I have many brick walls, but this one is kinda tricky. Feel free to weigh in.
Here's what I know:
My great-great-grandparents were Emil MILLER and Hulda WACH. Both were born in Germany in immigrated to the U.S. They were married in Chicago, Cook, Illinois on 8 August 1886.  Based on the marriage license, Emil was 23 and Hulda was 18, which makes their estimated year of birth 1863 and 1868 respectively.
I cannot find either of them in the 1880 U.S. census, so I assume the both immigrated between 1880 and 1886. The 1890 U.S. census would be extremely helpful here, but they are long gone (so many of my brick walls could be knocked down, if even just a small bit, by these records; ugh!). So on to the 1900 U.S. census. Here's where it get interesting.
Based on the information I have through handwritten notes by my grandmother and information compiled by my uncle, I know that Emil and Hulda had three children together: Henry (born in 1887), Emil (born in 1889), and Ida (1891). [2,3,4] In searching the 1900 U.S. census I found two likely sources. One shows Hulda and Ida, which I believe to be true. The information recorded is as follows:
- Hulda Miller, head, DOB Aug 1864, age 31, widowed, one child born, one child living, born in Germany, parents born in Germany, year of immigration 1884. 
- Ida Miller, daughter, DOB 31 July 1892, age 7, single, born in Illinois, parents born in Germany. 
Makes sense in terms of DOB, age, birthplace, and Hulda's immigration. However, it says one child born (we know she had three up to this point) and where are Henry and Emil? And here's the kicker, it says she's widowed.
Moving onto the other possible source. I found the following information in another 1900 U.S. census record:
- Emil Mueller, head, DOB Jan 1864, age 36, divorced, born in Germany, parents born in Germany, year of immigration 1881. 
- Emil Mueller, son, DOB May 1889, age 11, single, born in Illinois, parents born in Germany. 
- Henry Mueller, son, DOB June 1886, age 13, single, born in Illinois, parents born in Germany. 
- Mary Chewrisky, mother-in-law, DOB April 1837, age 63, one child born, no children living, born in Germany, parents born in Germany, year of immigration 1881. 
Again, makes sense in terms of DOB, age, birthplace, and Emil's immigration. But...
- In the census info for Hulda, it lists her as a widow. Hmmm, error?
- The month for Emil's (son) birth does not match the month on his death certificate or handwritten notes from my grandmother. Could be an error on either part.
- The year for Henry's birth does not match the year on his WWI draft registration card. Again, could be an error.
- And finally, who it Mary? Hulda's mother was Amelia (American; Emillie in German). She married a WACH, probably in Germany, and immigrated to the U.S. At some point she married a SCHULTZ. I suppose Emil and Hulda could have divorced between the time Ida was born in 1891 and 1900, and perhaps he remarried during that time.
There are just too many "buts" at this time to be even a little sure. I think if I can track down the right death certificate for Emil it will answer some questions. But there are so many possibilities. I've narrowed it down to a handful, but non of them are for a death before 1900. So again, is there an error on the census for Hulda? And if so, is the census for Emil my Emil, or just a coincidence? And if that's a yes, then again, who the heck is Mary?
Looks like I've got some more digging to do to solve this mystery. I'll post a follow-up, if and when, I find the answers.
- Cook County, Illinois, marriage license no. 105006 (1886), Emil MILLER & Hulda WACH, Cook County Clerk.
- "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database and images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), Henry Fredrick Miller.
- State of Illinois, death certificate no. 5539 (1938), Emil MILLER, Cook County Clerk; copy held by Julie Marie CAHILL Tarr.
- Social Security Administration, "Social Security Death Index," database, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), entry for Ida Brunner, 1970.
- 1900 U.S. census, population schedule, Chicago Ward 15, Cook, Illinois, enumeration district (ED) 492, sheet 13A, p. 25, dwelling 162, family 247; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com ); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623.
- 1900 U.S. census, population schedule, Chicago Ward 16, Cook, Illinois, enumeration district (ED) 512, sheet 11B, p. 22, dwelling 75, family 209; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com ); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623.
Originally posted @ my LiveJournal blog on 14 September 2008.