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, October 31, 2007

Most days, these people masqueraded as serious college students...

Rosmer P. Kerr - back row, center (click to enlarge)

postmarked at Valparaiso, Indiana, 8 February 1912

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Claim This Photo: The Scheeley Girls

(click to enlarge)

Subjects: Margarette, Ilene, and Felice Scheeley
Photographer: F.G. Poli, 234 Randolph St., Detroit, Michigan
From the photo collection of Rosmer & Evelyn Kerr
Date: Unknown

I've cleaned up the digital scan of this photograph for presentation here. The original is in less good condition.

To my knowledge, the Scheeley family is not related to my family. I'd be happy to send the photo to a Scheeley family historian who can prove his or her relationship to these three girls. Please contact me via the Comments section at the bottom of this post. Include your email address for a personal response. Any comment containing an email address or other personal contact information will not be published to the blog.


In Image 9 of Evelyn Kerr's 1944 address book, there is a listing for a Mrs. Ralph Seeley. Because Evelyn often misspelled even her own sister's name, it's possible that there is a relationship between the girls in the photo above and the Seeley listing in the address book.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Adventures in California

I believe my grandmother Evelyn may have created her address book, featured in the previous post, in anticipation of a trip she planned to make from Michigan to Hollywood, California, where her younger daughter Mary (my mother) was living and working at the time. Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed Mary's California telephone numbers listed in Image 11. Her home number was HOllywood 2320, and her number at work was STanley 7-1241, ext. 1453.

In the summer of 1993, my mother wrote the following memories of her California experience:

In 1943, a co-worker named Pat asked if I would like to go to California to work in one of the aircraft companies. Her two sisters had an apartment and were willing to share it with us. It seemed a wonderful opportunity, so I agreed. Mom was apprehensive, but I was approaching my 21st birthday and felt it was time to try my wings.

Daddy said, "It will be the best thing in the world for her."

Mom said, "You're not even 21 yet."

I said, "Okay, I'll wait until I'm 21."

I boarded the El Capitan on October 23rd--one day after my birthday--for my journey across the country. I had received a personal invitation from Pat's sisters when she decided not to go after all, due to chronic appendicitis attacks.

My new friends' apartment was on North Esplanade in the Hollywood Hills. I gazed in awe at the arched entrance leading to a large courtyard. Palm trees lined the street, and exotic flowers were in full bloom everywhere I looked. Each apartment had a private entrance, and came completely furnished, with a cleaning lady who came once a week.

Eleanor and Helen worked in offices at Disneyland. They insisted I take some time to become acquainted with California before starting a new job, but I was eager to settle into my new life. I wanted to try something different from data processing, but soon I discovered that the pay in other jobs was not enough to handle my share of the expenses. We had each agreed to contribute fifty dollars a week to cover rent, food, and telephone expenses. So I arranged an interview at Lockheed Aircraft, presented my letter of recommendation from Chrysler's, and was hired on the spot.

I loved California. Just walking down the street was a new experience. Perfect strangers would smile and say hello as we passed each other, and people were so kind, friendly and helpful.

In May of 1944 Mom wanted to come and visit but had no money for the trip, so I cashed in my return ticket (my insurance in case things didn't work out) and sent her the money. She too loved California, and kept putting off her return to Michigan. Then I received a telegram from my former boss at Chrysler's, saying that a job was waiting for me if I would just come back. I began to feel pressured from all sides. Mom had been with us for a month and I felt such an extended visit wasn't fair to Eleanor and Helen; and there was my Dad back in Michigan alone; and Chrysler's needed me in the new department they were forming, so I gave notice at Lockheed, Mom went home, and I followed her home two weeks later.

Going to California was something I wouldn't have missed for the world. I grew up that year, and I learned a lot about the cost of living on one's own, and making a budget work.

Many years later on a trip to California I decided to visit our apartment. Much to my dismay I was faced with a cloverleaf expressway winding through the area. Not only had North Esplanade disappeared, but all the flowers and trees as well. My Garden of Eden had been totally destroyed. Hollywood Boulevard, once a street of beauty lined with first-class shops, had deteriorated into a sleazy thoroughfare with neon signs, porn shops and tattoo parlors.

In seeming conflict with the story above,
my mother identified her companion in this photo as Pat.
Perhaps Pat resolved her appendix issues and then went to California?


Thursday, October 25, 2007

In Search of the Schulte Line, Part 5: The Clues in Evelyn's Notes

It's a pity my grandmother Evelyn didn't have pedigree charts and family group sheets to fill out. She would have been a great family historian. She hung onto old photos, clippings, memorial cards, and lots of old bits of paper on which she'd written notes to herself. I don't think she trusted her memory. In conversations, she often sampled her way through several first names before she hit upon the one that actually applied to the person she was addressing. She did her best to outwit the Alzheimer's that would creep up on her in her later years, and keeping notes was her best strategy.

In this post, we'll look at two of the records she created, both of which will help in our effort to discover and document the family ties of our immigrant ancestor, Joseph Meyer Schulte.

The first is Evelyn's list of deceased friends and relatives, shown below. Numbers 1-23 on the list, written in pencil, appear to have been the original list. The entries are not sequential, and the latest date in that portion of the list is 1963. Number 24, written in dark blue ink, was probably added in June 1964, as another list was started on the back of the paper in the same ink, noting the birth of a new family member about a week later. Numbers 25-28, in green ink, were probably added shortly after the death of Evelyn's husband, Rosmer P. Kerr, in 1969.

In the previous Schulte post, I listed some items needed to help further our work on Lizzie Hebert and her connection to the Schulte family, and Evelyn's list provides a clue for finding one of our needs, Lizzie Hebert's death certificate. Lizzie is number 13 in the list, and Evelyn noted that Lizzie's date of death was in 1963. Although not specific, this date is probably pretty accurate as far as it goes, being the latest date on the pencil portion of the list. We still hope to find Lizzie's grave with a date specific enough to send for the death certificate, and having this date will help to assure us we've found the right Lizzie Hebert in the event she's not buried with her husband Fred. And if we can't locate the grave, which is surely in Detroit, this approximate date may help us find a church record.

Evelyn Kerr's list of deceased friends and relatives
(click to enlarge)

In the transcription below, my corrections and clarifications appear in brackets.
  1. Mr. Grosscup
  2. Mrs. Grosscup
  3. Allen Paarlburg [Allan Paarlberg]
  4. Mr. Paarlburg
  5. Clara Kerr - Mar 26, 1958
  6. Milton Kerr - Arp 3, '61 [Apr 3, 1961]
  7. Mamie Tracy - Feb 14, 58 [Feb 14, 1958]
  8. Harold Tracy - 1957
  9. Marselene [Marceline Koenig] - Aug 26, 1962
  10. Rilla [Aucoin] - Dec 27, 1962
  11. Arthur Meyer - Dec 1962
  12. Mr. Fred Hebert
  13. Mrs. Lizzie " [Hebert] - 1963
  14. Harry Kurtz
  15. Hugo Kurtz
  16. Hugo Son [?]
  17. Aunt Adda [Adda Isenberg Kerr 1869-1953]; Aunt Alice [Alice Kerr Howe 1869-1960]
  18. Miss Talbert [sp? Talbot, Talbut, Tallent]
  19. Warren Parker
  20. Paul North
  21. Mrs. Lewis
  22. Mrs. O'Toole
  23. Herman Stolzenfeldt
  24. Jim Sandercott - June 8, 1964
  25. Paul Koenig - Apr 19, 1966
  26. Elmer Schulte - Died 1968, Born Aug 1894
  27. Karl Parker - Feb 1, 1969, Born 1917 [died Jan 30, 1969, buried Feb 1, 1969]
  28. R. P. Kerr - Feb 9, 1969, Born Sept 30, 1892
  29. Hugo Prietz - 1967 [This entry was written on the back in green ink.]
The second resource we'll look at is an address book. The addresses for which no city or state is given were in Detroit, where Evelyn lived at the time she created this record. Most of the those entries have a circled number which was Evelyn's notation of the postal zone, e.g. Detroit 5, Mich. (Use of the 5-digit ZIP Code didn't begin until July 1963.)

I believe this record dates from early 1944, based on the page 2 address of her son-in-law, Karl Parker, who was then stationed at Camp Haan in California. Readers of this blog have already seen a Camp Haan letter from Karl dated February 1944. Two more addresses for Karl were added later to this book (see Images 11 & 12) when his unit relocated.

In Image 8, you'll see Evelyn's listing of Mrs. Fred Hebert at 13939 Rochelle in Detroit. This nicely ties up any doubt we might have had about whether Rosina Rorken, traveling companion of Maria Schulte Koenig, was actually the third of the Schulte sisters who were, according to Josephine Sandercott, nieces of Joseph Meyer Schulte. I had earlier assumed Rosina was going to stay with her son, Erich Roehrken. So much the better, for our purposes, that Rosina's stated destination, 13939 Rochelle, was the address of Lizzie Hebert. Surely these three, Rosina, Maria, and Lizzie, are the sisters Josephine spoke of. With this information, I am convinced that Joseph's niece Lizzie Schulte and Mrs. Fred Hebert are one and the same person.

Image 1
(click any image to enlarge)
Josephine Staniewicz, Mary Allen, Al Kallil, Mary Czarneski, Mary Slawek

Image 2
Mrs. Hazel Parker, Cpl. K.F. [Karl Franklin] Parker, Pvt. Harry Sandercock

PFC John T. Loftus, Pvt. Marvin S. Jackson, Mont Bowman

Image 3
Mary (Marion) Cromor, Margarette Chandler, Catherine Olshefski, Martha Hakkinen, Dorothy Crawford
Jennie Calamia, Agnes Witkowski, Pearl Wherrett, Alberta Cornelious, Grace Bright

Image 4
Viola Meyers, Julia Polka, Philliss Szzypinski, Dorothy Williams, Loretta Bennett

Irene Smith, Cecile Urkenik, Ione Lockwood, Merrel Bolyard, Martha Kapica

Image 5
Earline Ziegler, Dorine Davis, Miriam Kinney, Nona Jones, Lois Knight

Willie H. Rouels, Isabel Earley, Susie Arnold, Josephine Anderson, Adda Carpenter

Image 6
Mrs. E. Norling, Gladys-Elsie-(Butch), Hazel Murler, Ida Magneson, John Alef (Dad)

Emil Erickson, Leonard Chartier (Frenchy), Mrs. John Loftus, Mrs. L. Grosscup, Lilly Heaman

Image 7
Mrs. Wm. Ross - Irene, Mrs. John Lyons, Leo Lyons, Mrs. H.W. Gould, Mamie Tracey [Tracy]

Mrs. Jos. Prince, Mrs. Milton E. Kerr, Mrs. Harry Kurtz, Carl & Blanche Schulte,
Jos. Sandercott

Image 8
Lincoln Russell, Ted Schulte, Mrs. E. Oestman, Mrs. Jack O'Toole, Mickey McLean

Mrs. Elmer Schulte, Mrs. Fred Hebert, Mrs. E. McDonald, Mrs. L. Berg, Mrs. Wm. Bergman

Image 9
Mrs. Laniewski, Mrs. Roy Urbin, Mrs. Ralph Seeley, Mr. & Mrs. Wiess [Weiss?],
Mrs. Louis Berg

Zona Gaulden, Lula Osborne, Jennette Duke, Beatrice Darrow, Elsie Siebert

Image 10
Sarah Pittie, Pearl Wilsman, Minnie Grable, Eva Mae Jones, Verlie Bowling

Hettie Gibson, Mrs. Jessie Keatton, Mrs. Pearl Hurlbut, Marceline Koenig

Image 11
Mary Kerr, Helen Lanewski [Laniewski?], Mrs. Hazel Parker

Corp. Karl F. Parker, PFC John Loftus

Image 12
Johnny Philip [?] Morris, T/5 Karl F. Parker, Hello Sweetheart (Nancy Martin)


Readers may have noticed that some of the listings above include phone numbers which, at that time, began with two letters. For a list of Detroit telephone exchanges and lots of other interesting Detroit trivia, visit Detroit Memories. Phone exchanges are listed in the sidebar a little more than halfway down the page. And you'll find a very informative telephone thread at Discuss Detroit.

Blog Archive


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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