Census Surprises: Emelia Heidemann

1880 US Federal Census for Emelie Heidemann, via Ancestry.com.
1880 US Federal Census for Emelie Heidemann, via Ancestry.com. (Click to enlarge.)

Helbling Family (Click for Family Tree)

Sometimes, as genealogists, we are so busy checking off our list of what we need for a person, such as census, birth, marriage, and death records, military, etc., that we don’t slow down and peruse what is going on around the person’s name in the record. That is what happened in this research session- due to such a variety of spellings of Emelie’s first name, and not being positive about her last name (see previous posts linked below), when I did find her I was excited. It verified her last name, so then I went to look for more.

But wait- Emelie was “at school” in 1880. (I had no idea when she was born when I started researching her.) There was an Annie Heidemann listed right after her, listed as “at school” as well- neither listed as ‘daughter.’ Hmmm, no parents listed there. Moving up the census page, there were no other Heidemanns to be found- all persons were “at school” and had different last names, plus four women over the age of 52 were listed as “boarding”; there was also a younger “servant” listed. Time to check the previous page in the census. Jackpot- it had 20 listed as “teacher,” 1 “Infirmarier” (nurse?), 3 seamstresses, and 23 as ‘lay sister.’ There were also 3 more “at school” to add to the 28 on the page with Emelie and Annie.

So it looks as if the Heidemann sisters (or cousins?) were in a boarding school, probably Catholic as:

1) They were a German family;

2) ‘Lay sisters’ were enumerated;

3) Many teachers were enumerated, and their first names sound a lot like Catholic sister’s names; they did have a last name listed however, and no title such as “Sr” (for “Sister”).

4) The only male in the grouping was the servant, age 24.

I did not see Emelie & Annie’s names listed on the enumeration for Herman Heidemann for 1880, so initially thought that it verified them attending a boarding school. Possibly, though, the “Matilda” and “Ida” listed with Hermann were Emelie and Annie respectively, with the school using their formal names, family using their middle names as Germans often did. If Emelie and Annie were additional children, however, there would have been a child born each year in the family- not impossible, but somewhat unusual, and the births were off by a year. The question remains about why they might have been enumerated both at school and at home.

To confuse the matter further, the City of St. Louis actually did TWO enumerations for the 1880 US Federal Census- one in June, which is the one with Emelie and Annie listed in the school grouping but not listed as such with Herman, and then another in November, when those names were also not listed with Herman’s family. There is another twist too- Herman’s wife is listed as Louisa in one but Lizzie in the other. Ancestry.comas a Missouri marriage record forHermann Heidemann to Elisabeth Kastrups, and some Ancestry trees have her listed as ‘Elizabeth Louisa Kastrups’ so that could explain the two different names for her. That marriage date of 17 Oct 1863 could fit, though the oldest child I could find was Edward, born in 1869; that would be an unusual amount of time to go with no children, though they may have lost some children early in their marriage.

And then dear Herman Heidemann- the 1895 St. Louis City Directory lists 4 men with the same name: one a carpenter, one a cooper, one a teamster, and one with no occupation listed, and they all lived in different homes.

Ancestry.com family trees only added to the confusion- many persons apparently have mixed up the Hermans. The 1870 census on Ancestry did not help much, although there was a Herman in Chicago but that family did not have the older children.


Obviously, we could use some help in sorting this tangle of Heidemanns, but probably need someone more closely related with better knowledge of the family. I do feel confident about Emelie marrying Fred Spahn- I have heard the Spahn name before in Helbling family discussions. Please contact us if you have any more information about the Heidemann family and Emelie Heidemann Spahn.


Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) 1880 US Federal Census entries for Emelie and Ann Heidemann- Year: 1880; Census Place: Saint Louis, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 722; Family History Film: 1254722; Page: 655D; Enumeration District: 100; Image: 0738; via Ancestry.com.

2) 1880 US Federal Census entry for Hermann Heidemann family- Year: 1880; Census Place: Saint Louis, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 722; Family History Film: 1254722; Page: 66B; Enumeration District: 106; Image: 0136; via Ancestry.com

3) Hunting For Bears, comp.. Missouri Marriages, 1766-1983 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.


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