Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Secrets, Part 4 or What's Pete "the Greek Fisherman's" Full Name?

O.K., I haven't taken over the Caroline or Marshall Islands yet [by virtue of their names alone, they should already be mine].  I've been trying to finish this family story of mine, which is taking a lot longer than I thought it would.  You thought so, too?  Be patient...I promise there's an end worth waiting for [at least I hope you think it's worth waiting for].  You have to remember that all this stuff didn't happen overnight, and we certainly aren't going to solve it overnight, either.  [Plus, I'd make your head hurt if I talked about everything in one post...]

So, where were we?  Oh yes, on a farm on Galveston Island in 1900 with a Nettie, Joseph, & Mary Marschall.  [Do you think they could hear the waves while working on their farm?  Just a thought...]  So, were these the same siblings I found in 1910 all in the same household with Nettie's husband, Pete "the Greek Fisherman" Legatos?  At this point, I'm pretty certain they are.  The info given in the 1910 census and the 1900 census for these 3 sibs match exactly [ages, birth, parents' birth, etc.], and there aren't any others living on Galveston Island with the last name Marshall or Marschall with their first I'm leaning towards the fact that these are the same people.  [The true test would be more info...isn't that always the truth?]  Anyway, I mentioned in my last post that they were living with the rest of their family...want to take a guess what their father's name was and where he was born?...You got it!  John Marschall was their father and he was born, according to this census, in Germany.  To make it simpler, here's a quick rundown of this family in the 1900 census:

1.  John Marschall;  Head of Household; born Jun 1857 in Germany; 43yo; married 21 yrs; immigrated 1879; in U.S. 21 yrs; occupation: farmer; and parents born in Germany.
2.  Emma Marschall; wife; born Feb 1857 in Texas; 43yo; married 21 yrs; 7 of 9 children still living; and parents born in Germany.

3.  John b. Oct 1881 in Tx; 18yo
4.  Jane b. Jul 1884 in Tx; 15yo
5.  Nettie b. Jan 1886 in Tx; 14yo
6.  Saveria E. b.May 1890 in Tx; 10yo
7.  Roman b. Oct 1891 in Tx; 8yo
8.  Joseph b. Jun 1893 in Tx; 7yo
9.  Mare[y?] b. Nov 1895 in Tx 5yo
[and a boarder, William E. Ritz, a schoolteacher - may or may not be related]

This is becoming like a soup that you just keep adding ingredients to...Here are a couple of things that I wanted to point out though - putting aside, for a moment the surname spelling difference...Some food for thought [hey, we're cooking, aren't we?]:  1. This Joseph's birthday is Jun 1893, the same month and one of the target years [1893/95/96] of my grandfather's birth month and year that I'm looking for; 2.  My grandmother indicated on my grandfather's death certificate that his father was John Marshall.  Could it be the same one? [No other John-Joseph relationship can be found in this time period with the surname spelled either way.]  3. This candidate for Mary is spelled Mare, but the birth year and age match the 1910 census, probably could be chalked up to a spelling error; 4. The father's birthplace here in 1900 is Germany - not Poland/Prussia/Texas, which have all been mentioned before for the father of which is it?

I already addressed the 1920 reporting of Texas as the birthplace of Joseph's father.  The listing could be wrong due to clerical error, etc, or this might not be the same Joseph.  As far as the Polish/Prussian/German issue?  Well, I had a  simple & quick look-see at Prussian/Polish/German history [Do you hear me laughing?  I'm laughing because it was neither simple nor quick...Wow! What a history...].  I determined that with the course of history changing due to wars and such, oftentimes immigrants would obviously hear news of what was going on in their homeland and would refer to it in the context of whatever country it was under rule at the time.  In other words, if say , for example, Prussia took over Poland then Poland was given back to the Polish, then immigrants from there would refer to their homeland first as Poland then Prussia then Poland depending on who ruled what, when [I hope that makes sense...]  So, this gives a probable reason for the discrepancy, and if it's true then it might help to pinpoint where John Marschall came from someday [if indeed, he's Joseph's father and this Joseph is my grandfather, of course...]

So, I decided to visit my local genealogical department at Montgomery County Memorial Library in Conroe, Texas.  Not huge, but it's packed with lots of local info.  After looking through all [& I do mean all] the books for Galveston County [O.K., it took me several trips...], I found some "Marschall's" listed in the index of a book entitled, "St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Galveston, Texas, baptismal, confirmation, marriage, and death records : 1860-1952."  Could these be mine, or, at least, the ones I was looking for?  I quickly looked them up and...Bingo!  All the children's births and baptisms were listed as well as witnesses and of course, their parents.  [There weren't any confirmations, marriages, or deaths listed, but, hey I'm not going to be too picky...]  This was indeed the same family.  But was this my family? [...and why does "Catholic" ring a bell...?]

There were some discrepancies [...of course!].  A few names were cleared up:  Saveria E. from the 1900 census was actually Laura Ellen [either transcription or language error] & Mare from the 1900 census was baptized as Mary.  There was an additional child listed, Robert, but remember that Emma, their mother, listed in the 1900 census that only 7 of her 9 children were still living?  This was probably 1 of the 2 that didn't make it. [The other one may not have been baptized before it's death.]  Last, but certainly not least, Joseph's birth was listed as 17 Jun 1890 and his baptism as "Jun...1893".  However, it's highly unlikely that he was born in 1890 because his sister Laura Ellen was born 12 May 1890.  I could be wrong though...[What is it with his birth, anyway?]

I decided to play "What if..." [When puzzled, why not play a game?]  What if...this was the correct family [there were no others that I had found that fit the bill, so to speak...]?  What if...this Joseph Marschall was my grandfather?  If so, what happened to the rest of the family between 1900 and 1910?  Why were Joseph and Mary living with their older sister Nettie...?  Then, it hit me - no pun intended - the Storm of 1900.  You know, the devastating hurricane that hit Galveston Island in 1900 and killed so many?  I quickly "Googled" the storm looking for the exact was 8 Sep 1900.  Then I quickly looked at the date this family was counted in the 1900 census: June 1900.  So, the storm had come after the census was taken for this household...Were Nettie, Joseph, and Mary the only survivors in the family?  I quickly located a list of fatalities and looked for the Marschall name spelled either way, and they weren't listed [just one Harriet Marshall].  Of course, there were only about 6000 of the 8000-12,000 people that actually passed away from the storm on there because they weren't able to find and/or identify them all.  So, they could've passed away and not been recorded at all...I felt sad about the possibilty of this, whether it was "my" family, or not,  because they were someone's family...Did the Storm of 1900 leave Nettie, Joseph, and Mary orphans?...And, were these orphans mine?  [If you're interested, at the bottom of my blog in my book carousel I have featured a book that is about Galveston, Texas; the Storm of 1900; and the reconstruction and fortification of the island...]


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