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…

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