Friday, May 15, 2009

Gottlieb Walter

Just a small entry today- Pop Pop's grandfather's (his mother, Clara's, father) death certificate from the City of Philadelphia. I found this while looking around the Family Search Labs site:

It has some pretty good information on here that can help when it comes to trying to trace his background. For starters, the birthday is always helpful and was something I didn't have before. He was born on May 20, 1861, making him not quite 51 when he died on January 16th, 1912 (three months before the Titanic sank!) As it says in the 1900 census, he was a harness manufacturer, which, as best as I can tell, he ran out of the home (look to the end of the post for the philadelphia city directory entry from 1896 where it lists his business and address at 4506 lancaster ave- I wonder if this was a typo, if he was living a few doors away that year, or if he lived at 4518 and worked out of 4506). His birthplace is listed as Germany, and his father's name was George and mother's maiden name was Wagner. Mrs. Walter is listed as the informant regarding his this information. It appears that he had been sick for at least some time, having been attended to by the doctor between November 25, 1911 to the date of death on January 16, 1912. He died of chronic parenchymatous nephritis with anascarca being a contributing factor. He is buried at Mount Peace Cemetery, 3111 W. Lehigh Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19132.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

William Irving Naylor: 1910 Census

This is the last census record I have for Pop Pop's father. It is the 1910 Census and he is listed as "William E."; the census taker must have been told his middle name was Irving and thought it was spelled Erving. Pop Pop's grandfather, the British-born police officer is listed as the head of the household- he is 60 and he has been married to Emma for 23 years. Just like the birth certificate said, it lists four children in the marriage, with 3 surviving; William Irving was the youngest. Both of the elder William's parents were born in England, and he immigrated to the U.S. in 1867, which would have been when he was about 17. He must have retired from the police force, as his current occupation is listed as Watchman for a bank.

Emma is listed as 49 with both of her parents having been born in New Jersey. The hard part about tracing back this side of the family is that her maiden name is Smith- not the easist name to trace your genealogical line with. If I can manage to find the marriage record of her and William, it might have a middle name, parents names, or a birth date, which would be helpful. Other than William, who is 12 and in school at this point, the other two children are 13-year-old Margarethe, and 22-year-old Augusta, who is listed as married, working as a nurse (it says she is "working out" which I guess I'd take to mean that she makes house calls?) with the married name of Friess. She has been married for four years at this point, and has a two-year old son named John William. Noticeably absent is the father, however.

Finding Pop Pop's Father

Without a doubt, the hardest initial part of the genealogical research was finding Pop Pop's father. For months, the only record I had of him was that one entry in the 1920 census. Even with the information from that, I only knew that he was either born in 1898 or 1899 in New Jersey. He doesn't show up in the 1900 or 1930 census anywhere, as best as I can tell. There were a few possibilities in the 1910 census that I couldn't be sure of, and for several months, I was stuck and didn't think I'd be able to find out any more information.

Then, I was home for a weekend and sitting on my nightstand was a baby book that I'd never seen before, that my mother must have dug out of the storage room, somewhere. On the very first page were the full names of all four of my grandparents, and some great-grandparents. Written down as Pop Pop's mother and father were "Clara Gertrude Walter" and "William Irving Naylor". So, I had middle names to work with now. However, that didn't seem to get me much further as there were no records on for any William Irving Naylor.

One day, though, I was googling, searching ancestry, and some other sites that 99% of the time yields no information. I went to the Family Search Labs website where they have a limited amount of records and typed in "William Irving Naylor". Up popped one record in the Texas Death Index for a William Irving Naylor, who died in Kerrville, in 1984. It's really rare to find one record of the exact name you are looking for- more often than not, you find tons of records for a vast array of individuals or you find none at all. I was curious, so I sent away to the Texas Department of State Health Services for the death certificate. Here's what I received:

It was him- all these years that we didn't no anything about him and I had his death certificate. Born in New Jersey on August 10th, 1898, he died in the VA Hospital in Kerrville, Texas on February 10th, 1984. He is listed as divorced, was in the Armed Forces (I've heard stories that he was in World War I, which had left some psychological effects on him- unfortunately there's no enlistment record on for him, and virtually all military records burned in a warehouse fire in the 1970's). His street address is listed as the Meadowview Nursing Home- I googled and wasn't able to find any information about that particular care facility. He died of pneumonia with arteriosclerotic heart disease being a contributing factor. He was buried at Palm Valley Cemetary in Pharr, TX. What is interesting is that he is listed as having died on February 10 in Kerrville, which is a six hour drive from Pharr, which is on the Mexican border, a few miles north of the Rio Grande River. Yet, they transferred him to this far away cemetery for whatever reason, and buried him on the exact same day that he died. I sent a letter to the cemetery where he is buried, inquiring about any additional information they could give me. Unfortunately, they could not provide me with anything, other than the spot where he is buried- he is in Section B, Lot 33, Space 1. I'm very curious about why he would've gone to Texas, of all places, and whether he went somewhere else first, after leaving Pennsylvania.

The biggest disappointment on this record was the fact that it did not provide any parents' names. However, it did give me his date of birth, and I had his full name. The New Jersey State Archives website is strict about the requirements for searching for Birth Records, including that you must know the county of birth, which I did not. However, a simple e-mail to one of the archivists resulted in a pleasant response and a quick find of his birth record. A few days later, I received this in the mail:

What a wealth of information! It lists the child as William Naylor, Jr. Sex- Male, Color- White, DOB- August 10, 1898, Place of Birth- Merchantville, NJ (Camden County), Name of Father- William Naylor, Maiden name of Mother- Emma A. Smith, Country of Father's Birth- England, Father's Age- 49, Father's Occupation- policeman, Country of Mother's Birth- U.S., Mother's Age- 37, Number of Children in all by this marriage- 4, how many living- 3, the doctor signs the birth certificate at the end. For the next post, I'll show what I found from this information.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pop Pop's Side: The 1930 Census

By the time of the 1930 Census, William I. Naylor was gone and great-grandma Clara was living in a different part of Pennsylvania, in Upper Darby Township in Delaware County, PA. I cannot make out the name of the street, but they are living at number 301. Clara is listed as head of household, and one line below her in the 1930 census is Pop Pop, who is 9 years old. She owns the home and it is valued at $4,950. An interesting question they ask that I hadn't noticed until right now is whether there is a radio set in the house. There is one, in Clara's home. She is listed as 32 years old, and something very interesting is that she is listed as widowed. In a post for later, I'll show that this isn't accurate, but she might have just not wanted to admit a divorce or an abandonment to the census taker, or the census taker might have just written her response down incorrectly in the first place. The rest of her responses are the same as the 1920 census.

Pop Pop's entry lists him as in school and able to read and write, having been born in Pennsylvania, his mother having been born in Pennsylvania, and his father having been born in New Jersey.

One important item in this census that I didn't notice, but which Kathleen saw is three lines below Clara. The person there is named Frieda Walters, and she's listed as Clara's mother (Her name is actually Frieda Walter, and Walter is Clara's maiden name). She is listed as a 63-year-old, widowed, white female, born in Germany, both parents are from Germany. She is listed as having immigrated to the United States in 1890, and is listed as a naturalized citizen. One more thing- if you go back to the 1920 census in the previous post and look three spots above William I. Naylor, you'll see Frieda, again. She is living in the same house as Pop Pop's father and Clara, who are listed as married. It turns out, and I'll show the record in another post, that the house they are all in is actually the Walter house, where Clara's parents had lived since, at least, the early 1890's. In this census, her immigration year is listed as 1884, so there's a bit of a discrepancy. Also, there is a note in that census under "if naturalized, what year was the naturalization" that I can't make out for Frieda. In that census, she also lists her parents as being born in the same town of Württemberg, Germany.

By the way, if you want to see the Google Street view of the house on Lancaster Ave. where the Walter's lived, here it is:
View Larger Map

Pop Pop's Side: The 1920 Census

I was interested in getting into genealogy specifically to find out more about Pop Pop's side of the family. I knew a little bit more about Grandma's Poletti side, but knew hardly anything about Pop Pop's family. Growing up, I knew that Pop Pop's mother had raised him herself after his father had left the family when Pop Pop was only a toddler. Dad knew that Pop Pop's mother was named Clara, and that gave me a jumping off point. The very first record that I discovered in my research was this from the 1920 federal census:

If you look down about 3/4 of the page, you'll see the following, which I'll transcribe. William I. Naylor as head of the household at 4518 Lancaster Ave. in the 44th ward in Philadelphia, PA. He is 21 and is married to Clara G., who is 22. William I. Naylor lists his birthplace as New Jersey, his father's birthplace as England, and his mother's birthplace as New Jersey. His occupation is listed as a salesman of milk and dairy, of which he was a wage worker (if you look up about 9 lines, the next door neighbor is also listed as a milk and dairy salesman, so they might have been in business together). For Clara, she is listed as having been born in Pennsylvania, with both her mother and father having been born in Württemberg, Germany. She is listed as not having an occupation- the census was taken on January 11, 1920, which was four days before Grandma's birthday and about seven months before Pop Pop's birthday.

Naylor Genealogy

So, I have an family tree that I've done a lot of work on in the last several months, but thought I'd add this blog too to post all genealogy related info regarding the Naylor family. Given that I knew very little about my own family history on my father's side, I started doing genealogical research (with help from an Christmas gift from my girlfriend, Kathleen) about six months ago. The stories that I seemed to hear growing up didn't exactly match up with the info that I've found; for instance, I had always heard that my dad's dad's dad might have come from either England but others said Germany. Hopefully, other Naylor family members will find this interesting, and I'll continue to update it as I continue to find new records in my genealogical research.