Ah, Pennsylvania, that pesky state where two of my great-grandaunts claim to have been born.
First, Malissa Elizabeth ROTTMAN, both the 1880 US census and the 1885 Iowa state census state her place of birth as Pennsylvania.1 An index entry in the Iowa marriages database on FamilySearch states Philadelphia as her place of birth2 (no, I have not seen the actual record…ran out of time at the FHL last February). Yet I have not found a birth record for her in Philadelphia.
Her sister, Mabel ROTTMAN, according to the same two censuses, was born in Iowa. Later censuses also list Iowa as her place of birth. Yet for some reason, her obituary states her place of birth as Philadelphia.3 I have yet to find a birth record for her in either place.
This particular family is incredibly difficult to research. According to the 1880 and 1885 censuses mentioned above, their father, Philip ROTTMAN, was born in Bavaria, and their mother Eva, was born in France. I have no clue when or where they married or when they immigrated to the US. These same censuses also suggest they where all over the place, based on the places of birth for their children:
|Child||Year of Birth||Place of Birth|
|John||1870||Georgia (possibly Henry Co.)|
|Malissa Elizabeth||1875||Pennsylvania (possibly Philadelphia)|
|Charles Henry||1877||Iowa (probably Linn Co.)|
|Mabel Louise||1879||Iowa (probably Linn Co.;obit suggests Philadelphia, Penn.)|
|George||1882||Iowa (probably Linn Co.)|
I have not been able to locate birth records for any of the children. The next step is to figure out what church(es) they might have attended when they were living in Mt. Vernon, Iowa (where the last three children were likely born) and try to find some baptism records.
Another oddity of this family is the maiden name of the mother, Eva. On some children’s records she’s listed as Reeder, while on others, she’s listed as Lasser. Could Philip have married two different woman with the same first name? Could Eva have been married previously and one name is her maiden name, while the other is another married name? Who knows!
So do I have a connection to Pennsylvania? Sure, I have a few here and there. But through this particular family? Perhaps. Once I’m able to dig a little deeper into Philip and Eva, maybe there will be a bigger connection to Pennsylvania, perhaps siblings of one or the other. And if I do find some sort of connection, there are some great records already online through Ancestry and FamilySearch, as well as plenty of resources at the Family History Library that I can start with.
1. 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Mt Vernon, Linn County, Iowa, enumeration district (ED) 264, p. 14, dwelling 118, family 121, Phillip Rotman; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 February 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 351. Also, 1885 state census, Iowa, population schedule, Franklin, Linn County, p. 321 (stamped), dwelling 81, family 81, line 6, Phillip Rotman; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 December 2009).
2. "Iowa Marriages 1809-1992," database, FamilySearch (familysearch.org : accessed September 2, 2010), Rushek-Rottman, 1896.
3. "Mable Haase Rites Held Wednesday," (Mt. Vernon) Hawkeye Record, 6 April 1961.