At first, I thought they were twins. Two children, Cecil Rittenberry and Mary Rose Rittenberry, born on the same date, December 7, 1909, to the same parents, Dee and Effie Rittenberry. The two records were entered by the same clerk one week apart seven months after the children’s births. Cecil was a boy and Mary Rose was a girl. It seemed clear to me. Then I started to get confused.
The 1910 Census shows Dee and Effie “Writtenberry” with their daughter “Merry” and no son. I thought ‘aww’ – The son, Cecil, must have died as an infant.
The 1920 Census really adds to the confusion as it doesn’t show Mary, but rather it shows Cecil as the correct age but as a daughter.
Other records follow Cecil through her marriage to Berry Willoughby her early death in 1945. In every record other than the birth record Cecil is always a female. Likewise, other than the birth record and the 1910 Census Mary has no other records.
I think the key to the facts in the case is in the 1910 Census. It shows that Effie had had three children and three were living. The three were Ethyl Lee, Evelyn M, and Mary Rose/Cecil Rose.
What I think happened
With a healthy dose of speculation, I believe the child of Dee and Effie born on December 7, 1909, was registered with the County Clerk’s office initially as Mary Rose. After the registration, someone went back to the County and registered the same child as Cecil and the clerk got the sex wrong but everything else correct, including the surname. Whoever responded to the 1910 Census was the family member who called the child “Mary.” By 1920, when the child was 10 years old, everyone knew the child as “Cecil” and that name stuck the rest of her life.
This is the first time I’ve encountered two birth records for the same individual recording different names and different sexes. As I said, I initially thought Cecil and Mary were twins. Now, I’m fairly sure that they are one individual. I’ll hold that view unless I find some compelling reason to believe otherwise. I am reminded to hold all records with some level of skepticism.
For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a clipping from the Donna Darling Collection
Bathing Beauty Revue
Al Ringling Theatre
The venue is the Al Ringling Theatre. It is “America’s Prettiest Playhouse.”
The show is the “Bathing Beauty Revue” staring Donna Darling and Murry Earl.
Also on bill
Poli Negri in “Forbidden Paradise”
Coming attractions include:
Bebe Daniels in “Dangerous Money”
“The Signal Tower”
“The City that Never Sleeps”
It appears that the only theatre known as “America’s Prettiest Playhouse” is the Al Ringling Theatre. It was built in Baraboo, Wisconsin in 1915 and is in use today.
“Forbidden Paradise” was released on 30 November 1924.[i] The other three movies were released before “Forbidden Paradise.[ii] – [iii] – [iv] indicating that the Bathing Beauty Review occurred after that. Probably in December of 1924.
Donna’s known schedule indicates that she played three other Wisconsin venues in November and December of 1924, so she was definitely in Wisconsin at the time.
Finally, a review of the newspapers of the time yielded none currently available online. A search at Chronicling America indicated two newspapers published in Baraboo during 1924.
The Baraboo daily republic. : (Baraboo, Wis.) 1892-1929 – Current Holdings do not indicate any holdings from 1924.[v]
Baraboo daily news. : (Baraboo, Wis.) 1913-1929 – Current holdings indicate that the Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project in Madison, Wisconsin may hold issues from that period.[vi]
December (XX) 1924 – The Bathing Beauty Review featuring Donna Darling and Murry Earle played at the Al Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Visit the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison to view their Newspaper Project holdings, particularly the Baraboo Daily News from December 1924 and January 1925 looking for what played at the Al Ringling Theatre.
Research the Al Ringling Theatre and write about Donna’s show there.
The mother of thirteen, Ursula Eggert Drexl immigrated from Germany with her husband and children in 1884. Her youngest child died on the ship during the crossing. She worked as a jeweler for a short time but primarily raised her children.
Drexl Project – Ancestor #13
List of Grandparents
6 Grandfather: Nicholas Edward Drexl
12 Great-grandmother: Ursula Eggert
24 2nd Great-grandfather: Johann Baptist Eggert
Ursula Eggert (1860-1946)
Ursula was born in September 1860 to Johann Baptist and Ursula (Hohenadel) Eggert in Bavaria, Germany.
Her father, Johann Baptist Eggert died when she was only nine years old, on 23 May 1870. It appears that her first child, Nicholas Edward Drexl, was born on 29 November 1880 in Bavaria, Germany, almost a year before her marriage to Frank Xaver Drexl.
She married Frank Xaver Drexl on 25 October 1881 in Petzenhausen, Baveria, Germany.
Children of Frank Xaver and Ursula (Eggert) Drexl
1904 – Hedwig Frances Stoeger
1902 – Frank Matschinger
1884, at sea
1911 – [?] Wallace
1910 – [?] Wikstrom
1909 = Michael J. Gallagher
? – Violet Gertrude Weldon
? – Catherine Classen
Frank John Joseph
? – Bernice Frances ?
? – Louise Opperman
The young family, Frank and a very pregnant Ursula along with their three children immigrated to the United States in 1884. Their youngest, Edward died on the voyage and was buried at sea. The family located to Leavenworth, Kansas, where their son Franz Xaver was born on 29 April 1884.
1886 was a tough year. Ursula’s mother, Ursula, died on 11 February. Also, the death of two-year-old Franz in 1886 must have been devastating. The family moved from Leavenworth twenty-five miles NW to Atchison, Kansas that year. Francis Theresia was born on 4 August in Atchison, Kansas.
Sometime between 1888 and 1893 the family located to Minnesota.
In 1895, Frank and Ursula lived at 258 Custer Street, Saint Paul, Ramsey County Minnesota with 7 of their children, Nick, Christina, Francis, Katie, Mary, Joseph, and Charles.
In 1900, Frank and Ursula lived at 260 Custer Street, Saint Paul, Ramsey County Minnesota with 8 of their children, Nicholas, Christina, Francis, Katherine, Marie, Joseph, Charles, and Frank. Ursula was working as a jeweler.
In 1905, Frank and Ursula lived at 46 Robie, Saint Paul, Ramsey County Minnesota. Francis, Catherine, Mary are shown in the 1905 census. The other children were apparently left off the census report
In 1910, Frank and Ursula lived at 26 Winifred Street, Saint Paul, Ramsey County Minnesota with six of their children, Francis, Kate, Joseph, Charles, Frank, and Anthony.
In 1920, Frank and Ursula lived at 35 W. Isabel, Saint Paul, Ramsey County Minnesota, with three of their children, Joseph, Frank, and Mari (now Gallagher) and Mari’s daughter, Catherine Gallagher.
Urusla’s husband, Frank Xaver Drexl died on 4 November 1929 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Saint Paul.
In 1930, Ursula sill was living at 35 W. Isabel, Saint Paul, Ramsey County Minnesota, however, now her son, Joseph, his wife Violet, and Ursula’s daughter Frances (now Wallace) were living with her.
In 1932, Ursula moved to 1576 Goodrich Ave, Saint Paul, Ramsey County Minnesota.
Ursula moved to 535 Hall Ave. Saint Paul, Ramsey County Minnesota sometime before 1944.
Ursula died on 16 May 1946 in Ramsey County Minnesota. Her burial location is unknown.
1895 Minnesota State Census, 1895, Drexl, Frank – St. Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota.
1900 US Federal Census (FS), Frank Drexl – Head – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota – Sheet 8.
1905 Minnesota State Census, Frank Drexl – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota, ED 27, Sheet 40 – #76.
1910 US Federal Census (FS) (n.p: NARA, n.d), Frank Drexl -Head – St Paul Ward 6, Ramsey, Minnesota, ED 84, Sheet 2B, Line 70 .
1920 US Federal Census (FS), Frank Drexel (Drexl) – Head- Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota.
1930 US Federal Census – Ursula Drexl – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota – ED 62-67 – Sheet 11B – (AA), Line 53 – Ursula Drexl – Head.
I recently had the opportunity to be a Genealogy “brick wall buster,” which is a person who helps someone break through their genealogical brick walls. They say teaching a subject helps the teacher learn the topic even more. Likewise, helping others with their “brick walls” is an amazing process wherein I learn so much more. Anyway, one of my querists wanted to know, How to find marriage records in Maine.
As I thought about how I would approach the question I thought of several Wikis and ask the person if they used the Family Search wiki. She said, “No.” As I went through the day, I realized how few people knew about the two best genealogy wiki sites on the Internet. Everyone I spoke to during the day used Family Search and Ancestry.Com, but none of them ever used either of the two wikis.
I prefer the Family Search wiki. http://familysearch.org/wiki. It seems to always provide the answer to my research questions. For example, a search for Maine Marriage Records brings me to a page about the differences in records before 1892, between 1892 and 1922, and since 1922.
The Ancestry Wiki: http://ancestry.com/wiki/ is also a hidden gem – a fountain of information. Many people have subscriptions to Ancestry and many others access Ancestry through their local libraries, but I found few use the Ancestry Wiki. The results received from searching the Ancestry Wiki for “Maine Marriage Records,” was not quite as clear as Family Search but did quickly lead me to a Maine Vital Records page, which also told me all I needed to know.
The Maine Genealogy Network is one of my favorite sites for specifically Maine research. They have many Maine Specific databases, see http://www.mainegenealogy.net/databases.asp for a list of them. There is also a great article about “Finding Maine County Marriage Returns”
For Scarborough Records, the Cumberland County Marriages from 1786 thru 1886 may be browsed on the Family Search site at https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/553508. Look for the camera icon at the bottom right to see the images.
There is a great book, Vital Records of Scarborough, Maine by James H. Wick published by the Maine Genealogical Society (MGS). The book is currently out of print and unavailable from the MGS, however, Minerva indicates it is available at several libraries in the area, (See https://tinyurl.com/ycb5ga9x) including the Scarborough Public Library. We also have a copy of it at the Scarborough Museum which may be viewed at the museum.
Also at the museum, we have several boxes of microfilm. As an example, one of the boxes, Number 225, is a reel of “Town Records Births prior to 1891 with some dates to 1908, deaths ca. 1819-1891, intentions of marriage and marriage records 1816-1879. I need to find a way to get these digitized and available or, better yet, find where someone else has already digitized these records.
Do you know of additional Maine Marriage Record sources available? If so, please let me know through the comment form below.
This week on the Donna Darling “Treasure Chest” I have pulled three photos. Again, they were badly damaged. I have cropped and touched them up using Photoshop Elements to remove creases and tears as much as I could and still maintain the integrity of the photos.
The Donna Darling Review
The first photo shows the Donna Darling Review on stage. It appears that Sammy Clark is on the left and Donna in the middle. There is an unknown man on the right. The photo is probably about 1927 and the location is unknown. There is no indication of the photographer. The back of the photo is stamped with “To Be Returned to Photographic & Press Bureau, Inc. Palace Theatre Bldg, New York City.”
Next is another of the photo of the Donna Darling Review showing who appears to be Sammy on the left, Donna center stage wearing what looks to be a halo. With her are two “ladies in waiting” wearing elaborate costumes. Again, the photo was taken about 1927 and the location is unknown. The studio is cut off on the bottom right of the image, but clearly sans “Theatrical” something. The back says, “Donna Darling Review” in handwriting.
In the snow in Montreal
Finally, is a photo of Donna at a photo shoot with three other women. Donna is wearing her mink coat and is holding her Pekingese dog, “Peke.” There is no mention of the photographer nor of the date, although I suspect it was about 1926 or 1927. On the back, she wrote:
Fox News Cameras girls not afraid to dance in snow (was scared plenty) I took my mink off (sparely) hot toddy kept us from freezing-
My “Peke” was along.
I haven’t uncovered a show date for Donna to be in Montreal, yet but will continue researching her shows.
These three photos provide an interesting glimpse into the 1920s vaudeville world. The photos here were sized for printing (300 DPI) and are available from me at a higher quality if needed.
Subsequent to this research, I looked further for an image of this photo shoot. I found a copy on Tumbir.