Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Finding Emil

I’ve written about my Emil MILLER brick wall before (Brick Wall - Emil MILLER/MULLER and German Brick Walls).  There are so many possibilities, as there are several variant spellings (Miller, Muller, Mueller, Moeller, Millar, etc.) and there happen to be many of them living in Chicago during the same time period.


Emil MILLER was born about 1862-1864 in Germany.  He married Hulda WACH on 8 August 1886 in Chicago.  Together they had three children, all born in Chicago:  Heinrich “Henry” Frederick (b. 1887), Emil Charles (b. 1889), and Ida (b. 1891). 

Hulda is located in the 1900 census with daughter Ida, listed as a widow, living at 362 Rhine in Chicago.  This is apparently across the street from her sister, Alvina WACH Trapp, living at 365 Rhine with her husband and two children.  There is a 1900 census recording for an Emil, Emil, and Henry Miller, along with a Mary Cherwinsky (as mother-in-law).  The addition of this person, along with Hulda’s notation as a widow, have made me question whether this is my Emil, Emil, and Henry (see full explanation in the Brick Wall - Emil MILLER/MULLER post).

Moving Forward

Over the last week or so, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Footnote looking at the Chicago city directories.  There are many possibilities for my Emil, but nothing matches any of the information I had (which isn’t much).  So I decided it’s time to go to the map and try to figure out the most likely candidates based on relative location.

I had already plotted Hulda’s location on Rhine (which is no longer there, as the expressway now runs over that area).  Yesterday, I decided to take a closer look at their marriage license and see if they were married by a Justice of the Peace or a pastor.  Turns out, they were married by a pastor, so I went to the 1886 Chicago directory to see if I could find the church the pastor belonged to.  Fortunately, I found a listing for Trinity West Chicago Church (Evangelical Lutheran, German) where Rev. Richard Schiele was a pastor, located at 9, 11, 13 Snell.  By all indications, Snell is now Ada St., so I plotted it on the map.  The same church was were Emil and Hulda’s son Emil was christened in 1889, although by Rev. Robert Fahner.  Rev. Fahner also married Hulda’s sister, Alvina WACH and William Trapp in 1894.  Emil and Hulda’s sons were both married at the church:  Henry in 1909 (Trinity Luteran, 360 N. Ada, Rev. Robert Fahner) and Emil in 1915 (Trinity Lutheran, 742 N. Ada, Rev. Robert Fahner).

Again, none of the addresses for Emil’s matched the Rhine address, so I began to plot all the Emils I found that were is some close proximity to the church.  Many of them were within a few miles, but for ones that were either too far north or south, I did not plot them, assuming they are not relevant (I can always do this late, but I’m trying to narrow the field).  I started with 1886, since that was the year Emil and Hulda were married, and moved forward in time (through 1899), plotting relevant Emils along the way.  (This is not an easy task as many of the streets either no longer exist or have changed names, but I digress.)

I found five strong candidates that were within one mile of the church.  One in particular kept calling to me, so to speak, although I had no idea why since I didn’t have enough information.  So I decided to start tracing Hulda’s sister, brother, and mother (in that order) to see if I could place any of them in the any of the households where an Emil Miller resided.  As I already mentioned, I trace her sister Alvina with husband William back to 1899 at the Rhine address.  There are a few possibilities for them prior to 1899, but still not enough information and nothing tying them to Emil.  Hulda’s brother was a bust, except that it placed him in 1904 at the same address listed for his mother in the 1900 census.

It was on to Hulda’s mother, Amelia (aka Emilie) WIETZKE Wach Schultz.  As I traced her, I learned her Schultz husband’s first name, as she was listed as the widow of Fred (aka Frederick) an address I had placed her in the 1900 census (1498 Milwaukee Avenue).   (Note:  I already knew her Wach husband’s first name was Henry, and Schultz was her second husband).  I’m almost certain that I placed her at 38 Newton in 1894, 1898, and 1899, as the Milwaukee address was not listed and again, she was listed as the widow of Fred.  The earliest I find her (again, widow of Fred, not listed at either of the other identified addresses) was at 19 Clarinda in 1892.  This makes sense since the censuses all seem to indicate her and daughter Mildred SCHULTZ immigrated in 1891.  Then it hit me…I’ve seen this address before.

I had plotted 29 Clarinda for an Emil MILLER in 1888, 1890, 1891, 1892, and 1895.  The interesting part is that in 1890, the listing was for 19 Clarinda.  Now, this certainly doesn’t prove that this is the same address, since Emil was listed at 29 Clarinda in 1892 and Amelia was listed at 19 in the very same directory.  But the fact that in one year it read 19 Clarinda gives me some hope.  Plus, this is the one that kept calling to me and now I know why (sometimes that intuition is really trying to tell you something!!).  And, it is the address that is the closest to the church, during the time period when son Emil was christened (1889).  It also makes sense that Amelia and her daughter Mildred might be living with family, as they had likely just arrived from Germany shortly before. And, here’s the kicker.  Remember the 1900 census I found for Emil, Emil, and Henry?  Wouldn’t you know that the address was 29 Clarinda. 

Keep Pushing Forward

Again, none of this proves anything at this point.  But it does provide some clues for further research.  In particular, it is very likely this is my family, given the address for Emil and mother-in-law, Amelia, but it could be a coincidence.  With this potential match, I need to explore several things, in particular, the 1900 census where I find an Emil, Emil, and Henry, along with an unknown mother-in-law.  In this sense, I still have the same questions I posed in the post over a year ago, Brick Wall - Emil MILLER/MULLER, specifically, was Hulda not really a widow and Emil was in fact alive, and if so, who is this mother-in-law, Mary?  Here’s what I plan to do:

  • Obtain the death certificate for Maria Cherwinsky (d. 1915, age 77).  Perhaps there are some clues here.
  • Keep searching for Emil, and Ida’s birth certificates, in hopes that they will provide an address.
  • Try to find church records for the family:  baptisms, marriage, funeral, and membership (Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church)
  • Continue trying to find the death certificates for Emil and Hulda.


1 comment:

Michael Hait said...

Great work, Julie! With this attention to detail and clue-gathering, you should definitely be able to work it out eventually.

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