Tuesday, May 26, 2009

If you bring me a hotdog, I'll work another 2 hours

It was a wonderful Memorial Day long weekend, beautiful weather, I spent time roaming in a pretty little cemetery, all good.

There was one day where I was at my sister's house, helping to put together a swingset/fort/slide/rockwall.

It looked a bit like this:

JUST KIDDING!!!!! :-D There was actually really good barbeque as well, which I think is represented by the flames under satan's bum.

I squeezed in some genealogy research before going to my sister's house and came across a conundrum (of course! I was leaving the house and unable to delve into it!).

I have a great-great uncle Nickolaus Domelle.

I have a copy of a marriage certificate for him, showing that he married a Francisca Traum on May 14, 1910 in Philadelphia at St. Peter the Apostle Church, 1019 N. Fifth St.

I had always thought that Francisca had died, because by Nickolaus's 1919 Declaration of Intention he is married to a Barbara (no maiden name given).

Then, I finally get that batch of social security applications I was talking about the other week, and I have their only daughter Elizabeth's social security application.

She lists her mother as "Barbara Traum".


So now I'm thinking okay, it could be Francisca decided to go by the name Barbara, which is not an uncommon thing for immigrants to do, I've seen lots of census's where people altered their names to sound more american, or they swithed to using their middle name, things like that.

Or, maybe Barbara is a sister of Francisca? Or cousin?

I searched the 1910 census for Philadelphia, naturally, there is one of each. A Francisca and a Barbara. One is a maidservant in Philadelphia, one is a maidservant in Bucks county.

The 1920 census for Philadelphia shows Barbara married to Nickolaus, and she does give a middle initial of "T", which I now know stands for Traum:

So then I went to Ellis Island. They are both there too. Both came over with cousins, not parents or siblings. Both had a final destination of Philadelphia.

According to the Ellis Island records, "Franziska" is the right age for my Barbara, and the Barbara is about 8 years too old. But I can't just take that as gospel because people lie about their ages all the time. Shocking, I know.

Both are German. Both are from Hungary. Both are from Retfel, a town I have yet to locate on modern maps or find the alternate names for.

Now, Franziska came over in 1907, which matches my 1920 census information. Barbara came over in 1906.

Maybe Franziska was her proper name, she used it when traveling to the United States, she used it for her marriage certificate, but in her real life she always used Barbara.


I think I have myself convinced that Franziska used the name Barbara, but I'm not really sure yet. Maybe I'll do some more searching on this one next saturday. Before I go to my sister's house to finish putting together the fort/swingset/slide/rollercoaster.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that I make it out alive!


  1. Salt Lake has GREAT maps for showing town names because a German map of Hungary may show a different name for a town than a Hungarian map of Hungary.