"Let me see generation times, will we hear children singing rhymes? Sweet memories gone by..."

13 May 2012

Caroline Fredrick Campen

Cha tig Mòr mo bhean dhachaidh My wife Mòr will not return home
Cha tig Mòr mo bhean ghaoil My beloved wife Mòr will not return
Cha tig màthair mo leanabh The mother of my children will not return
Nochd a laighidh ri m'thaobh To lie by my side tonight

-- Traditional Scottish Lament

Last year for Mothers' Day, I posted a collage on facebook with photos of my female ancestors... below is an updated collection, with a few "new" faces added.

Top Row: Angela Dotson, Gloria Dotson, Rose Picarello, Savannah Ramey, Grace Campen, Annie Picarello, Maria Paparella & Grace Cole
Bottom Row:  Mary Ann Edwards, Mary Campen, Lucy Jane Dotson, Charlotte Edwards, Mary Swindall, Charlotte Campen & Catherine Edwards

But I'd also like to give a special mention to a particular great-great-great-grandmother who's neatly managed to avoid public records.

Sometime around 1848, my great-great-great-grandfather John Campen came to Baltimore from Germany.  In the 1850 U.S. census, he's a 28-year-old bachelor, working as a machinist, living with several other German immigrants, possibly in a tavern.

By the 1860 census, he's a widower with two sons, Henry and Louis, and living with other relatives who'd arrived from Germany.

So, at some point during the 1850s, John got married, had two children, and then his lost his wife.  But who was she?

Baltimore didn't start keeping birth or death records until 1875 - so there's no death certificate for John's wife, and no birth certificates for his two sons.  Searching at the Archives in Annapolis, the only marriage record that I could find for John is with his second wife, Charlotte.  John and several other Campens are buried at the old Baltimore Cemetery, but there's no sign of his first wife in the records.  And searching through the Baltimore Sun's archive has turned up no marriage announcements or death notices.

Of the two sons, Louis died in 1901.  At this point, Baltimore had been issuing death certificates for quite some time, but it was still before they required any genealogical information about the person, such as parents' names.

However, the elder son Henry died in 1927, and happily, his mother's maiden name, provided by Henry's daughter Teresa, was included on his death certificate:  Caroline Fredrick.  Mystery solved at last!

So, today I would like to remember Caroline, who is otherwise missing from the public record.  I hope someday to find out more about her, especially where she might be laid to rest, and who her ancestors were.

No comments:

Post a Comment