The Mystery of Fanny Wiler: Post-script

Two days ago, I posted what I called my final chapter of the mystery of Fanny Wiler.  I had finally learned where and when and why Fanny had died after receiving her death certificate from the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh.  But I ended that post with the remaining questions that still lingered.  Was the child Bertha born to a Fanny Wieler and Joseph Levi in New York City the daughter of my Fanny?  If so, what happened to her?  Since I could not find the family on either the 1870 or the 1880 census and since the 1890 does not exist, I didn’t know whether Bertha had died, married, or moved away between 1866 and 1900, and I could not find her in 1900 or afterwards either.

But first I had to determine whether this was in fact the child of Fanny Wiler Levy.  There was no point in chasing her down if she wasn’t my cousin.  I’d already spent far too many hours chasing the wrong Fanny Wiler.  So I ordered the birth certificate for the Bertha Levi born in New York in 1866.  It arrived hours after I posted about Fanny.  And I was both excited and a bit exasperated to see that Bertha was in fact the daughter of my Fanny.

Levi, Bertha Birth

Why exasperated?  Because I had no idea what had happened to Bertha.  I half-wanted that baby not to have been my cousin so I could finally really put closure on Fanny Wiler.  I also feared that that baby had died and would thus just be one more sad story to add to the life of Fanny WIler.  But there she was—definitely their child, daughter of Fanny Wieler born in Harrisburg.  It had to be the same Fanny and the same Joseph, despite the misspellings and despite the birth in New York, not Philadelphia.

So back to the books I went, now even more determined to find Bertha.  It took many searches and many different wildcards, databases, and spellings, and I still could not find the family on either the 1870 or 1880 census, but I did find this:

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

How had this not turned up before? Because Joseph Levy was indexed as “Lery.”  It was only when I searched for the name as “?e?y” that I finally got a hit.  At first I wasn’t certain this was the right person, given that there was no mother’s name and that it said the mother was born in Germany.  But the informant was “A.J. Levy,” and Fanny and Joseph’s oldest son was Alfred J. Levy, so I felt that there was enough here to pursue this Bertha, indexed on Ancestry.com as “Bertha Gellect.”

Well, there was no Bertha Gellect, and I decided that the name Gellert was a more likely option, even though it does look more like a “c” than an “r” on the death certificate. I also knew that in 1917 Bertha Gellert was living in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Fortunately, my hunch was right, and I soon found Bertha and Jacob Gellert on the 1900 census living in Pottsville.  Jacob was a tailor, born in New York, and he and Bertha had been married for three years or in 1897.  This time the birth places of Bertha’s parents were correct: mother born in Pennsylvania, father in Germany.  And the final clue that I had found the correct Bertha?  Their two year old daughter was named Fanny.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Pottsville, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1485; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0186; FHL microfilm: 1241485

Year: 1900; Census Place: Pottsville, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1485; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0186; FHL microfilm: 1241485

I laughed, smiled, even cried a bit.  My poor Fanny Wiler not only had been found; she had a namesake.  Her daughter Bertha had named her first born child for her mother.  Bertha had only been eleven when her mother died from tuberculosis, and it must have been an awful time for a young girl, watching her mother waste away from this dreadful disease.  Bertha had honored her mother by naming her own daughter Fanny.

In 1910, Jacob, Bertha and Fanny were still living in Pottsville, but Jacob was now an insurance salesman, not a tailor.  Sadly, as seen above, Bertha died seven years later from diabetes.  She was only 51 years old.  A few months after Bertha’s death, Jacob and Fanny both applied for passports in order to take a trip to Cuba—for “pleasure and rest,” as Jacob wrote on his passport application.  Attached to Fanny’s application was a letter from a doctor, attesting to the health reasons for this trip to Cuba:

Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007.

Here is Fanny’s photograph from her passport application:

Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007.

Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007.

By the 1920 census, however, Jacob and Fanny were back in Pottsville. Jacob was now a widower, and his daughter Fanny was living with him.  Jacob had his own business selling fire insurance.  The following year, Fanny married Lester Guttman Block.  Lester was born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1895, the son of German immigrants, Daniel and Bertha.  (Yes, his mother’s name was the same as that of his wife’s mother.)  His father was a clothing merchant.  In 1920, Lester was living with his widowed mother and his sister Alice in Trenton, where he worked as a clothing salesman in a retail store.

Fanny Gellert and Lester Block had two daughters born in the 1920s.  Fanny’s father Jacob died from a brain tumor on July 23, 1927; he was 55 years old.  His second wife Reba H. Gellert is named on the death certificate; he had married her by 1922, as they are listed together in the Pottsville directory of that year.  Max Gellert of Pottsville, Jacob’s brother, was named as the informant.  Notice also that Jacob’s mother’s name is given as Fanny Cohen.  Like his daughter, Jacob had married someone whose mother had the same name as his mother.  Could Fanny have been named for both of her grandmothers? Probably not since Jacob’s mother Fanny was still alive long after Jacob and Bertha’s daughter Fanny was born, and ordinarily Jews do not name their children for living grandparents.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

In 1930 Lester and Fanny were living with their daughters as well as Lester’s mother Bertha.  One of the daughters had a name starting with B, and since Lester’s mother was still alive, I assume that the daughter was named for Bertha Levy Gellert, Fanny’s mother.  Lester was in the real estate and insurance business.  In 1940, the members of the household were the same, and Lester was still an insurance agent, like his father-in-law Jacob.

Lester died on December 18, 1953, and is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Trenton.  Fanny Gellert Block, the granddaughter of Fanny Wiler Levy,the great-granddaughter of Caroline Dreyfuss Wiler, and my third cousin, twice removed, died on July 9, 1977, when she was 78 years old.  She is buried at Greenwood Cemetery with her husband Lester.

Trenton Evening Times, July 30, 1977, p. 31

Trenton Evening Times, July 30, 1977, p. 31

I am currently trying to contact the descendants of Fanny and Lester.  I am hoping that they also will find meaning in the lives of our mutual ancestors and cousins.

 

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Mystery of Fanny Wiler, Part III:  A Brick Wall Tumbles

In my last post, I wrote about the family of Caroline Dreyfuss and Moses Wiler—their four children, Eliza, Simon, Fanny, and Clara—and some of the issues that had come up in trying to track the family up to 1900.  I focused primarily on Eliza Wiler and the issues I had finding her children Joseph, Flora, Nellie, Minnie, and Leon, and her husband Leman Simon on the 1900 census after Eliza died in 1897.  What I found was that they were fairly scattered.   Leman and Leon were living as lodgers in one place, Nellie and Minnie as boarders in another place, and Flora was living with her husband Nathan Strouse and son Lester.  I never found Joseph on the 1900 census, but in 1901 he was listed in Philadelphia living at the same address as his father Leman.

I also briefly mentioned Eliza’s siblings, Simon, Fanny, and Clara.  Simon was a single man working and living in a hotel in Philadelphia, Clara had married Daniel Meyers and by 1900 had had 13 children with him, eleven of whom were still living at home.  And Fanny Wiler was still missing.

Or so it seemed. I had stopped looking for her after hitting a brick wall in late December when I wrote about the mystery of Fanny Wiler.  But while searching for information on the various children of Eliza and Leman Simon, I ran across this strange news article from January 1899.

Phil_Times_jan_31_1899_p_10-page-001

 

Caroline Dreyfuss W(e)iler (the spelling of the name varied throughout these news stories and documents) had died in 1885, and now fourteen years later three people were challenging the administration of her estate by the executor and trustee, Daniel Meyers, Caroline’s son-in-law and Clara Wiler’s husband.  I knew all the names mentioned but one.  Flora Strouse was Caroline’s granddaughter as was Nellie Simon.  But who was Monroe Levy? That name did not mean anything to me, and although I checked and found one Monroe Levy living in Philadelphia on the 1900 census, he was the 26 year old  son of Joseph and Bella Levy, a couple who had no connection to my family, as far as I could tell.

So I looked for follow-up articles about the challenge to Daniel Meyers as executor and located this second article from May, 1899:

Daniel Meyers executor challenge-page-001

Now I understood why this was being litigated almost fifteen years after Caroline died.  The will had appointed Daniel Meyers to be the executor and trustee of the $5,619 estate [estimated to be equivalent to $160,000 in 2015 dollars] and directed him to pay the income from the estate to Caroline’s daughter Eliza Simon for the duration of Eliza’s life; after that, the principal was to be distributed to the grandchildren of Caroline.[1]  Eliza Simon died in August, 1897, and apparently Daniel Meyers never distributed the money to the grandchildren.  Thus, they sued him in 1899, and they won.  The estate was handed over the Continental Title and Trust Company.

But hidden in this little news item was a huge clue to my Fanny Wiler mystery.  The article identifies the three groups of grandchildren: the children of Eliza Simon, the children of Clara Meyers, and the children of Mrs. Fanny Levy.  Mrs. Fanny Levy?  That had to be Caroline’s third daughter, Fanny Wiler!

But then who was Monroe Levy?  His mother’s name was Bella, not Fanny, according to the 1900 census.  So I searched some more.  And I found this news article dated a month before the last one posted above:

Philadelphia Inquirer April 2, 1899, p. 9

Philadelphia Inquirer April 2, 1899, p. 9

This article named four of Eliza Simon’s children (all but Joseph) and three others who together made up a majority of the parties of interest in the challenge to Daniel Meyer’s handling of the estate: Alfred, Leon and Monroe Levy.  (Obviously Daniel and Clara Meyers’ own children were not a party to the challenge.)  Alfred, Leon, and Monroe Levy—-suddenly the light bulb went on.  These had to be Fanny’s children.  But then where was Fanny? And who was Bella, the reported mother of Monroe Levy on the 1900 census?

So I returned to that 1900 census where I had found Monroe Levy and saw that he had three siblings: Alfred, born in 1868, Leon born in 1872, and then Miriam born in 1879.  Monroe was born in 1874.  Could it be that Fanny had died between Monroe’s birth and Miriam’s birth and that Bella was a second wife?

I could not find a death certificate for Fanny Levy, so I searched for death certificates for the three Levy brothers, and sure enough, each of them had a mother named Fannie or Fanny on their death certificate.  Sure, Monroe’s said her name was Fanny Cohen, and Leon’s just said Fannie.  But Alfred’s, the last I found, quite clearly states that his mother’s maiden name was Fannie Weiler.  I had found her!  Fanny Wiler had married Joseph Levy and had three sons between 1868 and 1874.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

But then what happened? Who was Bella, and when did she marry Joseph?  Or was she the same person as Fanny using a very different name? I wasn’t sure, so I searched for Miriam’s death certificate.  I had assumed that Miriam was Bella’s child because of the age gap between Monroe and Bella.  When I found Miriam’s death certificate, it confirmed my hunch.  Miriam’s mother was Bella Strouse, not Fanny Wiler or Fanny anything.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Bella Strouse?  Hmmm, I thought.  Was she a relative of Nathan Strouse, the husband of Fanny’s niece, Flora Simon Strouse?  I found Bella Strouse Levy’s death certificate, and although her parents were born in Germany as were Nathan’s parents, they had different names.  Perhaps Bella was a cousin.  I need to dig more deeply to be sure.

But Bella is not my real concern or interest here.  It’s Fanny.  Fanny Wiler Levy.  I’d not yet found a marriage or death record for her, but her sons’ death certificates and the news articles naming them as the grandchildren of Caroline Dreyfuss Wiler were really all I needed.  I’d found her.  And, of course, it was when I wasn’t even looking for her.

Then Lyla from the Philadelphia Genealogy group on Facebook posted this document in response to a question I had posted about Fanny:[2]

Levy Wiler wedding registration 1866

If you look at the one that is fourth from the bottom, you will see the registration of the marriage on January 31, 1866 of Joseph Levy, a 27 year old New York merchant born in Germany, and Fanny Wiler, a 26 year old Philadelphia resident born in Harrisburg(h).  There can be no question that this was the marriage of my Fanny Wiler, the mother of Alfred, Leon, and Monroe Levy.

The odd thing that is still bothering me is that I cannot find the Levy family on either the 1870 census, when Joseph, Fanny, and Alfred would have been together, or on the 1880 census, when Joseph, Bella, Alfred, Leon, Monroe, and Miriam would have been living together.  And there is also a document in the New York City births database on familysearch for a Bertha Levi born in November 1866 in New York to Joseph Levi and Fanny Wieler.  I think this might also have been a child of my Fanny, but I cannot find any other document for Bertha.

So there are still some unresolved questions, but the big question has been answered.  I know what happened to Fanny Wiler. She married in 1866, had three, perhaps four children between 1866 and 1874, and then sometime after that, she must have died.  She would have been not yet forty years old.  And she left behind three little boys all under the age of ten.   It might not have been as gruesome as the story of the other Fanny Wyler and Max Michaels, but it was nevertheless a sad story.

I guess I should be grateful to Daniel Meyers for violating his fiduciary duties as a trustee.  But for the lawsuit against him, I might never have found Fanny Wiler.

 

[1] I don’t know why Caroline would have favored Eliza in this way.  Eliza was the oldest child, but when Caroline died, she had at least two other children who were still alive.  And Eliza was not the only one who had had children at that point either.

[2] Lyla subscribes to a paid service for access to Philadelphia records, a service I was not aware of until she posted.  I am now waiting for my own subscription to come through so that I can also find these older vital records from the city where so many of my paternal relatives lived and died.  The copy posted here is not very legible, but I was able to make out the names and other essentials for Joseph Levy and Fanny Wiler.

Those Wily Wilers: Where were They in 1900?

Remember Fanny Wiler, the daughter of Caroline Dreyfuss and Moses Wiler, the one I could not find and thought might have been married to a man who killed himself and a child in a fire? Well, I still had not had any luck finding the real Fanny Wiler despite several more hours of going back over my research and looking more deeply into the sources.   Although I was doing pretty well with the rest of her family up through 1880, they also proved to be elusive as they approached the 20th century.

In 1880, Caroline and Moses Wiler were living in Philadelphia, and Moses had retired from his career as a merchant.  Their son Simon, then 37, was still living with his parents and working as a salesman.  Their daughter Eliza and her husband Leman Simon had moved to Pittsburgh where Leman was in the liquor business, and they had five children, Joseph, Flora, Nellie, Minnie, and Leon. While going back over my research, I discovered that Eliza and Leman had had one other child, Isadore, born in July, 1871, who died at 28 months on August 16, 1873.  I cannot decipher the cause of death.  Can anyone tell what it says?

UPDATE:  My expert says it says “Inflammation Brain.” Apparently doctors are trained to read each other’s awful handwriting.

Isadore A Simon death certificate FHL

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JKQ7-78S : accessed 6 February 2015), Isadore A Simon, 16 Aug 1873; citing , Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 2,021,999.

 

When I last wrote about Eliza and Leman Simon, I was a bit puzzled by the seemingly impossibly close birth dates of Minnie and Leon, their youngest two children.  Two census reports indicated that Minnie was born in 1877, no earlier than August 1877 and possibly as late as December 1877, and Leon’s death certificate said he was born on June 13, 1878.  It just seemed very unlikely that Leon was born ten months (at most) after Minnie, but it was, of course, entirely possible.

But I went back to look again and realized that while Minnie was listed with the family on the 1880 census, Leon was not.  Further research uncovered this bill from his funeral, indicating that his birth date was June 13, 1881, not 1878, which makes a lot more sense.  Thus, the death certificate was most likely inaccurate (and there are other questions about that document, but I will get to that later).

Leon Simon funeral bill

Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records

 

Caroline and Moses Wiler’s youngest child, Clara, and her husband Daniel Meyers, a clothing merchant, were living in Philadelphia with their five children (as of 1880), Bertha, Leon, Samuel, Harry, and Isadore.

Thus, in 1880, I could account for Caroline Dreyfuss and Moses Wiler and three of their four children (all but Fanny) and their ten grandchildren.  Then things start getting a bit more difficult.  Although I found burial records for Caroline indicating that she had died on December 21, 1885, and was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia, I cannot locate a death certificate for her in the Philadelphia City Death Certificates 1803-1915 database on familysearch.org.  On the other hand, I was able to locate a death certificate for her husband Moses in that database; he died almost exactly two years later on December 26, 1887, and was also buried at Mt. Sinai.

Moses Wiler death certificate

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J6S6-XY5 : accessed 6 February 2015), Moses Simon, 27 Jan 1897; citing cn 15654, Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 1,869,753.

 

Moses Wiler was residing at 1638 Franklin Street at the time of his death in 1887, and that is the same address listed for his son-in-law Leman Simon in the 1887 Philadelphia directory.  I don’t know whether Moses had moved in with Leman, Eliza, and their children, or vice versa.  Since Leman and Eliza had been listed in the 1884 directory for Pittsburgh, it could be that they had moved back to Philadelphia sometime around or after Caroline’s death to be with Moses.  Leman’s occupation is listed as “salesman” in that 1887 Philadelphia directory without any indication of whether he was still selling liquor.

Assuming that Eliza and Leman returned to Philadelphia around 1885 or so, their children would have been still relatively young: Joseph 21, Flora 19, Nellie 11, Minnie 7, and Leon 4.  Certainly the youngest three would still have been living at home.  Joseph appears to have been in Pittsburgh until at least 1886, as there is a Joseph L. Simon listed there, selling cigars and tobacco products, a business line that was being practiced by other members of the family during that time, including Joseph’s great-uncle John Nusbaum.  After that, however, he does not appear in the Pittsburgh directory as far as I can tell.

Eliza and Leman’s daughter Flora married Nathan Strouse in Philadelphia in 1888 when she was 22 and he was 46. Their son Lester Nathan Strouse was born on December 15 of that year.  In the 1890 Philadelphia directory, Nathan was listed as associated with Strouse, Loeb, and Company, clothiers.

Leman and Eliza were still living at 1638 Franklin until 1890 when they are listed at 1821 Franklin Street.  Joseph also is listed in the 1890 directory at that address, so he must have been living with his parents at that time along with the three younger children, Nellie, Minnie, and Leon.  Joseph was working as a clerk.  He may have moved out by 1892 because there are two Joseph Simons listed as salesman in the Philadelphia directory for that year, though I cannot be completely certain either is the correct Joseph Simon.

In 1897, Leman and Eliza (Wiler) Simon were living at 1537 Montgomery Street.  Eliza died of apoplexy on August 18, 1897.  She was 55 years old.  Leman continued to live at 1537 Montgomery Street through 1899, according to the Philadelphia directory of that year, which listed him once again as a salesman.

Eliza Simon death certificate 1897

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11571-16485-19?cc=1320976 : accessed 6 February 2015), 004009659 > image 190 of 1791; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

 

Now things get very sticky.  I had a very hard time locating the family of Eliza and Leman Simon on the 1900 census.  The only one I am certain about is Flora and her husband Nathan Strouse and son Lester Strouse.  On the 1900 census, Flora, Nathan, and Lester were living at 913 North 16th Street, and Nathan was 57 years old and did not provide an occupation for the census.  Living with them was a 30 year old woman named Nettie Dreifuss, born in 1870 in Illinois whose parents were born in Germany and Pennsylvania, as were Flora’s parents.  She is identified as the niece of the head of the household, Nathan.

Flora and Nathan Strouse 1900 census

I first wondered whether this was Nellie, Flora’s sister.  But Nellie was born in 1874 in Pennsylvania, not 1870 in Illinois, and she was Nathan’s sister-in-law, not his niece.  I then spent most of a day trying to find out whether Nathan had a sister who married a Dreifuss.  He did have several sisters: Rebecca, who never married; Gussie, who married Joseph DeYoung and had one daughter Harriet; Henrietta, who married Leopold Lewis and had two daughters, Minnie and Fanny; and Rachel, who married Ed Henrinan (?), but apparently was divorced and had no children.  I thought that perhaps it was one of Henrietta and Leopold Lewis’ daughters, but neither was named Nettie, and I located both elsewhere on the 1900 census.  So the “niece” did not appear to be Nathan’s niece.

If Nettie Dreifus was not Nathan’s niece, was she Flora’s niece? None of Flora’s siblings was married in 1900; none of them had had children.   I still don’t know who Nettie was.  But her name was Dreifuss, Caroline Wiler’s birth name.  Could this be a daughter of a Dreifuss/Dreyfuss brother whom I’ve yet to find?  That’s a research path I will need to pursue further.

But at least I knew where Flora and her family were living in 1900.  Her father and her siblings proved much more elusive.  I had a very hard time locating Leman Simon and his son Leon on the 1900 census, but I believe that this is Leman and Leon living together at 1514 Brown Street as Leon, Sr., and Leon, Jr.

Leman and Leon 1900 census

Why do I think this is Leman? Because he is a 64 year old widow born in Germany who immigrated in 1866 and who was working as a salesman.  Although my records show that Leman would have been 65 and that he immigrated in 1856, the numbers are close enough, given the general unreliability of census data.  In addition, Leon, Jr. fits with my Leon roughly also: born in 1880 in Pennsylvania to parents born in Germany and working as a clerk.  Again, it’s not perfect.  Leon was born in 1881, and his mother Eliza was born in Pennsylvania. So I am not at all positive that this is Leman and Leon, but they are the closest matches I can find on the 1900 census.

Despite using as many resources and wildcard searches as I could imagine, I cannot find Joseph at all on the 1900 census.  I even had assistance from Antoinette from the Facebook Pennsylania Genealogy group, but neither of us could find him.  There is a Joseph L. Simon living at 2137 North 18th Street in the 1901 Philadelphia directory, the same address that is given for Le(h)man Simon for that year, so I assume that is the right Joseph, working as a clerk with his father working as a salesman.  But Joseph is not listed at that address in the 1900 census nor is Leman, so they must have moved there in 1901.

As for Minnie and Nellie, I think I found them on the 1900 census, but cannot be 100% sure.  I found a Minnie Simon and a “Millie” Simon living at 2628 Diamond Street on the 1900 census.  Both are listed as boarders.  Minnie is listed as a single woman born in 1877 in Pennsylvania with a mother born in Pennsylvania and a father born in Germany; that matches Minnie correctly.  No occupation is given.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1473; Enumeration District: 0809; FHL microfilm: 1241473

Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1473; Enumeration District: 0809; FHL microfilm: 1241473

I was quite certain that this was Minnie, but it took me a while to think that “Millie” was Nellie because although they are both at the same address, Minnie is listed as a boarder in the household of Bertha Lipper, and Millie is listed as the head of household in a boarding house at the exact same address with sixteen boarders.  “Millie” was a single woman born in 1874 in Pennsylvania whose parents are listed as born in Germany, both mother and father.  Although Nellie’s mother was born in Pennsylvania, not Germany, the age and marital status are correct, and the name is quite similar.  Once again, I cannot be completely certain that this is Nellie, but I am pretty sure.  I think it was really one large boarding house where the two sisters were living.  I am not sure why “Millie” was also described as a head of household.

Thus, if my hunches here are all correct about Leman Simon and his children, only Joseph Simon was really missing from the 1900 census.  Leman was living as a boarder with his son Leon; Nellie was living as a boarder with her sister Minnie.  Flora was married and living with her husband Nathan Strouse and son Lester and a mysterious niece.  When I mapped out where they all were living, I realized that Flora was living just a few blocks from where Leman and Leon might have been living, but Minnie and Nellie were about two miles further north.  If Joseph was already living at 2137 North 18th Street sometime during that year, he was less than a mile from Minnie and Nellie.

As for the other children of Caroline Dreyfuss and Moses Wiler, Simon, Fanny, and Clara, Simon was working as a clerk in a hotel where he also resided in 1900 at 152 North 7th Street. He was single and 56 years old.  Clara and her husband Daniel Meyers were now living at 920 North Franklin Street.  Clara and Daniel had had five children as of 1880; between 1880 and 1896 they had had eight more children, including one stillbirth.  But in 1882, they lost their first born child Bertha to heart disease.  She was only nine years old.

"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11083-70387-38?cc=1320976 : accessed 6 February 2015), 004058695 > image 726 of 994; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11083-70387-38?cc=1320976 : accessed 6 February 2015), 004058695 > image 726 of 994; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Thus, as of 1900, Clara Wiler and Daniel Meyers had eleven surviving children, all of them still living at home.

And, of course, Fanny Wiler still remained unaccounted for.  Or was she? Stay tuned…