My Siffrinn family has been one of my biggest brick walls for information. My gg grandparents Louis Siffrinn and Caroline Everhardt Siffrinn have been a tough line to follow. The going is slow but progress has been made lately, once again thanks to more and more documentation being added on line. My sources are coming from both ancestry.com and familysearch.org. For even more help I joined “the Conservatory” group on Facebook for direction on the spelling of the name.
From the Conservatory I learned that the name could be spelled Siffermann and that my gg grandmother’s name Everhardt might be spelled Eberhard. I have wondered all along if the names had been Americanized once they came to the states and just how much change had been made.
Family search turned up even more information. From marriage records to her second husband and his second marriage I was able to determine a good deal of information. Caroline’s second marriage application to William Siffirinn, her brother-in-law, revealed that her husband, Louis Siffrinn had died October of 1888. This was the first time that I saw her maiden name of Everhardt and her father’s first name, Louis. It also had the names of her in-laws, John and Christina Siffrinn. Their marriage record also showed me that they were still living in Norristown, Pennsylvania in 1890. The record also proved the family relationship of both her husbands.
From William Siffrinn’s second marriage record I found the March 1911 death date of Caroline. It also contained the maiden name of William’s mother that I read as Ronen.
With a clearer idea of how long the family had stayed in Norristown, Pennsylvania, I went back to the ancestry search and entered Siffrinn and Norristown and set the search to be specific to those 2 elements. My results had several Siffrinns in Norristown in the late 1800s city directory. I found a Sophia/Sophie, Lena, Augusta, Mary and William. Some of the entries were for Siffrinn and others spelled Siffrin. Ancestry search was not turning up all of the listings for Norristown in all of the available directories no matter how I entered information into the fields. To make sure I wasn’t missing anything, I continued the search by going through each directory one page at a time, through the “S” listings. From 1888 – 1908 I found listings for the family including one for my g grandfather Peter L Siffrinn. Sophia, Augusta, and Mary were all daughters of Louis and Caroline. William was her brother-in-law/husband and Lena was Caroline’s nickname.
In the 1888 directory Caroline, listed as “Lena,” had listed herself as the widow of Louis. From the marriage records I knew that Louis had died in 1888. I selected the Norristown directory for 1886 and hand searched the “S” listings to see if they were in the city at that time. I found Louis Seffren, glassblower, listed. I would not have found this entry without hand searching this directory. I could not find the family in the 1884 Norristown directory. My missing years are now from 1879 – 1886.
With the information I now had I went back to family search to see if I could find anything in the German records. My first discovery was what I believe to be the birth record for William Siffrinn. The documentation has his name spelled Wilhelm Sifrin, father, Johann Sifrin, and mother Christina Raven. He was christened on May 21, 1864 at Buesbach, Rheinland, Prussia. I had misread Christina’s maiden name once I double checked the marriage certificate for William.
Also listed as a child of Johann Siffrin and Christina Raven is Helena Siffrin, christened Feb 11, 1867, Buesbach, Rheinland, Prussia.
As I continued to adjust the search fields I found the marriage information for Louis and Caroline in Germany. The document information dated August 30, 1872, was for Ludwig Sifrin and Carolina Eberhad at Evangelisch, Weitten, Westfalen, Prussia. A second document information is listed for Ludwig Siefrin and Caroline Eberhard, dated September 1, 1872 at Katholisch, Witten, Westfalen, Prussia.
The christening of two of Ludwig and Caroline’s children also were listed. Louis Siefrin, christened April 8, 1873 at Katholisch, Witten, Westfalen, Prussia and Sophia Carolina Siefrin, christened April 2, 1874, at Buesbach, Rheinland, Prussia. I didn’t have Louis in my family listing and had just discovered Sophia in the directories for Norristown, Pennsylvania.
I am still missing the immigration records for Louis, Caroline and family and more detailed information on their German roots but I have come a long way.
Although Grandma, Thelma Mariah Oakley West, was born in Olean, New York, in 1904, her family moved to Bradford, Pennsylvania when she was young. Great Grandpa, George Clair Oakley found a house for them on Summer Street in Bradford and Grandma and her siblings would grow up there.
This picture is of Grandma and her grade school class at the Second Ward School, on the corner of Elm and Congress Street. Grandma is in the front row, first from the right, with the bow in her hair. I am estimating that the photo was taken about 1913.
Bradford’s population was growing rapidly and by the 1920s had reached 20,000 and it wasn’t uncommon to have 50 children in a grade school class. This class had around 40 children in it. The wooden building would be replaced in 1935 with a brick building.
I remember my grandfather, Chester Davis West telling stories about delivering groceries. He would tell about how he wasn’t suppose to go inside the pesthouses, but would walk up to the door and straight into the kitchen to place the groceries on the table. The pesthouses were places where people sick with tuberculosis, cholera, smallpox or typhus would go to get well. At one point an old schoolhouse was used as the local Bradford pesthouse. Starting around 1918 Grandpa delivered groceries driving the Spencer Grocery horse and wagon.
By the 1920s the horse and wagon was to be replaced with a 1920s Dodge Screenside Delivery Truck. The pictures of the delivery vehicles turned up in a batch of photos that my mother had never seen. They must have been Grandpa’s private stash of photo memories before he married my Grandmother. A couple of photos of a very young her were tucked in the mix.
We have turned up all types of family objects in the process of selling mom’s house. The kitchen turned up favorite cutting boards and a small pan for cooking poached eggs belonging to my grandfather. Cookbooks with parts collected from trips to the grocery store were boxed up to save.
In the process of looking for a special hand painted Santa candy dish, I dove deep into the hall closet pulling out all the boxes. Mom mentioned a box in the back that held my grandfather’s paperwork. I spotted it tucked in the very back and pushed my way into the narrow space and drug the box out.
To my surprise it contained, not paperwork as my mother remembered but old photos, many of my grandfather’s parents and baby photos of my grandparents. One of my favorites was of my great grandparents, George Arthur West and Josephine S. Davis, taken in 1899, shortly after their marriage, as was noted on the back by my great grandmother. Married February 18, 1899, in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the photo was taken by Mary Zuver West, George’s mother.
My Burgess line goes back predating the arrival of the Pilgrims to Thomas Burgess, born in England in 1601 and died in Massachusetts in 1685. My connection to the Pilgrim’s would come when Joseph Burgess, great grandson of Thomas Burgess, would marry Thankful Snow, great granddaughter of Pilgrim, Nicholas Snow.
Many of the spouses of my Burgess line have been documented with the exception of Benjamin Strong Burgess and his two wives, Laura and Jeannette H. Recently ancestry.com released the Massachusetts Town and Vital records for 1620 – 1988. Included in the digitized documentation is the marriage intent and marriage license for Benjamin S. Burgess and Laura Britton.
According to the documentation Benjamin and Laura were living in Springfield, Massachusetts and married September 14, 1836.
Below the annotation for Benjamin and Laura is the marriage of Martha A. Chapin and Joel K. Bliss for September 19, 1878. Martha is related to me through Levi Chapin, who is my 5th great grandfather. Levi’s daughter Rebecca married Benjamin Shepard Burgess, father of Benjamin Strong Burgess.
Below Martha and Joel is the marriage record for Joseph Chapin and Sophronia Jenks. Joseph was Martha’s brother. He and Sophronia were married September 20, 1839.
Further search revealed records for:
Freeman E. Burgess and Theresa Small, Apr 15, 1831, Harwich, Massachusetts
Reuben Burgess and Anna Brooks, Apr 17, 1831, Harwich, Massachusetts
Eliza Swift Burgess and Nathan B Gibbs, Jul 31 (1843), Springfield, Massachusetts
Elijah Burgess and Betsey Wing, their children’s birth records
Stephen Burgess and Sarah White, their children’s birth records
Research on my Eyth family has previously ended with my 4th great grandfather Marcus Eyth and his wife Elisabeth Hoefelin. With the Family Search release of Pennsylvania marriage records and German birth, death and marriage records, I now have information out to and including my 7th great grandfather.
Marcus’ full name was Marcus (Marx) Evangalista Eyth, His wife was Elisabeth(a) Hoefelin, also spelled: Haefelinn, Hofeling, Hofelin and Hastelin. From his birth record I now know that his father was Andreas Eyth and his mother, Kunigunda Luib and he was born April 25, 1780. He had a brother Carl Josephus Eyth, born January 28, 1777.
Andreas’ father was Petrus Eith (Eyth) and Rosa Stehlin. Andreas had eleven brothers and sisters born between 1741 and 1777. Petrus’ father was Joannes Jacob Eith and his mother was Elisabeth Stehlin. Petrus had 7 brothers and sisters.
Through time the Eyths (Eith) and the Stehlin (Stehle) have married each other. I haven’t determined, yet, how many of them were related or how closely. Andreas’ brother Ignaz married Agnes Stehlin, whos parents were Dominikus and Barbara Kleindienstin Stehle. Their mother was Rosa Stehlin and their grandmother was Elisabeth Stehlin. Georgia Eith, Ignaz’s daughter, married Calixt Stehle, Calixt’s mother was Barbara Eith. The more I dig into the families, the more tangled together they are turning out.
When you least expect it a brick wall will fall down, or at least a few bricks break off. Family Search has been adding a lot of new documents to their on line library. Just recently I found multiple documents that extended my Eyth line and confirmed several birth and marriage entries. Birth records from Germany help with family lines. I had tried a search for my Siffrinn line and did not find any new records.
Yesterday, for fun I entered the Siffrinn surname, not expecting any results. Up popped Pennsylvania marriage certificates for several Siffrinn surnames. I glanced through the selection and clicked on a William Siffrinn. The details of the entry included a full name, William Siffrinn, birth of Stolberg, Germany and birth date of May 20 1864. He was the son of John and Christina Ronen Siffrinn. It also documented his marriage on Jun. 24, 1914, to Lizzie Kilday, daughter of Peter and Mary McGrale Kilday, born in Pennsylvania, Jan. 1, 1875. The marriage was documented as taking place in Port Allegany, Pennsylvania. The last clue on the document was that he had been married previously and his wife had died March, 29, 1911.
I saved the document to my desktop, curious at first that it was missing information to Louis and Caroline’s son, William, except for the information given as to parents.
I opened the next result for William Siffrinn, I now had the clues that linked my SIffrinns to their German past. This was the same William Sifffrinn as the first document that I had opened for his first marriage to my great-great grandmother. I knew that my great-great grandmother had remarried after the death of her husband Louis Siffrinn. I was pretty sure that the man that she married next was the brother of her husband but I did not have proof. The marriage documentation documented that William Siffrinn was marrying his brother’s widow, Mrs. Caroline Siffrinn, a midwife, her maiden name was Everhardt. The marriage took place 2 years following the death of my great-great grandfather in Oct of 1888 and a year after the birth of John Siffrinn, Caroline and William’s son in Norristown, Montgomery, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
William had arrived in the United States in 1886, four years after his brother and family had moved to the Philadelphia area from Germany. The men were glassblowers in Philadelphia. Although I still have not found the passenger list for the Louis Siffrinn family’s arrival to the States, I am pretty sure that they immediately settled in the Norristown area, not arriving in Kane or Port Allegany Pennsylvania until close to 1900. In the 1900 Census Caroline has listed that she has had 12 children of which 7 are still alive. More searching would reveal a daughter that I did not have listed, Mary Siffrinn born in Germany in 1876, married to Joseph E Grant born in England April 1872. Searching on Mary in Census records I found her living with her sister, Emma born in Germany 1869, another new child for my file, and her brother-in-law, John Norman born in Germany, Mar. 1857.
Caroline’s 1900 Census record lists, her married to William and children, Augusta, Peter, and John living with her in Kane, Pennsylvania. William was working as a glassblower; the children were all in school. Some of the family remained in the Norristown, Pennsylvania area, which now broadens my search area considerably for the remaining four children Caroline gave birth to as claimed in her 1900 Census record.