Saturday, April 3, 2010

The question of the day is...what happened to John Meinberg??

Eva Meinberg Haase is my 3rd great grandmother. Her parents were John Meinberg and Catherine Neher. I recently discovered that Catherine remarried to a man named George Hellmann after being widowed. John Meinberg, so far, is a ghost.

I actually have no records of John's existence. I know of him via other people. He is listed as Eva's father on her birth certificate, her marriage certificate, and her death certificate. Catherine's name from her first marriage, Meinberg, is listed on her second marriage certificate. So this is what I know:

Eva was born in New York City in 1861, to John Meinberg. Her brother John was born in 1864 to John and Catherine. Her sister, Elizabeth, was born in 1868, and her brother, Frederick, was born in 1873. In theory, John, Catherine, Eva, John, and Elizabeth should show up in the 1870 census, but so far, they're MIA. Just one of the many families on my tree who like to make things difficult for me...

Ok, so Frederick was born in 1873. Catherine Nehr Meinberg was 33. Five years later, 38 year old Catherine was a widow marrying a 24 year old George Hellmann. Since John could've died after Frederick was conceived but before he was born, that gives me a roughly six year window where John could've died. And unless he was much older than Catherine, that means he was in his 30s when he died.

Unfortunately, I have a bunch of progenitors who died too young, in their 20s and 30s and 40s and early 50s, but in most of their cases, I have death certificates that give me reasons...I think in the 1870s it was probably more common for someone to die young, but it was probably still unusual for someone to die in their 30s. I'm tempted to send away to the Archives for a death certificate - I'd have to have them search all the years from 1872-1878, and a couple of different boroughs, which makes it more expensive, but it might be worth it...on the other hand, Meinberg is, unfortunately, one of those names that shouldn't have many spelling variations but somehow does, which could make my chances of a positive hit not that great. I'm just so excited by how much I've found out about Catherine in the last few weeks that my curiosity about my 4th great grandfather has been really, really piqued.

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