Monday, October 31, 2011

Researching Uncle Gus Plus Mary Turns 50!

Gustav Adolph Blum may or may not be my great uncle. His mother was Mathilda Johanna Mueller Strunk Blum Schumacher who may or may not have been my great grandmother Johanna Wehmeier Pahlke's mother.

I have three very thin pieces of evidence that Johanna and Gus were siblings.

1. My grandfather, Johanna's son William Pahlke, told my mother that Mathilda was his grandmother.

2. Mathilda's obituary refers to Johanna as Matilda's daughter.

3. When Gus committed suicide and murdered his two children Johanna is referred to as his 'half sister'.

Since I could not prove Johanna was Mathilda's daughter I decided to do some 'sideway' research. My hope was that by finding more information about Gustav I would learn more about Johanna and Mathilda.

Gustav left Barrington Illinois sometime in April of 1900. His mother, Mathilda posted this notice:

Barrington Review - April 28, 1900

Barrington, April 23, 1900
Notice is hereby given that as my son, Gustav Blum, has left my house and home and his whereabouts is unknown to me. I hereby give notice that after this date I will not be responsible for any debt that he may contract on my account, as he is not of age.

Matilda Schumacher

According to his military records Gustav enlisted in the Navy on April 19, 1900 in Chicago. I obtained Gustav's military records but the only family relationships mentioned were that Mathilda was his mother.

From Gustav's obituary I knew he was married. I also knew that he and his children died on December 12, 1916 and where they were buried. From the marriage and death certificates I started to put together his wife Elsa's family tree. But, alas no more information about Gustav's family.

Gustav married Elsa Haag on July 19, 1905. Elsa's parents John and Caroline Haag had five children: Johanna, Philip, Emma, Marie and Elsa. All but Johanna immigrated to the United States in the 1890's.

The Haag family lived at 93 Sands Street in Brooklyn. From the census records it seems that the family ran a boarding house and possibly a restaurant.

Emma married a gentleman with the last name of Neul and was a witness at Gus and Elsa's wedding. Marie's married name was Bratley and had the sad task of claiming the bodies and arranging the funeral for Gustav and her nephew John and niece Elsie.

Gustav's obituary said that his wife Elsa was in an asylum and he was depressed because his children were living with relatives. I did confirm that Elsa was living in an asylum in Dutchess County, New York in the 1930 Federal Census.

Through all of this I have not found any additional information on Gustav's family relationships. I have, however, begun to put together the story of the Haag family.

I want to find out why Elsa was committed. I would like to find descendents of Marie, Emma, Philip or Johanna to see if there are pictures of Gustav and Elsa or what family stories they may have of this tragic couple. I have posted messages on many Rootsweb message boards and mailing lists. Hopefully I will be able find some answers and whether or not Gustav Blum is my great uncle!

Happy Birthday Mary!!!

It hardly seems possible that it was fifty years ago (yesterday) my sister Mary was born. Since there is a nine year age difference we both consider ourselves 'only children'. While I whined about her getting a new bike (mine was used) and a car (I had to use mom's) it gave me great material for years.

I would post a more current picture, but I only have permission to use pictures of her before the age of 5!

Happy Birthday Mary!!

Take Care,


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