Charles F.A. Stein (great-grand uncle)
b. December, 16, 1881
d. March 15, 1913
Saturday I received an interesting message over on the Find-A-Grave website. A fellow researcher noticed I was adding cemetery information for the Stein family in Baltimore, Maryland. The email asked if I was related to this line, and if so how.
I was immediately intrigued as this family has lead to many dead ends and brick walls. I replied that John Stein, buried in Oak Lawn Cemetery, was my 2nd great-grandfather.
Through out the day I would check the website to see if there was a response to my message. Finally the next day I received the following:
"Their son, Charles F.A.Stein married my grandmother, Helena Schrieber. When he died, she later married Charles Gears. Charles Stein & Helena had 2 children, John Herman & Elizabeth (who died in a diphtheria epidemic). Charles Gears and Helena had 2 children, Rosalie, and Charles Jr. Both Herman and Charles (never married, no offspring) are deceased, but Herman has descendants. Rosalie said that the Steins would not associate with Helena after she married Charles Gears. My cousins have asked me to investigate their family. They would be Herman's grandchildren and great grand children."
My initial response reading the message was that of excitement. This researcher added several key pieces to the Stein family puzzle.
*My great-grand uncle, Charles F.A. Stein (son of my 2nd great-grand parents John and Mary Stein) was married to Helena Schrieber
*Charles F.A. Stein and Helena's children John Herman & Elizabeth died young in an epidemic
*After Charles F.A. Stein died Helena remarried to a gentleman named Charles Gears
*Helena & Charles Gears had two children
Adding this data into my Ancestry tree started tons of shaking leaves! Connections were made and additional information was discovered. Once again I was reminded what a wonderful resource this particular website has been over the years.
But that is not the end of the story!
What intrigued me the most about the email was the fact the Stein family no longer associated with Helena once she remarried. This seemed to be an odd reaction as her husband, Charles F.A.Stein, passed away years before she met Charles Gears.
Why would the Stein's be so upset about this relationship to the point of breaking communication? In fact many of the immediate family members were deceased well before Helena entered this second marriage.
I sent a message to this new connection to ask if they knew what could have caused the rift. As of yet there has not been a reply.
Being a curious genealogy cat I started doing a little digging. Researching the local newspaper archives the following article came to light.
Baltimore Sun Newspaper - 01/28/1908
Could the divorce of Charles B. Gears and his first wife cause this family drama? Did the Stein family (German Lutherans) not condone the dissolution of marriages?
Next up will be research into the practices and attitudes of the German Lutheran church during the 1900s. I will be sending this information to my new genealogy friend. Maybe this article will raise a few memories and eventually find closure for the family.
Do we love old family drama? My entire weekend was filled with trying to hunt down details of the Stein/Gears split. Having names and dates to fill in the family tree is always a wonderful treat. Finding those traces of character and attitudes make our ancestors come alive.
Do you love old family drama?