Ancestor Bio – Dee Rittenberry

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I was really excited when one of my grandchildren indicated that she was interested in her family history. In particular, she wondered about her paternal grandmother’s family, the Rittenberrys. I knew very little about them, so I jumped at the chance to research some her ancestor’s history.  To bypass living individuals, I thought I’d start with her grandmother’s grandfather, William Dee Ester Rittenberry.

Through the many records the surname takes many forms, Ritenberry, Writtenberry, and Ritenburg. I have settled on Rittenberry both as the most common spelling and as the modern spelling used as the maiden name by her grandmother.  Also, for ahnentafel numbering, I begin with her living grandmother as person #1, making her grandmother’s grandfather Ancestor #4.

 

Rittenberry Project 2017 – Ancestor #4

List of Grandparents

  • Grandmother: Living
  • 1st Great-grandfather: L. B. Rittenberry
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: William Dee Ester Rittenberry
  • 3rd Great-grandfather: James Henry Rittenberry

 

  • William Dee Ester Rittenberry (1882-1961)

William Dee Ester Rittenberry, known as “Dee,” was born on 28 Oct 1882 in Buffalo Valley, Putnam County, Tennessee. Buffalo Valley is an unincorporated community in Putnam County, Tennessee. It is exit 268 on Interstate 40.

He was the oldest child of James Henry Rittenberry and Martha Taylor and had five younger siblings, namely:

  • Della Jared Rittenberry,
  • Lourency M. Rittenberry,
  • Frances Rittenberry,
  • Belle Rittenberry,
  • Agness Rittenberry.

Marriage

When he was 19, Dee married Dora Effie Jane Chism, known as Effie. She was the daughter of Charlotte (Chism), on 15 Oct 1902 in Putnam County, Tennessee. I am not sure about Effie’s father’s name and need to do more research regarding this family.

William Dee Ester Rittenberry and Dora Effie Jane Chism had the following children:

  1. Ethel Lee Rittenberry was born in 1904 in Tennessee. She died before Jan 2001.
  2. Evelyn M Rittenberry was born on 29 Apr 1907 in Putnam County. She died on 03 Jan 2001 in Cookeville, Tennessee at the Masters Health Care Center. She married a man surnamed Stone.
  3. Cecil Rose Rittenberry was born on 07 Dec 1909 in Algood, Tennessee (See Article). She died on 08 Jun 1945 in Cookeville, TN.
  4. John D Rittenberry was born in 1913; he died before Jan 2001.
  5. T J Rittenberry was born on 16 Jun 1917 in Putnam County; he died on 08 Jun 195715 in Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee at Saint Thomas Hospital.
  6. L B Rittenberry4 was born on 28 Apr 1920 in Tennessee. He died on 07 Dec 1976 in Goodletsville, Davidson County, Tennessee. He married Ruby Jean Shoemaker sometime before 01 Apr 1940.
  7. William D Rittenberry, Jr. was born about 1924.
  8. Lucile Rittenberry was born about 1925.

Adult

1900 – William Dee Ester Rittenberry lived in Civil District 19, Putnam, Tennessee on 01 Jun 1900. He was a Laborer at the Sparta Spoke Factory.  The Sparta Spoke Factory was established in 1896 on the Calfkiller River and became the world’s largest producer of wooden spokes. As the demand for wooden spokes decreased, the company changed over to custom furniture and furniture components. Today the company is known as Sparta WoodWorks.

1910 – Cookeville and Ganesborrow Road Cookeville, Putnam, Tennessee. He was a farmer, farming a rented farm with his wife, and three children, Ethel, Every, and Mary (Cecil). Living with them was his mother-in-law, Charlotte Chism.

1918 – He registered for the draft on 12 Sep 1918 in Crawford, Overton County, Tennessee. He was described as medium height, medium build, Blue eyes, and light hair. Occupation: Coal Digging with Brice Hill. Dee never served.

1920 – Dee is living in Crawford, Overton County, Tennessee. He is working as a coal miner. Living with him are his wife, three daughters, two sons and his uncle, Carnie (possibly Carrie), Rittenberry.

1930 – The depression was tough on coal mines and Dee appears to have been impacted by it. The 1930 Census shows him working as a laborer in a public works project. It also shows Dee had moved back to Putnam County, TN, and was living with his wife and kids. Also, living with him is a granddaughter, Juanita Harris.

1951 – It appears that he retired on 15 Feb 1951 and went on social security. He lived in Cookeville until his death in 1961.

Death

Marker - W. Dee Rittenberry (1882-1961) - Photo by imagal49 (#47223808) via Find a Grave
Marker – W. Dee Rittenberry (1882-1961) Photo by imagal49 (#47223808) via Find a Grave

 

William Dee Rittenberry died on 24 May 1961 at the Putnam County Poor Home in Cookeville, TN, at the age of 78.  He was buried at the Shipley Cemetery in Cookeville, Putnam County, Tennessee. Per Find-a-Grave, There are 14 Rittenberrys buried at Shipley Cemetery.

Conclusion

It is clear from the census records that family was important to Dee Rittenberry. Although they were poor and had little during the depression, it is clear they took on family members that needed support and helped all they could.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Find William Dee Rittenberry in the 1940 Census.

Sources:

Twins or Not Twins, that is the question

Cecil and Mary Rose Rittenberry

Rittenberry Project 2017

By Don Taylor

Cecil Rittenberry Birth Record
Mary Rose Rittenberry

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.

1910 Census – Rittenberry
1920 Census – Rittenberry

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.

 

Al Ringling Theatre – Bathing Beauty Revue

Donna Darling Collection – Part 10

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a clipping from the Donna Darling Collection

Newspaper Clipping of Bathing Beauty Revue - Al Ringling Theatre
This image was cropped, edited, and resized for the web.

Bathing Beauty Revue
Al Ringling Theatre

Key features:

  • 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”

Analysis

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.

  1. The Baraboo daily republic. : (Baraboo, Wis.) 1892-1929 – Current Holdings do not indicate any holdings from 1924.[v]
  2. 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]

Conclusion

December (XX) 1924 – The Bathing Beauty Review featuring Donna Darling and Murry Earle played at the Al Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Actions

  • 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.

Sources

[i] IMDB Forbidden Paradise (1924) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014925

[ii] IMDB Dangerous Money (1924) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014825

[iii] IMDB The Signal Tower (1924)  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015331

[iv] IMDB The City That Never Sleeps (1924) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014777

[v] Chronicling America – About Baraboo Daily Republic – Holdings –   http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85041148/holdings/

[vi] Chronicling America – About Baraboo Daily News – Holdings –  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87082039/holdings/

Drexl Project – Ursula Eggert (1860-1946)

Ancestor Biography – Ursula Eggert (1860-1946)

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.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.

Childhood

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.

Marriage

She married Frank Xaver Drexl on 25 October 1881 in Petzenhausen, Baveria, Germany.

Children of Frank Xaver and Ursula (Eggert) Drexl

Birth Marriage Death
Nicholas Edward 1880, Germany 1904 – Hedwig Frances Stoeger 1939, Missouri
Christina Innocencia 1882, Germany 1902 – Frank Matschinger 1963, Minnesota
Edward 1883, Germany N/A 1884, at sea
Franz Xaver 1884, Kansas N/A 1886, Kansas
Anna 1885, Kansas N/A 1899, Minnesota
Francis Theresia 1886, Kansas 1911 – [?] Wallace 1949, California
Katherine Agatha 1888, Kansas 1910 – [?] Wikstrom 1961, Minnesota
Marie Barbara 1890, Kansas 1909 = Michael J. Gallagher 1975, Minnesota
Joseph Peter 1893, Minnesota ? – Violet Gertrude Weldon 1966, Minnesota
Charles Mathias 1894, Minnesota ? – Catherine Classen 1970, California
John 1896, Minnesota N/A 1899, Minnesota
Frank John Joseph 1899, Minnesota ? – Bernice Frances ? 1969, Minnesota
Anthony John 1902, Minnesota ? – Louise Opperman 1955, Minnesota

Immigration

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.

Minnesota

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.

Photo of 35 West Isabel (Oct 2016) per Google Maps
35 West Isabel (Oct 2016) per Google Maps

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.

Death

Ursula died on 16 May 1946 in Ramsey County Minnesota. Her burial location is unknown.


Sources

  • 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.
  • U.S. City Directories, 1822­1995: Saint Paul, MN (N.p.: R. L. Polk & Co., 1928), ; digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2469/13165605 ).
  • U.S. City Directories, 1822­1995: Saint Paul, MN (N.p.: R. L. Polk & Co., 1929), Page 387, Drexl; digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2469/14281703 ).
  • U.S. City Directories, 1822­1995: Saint Paul, MN (N.p.: R. L. Polk & Co., 1931), Page 371, Drexl; digital img, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2469/14900466).
  • U.S. City Directories, 1822­1995: Saint Paul, MN (N.p.: R. L. Polk & Co., 1932), Page 337, Drexl; digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2469/14900466 ).
  • U.S. City Directories, 1822­1995: Saint Paul, MN (N.p.: R. L. Polk & Co., 1934), Page 285, Drexl; digital img, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2469/14660986 ).
  • U.S. City Directories, 1822­1995: Saint Paul, MN (N.p.: R. L. Polk & Co., 1935), Page 290, Drexl; digital image, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2469/15032341 ).
  • U.S. City Directories, 1822­1995: Saint Paul, MN (N.p.: R. L. Polk & Co., 1944), Page 260, Drexel/Drexl; digital image, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&db=USDirectories&h=803751586 ).
  • Minnesota Births and Christenings, 1840-­1980, [Frank J] Drexl – 16 Sep 1899.
  • Ancestry Family Trees, M A Heintz Family Tree – Owner: mavendegna.
  • Family Search Family Trees – Ursula Eggert – KLX8-S2T https://familysearch.org/tree/person/KLX8-S2T

 

Maine Marriage Records

By Don Taylor

photo of hole in a brick wall
Hole in Brick Wall – Photo by counterclockwise via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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”

http://network.mainegenealogy.net/profiles/blogs/maine-county-marriage-returns, which explains methods to access some of the early Maine marriage records that may exist.

Scarborough Records

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.

Image of Book Cover - Vital Records of Scarborough Maine.

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.