Sunday, December 23, 2007

Did You Know

As of today's date, I counted 24 Mary's, 18 John's, 17 Ann's, 15 William's, 7 Elisabeth's and 4 Catherine's, as first names in our family tree?

Just thought you would want to know.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Eight Generations Of Family

I have been working really hard, this past week trying to compile, all the information, into some sort of readable form. I am trying to find the right program, that will allow the reader to view as much detailed information on the individual as possible. Whatever format, I use will be the format, you will see in the book. It is an overwhelming task and almost, if not an obsession for me. I have 206 years of information, on our ancestors and I have counted eight generations.

How did I manage all this? Seventeen years of walking through cemeteries, researching burial, church, census, military, immigration, passenger, ship, passport, old newspapers, you name it and I have probably looked through that record. My head spins just thinking about it. Some records, I needed translated from German to English. Thank God for the help of the curator (fluent in German) of the German Lutheran Archives in Germantown who translated some of this information for me. If it wasn't for her, I would not have known the what, when and how's of the Keller clan who immigrated here in 1854. Of course, there is a program, you can use to help with language translation on the Internet. I have used that a time or two to figure out a specific word here or there.

I am sure, there are as many relatives out there, who are just as interested in their past, as there are those who could care less. However, they may think, this is a gift to my grandparents William & Anna Gallagher's memory. Something, I promised my grandmother, I would do during that last lunch, we had together two months before she died in 1980.

I am so grateful for that lunch, where she spoke about her family and gave me, the first clues to research. She was showing signs, that the cancer had returned and was very weak that day. At the time, I never realized, it would be our last lunch together, before her health failed to the point, where she stopped eating. Again, I am so grateful for that time, we had together. Though, grandmom spoke about her family in the past, I never really viewed it as more than, some family folklore, a grandparent would tell their grandchild. In retrospect, I wished, I had paid closer attention to that folklore, because it may have helped make my research easier.

It should be of interest to you all, that parts of our German branch of the family, may actually date back, just prior to the Revolutionary War. This is the Mervine Branch. I just came upon this information in the last week. I have traced our Voigt/Keller/Ritter/Schroeder Branches of the Family back to 1852 when several of them began to immigrant from countries such as Prussia/Germany. The Irish Branches Boland/Cafferty/Gallagher/McCaffery (McCafferty) began immigrating in 1880 Thu to 1908. In order to seek any more information on them, I need to research them in Ireland, itself. The Polish Branch Wisloski/Weleski immigrated from Austria in the late 19th century, around 1897 to be exact. The spelling of their ethnic name changed so much, it is a wonder that I am not crazy. Part of this name changing was because of language barriers and some of it was just plain intentional, as in the case of my American born grandfather, John J Wisloski who changed the spelling to Weleski, sometime in the early 1940's. Why? I will probably never know, but it makes it difficult to create a beta version of a family tree, when the siblings' "last name" is spelled differently than the paternal parent. You have to repeatedly "override" those nice annoying "error" flashes that pop up, because the computer program thinks you are making a mistake.

Some other facts, that may be of interest are the different wars, the men in our family served in and/or at least registered for. I have actual data that places several/if not most of them, in nearly every war fought in this country, and if my data proves correct, then I will be able to add the Revoluntary War as one of them. We have at least one relative that fought in the Mexican War (1847), several that fought in the Civil War (1861), World War I (1917), World War II (1942), Korean War (1950), Vietnam War (1965) and if you count my youngest son, Joseph who joined the Navy after 9/11, then we can include the Iraq War.

I have so many dates, addresses, burial records, ect., ect., ect. That when I die, they will need to be passed down to someone. I have 206 years of files. Much of which, I will not be able to add to the book, but will be available for future use, if there is someone, who has an interest, and I can "Will" the stuff to them. These documents are my most valuable treasures, not because they are worth anything in the monetary sense, but because it tells a story about our family.

This will be my legacy to my children.

St. Michael's Lutheran Church Cemetery

Photography by me. For more information, click on the link.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

1930 Census Records Frederick Keller With His Son Harry

Click to enlarge and view record.

Frederick Keller youngest son of Jacob and Susanna Keller and brother of my great great grandfather John G Keller was 71 years old in the 1930 Census Records and still lived at 127 Green Lane. Also living in the home was his son Harry, who now was 41 years old and was listed as a Commercial Traveler (buyer) for a Dry Goods Store located on Chestnut Street. I believe in earlier records, this dry goods store was called Jacobs. Both Frederick and his son Harry were listed as widowers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

William Gottlieb Keller Son Of Frederick And Mary Keller

Click to enlarge & view.

Was born on November 14, 1886 and lived at 4426 Pechin Street according to the 1930 Census Records. He purchased the house for 6,000 dollars and was listed as being employed as an Inspector for the Railroad. He was married to Sarah and listed in the home were three children; William age 14 yrs, Lucy age 13yrs and Virginia age 3 yrs.

John Jacob Keller Son Of Frederick And Mary Keller

Take special notice of what this record states in regards to John Jacob's opinion on this war. Click on image to enlarge and view. John Jacob wrote he was "against the war in any way". Other details on this draft records include; height "tall", weight and built "med", hair and eyes "Light brown". He lived with his parents on 127 Green Lane and was single. Employed as a player piano tuner and repairman for Heppe & Son on Thompson Street.
Post note; his stand against the war in any way (his words) is the direct opposite of any views of the military in the ancestors who lived before him as well as those who lived after him. His Uncle, my great great grandfather, John Gottlieb Keller fought in the Civil War and two of his other brothers, Frederick and William registered that same day to serve in World War I. I can only imagine that his view on the war was not accepted too well in his family. In later records, John Jacob will be listed as leaving the Manayunk/Roxborough area. Of interest, John Jacob did register for World War II.

World War II Record Of John Jacob Keller

Click to enlarge & view. John Jacob is listed as being 5"9" with brown eyes and gray hair. He is married to Adele and is listed as residing on 76 Avenue (West Philadelphia) and worked on Chestnut Street.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

John Frederick Keller (Frederick) Eldest Son Of Frederick And Mary Keller

John Frederick Keller known as Frederick was the eldest son of Frederick and Mary Keller who was born on April 10, 1883 and lived at 127 Green Lane with his parents and siblings until he married a woman known as Bessie. Then , he lived at 309 Roxbor0ugh Avenue. According to his military records, Frederick was approximately 5 "7" and weighed about 145 lbs and had brown hair and brown eyes. In 1918 and 1942, he worked at General Electric which was located on Locust Street.

World War I Draft Records (September 12, 1918)

World War II Draft Records (April 27, 1942)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Frederick Keller

Click to enlarge and view

Frederick Keller was the youngest son of Jacob and Susanna Keller who immigrated to Philadelphia via Germany on January 9, 1854 with his parents and brothers Jacob John and John Gottlieb.

In the 1900 Census Records, Frederick lived on 127 Green Lane with his wife Mary M and their children, Mary, Frederick, Elisabeth, William, Harry, John and Margarite.

According to this record, Frederick and Mary were married 19 years. Mary had immigrated from Germany in 1880 and their first child, Mary was born in 1882. Details are followed.

Frederick Keller born August 9, 1849 employed in a Gas Manufacturer.

Mary M (his wife) born May 24, 1857.
Mary M (daughter) born January 1, 1882 employed as a Laundress.

John Frederick (son) known as Frederick born April 10, 1883 employed as a Railroad Engineer.

Mary Elisabeth (daughter) known as Elisabeth born December 23, 1884 employed as a Cake Packer.

William John (son) known as William born November 14, 1884 employed in a Paper Mill.

Harry Bernarth (son) known as Harry born December 12, 1888 attends school.

John Jacob (son) known as John born April 1, 1892 attend school.
Margarite (daughter) born February 10, 1894 attends school.

Frederick Keller 1905 Directory

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Related By Marriage

Anthony J. Sciolla, 89, whose nightclub was once a place where Philadelphians swung with the stars, died Tuesday at Abington Memorial Hospital of a heart attack. He lived in Oak Lane and had a house in North Wildwood, too. Before the rock-and-roll era of the Electric Factory, Sciolla's Supper Club in Northeast Philadelphia was the place to go.

Just recently I came across the above article about Anthony Sciolla that caused a flashback of childhood memories, I had about the Sciolla family. Though, I never knew this Anthony, I have met his brother Frank on occasion because he is the father-in-law of my Aunt Ann (Mom's sister).

I often heard stories, that related to the supper clubs, especially the one known as Genes on the Boulevard which was a Rock Club in the early seventies. The original club on Pike Street was home, to many of the early singers, such as Chubby Checkers, Bobby Rydell and so forth.

What is interesting is my Aunt met my Uncle (her husband) at the club. She was a patron. He was an employee. The rest was history. They got married and raised two children together.
Some of those childhood memories include, my Aunt singing on the Larry Ferrari show on Sunday mornings, attending my cousin's Christening party at the Sciolla Family Residence in Elkin's Park and receiving a beautiful embroidered hankie for my First Holy Communion, when I was seven years old from Frank (Anthony's brother) and his wife. I just recently gave this hankie, to Jackie to hold for my granddaughter, Ava Marie. It is one of those family treasures that should be passed down through the generations.

More information about the Sciolla Clubs and Anthony Sciolla himself is as followed.

Anthony J. Sciolla, 89, whose nightclub was once a place where Philadelphians swung with the stars, died Tuesday at Abington Memorial Hospital of a heart attack. He lived in Oak Lane and had a house in North Wildwood, too.

Before the rock-and-roll era of the Electric Factory, Sciolla's Supper Club in Northeast Philadelphia was the place to go. It was one of the Big Three of clubs in the area, along with the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill and Palumbo's in South Philadelphia, all now closed.

Founded by Sciolla's father, Gaetano "Pop" Sciolla, right after the end of Prohibition, the 500-seat club on Pike Street, near Fifth and the Boulevard, came to book a long list of top acts. Among them: Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Tony Bennett, Joey Bishop, Chubby Checker, Vic Damone, Bobby Darin, Fats Domino, Connie Francis, Al Martino and Jerry Vale.
Until it closed in the 1970s, the club also was a key venue for many Philadelphia performers early in their careers.

"Where the unknowns got their start," read a motto on the menu.

Among those it nurtured was Teddy Pendergrass. As Sciolla's son, A.J. Sciolla, recalled yesterday, Pendergrass' mother, Ida, was a cleaning woman at the club and she liked to keep her only son nearby.

"Every day after school, she made him come over to Sciolla's," said A.J. Sciolla, now a leading Philadelphia defense lawyer. "We used to wash dishes together when we were kids."

At age 13, in 1963, as Pendergrass recalled recently in an interview with The Inquirer, he would sneak into the showroom and teach himself to play on the drum kit.

As rock began to overtake pop in the early 1960s, Mr. Sciolla opened "Gene's on the Boulevard," taking the name from a previous owner.

Along with numerous cover bands, Gene's put on shows by such '60s rock and soul bands as the Guess Who, Archie Bell & the Drells, and the Soul Survivors.
He managed Gene's until 1983, when he retired from show business.

Mr. Sciolla belonged to St. Helena's Catholic Church in Olney. Every year, he would help get the Catholic Charities Appeal started with a special show at Sciolla's.

As a member of the Cedarbrook, Melrose, Whitemarsh and Wildwood Country Clubs, he was an avid golfer with a 4 handicap.

"A sharp dresser, an impressive dancer, a loving man, Tony lived his life without want or hesitating," his family wrote in a tribute.
Besides A.J., he is survived by his wife, Nanette Sciolla; a daughter, Nanette Carney; and sons David J. Sciolla and John J. Sciolla. Another daughter, Suzy, died before him. He is also survived by two brothers, Frank and Ralph.

Friends may call from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at St. James Church, 8320 Brookside Rd., Elkins Park, and tomorrow from 9 to 9:45 a.m., followed by a Funeral Mass at 10 a.m. He is to be buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Keller, Ritter, Voigt Connection

It is possible that my great great grandmother Elisabeth Voigt Keller and Mary Voigt Ritter were sisters. As a matter of fact, I am almost certain they were sisters. The more I research these families, the more I can piece together the connection.

If you click onto the link above, you will see a photograph of Mary Voigt Ritter. Although, I do not have a photograph of Elisabeth Voigt Keller, it is possible she resembled this photograph. Can you make out any distinct Gallagher features? The Gallagher eyes, perhaps or the shape of her face? I can see my mother and grandfather's eyes, features of my Aunt Ann's, my Aunt Nana's (grandpop's sister) and even little Shea's (John & Karin's daughter) face. I am sure if I give it more thought, there are many other family members who share some if not most of these features. Can you spot a resemblance or two in your own kids?

We always believed that my grandfather William Gallagher looked more like his mother (Mary Elisabeth Keller) than his father (William Joseph Gallagher). Elisabeth Voigt Keller was my grandfather's grandmother and Mary Keller Gallagher's mother. Interesting?

I am currently researching the families of Jacob and Frederick Keller, brothers to my great great grandfather John Keller. What I have discovered so far was how many Keller cousins, there were who lived in the neighborhood and grew up together. Addresses of Keller Cousins, I found so far are 127 Green Lane, 126 Walnut Street, 128 Walnut Street, 309 Roxborough Avenue and 4200 Pechin Street. There are many more Keller relations in the area between the years 1880 to 1940. It is times like this that, I wish my own grandparents were alive, so I could ask them if they remember these cousins.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Count Down To Consumerism

Oh, did I say consumerism, I meant Christmas.

Today, I have officially completed any gift shopping and wrapping, I intend to do.

Now, it is off to decorating, that is if Bill ever gets the boxes out of storage.

Yes Bill, that is a hint.

Monday, November 26, 2007

How We Spent Our Day

We sat on opposite sides of the sofa snuggled under a quilt with a candle lit and researched family history (more precisely old family neighborhood maps) on our own individual lap top computers.

This is how we celebrated one whole year of marital bliss. We were planning to spend the weekend up the mountains but an emergency surgery on Friday ended that plan. So instead we spent the day doing what we both love to do together and that is family genealogy.

Before any one panics, Bill was the one who had the surgery and he is doing fine though a little sore (maybe a lot sore) but he is on pain meds and that helps a lot.

Anyway, I found a few interesting tid bits of information on those old 1892 maps of Philadelphia and I will be researching and posting them soon. I found a hotel known as Tissots located on Ridge Avenue near the Fall's bridge in East Falls. I also found property in the Manayunk and Roxborough areas that belonged to a Ambrose Ritter and a William Beatty. The Beatty property was located directly next to the Bethany German Lutheran Cemetery were many of our Voigt and Keller relatives are interred. One of John and Elisabeth Keller's daughter (Elisabeth) married a Beatty from Manayunk. I am certain his name was Christopher so it will be interesting to see if this William I found was a relation (perhaps father) to Christopher. I also found another large tract of land located around Ridge and Parker Avenues that a Robert Pester own. Pester is another family member who married into the McCaffery side of the family. Robert Pester married the daughter (Anna) of Colum McCaffery Sr. and sister of Colum McCaffery Jr. who was married to Anna Marie Gallagher.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Preparation Part II

Why is it when I stop at the super market to pick up just a few things, it ends up being a shopping cart full with a hefty price tag at the check-out?

Today, I did it again. I entered the store with the idea that I would pick up some yams, a few pies, a cake and gravy for the Thanksgiving meal. However, I ended up with a dozen bags full of various items that had absolutely nothing to do with the Thanksgiving meal though I am sure I justified (in my head) that I required all those extra items for some reason that has to do with feeding 14 people. For instance, there was that ice tea, hot chocolate and crumb cake that screamed from the grocery store shelves to just buy them.

Of course, I could not pass up the sale items whether I needed them or not. Then as I walked toward the check out aisle, it occurred to me that all these things I just bought would need to be taken into the house, so there I go, "quick" call Joe and Jackie to make sure they stay put at home until I get there so that I had them to help bring all the stuff in.

Did I mention the juggling act of putting all that stuff away? I mean to tell you there is not one inch of space left anywhere in the freezer, refrigerator or pantry in the kitchen. I took up every available space with all these things I desperately needed to buy at that store.

Of course, I also had to point out to everyone in the house what was allowed to eaten now and what cannot be eaten until Thursday.

Just think , I get to cook all this stuff.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Preparation For The Big Day

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. I am expecting 14 people at my house for dinner this day and I am pretty excited to have the opportunity to have so much family around me on the holiday. Besides, we finally get to sit at the formal dining room table for the first time since I bought this house 16 months ago.

Today, I need to go back to the grocery store and pick up a few more things that I still need for the feast that I did not get on my last trip out to the store. I guess I will save Wednesday for cleaning for company. Of course, I will assign the difficult tasks such as scrubbing the bathrooms for Bill.

All in all I am like a little kid waiting for Santa Claus.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Harry Charles Walsh

Born in 1903 to Charles Sumner & Jennie B Walsh. Located in the 1920 census records as living on 221 Gross Street with his parents. Previous census records indicated that Harry was probably an only child. In 1920, Harry's father Charles S. was listed as a clerk in an Oil Refinery and 52 years old. His mother Jennie was listed as a homemaker and 38 years old.

I did find a Harry Charles Walsh in the 1930 census records as being married to Elizabeth and having a daughter Patricia. I know that Harry was married to Regina Cafferty. However, I am not sure if he did have a first wife whom he divorced and/or died. Harry is about fifteen years older than Regina.

Harry and Regina Cafferty Walsh had several daughters and one son. Their son Charles Sumner was named for his paternal grandfather. As I have written in earlier posts, Charles died in Vietnam at the age of 19 years old.

I also want to note that my grandmother and Regina had a close relationship up to Regina's death in the 1980's. Regina died from a brain tumor. It also should be noted that for many years Harry & Regina along with their children lived many years on Ridge Avenue in the East Falls section of Philadelphia.

Harry, Regina and Charles are interred at Beaverly National cemetery.