Tuesday, February 4, 2014

TRYING TO UNRAVEL THE "SIMON" MYSTERY


My 3rd Great Grandfather Joseph Simon (born in Prussia in 18118) immigrated to the US in 1852.  The earliest records I have been able to locate on Joseph is the ship manifest on his trip from Liverpool, England to Boston, Massachusetts.  He sailed on the ship Tirrell and arrived in Boston on 29 Nov 1852.  He traveled with his wife Catherine (Schneider) and children Philip, Mary [Anna], Matthias and Peter.  Anna Maria Simon (born in 1844) is my 2nd great Grandmother.

What I find interesting is in the 1900 census it asks 3 of my favorite genealogical questions -- How many children have you given birth to?  How many children still survive?  How long have you been married?  You wouldn't believe the information I have learned from those simple questions!  Okay, back to my story -- Catherine answered that she had been married 50 years, which would mean that Joseph and Catherine got married in 1850.  This would have been after the births of Philip (1843), Anna (1844) and Mathias (1846).  No, of course, that doesn't rule out Catherine as their mother but the next little nugget of information does.  Catherine answered that she gave birth to 7 children but only 2 survive.  At first glance, it looks like she could be the mother since in addition to Philip, Anna and Mathias, there were also younger children -- Peter, Nicholas and Mary.  However, the answer to how many survive throws "a big wrench" into the situation.  In 1900, Anna, Mathias, Peter and Nicholas were all still alive with Philip dying in January of that year.  So, what makes sense and backs up my theory is that Catherine was only the birth mother of Peter and Nicholas and Mary (who died in 1874).  This means that Joseph had been married before (while in Prussia) and probably the birth mother died before he married Catherine.  Catherine is listed on some of the documents as their mother but this is a common occurrence when the birth mother dies when the children are very young and the father remarries.

So what is the mystery?  What is the name of the birth mother of Anna Simon and who are her ancestors?  That would open up an entire new branch of my family tree.   Some times I don't feel like I am just hitting a brick wall, I feel like I am in a maze -- where there is wall after wall after wall!

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