Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Traditions

Genealogy, and genealogy blogs, tend to focus on the past. But, tonight, I'd like to share a bit of the present. For the last couple of years, I've been making calendars to help my stepson Fritz, who has Down's Syndrome, better understand how long he has to wait for important events, such as his birthday or Christmas. Fritzie loves his calendars and loves marking off the days, which he does with the help of a family member, usually his dad.

Here's this year's advent calendar:

What else are we doing this year? We're baking biscotti. Or, to be more accurate, my husband is baking biscotti with Fritzie's help, although I hope to be able to help with tomorrow's batch. He's made at least four different batches so far, in a variety of flavors, and we're all chiming in with suggestions for new flavor combinations. Tonight's batch is orange-almond. I managed to snag a taste from the small stack of imperfect cookies that won't be going back into the oven for their second baking, so I can attest to the fact that they're very yummy.

Friday, December 6, 2013

An Unusual Lullaby: The Whiffenpoof Song

I've just spent about an hour and a half—a small fortune in time, given the number of things I should be doing—listening to versions of The Whiffenpoof Song, which was one of the lullabies my mother used to sing to me when I was a child.

My husband had whistled a snatch of "Beautiful Dreamer" and, in response to my comment about how much I loved it, had laughed and said it was just something he used to hear Bugs Bunny sing when he was a kid. He also mentioned, it was relevant even if I can't remember exactly why now, that he thought Bugs may have claimed to have attended Yale. That was all it took! The next thing you know, I'm searching YouTube for versions of The Whiffenpoof Song.

As lullabies go, The Whiffenpoof Song must be among the more unusual, since it is commonly known as the Yale Drinking Song. But, it was one of my favorites, and I asked for it often. After listening to numerous versions, including several a capella renditions by Yale choristers, I'm convinced that Rudy Vallee, who seems to be the earliest to have recorded the song, sang it the best. Here's one of Rudy Vallee's versions, from 1930:

I found a couple of other Rudy Vallee versions: one may be even lovelier than this one, but visually it had no discernable connection to the song, while the other was an earlier recording and had more sound defects. This song has also been recorded by a number of other artists, including Bing Crosby, The Lettermen, every single class of Yale choristers, Louis Armstrong (in a very altered revision), and even (in a very tiny "unpublished" fragmentary snatch that's part of a medley) Elvis Presley. (You should listen to the Presley version, just for the beauty of it, even if it isn't really this song.)

The lyrics my mother sang, as I remember them, were slightly adapted from the original, which was published as sheet music in 1909, more than a decade before she was born. Most notably, she seems to have left several lines out, and to have changed the word "damned" to "doomed." Also, because my mother's name was Luella and she was often called Lui, I'm sure it was her dwelling we were both thinking of.

Using the lyrics from the WikiSource page for the song (see link in the first paragraph), I've attempted to provide the lyrics as I remember my mother singing them, complete with omissions and my childhood misunderstandings:

To the tables down at Mory's,
To the place where Lui dwells,
To the dear old [???]
We love so well,
See the whiffenpoofs assembled
With their glasses raised on high,
And the magic of their singing casts its spell.
[skipped lines] 
We are poor little lambs
Who have lost our way.
We are little black sheep
Who have gone astray.
Gentlemen songsters off on a spree
Doomed from here to eternity
God have mercy on such as we.

As my mother sang, I imagined the whiffenpoofs as stork- or crane-like birds, sitting around Mory's tables while wearing top hats and carrying lorgnettes, looking very fine and very aloof as they sang the little lambs on their lonely way. The little lost lambs were wandering around pastoral hills and dales, trying to find their way home, and certain they would be lost forever, but I was sure that a shepherd or shepherdess was nearby and would find them before long. My certainty that the lambs were in no danger and would soon be home safe and snug, made this a very reassuring song for me.

I have no idea why, despite the fact that I knew very well that lambs say "baa" I heard my mother sing "bye-lo-bye," but that's the way I remember it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Alpheus McClelland Rote and Ella E. Ward, and their Children

Alpheus McClelland Rote, my great grandfather, was born March 1865 in Pennsylvania. He was the son of William Rote (b. October 1814 in Pennsylvania, d. 11 Dec 1880 in Pennsylvania) and Magdalena, also called Martha, (b. July 25, 1823 in Pennsylvania, d. June 8, 1891).

Ella E. Ward, my great grandmother, was born March 28, 1861 in Mount Holly (or Mount Holly Springs), Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of John E. Ward (b. about 1840, d. ?) and Elizabeth (b. about 1840, d. ?) .

Alpheus Rote and Ella Ward married in 1883. In 1884, Alpheus was listed in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania City Directory, as was his mother, then a widow, at a separate address. Alpheus also appears in the Harrisburg city directories for 1890 through 1896. In 1884, Alpheus was listed as working as a laborer; in later directories, as a brakeman.

Most of the 1890 US Census records were destroyed in a fire, including those most likely to list Alpheus and Ella.

Alpheus and Ella are listed in the 1900 US Census for New Castle, Pennsylvania. Alpheus' occupation is given as "Heater Tin Mill." Ella is reported as having given birth to 7 children, of whom 6 had survived. There were six children living in the home: 

Mabel, daughter, b. April 1886 (14)
Galen, son, b. March 1888 (12)
John, son, b. February 1893 (7)
Emma, daughter, b. April 1895 (5)
Howard, son, b. June 1897 (2)
Minnie, daughter, b. August 1899 (9 months)

In 1908, the Rote home was struck by lightning. My blog post, linked, includes a transcript of the newspaper report.

In the 1910 census, Alpheus and Ella are shown as still living in New Castle. Alpheus is working Odd Jobs, and Ella is listed as having 5 children, with 5 surviving. The children in the home are: Mabel, Gail [sic] W., John, Emma, and Howard. Minnie, the youngest, had died sometime since the previous census.

In the 1920 census, Alpheus and Ella are still living in New Castle. Alpheus is now reported to be a Storekeeper working at a Confectionary Store*. Living with Alpheus and Ella are their children, John, who works as a Inline image 1 (probably Sales) in the Phonograph industry**, and two grandchildren, John H. and Ella L. Faller. It took some doing, but I eventually confirmed that these were Mabel's children***.

In the 1930 census, Alpheus and Ella are still living in New Castle. Alpheus is now listed as the Proprietor of a Confectionary Store, which he owns. Living with them are their daughter, Emma O. Cavander (I think this is a misspelling of Cavender), and three grandchildren, Anna G. Cavender, Henry J. Faller, and Ella L. Faller.

Alpheus died September 29, 1936 and Ella died November 14, 1936. Their obituaries report that Ella Faller was still living with them at the times of their deaths.

*   *   *

Mabel Rote married John Henry (or Henry John) Faller May 13, 1912. The couple had two children: Henry John Faller and Ella L. Faller. Mabel died in early January, 1919; her funeral was held January 10, and she was buried in Greenwood Cemetery on the 13th. Her husband died March 23, 1963. 

Galen Weiker Rote married Lulu P. Craun, of Toledo, Ohio, August 29, 1911. The couple had two children: Marian Virginia Rote, who died as a child, and Luella Jean Rote. (Luella was my mother.) Galen died August 10, 1941. Lulu died February 21, 1966.

John Charles Rote, Sr. married Alice Mae Wimer, 18 Nov 1924 in New Castle. The couple had three children, Janet Louise Rote, John Charles Rote, Jr., and Arthur Lyle Rote. John, Sr. died June 22, 1982. Alice died February 24, 1978.

Emma O. Rote married a Cavender, about whom nothing more is known. The couple had a daughter, Anna Grace Cavender. Emma's date of death is unknown, but sometime after 17 Jun 1944, when a visit to New Castle (she was then living in Detroit) was reported in the New Castle News.

Howard J. Rote married Ruby Mae Brooks June 5, 1919 in Youngstown, Pennsylvania. The couple had two sons, James Russel Rote and Fredrick C. Rote. Howard died January 1974; Ruby died February 1983.

Minnie Rote never married, having died as a child sometime between June 13, 1900 and June 13, 1910.

I have no further information about the seventh child noted by the 1900 census, although I speculate, given the gap between Galen's birth, and John's, that this child might have been born between them.

* The census reports Alpheus as an employee, rather than the owner of the store, but this may be erroneous. Will probably need to research business licenses to get full information.

** This may have bearing on my speculations in Was Granddad in Show Biz?, about my grandfather, Galen.

*** See the following posts to read about how I unraveled this small mystery (most recent, first):

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mom Won Big Bucks in DAR-Sponsored Contest, Circa 1933

Here's a clipping I found in my mother's files. The source information was not noted, so I can't (at this moment) identify the newspaper. My mother, born Luella Jean Rote, grew up in Sandusky, Erie, Ohio, so it's likely this is from one of the local newspapers for Sandusky. Chronicling America lists a number of newspapers for Sandusky, only a few of which would have been active at the time.


The winners of the Lafayette contest which was sponsored by the D. A. R. was announced by Mrs. Macleod Tuesday at Junior High. The winners were two girls from Room 18, Harriet Westover and Luella Rote. Harriet received the first prize of $5 and Luella the second of $2.50. Room 18 is very proud of these two girls as they competed over eighth graders and Senior High students.
There's very little about my mother's childhood in her files. This may even be the only newspaper clipping from that time, although my father still has, in a separate location, a number of my mother's grade school report cards, so I think she must have been very proud of this award.

I'd love to find the original source, with the complete date, and I'd love to learn more about the contest in which the children participated. While I can speculate that this may have been an essay contest, that's only speculation and has no bearing on the actual facts.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wishful Wednesday: I Wish I'd Met Grandpa Lloyd

This post was inspired by the Wishful Wednesday blogging prompt shared by GeneaBloggers. The prompt was suggested by Deborah Carder Mayes of Rambling Along the Ancestral Trail.

I never met either of my grandfathers, and I've always wished I could have.

My father's father, Elmer Bruce Lloyd, died in 1948, many years before I was born. Although the official cause of death was heart problems, his daughter Joy insisted that his death had been hastened by an accident he'd suffered at sea a decade before, damaging his left arm. According to my Aunt Joy, scar tissue from his wounds had grown and wrapped around his heart.

My father's father, whom I'll call Grandpa Lloyd for the sake of brevity, was a naval chief, an Aviation Chief Machinist's Mate, to be specific. He spent much of his adult life at sea, but my father's memories of him are vivid and tell the story of a man who was bigger than life. Nicknamed “The Bull of the Woods” by the members of his squadron, a nickname usually shortened to Bull, Grandpa Lloyd was a tall man of great strength and ability. Although he had left school after the eight grade, he enjoyed reading and continued learning all his life, making him a good match for his college-educated wife.

Grandpa Lloyd was extremely talented when it came to machinery, and to hear my dad talk, there wasn't anything that he couldn't fix. He installed indoor plumbing in the family's two-story home, after having a well dug and working on the well pump, himself. Later, he installed electricity. He also enjoyed making things. Grandpa Lloyd constructed a floor lamp using a propeller as the base, and table lamps using shell casings. He also enjoyed making miniature brass tools, such as a tiny pipe wrench that's actually adjustable. His work wasn't restricted to metalwork, either. He enjoyed carving, and my father still has a rattle my grandfather made, carved from a single piece of wood, with an interior ball that slides up and down inside.

Often stern, Grandpa Lloyd had a wicked sense of humor. One summer, he kept his kids busy with the promise of a swimming hole by encouraging them to dig a hole. When their efforts began to drag, he came home with a package that he set gently on the kitchen table, telling the children he'd brought home explosives to extend their work and that it mustn't be jostled even the slightest bit. Granny Sissy, as we called my grandmother, was up to his tricks, though. So, when it was time to set the table and the package was in her way, to her children's awe and over their frightened protests, she simply picked that package up and flung it in a corner. I don't believe the kids ever got their own personal swimming hole, so it was a good thing there were others in the vicinity of their Florida home.

As expected for a navy man, Grandpa Lloyd was well-traveled. He brought home all sorts of nicknacks from around the world, many from the Far East. When I was a small child, one of my favorite things in my grandmother's house was the cabinet in which the most delicate of the treasures were stored. I loved it when she unlocked the cabinet and allowed me to hold one or the other of the small trinkets and to imagine the place from which it had come. But, I think my favorite item was the laughing Buddha sprawled atop the back of a water buffalo that sat on the bookcase. There was something incredibly magical about this figure, and it was impossible to see him without smiling right back at him.

My best memories about my grandfather were the many stories my father told about him, such as the one I shared here, regarding the explosives. Even my grandfather's death remains a legend in the family. It seems that he was holding one of my cousins when she was just a baby when his heart attack started. As strong in death as he had been in life, he refused to allow himself to drop the baby or fall with her in his arms. Instead, he lay her down in her crib, before going to lie down himself on the couch and dying shortly thereafter.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Was Granddad in Show Biz?

Several months ago, I found my maternal grandfather's WWI US Draft Registration Card. The registration date of the card is June 7, 1917.  Although I've since found other references for my grandfather's birth place, there was some new information, information I had not found elsewhere. These include my grandfather's birth date and place of birth, as well as his location in 1917. On this card, Galen W. [Weiker] Rote reports that he is living at 525 Locust in Toledo, Ohio, and was born on Mar. 7 1888 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

I also learned that his “present trade, occupation, or office”is “Show Business.”

WWI US Draft Registration Card for Galen W. Rote

Wait a minute! Show Business???!!

I hadn't seen that before. On census forms and in city directories for Toledo and for Sandusky, Ohio, where my mother was born and where Galen died, I've seen him employed as a brakeman, a salesman, even a bartender for the Central Labor Hall. On his wedding license application, Galen gave his occupation as machinist. According to my dad, Granddad Rote also managed a restaurant for a time, although I've found no confirmation of this. But, show business is different, and intriguing.  

On his draft registration card, Galen gave his employer as J. S. Forenze. Or, are those even initials? They could easily be the number 28, possibly added later, although I don't know what that might mean. If you have a suggestion, please let me know! For “where employed” I first interpreted his answer as “Peerless Mrs. Ed. [unreadable] Mich,” but with some help from a second cousin have since come to realize it was “Peerless Mus Co. Det Mich” (Peerless Music Co., Detroit, Mich.).

A bit of research, plus a couple of conversations with a friend and coworker who works in independent film, suggested that Peerless Music Company was probably a branch of the Peerless Film Corporation. I was fortunate enough to turn up a photograph of the Peerless Film Corporation's Detroit headquarters in 1917. The building was located at 153 East Jefferson in Detroit, Michigan, as referenced in the photo and comments for the photo. I love the coincidence of the photograph being from 1917. Did my grandfather walk down that street? Did he work in this building?

I'm fascinated. In what capacity was my mother's father working? None of his other positions have a obvious connection to the music or film industry. I wonder whether this just was a young man's willingness to take advantage of an opportunity, or whether it reflected a dream close to his heart. What was his position, really? Did he take tickets, work backstage, or was he part of a variety act? His use of the phrase "Show Business" seems to suggest a romantic attachment to his work, but did his actual position place him in some dusty corner dreaming of fame, or did he have the opportunity to appear on stage or screen?

Did Lulu approve, or disapprove, of the work? When Galen left this job, did he do so because it had never been more than a temporary situation, because he'd found himself unsuited for the work, or because his wife required more stability? Certainly I know that by the time his first child was born, he was working in more traditional, less unpredictable fields, as a brakeman.

My mother was fairly reticent when it came to talking about the details of her life, so I don't know whether her silence about her father's foray into show business reflected a lack of knowledge of events that happened well before she was born, or whether she grew up hearing about her dad's adventures on the stage. Either way, I would dearly love to know more about this aspect of my grandfather's life.

Marriage License for Galen W. Rote and Lulu Cruan

Today I found the marriage license application for my mother's parents, Galen Weiker Rote and Lulu P. Craun.

Detail of Marriage License Application for Galen W. Rote and Lulu Craun

I had previously determined the probably location (Toledo, Lucas, Ohio) and approximate date (sometime between 1911 and 1917) based on what I knew from other records, but I had simply come up with a blank when attempting to find the actual record with the date of the marriage. Of course, this is just the application, but it gets me much closer to the actual date. I also love that this record provides confirmation of so much information pertinent to my genealogical research, since in addition to the names and birth dates of the couple, it gives names, including maiden names, of both sets of parents.

Here's a transcript of the record:

No. 17199

Galen W. Rote and
Lulu Craun

} Probate Court, Lucas County, Ohio
To the Honorable Judge of the Probate Court of said County:

The undersigned respectfully makes application for a Marriage License for said parties, and upon oath states; that said Galen W. Rote
is 23 years of age on the 7th day of March 1911,
his residence is New Castle Penna,
his place of birth is Harrisburg Penna,
his occupation is Machinist,
his father's name is Alpheus Rote,
his mother's maiden name was Ella Ward,
that he was not previously married [and is (crossed out) ___] and that he has no legal wife living.

The said Lulu Craun
is 23 years of age on the 26th day of July 1911,
her residence is Toledo Ohio,
in said Lucas County, Ohio,
her place of birth is Butler Indiana,
her occupation is Clerk,
her father's name is Jesse Craun,
her mother's maiden name was Mary Beck,
that she was not previously married ____,
and is not a widow or divorced woman, [her mar-
ried name being (crossed out) ____]
that she has no legal husband living _____

Said parties are not nearer kin than second cousins, and there are no legal impediment to their marriage
That neither of said party is an habitual drunkard, epleptic, imbecile or insane, and is not under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug. It is expected that Rev Ballinger
will solemize the marriage of said parties. Lulu Craun (her signature) Galen W. Rote (his signature)

Sworn to and before me and signed in my presence this 29th day of August 1911
OBrian ODonnell (his signature) Probate Judge. C.L.Conlisk (his signature) Deputy Clerk Probate Court.

Note that information in square brackets has been used for text that was crossed out and parentheses indicate my notes regarding immediately preceding text.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Alpheus, the Name

Today, while searching for records about my great-grandfather Alpheus McClelland Rote, I realized that I didn't know the meaning or origin of his first name.

The name Alpheus, it turns out, has both biblical and classical origins.

The Biblical Alphaeus

Alpheus is a variant spelling of the name Alphaeus. Alphaeus is given as that of the father of two of Jesus' Twelve Apostles, Matthew (sometimes known as Levi) and James, although it's not clear whether this means that Matthew and James were brothers, or simply that the two apostles each separately had a father with this name.

The Classical Alpheus

Alpheus is also a latinized form of the Greek name Ἀλφειός (Alpheios). According to Behind the Name, Ἀλφειός derives either from "from Greek ἀλφή (alphē) meaning 'produce, gain, profit,' or from Greek ἀλφός (alphos), which can mean 'whiteness'" as well as 'white leprosy.'"

In Greek myth, Alpheus was the son of Oceanus and Tethys. He was a river deity (river-god), and also a hunter. Alpheus was the father of King Orsilochus, whose mother Telegone was also a child of the gods.

As a river deity, Alpheus was also the Alfeios River. He fell in love with the Neirad Arethusa (Ἀρέθουσα) when she bathed in the Alfeios River. She, as a follower of Artemis, was sworn to chastity. Praying for help from Artemis, Arethusa fled, with Alpheus in pursuit. Her journey included a number of transformations, as she was hidden in a cloud, became a stream, and, eventually, a fountain on the island of Ortygia near Syracuse. But, even in this final form and having crossed an ocean, her waters mingled with those of Alpheus, who had managed to cross the ocean by flowing under the sea from Peloponnesus to Ortygia.

There are also stories about how Alpheus fell in love with and pursued Artemis. The Artemis Alphaea and Alphaea temples in Letrini and Ortygia, as well as a joint altar at Olympia reflect the close ties between Alpheus and Artemis.

"Famous" People Named Alpheus

Here are just a few of the people named Alpheus that can be found on Wikipedia:
  • Alpheus Mytilenaeus was the author of a number of epigrams in the Greek Anthology, a collection of poems that span the classical and Byzantine periods of Greek literature.
  • Alpheus Cutler (February 29, 1784 – June 10, 1864) was an early leader in the Latter Day Saint movement who founded the Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) in 1853.
  •  Alpheus Felch (September 28, 1804 – June 13, 1896) was the fifth Governor of Michigan and U.S. Senator from Michigan.
  • Alpheus Hyatt (April 5, 1838 – January 15, 1902) was an American zoologist and palaeontologist. 
  • Sir Alpheus Cleophas Morton (1840 – 26 April 1923) was a British architect and surveyor, and a Liberal Party politician.
  • Alpheus Spring Packard Jr., LL.D. (February 19, 1839 – February 14, 1905) was an American entomologist and palaeontologist.
  • Alpheus Starkey Williams (September 29, 1810 – December 21, 1878) was a lawyer, judge, journalist, U.S.

Other Contexts for Alpheus

There is a genus of shrimp called Alpheus.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Fortunate Discovery

Sometimes, despite our intent to be methodical, we jump ahead of ourselves. So it was with my search for the parentage of the Faller children. While researching marriages recorded in association with another Rote, I made use of the New Castle Public Library's Marriage/Obituary Database, and in the process I found Mabel Rote's marriage to a Faller. This library database, which is basically an index to individuals named as principles in marriage and obituary announcements, has proven to be invaluable for researching marriages and obituaries for individuals with connections to New Castle and Lawrence County.

The record for Mabel returns this information:

Date of
Jenry J.


While the name of the spouse, "Jenry J. Faller" isn't quite what we're looking for, it seems likely to be a transcription error.

Having found the record for Mabel Rote and a Faller, I ran a search for Faller and the year 1912, ignoring the unusual first name for the time being. Here's what I got:

Date of
Henry J


Ahah! As I suspected. We now have information tying Mabel Rote to Henry J. Faller, with a marriage announcement date of May 14, 1912. With this information in hand, it was time to see if I could find the actual text of the announcement in the New Castle News. For this, I returned to, which I know from frequent encounters has records from this newspaper. To get to the records for New Castle News, I start with the Card Catalog.

To access the Card Catalog on, click Search, then Card Catalog.

To access a specific set of records, type the name of the desired resource  in the  Title box.

You don't have to know the name of the resource. For example, if you want marriage records from North Dakota sources, you might put "North Dakota" in the Title box (hoping that ND newspapers and other record collections included the state name in the title), and "marriage" in the Keyword(s) box.
My search for New Castle News had the following result:

A match for New Castle News.

Clicking the link for New Castle News presents me with a couple of options for searching the newspaper. The first is a search form, while the second is a browse option that allows me to select a specific date. I chose to use the advanced version of the search form. (My default on is to use advanced search forms, as I prefer the enhanced accuracy such forms provide.)

Search form for New Castle News. Mabel Rote has been entered in the name fields, as has the publication year.
Searching for Mabel Rote and the year of publication results in a number of hits, with those in 1912 at the top of the list. The first is for March 8, 1912 and turns out to be unrelated to the marriage (although of interest in learning a bit more about Mable Rote), and the second is for Tuesday, May 14, 1912 and is for the Society page, on which the marriage announcement can be found under the heading "Quiet Marriage."

"Quiet Wedding" for Mabel Rote and Henry J. Faller, both of New Castle, Pennsylvania.
Quiet Wedding
Friends of Miss Mabel Rote, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Rote of Patterson avenue, and Mr. Henry J. Faller of Fern avenue, will be interested to learn of their marriage which was a quiet even of Monday evening at 7 o'clock in the home of Rev. J. M. Farrell on Carson street. The bride was prettily attired and the witnesses were his sister Miss Emma Rote, and Miss Mary Jenkins. The young couple will go to house-keeping on the Westside.
Aside from the claim that Miss Emma Rote was Faller's sister (most likely an error, as Mabel had a sister named Emma), the announcement is quite informative, confirming as it does that this Mabel Rote is the child of A. M. Rote (almost certainly Alpheus McClelland Rote), the addresses of the respective parties, the name of the minister who officiated over the marriage, and the names of the two witnesses.

While the evidence I've found, as reported in this and previous posts, is not comprehensive proof that Mable Rote and Henry J. Faller are the parents of Henry John and Ella L. Faller, at this point I'm fairly confident that this is, in fact, the case. While I will, of course, continue to collect any documents I find on the members of this family, at this point I consider that particular mystery solved. Perhaps the one less than satisfactory aspect of this is the question of what happened to the parents of these children, that resulted in their living with their grandparents.

ETA: Another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place since I first posted this. Mabel died in 1919. Although I have not yet found a direct record of her death, I found a notice of her burial on January 10, 1919, published in the January 13, 1919 edition of New Castle News. This goes a long way toward explaining why the children were living with their grandparents, although it does not completely explain why their father chose or was unable to care for them.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Searching RootsWeb for Henry John Faller

Today, I'm searching for Henry John and Ella L Faller, grandchilren of Alpheus M. Rote, in multiple one online database, RootsWeb*; as noted in previous entries, I've found evidence indicating that Henry John Faller and his sister are the children of Alpheus' daughter, Mabel Rote, and her husband Henry J Faller. While I've already done some searching on and checked out to see if my connections to Geni's World Tree can shed any light, my intention today is to check out other databases and to record the various results I've found on each site.

Note: I've updated my first entry about my search for the children's lineage, Fallers, The Mystery of John H (Henry J) and Ella L Fuller or Faller, to acknowledge that my documentation of my research efforts in this blog was inspired by certified genealogist Judy Kellar Fox' blog, Pinpointing Dennis Buggy's Irish Origins. I also want to acknowledge here that I am borrowing much of the organization of her blog, using the steps she's taken in her search as a template for my own search.


My search from the main page on RootsWeb for Henry John Faller results in 19 matches in 1 database, the Rootsweb Surname List.
Germany>Phila>Western PA
BAD,DEU>Scioto Co,OH
Germany, Scotland, Lancashire, Australia.
Carolino Faller (Pampanga,Phils)


As you can see, only the surname is listed for all but a single entry, but for the moment, none of these appears a likely match, based on the dates and migration information. However, there are a few links preceding the results table, one to information on alternate surnames (important, given that my starting point in the 1920 census was for the surname Fuller) and a "resource page" on the Faller surname.

The alternate surnames suggested are Faller, Toller, Fulle, Fowler, and Fuller. Just glancing at the results for Fuller, I see that there are many more individuals listed on Rootsweb with this surname. But, for the moment, I'm going to set that trail aside and focus more directly on the Faller surname. The link to the resource page takes me to a set of searches, with the Faller surname already completed; possible databases I can search include WorldConnect Family Trees, the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), the RootsWeb Surname List, and Primary Records at RootsWeb (identified as the USGenWeb Archives).

WorldConnect Family Trees

I'm starting with an Exact search on the surname Faller, with the first name Henry John, and birth place Pennsylvania, which returns no results, followed by a Soundex search. The Soundex returns 15 results, none of which look likely. I repeat my search, this time with the Metaphone option; there are 14 results, this time, many of them apparently duplicates of my prior search, but once more none appear to be the individual I'm trying to find.

Social Security Death Index

The SSDI, as it turns out, is only available through, but has the advantage of allowing me to connect the search to the Henry John Faller in my tree. Of the 2,397 records returned (most of which have nothing to do with this individual, Ancestry identifies 7 as the most likely matches:

Birth Date
Death Date
Last Residence
Henry C. Faller
13 Feb 1914
21 Aug 1993
Lake Mary, Seminole, Florida
John H. Faller
30 May 1914
15 Nov 1995
Bridgeville, Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Henry E. Faller
8 Aug 1918
24 Jul 2004
Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri
John E. Faller
10 Apr 1916
11 Aug 1988
Beaver, Beaver, Pennsylvania
John A. Faller
13 Dec 1916
30 May 2001
Toledo, Lucas, Ohio
Henry D. Faller
19 Sep 1920
11 Jun 2006
Flint, Genesee, Michigan
John E. Faller
23 Jun 1911
18 Feb 1993
Marinette, Marinette, Wisconsin
John Faller
24 Sep 1910
Nov 1981
Newport, Campbell, Kentucky

Since the birth place is not included in any of these records I can't directly rule any of these men in or out of my search on that basis. The most likely, based on this information is the second in the list, John H. Faller, who died in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, but there's no real reason to feel that this man is truly the one I'm looking for; I've saved this to my shoebox, but I'm not ready to attach it to Henry John Faller in my tree. I could request a copy of his original social security application, but this would require an expenditure that I'm not willing to make at this time. I'll put this information aside, for inclusion in my formal searches on

Primary Records/USGenWeb Archives

Since I've already obtained a list of Fallers in the Rootsweb Surname List, it's time for a primary record search. There are only two results for an exact search for Faller; neither is useful.

So, for now, I seem to have exhausted the resources available on RootsWeb, and my search is over for the moment.

* One individual at a time! And, one database. Taking the time to give a full description of the steps I'm taking is proving to be exceedingly time-consuming.