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The Bennett Family of Baltimore

February 10, 2015 | Comments Off on The Bennett Family of Baltimore

John “Robert” Bennett (22 Oct 1880 – 23 Jul 1959) and Virginia “Jennie” Disney (20 Feb 1876 – 27 Mar 1937) were married on May 3, 1900 by the Re. J. M. Holmes. Robert was born on Canton Ave. Jennie is the daughter of James L Disney and Mary Catherine Long. I reported on the Disney family in and earlier post.
Jennie brought along two sons from a previous relationship with Gately Boyce. Those sons were Benjamin Franklin (1893 -1925) and William M Boyce (1896). Robert raised the boys as his own.
The couple later had four daughters: Amy W. (1903 – 1987), Emma (1904 – 1975), Viola (1909 – 1990) and Mary Virginia (1910 – 1981). Benjamin married Anna Thompson and William married Amelia Wurzbacher. Benjamin died in 1925. Jennie had an additional 3 children that did not live beyond infancy. These were probably born between 1905 and 1908.
Amy married Charles T Moudry of 316 S. Maderia Alley. Emma married Albert J. Schultz of 113 South Castle Street. Viola married Walter Nelson of 3911 East Pratt Street. Mary married William Steigerwald of 528 S. Caroline Street and later Paul E. Becker of 2421 McEldery Street.
Robert’s parents were William C. (1860 – 1930) and Amy (Emma) Smith (1863 – 1931). William was a produce dealer and Huckster. William and Amy had 10 children: John Robert (1880), Birdy (Bertha??) (1883), William L (1885), Samuel C (1888-1962), Maud E (1890), Sarah R (1892), Emanuel (1897), Walter (1900), Elmer (1902-1918), and Mildred (1908). All of the sons were either Hucksters or produce dealers. Emmanuel had a business at the Northwest Market.
Robert held multiple jobs throughout his life including teamster, clerk, huckster, and gas lamplighter.
When first married the couple and sons lived at 1933 Fairmont Avenue. The family later lived in several residences in the 100 block South Duncan Street in Baltimore. The houses no longer exist.
IOn March 27, 1937 Jennie died of a stroke related to her diabetes.
Robert had little education, indicating on the 1940 Census as having completed the 4th grade. At that time he worked as a lamp lighter for the American Light Company.
On Robert’s WWI draft registration he was listed as 5’ 6”, medium build with brown eyes and black hair. At the time he worked for J. Langel and Bros. Trucking at 2107 Aliceanna Street. He lived at 126 S. Duncan Street. On the WWII draft registration (1942) he was living with daughter Emma at 120 S. Duncan. He was unemployed. He was listed as 5’ 5”, 165 lbs with brown eyes and gray hair. He had a tattoo of “R.B.” on his left hand.
Except for their children the family led unremarkable lives. However, without them I and my many cousins wouldn’t be here today. Thank you.

Robert and Jennie Rest in Peace.

The Disneys

February 3, 2015 | Comments Off on The Disneys

    Disney Family of Baltimore

Benjamin (abt 1818 – 25 Mar 1870), was born in the District of Columbia and Rachel Garrison (1823 – 1861) in Maryland. The couple had 9 children: William G, Sarah E, Maria, James L, Emma V, Amanda, Mary, Laura, Fanny W. Rachel died after Fanny’s birth in 1859. Benjamin and Rachel are my great, great, great grandparents.

At age 32 – Benjamin worked as a painter. The census shows he was born in the District of Columbia. He lived with wife Rachel and children Mary, James, Sarah, Maria, Emma, William, all born in Maryland.

By Age 43 – Benjamin was a widower living with his children Mary, James, Sarah, Maria, Emma, William, Amanda, Laura and Fanny. Benjamin was a painter and James, at 16, was an apprentice Carpenter. Prior to enlisting in the Union Army Benjamin sent many of his children to other families for care.
More notes on Benjamin’s war record are contained below.
The following is a statement of Benjamin’s death in 1870.
“My name is William Stahl, I am 60 years old, and I reside in Baltimore, MD, at No. 905 Fremont Ave. I was the Supt’dt of the Maryland Soldiers Home that was located on E. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD, and was acquainted with Benjamin F. Disney who died in that Institution. I still have the books of said Home in my possession and on examination of same I find the following entry “Benjamin F. Disney, Co I 1st Md. Inf. admitted to Soldiers Home Feb. 11, 1870. He died at Soldiers Home March 25, 1870. Cause of death Consumption.” Dr. G.W. Fay was the Surgeon in charge of the Home at that time but he is now dead. The record above is in my handwriting and was made at the time of the events recorded and I also have personal knowledge of the facts stated.”
– Signed by William Stahl on 12 Jul 1897.

James L. (17 Mar 1842 – 16 Jul 1909), and Mary Catherine Long (25 Feb 1845 – 5 May 1909)
Early census records show James was really born in 1845. However, his date of birth in his later years and death certificate is listed as 1842. 1845 seems the most correct based on census records.
Mary Catherine was born to William P Long and Rebecca Gray in Baltimore. William was a sea captain and Rebecca was the daughter of a Danish sea captain. Not much else is known about these two except that they also had three sons, William H., Robert F. and John.
James L Disney was born in Baltimore and married Mary Catherine Long in October 1866 by Reverend Harding at the M.E. Church in Baltimore. James was described as 5’6”, blue eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion. James joined the Union Army in 1863 and mustered out in 1865. James was listed as injured during his service having lost the top joint of his left index finger. They had 6 children, Emma E, Virginia D. (my Great grandmother), John R, Harry F.T., Mary R, James W.

In 1860 James lived with his father and siblings. James worked as an apprentice carpenter.
By 1870 James lived in the 1st Ward of Baltimore with wife Mary Catherine and daughter Mary, mother-in-law Rebecca Long, nephews Robert and John Long. James worked in Abbott Rolling Mills, Rebecca was a Tailor, Robert a Peddler and John a huckster.
In 1880 James lived with his wife and children Mary, James, Virginia and John at 110 N. Washington Street. James worked as a painter
In 1900 at age 58 – James and Mary Catherine lived at 1935 Fayette Street in Baltimore with their children Emma E and Harry F.T. James worked as a house painter, Emma a button hole maker and Harry a house painter. James died 16 Jul 1909. Death Certificate – C-24070. Mary Catherine died 5 May 1909. Death Certificate C-22205 – Cardiac Failure
(Notes on James Civil War record are found below.)

On May 3, 1900 Virginia Disney (20 Feb 1876 – 27 Mar 1937) married John Robert Bennett (22 Oct 1880 – 23 Jul 1959) by the Rev. J. A. Holmes. Virginia, 24, had two sons from a previous marriage to Boyce Gately, Benjamin and William. John and Virginia had four daughters, Emma, Amy, Viola and Mary (my paternal grandmother).
I will cover the Bennett family in more detail in a later post.

Benjamin’s Civil War Pension folder (Claim No. 650125 of Fannie W. Evans, child of Benjamin F. Disney, Co I, 1st Eastern Shore Md Inf) at the National Archives, Wash, DC:
Benjamin F. Disney enlisted in Oct 1861 after his wife’s death, in Company E, 1st Eastern Shore Md. Infantry in the war of the rebellion. He later was transferred into Company I. – (1861 CIVIL WAR: Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of Maryland, 1st Eastern Shore Infantry Day-Har, Microfilm M384, found at the MD State Archives: Benjamin F. Disney, PVT, Co E, I, 1st Regiment Eastern Shore Maryland Infantry.)
Benjamin joined for duty 17 Oct 1861 in Baltimore, MD for 3 years. Muster Roll dated 31 Dec 1861: Transferred to Co I, Capt. G.W. Evans, 3 Nov 1861; mustered in 19 Oct 1861 in Cambridge. Muster-Out Roll dated 23 Dec 1864, Baltimore, MD, Benjamin F. Disney, PVT, Co I, 1st Regt Eastern Shore MD Infantry, age 43. Muster-out date 23 Dec 1864, last paid to 31 Aug 1864. Amount for clothing in kind or money advanced $70. Clothing due from 31 Aug 1864.
1870 DEATH: Certification of Benjamin’s Death found in Benjamin’s Civil War Pension folder (Claim No. 650125 of Fannie W. Evans, child of Benjamin F. Disney, Co I, 1st Eastern Shore Md. Inf.) at the National Archives, Wash, DC:

James L. Disney – Posted on by Ken Walsh (Ken is the son of Emma Disney and Harry Walsh),
James Disney enrolled for duty at age of 18 years on 16 Jul 1861 I think he could actually have been as young at 15 yrs old, but said he was older so he could enlist. Other records indicate he wasn’t born until 1844 or 1846. James was AWOL in Mar 1862, so he may have come home, and since he may have still been under 18 yrs old, he was sent to a Foster Home in Crumpton probably to work on a farm where he would at least have a place to live and eat. His volunteer enlistment form from Blaines Crossroads shows that James Disney had blue eyes, brown hair, a dark complexion (listed as a light complexion in 1907), and stood 5’5″ high (he personally testified in 1870 and 1907 that he was 5’6″ tall). On 10 Aug 1865, Private James Disney was mustered out of the infantry, Co E, 2nd Regt. in Baltimore. On 11 Apr 1870, he appeared before the Deputy Clerk of the Superior Court of Baltimore City and testified to his service records, the fact that his first joint of his left index finger was shot off, and that he lived in Baltimore the entire time after the war. The lop of his finger greatly interfered with his work as a hand at the Abbotts Rolling Mill. He lived at 18 Essex Street in Baltimore.
“James Disney of Baltimore, Maryland (1842-1909)”, 29 Oct 2001 (Information found in James Disney’s Civil War service and pension records at the National Archives by Ken Walsh”. James Disney is Ken’s GG-Grandfather.):

Dorothea Schaefer

January 29, 2015 | Comments Off on Dorothea Schaefer

Dorothea Schaefer and Johannes Steigerwald
My great, great, great, grandparents
They arrived in Baltimore, from Germany, around 1839.
Dorothea was born on March 25, 1818 in Schollkrippen, Aschaffenburg, Bavaria, Germany. Johannes (John) was either from Schollkrippen or nearby Sommerkahl. His birth date is unknown.

She and husband John were living in Baltimore with daughters Theresa Sarah (1842), Mary (1843) and son John Francis (1851).
Joannes died sometime after 1851 and before 1860. He disappeared from the Baltimore City directory after 1851. Scanning the church records at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, I was able to identify Dorothea’s parents as Michael Schaefer and Eva Schlet.
Daughter Mary married Charles King (previously Koenig) of Baltimore just prior to 1860 and daughter Theresa later married John Conrad Scherer (Hessen-Darmstadt). King was a boat builder and Scherer a Ship’s carpenter.
Theresa was married at St. Michaels on Wolfe Street.
In 1860 Dorothea was working as a shopkeeper on South Wolfe Street.
By 1870 she was living with her daughter Mary’s family.
In 1873 John married Anna Suesse. These are my great, great, grandparents. Anna’s father, Charles was from Saxony-Weimar and mother Augusta (nee John) from Prussia.
Dorothea continued to live with Mary’s family that now consisted of four children, Mamie, Elizabeth, George and Elmira. George died at 5 years of age. Dorothea made some money teaching music.

John and Anna had Elmer William (my great grandfather), Harry August, John Fransis Jr, Dora E., Charles, Sarah Theresa, and Ida. Charles died as an infant.

Theresa and John Conrad Scherer had children Mary E., Joseph William, John and Anne.

By the time of her death in 1895 Dorothea was living with her son John’s family on Gough Street. She is buried in Holy Redeemer Cemetery section K. Died of old age and widow of John.

The cool thing about this was I attended St. Michaels during my youth and my mother’s family attended St. Alphonsus (after it changed from a German to Lithuanian Church). Small world than as it is now.

Dating old documents

September 25, 2014 | Comments Off on Dating old documents

Many of us family genealogists often get confused by the differences in dates when examining old documents and trying to reconcile them to known historical dates. Birth dates are a good example.

I first noticed differences in birth, marriage and death dates when I received some research documents from Lithuania. The original birth records showed my Great Grandmother’s birthdate as November 4, 1888 (Old Style or Julian) and the date she celebrated as her birthday November 16, 1888 (New Style or Gregorian). The Lithuanian Archives, thankfully, provided me with both dates.

Here is how it worked. Both systems used 12 month years. The Julian year began on March 25. We are used to our new year beginning on January 1. The Julian calendar was set up to coincide with the spring equinox. At the time, it was thought the earth year was 365.25 days. The year is actually, 365.2425 days. It seems like a small difference but causes you to gain a day every hundred years. This was fixed by the Gregorian calendar that every year divisible by 4 was a leap year except when the century (18 of 1800) was not divisible by 4.

A good example of this change was George Washington. George Washington was born during the time when the Julian Calendar was in use. His original birth date is February 11, 1731. In 1750 the English Parliment passed a law to change calendars beginning in 1752. George’s birth date was then adjusted to February 22, 1732.
To get George’s birth date correct 11 days were added and since he was born before March 25 (the old New Year) a year was subtracted.

When the change took place on September 2, 1752 the next day on the calendar was September 14, 1752. Eleven days were removed (9/3 thru 9/13) that year. A good trivia question. The eleven days when there were no births in the British Empire.

Here are some countries and dates when the conversion occurred.
Lithuania 1915
Spain, Poland, Portugal – Oct 4, 1582 followed by Oct 15, 1582
United States – Eastern US 1752, Mississippi Valley 1582, Spanish colonies (states) 1582, Alaska 1867
Germany – Catholic states – during the years 1583 thru 1585
Germany – Protestant States – Feb 18, 1700 followed by March 1, 1700
Germany – Prussia – Aug 22, 1610 followed by Sep 2, 1610
Russia – 1918

Catholic teaching begins at a young age. This is the website of the classes I took as a child.
A few Excerpts of Lessons from the Baltimore Catechism:

188. Besides believing what God has revealed, what else must we do to be saved?
Answer: Besides believing what God has revealed, we must keep His law.”If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

189. Which are the two great commandments that contain the whole law of God?
Answer: The two great commandments that contain the whole law of God are:
A. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;
B. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, “Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.’ This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:35-40)

190. What must we do to love God, our neighbor, and ourselves?
Answer: To love God, our neighbor, and ourselves we must keep the commandments of God and of the Church, and perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
My dear children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:18)

191. Which are the chief corporal works of mercy?
Answer: The chief corporal works of mercy are seven:

To feed the hungry.
To give drink to the thirsty.
To clothe the naked.
To visit the imprisoned.
To shelter the homeless.
To visit the sick.
To bury the dead.

192. Which are the chief spiritual works of mercy?
Answer: The chief spiritual works of mercy are seven:
To admonish the sinner.
To instruct the ignorant.
To counsel the doubtful.
To comfort the sorrowful.
To bear wrongs patiently.
To forgive all injuries.
To pray for the living and the dead.

193. Is everyone obliged to perform the works of mercy?
Answer: Everyone is obliged to perform the works of mercy, according to his own ability and the need of his neighbor.
For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me; sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me. (Matthew 25:35-36)

194. Are all the ordinary deeds done every day to relieve the corporal or spiritual needs of others true works of mercy?
Answer: All the ordinary deeds done every day to relieve the corporal or spiritual needs of others are true works of mercy, if done in the name of Christ.
For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ’s, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. (Mark 9:40)

There is so much more.

This subject has been presented to me on separate occasions by several Protestant Ministers.

The way I look at it is, it is much, much easier to be a Christian if you only have to do one thing to receive Salvation. We as Catholics know it takes much more to receive Salvation. There are no shortcuts to Eternal Life.

For those of you who believe that all you have to do to be a Christian and receive Salvation is to be “Saved”, please read the following:
The website provides a complete list of Scripture with regard to Salvation. At the end of the page is a list of Scripture many Protestants use to say “Once Saved, Always Saved”.

Belief in Christ as your personal Savior is and always will be a personal decision. Weigh all of the information you can before making this decision. Being a Christian is a life long endeavor. Serve the Lord and don’t do it halfway.

Another big sticking point between Catholics and non-Catholics is our division of sin into two separate and distinct categories. Those categories are Mortal Sin and Venial Sin. Non-Catholics say there is no Scriptural basis for this division.

1 John 5:16-17
King James Version (KJV)
16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.


1 John 5:16-17
New International Version (NIV)

16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

What is Mortal Sin?
Mortal means Death. Mortal sin is serious enough that it kills the life of grace within us. Venial sin is not deadly by itself, but it’s still quite dangerous. It offends God, hinders our ability to receive grace, damages our soul, and wounds our ability to live as a Christian.
There are three conditions that make an act a mortal sin:
1. An act of grave matter that is…
2. Committed with full knowledge and…
3. Deliberate consent.
If one of these is absent then the sin is a Venial sin.

Just Sayin’

The word Exegesis means “to draw the meaning out of” a given text. Exegesis may be contrasted with Eisegesis, which means to read one’s own interpretation into a given text. In general, exegesis presumes an attempt to view the text objectively, while Eisegesis implies more subjectivity.

The Catholic Church uses Exegesis to interpret the Holy Scripture. This methodology is also used by Jews, and the Episcopal Church. When interpreting Scripture or other ancient writings the following questions are asked.
1. Who wrote the text, and who is the intended readership?
2. What is the context of the text, i.e. how does it fit in the author’s larger thought process, purpose, or argument in the chapter and book where it resides?
3. Is the choice of words, wording, or word order significant in this particular passage?
4. Why was the text written (e.g. to correct, encourage, or explain, etc.)?
5. When was the text written?

On the other hand the method used by many Protestant Churches is Eisegesis.
Eisegesis is the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that it introduces one’s own presuppositions, agendas, and/or biases into and onto the text. The act is often used to “prove” a pre-held point of concern to the reader and to provide him/her with confirmation bias in accordance with his or her pre-held agenda.

The distinction between the two methods is very important. You must determine which suits your needs best.

The answer is no. Too many movies and bad books.
Lucifer is only mentioned once in the New Testament. It is found in Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Did the word Lucifer always exist? NO! In the Hebrew language, the word Lucifer is derived from the Hebrew word הילל (Hêlēl). In fact, the term Lucifer didn’t even exist in the Biblical ages! Put thought to it; Lucifer is a Latin word. (Lux = light/fire Ferre = to bear/to bring). The Old Testament was written primarily in Hebrew, so the word Lucifer could not have been in their language.

So, then if the word were not amongst them at that time, then who gave us that word?

In 382 AD, Pope Damasus I commissioned St. Jerome to write a revision of the old Latin translation of the Bible. This task was completed sometime during the 5th century AD, and eventually it was considered the official and definite Latin version of the Bible according to the Roman Catholic church. By the 13th century it was considered the versio vulgate – the common translation.

The irony for those who believe that “Lucifer” refers to Satan is that the same title (‘morning star’ or ‘light-bearer’) is used to refer to Jesus, in 2 Peter 1:19, where the Greek text has exactly the same term: ‘phos-phoros’ ‘light-bearer.’ This is also the term used for Jesus in Revelation 22:16.

America is the “Great Melting Pot”. Many years ago during the great period of European immigration to the U.S. People of all foreign cultures came to America for her streets paved in gold. In doing so everyone learned to speak the language and mesh into the fabric of American life. Everyone wanted to be American. But not just an American, a successful American.

What a great time it was. The country was booming. There was the Industrial Age, the opening of new lands for settlement, businesses being started on street corners, people free to practice their religion and raise their families free of any government involvement. When people needed help they turned to family and Church. People had the freedom they wanted and deserved. They learned the language they melted into the American Culture. Those were the Great Americans!

But what has happened to this once powerful united country since the great depression? Government, political parties and other powerful self interest groups have pulled at the fabric of America and have tried their best to unravel it or at least to tear off a piece. Instead of being just Americans, the government has elected to define us based upon our race, nation of origin, religion and even our language.

We once fought a war to stop the nation from becoming divided. Now the government, political parties and special interest groups have decided it is best for us to be divided. Why? It is easier to control smaller groups through special laws and entitlements. Control of these groups brings their allegiance. Their allegiance brings more power to the federal government and in turn more control. Everyone wants their piece. Have you seen that? I have.

As a united citizenry the government is to do our bidding as the Constitution says it should. As a divided citizenry we will be defeated over and over again until we become the empty faces of socialism without the power of the people, without a Constitution, without laws being enforced, with people killing people, and with government rules and regulations run amok. We are getting there. Just read the news.

We are one culture. We are one people. We are one America. The America we love may be tattered and torn but I still love it. It is broken! We must fix it! We must unite it! We must defend it! I pray, while I am permitted, that it is not too late.