Biography – Karl Bauer (1885-1968)

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Sometimes it is necessary to take two steps back to answer questions. Although quite a lot was known about Karl Bauer, almost nothing was known about his siblings. Family oral history indicated he had a dozen or so siblings. The goal was to get to know about them. In order to do so, I needed to step back and get to know Karl’s life much better.  Through that process, I learned he had two sisters who lived and died in Germany before Karl immigrated. I also learned he had two sisters that came to America and lived in New York. Following is what I’ve learned about Karl’s life so far.

Hopfe-Bauer 2017 Project – Ancestor #06

List of Grandparents

  • Maternal Grandfather: Karl Bauer
  • 1st Great-Grandfather: Franz Bauer
  • 2nd Great-Grandfather: Jacob Bauer

Karl Bauer (1885-1968)

Karl Bauer was born on 16 Jan 1885 in Wolfstein, Bavaria, Germany to Franz and Margaretha (Licht) Bauer.

Childhood

He is believed to have had an older sister, Katharina, and a younger sister, Karoline. Further research is needed regarding his family in Germany.

In 1900, while he was about 15, he traveled to the United States and visited Pittsburgh, PA. The purpose of that visit and any family there is unknown.

Marriage

Wedding Photo of Anna Gunther & Karl Bauer circa 1909
Anna Günther & Karl Bauer c. 1909

He married Anna Elizabeth Güther on 30 December 1909 in Wolfstein, Germany.

Adulthood

Karl and Anna had two children before the war.

  • Emilie was born 26 September 1910 and died 8 Nov 2005 in Brookhaven, New York.
  • Irmgard Elizabeth was born 21 May 1913 and died in 1990 at Yaphank , New York.

Military

Photo of Karl Bauer in his Military Uniform
Karl Bauer – Military Uniform Photo from lbabeb via Ancestry.com

During World War 1, Karl served in the German Army. He was a musician. Further research is needed into his German military service.

Karl and Hanna had three more children after the war and before leaving for the United States.

  • Karl Walter was born 10 May 1920 and died 21 Nov 1987
  • Herbert was born in Jan 1921 and died six months later, on Christmas Day.
  • Reinhard was born in 1924.

Immigration

In January 1926, Karl left his wife and children in Wolfstein and immigrated to the United States aboard the S.S. Columbus. He planned his immigration to be permanent. He stayed with his brother-in-law, Eduard Brummel, at 2024 Grove Str, in Brooklyn, NY upon arrival.  In May, 1926, Karl formally renounced is allegiance to the German Empire and declared his intent to become a US Citizen.

Karl was musician and he is known to have played the violin throughout his life.

Photo of the S. S. Columbus
S.S. Columbus – By Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-00383 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, de, Via Wikimedia Commons

In January 1927, Karl’s wife Anna and three of their children, Emilie, Karl (Walter), and Reinhard (aka Reinhart) joined Karl at 229 Bleecher Street, Brooklyn. They also arrived aboard the S.S. Columbus. Irmgard also arrived in the United States in 1927, however, it doesn’t appear that she came with her mother and siblings aboard the S. S. Columbus. Today, 229 Bleecher Street is a police station.

The 1930 Census finds the Bauer family living at 229 Bleecher Street – Renting for $27/mo. There appears to be an error wherein Irmgard is identified at “Eugart” and a boy, however, the age and the rest of the family identifying information are correct. Also, in the household are Emmy, Walter, and Reinhart.

On 18 March 1931 Karl filed his petition for citizenship.

During the 1940 Census, Karl and Anna were in the same place since Anna arrived in 1927, 229 Bleecher Street, Brooklyn, NY.  Walter and Reinhard were still at home. Living with them was Anna’s mother, Anna Gunther, who was widowed and had been living with them since at least 1935.

In 1962, Karl and Anna moved to Oak Street in Yaphank, Suffolk County, New York, which is about 60 miles out on Long Island.

Death

Photo of marker of Karl & Anna Bauer
Marker – Bauer – Karl & Anna. Photo by Arleen Koello via Find a Grave

Karl died in November, 1968. His funeral service was held at Ruland Funeral Home in Patchogue. He was survived by his wife, four children, and two sisters. He is buried in Yaphank Cemetery, Yaphank, Suffolk County, New York. Anna Died in 1975 and was buried with Karl.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Research the siblings of Karl.
  • Find Karl’s 1900-1901 visit to Pittsburgh and determine the reason for the visit. Did he have family there?
  • Find Karl’s military record.
  • Learn more about the Bauers of Wolfstein, Germany.

Sources:

  • 1930 Census (A), Com, Carl Bauer – Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
  • 1940 Census (A), Com, Walter C Hopfe, Head. Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: T627_2608; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 24-2351
  • Find a Grave Memorial, Find a Grave, Karl Bauer Memorial# 38003122
  • Long Island Advance (Suffolk County, NY, ), NY Historic Newspapers, 1968-12-05 – Page 04, Column 1 – KARL BAUER. http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn95071025/1968-12-05/ed-1/seq-4.pdf.
  • New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925­-1957, Family Search, Karl Bauer – S.S. Columbus – Bremen —New York – January 17, 1926.
  • New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1940, Com, Karl Bauer – Declaration 113938.
  • New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1940, Com, Karl Bauer – Petition #153989.
  • S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Ancestry.Com, Karl Bauer – 082-28-7795.
  • S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, Karl Bauer – 16 Jun 1885 – Wolfstein, Germany.

Last Hopfe on Earth?

I was recently asked, “Are there any people left on Earth with the surname Hopfe?” As far as the asker knew, her Hopfe line had daughtered out with her.

Certainly, surnames go extinct. I’ve read how Hugh Bonneville’s (famous for playing Robert Crawley in Downton Abbey) surname is on the “near extinction” list, while surnames like Bread and Chips are supposedly extinct.[i]

Map shoint distribution of Hopfe surname.
Distribution of Hopfe surname per Forebears

My go-to site for looking at surnames is forebears.io. It provides lots of really interesting information about any surname and, in particular, the approximate number of people who have that particular surname. Worldwide, there are approximately 1,118 people with the surname Hopfe, which makes it the 275,936th most common surname. According to the site, there are approximately 841 people with the surname in Germany and 179 in the United States. (in 2014).

Forbears also allows you to drill down into the US and see the distribution by state. There are no Hopfes in Maine and only seven people with the surname in Massachusetts. Interestingly, the largest number of people with the Hopfe surname are in Hawaii. They have twice the number – 46 – of Hopfe surnamed people than the 2nd most common Hopfe state, Texas, with only 23. I know if it were me, I’d like to figure out how those Hawaiian Hopfe’s were related so that I could visit them. (Ha ha – just kidding.)

There are a couple surnames similar to Hopfe that may be variations of the name, including Hopf, which has more than 10,000 individuals worldwide, and Hoepf.

Hopfe Distribution 1920 CensusAnother site I like regarding surnames is Ancestry.Com; they have a name origin page. It is really cool because it shows the distribution of a surname during three different US Censuses. In the case of Hopfe, the 1920 Census shows there were 7 Hopfe families in New York (including some of her ancestors).

The bottom line is that there are many more Hopfes in the United States and the world but, none left in Maine.

Takeaway: Use Forebears.io and Ancestry.com/name-origin for learning more about surnames.

ENDNOTES:

[i] Internet: Family Tree; “Extinct Family Names”; http://www.familytree.com/blog/extinct-family-names/; however, Forbears.io indicates there is one person surnamed Bread, and two people with the Chips surname.

————-Disclaimer————-