20 December 2016

American Bandstand

Did you know my mom, Carolyn KRIEBEL? 
1958 Graduation Picture - Carolyn Kriebel
Were you a 1958 Graduate of Schwenksville High School? 
Schwenksville High School
Or, are you a child or family member of a 1958 graduate?  IF you answered YES to any of these questions . . . I’m interested in YOU!! 

If you are the graduate, I’m interested in your memories of my Mom, Carolyn KRIEBEL.  If you are a child or family member of a graduate, I’m interested in any stories that you might be able to share about your family member’s memories of their high school days and their classmates. 

I, sadly, know nothing about Mom’s school days beyond the bio included with her senior photo in the 1958 Schwenksville High School Lanconian yearbook.  The bio reads . . .

Class President 9; Yearbook Editor 12; A.A. 9, 10, 11, 12; Band 9, 10, 11; Glee Club 10, 11, 12; Combo 10, 11; Basketball, J.V. 10; Varsity 11, 12; Interclass Basketball 9; Interclass Volleyball 9, 10, 11; Tri-Hi-Y President 9; Dancing Club 10, 11; Future Nurses Club 10; Newspaper Club 10. 

The one story she did share, the story that prompted this post, was that during her last year of high school she, and a bus load of classmates went on a school trip to Philadelphia and were the guests of Dick Clark and the AMERICAN BANDSTAND!  And, of course, as the self-appointed family historian and genealogist, I’d love to KNOW MORE!! While Mom has been a “pack rat” of many things; memorabilia or ephemera were not among them.  So, there are no photos; no news clippings; no ticket stubs; no autograph from Dick Clark or from the American Bandstand featured artists . . . nothing!!  The only thing she has ever said, was that she and her classmates were on American Bandstand.

While I’ve  found, on Google and Pinterest, iconic American Bandstand images, such as those you see here; Dick ClarkI’ve not found any images of Mom on the show.  I’ve also looked at many YouTube clips of the American Bandstand, a dance show with a rock and roll theme; the dance floor teaming with youth dancing the Bop, the Twist, the Jitterbug, and the Stroll, while listening to a rock-and-roll soundtrack or other popular music of their day.  This doesn’t lend itself to finding a familiar face in the crowd; though I have, on a number of occasions, thought that I saw Mom in the gaggle of youth on the dance floor.  But, in the end, it really is impossible to tell.  Darn, darn, DARN!!!
While looking at these iconic images and YouTube videos I learned of the wall of pennant flags that seem to have been a feature of the show.  The pennants were from the high schools from both the  local Philadelphia and outlying areas; though I was unable to see if the Schwenksville High School pennant was among them.
ABSo, do you remember the day  you and your classmates were the guests of Dick Clark on American Bandstand?  What was the specific date or time of year? Do you have pictures of the day?  Was the Schwenksville High School Class of ‘58 introduced on the show?  Was there a group photo captured; perhaps with the host, Dick Clark? Did Schwenksville High School present a pennant to Dick Clark and the American Bandstand? Were the students introduced individually on the show? Did any of the Schwenksville youth participate in the “Rate a Record” portion of the show?

Mom didn’t keep, as I said, memorabilia or ephemera, so growing up, there there were no yearbooks for me to page through and encourage – err, pester – my Mom to share her stories and memories.  But, I was able to locate copies online of both the 1957 and 1958 Schwenksville High School yearbooks. I now have, never before seen by me, photos of my Mom.  Sadly, still too few.

Here for instance here is Mom’s 1957 Junior Class Photo.
1957 Junior Class Photo
Lillian GRISDALE; Harvey BOSSERT; Tony MILLER; Jack PRESTON; and Colin PARKE are all in the above Junior class photo.  However, they were not among the seniors listed in the 1958 yearbook.

The Class of 1958 Alumni, Schwenksville High School:
Gilbert H AXFORD; Marjorie Ann BARRON; Joan Faye BEAN; George R  BICKERT, Jr.; John Hicks BOGERT; Theodore Harold COLE; Joseph DELUTIS; Ruth Carolyn DUNNING; Donna Jean GEORGE; Elsie Jean GREASER; Christian John Ray HARTLINE; James Ernest HARTMAN; Alice Jane HEIMBACH; David Roger JONES; William KEHRER; Donald Edwin KIRKNER; James Allen KOVACS; John Walter KRATZ; Kay C KRATZ; Glen Brian LANDES; Robert G McCAHAN, Jr.; Carol Ann MENG; Mildred H MEYERS; Anna Jane MILLER; Phebe Mary MONTGOMERY; Stanley RADCLIFF; Janis E RIEGEL; John Albert ROSE; Edward A RUTTER; Dolores Joyce SHELLENBERGER; Rick D SHEPPARD; Carol Ann SMITH; Robert Lee SMITH; Winfield SWARR; Joan Marie SWARTLEY; Jane Faye WACK; Nancy Marie WALKER; Philip Andrew WATKINS; Patricia Ann WINK; Todd Albright YOUNG; William Robert ZIEGLER

A note to fellow family historians and genealogists, IF you are interested in finding yearbooks – Middle School; High School; College and Military – I’ve had good success with this E-Yearbook.com site.  Note, however, that it is a subscription site.

Copyright © 2016 Tracy L Meyers; Family Preserves

27 April 2016

Grandma, a Little Coorperation . . . PLEASE!!

Both Grandma Isn't Playing Nice! . . . On Either Side and The Grandparents are Out of Control!  And, Having Way Too Much Fun!! discuss how my research focus has been sidelined by Grandma (maternal side) wanting a little attention to be paid to a family history mystery.  Well, Grandma succeeded, my attention was diverted and I’ve been working on her mystery for . . . well, it’s been a year.

So, where are we at?  Have we found all the pieces of the puzzle and solved the mystery? 

In The Grandparents are out of Control!  And, Having Way Too Much Fun!!  I noted that it is my belief that Eva IS Eva PFAFF. 

I am a big proponent of the genealogical proof standards (GPS), first and foremost of which is the exhaustive search.  Simply put, leaving no rock unturned – err, no record set or data collection unreviewed, that is, gone through image-by-image; no biography; county, city, state, or country history unread; no archive, repository, church, cemetery, funeral home, or library unvisited and that list expands depending on the research required to find and document YOUR ancestor.  And, while I haven’t worked my way completely through all of that just yet, I maintain my belief that Eva IS Eva PFAFF and here’s why.

  • Eva E PFAFF herself recorded her father’s name as George PFAFF on her application for marriage license, dated 18 May 1911

The marriage license is an original, primary source document. The information for which was recorded at the time of creation with information provided by Eva E PFAFF who had firsthand knowledge.

  • The birth certificate for my Grandmother, Catherine Louise STARR, provides her mother’s maiden name as EVA E PFAFF

The birth certificate is an original, primary source document.  The information for which was recorded at the time or shortly after the birth of my Grandmother; the information would have been provided by Eva (nee PFAFF) STARR who had firsthand knowledge.

  • Eva E STARR’s death certificate, provides Eva’s parents as George PFAFF and Louisa MILHEIM

The death certificate is both a primary AND secondary source document.  The original information – Date, place and cause of death provided by the attending physician; everything else on the certificate is secondary information provided by the informant. 

The informant in this case was Eva’s daughter, my Grandmother, Catherine Louise (nee STARR) KRIEBEL.  The only way that my Grandmother could have known her mother’s father’s name was George PFAFF would have been because either Eva, or her mother, Louisa (nee MILHEIM) RAMER discussed it with her.

  • STARR – PFAFF Marriage Announcement clearly provides both the groom’s surname and the bride’s maiden name

The marriage announcement is an original,  primary source; published 20 May 1911, two days after the wedding, in the Allentown Democrat.  Firsthand knowledge of the bride’s and groom’s names would have been directly provided to the newspaper by either the bride, the groom, or their parents.

  • Eva’s age. . .

  1. The 1900 U.S. federal census records Eva PAFF, age 11,  living with her maternal Grandparents, Charles and Mary Ann MILLHIME on Second Street, Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.
  2. The 1910 U.S. federal census records Eva RAMER, age 20, living with her mother, Louisa, and Oscar Ramer on Oak Street, Coplay, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania

The U.S. federal census records are both a primary and secondary source.  Residence is primary information; the census taker recorded the address and location as he or she visited each family; with the remaining information recorded, being secondary or secondhand information.

All records – The 1900 and 1910 U.S. federal Census records; Application for marriage license; The Allentown Democrat marriage announcement; death certificate; and Eva’s daughter, Catherine’s, birth certificate all support both Eva’s age and calculated year of birth (1 year margin of error) of 1889/90 and with the exception of the 1910 U.S. federal census, consistently record her maiden name as PFAFF.

  • Louisa MILHEIM’s and Oscar REMER’s application for marriage license

The marriage license is an original, primary source document. The information for which was recorded at the time of creation with information provided by Louisa MILLHEIM and Oscar REHMER who had firsthand knowledge.  Oscar and Louisa both applied for, and, were married on 31 May 1892; three years and 4 months after Eva’s birth.

  • Court Proceedings

The Allentown Democrat, dated 13 April 1892, announced that “the regular April term of court began”  Monday, 11 April 1892 “. . . with seventy-two cases on the list.”  The case against Oscar RAMER, “charged with fornication and bastardy” was among them.

The newspaper announcement is a primary, original source created at the time, with firsthand information provided by a Lehigh County Courthouse informant.

MILLHEIM – REHMER marriage announcement

The marriage announcement is an original, primary source; published 8 June 1892 in the Allentown Democrat.  The announcement clearly states that the wedding took place “Tuesday evening of last week.”  Googling an 1892 calendar, it was easy to see that the “Tuesday evening of last week” would indeed mean that Tuesday, 31 May 1892 was the date that Oscar and Louisa tied the knot.

Firsthand knowledge of the bride’s and groom’s names and the date of the event could have been either provided by Oscar and Louisa OR the officiating Magistrate (Judge), Squire James B Snyder. 

My exhaustive search is nowhere near complete.  However, with the information I’ve gathered and examined to date, I believe that Eva IS Eva PFAFF. 

The basis for this is . . .

  1. Eva is three years and four months old at the time time that her mother, Louisa MILHEIM was wed to Oscar REHMER
  2. Eva was documented as living with her maternal grandparents, Charles and Mary Ann MILHEIM in 1900 and was enumerated by the census taker as Eva PAFF
  3. Eva, herself,  provides her father’s name – George PFAFF – on her application for marriage license
  4. Eva, herself, provides her maiden name as PFAFF on her daughter Catherine’s birth certificate
  5. Eva’s death certificate records her father’s name as being George PFAFF.  The informant?  My Grandmother, Eva’s daughter, Catherine.  Eva; her mother, Louisa; or, perhaps, even Oscar RAMER would have been the original source(s) from whom my Grandmother would have learned that information

(The records noted above can be seen here).

Okay, knowing that Eva IS Eva PFAFF only solves part of the mystery.  There is still a whole lot of mystery to be solved.

  1. Who is George PFAFF? Was George his given name? Middle Name? Or, was it – what is commonly referred to in military circles – his go-by name? (simply put, a name that he goes by / answers to)
  2. Where is George PFAFF?
  3. What happened to George PFAFF after Eva was born?  Did he move? Did he die?  Was he abducted by aliens?

As I noted in the previous two posts - Grandma isn't Playing Nice! . . . On Either Side and The Grandparents are Out of Control! And, Having Way Too Much Fun!! – I was unsuccessful in locating George PFAFF in the standard searches of Ancestry.com, familysearch.org, Google, Newspapers.com, Genealogybank.com, etc.  Did I miss him?  When the census records were indexed for these cities / town, was his name transcribed wrong?  When the enumerators went from house-to-house documenting residences and families, did they miss George and his family?  It was time to review what I knew and the documents that I already had and to expand the search.

In Review

As noted in the previous blogs I went through census records image-by-image (LOTS of images) and line-by-line for all of the following Pennsylvania counties: Lehigh, Carbon, Berks, and Montgomery.  And, collected names.  I wasn’t at this point searching for my ancestors.  I was searching for anyone / any family that had the MILHEIM, PFAFF or RAMER surnames in any of their variant spellings.  (You’ll note that throughout this blog I have used the variant spellings as they occurred in the documents).

I reviewed, yet again, the documents I already had.  Louisa and Oscar’s marriage license; Eva’s marriage license; the census records that I had found for each of them and their families back in 2003/4; the death certificates; and my Grand Uncle Bob’s obituary.

I contacted churches and cemeteries.  Reviewed newspapers searching, again, for any of these surnames during the 1880’s – 1900’s; keeping a watchful eye for any mention of Louisa MILHEIM, George PFAFF or Oscar RAMER and collected everything where the surnames or the specific individuals of interest were mentioned.

As I reviewed these documents literally letter-by-letter I took notes.  Census records – I noted any male in all PFAFF households that would fit the approximate age that I believed George to be; didn’t matter whether his name was George.  At this point, I just wanted to “collect” any male that fit the age and time frame that I believed we were looking at.  As I tracked Louisa’s family and Oscar’s family, I made note of their ages, physical address / locations and who their neighbors were.  I noted why a PFAFF household and in particular a PFAFF male could not be the “George” I was looking for.  I made note of any irregularity in what I was seeing in the records compared to what I knew. 

And, I reviewed all the other documents that I had on the RAMERs and MILHEIMs already and those that I was amassing as I worked to solve this family history mystery.

In addition to my notes, I plotted a timeline tracking births, marriages, residences, deaths, etc. This helped me see everyone and the families in context.  It also is a great tool for seeing where there are gaps, overlaps, impossibilities and improbabilities.  And, most importantly it helped focus my research on what I still needed and where I might need to research next.

And, lastly, as I research this line and other branches of my tree – maternal and paternal – I always keep my eyes open (or try to) for surnames of interest.  Why?  Well, a few weeks ago, I put aside this mystery and was working on my dear friend’s family and as I am searching through church records I see not one, but several mentions of . . . wait for it . . . PFAFFs.  Yes, PFAFFs, which stopped me in my tracks.  And, there was a notation next to the name, “of Bucks County.”  What?!!  Bucks County?

Now, I grew up in Montgomery county.  I’m familiar with Lehigh, Berks, Bucks, and surrounding counties; they all butt up against each other.  And, yet, it had not occurred to me to look at Bucks county.  Shaking my Head.  So, guess what I get to do?  Mmm hmmm, image-by-image, collecting names.  Thanks Grandma.

Let me just tell you, and I kid you not, I swear that every household in Bucks County during the 1880’s – 1900’s had a PFAFF living it.  EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!  And, were any of them George?  Not a one.  Not a one. 

Grandma a little cooperation . . . PLEASE!!

Have I solved this family history mystery?  Yes, in part.  But in writing this blog and reviewing what I know and how I know it, I’ve come up with some additional strategies of how to proceed; I’ve made some new discoveries, just in going back over my work to date and so, I’m off to see if I can solve the remaining mystery . . . Who and where is George PFAFF?

What are your family history mysteries?  Have you made any discoveries that are bringing you closer to finding them?  How do you document what you learn in the process?  What methods do you use to help you sort through and analyze your research?  Timeline?  Blog?  Mind map?  I'd love to hear your stories and what mysteries you’re trying to solve.


Copyright © 2016 Tracy L Meyers.

19 September 2015

The Grandparents are Out of Control! And, Having Way Too Much Fun!!

Now Grandma has gone from not playing nice to stirring up trouble . . . ALL AROUND! I’ve recently been researching the genealogy of a dear friend’s family and apparently the Grandmas - mine and theirs - have been talking, because . . . you guessed it, their Great Grandma has recently been mischievous and isn’t placing nice either! clip_image001 It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya!

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
Knowing the questions I was specifically trying to answer helped me keep my review of the records focused. I made notes on each family and individual as I reviewed the census records that I had collected. Names of everyone in the household, their age and approximate years of birth; their relationship to the Head of Household; their marital status, etc. Then compared that information to what I knew about my Great Grandmother, Eva and my Great Great Grandparents, Oscar RAMER and Louisa (nee MILHEIM). Did the family or individual have enough “in common” with what I knew to warrant further investigation or could I rule them out, outright?

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

  1. Are you both single: Both single
  2. relationship by blood or marriage, if any: No
  3. Age of the man: 23
  4. Age of the woman: 23
  5. Birthplace of the man: Berks County
  6. Birthplace of the woman: Parryville, Carbon County
  7. Residence of the man: Whitehall Township, Lehigh County
  8. Residence of the woman: Whitehall Township, Lehigh County
  9. Parent's name - man: Eli REMER
  10. Parent's name - woman: Charles MILHEIM
  11. Guardian's Name - man:
  12. Guardian's Name - woman:
  13. Name of Parents or guardians who give consent of minors:
  14. Date of death of man's former wife, if any:
  15. Date of death of woman's former husband, if any:
  16. Date of divorce of man at any time; cause, where and by whom divorced:
  17. Date of divorce of woman at any time; cause, where and by whom divorced:
  18. Color of parties: White
  19. Occupation of man: Laborer
  20. Occupation of woman: Housework
*The questions are the focus here; to see the application in it entirety, click on the image or the hyperlink (below the image) for a larger view’'. My notes: Man:
  1. Name: Oscar REMER
  2. Marital status @ time of application: Single
  3. Parent’s Name: Eli REMER
  4. Date of Death of Former Wife, if any: (blank)
  5. Date of Divorce of Man at any time . . . : (blank)
  1. Name: Louisa MILHEIM
  2. Marital status @ time of application: Single
  3. Birthplace of Woman: Parryville, Carbon County
  4. Parent’s Name: Charles MILHEIM
  5. Date of Death of Former Husband, if any: (blank)
  6. Date of Divorce of Woman at any time . . .: (blank)
All is as I pretty much knew it to be; the one thing I had not previously noted - remember I had not yet focused my research on this family line – was that Louisa had been born in Carbon County.

Now, here’s an interesting read . . . Oscar and Louisa’s wedding announcement2

From the "Allentown Democrat" (Allentown, Pennsylvania)
Wednesday, 8 June 1892; page 2


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.”

 My notes:
  1. Marriage date: 31 May 1892
  2. Squire James B Snyder both signed the wedding license and performed the wedding ceremony
  3. An “enforced” marriage?  Bail or Jail?
  4. Oscar is said to have “skipped”
  5. Oscar was just 20 years of age; Louisa 22
Hmmm . . . interesting . . .

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.Fingers crossed

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
1870 - US Federal Census - Charles Milheim

My notes:
  1. Living within the MILHEIM household: Charles, aged 30; Mary, aged 27; James, aged 15; George, aged 13; Milton, aged 11;  and Louisa, age 1
  2. Approximate birth years: Charles, 1840; Mary, 1843; James, 1855; George, 1857; Milton, 1859; and Louisa, 1869
  3. The 1870 census does not specify who the Head of Household is; nor does the enumerator indicate the relationship between each household member
  4. 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?
The location, names and ages fit with what I’ve known. 

1880 U.S. Federal Census4
Lower Macungie, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
1880 - US Federal Census - Charles Milheim

My notes:
  1. The surname MUHLHEIM is a variant of MILHEIM
  2. Living within the MUHLHEIM household: Charles, aged 47; Mary, aged 50; Louisa, aged 11; and Willis, aged 9
  3. Approximate birth years: Charles, 1833; Mary, 1830; Louisa, 1869; and Willis, 1871
  4. James, George and Milton are now out of the household; Willis was born after the 1870 census
  5. Charles and Mary’s ages are off; 7 and 23 years respectively.  But, Louisa’s age is spot on. 
  6. 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?
1880 - US Federal Census Index - Charles Milheim
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
Family: MILLHIME 1900 - US Federal Census - Charles Milheim

My notes:
  1. The surname MILLHIME is a variant of MILHEIM
  2. Living within the MILLHIME household: Charles, aged 63 (Head of Household); Mary, aged  71 (wife); William, aged 30 (son); Eva PAFF, aged 11 (granddaughter)
  3. Charles and Mary, as of the 1900 census, had been married 32 years; marriage year?  Approximately 1868
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Note that Louisa is no longer in the household; she married Oscar REMER in 1892
1900 - US Federal Census Record - Eva Paff
South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
Family: RAMER
 1900 - US Federal Census - Oscar Ramer

My notes: 
  1. Living within the RAMER household: Oscar, aged 30; Lo[vebair], aged 31; Mamsie, aged 8; Mary A., aged 9 months
  2. 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
  3. Oscar and Louisa have been married eight (8) years.
  4. Mamsie is eight (8) old; hmmm, was she the “cause” that necessitated Ocar’s and Louisa’s “bail or jail” marriage?
  5. Daughter, Mary A, presumably named after Louisa’s mother, Mary A(nee HAND) MILHEIM
1910 U.S. Federal Census - Oscar and Louisa RAMER8
Coplay Borough, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
Family: RAMER
1910 - US Federal Census - Oscar Ramer

My notes:
  1. Living within the RAMER household: Oscar, aged 41; Louisa, aged 40; Eva, aged 20; Oscar, aged 4; David, aged 2; Elias, aged 69
  2. Relation to Head of Household: Oscar, Head; Louisa, Wife; Eva, Daughter; Oscar, Son; David, Son; Elias, Father
  3. 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
  4. Eva is in the RAMER household and enumerated as “daughter”
On 15 January 1898, and again on 2 January 1915, Charles MILLHIME  received written questions from the Department of the Interior Commissioner.  Charles was asked to answer each questionnaire and return them to the Department of Interior for inclusion in his Civil War pension file.  The letter dated, 2 January 1915, specifically indicates that his “responses are for future use, and that they may be of great value to his widow or children.
The following questions were asked . . .
15 January 18989:
4 May 1898 - DOI Questionaire - Civil War Pension - Charles Milheim

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:
Answer: No

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

My notes:
  1. These questions came thirty-three (33) years after the Civil War 
  2. Mary’s maiden name; Haines?  Another new surname?
  3. Charles and Mary were married at Parryville, Carbon County, Pennsylvania; this is consistent with what information I had
  4. 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.
  5. Children: Louisa MILLHIME.  MILLHIME not PAFF (PFAFF).  And, William vice Willis

2 January 191510
2 January 1915 - DOI Questionaire - Civil War Pension - Charles Milheim

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?
Answer: ---------

Is there any official or church record of your marriage?
Answer: ---------

If so, where?
Answer: --------

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.
Answer: ----------

Are you now living with your wife, or has there been a separation?
Answer: ---------

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
Catasauqua, Pennsylvania

My notes:
  1. These questions came fifty (50) years after the Civil War
  2. Charles’ place of birth? Bushkill Township
  3. Post office at enlistment? Mauch Chunk
  4. 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
  5. Children?  Louisa RAMER, DOB: 13 May 1870; living
                     William MILLHIME, DOB: 13 December 1871; living
  6. Charles was living, as of 26 April 1915, in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania
All consistent with the information I’d gathered. And, what does the subject of this family history mystery have to say on the matter?  Not much; as noted, it was her daughter, my grandmother, Catherine Louise (nee STARR) KRIEBEL, that stirred the winds of mystery with the information she provided for Eva’s death certificate.  In addition to what I’ve discussed here to this point, I have only found one additional document that records Eva with the PFAFF surname . . .

Mr George W E STARR to M Eva E PFAFF } No. 23301
1.Are you both single? Yes
2.Relationship by blood or marriage, if any: No
3.Age of man: 24 years
4.Age of woman: 22 years
5.Birthplace of the man: Pottsvill, PA
6.Birthplace of the woman: Hokendauqua, PA
7.Residence of the man: 11 N 4th Street, Allentown, PA
8.Residence of the woman: West Coplay, PA
9.Parents' name - man: Harry E and Katie E STARR
10.Parents' name - woman: George and Louisa PFAFF
11.Guardian's name - man:
12.Guardian's name - woman:
13.Name of the parents or guardians who give consent of minors:
14.Date of death of man's former wife, if any: 14 June 1910
15.Date of death of woman's former husband, if any:
16.Date of divorce of man at any time / Cause, where and by whom divorced:
17.Color of parties: white
18.Occupation of man: clerk
19.Occupation of woman: cigar maker
*The questions are the focus here; to see the application in it entirety, click on the image or the hyperlink (below the image) for a larger view’'.
My notes: 
  1. Woman’s name: Eva E PFAFF
  2. Eva is 22 years of age; consistent with an 1889 birth year
  3. Eva’s birthplace: Hokendauqua; consistent with the information I had
  4. Eva’s parents: George and Louisa PFAFF
So, have I been able to answer any of my questions?  Do I know who Eva is?  Let’s review . . . The questions I was trying to answer specifically were:
  1. Who was Eva?  Eva MILHEIM?  Eva RAMER?  Eva PFAFF?
  2. Was Eva, Oscar RAMER’s daughter?  Step-daughter?  Adopted daughter?
  3. Had Eva been previously married before marrying my Great Grandfather William STARR?
And, what about my initial hypotheses? 
  • Were Eva RAMER and Eva PFAFF two different persons? 
  • Was Eva previously married?
A reasonably exhaustive search?  No, I’m just getting started; there is a lot more research required.  While I am not ready to write an extensive proof argument making the case for Eva PFAFF, I believe that the specific questions and hypotheses I started with here have been answered / addressed to this point; here’s why.

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?  
  1. 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?
  2. Church records?  If no marriage record for PFAFF / MILHEIM exists at the county level, are there church records?
  3. Carbon County, Pennsylvania census records – document the MILHEIMs in the area
  4. Birth / Baptism records for Eva PFAFF – are there any?
  5. 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
  6. Wills and Probates?  For Charles MILHEIM; Louisa (nee MILHEIM) RAMER and Oscar RAMER – are there any? 
What about my dear friend’s grandma?  Well, Louisa – yes, that is their great grandma’s name – has caused a family history mystery of her own.  Does anyone think that it’s coincidental that both grandmas have the given name Louisa? . . . Anyone?!

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!
  1. Documenting my Great Grandmother Eva PFAFF (Maternal side)
  2. Grand Uncle George BEARDSELL; did he marry? (paternal side)
  3. 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.