Saturday, March 10, 2012

World War I Registration Cards, 1917-1918

In the 1930 Census, Albert Thomas Stahl was listed as being a veteran of World War I. I found Albert Thomas Stahl's World War I Registration Card. He was listed in the first registration conducted on June 5, 1917 for men between the ages of 21 and 31. I also found Albert's twin brothers, Frank and Hugo, listed in the third registration for men between 18 and 45 on September 12, 1918.

Here are some of the things I learned from the registration cards.

Albert was 29 years old and lived at 1576 Gratiot, Detroit, Wayne, Michigan. He was born on November 10, 1887 and was single. He owned a hardware store, was tall, with a medium build, had gray eyes, brown hair, and was not bald (yes, it indicated on the registration card that he was not bald).[1]

Frank Joseph Stahl Jr. was 35 years old and lived at 1576 Gratiot, Detroit, Wayne, Michigan. He listed Theresa Stahl, his mother, as his nearest relative. He was born on 5 May 1883. He was a white citizen of the United States and his occupation was a grocer. He had blue eyes, brown hair, a medium height and build.[2]

Hugo John Stahl was 35 years old and lived at 1136 Concord, Detroit, Wayne, Michigan. He was born on 5 May 1885 and was married to H. Barbra Stahl. He worked in the service claims for Saxon Motor Company. He had blue eyes, brown hair, a medium height and build.[3]

[1] "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," images ( : accessed 10 March 2012), card for Albert Thomas Stahl, order no. 200, Local Draft Board 18, Wayne County, Michigan; roll: 2032496.

[2] "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," images ( : accessed 10 March 2012), card for Frank Joseph Stahl Jr., order no. A985, Local Draft Board 18, Wayne County, Michigan; roll: 2032496.

[3] "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," images ( : accessed 10 March 2012), card for Hugo John Stahl, order no. A3193, Local Draft Board 18, Wayne County, Michigan; roll: 2032496.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The last blog and podcast I posted was about Albert losing his hardware store during the depression and how he became a taxi driver to provide for his family. As with most families during the depression, hardship continued to follow the Stahl family. Mary Lou wrote about the heartbreak the family had to deal with during this time.

"We were all standing at the top of the back stairs watching our mother climb up the steps to meet us. The news she gave us was not good. She informed us that our father had passed away that afternoon at St. Joseph's Hospital on East Grand Blvd., from pneumonia he fell ill with just two weeks prior. The date was October 8, 1934... I can remember mother gathering us around her and she then asked us to kneel and pray for our dad. This was the height of the Great Depression and she knew that the job of raising five children lay directly upon her shoulders. It must have been quite a weight!

"After the death of our father times became very difficult for us. The boys all sold papers; they set pins at Wurms Bowling Alley and would drag home wood from the furniture stores (at that time furniture would be crated) for our stove. The Stahl Family allowed us to live in our flat without rent for the time being and mother received a small stipend from "Widow's Pension". Today it is called ADC (Aid for Dependent Children). We all attended St. Anthony's school and because there was tuition to be paid for our education, mother used to help out in the school cafeteria to pay for this. My mother, Irene Adele Petipren (Stahl) Shindler, was a wonderful person; she had strong religious faith and instilled this into her children. We never went hungry, our clothes were always clean and mended and to the day she died, I never heard her complain about her lot in life. She used to say, "Why dwell on the bad things that happened to you in your life, it's much easier on yourself to remember the good things." What an attitude!"[1]

I agree with Mary Lou, what an attitude and strength my great-grandmother must have had to carry the weight of responsibility to raise her family alone after the death of her husband.

[1] Mary Lou Otto, daughter of Irene Adele Petipren, April 1997.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Albert Stahl Podcast

In September 1997, I went to Michigan to learn about my great-grandmother Irene Stahl and her family. While I was visiting, I saw grave sites, heard stories, saw old homes and places about the Stahl family. It was a wonderful visit. Mary Lou had wrote down memories of her childhood and of her immediate family. She gave me a copy. Last week in my blog, I wrote about what kind of information you can gain from the censuses. I wrote about my great-grandfather Albert owning a hardware store in the 1920 Census and then in the 1930 Census I found that he was a truck driver. What happened? Well, Mary Lou wrote about that time period. I put a podcast on my blog this week with bits and pieces of what she told me about her father Albert Stahl. Listen to the podcast to find out why Albert went from owning a hardware store to becoming a truck driver.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Albert Thomas Stahl

My great-grandfather Albert Thomas Stahl was born on 10 November 1887 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan to Francis Joseph (known also as Joseph F. or Frank J.) and Theresa (Damitio) Stahl. I found the Stahl family listed in the 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 United States Federal Censuses. I have reviewed the five censuses to see the growth of the family and have found the following:

In the 1880 Census, Albert's father Joseph F. age 24 and Theresa Stahl age 23 were listed with their daughter Johanna who was one year old. They lived in Hamtramck, Wayne, Michigan on the 1st of June 1880. Joseph was listed as teaching school for his occupation. Joseph was listed as born in Ohio and his parents as born in Baden. Theresa was born in Michigan and her parents were born in Michigan.1

In the 1900 Census, the enumerator recorded Frank J. and Theresa with their five children: Johana, Joseph F., Hugo J., Albert, and Theresa. They lived at 1576 Gratiot Ave in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan on 7 June, 1900. Frank J. was the head of the household, born on October 1857 in Wisconsin and was 42 years old. Frank's wife Theresa was born on October 1857 in Michigan and was 42 years old. Johana was born on March 1879 and was 21 year old. Joseph F. was born on May 1883 with his twin brother Hugo J., and both were 17 years old. Albert was born on November 1888 and was 11 years old. Theresa was born on September 1891 and was 8 years old. All the children were born in Michigan.

Frank and Theresa were married for 23 years. They had seven children, but sadly at the time of the 1900 Census one child had died. Both Frank's and Theresa's parents place of birth was Germany. Frank's occupation was indicated as Grocery. He owned a home and had a mortgage. The census indicated that all of the family could read, write, and speak English. Theresa (the daughter) had empty boxes in the "can read", "can write", and "can speak English" categories on the census. Joseph's occupation was a grocery clerk with salesman written over the top and Hugo was also a grocery clerk. Albert was shown as attending school.2

In the 1910 Census, Frank J. and Theresa lived at 1576 Gratiot Ave, in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan on the 18th of April 1910. Johanna, Hugo, Joseph, Albert Thomas, and Teresa R. were listed as living with their parents. Frank and Theresa were married 32 years and this was their only marriage. Frank owned their home and it was free from a mortgage. Frank was a employer of a grocery store. Hugo, Joseph, Albert, and Theresa all worked at the store.3

In the 1920 Census, Frank J. and Theresa still lived at 1576 Gratiot Ave in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan on the 8th of January 1920. Johanna, Frank J., and Albert were listed as living at home with their parents. Theresa's father's place of birth was listed as France. Frank owned a grocery store and Albert owned a hardware store.4

Frank and Theresa are not in the 1930 Census. Frank died on 23 January 1929, in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan and Theresa died on 23 June 1923 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan. The next entry shows Albert and Irene Stahl together as a household on the 1930 Census.

In the 1930 Census, Albert T. Stahl age 42 was listed with his wife Irene A. age 38 and his children James A. age 8, Albert J. age 7, Gerald F. age 5, Mary L. age 2 and 6 months, and Elaine T. age six months at 7264 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, Wayne, Michigan on 14 April 1930. Albert was 32 and Theresa was 28 when they were married and all the children were born in Michigan. They were renting. Albert was a truck driver for the city and was a veteran of World War I.5

I realize all this information is a lot of dry facts that have no apparent human stories to them. As genealogists, we search for many people who have passed many years before we were even born. These documents in many cases are the only pieces of information to learn about who they were. From just these five censuses I learn facts about my family during that period of time and build a story of their lives around those facts.

These censuses show my great great-grand parents lived in the same area for over fifty years. I know of members in the family that still live in the same area today. Remarkably the Stahl family has lived in this area for 132 years. (The two family homes listed above have been demolished because a six lane highway was built through the neighborhood. You can see the location today from the web links.) My great great-grandfather Frank taught school and owned a grocery store. He had his children work in the store. Frank's parents came from Baden, Germany and Theresa's parents lived in Michigan. Frank and Theresa lost a child and must have felt all kinds of sorrow over the death of their child. Albert owned a hardware store in 1920, was a truck driver in 1930, and was a veteran of World War I. These facts become their story.

1 1880 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Hamtramck, enumeration district (ED) 253, p. 139B, dwelling 11, family 13; Joseph F. Stahl; digital image, ( : accessed 18 February 2012).

2 1900 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit Ward 15, enumeration district (ED) 162, p. 10A, dwelling 158, family 188; Frank J. Stahl; digital image, ( : accessed 18 February 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T623.

3 1910 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit Ward 15, enumeration district (ED) 0223, p. 3A, dwelling 38, family 40; Frank J. Stahl; digital image, ( : accessed 18 February 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T624_687.

4 1920 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit Ward 15, enumeration district (ED) 467, p. 9A, dwelling 149, family 204; Frank J. Stahl; digital image, ( : accessed 18 February 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 814.

5 1930 U.S. Census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Detroit, enumeration district (ED) 82, p. 24A, dwelling 254, family 1, Albert T. Stahl; digital image, ( : accessed 18 February 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T626 roll 1050.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Joseph Henry and Mary Ann (Schultz) Petipren Family

In August of 1997, I visited my grandfather's two sisters in Michigan to learn about the Stahl and Petipren families. While I was there, I was able to make copies of some of the pictures they had of the Petipren family.This is one of those photos. There was no date on the photo so I do not know when it was taken, but the names of each individual was printed on the back of the photo. One of my grandfather's sister's shared some things about Joseph Henry Petipren and commented that he "was a handsome man - [and she could still] remember his snow white hair and mustache." She also stated that "he was retired from the grocery business - he owned a store in Anchorville, Michigan, and moved his family and business to the Detroit area." I think this is a great photo of my 2nd great-grandparents and their family.

Back Row (Left to Right):
Marion, Edna, Alice, Andrew, Irene, Edgar, Aldine, Agnes

Sitting Row (Left to Right):
Father Roy, Joseph Henry Petipren, Mary Ann Schultz

Sadly, two of their children are not included in this photo. They both died before this photo was taken.

Ceila Petipren was born on 9 October 1899 in Ira Twp, St. Clair, Michigan, and died on 27 April 1909 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.

Elmer Clarence Petipren was born on 10 April 1910 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, and died on 2 May 1910 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Irene Petipren Record of Birth

Irene's birth record can be found in the Michigan Births, 1867-1902 for Irene Adele Petipren at the Family History Library, microfilm film number 2,322,379. The record spans two pages and shows her birth date as 22 December 1892 in Ira, St. Clair County, Michigan.

The original record states Irene's name as being Annie Pettiepren and her father as Joseph Pettiepren and her mother as Mary Pettiepren. After reporting their decision to name their daughter Annie to the State of Michigan, Irene's parents apparently changed their minds from calling her Annie to Irene Adele. I wonder why? What caused them to decided on Irene Adele instead of Annie?

The original record indicates an affidavit was filed on March 9, 1943, to correct the original record from Annie Pettiepren to Irene Adele Petipren; her father Joseph Pettiepren to Joseph Henry Petipren; and her mother Mary Pettiepren to Mary Schultz (her maiden name). The "Occupation of Father Field" on the second page of the record was originally filled in with the word Merchant. The occupation title of housewife for her mother is the only entry filled in on the page for a mother and the darker color of the ink suggests the word housewife was added with the affidavit correction. If the record had not been changed, this birth record would have been put into question as to whether or not this was her actual birth certificate.

I do not know the reason for the name change but I am glad her name was changed. I love the name Irene Adele. I used the middle name of Adele for my own daughter's middle name. Every time I call my daughter Adele I think of my great grand-mother and for one moment it brings to my mind both generations and how much I love them both.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Irene Petipren 1900 Census

My great-grandmother Irene Adele Petipren was born December 22, 1892 in Anchorville, St. Clair, Michigan to Joseph Henry Petipren and Mary Ann (Schultz) Petipren. I found her listed in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 census with her family.

1900 U.S. Census, Saint Clair, Michigan, population schedule, Ira Township, enumeration district (ED) 86, p. 3B, dwelling 45, family 44; Joseph Petipren; digital image, ( : accessed 27 January 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 741.

In the 1900 census, we learn a lot about Irene's family. The enumerator records Joseph and Mary as having seven children: Andrew, Irene, Roy, Alice, Marion, Agnes, and Cecilia. A couple of the children's names are spelled differently on the census than how they are spelled on other records. The census includes the birth month and year for everyone in the family though I found other sources show some of the birth years were off by one or two years. The children were all born in Michigan. We also learn Irene's mom and dad were married about 10 years and both were born in Michigan. Her father's parents were born in Switzerland and her mother's parents were born in Germany. The family rented a farm in Ira Township, St. Clair County, Michigan. Irene's father Joseph was a store keeper. The three oldest children were in school and the enumerator records which family members have an education and are literate.

It is amazing how much you can learn about a family's life from a 100 year old document. Each fact of information is like finding pieces of a puzzle. As each little piece is snapped into place, the picture becomes more clear in describing the life of an individual and their family.