Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Strange What Turns Up

I've often found it strange how out of nowhere comes information that you thought probably wasn't possible.  Today I share two such thoughts.

Early this year, I received a kind letter from my Aunt in Pennsylvania and she shared with me a copy of an article from the Staten Island Advance that she received from another Aunt of mine.  To date, I don't know what edition of the SI Advance this was from, but low and behold an article in the "Memories" column by Mike Azzara, was a picture that I have seen before.  Not only was it a picture, but a newspaper article about said picture.  It was in fact an article recalling bygone days of musicians who frequented clubs on Staten Island.  As you can see below the picture is of the Mahoney Orchestra.

Mahoney Orchestra 'Memories'

What's more impressive is that grandpa Muller (Paul Ernest Muller 1901-1954) is mentioned specifically in the caption.  While the article itself doesn't mention him, obviously the contact that Mr. Azzara used for this article had some kind of connection.  What was most intriguing, is that this lost picture (either I have the copy of it or possible it is in my mother's collection) provides a date in which we can place grandpa Muller, January 17, 1947, aged 45.


Another tid bit that has come to light was found recently in my grandmother O'neal's Baby's Record.  It in itself, is a time capsule of events of her life including a picture of her and a very young grandpa Bair (Burton W.)

But more interesting was a poem that I found in a Newsletter for the Marion Steam Shovel Company.  (see image below)  G-Grandpa Benjamin Franklin Bair worked for the company and he must have been extremely proud of his new grand-daughter Lucretia, so much that the company at first didn't believe that he was a grandfather.  To prove his point, he clipped some of Lucretia's newborn hair!  Ironically, in her baby book, there are two samples of her hair, one was clipped only after a few days and is tied with a small pink ribbon.  Could this have been the hair?

A "Bair" Story ... Marion Excavator, February 1921

To see the edition of the Marion Excavator, February 1921 click HERE

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Brick Wall

Well, why I haven't added much to this blog as of late, I have been hot on the trail of researching the Muller Heritage, specifically, the families of Ludwig and Brigitte.  For years this has been a brick wall.  Finally I have found a crack in it's facade.  Recently I came across a large resource from the Haut-Rhin region of Alsace.  This resource has proven invaluable in looking closer at the Muller and Flesch ancestry.  Their database contains birth, marriage and death records dating back as far as 1792 to 1892.

For more information go to

The hardest part so far, is trying to decipher and read the script ... sometimes in German, but mostly in FRENCH!  I often wonder what my late Uncle Bob would be thinking about now?

So, I'll start with Ludwig and Brigitte Muller.  First, while I have always thought of Louis Joseph Muller as being named so in the Germanic language as Ludwig Josef Müller, the document below shows the spelling of his name as Luis Joseph Muller.  I suspect that given the history of Alsace, that his name lost it's 'french' spelling when the region came under German occupation as I have known it to be for years.

Birth Record of Luis Joseph Muller; s/o Martin Muller and Anne Marie nee Staub
Further research also shows that Luis' parents, as suspected through existing documents, were Martin Muller and Anne (or Anna) Marie Staub.  A note here about Staub.  In some documents it looks like Flaub. This is something that I have gone back and forth about for some years.  But finding her name first in a marriage index, it becomes clear that it is Staub, not Flaub.  If it were Flaub her name would have shown up in the beginning of the alphabetical listing.  Instead, it's near the end.  I also believe that Anne Marie's father, Luis' grandfather was Leonard Flaub.

The record also indicates that Luis had a brother named Joseph and also provides evidence that their father's name may well have been Luis Martin Muller.  This would indicate that my g-grandfather Luis (Ludwig), was named after his father.

On Brigitte's side of the family we find confirmation that her parents were Robert Flesch and Marie Anne Demange.  Further research also shows that Brigitte had some siblings.  First was Marie Eugenia Flesch.  She married William Henry Meyer and immigrated to the US before Ludwig and Brigitte.  The Meyer family is mentioned in Ludwig's (Luis) paperwork as Elizabeth, New Jersey.  It was here that the family was heading to when they arrived in the United States

I've known for a while that Brigitte also had a brother Camille.  He was the conductor of a couple of community bands in Alsace, for which I have postcard images of.  To date, I have yet to find his birth record ... however, I have also found another sibling.  There is a record for a R. Flesch.  This would be either a reference for a 4th child born to Robert and Marie or it might be the record for 'Camille' ... research continues.

As I continue to research these leads, the hardest part is now reading and translating the script.  Unfortunately this will take time as the images were not scanned at a super high quality resolution.  Thus, it makes it harder to read even if enlarged.  Time will tell, but finally the brick wall has started to crack!