Thursday, February 28, 2013


(Author’s note: I’d like to thank +Ed Thompson  and +Pat Richley-Erickson  for providing the impetus for this post.)
A recent discussion on report writing style touched on what I felt was an interesting topic: whether a genealogical report should use footnotes versus endnotes.

Being educated as an ancillary medical professional I was trained to use the APA (American Psychological Association) Style of writing. APA is a logical choice in the case of writings regarding the social sciences: citations are made in the body of the paper, allowing the reader to immediately move to the referenced material, online or on-hand. A separate page lists this resources. The AMA Style is used similarly for medical journals and reports. These styles work wonderfully for scholarly articles and research papers – the information is rarely taken out of context; such reports are frequently used as references in their entirety in future research.

The MLA (Modern Language Association) is used by humanities and social sciences. It also includes citations in the body of the report with a “works cited”page at the end. Such papers generally aren’t concerned with allowing the reader to quickly access the referenced data; the works cited page is built to give credit where credit is due and as an assurance against plagiarism.

So, why would it be any different for genealogy? Why would the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) recommend that projects submitted to them be written following the Chicago Style? Consistency is certainly one reason – but why, specifically, Chicago Style? While I can’t speak to their purpose, I can think of a very good reason.

Genealogical reports are typically written for the layperson.
Think about why someone would read a genealogical compilation: They are looking in that book for a specific reason; usually to locate information about their direct line ancestors. With the advent of hand held scanners, Smartphones, and pocket sized digital cameras, readers no longer feel the need to own a hard copy of a difficult to locate book on their family history. As pointed out by Dear Myrtle in a recent Google Hangout, instead they can just snap a picture of a page at a local library and move on to the next ancestor.

Unfortunately, once that digitization occurs the credibility of the claim made in that book crumbles – because the claim no longer has a sound source. This is where the Chicago style comes in to play.

The Chicago Style uses footnotes: each citation is right there on the same page with the referring source. And while many genealogical reports are written in a narrative style, often times they are in chart form (or at least include a chart). Using footnotes in a narrative report can certainly impede the flow of a good narrative – but the effect is minimized in a non-narrative or mixed report.

An independent genealogist – both the hobbyist and professional – has the luxury to choose a preferred writing style. But when writing with the intent of publication this certainly gives a reason to look beyond preference and our current knowledge base. Learning a new writing style can be a tedious, and sometimes daunting, task – but using the right report style for the job can has an impact beyond readability and personal preference.

I certainly don’t expect anything I write to be read 100 years from now. But in the case that it is I want to know that I am making my work easy to duplicate by my ancestors – one source at a time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

John and Zilphia Hallman

John Hallman was born around 1799 in rural South Carolina. His wife, Zilphia Bloodworth, was born about 1806, also in South Carolina.

The 1840 US Federal Census lists two John Hallman’s in Lexington County, South Carolina, however the adult male of one is between the ages of 50-60; the other is the right age to be the subject John Hallman. Also residing with him were a female aged 30 to 39 (likely his wife) and six children – two boys under five, a male between 15 and 19, a girl between five and nine, a girl between ten and 14, and a girl between 15 and 19.

In 1850, the family is  found, still in Lexington County, living with six children. One of these children was under ten, and there was no male listed over the age of 25, so it’s likely these were all but one of the Hallman children found on the 1840 census.

While there is no definitive documentation as to who his parents were, John is found adjacent to an Aberhart Hallman on the 1850 census, and close to him on the 1840 census. Given this, and the age difference between these gentlemen – eight years – it’s quite possible that they are brothers.
According to internet sources, Aberhart was the son of Joseph Hallman and Christina Hartley; barring further information the most likely conclusion to draw is that they are also the parents of John Hallman. This conclusion was also drawn by Hallman family researcher, Isaac P. Hallman, in a 1974 book entitled A Genealogical Record of Hallman and Related Families in America who are Descendants of Those who Settled in South Carolina Between 1730 and 1750. While this is far from conclusive, it is the current belief of Hallman researchers and nothing has been found to prove otherwise.

The date of John’s death is a bit of a mystery – some sources claim 1862, other’s say 1880. It’s quite possible that neither of these years is correct.  John and Zilphia’s grave marker is clearly not the original, as seen below.

Hallman, John and Zilphia Headstone (2)

Adding to the confusion is the fact that John was not enumerated with his family in 1860. Given this, it seems quite likely that he died sometime before 1860. Corroborating this is the 1860 non-population schedule (agriculture) for Z. Hallman – an individual adjacent to E. Hallman. Noting below, Zilphia Hallman was enumerated in the 1860 census adjacent to an E. Hallman, so this “Z. Hallman” is likely Zilphia Hallman, wife of John.

Hallman 1860 census (2)

Given the above census, and a death certificate for one of Zilphia’s children, it is quite likely that her mother is the Nancy Bloodworth residing with her. The only Bloodworth household in 1810 that could have enumerated these two women is the household of William Bloodworth of Lexington, South Carolina. At this time nothing definitively links Zilphia to her parents.

Hallman, Zilphia 1880 (2)

Like John’s, the death date on Zilphia Hallman’s portion of the marker is in question. While there is not an 1870 census to be found for her, she is possibly enumerated in nearby Edgefield County in 1880. Z. Hallman, aged 75, is found with a daughter, Mary Hallman, aged 25 and a 3 year old boy, George Hallman. It’s certainly possible that this is not Zilphia Hallman, but Zilphia did have a daughter named Mary – however, she would have been 54 years old.

The age difference between these women would have had this Z. Hallman having a child at the age of 50 – certainly possible, but not terribly likely. What is more likely is that this girl, Mary, is a granddaughter or granddaughter-in-law of the head of the household. Lending credence to the theory that this is Zilphia Hallman are two points:  a lack of any evidence of another female “Z. Hallman” of this age in the entirety of South Carolina in the mid-1800s and Zilphia’s previous enumeration as “Z.”

Generally grave markers are considered an artifact as opposed to a record, so they should always been given less weight than other documentation. Regardless, it is certainly unfortunate that a well-meaning person muddied the genealogical waters for this couple when they erected this marker. Undoubtedly many will consider these death dates as genealogical proof even though this artifact is questionable, at best.

John Hallman b: circa 1799 d: before 1860, South Carolina


       Zilphia Bloodworth b: circa 1806 d: after 1870

           Unknown son          b: 1820-1825 d: unknown

           Nancy                            b: 1823 d: 26 Jul 1854

           Mary                              b: circa 1826 d: unknown

           Ellen                              b: circa 1832 d: unknown

           Thomas Wesley     b: 26 Feb 1835 d: 14 Mar 1925

           James                            b: circa 1838 d: unknown

           John                              b: circa 1850 d: unknown


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Who is that guy?

I have been researching a collateral line for my great great grandfather. He apparently had a brother named Louis, although this hasn’t been verified by direct evidence.

In 1880 Louis Bernhardt lived in Philly with his wife, Sarah Wyld, and their children, as seen below:

Bernhardt, Louis 1880 census (2)

Louis and Sarah had another son, Carl, who was born in 1882. Louis died in 1898. A Philly death register gives his residence as 1833 Mervine Street.

The odd part is what is found in 1900. Below is the 1900 census for what seems clearly to be Louis’s children; however, there is an odd twist:

Bernhardt, William 1900 (2)

These are evidently his children, clearly living in his former home. but oddly enumerated as the children of one William Bernhardt, born in Pennsylvania in 1841. And where did Sarah go? (Okay, nothing nefarious here – she is found with Bertha on the 1920 census).

A likely scenario is that this is a case of respondent error – the respondent was possibly not a member of the family, and they merely made the assumption that this was the father in this family. Given there are two non-family members living there, this makes it all the more likely.

But this doesn’t explain who this William was. Was he an uncle that I should add to my tree? A cousin? Was he even a Bernhardt?

There is one further bit of information – information that gives me a bit of the creeps. The 1900 census reveals one William Bernhart, born in Pennsylvania circa 1841 – housed in the State Hospital for the Insane in Warren, Pennsylvania. I know, I know, coincidence. But what if this is a case of double enumeration…

Just something to wonder about.

Either way, who is this guy and why is he living in my great great uncle’s house with my cousins, “posing” as their father? Hmm…

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Franz and Catherine

According to a passport application, Franz J Bernhardt was born April 23, 1833 in the Village of Cursdorf in Germany. What brought him to America is unclear, but sometime before 1857 (the birth of his oldest child), he took up residence in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – specifically, Philadelphia.

His parentage is unclear – in fact, no documentation has been found at all to definitively link Franz to his parents or any siblings. He does share a tentative connection with Louis Bernhardt, a tailor who was born in Germany in 1829 and who also resided in Philadelphia. According to the Philadelphia City Directory for the early 1860’s, Franz (also a tailor) shared an address with Louis. It’s unclear if this was living space or work space; perhaps it was both. What is clear is that the two were distinct individuals, both working or living at 240 Spruce Street at various points in their lives. Clearly theirs is not a father/son relationship, but they could certainly be brothers, or possibly cousins.

The first documented evidence for Franz Bernhardt, tailor, was an entry in McElroy’s Philadelphia City Directory for 1858. Francis Bernhardt, tailor, was listed at 3 Turner. The incorrect name gives pause, however, review of subsequent documentation shows that this was a common misspelling (or perhaps an Anglicized version) of his name. There is no evidence to indicate the existence of another tailor of this name in Philadelphia around this time; also of note is that the death certificate for his oldest child, a girl born in 1857, claims she was born in Philadelphia, so it’s likely that this is a listing for Franz.

Anna Catharina was also German-born – census data and death records indicate she was born in somewhere around the German state of Lower Saxony. The fluidity of the German states, during this time period and beyond, makes it difficult to ascertain precisely what is meant by these birthplace claims – but it seems that Franz and Catherine were not from the same region, possibly indicating that they met after immigrating to America.

In any case, they did meet, apparently marrying sometime before 1857. They are found on the 1860 US Federal Census listed as “Bernhalt”. A discrepancy is noted, however: the ages of their children on the census does not coincide with the ages on their death certificates. Yet, given that most of the details for the family are strikingly similar, this discrepancy can be explained away, most likely to respondent error.

Not long after the recording of this census the family began to experience a series of losses that no parent should have to endure – the deaths of multiple children. Between 1859 and 1865 Catherine gave birth to five children - and lost four of them. During this time period, large cities like Philadelphia had significant problems with contagious illnesses – diseases that were frequently fatal to young children.

8 month old George died in 1861, from variola (small pox). Rudolph (George Rudolph) was claimed by “fits” two years later, dying at the age of four, likely the result of a fever from illness. John, who was born the year Rudolph died, passed away in the beginning of his third year. His death was followed all too soon by the death of his brother, Herman, three months later. His death was attributed to convulsions (commonly called “fits of fever”). Franz Jr. was born less than nine months later, indicating that Catherine was possibly pregnant when Herman died.

It appears that sometime around 1866 the couple and their remaining children, Anna Marie Elizabeth and Franz, Jr., left Philadelphia. The disappear from all records around this time. It’s unclear why the left – perhaps the tragedies they experienced in Philadelphia were just too much for them. As it turns out, they had returned to their homeland of Germany, returning in November of 1871 aboard the SS Main into New York, bringing with them a new son, Wilh (likely short for Wilhelm). After returning to America they had three more children – Charles and John, born in New York in 1872 and 1874, and Emma Catharina, born in Philadelphia around 1875.

Unfortunately, their return to Philadelphia brought a return to despair – Emma Catharina died of pneumonia when she four months old in 1876. Her death was followed by the death of oldest child, Elizabeth, at the age of 21 in 1878. And to make matters worse – to add a dark topping to this bitter cake – Catherine herself died at the end of 1879, the result of uterine cancer, a diagnosis that could be considered a cosmic twist of a the stabbing knife of fate.

In a sad turn of events, within two months of Catherine’s death, William, Charles, and John had moved into the Western Home for Poor Children – a home for orphan and half-orphan children in Philadelphia. It was a temporary home – white, Protestant children of both genders could live there until they were 14. Franz Jr, being 15 at the time of his mother’s death, remained with his father, apparently working in the capacity of apprentice to his tailor father.

It’s unclear how long the boys remained in the home – they were enumerated there on the 1880 census. They could have left together or separately when each boy turned 14. It’s also unclear if they ever returned to live with their father, although it’s likely that at least William did  as he grew up to be a tailor like his father and older brother.

In 1898 Louis Bernhardt, the tailor Franz lived and worked with, passed away. It was shortly before this time that Franz returned to Germany for a visit; he then returned to Germany after Louis’s death. It’s hard to think that this timing was a coincidence – it’s possible that Franz, realizing that his own life was coming to a close – felt a need to visit his homeland one last time. No matter the reason, it was his last trip home.

Franz died March 18, 1905 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Franz J Bernhardt b: 21 Apr 1833 d: 18 Mar 1905
   m:before 1858
     Anna Catharina Smidt b: 1836 d: 11 Oct 1879
       1. Anna Marie Elisabeth b: 1857 d: 13 Aug 1878
       2. George Rudolph             b: 1859 d: 3 Ap 1863
       3. George                                  b: 1860 d: 18 Jan 1861
       4. John                                      b: 1863 d: 21 Jan 1865
       5. Herman Henry             b: 30 Mar 1864 d: 17 Apr 1865
       6. Franz                                    b: 27 Dec 1865 d: 16 Aug 1954
       7. William                              b: 1870 d: 24 Jun 1910
       8. Charles                               b: 1872 d: 15 Dec 1924
       9. John Augustus              b: 17 Mar 1874 d: after 1930
      10. Emma Catharina        b: 1875 d: 9 Mar 1876

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

1860 Census Mystery

After months of research I had finally figured out the entire family (give or take) of my great great grandfather. My conclusions are sound - at least I think they are. After a good bit of searching I finally found the "Bernhardt" family mis-enumerated as "Bernhalt". Unfortunately, in my excitement I failed to notice the ages are completely wrong for the children.

The family up to 1860 should include Franz b 1833, Anna Catharina (known as Catherine) b 1836, Anna Marie Elizabeth b 1857, George Rudolph b 1859, and George b 1860. I know the family had these children based on the death certificates of these children and the home addresses on the death certificates compared to known city directory entries and other documentation for Franz.

Here is mom and dad at the bottom of one page:

And the children at the top of the next page:

 (note: I kept the next family intact. What do you notice about it?)

Franz/Francis is two years off in birth, but birthplace and occupation are correct. The name is not concerning as I have seen other places where it was written wrong. Catherine's age is a bit off but the birthplace is correct. The children's ages, however, are significantly off, given that they are just children. Two years off on age for an adult - well, that's one thing. But it's rather difficult to confuse a 4 month old with a 3 year old.

Of further interest is the next family: A family that seemingly lives in the same dwelling but is considered a different household; a family that has a one year old child, Caroline, listed first; a family with two members who are employed as tailor's.

My initial thought is respondent error: if these two households lived in the same dwelling then it's certainly possible that the respondent was not a member of the immediate Bernhardt family, if family at all. Could these two tailor's have been employed by Franz?

Facts not in dispute: Franz was a tailor. He was from Saxony. Catherine was from Hanover. They had children with these names. This ward in Philadelphia is the area where Franz and Anna Catharina resided subsequently.

It's certainly possible that this is merely a family with many similarities to mine. But is that the most reasonable to conclusion to draw? Or is the simplest conclusion actually respondent error?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Willie and Isabell

Born October 24, 1887, Great Grandpa’s full name was William Franklin Russ, but everyone knew him as Willie. And like many residents of Bladen County, North Carolina, his was a family of farmers.

It would be nice to say that Willie’s childhood was uneventful – and for the most part, it was. Like most rural farming families, Willie and his siblings attended school, doing homework between their chores in the house and their responsibilities on the farm. But in 1904 there was a tragedy in this family – one that would be considered epic in the small community of Bladen County, North Carolina.

Summer was ending, and harvest time had not yet begun. It was Saturday, so Willie had a day off from school, and had spent the morning with his older sister, Blanche, while her husband was working at the lumber mill. Around 9 that morning, 15 year old Willie went off to nearby Clarkton for potatoes, leaving his sister in her kitchen as she began preparations for the noontime meal.

Sometime before 11 am, he returned to find his sister’s kitchen in a shambles. He searched for her, finding her battered body some 200 yards from the back door.

Packer, Blanche news

It’s hard to imagine how this must have affected such a young man. Like many men of this time, and his age, he likely felt some measure of responsibility for his sister’s safety. He likely felt he was the “man of the house” when his brother-in-law was away. And not four years later, he did become the man of the house after his father passed away in February of 1908.

Russ, Will 1905 (2)

By 1910 the family farm had been sold, and 22 year old Willie still lived at home with his mother and two younger sisters – Addie, 16, and Bessie, 13. All three children worked at a local cotton mill, Will as a comber and the girls as spinners.

Around this time a 15 year old Miss Mary Isabell Kinlaw was also working at a cotton mill. It’s possible that this is where the couple met.

Isabell was born September 23, 1894, not surprisingly the daughter of a farmer. Her family was about the same size as Willie’s, and she and her siblings went to school between chores and farm work. By 1910 her father had stopped working and sold the family farm. All but two of their six children at home worked at the cotton mill, spinning and winding cotton.

Willie and Isabell married on June 25, 1911, settling down as a tenant farmer, growing tobacco. The couple eventually had 13 children.

Russ, Will (4)

Some of Isabell’s granddaughters recall spending hours just sitting brushing her hair. Granddaughter Linda recalls spending the night with her, even on school nights.

Russ, Mary Isabelle with Shelby, Charles, Peggy, and Harvey

Willie Russ died August 21, 1959. His beloved wife, Isabell, died November 29, 1972.

Russ, Will 1950's

William Franklin Russ b: 24 Oct 1887 d: 21 Aug 1959
       m: 25 Jun 1911
          Mary Isabell Kinlaw b: 23 Sep 1894 d: 29 Nov 1972
                 1. Minnie Mae b: 17 Mar 1913 d: 28 Jun 2001
                 2. Beulah          b: 26 Apr 1915 d: 16 Jan 1974
                 3. Esther           b: 29 Aug 1917 d: 21 Dec 1997
                 4. William        b: 15 Apr 1919 d: 26 Dec 2007
                 5. Lillian           b: 27 Jul 1920 d: 16 Apr 1996
                 6. Ruth              b: 20 Nov 1921 d: 1 Jul 2007
                 7. Robert         b: 11 Sep 1923 d: 13 Feb 1994
                 8. Isabell          b: 14 Mar 1925 d: 14 Mar 1925
                 9. James           b: 29 Dec 1926 d: 2 Oct 1964
                 10. (Living)
                 11. Ernest        b: 28 May 1930 d: 1 Feb 1973
                 12. (Living)
                 13. (Living)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Earnest and Alma

June 30, 1893 Earnest Eugene Cain was born in Appling County, a rural farming community in Southern Georgia. He was one of nine children born to Alexander and Emma Jane Johnson Cain.  Earnest’s life seems surprisingly simple. He was raised on a farm and he died on a farm, working as a turpentine laborer sometime in between. He never served in any wars, wasn’t the pioneer of any great inventions – he was simply what he was – a farmer.

Sometime before 1912, 19 year old Earnest met and married a 15 year old Alma Jeanette Carter – daughter of a local farmer, and also a child born into a large family. They settled down on property adjacent to (and likely rented from) Alma’s father, and started a family.

While they weren’t college educated, they both were able to read and write. They continued to work on their rented farm, eventually having nine children themselves. Both Earnest and Alma are remembered as strict disciplinarians, even with their grandchildren.

Earnest died in Georgia November 15, 1945. Alma remarried a man by the name of Anderson, eventually moving to North Carolina where she died on September 25, 1965.

Earnest Eugene Cain b: 30 Jun 1893 d: 15 Nov 1945
   m: circa 1912
    Alma Janette Carter    b: 7 Sep 1898 d: 25 Sep 1965
        1. Gussie Lou                    b: 20 Apr 1915 d: 29 Oct 2001
        2. Eugene Alexander     b: 22 Oct 1918 d: 13 Feb 2002
        3. Odis Lee                        b: 1 Feb 1921 d: 2 Oct 2005
        4. Irvin Wallace              b: 1924 d: 1924
        5. John Wesley                b: 19 Feb 1925 d: 2 Apr 1960
        6. Myrtle                           b: 1928 d: unknown
        7. (Living)
        8. Braxton                         b: 22 Mar 1937 d: 20 Apr 1979
        9. Carolyn Ann                 b: 29 Sep 1940 d: 18 Nov 1965

Friday, February 8, 2013

Peter and Hattie

(Author’s note: Much of Peter’s early life is unclear, and has yet to be completely researched. Work has begun that will be completed following the Genealogical Proof Standard, however until new information arises, the following is the current genealogical assumptions.)

Peter Hilliard Christian Pound was born not long before the beginning of the South Carolina cotton season – July 11, 1850. Sad to say, according to researchers he was also likely born not long before his mother’s death as well.

It’s unclear exactly who Peter’s parents were – some say they were Jacob (alleged middle name: Hilliard) Pound and a woman named Joanna Crider; after researching the Orangeburg, South Carolina Pound’s, it seems a logical conclusion. Jacob Pound was enumerated on the 1850 census, the only adult in a household with six children. By 1870 all but one of these children were living with other families. Orangeburg was in the path of Sherman’s march to the sea, and according to an application with the National Park Service, by February of 1865 half the town was burned. It’s likely that this family’s information burned with it, so direct evidence has been limited. It’s also likely that Peter was born into the Pfund family, one of the many Swiss-German immigrant families who resided in the Orangeburg area.

Regardless of why, Peter is first recorded on the 1860 US Federal Census there, living with a family named Goodwyn (also: Goodwin). His age is given as 13, but this is likely an error on the part of the respondent – this family already had seven children of their own; forgetting the birthdate of an unrelated child doesn’t seem unlikely. The Goodwyn’s were farmers, and Peter probably spent much of his time working on their farm in exchange for his upkeep.

(Note: An 1870 census record is not found indexed for Peter, nor is one found for the Goodwyn family, or the family of Peter’s future wife, Lucy Younginer. While transcription error cannot be ruled out, this possibly indicates missing or illegible pages.)

Not found again until the 1880 census, Peter had by then married and begun a family of his own in nearby Lexington County. Peter worked at cotton mill while his wife, Lucy Ann (nee Younginer) took care of their four children.  In what could be called a cosmic twist of fate, Lucy Ann died sometime after the birth of their sixth child,  leaving Peter to face a similar situation as his alleged father. Around 1889, however, Peter married Hattie O’dell Hallman, a young woman nearly 20 years his junior. In doing so, he was able to keep his family together where Jacob had not.

Hattie was born to Thomas Wesley and Barbara Catherine Clark Hallman on January 22, 1869, twin sister to a brother, interestingly enough named Hilliard. Hattie, like her husband, was of German descent. Also like many families in rural South Carolina, Hattie had several brothers and sisters, and they worked together on the family farm. Hattie was literate, and it’s possible that she and her siblings attended school at home, learning to read and write between chores in the house and responsibilities on the farm.

(Note: It what appears to be an unfortunate coincidence, the Thomas Wesley  Hallman family has yet to be found on an index of the 1870 US Federal Census, limiting the information regarding Hattie’s first decade of life.)

After marrying, Hattie helped raise Peter’s younger children, adding eight more to the brood. While Peter was tending the farm they owned, Hattie tended to their home and their younger children while the older children attended school. Less than a year before the birth of my grandmother, Myrtie, Peter and Hattie experienced the death of their oldest child at the age of 7. They lost another child, their youngest boy, in 1914, when he was 11.

Peter continued farming until suffering a stroke in 1916. He was left with some measure of paralysis, unable to care for himself. On the morning of April 30, 1917, Peter passed away as his family was helping him to the breakfast table. He was 69 years old.

Hattie was able to maintain the family home for a while, as the farm carried no mortgage. In 1920 she was still tending to the house, and her younger children, while her older children took jobs to help support the family – two in the local cotton mill, one teaching grade school. Eventually, though, the family farm and home was sold, and Hattie and her remaining children moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, living in a rented home there. In 1930, Hattie lived with her daughter, Lillie, and her family in Charlotte, as well as her son Duffie.

Hattie’s children grew up and moved away, and Hattie purchased a home in Boiling Springs, South Carolina, where she had raised her family. She lived there with Duffie until he was drafted into the Army during World War II.

Hattie died in Columbia, South Carolina, on August 26, 1946.
Peter Hilliard Christian Pound b: 11 Jul 1850, d: 30 Apr 1917
  m: circa 1870
     Lucy Ann Younginer b: circa 1850 d: circa 1885
        1. Fred B    b: 1875 d: 1918
        2. Jacob      b: 1876 d: unknown
        3. Minnie    b: 1878 d: unknown
        4. Barbara  b: 1879 d: unknown
        5. John H    b: 1880 d: 1927
        6. Butler B  b: 1884 d: 1940
  m: 1889
     Hattie O'dell Hallman b: 21 Jan 1869 d: 26 Aug 1946
        1. Octavia   b: 13 Aug 1891 d: 5 Jun 1897
        2.  Lee         b: 24 Dec 1892 d: 20 Oct 1918
        3. Elsie        b: 22 Oct 1896 d: aft 1940
        4. Myrtie    b: 24 May 1898 d: 30 Dec 1992
        5. Winnie   b: 13 Feb 1900 d: Mar 1971
        6. Duffie     b: 23 Jun 1901 d: 25 Jun 1946
        7. Darby     b: 22 Mar 1903 d: 14 Dec 1914
        8. Lillie       b: 10 Apr 1909 d: 21 Jan 1986

Hallman 1897, South Carolina picmonkey
Photo courtesy of Jen

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Franz and Rosina

Family History Writing Challenge, day six +Lynn Palermo

(Author’s note: Up to this point much of the narrative for the Family History Writing Challenge has been anecdotal information provided by personal accounts of family members and supported by historical documentation. As we move into time periods that living family was not a part of, the narrative will be primarily based on information that has been inferred from historical documentation and writings of that time. As this is a narrative writing for personal use, while they exist, no citations have been included.)

Franz J Bernhardt, Jr. and Rosina Maier were both of German parentage; he was a first generation American, she a recent immigrant from W├╝rttemberg.

Some debate exists as to the birth place of Franz (also known as Frank); census data states he was born in Pennsylvania, but his family apparently returned to Germany in the mid to late 1860’s and no official documentation of his birth has been found. According to family, he was born on December 27, 1865 – his grandson recalls that it was celebrated “two days after Christmas” (although he was likely being humorous when he said this), and this is the day recorded in his death records. His middle initial, J, has been found in numerous places, but never the name itself – however, it’s likely that it was “John”, a name common in many German families.

(Note: A birth record for one “John Francis Bernhardt” exists in Philadelphia. The birth date for this individual is listed as December 17, 1865. Unfortunately, the original has not been viewed to this point, so it’s certainly possible that the information includes transcription errors. A review of this document is expected by Summer of 2013.)

In any case, Franz was an American, living in Philadelphia for most of his life. His was a life surrounded by war – his birth arriving at the close of the American Civil War; he lived through two world wars, as well as conflicts with both Spain and Korea. He was fortunate as he never had to experience these events first hand, but his life – like the lives of all Americans – was undoubtedly touched by them.

What likely affected Franz’s life the most, however, was the loss of his mother when he was 14, the loss of his older sister when he was 13, and the separation from his three younger brothers these deaths caused.

In the mid 1800’s, Philadelphia – like most large cities – was plagued by disease. Poor sanitation measures and poor water storage and transportation made large cities the perfect breeding ground for infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, small pox, diphtheria, and typhoid. These diseases claimed the lives of many poor and struggling immigrants who had come to America with the hope of a better life. Unfortunately, all too often the death of a parent, particularly a mother, resulted in children being housed – in this case, temporarily – in homes for poor children.

Franz, being old enough to work, was able to stay at home with his father, apparently in the role of apprentice tailor, while his brothers – 10, 8, and 6 – were sent to the Western Home for Poor Children in Philadelphia. One can only imagine how difficult this was for the boys – including Franz, who had to live with the knowledge that he was able to stay at home while his brothers were not.

So, while his brothers lived at the school, Franz worked with his father, measuring, cutting, and stitching as he learned the family business. Around 1884, Franz was working as a tailor on his own account, but returned home by 1886, apparently staying there until he married.

Family belief always held that Franz returned to Germany, met and married Rosina, returning to America in the early 1890’s. If census records are to believed, however, Rosina immigrated sometime around 1890, she and Franz marrying around 1893. No travel, immigration, or marriage records have been found as of yet, unfortunately, but by 1893 they had their first child.

Little Frank was born in December 1893. His life was short, however, and he passed away two months before the birth of his sister, Francis Rose. Francis was born in November 1894, and she too died young, barely eight months old, in July of 1895. This was surely a difficult time for the newly immigrated Rosina – separated from the life she had always known, possibly struggling to deal with these losses with little to no emotional support system available to her.

Even so, the family grew, and Franz and Rosina had four more children – two boys and two girls, Franz continuing to support his family as a tailor. By 1920, Franz had saved enough money to purchase his family a home at 840 Magee Avenue in Philadelphia – a home he also worked out of for many years.

Bernhardt, Franz Jr and Rosina 1925

Unfortunately, Rosina passed away in September of 1929, before she could know her grandchildren. Little is known about her life in America, and nothing is known about her parentage or family in Germany.

Franz made it through the Great Depression, as well as the Prohibition era (something he likely wasn’t fond of, as a letter to his son, Al, specifically asked for him to be sent some “corn”.) He was also fond of Bayerisch kraut, expressing his thanks to his daughter-in-law for making him some on his visit to their home.

Franz retired from the tailor business by 1940 – his grandson, Frank, has intimated that his business was being extorted by the mafia – but he may just have run out of money. He still lived on Magee Street, however he was a lodger now, living at house number 346. In 1950, he lived with his daughter Kathryn and her husband, Julius, on Longshore Avenue, apparently residing there until his death.
Franz died August 16, 1954 at the ripe old age of 89. He was a member of the Hermann Masonic Lodge, an all German speaking lodge, and Bethany Reformed Church, both in Philadelphia.

Despite his losses, and the occasional family strife, Franz’s life should be considered a success. He provided his children with the skills and education they needed to care for themselves and provide for their own families, one of the most important things a father can impart.
Franz J. Bernhardt, Jr. b: 27 Dec 1865 d: 16 Aug 1954
       m: 1893
         Rosina Maier b: Oct 1873, Germany d: 23 Sep 1929
            1. Frank                  b: circa Dec 1893 d: 16 Sep 1894
            2. Francis Rose   b: circa Nov 1894 d: 23 Jul 1895
            3. William F          b: 17 Aug 1896 d: May 1965
            4. Albert Frank   b: 22 Oct 1902 d: 17 Dec 1988
            5. Kathryn R.       b: 13 Dec 1905 d: 17 Jan 2002
            6. Francis Jesse  b:  Aug 1908 d: 22 Oct 1999

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Like her husband, Ruth was born in 1921 into farm life. She, however, was born and raised in Bladen County, North Carolina. Like all farmer’s children, Ruth had not only her chores, but her schoolwork. And like all large families, she had younger siblings to help tend to.

Russ, 1922

On Sunday’s there was church, and a day of rest, only for it to all begin again on Monday. But they worked as a family, all eventually growing up to have their own families. Ruth graduated from high school, continuing to work on the family farm. She also sold magazines to help make ends meet. It was around this time that she met her future husband, who she married in November of 1941. She and Odis settled down to raise a family and tobacco.

Russ, Annie Ruth 1940
Russ - Baptism

By the Fall of 1942 they were expecting their first child when Granddaddy was unexpectedly drafted. Ruth moved back in with her parents after Granddaddy left for Fort Bragg, staying there until after Linda was born. Six months later, the pair moved to Paris, Texas, where Granddaddy was stationed – likely at Camp Maxey. Years later, Grandmama told stories of her time there, including sharing a home with multiple families but only having one kitchen. They moved from there on a rainy day, and she recalled accidentally dropping clothes in a muddy hole. She said that on their way home to North Carolina, soldiers helped take care of the baby.

Cain, Ruth and Linda (4)

After Granddaddy was discharged from the Army, they renewed their life together, having a total of five children – four girls and a boy. Grandmama was not one to be scared off by a little hard work. While living in Bladenboro, she worked for Bladenboro Cotton Mills to supplement the income Granddaddy received from farming and driving a truck. Her commitment to her family was foremost, however, as she didn’t go to work until after her younger children were almost in high school.

Cain, Ruth, and children

After moving to Charlotte, she went to work as the manager of Myers Park Elementary School’s lunch cafeteria. On Sunday’s she and her two youngest girls would go to the school to take inventory and bake cookies. Later she was a snack bar manager at Zayre and at Woolco.

It seems food and cooking was something Ruth loved. Her grandchildren recall Ruth serving Sunday lunches, Southern style, and good old fashioned Thanksgiving meals. Home canned tomatoes and okra lined her basement shelves.

Grandmama loved her family, and had a strong sense of Christian faith. She knew the difficulties of large families, however, and shared those difficulties with me when I was expecting my fifth child. She never wanted her grandchildren and great-grandchildren to have to make what she felt were sacrifices her family had to endure.
Cain, Ruth (2)

Ruth’s last years were spent in a nursing home in Gastonia, North Carolina. She died there in 2007,  just weeks before I learned I was expecting my last child. Despite Grandmama’s concerns, her love of family and her ability to handle adversity was part of what inspired me to have a large family. Ruth was 85 years old.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Linda’s father, Odis Cain, was born into a family of farmers in Appling County, Georgia in 1921. He was the second boy of nine children, and likely carried a large share of the workload on their portion of the family farm.

Odis and his siblings attended a small, rural school, in this Southern Georgia County. Unfortunately, at that time educational standards were lacking, and even though he attended school for many years he was only able to attain a second grade education. Granddaddy related years later to his daughter, Carol, that the schoolteacher didn’t like him and basically just ignored him in favor of the other students, refusing to promote him. This likely made Odis’s early life difficult, and probably played a factor in his decision to continue the farming tradition.

Odis’s grandfather had migrated to Georgia from Bladen County, North Carolina during the late 1800’s. North Carolina must have been in the family blood, though, because sometime between 1935 and 1940 Odis’s older sister and her husband had returned to Bladen County, Odis not far behind.
It’s unclear exactly why Granddaddy left Georgia – rumors fly, but the truth may never be known. However, once there he began working on a farm, possibly working with his brother-in-law who was a share cropper. Eventually Granddaddy met Ruth Russ and settled down to start a family and a farm. Unfortunately, the world disrupted this simple farmer’s life.

Cain, Odis 1942

Grandaddy was drafted into the U.S. Army, and his service began in November of 1942, a year after marrying Ruth. He entered the Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina as a part of the 394th Regiment of the 99th Division of the Infantry. The division stayed stateside until September, 1944, when they were deployed to the European Theater. This Division was nicknamed the “Battle Babies” due to their lack of combat experience. They weren’t considered babies for long, however, as the unit played a pivotal roll in the Battle of the Bulge. This is where Granddaddy was taken a prisoner of war.
Somewhere around December 19, 1944, he was captured by the Germans. He and other prisoners were eventually transported to Stalag IV-B M├╝hlberg, Germany. He was repatriated three months later, and discharged from the Army at Fort Lewis, Washington, in November of 1945. This time of his life was a rare topic at home for nearly fifty years.

Cain, Odis 1945

Settling into civilian life was difficult for Grandaddy. He had missed not only the birth of his oldest child, but was also not a part of her home life for most of her first three years. Eventually, however, they became a family again, and he became a tenant farmer in North Carolina. The family crop was tobacco, and like Odis himself, his children carried a portion of the workload before and after school. Tobacco was a part of Odis’s life; he even has a niece who recalls him making paper wreathes out of folded Lucky Strike cigarette packs.

Cain, Odis, Ruth, Linda, and Tony

During the Winter months Granddaddy drove a truck relaying newspapers from Charlotte to Southeastern North Carolina. Eventually he accepted a job driving the first leg from Charlotte, and moved his family there.

His time in the Army was beneficial to his education, and he eventually enrolled in math courses at a Charlotte area school. He received training as a welder and got a job at Wilmat making small machinery parts, following the company to Bessemer City when it was relocated.

Grandaddy remained in the Gastonia area for the remainder of his life, raising grapes and spending time with his grandchildren on his side porch or rocking in his chair in his living room.
Cain, Odis and Beth

Granddaddy once told his great grandson that he didn’t consider himself a hero – he had a job to do in Europe, and he did it. But to us, and to millions of Americans, he was a hero. And the fact that he didn’t wear the hat of a hero makes him a hero all the more.

Granddaddy passed away in 2005. And he is missed.

Your sacrifices are not forgotten.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Family History Writing Challenge, Day Two +Lynn Palermo 

Like her husband, Al, Myrtie’s heritage was German. Unlike Al, she was Southern born and bred. Born May 24, 1898, Myrtie Virginia Pound was a middle girl in a very large family – what we would now call a “blended family”. Back then, however, it was simply a family.
Pound, Myrtie and Winnie or Elsie 1920's
Born in Red Bank, South Carolina, Myrtie attended school with her siblings, working on the family farm between chores and schoolwork. After the death of her father in 1917, she took a job teaching at a grade school in South Carolina. She wasn’t a teacher for long, however.

Around 1922 she moved to Columbia, South Carolina where she worked as an operator for Western Union Telegraph Company. By 1925, Myrtie had moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, living with a brother and a sister,  still working for Western Union; eventually their mother joined them in Charlotte as well. Myrtie stayed with Western Union even after her marriage in 1929. She left Western Union before the birth of their first of three boys in 1930.
Pound, Myrtie 1920's
Grandmother was raised Methodist in South Carolina, likely a member of  Red Bank United Methodist Church (originally called Hicks Chapel Methodist Church), the first Methodist church in Red Bank. However, she and Grandpop joined Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Charlotte after they were married. She was an active member of the church and the Rebekah Circle there for the remainder of her life in Charlotte.

Prim and proper, Myrtie was a slight woman. Being four years older than her husband was something that bothered her, but it hardly mattered as they raised their family together. She reared her boys in their small, tidy home with Southern grace and manners. Her youngest boy recalls attending women’s meetings with her as a small child, being given a plate of refreshments, and sitting quietly in his chair watching the proceedings about him.

Bernhardt, Myrtie 1952

As a grandmother she was doting, always concerned with keeping her nine grandchildren full of coconut macaroons and lime Kool-aid. A small, white high chair was kept in the kitchen, each of the grandchildren having their turn to it over the course of fifteen years. Small powdered donuts and individual boxes of cereal were always kept on hand for visits, and there was plenty of vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries for a treat.

When the grandchildren weren’t with Grandpop in his workshop they could likely be found reading one of the many books Grandmother kept for them, or sitting on the porch with her waiting for the mail or rolling marbles down the uneven porch boards.

Grandmother remained in her home for over forty years, until the death of her husband in 1988. From their she moved to Lumberton to live with her oldest son and his family. She lived there until moving to a nursing home back in South Carolina, in the hometown of her middle son. She returned to Charlotte once again, being laid to rest with Al, after passing away at the age of 94.

Bernhardt, Myrtie and Wimbush, Michael

Friday, February 1, 2013


Day One Family History Writing Challenge +Lynn Palermo

Charles and Linda met at a lunch counter in Charlotte over 50 years ago – six months later they were married. She was barely out of her teens, he was already out of college and had recently returned from Fort Lewis in Washington after being discharged from the US Army.

Charles was the youngest of three boys born between the Great Depression and World War II. They were raised in the “big city” (Southern North Carolina style). Like most families of that time, they got by, all three growing to become educated, hard-working family men. His oldest brother, Al, was his senior by seven years; Frank was only two years older.

Their father was also an Al – Albert Frank Bernhardt, I, who was born in October of 1902. A native of Philadelphia, according to Charles, Grandpop attended Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry (now Drexel University). He was an electrician in Philadelphia before moving to North Carolina between 1925 and 1930. He met his bride, Myrtie, during this time, and on January 24, 1929, they were married in Philadelphia at Bethany Reformed Church (now Bethany U.C.C.). Bethany was the German-speaking Evangelical church that Grandpop attended as a youth. He began his membership with Bethany by baptism in 1918 and remained a member of the church until moving to North Carolina. There the couple joined Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, in part due the large German community there.

One of Al's first jobs there was as a weaver in a hosiery mill, a skill he likely learned from his father, a weaver and a tailor. By 1933 he was again working in his chosen field as a radio serviceman for a company called Glascow-Allison.

With a brief exception, Grandpop lived in North Carolina for the remainder of his life.

During World War II the family moved to East Orange, New Jersey. Al worked for Bell Labs in New York City, working on materials sensitive enough that he was required to wear a sidearm. Grandpop was perhaps fortunate in this regard, as anti-German sentiment was high during this time – perhaps this spoke to his knowledge and ability in the field in which he worked. He was also an auxiliary policeman for civil defense during the war.
Bernhardt, Albert I NJ 1944

Bell Labs, NYC 1943

It seems likely that the brevity of this time in New Jersey was expected, as the family moved back into their home in North Carolina around 1945. Upon returning, Grandpop worked for a company called Williams and Shelton before opening a television repair shop just around the corner from his home. He ran this shop until retirement. After retiring he focused on wood crafts - on a large scale such as cabinetry, and on a small scale, building dollhouses and furniture for his five granddaughters. Al also had four wonderful grandsons he enjoyed working with in his basement. He tended raspberry vines that he grew in his backyard.
Bernhardt, Albert Williams And Shelton 1949
Grandpop was active with the Boy Scouts of America and a member of Phalanx Masonic Lodge in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the weekends he could usually be found in his blue armchair smoking his pipe or in his basement work shop. These times left memories that are often stirred by the smell of sweet tobacco, wood-burning tools, and musty, earthy basements.

Grandpop passed away in December of 1988 due to complications from congestive heart failure. He lived to be 86 years old, perhaps a testament to the strong German stock from which he came.
Bernhardt TV Repair