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

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