Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Do We Love Old Family Drama?


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?

14 comments:

  1. I love finding new relatives who share my passion for uncovering the past.

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    1. One of the best parts of connecting!

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  2. This is a great story, and another one that makes us realize genealogy isn't just names and places. Finding their stories is just as intriguing, and WAY more interesting!

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    1. Thank you for the comment. Indeed the stories make research very interesting!

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  3. Wow, what a great story! Way to dig around a little and find some potential answers. You'll have to share with us if your new connection replies about the cause of the rift!

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    1. Eowyn, thanks for stopping by to comment. Really has been fun researching and trying to put the pieces together. Will most certainly write if we come up with an answer.

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  4. Quite the intriguing story you've got here! Please do give us updates on any new developments.

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    1. Jana,

      Thanks for the comment. Hopefully will hear back at some point from the researcher. More to come. ;-)

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  5. I hope you hear back from your new contact. There's quite a story to be told there. Looking forward to reading more. Hopefully, the animosity hadn't been passed down to subsequent generations...although I've found that researching ancestry sometimes leads to studying best means of reconciliation!

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    1. Jacqi,

      Thanks for dropping in and leaving a message. It does make me a wee bit sad to think how the family lost communication. Hopefully we can figure out the mystery.

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  6. Nice find! Always good to be thorough. As for the lack of connection between 'sides' of relationships, there can be many reasons (or excuses). I'm waiting to hear what you find next! Cheers.

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    1. Celia,

      Thanks for commenting! Hopefully there will be a follow up with the resolution. Having fun trying to piece together this puzzle.

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  7. Your curiosity certainly paid dividends - well done on your research! Jo

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    1. Jo,

      Thanks for commenting & the lovely compliment!

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