Census Sunday – The Rabe Family in 1910

The amazing thing about genealogy is that sometimes a record that seems so minor to your larger family history can lead to connections across multiple families and fill so many blanks. Such is the case of the Rabe family of Topeka, Kansas.

Late in the night, when I tend to lose focus on my research, I bounce from ancestor to ancestor, adding records to my family tree as I stumble upon them. One record collection I was aware of but hadn’t searched in sometime was the “United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012″ collection on Familysearch.org. As my Porubsky and Schulmeister ancestors are Volga Germans, I did a simple surname search for Porubsky. In the process, I located the obituary of Catherine Porubsky (Reeb).

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In reading the names in this record, I instantly recognized Porubsky and Schwerdt. Reeb sounded familar, but my Topeka relatives were Rabes, not Reebs. Catherine Rabe was in my family tree, married to Matthew Porubsky, but she lacked parents in my database. In fact, I had three Rabes in my tree and they all lacked parents.

  • Catherine E. Rabe was married to Matthew G. Porubsky
  • Elizabeth B. Rabe was married to Joseph A. Schulmeister
  • Joseph Rabe was married to Caroline Schulmeister

The three Rabes lived in Topeka and were born within 15 years of each other. The original obituary named a sister Pauline, but no other siblings. Could they be related? I set to find out! I knew she was born in 1901 to John and Catherine, who were born in Russia. From other record sources, I also knew that Elizabeth was born in 1889 and Joseph in 1887. I located a Rabe family in the 1910 United States Census. The details I previously had confirmed from later census and marriage records fit well with this 1910 record.

The three Rabes in my family tree were siblings, and each had married into the family of my ancestors, making them my 3rd great aunts and uncles.

John_Rabe_1910_USCensus_Ancestry

State: Kansas
County: Kearny
Township: Lakin
Name of Incorporated Place:
Ward of the City:
Enumerated by me on the 2nd of May
Henry H. Cochran, Enumerator

Supervisor’s District: 7
Enumeration District: 83
Sheet No. 9A

Dwelling No. 199
Family No. 200

Address: Unknown (not listed)

Rabe, John, head, male, white, 45 years old, 1st marriage, married 25 years. Born in Russ German. Father born in Russ German. Mother born in Russ German. Immigrated in 1900. Has applied for citizenship and has his first papers (Pa.). Speaks German. Works as a tenant farmer working on his own account (meaning, not an employee or employer). Is not out of work; out of work 0 weeks in prior year. Can read: No. Can write: No. Rents the farm, which is found on Agriculture Schedule 81.1

” Katie, wife, female, white, 45 years old, 1st marriage, married 25 years. 12 children born, 9 still living. Born in Russ German. Father born in Russ German. Mother born in Russ German. Immigrated in 1900. Speaks German. Not employed. Can read: No. Can write: No.

” Joe, son, male, white, 22 years old, single. Born in Russ German. Father born in Russ German. Mother born in Russ German. Immigrated in 1900. Speaks German. Employed as a laborer in the beet fields. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes.

” Anna, daughter, female, white, 17 years old, single. Born in Russ German. Father born in Russ German. Mother born in Russ German. Immigrated in 1900. Speaks German. Employed as a laborer in the beet fields. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes. Attended school anytime since September 1, 1909: Yes.

” Frank, son, male, white, 11 years old, single. Born in Russ German. Father born in Russ German. Mother born in Russ German. Immigrated in 1900. Speaks German. Employed as a laborer in the beet fields. Can read: No. Can write: No. Attended school anytime since September 1, 1909: Yes.

” Elizabeth, daughter, female, white, 10 years old, single. Born in Russ German. Father born in Russ German. Mother born in Russ German. Immigrated in 1900. Speaks German. Employed as a laborer in the beet fields. Can read: No. Can write: No. Attended school anytime since September 1, 1909: Yes.

” Katie, daughter, female, white, 8 years old, single. Born in Kansas. Father born in Russ German. Mother born in Russ German. Not employed. Attended school anytime since September 1, 1909: Yes.

” Jacob, son, male, white, 6 years old, single. Born in Colorado. Father born in Russ German. Mother born in Russ German. Not employed. Attended school anytime since September 1, 1909: No.

” Mary, daughter, female, white, 4 years old, single. Born in Colorado. Father born in Russ German. Mother born in Russ German. Not employed.

” Pauline, daughter, female, white, 2 years old, single. Born in Kansas. Father born in Russ German. Mother born in Russ German. Not employed.

Source:
1. “Catherine Porubsky,” The Topeka Capital Journal, 22 Sep 1992, pg 3D; “United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-42560-12683-35?cc=2367299 : 14 August 2015), 100415107 > image 7336 of 8998; American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln.

2. 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Kearny County, Lakin, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 83, sheet 9A, dwelling 199, family 200, household of John Rabe; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 August 2016), FHL microfilm 1374454, citing NARA publication  T624_441.

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The Porubsky-Schulmeister Nuptials

“Twenty-one year old Carl Porubsky, the son of Mathias and Christina Vogelman Porubsky was wed today to eighteen-year old Elizabeth Schulmeister in a family ceremony at Saint Joseph German Catholic Church in Topeka.”

If I was writing a wedding announcement for these two, it would probably start out with my just-the-facts manner before devolving into a mess of a discussion about roses, 3-button suits, and broaches. Alas, I am not the writer of wedding announcements. This picture was taken on Karl and Lizzie’s wedding day, Sunday, 26 August 1906.¹

I don’t know the time of the service, and unlike other Christian denominations, Mass times for the Catholic churches don’t appear in The Topeka Daily Capital. The weather this Sunday was described as fair, with temperatures in the upper 70’s to lower 80’s.² Surely, for August in Topeka, it was a lovely day to get married.

Carl and Elizabeth would see this marriage last fifty-five years, until Carl’s death in 1962. Elizabeth died in 1972.

IMG_5793_Fotor copy

 

Sources and Notes:

  1. Names appear in the marriage license announcement as Karl Bornesky and Lizzie Schulmeister. “Marriage Licenses,” The Topeka [KS] Daily Capital, 26 Aug 1906, page 11, col 4; digital image, (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 7 Aug 2016), Newspapers.com.
  2. “Weather Conditions,” The Topeka [KS] Daily Capital, 26 Aug 1906, page 1, col 5; digital image, (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 7 Aug 2016), Newspapers.com.
  3. Carl Porubsky and Elizabeth Schulmeister Porubsky, photograph, taken in Topeka, Kansas, on 26 August 1906; digital image, photograph of original, taken 2016 by Joseph Lowry; privately held by Barbara Viti, [address for private use], Tallmadge, Ohio; Two young adults in marriage outfits, one a dark 3-button suit and the other a white gown with flowers; Provenance is Carl and Elizabeth Porubsky to Caroline Porubsky Wolford to Barbara Wolford Viti.

Photo of the Day – January 6, 2015

My great grandmother Caroline Porubsky Wolford had the gift of the gab, a traditionally Irish phrase, but one that applies nonetheless to this Volga German lady. From her home in Topeka, she made regular phone calls back east to her daughter Barb and granddaughters Julie, Marie and Becky in Youngstown. I’m guessing this snapshot was taken sometime in the 1980’s while great grandma made one of those calls.

Census Sunday – 1910 U.S. Census for Mathias Porubsky and Family

Click to enlarge
The 1910 Federal Census was the first for Mathias Porubsky and his family. Though they had been in the United States for 10 years, they missed the 1900 Census by just a few months, having arrived in Baltimore in June. Census enumerations are typically conducted in April. Reading the information below, there is so much interesting information to be gleaned. First of all, after just 9 years in the United States, the family owned a home free of a mortgage. Of course, many people in the household were working to support the family and probably help pay for that house. Mathias and sons Johannes and Joseph worked in the railroad shops, most likely for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Even daughter Elizabeth, age 16, works as a laborer in a box factory. 
The Porubsky household was home to three generations. Their daughter Ann lived in the home with her husband Andrew Wasinger and their son Karl. Two boarders also lived there, who no doubt served as a source of additional income to the family. Interestingly, members of the Kaberline family lived on either side of the Porubsky’s. Mathias grandson Charles (late the owner of Porubsky’s Deli) would marry Lydia Kaberline in the 1940s. 

State: Kansas
County: Shawnee
Name of Incorporated Place: Topeka City
Ward of the City: 1
Enumerated by me on the 21th day of April
*blank*, Enumerator

Supervisor’s District: 7
Enumeration District: 142
Sheet No. 3B

Dwelling No. 64
Family No. 68
Address: 600 N Quincy Street

Porubsky, Mathias, head, male, white, 53 years old, married 27 years. Born in Austria-Hungry/Slov***. Father born in Austria-Hungry/Slov***. Mother born in Austria-Hungry/Slov***. Immigrated in 1901. *unsure if he’s listed as naturalized or alien – illegible*. Speaks German. Employed as a machinist in the R.R. shops. Is not out of work. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes. Attended school in the last year: no. Owned a house free of a mortgage.

” Christina, wife, female, white, 47 years old, married 27 years. Number of children born: 9. Number of children living: 7. Born in Russia Ger. Father born in Russia German. Mother born in Russia (Ger). Immigrated in 1901. Speaks German. Not employed. Can read: No. Can write: No. Attended school in the last year: no.

” Johannes, son, male, white, 23 years old, single. Born in Russia German. Father born in Austria-Hungry/Slov***. Mother born in Russia (Ger). Immigrated in 1901. Speaks Ger. English. Employed as a laborer in the R.R. shops. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes. Attended school in the last year: no.
” Joseph, son, male, white, 18 years old, 2nd marriage, single. Born in Russia German. Father born in Austria-Hungry/Slov***. Mother born in Russia (Ger). Immigrated in 1901. Speaks Ger. English. Employed as a machinist in the R.R. shops. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes. Attended school in the last year: no.
” Elizabeth, daughter, female, white, 16 years old, single. Born in Russia German. Father born in Austria-Hungry/Slov***. Mother born in Russia (Ger). Immigrated in 1901. Speaks Ger. English. Employed as a laborer in a box factory. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes. Attended school in the last year: no.
” Mathias, son, male, white, 10 years old, single. Born in Russia German. Father born in Austria-Hungry/Slov***. Mother born in Russia (Ger). Immigrated in 1901. Speaks Ger. English. Not employed. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes. Attended school in the last year: yes.
” George, son, male, white, 7 years old, single. Born in Kansas. Father born in Austria-Hungry/Slov***. Mother born in Russia (Ger). Speaks Ger. English. Not employed. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes. Attended school in the last year: no.
Kaberline, Andrew, son-in-law, male, white, 24 years old, married. Born in Kansas. Father born in Russia (Ger). Mother born in Russia (Ger). Speaks German. Employed as a machinist in the R.R. shops. Is not out of work. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes. Attended school in the last year: no.

” Anna, daughter, female, white, 20 years old, married 1 year. Number of children born: 1. Number of children living: 1. Born in Russia Ger. Father born in Russia German. Mother born in Russia (Ger). Immigrated in 1901. Speaks Ger English. Not employed. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes. Attended school in the last year: no.

” Karl, son, male, white, 3/12 years old (3 mos), single. Born in Kansas. Father born in Kansas. Mother born in Russia (Ger). Doesn’t speak. Not employed. Can read: No. Can write: No. Attended school in the last year: no.
Beyer, George, boarder, male, white, 24 years old, single. Born in Russia (Ger). Father born in Russia Ger. Mother born in Russia Ger. Immigrated in 1907. Alien. Speaks Ger English. Laborer in a flour mill. Is not out of work. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes. Attended school in the last year: No.
Balosky, Joseph, boarder, male, white, 33 years old, single. Born in Austria-Hungary/German. Father born in Austria-Hungary/German. Mother born in Austria-Hungary (Ger). Immigrated in 1903. Alien. Speaks German English. Laborer who works odd jobs. Currently out of work. Can read: Yes. Can write: Yes. Attended school in the last year: No.

Source:
1910 U.S. Federal Census, Shawnee County, Topeka City, population schedule, Enumeration District 142, Sheet 3B, Dwelling 68. Mathias Porubsky; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 August 2014): FHL microfilm: 1374470. National Archives microfilm publication Roll T624_457.

Treasure Chest Thursday – Manifest of the SS Roland

One hundred and fourteen years ago today, my 3rd great grandparents Mathias and Christina Porubsky, their son Carl and five of his siblings were on an adventure at sea. The Porubsky’s had left their Volga German community in Kamenka, Russia, perhaps to escape the Tsar and policies of assimilation and were en route to Topeka, Kansas. It was there that an enclave of Volga Germans had established themselves. They had set out aboard the SS Roland of Norddeutscher (North German) Lloyd. At 345 feet, the Roland was just a few dozen feet longer than today’s Staten Island Ferry. They sailed from Breman, Germany and were en route to Baltimore, Maryland.
The Porubsky family was among up to 800 people stuffed below deck in 3rd class. On June 22, 1900, they arrived at the passenger terminal along the Patapsco River and proceeded overland to Kansas.
This manifest marks their journey to a new life in America. At the time of his arrival, Mathias Porubsky was a 44-year old laborer; his wife Christina was 38. An uncle had paid their way, although the identity and relationship of this uncle remains unknown. They arrived with $20 in their pockets (about $550 in today’s dollars). Checkmarks indicate that all but the youngest two could read and write.
The manifest as located through FamilySearch.org
The manifest as located through Ancestry.com
Finding the above images was not without it’s small challenges. Both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org have the manifest in their record collections but neither is perfect. The two sites, which are the largest genealogical record holders in the world, only sporadically overlap so it’s not always the case that both sites will have the same record.
I retrieved the Ancestry.com manifest because it appeared as a ‘hint’ on Mathias Porubsky’s page. Ancestry.com hints allow users to quickly identify records that may be related to their ancestor and attach them to their family tree. Unfortunately, many people accept every single hint without closely examining the record to ensure it belongs to their ancestor. The Ancestry.com record was poorly scanned, as it is crooked and has several columns (18 and 19) chopped up. That said, the index (transcription) of the manifest was spot-on and I was to quickly find my ancestors on the page.
The FamilySearch.org document is a very clean scan, but slightly darker. Unfortunately, a very poor transcription for this document made it much harder to locate. The ship was listed as the SS Poland, instead of the SS Roland. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how the family name was listed because numerous searches failed to turn up anything. Having already located the Ancestry.com version of the manifest, I used my search skills knowledge to search for a simpler surname I knew was further down the same page. Sure enough, after I located ship mate Joseph Zadja, I scrolled up to find the Porubsky family.
Having these types of documents tells a lot about the travel conditions my ancestors endured to arrive at a new life. When paired with other documents, we can start to piece together a life story, which is the ultimate goal for any genealogist.

Sources:
“Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1948 and 1954-1957,” index and images, Ancestry.com (http://interactive.ancestry.com/8679/mdt844_19-0177/696872?backurl=&ssrc=pt_t28087067_p5130324876_kpidz0q3d5130324876z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid&backlabel=ReturnRecord : accessed 18 Jun 2014), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; Series: T844; Roll: 19

“Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-29149-8032-62?cc=2018318 : accessed 18 Jun 2014), 1891-1948 (NARA T844) > 19 – Jun 7, 1900-Feb 25, 1901 > image 180 of 876; citing NARA microfilm publications M255, M596 and T844.

Treasure Chest Thursday – Naturalization Index for Carl Porubsky

My great great grandfather Carl Porubsky arrived in the United States from Russia in 1900. He signed an intent to naturalize in 1918 but it was not until 1938 that he became an American citizen. By then, he was a 53 year old grandfather. These index cards indicate that he was naturalized in the United States District Court in Topeka, Kansas on April 18, 1938. Witnesses to the naturalization include William W. Werner, a neighbor and his brother-in-law Harry Devlin, likewise a neighbor on Madison Street. Harry was married to Carl’s sister Elizabeth.

Front. Click to enlarge.

Back. Click to enlarge.

Source:
United States. U.S. Department of Labor. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Naturalization Index for the Western District of Missouri, Compiled 1930 – 1950, Documenting the Period Ca. 1848 – Ca. 1950. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Record Group 21. Ancestry.com. Web. 21 Jan 2014. <Link>.

Matrilineal Monday – Caroline Porubsky at Age 19

My great grandmother at age 19. This photo is stamped ‘Jan 20 1929’ while below is hand written ‘I was 19 years old’ ‘grand(sic?)’. 
I rarely scan the back of photos. Obviously, they are blank most of the time but I loved that this one included a very specific date. Imagine Caroline in her house at 1015 N Madison bundling up for the Topeka winter and heading to a photo studio. Perhaps this is a school photo? For a church directory? Maybe my grandmother has an answer…
Photo from a family collection.