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

28 July 2012

Mom Mom

The road now leads onward and I know not where
I feel in my heart that you will be there
Whenever a storm comes, whatever our fears
The journey goes on as your love ever nears
-- "Never-Ending Road" by Loreena McKennitt

Were Mom Mom still living, today would have been her 81st birthday.  To remember her best, this post was written by my Dad...

My Mom was born in Baltimore, July 1931.  Not sure of their exact address.  She grew up an only child of Milton & Grace Campen during the Depression years of the thirties.  A picture of Mom at around 1939 or 1940 with her Grandmother, Grace Siegle seems to show Grace Siegle's love of her only grandchild.

Mom went to school at Immaculate Conception then later at the school located at the corner of Charles & 28th streets in Baltimore.

Before finishing school, she met Dad a few years after WWII.  They married and started their family in 1948.  At this time they moved in with Bob Cole, Grace and mom's parents at 4905 Brookwood Road in Brooklyn, south Baltimore.

In 1956, Dad & Mom built a house in Arden on the Severn, right on the Severn River.  In June 1963, they decided to buy a dairy farm in Carroll County.

The boys did the farm work and of course milked the 26 cows.  Mom kept track of all the cows' records, as to when they were ready for artificial insemination.  Besides keeping the boys from killing each other, she kept the farm life humming as Dad still worked full time at Bethlehem Steel.  Most of us boys got all of our sense of humor from Mom, her best gift to us.  Dad didn't have one.  Mom's love for her seven children grew immensely when we got older and had kids of our own.  Her grandkids were a source of great appreciation of life.

Cancer caught up with Mom at age 48 and she passed away too early at age 53.

25 July 2012

Richmond Day Trip

For the cold returns in autumn when the wind rakes the trees
And the summer lies forgotten in a cold bed of leaves
As winter begins aye mind Boney, it wasn't only you
Who was broken on the field of Waterloo
-- "Battle of Waterloo" by Jim Malcolm

Last week was vacation for me, so having some free time, I decided to take quick day trip down to Richmond to cross some things of my research to-do list.  This seems to be becoming an annual trip for me.  Dad (also on vacation) decided to come along.

First stop was Shockoe Hill Cemetery, which isn't exactly in the best part of town.  After pulling through the narrow gate, the first thing we saw was a prison detail under police guard cleaning up the grounds.  Nice!  Anyway, we quickly found the marker I was looking for:

Lorenz Paul and his wife Charlotte emigrated from Germany to the U.S. in 1839, and Christina Paul, my 3rd-great-grandmother, traveled with them.  While Lorenz is the right age to be Christina's father, Charlotte is rather young to be her mother, so I've been trying to figure out how they're all related.  They're certainly connected somehow, as Christina's husband John Boschen purchased the plot where Lorenz and Charlotte are buried, and their grandson, my great-grandfather Dr. Charles Lawrence Siegel, was named for Lorenz/Lawrence.

The next stop was the Library of Virginia.  I could spend weeks here digging through the old microfilm records!  Happily, they now have digital scanners for the microfilm, which makes saving images so much easier.  Searching through old newspapers turned up Lorenz Paul's obituary.

Rather interesting tidbit:  Lorenz was a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo and "received a special mark of honor from his sovereign for distinguished services."  Unfortunately, while it mentions that he is survived by six children, it doesn't give their names.  Oh well.

On to Pop Pop's side of the family... Dad & I browsed through a book, Pioneer Recollections of Southwest Virginia, a large collection of stories, including my great-great-grandmother Lucy Swindall Dotson, and her siblings John Calvin Swindall and Ura Swindall Grizzle.  Among some of their memories of their parents, my 3rd-great-grandparents John Wesley and Polly Phipps Swindall, are:
  • "Uncle Preston Phipps and a Ramey owned what is now called Ramey Flats, near Isom, Virginia.  Uncle Pres went to West Virginia, and gave his half interest in this land to Daddy.  Columbus Phipps agreed to law for the Ramey part.  He got it and Daddy's part, too, and kept it all.  He paid some of Daddy's heirs $5.00 each, but didn't pay several of them anything."
  • "My father, John Wesley Swindall, served four years in the Union Army ... He was in the battle of Cynthianna, where the dead was so thick he could walk all over the ground on the dead.  The bodies were scattered for a mile or more and blood was all over the valley.  He killed only one man, and that man was chasing my father on a horse."
  • "My father was a good neighbor.  He often helped some of his improvident neighbors through hard winters without asking for repayment.  I remember a few who did not appreciate his help, and would say hard things about Daddy."

Going back to the Siegel side of the family...

We got to see the scrapbook that Charles L. Siegel, my 3rd-great-grandfather, kept for the Gesangverein Virginia, a German men's singing group.  Here's a few photos of tickets and a program for a masque ball held on February 6, 1883:

And an article from 1879 (included in the scrapbook, but this image was pulled from the microfilm) about the group's production of H.M.S. Pinafore, directed by Charles Siegel:

As Dad and I left the Library of Virginia to walk around the downtown area, I stopped to take a photo of their display window, which was perfect, since I'd just been learning about my great-great-great-granddaddy.

We went looking for the address where Charles Siegel's shoe store had been, only to discover that it's now a seven-story car garage.  We had better luck when we got to Main Street, where his son Dr. Charles Lawrence Siegel had his office.  It's now a law office, but the secretary told us that the building has been there since the 1820s.

Our last stop was the historic Hollywood Cemetery, where many Siegel family members were laid to rest.

We stopped by the cemetery office, and there's a possibility that the plot where Dr. Charles Lawrence Siegel is interred might still have available space.  The plot was purchased by his wife, Grace, who only had one surviving child, Grace, who in turn had only one daughter, Gloria.  So this means that Uncle Bob is now the proud owner of the plot!  We're still waiting to hear back from the office manager just how many places are open, and how much the plot was purchased for.  Certainly far less than the $2,000-5,000 that it would cost nowadays :)

15 July 2012

Birthday Mystery

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world's more full of weeping
than you can understand. 
-- "The Stolen Child" by William Butler Yeats

Roughly 120 years ago today, my great-grandfather Clarence Milton Campen was born.  I can't say with exact certainty what year he was born because it seems like each time he wrote his birth date on some form or other, he used a different year.  The year 1892 is my best guess.

Usually when trying to verify a date, I go with the earliest source.  For Clarence, that would be the 1900 census.

Unfortunately, the person who gave the information couldn't keep all the names and dates straight.  Of the nine family members, I've been able to confirm that at least one of the names and five of the dates are wrong (more on this later).  Clarence's is certainly wrong - he was not born in February.  So the census record is in no way reliable.

Next is Clarence's draft card from World War I, with a birth date of July 15, 1892.

And here is his World War II draft card, with 1891 instead.

In 1943, Clarence applied for a Social Security number.  On this form he also used 1891.

Clarence's 1945 baptism certificate goes back to 1892 as his year of birth.

On Clarence's death certificate, his wife Grace gave his birth year as 1890.

And finally, just to confuse matters, the Social Security Death Index has Clarence's birth year as 1893.  I'm not sure where they got their information from.

One of my ongoing research projects has been to track down a birth record for Clarence at the Maryland Archives.  The good news is that Baltimore City was issuing birth certificates at the time.  The bad news is that the records for the Campens have not been easy to find.  And, as seems to happen a lot in genealogy, finding an answer to one question inevitably leads to more questions.

The problem is that Baltimore's early birth records did not require a name for the child.  They simply noted the date of birth, the child's sex, the parents' names, the father's occupation, and how many previous children the couple had.  Locating a birth certificate requires searching by the father's name, going through the microfilm index year by year... and hoping that the name was spelled right (most often, it's not).

So far, I've found birth records for four of Clarence's siblings:  Caroline on June 13, 1884;  Leonora on August 17, 1885;  John on March 26, 1889;  and Emma on May 9, 1897.  Not one of these matches the info on the 1900 census record above.

Yet to be found are Bessie, Clarence, Henry... and another child...

Caroline, Leonora, and John's birth records indicate that they were the second, third, and fourth children, respectively, of Louis and Mary.  The couple must have had a child prior to Caroline, whose birth record I've been unable to find.  Most likely the child died young, since s/he isn't listed with the family in the 1900 census, but I haven't had any luck finding a death record, either.   Perhaps Faeries made off with the baby?  Another mystery for my ever-growing list.

But back to Clarence.  Bessie, who was the child immediately before him, has records giving her date of birth as either December 3, 1890 or 1891.  With Clarence born in July, they couldn't have been born in consecutive years.  If Bessie was born in 1890, then Clarence would have been born in 1892;  if she was born in 1891, then Clarence would be in 1893.  Since Clarence himself never used 1893, the former seems more likely, thus... 1892 it is!

So happy 120th birthday to Clarence!

P.S.  For my D.A.R. paperwork, I have to use his Social Security form in place of a birth certificate - so as far as the D.A.R. is concerned, Clarence was born in 1891, and I'm not going to go out of my way to explain otherwise, thank you very much.