Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fred and Elisabeth Hebert

The names of Fred and Elisabeth Hebert appear on a list of passengers aboard the S. S. Rotterdam, which sailed from Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on July 12, 1921 and arrived at the Port of New York July 22.
The Heberts are included on a portion of the manifest entitled List of United States Citizens. Elisabeth's entry identifies her as a citizen by marriage. Their address in the U.S. was 4640 Canton Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.

According to this document, Fred was born March 29, 1871 in Albany, New York. It says Fred was 50 and Elisabeth 45 years old.

It's not clear from the ship manifest whether Fred and Elisabeth were married before this trip. I thought it possible that Fred went abroad alone as a single man and married Elisabeth in Germany, so I looked to the census for more information.

According to the 1930 census, the Heberts still lived at 4640 Canton Avenue in Detroit. Living with them were a lodger and three nephews. Elisabeth's nephew, my Uncle Paul's brother Alfons H. Koenig, had arrived from Buer, Germany the year before. Another German nephew, Erich Roehrken, had arrived in 1928. The third was Fred's nephew, Leo Hebert, from Massachusetts.

Beyond that, this census raises more questions than it answers. Fred's age is listed as 59, which doesn't contradict the age given in the ship manifest. Elisabeth's age, however, is listed as 44, a 15-year age difference from Fred. On the ship manifest, their age difference was only five years.

The 1930 census asks at what age each individual was first married. The response for Fred was age 19, which would mean he was first married in 1890. The response for Elisabeth was age 36. If her age was correctly given as 44, that would mean she first married around 1922, the year after Fred returned from Germany with, perhaps, a first wife who was also named Elisabeth. If her age was erroneously reported as 44 when she was actually 54, the age which would agree with the age of the wife Elisabeth on the ship manifest, then she may--or may not!--have been first married in 1912. Either way, it appears she was Fred's second wife. To confuse matters more, 1907 is given as the year she first immigrated to the United States. If that's true, she came as a single woman. Not knowing her maiden name, I haven't yet found any record of her arrival in the U.S. at that time. You see what I mean about the questions!

The 1920 census adds another layer of confusion. I didn't find a Fred Hebert living on Canton, but I did find one on Gratiot, just around the corner from Canton, with a wife named Elizabeth. This Fred is 48--close enough for census work, I guess--and Elizabeth 43, five years younger, so that looks promising. In 1920, Elizabeth's date of immigration is 1905, in contrast to the 1907 date given in 1930.

The Heberts of 1920 shared their home with Fred's brother Frank and a nephew named Joseph. Although this may seem like a no-brainer considering the Heberts' known habit of sharing their home with nephews, compare the answers given for Fred's birthplace, and the birthplaces of his parents. According to the 1930 census, the Fred we know to be ours was born in New York, and his parents in Massachusetts. The Fred in the 1920 census is said to have been born in New York, but his parents are said to be French Canadian. His brother Frank, three years younger than Fred, is said to be French Canadian by birth, while the nephew Joseph (Frank's son?) was said to have been born in Massachusetts, of a French Canadian father and a mother from Connecticut.

In my mind, there's enough similarity in these two profiles to think they may both pertain to the same Fred Hebert, but it's still necessary to question it. Why? Because this was not the only Fred Hebert in Detroit during the timespan in question. Here's a sampling of Fred Heberts listed in R.L. Polk & Co.'s Detroit City Directories:

1917 (p. 1014):
  • Fred C, mach, h190 Grand av e HP
  • Fredk C, Inspr Publick Lighting Commission, h884 Lorraine av
  • Fred C h1314 Brush
  • Fred S electn h884 Loraine av
1920-21 (p. 1366):
  • Fred mach h4640 (1090) Canton av
  • Fred C draftsman Arthur Knapp Eng Corp r1060 (47) Carmel av
  • Fred C elec Inspr CS bldg h5774 (884) Loraine av
1922-23 (p. 1134-35):
  • Fred autowkr h4640 Canton av
  • Fredk C Inspr Dept of Bldgs & Safety Eng h5774 Loraine av
1925-26 (p. 1062):
  • Fred mach h4640 Canton av
  • Fred C mech eng General Motors Corp h20233 Welland av
  • Fred N electn h5774 Loraine av
1927-28 (p. 1174):
  • Fred (Elis) mach h4640 Canton av
  • Fred C drftsmn U S Rubber Co r276 Academy av (Fern)
  • Fredk C Inspr h5774 Loraine av
1929-30 (p. 1036):
  • Fred h4640 Canton av
  • Fred trimmer r4544 Radnor av
  • Fred C Inspr Dept of B&SE h5774 Loraine av
[The letter "h" before the address numerals means home, while the letter "r" means rent. Wives' names are in parentheses, but as you can see, their inclusion in the listings was inconsistent. In the 1920-21 edition, you see an extra set of numbers in parentheses--Detroit addresses had been renumbered, and the former number of each address was shown in parentheses.]

These city directory listings don't really help us much with regard to proving or disproving the relevance of the 1920 census entry shown above. And it's good to note that these listings have inconsistencies of their own. For example, the Fred Hebert who lived on Loraine Avenue was listed with three different middle initials in these seven directories.

Here are a few ideas for additional research that could add to this story:
  • Deed research could show when Fred Hebert obtained the home at 4640 Canton Avenue.
  • A ship manifest showing Fred's travel to Germany in 1921 would show whether he travelled with a wife.
  • Research in the records of Buer, Germany, might establish the Koenig family relationships and more.
  • The 1880 census could be searched for Fred and Frank Hebert as children aged approximately 9 and 6, living with their parents. (New York? Massachusetts? Connecticut? Michigan? Or it's possible they were living in Canada at that time.)
These tasks are not on my agenda at present. Although I'm not aware that Fred had any children, it's certainly possible he did, and so it's also possible that someone already knows this family's history. Perhaps at some point they'll find their way here and share the story.

Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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