And, just why is it the Grandmas? What, Grandpa can’t have any fun?! Ahhh, because elusive maiden names make the game Hide and Seek that much more challenging. And, if you throw adoption and illegitimacy in . . . a hoot!! UGH! Arrrgh!
Guess the after-life is too sedate for some. What better way to get things going, than to stir and mix things up down here. Ummm . . . thanks.
Okay, in the 21 June 2015 post, Grandma isn't Playing Nice!, I describe how I’ve been pulled and torn from the research I was doing on a paternal line and forced to pay attention to and focus on a maternal line – the Grandmas apparently felt they were being neglected or . . . something.
A brief recap . . .
In June, a ‘'shaky leaf” appeared – a death certificate - for my Great Grandmother Eva (nee RAMER) STARR I didn’t think that I’d spend too much time on it, as I had first-hand knowledge about Eva; I’d spend more time with the records and Eva later when I had finished my current research on the paternal line that I was focused and working on. Yeah . . . Eva, and it turns out, her mother, Louisa MILHEIM, had different ideas. Eva and Louisa were demanding a little attention be paid to them. There was a puzzle; a mystery on that branch of the family tree and apparently they felt that it was time that I paid some attention to it and focus my efforts on solving it.
So, since my last post, the family history mystery has been my focus. I have been browsing images – 3,305, but who’s counting? – of the U.S. Federal Census records for Lehigh County, Pennsylvania for 1880 and 1900; collecting ALL instances of MILHEIM, RAMER and PFAFF and variant spellings of the same. After which, I then spent time reviewing and comparing each enumeration of these families, and, each person within the family to see if I could find a clue; a solution to the puzzle. I took notes . . .
I first formed the question(s) that I was specifically trying to answer. Who was Eva? Eva MILHEIM? Eva RAMER? Eva PFAFF? I knew that Eva was Louisa MILHEIM’s daughter, but was she Oscar RAMER’s daughter? Was she Oscar’s step-daughter? Adopted daughter? Or, had Eva been previously married before marrying my Great Grandfather William STARR?
I also formed an initial “working theory or hypothesis, actually two . . .
- Eva E RAMER and Eva PFAFF are two different persons
- Eva MILHEIM was previously married to a PFAFF
As I went through the census records for all of the families with the surnames of MILHEIM, RAMER and PFAFF living within Lehigh County and taking a look back at what information I had already, I realized that I hadn’t gone after all of the “low-hanging” fruit, so to speak; the birth, marriage, death, obituaries, etc., etc. for the parents of Eva and Louisa. Remember, I was going to work on this branch of the family tree . . . later. I needed to do this before I went any further so that I’d have a better knowledge of their history and ultimately Eva’s. I was able to find records on Oscar, Charles, Louisa and Eva that led to the knowledge that I’d have to broaden my search to include Carbon County; Carbon and Lehigh Counties border each other. While all of the families of interest were predominately from Lehigh County, the MILHEIMs, according to the records, resided, at various times, in either Lehigh or Carbon County.
So, going image by image through Carbon County census records for 1880 and 1900 are in my near future; I’ll be “collecting” MILHEIM families, but, if I run across the other surnames of interest – RAMER or PFAFF – I’ll “collect” them too.
Here’s a look of what I’ve found, to date . . . Marriage License: OSCAR RAMER and LOUISA MILHEIM1
APPLICATION FOR MARRIAGE LICENSE Mr. Oscar REMER to M Louisa MILHEIM } No. 4062
- Are you both single: Both single
- relationship by blood or marriage, if any: No
- Age of the man: 23
- Age of the woman: 23
- Birthplace of the man: Berks County
- Birthplace of the woman: Parryville, Carbon County
- Residence of the man: Whitehall Township, Lehigh County
- Residence of the woman: Whitehall Township, Lehigh County
- Parent's name - man: Eli REMER
- Parent's name - woman: Charles MILHEIM
- Guardian's Name - man:
- Guardian's Name - woman:
- Name of Parents or guardians who give consent of minors:
- Date of death of man's former wife, if any:
- Date of death of woman's former husband, if any:
- Date of divorce of man at any time; cause, where and by whom divorced:
- Date of divorce of woman at any time; cause, where and by whom divorced:
- Color of parties: White
- Occupation of man: Laborer
- Occupation of woman: Housework
- Name: Oscar REMER
- Marital status @ time of application: Single
- Parent’s Name: Eli REMER
- Date of Death of Former Wife, if any: (blank)
- Date of Divorce of Man at any time . . . : (blank)
- Name: Louisa MILHEIM
- Marital status @ time of application: Single
- Birthplace of Woman: Parryville, Carbon County
- Parent’s Name: Charles MILHEIM
- Date of Death of Former Husband, if any: (blank)
- Date of Divorce of Woman at any time . . .: (blank)
Now, here’s an interesting read . . . Oscar and Louisa’s wedding announcement2
From the "Allentown Democrat" (Allentown, Pennsylvania)
Wednesday, 8 June 1892; page 2
SQUIRE SYNDER TIES A HYMENEAL KNOT
Transcribed 13 September 2015
“On Tuesday evening of last week a good-looking young couple came to the residence of Squire James B Snyder, at Mickleysville, Whitehall tsp., and informed him that they had come to be matrimonially spliced, and being always ready to execute such jobs be forthwith proceeded to make the twain one by uniting them in wedlock's bonds after the most approved fashion. They were Mr. Oscar REMER, of near Mickley's and Miss Louisa MILLHEIM, of Hokendauqua. It is said that after having spoken the mystic words which united the couple the Squire saluted the bride in a most gallant and graceful manner. Those who witnessed the performance of the ceremony say that Mr. Snyder did the job in an admirable manner - this having been only one of many of the kind during his magisterial career of over 15 years - though he has not had one for some time. He hopes however that the matrimonial fever may quickly break out and take root like the measles, and that his friends will not forget that he is always ready to serve them in the best way.
The wedding we are however sorry to say, having been an enforced one, the case being one of bail or jail, was not followed by happy after results. After the ceremony the bride and groom took a wedding trip to East Whitehall, where Oscar lives. They walked. After passing greetings with the old folks they ambled back to Louisa's home in Hokendauqua, and there Oscar left his bride at 3 o'clock in the morning. She expected to see him next day, but in the early gray dawn of the morning he had skipped. He hasn't turned up yet, and people don't believe he will. Louisa is desperate over the loss of her husband and the ridicule of the community. She is 22 years of age, and Oscar 20.”
- Marriage date: 31 May 1892
- Squire James B Snyder both signed the wedding license and performed the wedding ceremony
- An “enforced” marriage? Bail or Jail?
- Oscar is said to have “skipped”
- Oscar was just 20 years of age; Louisa 22
Oh! OH! A shotgun wedding?!
The marriage took place three (3) years and four (4) months after Eva’s birth, 24 January 1889; Louisa would have been approximately 19 and Oscar about 17 at the time of her birth.
Bail or jail? Were the two umm, you know . . . 3-1/2 years ago and just getting around (umm, being forced by the lawmen) to making things right? A black sheep? Yes!! Black sheep generate records; lots of records!!! Well, usually.
Oscar skipped? Well, it wasn’t for long. Oscar and Louisa were married until her death in 1934 (42 years); Oscar never remarried. And, they raised five children; Eva and four other siblings. But, inquiring minds want to know . . . where did Oscar “skip” to? How long before he returned to Louisa? More courthouse records? Did the “Allentown Democrat” run further stories on this . . . juicy “affair?”
Oh, this should be fun!!!
A review of the records . . .
1870 U.S. Federal Census3
Franklin Township, Carbon County, Pennsylvania
Post Office: Parryville
- Living within the MILHEIM household: Charles, aged 30; Mary, aged 27; James, aged 15; George, aged 13; Milton, aged 11; and Louisa, age 1
- Approximate birth years: Charles, 1840; Mary, 1843; James, 1855; George, 1857; Milton, 1859; and Louisa, 1869
- The 1870 census does not specify who the Head of Household is; nor does the enumerator indicate the relationship between each household member
- According to Louisa’s death certificate her parents were Charles MILHEIM and Mary HAND; neighbors of the MILHEIM family in 1870 are William and Lucinda HAND and their children; are they relatives of Mary?
1880 U.S. Federal Census4
Lower Macungie, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
- The surname MUHLHEIM is a variant of MILHEIM
- Living within the MUHLHEIM household: Charles, aged 47; Mary, aged 50; Louisa, aged 11; and Willis, aged 9
- Approximate birth years: Charles, 1833; Mary, 1830; Louisa, 1869; and Willis, 1871
- James, George and Milton are now out of the household; Willis was born after the 1870 census
- Charles and Mary’s ages are off; 7 and 23 years respectively. But, Louisa’s age is spot on.
- While the 1880 census did have a column for “Relationship” to the Head of Household, the column is not filled in for anyone enumerated (see image above). However, the index provides that information (image below). Where did the indexer get their information?
The location and names. with the exception of Willis who was born after the 1870 census, are as I would have expected. The ages of Charles and Mary are off; I will keep this in mind as I continue researching and reviewing the records.
1900 U. S. Federal Census - Charles MILLHIME5
Hokendauqua Village, Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
- The surname MILLHIME is a variant of MILHEIM
- Living within the MILLHIME household: Charles, aged 63 (Head of Household); Mary, aged 71 (wife); William, aged 30 (son); Eva PAFF, aged 11 (granddaughter)
- Charles and Mary, as of the 1900 census, had been married 32 years; marriage year? Approximately 1868
- William, the son, enumerated here as aged 30, however, the birth year given (on the image) is 1879. I believe his age to be accurate, however the year of birth is inaccurate. In the 1880 census, Willis [William] was enumerated as being nine years of age, placing his birth year at approximately 1871. It is my belief that Willis / William are one and the same. His age is consistent
- Eva PAFF is 11 years old in the 1900 census, consistent with an 1868 birth year. And, also consistent with the information I either had or have gathered to this point. However, that is all the actual census record states; it does not provide further information. So, I am unsure just were the transcriber of this record got their information. Just how is it that they know that Eva is William’s daughter? And, too, why then would her surname be different from that of her father’s? Eva is definitely part of the family, that much is consistent; also consistent is that I still don’t know why and where the PAFF (PFAFF) surname fits in. (see below image)6
- Note that Louisa is no longer in the household; she married Oscar REMER in 1892
- Living within the RAMER household: Oscar, aged 30; Lo[vebair], aged 31; Mamsie, aged 8; Mary A., aged 9 months
- I believe Lo[vebair] is Louisa; I don’t fault the indexer on this one, it certainly does look like Lovebair on the image, however, everything else is consistent with what I know about Louisa
- Oscar and Louisa have been married eight (8) years.
- Mamsie is eight (8) old; hmmm, was she the “cause” that necessitated Ocar’s and Louisa’s “bail or jail” marriage?
- Daughter, Mary A, presumably named after Louisa’s mother, Mary A(nee HAND) MILHEIM
Coplay Borough, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
- Living within the RAMER household: Oscar, aged 41; Louisa, aged 40; Eva, aged 20; Oscar, aged 4; David, aged 2; Elias, aged 69
- Relation to Head of Household: Oscar, Head; Louisa, Wife; Eva, Daughter; Oscar, Son; David, Son; Elias, Father
- Census records that Oscar and Louisa have been married 18 years and that has been their only marriage; neither previously married. Consistent with the 1892 marriage license
- Eva is in the RAMER household and enumerated as “daughter”
The following questions were asked . . .
15 January 18989:
Are you married? If so, please state your wife’s full name and her maiden name:
Answer: Mary MILLHIME; Maiden Name: Mary Haines
, where and by whom were you married?
Answer: By Rev A Bartholemew, at Parryville, Carbon Ct, Pennsylvania on the first day of year 1868
What record of marriage exists?
Answer: Bible record and certificate
Were you previously married? If so, please state the name of your former wife and the date and place of her death or divorce:
Have you any children living? If so, please state their names and the dates of their birth:
Answer: Louisa MILLHIME, 13 May 1869
William MILLHIME, 13 December 1870
Signature: Charles MILLHIME
Date of reply: 4 May 1898
- These questions came thirty-three (33) years after the Civil War
- Mary’s maiden name; Haines? Another new surname?
- Charles and Mary were married at Parryville, Carbon County, Pennsylvania; this is consistent with what information I had
- Marriage record(s)? Bible record and certificate. This is an 1868 marriage, I assume that the certificate would have been issued by Rev Bartholemew and the church? And, wouldn’t I like to find the Bible record.
- Children: Louisa MILLHIME. MILLHIME not PAFF (PFAFF). And, William vice Willis
2 January 191510
Date and place of birth?
Answer: 5 July 1836; Bushkill Township, Pennsylvania
The name of organization in which you served?
Answer: Co E 28th Pennsylvania Knapp’s Battery
What was your post office at enlistment?
Answer: Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania
State your wife’s full name and her maiden name.
Answer: I am a widower
When, where, and by whom were you married?
Is there any official or church record of your marriage?
If so, where?
Were you previously married? If so, state the name of your former wife, the date of the marriage, and the date and place of her death or divorce. If there was more than one previous marriage, let your answer include all former wives.
Answer: Yes – Mary Ann HAND – 1 January 1866 – Died 12 April 1903 at Coplay, Pennsylvania
If your present wife was married before her marriage to you, state the name of her former husband, the date of such marriage and the date and place of his death or divorce, and state whether he ever rendered any military or naval service, and, if so, give name of the organization in which he served. If she was married more than once before her marriage to you, let your answer include all former husbands.
Are you now living with your wife, or has there been a separation?
State the names and dates of birth of all your children, living or dead.
Answer: Louisa RAMER – born 13 May 1870 – living
William MILLHIME – born 13 December 1871 – living
Signed: Charles (his mark) MILLHIME
Date: 26 April 1915
- These questions came fifty (50) years after the Civil War
- Charles’ place of birth? Bushkill Township
- Post office at enlistment? Mauch Chunk
- Wife’s full and maiden names? Charles states that he is a widower; indeed he is . . . twice. His first wife Mary Ann died in 1903, he stated a few questions down. And his second wife, Mary Jane, died in 1914 – just one year ago
- Children? Louisa RAMER, DOB: 13 May 1870; living
William MILLHIME, DOB: 13 December 1871; living
- Charles was living, as of 26 April 1915, in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania
- Woman’s name: Eva E PFAFF
- Eva is 22 years of age; consistent with an 1889 birth year
- Eva’s birthplace: Hokendauqua; consistent with the information I had
- Eva’s parents: George and Louisa PFAFF
- Who was Eva? Eva MILHEIM? Eva RAMER? Eva PFAFF?
- Was Eva, Oscar RAMER’s daughter? Step-daughter? Adopted daughter?
- Had Eva been previously married before marrying my Great Grandfather William STARR?
- Were Eva RAMER and Eva PFAFF two different persons?
- Was Eva previously married?
Eva PFAFF and Eva RAMER are one and the same.
Who was Eva? It is my belief that Eva was not Oscar RAMER’s daughter. Eva was born three years and four months prior to Louisa MILHEIM’s and Oscar RAMER’s marriage. Census records; Eva’s marriage license, and her death certificate reflect this. Eva’s marriage license also provides her maiden name as PFAFF and the names of her parents as George and Louisa PFAFF. The records – census and marriage license, in particular - also document a familial relationship between mother (Louisa) and daughter (Eva) and Oscar RAMER.
While the census records and death certificate are secondary (secondhand) sources – the information did not come directly from Eva – I believe that by virtue of Eva’s date of birth and the date of her mother’s (Louisa) marriage, three years and four months later to Oscar RAMER, the “evidence” supports my conclusion above. The marriage license is however, a primary (firsthand) source; that is, Eva would have provided her full maiden name and the names of her parents. And, she also states that she had not been previously married nor had she been divorced. Again lending acceptance to PFAFF being her maiden name.
The marriage license for Oscar RAMER and Louisa MILHEIM also would lend credence to this. However, there is a “conflict;” when Louisa was asked about death or divorce of a former husband(s), she provided no information, suggesting that Oscar was her first . . . okay, okay, her first husband. Yet, her daughter Eva on her marriage license provided the names of her parents as George and Louisa PFAFF, leaving the researcher to reasonably infer that George and Louisa had, at one time, been married – they shared the PFAFF surname.
And, there are the questionnaires that Louisa’s father, Charles MILLHIME, completed for inclusion in his Civil War pension file. Both the 1898 and the 1915 questionnaires asked for the names of his children and their dates of birth. Charles’ answers clearly indicate on both that Louisa is his daughter and provides her maiden name, MILLHIME; her date of birth, 13 May 1869/70; and her married name, RAMER. Charles does not, in any portion of his 87-page pension file, provide any other information on his daughter Louisa, that would suggest or indicate that she had been previously married.
Where do I go from here?
- Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Courthouse records . . . a) Marriage records? Is there an existing record of a PFAFF / MILHEIM marriage? Assuming, of course, that there was a marriage. b). What can I find out about Oscar’s and Louisa’s shotgun wedding? Specifically, what records were created and what might they tell me about my Great Great Grandmother Louisa and her daughter, my Great Grandmother, Eva? Would this have been handled in a civil or criminal court?
- Church records? If no marriage record for PFAFF / MILHEIM exists at the county level, are there church records?
- Carbon County, Pennsylvania census records – document the MILHEIMs in the area
- Birth / Baptism records for Eva PFAFF – are there any?
- Who is George PFAFF? Eva named George PFAFF as her father on her marriage license. I have found several articles and obituaries and census records for a number of PFAFFs in Lehigh County, but I have not been able to find George
- Wills and Probates? For Charles MILHEIM; Louisa (nee MILHEIM) RAMER and Oscar RAMER – are there any?
So, if you’re keeping track, the Grandmas’ after-life shenanigans have now, again, added to my “to-do” list . . . the following mysteries are waiting to be solved. Thanks, Grandma!
- Documenting my Great Grandmother Eva PFAFF (Maternal side)
- Grand Uncle George BEARDSELL; did he marry? (paternal side)
- Great Grandma Louisa and her family history mystery (Dear Friend’s genealogy)
1Marriage License, "Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885 - 1950," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VF43-NG5 :, "Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-21138-18219-66?cc=1589502 : accessed 5 September 2015), 004839066 > image 637 of 914; county courthouses, Pennsylvania.
2"Squire Snyder Ties A Hymeneal Knot," The Allentown Democrat, 8 June 1892, online image (http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3065840/8_june1892_wedding_announcement/ : accessed 22 August 2015), page 2. http://www.newspapers.com/, Allentown Democrat, Allentown, Pennsylvania, online image (http://www.newspapers.com/clip/3065840/8_june1892_wedding_announcement/).
3Ancestry.com, 1870 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Original data - 1870 U.S. census, population schedules. NARA microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Record), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1870; Census Place: Franklin, Carbon, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1320; Page: 81A; Image: 165; Family History Library Film: 552819.
4Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1880 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. All use is subject to the limited), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1880; Census Place: Lower Macungie, Lehigh, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1147; Family History Film: 1255147; Page: 428C; Enumeration District: 197; Image: 0319.
5Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 18), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1900; Census Place: Whitehall, Lehigh, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1430; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0093; FHL microfilm: 1241430.
6Year: 1900; Census Place: Whitehall, Lehigh, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1430; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0093; FHL microfilm: 1241430 Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
7Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 18), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1900; Census Place: South Whitehall, Lehigh, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1429; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 0052; FHL microfilm: 1241429.
8Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.Original data - Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Was), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1910; Census Place: Coplay, Lehigh, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1364; Page: 25A; Enumeration District: 0168; Image: 801; FHL microfilm: 1375377.
9Charles Milheim (Pvt, Knapps Indpt Batty, E Co., Vol, Civil War), pension file no. 436351, soldier's certificate no. 709178, Full Pension File, 1890 - 1916, National Archives, Washington, DC
11Marriage License, "Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885 - 1950," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VF43-NG5 :, "Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-21138-18219-66?cc=1589502 : accessed 5 September 2015), 004839066 > image 637 of 914; county courthouses, Pennsylvania.