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.

New Data on Rote and Faller

The New Castle Public Library maintains a database of marriages and obituaries. Checking this source, I've learned the following information:

A. M. Rote  (probably my great-grandfather Alpheus, but I'll need confirmation from another source with his full name), married to Ella E. Rote, most probably died in late September 1936, as the announcement of his death was published in the New Castle News on 30 September 1936.

Plus, the announcement for the wedding of Mabel Rote to Henry J Faller was published on 14 May, 1912, which makes sense considering the information from the 1920 and -30 US Censuses, as described in my previous post.

The Mystery of John H (Henry J) and Ella L Fuller or Faller

At the time of the 1920 US Census, January 8, 1920, my great-grandparents, Alpheus McClelland and Ella (née Ward) Rote were living on Patterson Avenue in "New Castle City," Lawrence, Pennsylvania. My great-grandfather’s first name was misspelled as Alphus, but other information from the census, the location, his middle initial and age, Ella's name and age, and the names and ages of the two adult children living with them, John and Emma, are strong indications that this is actually my great-grandfather.

Figure 1: Fourteenth Census of the United States: 1920—Population
State: Pennsylvania; County: Lawrence; Name of Incorporated Place: New Castle City; Sheet 9A
Living with Alpheus and Ella in 1920 were two children listed as their grandchildren, as can be seen in Figure 2. When I attach the census record to Alpheus on, they are identified as Emma's children, but I have reason to doubt this.

Figure 2: 1920 US Census, Detail of Alphus [Alpheus] M Rote and Household
The grandchildren’s names are given here as John H. Fuller and Ella L. Fuller, ages 5 and 4 9/12, giving them estimated birth dates of 1915 and September 1916, respectively. The two were born in Pennsylvania, as was their father, and their mother was born in Ohio.

When this census was attached to Alpheus, interpreted the children as Emma’s children. However, Emma was born in Pennsylvania. The only one of Alpheus’ children to be born outside of Pennsylvania was Mabel, who was born in Ohio, and it is she who I believe must be the children’s mother.

Ten years later, on April 6, 1930, Alpheus and his family were living on Crease Street, and the children turn up again in the census, where the household is split between two pages:

Figure 3: Fifteenth Census of the United States: 1930—Population
State: Pennsylvania; County: Lawrence;  Incorporated Place: New Castle; Sheet 16A
Figure 4: Fifteenth Census of the United States: 1930—Population
State: Pennsylvania; County: Lawrence;  Incorporated Place: New Castle; Sheet 16B
Here are close-ups of the names in the household:

Figure 5: 1930 US Census, Detail 1 of Alpheus M Rote and Household
Figure 6: 1930 US Census, Detail 2 of Alpheus M Rote and Household
Over the past decade the family composition has changed slightly. John Rote has moved out and his sister Emma, now using the name Cavender, is still (or once more) living in the household, now with a daughter of her own, Anna G. Cavender. Once again, there are two additional grandchildren, now identified as Henry J. and Ella L. Faller The remaining details about the children are consistent with the 1920 census and it seems most likely that the child identified as John H in 1920 goes by Henry J in 1930.

Based on this, I have the following individuals:

First Name
Last Name
Place Born
John H[enry] or Henry J[ohn]
Fuller or Faller
abt 1915
Mabel M Rote
Fuller or Faller
Ella L
Fuller or Faller
abt July 1916
Mabel M Rote
Fuller or Faller

I have not yet been able to locate any information about Alpheus after 1930; I do not know when or where he died. There are a number of individuals who may correspond to other members of the household, but I have not yet been able to discover any more information about the Fuller or Faller children, and they, with their mysterious origins and presence in their grandfather's house, is a mystery that appeals to me.

So, among my many other genealogical goals, I hope to uncover the mystery these children present. To that end, I shall attempt to:
  1. Discover the full names of each of the children, along with their exact birth dates and birthplaces,
  2. Confirm or disprove that Mabel M Rote is the children’s mother,
  3. Identify their father (full name, birth date, date of death, and parents' name, if at all possible),
  4. Demonstrate a “reasonably exhaustive search” and explain the research process as I go, and
  5. Record my research and findings.

As I research these individuals, I will post updates regarding the progress of my search and its results, positive or negative.

ETA: This post, with it's approach to documenting my researches on a specific individual, was inspired by the blog Pinpointing Dennis Buggy's Irish Origins.