Sunday, April 21, 2013

“Cousin bait”


I’ve often heard of genealogical blogs being called “cousin bait”; and recently I found out why.

Last week my third cousin from Philadelphia – a man I knew nothing of – apparently googled our great great grandfather (Franz Bernhardt) and I’m one of the things that popped up. This was a particularly wonderful discovery for me, as I hope it was for him.

I had discovered that Franz had sent his children (well, three of them) to live in a home for poor children after his wife died in 1879. My great grandfather was older and was able to stay at home with his  father and learn his craft as a tailor. So, I had assumed that this was a struggling German immigrant family – and maybe they were at one time. But by the time of his death in 1905, Franz Sr had apparently amassed a good bit of money as well as being the owner of five homes.

Yes, Franz had a will I wasn’t aware of. My cousin sent it to me and it confirmed his brother, also a tailor in Philadelphia, as well as a sister who remained in Germany. It also mentioned a child I had not seen mention of before – Albert. Albert was likely born between 1875 and 1879 – in which case he would have been too young to have gone to the home.

So, now I have a sister to track down as well as another son. I am so grateful to have received this information.

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