, Michael married Louise Nues.3 The 1880 census shows that Michael and his first wife had a third child William about a year after Friedericke.14 So the 1880 household contained Michael, his second wife and three children.

Friedericke’s brother John went on to marry Mary Schreiber on 27 February 1888 in Waldenburg.3 Her brother, William, went on to marry A. Louise Kandt on 19 September 1901 in Utica.3

A visit the following week to the local library with a large genealogy collection resulted in finding some obituaries.

The Utica Sentinal, Saturday June 16, 189415
Mrs. Julius Fisher, who has been sick for a year or more with consumption, died on Tuesday morning. Funeral Thursday. Her infant son is also very low and can live but a short time.

Note: Again there is mention of a son like on the 1900 census. Angeline was born in August 1893 making her still an infant at the time of her mother’s death. There are no birth or death records of other children for Julius and Friedericke. She would not be the first infant/child to be mislabeled but this one seems to go on longer.

As for Friedericke’s grandson Richard Fischer, he died 17 June 1972.16 A brother and five sisters survived him. (They were the children of his mother’s second marriage.) The obituary indicates that Richard did not have any children.

More research could be done on the Pump and Fisher family but I am satisfied with what I have found. Though it appears that Richard was the last living descendant of Friedericke Pump Fisher, I have found that at least one of her brothers still has living descendants.

Note: I’ve given the spellings of names as they are spelled in each document. When I am referring to the subject of this post, I have used the spelling of her name that is from her baptism record because I believe that is mostly likely the way her parents intended it to be. And even if they could not read/write, the pastor could. For Friedericke (any spelling) common nicknames (of various spellings) were Reca, Rikie, and even Rachel.

Finally, I kept the sourcing simplified for this post (not giving specific image numbers/page numbers) because it is very easy to find the records back with the online indexes.

©2013, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted/owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.
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Source List
1. "Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897." Index and images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org : accessed 2012. Citing Michigan Secretary of State. Michigan Deaths. Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Michigan.

2. 1900 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2012. Citing United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

3. "Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925." Index and images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org : accessed 2012. Citing Michigan Secretary of State. Michigan Marriages. Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Michigan.

4. "Michigan, Births, 1867-1902." Index and images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org : accessed 2012. Citing Michigan Secretary of State. Michigan Births. Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Michigan.

5. 1910 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2012. Citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

6. 1920 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2012. Citing Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

7. 1930 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital image (online database), Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2012. Citing Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

8. "Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952." Index. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Michigan Secretary of State. Michigan Deaths. Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Michigan.

9. "Michigan Deaths and Burials Index, 1867–1995." Index (online database). Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2013. Citing "Michigan Deaths and Burials, 1800–1995." Index (online database). FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org. Citing index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.

10. 1940 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2013. Citing United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

11. Church Records (Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Burials), Immanuel Lutheran Church, Macomb, Macomb, Michigan, United States.

12. "Michigan, County Marriages, 1820-1935." Index and images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org : accessed 2013.

13. 1870 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2012. Citing 1870 U.S. census, population schedules. NARA microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

14. 1880 United States Federal Census, population schedule. Index and digital images (online database), Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2012. Citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

15. “Mrs. Julius Fisher,” obituary, Utica Sentinal, 16 June 1894. Microfilm accessed at the Mt. Clemens Public Library.

16. “Richard Fischer,” obituary, The Macomb Daily, 19 June 1972. Microfilm accessed at the Mt. Clemens Public Library.

2 comments:

  1. That photo led you in many interesting directions!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! Can I hire you to annotate my blog! Loved the story of the 'tombstone' box! Welcome to Geneabloggers!
    -Joanie
    midwestancestree.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete