Saturday, April 4, 2015

Tracking the Hanneman Family: Uncovering Local Resources in Pennsylvania

Questions, Oberazzi,  December 9, 2006,
Is it Henrietta Hausman or Henrietta Hanneman? What is the correct spelling of a target ancestor’s name is a question that faces many researchers. In this case, the person of interest bearing the mystery birth surname is “Henrietta Hausman or Hanneman Williams Kreis” who was born in Pennsylvania and became the second wife of my great grandfather, Henry Kreis. To answer this question, I needed to investigate Pennsylvania genealogy resources.

Map of Pennsylvania, National Atlas, public domain, Wikimedia.
In my Oct 19, 2011 post, I introduced my readers to Henrietta.

Received from granddaughter of Henrietta

At that time, I had a theory (this was early on in my research of this family) that “Hanneman” might be a variant or misspelling of “Hausmann.” The main reason for this belief was the close relationship between Henrietta and her father-in-law, John Kreis, that continued long after her marriage to his son ended in divorce. John had married two Hausman women; first Mary Hausman and after she died, Margarethe Hausman. Because of marriage patterns at that time and people having smaller marriage pools, it is probable that these two women were related. Furthermore, if these two Kreis wives were related to Henrietta, it would explain why she would include John Kreis in her household for twenty years.

Another reason in favor of the Hausman spelling is that the 1900 Chicago, Cook, IL US Census  gives Nettie’s (Henrietta) brothers’ surnames as “Housman” which could be a misspelling or an Americanization of “Hausman.”

I decided that I must delve deeper into family records in order to make a strong case for the true surname of my great grandfather’s second wife.

In my earlier research on the Hanneman/Hausman family, the seminal document I found was the 1880 Newark, Essex, NJ US Census. This showed Henrietta in her birth family with her parents, Fred and Emma Hannaman (spelling variant of “Hanneman” in this census) and her siblings.

In this early research phase on the Hannemans, I had concentrated on Henrietta, her brothers Charles and Frederick (as she lived with them in Chicago in 1900) and her twin, Louisa. Somehow brother Henry had slipped past my scrutiny. In these sibling searches, I found no indication of where in Pennsylvania any of them were born. Also, I found no Hausman/Houseman connection.

Months went by. In December of 2014, I decided to do some more research on the Hanneman/Hausman question. I returned again to the sibling list and realized I had ignored Henry.  He was listed as age 12 in the 1880 Newark, Essex, NJ US Census. I went to Family Search and searched “Henry Hanneman.” Well, that search turned out to be gold! The 1870 Texas, Wayne, Pennsylvania US Census came up.
1870 Census questions:  1870 Questionnaire, › History › Image Gallery.
The household of “FredK and Emma Hannaman” appeared with two children: Gusta, female age ten and Henry, age one. I had not seen this census record before. This one document gave me three new pieces of information:

    Carbondale, Pa., between 1870 and 1879,
    Fowler & Bailey, Boston Public Library,
  1. The birth place in Pennsylvania of Henry (and perhaps the other children): Texas, Wayne, PA (Texas township is near Honesdale and Carbondale, all of which are close to Wilkes-Barre and mentioned in different family documents.)

“An old bird-eye map of Wilkes-Barre,
 Pennsylvania, United States”, 
1889, Fowler, Downs & Moyer, 
 g3824w.pm008720, public domain, Wikimedia.

This corresponds with what Joan Van Hise Dirner, a granddaughter of Henry Kreis (and my cousin, now deceased) told me about her Hanneman family origins in this country. Joan heard a family story that the Hannemans were in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania at one time before they came to New Jersey.

2. The name of another child of Frederick and Emma: Gusta.

3.The city/district in Germany where Frederick Sr. was born: Hanover.

This Wayne County, PA census record also told me that the family surname, as far back as 1870, was “Hannaman”, a spelling variant of “Hanneman.” It looked more and more like “Hanneman” was the family surname.

After this lucky break from Henry, I did more research and found him (in the 1910 , 1920 and 1930 Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, PA US Censuses) showing that, unlike his siblings, he returned to Wilkes-Barre as an adult and lived there the rest of his life.

Map of Luzerne County, PA, US with township and municipal
 boundaries from US Census website 
by User:Ruhrfisch, April 2006, Wikimedia.  

In the 1910 Wilkes-Barre Census, I found that Henry’s brother, Frederick, was living in his household and the surname for all was “Hanneman.”

Invigorated and re-energized by my luck with Henry, I wanted to know more about the Hanneman family. I started my search anew. In under “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” I found a listing for Heinrich Hanemann and his brother Friedrich, arriving in the US on 13 April 1866. This document was the oldest and closest to the old country that I had yet seen and thus the strongest evidence that the surname was indeed “Hanneman.”

Having done so much on-line research, I decided I also needed to consult some local sources. Since I live at quite a distance from Pennsylvania, I decided to follow my own advice from my Oct 19, 2011 post:

 “… when you are doing out of state research, someone actually living in that area can be very helpful.  That person can visit archives or other record depositories to search for information. An in-person search is much faster than ordering records by mail. Not all records have been digitized or are available on the computer. And a local person may know of places to research in the area that you have not thought of.”

Now that I had decided to go local, how did I find a researcher? A quote from my March 12, 2013  post gave me just the information I needed:

“…the next time you are researching an ancestor in a geographic area that is new to you, be sure to start with the Family Search Research Wiki. Not only will you find a thorough introduction to many records and where they are located for your target area, but you never know what hidden treasures are waiting for you.”

Family Search resources, Diane Cordell, June 25, 2012,

First I went to the Pennsylvania State Wiki at Half-way down the page is a map showing all of the counties. To see a wiki on any of the counties, you simply click on the county name. In my case, I clicked on “Wayne” as that is where Wilkes Barre is located. Below is a diagram of the county:

Map of Wayne County, Pennsylvania, United States, 
modified by User:Ruhrfisch in April 2006
 from US Census website, Wikimedia.

On the left side of the Pennsylvania State Wiki page, you will find a menu bar which lists major topics of interest, including church records, court records, history, and newspapers among others. But I was looking for local professional help. The topic “Repositories” caught my attention, and the subheading  “Societies” seemed a likely place to check.

Wayne County Historical Society, used by permission
The first institution listed is the Wayne County HistoricalSociety, located in Honesdale, the birth place of Henrietta’s brother Henry Hanneman. On the side bar of the first page of this website, you can click on “Genealogy,” and you will find the Professional Research Package. For a $40 fee, you can purchase two hours of research. The website lists many of the sources available at the Society. I discovered that the site makes it easy to order research services on-line when I made my request for two hours of research on the Hannemans. During an e-mail conversation with the researcher, I attached documents I had already found and a history I had written on the family. Unfortunately, the researcher could find no additional records of the family’s time in Wayne County.

Sysiphus, oil on canvas, 40 x 40, 2014,
 Milan Rynt, 15 September 2014, Wikimedia 

As you can see from this post, living far from a state where your ancestors once lived is not an insurmountable obstacle to research. Local societies often offer on-site services for a fee. And an easy place to locate these local institutions is the Family Search Research Wiki.

A lesson I re-learned again while doing this research (Hanneman or Hausman?) is to always check records for each of the siblings in a family. You never know what you might find. In this case, Henry Hanneman’s records, a brother of Henrietta, brought me information I had not found from my research on his brothers and sisters: his birth place in Pennsylvania and most likely the birth place of his siblings.

In conclusion, in order to answer the question, is it “Henrietta Hanneman” or “Henrietta Hausman,” I searched for documents on-line and enlisted the help of local researchers in Pennsylvania. Hanneman (or some variant such as “Hannaman, Hanaman etc.) appears on every record except the one census document which listed the family as “Housman.”  From all the records I have accumulated, the evidence strongly suggests that “Hanneman” is Henrietta’s correct surname.

category: genealogy professional

Friday, February 6, 2015

Wanted: Greek Research Guidance

Irish United Nations Veterans Association house and
 memorial garden (Arbour Hill), 
William Murphy, 2011, Creative Commons,
This is the story of how one resource can open the door to many research tools. It all started because of my Greek ancestors. My husband and I will be headed to Athens in the fall of 2015 for our next family history trip.

Athens. Panorama from Acropolis towards
 northeast and Mount Lycabettus,
2011, Wikimedia.
After traveling to the Czech Republic and Switzerland in 2013, I have some experience in getting prepared to make the most of my time in Europe. In my blog post of Oct 30, 2013, I discussed how I found my wonderful Czech heritage guide, Marie Zahn. The unforgettable trip with Marie to my grandfather’s ancestral village coupled with the genealogical information that she located before we arrived resulted in a very successful visit. This experience lead me to look for a guide in Greece.
But this quest proved much harder than I thought. I explored the subject of heritage guides in Greece in different google searches (trying to use just the right combination of words,) but nothing solid turned up. I e-mailed Rick Steves’ travel advisory site staffers, (a great site for travel information) but they had no leads either. 

Used by permission of publisher
On one of my google searches, I put “Greek genealogy resources” and a listing for a “Greek Family Research Toolkit” from Family Tree Magazine popped up. A copy of this issue is available at Family Tree Magazine's online store.

As I looked down the list of web sites in the tool kit, I saw this intriguing entry: Hellenic Genealogy Resources Facebook Group.

Facebook logo, 2013,
 Facebook, Inc., Wikimedia.

Now I had already searched Facebook groups under “Greek,” but I had not thought to look under “Hellenic.” The link in the Family Tree list (from 2012) was no longer active but now I had the name. I excitedly opened Facebook and entered the name I hoped to fine.

And there it was – the Hellenic Genealogy Resources Group!  (You must be in Facebook to see the group.) I saw that it was a closed group, so I clicked on “join” and the next time I checked, I saw a  welcome message from the administrator of the group, Dawna Stevens.

Listen, Ky, 2008, Creative Commons,
Having found the group, I could hardly wait to make contact.  In my “hello and thank you for letting me join message,” I asked if anyone knew of a Greek heritage guide. By the next day, Dawna Stevens had given me two possible candidates. This kind of treatment, of being heard, is something so wonderful to encounter when you are searching for information.
 I will write another post as I explore a research partnership with these new Greek contacts.

Another Facebook group I found in the Family Tree Magazine “Greek Family Research Toolkit” is Hellenic Genealogy Geek. I was intrigued by the term “Geek” – these must be very determined, focused researchers. Only a few weeks after joining this group, I received an e-mail announcing the “First NationalHellenic American Genealogy Conference” to be held in New York on Saturday April 25, 2015. This isn’t the first time that I have wished to live closer to New York City! The conference is co-sponsored by the Hellenic American Chamber ofCommerce and The conference syllabus promises an exciting, information-packed day. Not only are there some intriguing presentations, but the conference is free!

The conference opens with Peter C. Moskos speaking on “Greek Americans: Struggle and Success” which is the title of a book by the same title he co-authored with Charles C. Moskos.

A presentation by Dr. Louis Katsos, titled the “History of Hellenic Lands,” focuses on how research in Greek records is impacted by “geography, boundary changes and village name changes.” Herein lie the sand traps that befuddle many a genealogist!

Bunker, Michael Coghlan, 2009,
Creative Commons,

In the afternoon, Peter W. Dickson, a contributor to Greek Americans, will be speaking on “Using DNA in Greek Family History Research.” How DNA can help in family history research is one of my favorite topics!

I found another lead in the Greek Family Research Toolkit -- a link to Lica Catsakis’ website, Greek Genealogy - FamilyHistory, How to find Your Greek Ancestors. Dr. Catsakis is the author of Family History Research in Greece. This is a description of the book that appears on her website:

“Eleven Chapters: Beginning your Research, Sources for Genealogical Research, Greek History, More about Greece, Greek Migration, Locating Places in Greece (with details about various gazetteers – geographical dictionaries), Churches and Religious Denominations (with addresses of dioceses, and Patriarchate), Research by Mail (with form letters for civil and church archives in Greek and their English translation, and Family questionnaire for relatives to fill in information about common ancestors), Learn about Names, The Language (with basics about grammar and a list of words you will see in Greek records), Numbers and Units of Time. 
Two Appendices: Glossary (of Greek and English words); and Greek Given Names their Variations, their English Equivalents, and Name-days.
Pictures of ancestors and of the land, Maps, and photocopies of samples of Greek Records andCertificates.”

Isn’t it amazing how one resource, in this case Family History Magazine’s "Greek Family Research Toolkit," can lead one to discover all this:

  • Two Facebook groups on Greek Genealogy Research
  • Referrals to Greek Heritage guides
  • The Hellenic America Chamber of Commerce
  • The First National Hellenic American Genealogy Conference
  • A manual on how to do Greek Family Research by L. Catsakis
categories: genealogy tools, genealogy professional, genealogy groups

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Poor in Early America

As my readers know, I am interested in the lives of my Irish ancestors who came to Chicago, IL in the mid-nineteenth century. Because they were part of the new urban poor (a group made up of rural people from America and abroad who came to the cities seeking jobs),

From the old to the new world - German emigrants for New York
 embarking on a Hamburg steamer, 1874,
 LC-USZ62-100310, Library of Congress Online Catalog.

I began researching what life was like for those who lived on the margins without secure employment. In my post of November 12, 2014, I wrote about some of the challenges the poor faced in nineteenth century Chicago. This led me to wonder more about the causes of poverty in America and how this society responded to the needs of those without the means to take care of themselves.

Walter I. Trattner, From poor law to welfare state: 
a history of social welfare in America 
 (New York, N.Y. : The Free 
Press, Simon and Schuster, 1999)

I used two books to anchor my exploration into this topic. First, I went to Walter I. Trattner’s book From Poor Law to Welfare State: A History of Social Welfare in America  first published in 1974 and now in its sixth edition. Trattner begins his coverage of the response to poverty by society with colonial America and goes up to President Bill Clinton’s overhaul of the welfare system. In addition to his comprehensive information on the causes and responses to poverty in America, Dr. Trattner also provides an in-depth bibliography after each chapter.

Pauperization: cause and cure, 
Sir Baldwyn
 Leighton, 1871, Internet 

Archive, Wikimedia.
If you research early America, you realize right away that ties to the mother country of England were seen in many areas, including theories on poverty. Debate on this topic flourished in both countries in parlors, newspapers and governing bodies.

We learn from Dr. Trattner that the social system for helping the poor in colonial America was based on the English Poor Law of 1601. (p. 10-12, 16, Trattner.) This law, in  England and similar ones in America in the mid-1600s, allowed towns to levy a tax on householders that was used to provide some relief to the impoverished. Churches also contributed to helping the poor in their parishes. If you were poor in eighteenth century America, you fared better than those who followed you in the next century:

“…the problem of poverty had been defined and the lines of attack against it were marked out. In many areas, selectmen, county justices, overseers of the poor, constables, church wardens, or whoever the authority happened to be, made regular surveys of their areas to determine the condition of the population and to call attention to those who needed assistance….By and large, the poor—at least the white poor—were dealt with humanely and often wisely…especially when compared to later developments.” (p. 27, Trattner.)

Catherine Reef,
Poverty in America (Facts on File,
Infobase Publishing, 2007)

The second book Poverty in America by Catherine Reef is a great reference. It is a textbook, but don’t let that put you off. Not only is the text accessible, it is engrossing, and the book has two very helpful tools at the end of each chapter. First, there is a timeline or “Chronicle of Events” for the period covered in the chapter which lists major happenings and trends, including laws enacted, epidemics, population figures, employment data and different public and private responses to poverty.

Here is an excerpt from the “Chronicle of Events” at the end of Chapter Two “Industrialization, Immigration, and Urban Poverty 1790-1864:”

An epidemic of yellow fever devastates Philadelphia; the city provides emergency relief to 1,200 households each week.
The population of New York City is 60,515.
Approximately 60,000 people live in the Philadelphia area.
The population of New York City reaches 96,373.
War with England reduces foreign trade; domestic manufacturing expands.
The resumption of peace results in an influx of imported goods and domestic wage cuts and layoffs.
New York State spends $245,000 on poor relief.
The United States enters an economic depression known as the Panic of 1819; 500,000 workers are unemployed.” (p. 31-32 Reef.)

If you look carefully at the timeline above, you will notice that external events like epidemics, wars, and trade imbalances have a great effect on the economic well-being of people.
WITNESS logo originally designed
 in 1996, Chiat\Day,

The second end-of-chapter tool is the “Eyewitness Testimony.” This section is composed of quotations from public officials, reporters and editors of newspapers, ministers, staff of almshouses/poorhouses, and people who worked directly with the poor. I found this section particularly moving and sometimes alarming. It is in this testimony that you see two very different philosophies of what causes poverty and how to deal with it. Before taking a look at some of this personal testimony, let’s look at the genesis of these philosophies.

One attitude toward the poor has its roots 2,000 years B.C., became embedded in the sacred texts of the major religions of the world, and continues to a large extent today. (p. 1-2 Trattner) This attitude is that the poor are in their unfortunate position as a result of outside events (such as poor health, unemployment, disability etc.) and deserve to be helped by those with more means in the form of government aid. 

But this charitable philosophy, which flourished in America from colonial times through the mid-eighteenth century, was to have a competing belief that was born from many factors, including: the continuing flow of impoverished immigrants, concentration of the poor in cities which drained public resources, and the feeling on the part of many who had “made it” that only those who were lazy and didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities America offered fell into poverty. (p. 53, Trattner.)

Yard of tenement, New York, N.Y., Detroit Publishing Co. , 
between 1900 and 1910, LC-DIG-det-4a18585, 
Library of Congress Online Catalog.

Now, let’s look at some personal testimonials from Reef’s book that illustrate the opposing philosophies of poverty. These are from “Eyewitness Testimony” at the end of Chapter Two “Industrialization, Immigration, and Urban Poverty 1790-1864:”

This witness, Rev.Ward Stafford, although a man of the cloth, believed that since the poor bore much responsibility for their circumstances:

 “…many charitable institutions, or institutions for affording pecuniary or other equivalent aid to the indigent, exert, on the whole, an unhappy influence on society. Is it not true, that, by these institutions…provision is in fact made for idleness and other vices? If people believe, that they shall be relieved when in distress, they will not generally make exertions, will not labour when they are able and have the opportunity.” Ward Stafford, missionary to the poor of New York City, March 1817, New Missionary Field, p. 43.  (p. 35 Reef.)

For the other side of the debate on the poor, we have this testimony from yet another minister:

“[T]he paupers and the beggars do not constitute the sum total of the POOR. Would to God they did. The great mass of the poor are those who are struggling by toil, privation, and even in destitution, to get bread and clothing for themselves and children, and a place to shelter them from the cold and the storm, without begging, or calling upon the public authorities for aid.” G.W. Quinby, Universalist minister in Yarmouth, Maine, 1856, The Gallows, the Prison, and the Poor-Houses, p. 295. (p. 45 Reef.)

Lights and Shadows of New York life: 
A Woman’s Story of Gospel,
Temperance, Mission and Rescue Work,  

by Helen Campbell, Thomas W. Knox and 
Thomas Byrnes, Hartford,
 Conn: A.D. Worthington
 & Co., 1893,

3:FHCL:614256 p. 275

Later in his testimony, Rev. Quinby describes the horrid conditions that the poor lived under in major American cities in the nineteenth century:

“…I see them living—suffering in garrets and cellars—and pent-up rooms—with no ventilation; damp, filthy, destructive to health and happiness. I see the widow and the orphan—and the honest poor man, with a large family—weak and sickly himself from long and constant toil to furnish bread and clothing for his dear ones.” (p. 45 Reef.)

Lights and Shadows of New York life: A Woman’s Story of Gospel, 
Temperance, Mission and Rescue Work, 
by Helen Campbell, Thomas W. Knox and 
Thomas Byrnes, Hartford, Conn: A.D. 
Worthington & Co., 1893, p. 264 

These two opposing viewpoints towards the poor that we have seen in those who worked directly with them can also be seen in society at large during the early years of America. During the time that most people lived in small villages, worked on farms and didn’t travel far, poverty was manageable: the poor were your relatives or neighbors. Of course, you helped them. But as the nineteenth century dawned, the Industrial Revolution changed poverty. Cities were beacons to the rural poor from America and abroad with their factories that promised jobs. But these jobs were tied to economic conditions that ebbed and flowed.  

Gradually through the nineteenth century, the urban poor filled crowded tenements which became cesspools of disease. The larger society began taking notice of these wretched conditions when it became apparent that disease cannot be relegated to the poor. In “Eyewitness Testimony” at the end of Chapter Two “Industrialization, Immigration, and Urban Poverty 1790-1864,” we hear from Marcus T. Reynolds, an architect, who warned against ignoring the suffering of the poor in The Housing of the poor in American Cities (1892) pp. 34-35:  

“Of all the evils which are due to the tenement-house system, the one that concerns the public most directly is the danger…from the presence in the tenement district of contagious and infectious diseases….The working people, who spend the night in such dirty and disease-breeding places, disperse in the morning, and by the nature of their occupations, find their way to all portions of the city, and are thrown in contact with all classes of society.” (p. 99-100 Reef.)

The tenement - a menace to all, Udo J. Keppler, N.Y., 
 J. Ottmann Lith. Co., Puck Bldg., 
1901 March 20, LC-DIG-ppmsca-25509,  
Library of Congress Online Catalog.

Dr. Trattner also notes that a motive of nineteenth century charity was the need to protect the social order. He quotes a member of the New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, formed in 1843, who suggested that if society does not help the poor:

(they will) “over-run the city as thieves and beggars and endanger the security of property and life.” (records of the New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, formed in 1843, p. 69, Trattner.)

From the depths, William Balfour Ker, c1906, LC-USZ62-45985, Library of Congress Online Catalog.

We have thus seen the operation of two different attitudes toward poverty in America from the 1600s through the 1800s. The Industrial Revolution changed the onus of social welfare from a village matter to a large urban concern. Public assistance to the poor mirrored the feeling of society at large.