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Mystery Monday-Helbling or Springsteen Woman and Child

Unknown woman and child tintype from Helbling and Springstein picture collection
Unknown woman and child tintype from Helbling and Springstein picture collection.

This beautiful image was in with photos of the Helbling and Springsteen family. Looking at other images we have, I think this may be Mary Theresa (Knipshield) Helbling, with one of her children. Facial features are similar, and note the size of her hands in both pictures- very large.  She may even be wearing the same earrings! (Some enhancement in Photoshop may be required for further investigation.)

Daguerreotypes were widely available from the early 1840s to the late 1850s. Ambrotypes first came into use in the US in the early 1850s and lasted until the 1860s, when tintypes became more popular and cost effective.

Mary Theresa Knipshield’s first child was born in 1837, her last in 1862.

Follow along with my posts on the Helbling Family Home and School this week to see another image of Mary that is positively identified. What do you think?

Anna May (Beerbower) Helbling

Anna Mae Beerbower, later Helbling.
Anna Mae Beerbower, later Helbling.

Lisa Alzo, one of my favorite genealogy rock stars, is commemorating National Women’s History Month with  “Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month” on her blog “The Accidental Genealogist.” She hopes these prompts will help us tell the story of our female ancestors. Today’s prompt is: Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

First of all, some may ask why women need a month of their own- Women’s History Month- isn’t that sexist? Yes, in a way, but since “History is written by the victors.” (said Winston Churchill, but you can also substitute ‘powerful’ for ‘victors’), women have a bit of catching up to do. It is especially hard to track women through history as well, since most lose their birth name when they marry (except French women, some Scandinavians, and other uppity women here and there). Most women even lose their first name when they say, “I do,” such as Anna becoming “Mrs. G. W. Helbling.”

Interestingly, women get their first name back when they become widows, so if Anna had predeceased her husband, she would have become “Mrs. Anna Helbling.” This knowledge helps pinpoint when a husband died, or left/divorced, as I am finding out about some of the women in my tree who became “widows” while their husband was still alive.

Since land and money were usually controlled by the male head of household, women again leave no tracks, not even in the US Federal censuses, until 1850.

But I digress with justifying why women need their own history month. Back to Anna May.

 

Anna May Beerbower is one of my favorite ancestors- I feel as if I know her, from the stories I have heard all my life. I actually did meet her, but was just a month or two old; I probably only remember the stories of those meetings, rather than actual memories of those times. My mother always did a good job making sure that we knew a lot about the ancestors she loved and knew.

This photo was probably taken 1895-1905 when Anna May was a teenager. I love the innocence in her face, and how sweet her curls are, especially the perfectly placed curl in the middle of her forehead.

 

There will be more about Anna May in future posts.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family photo collection.

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
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Income Taxes for Francis Helbling, 1886

May 1886 Excise Tax Header for Pennsylvania.
May 1886 Excise Tax Header for Pennsylvania.
May 1886 Excise Tax for Francis Helbling.
May 1886 Excise Tax for Francis Helbling.                          (Click for larger and sharper images.)

 

Happy (??) Belated 101st Anniversary to the 16th Amendment, which was ratified February 2, 1913.

As our income tax information comes in this month and we scramble to understand the complex laws that will determine how much we owe Uncle Sam for last year’s income, it is worth noting that the US did not have an income tax for most of its early history. The few tax records remaining, however, will provide interesting information to family historians.

An income tax was proposed during the War of 1812, based on the British Tax Act of 1798. (A few levels of irony there…) The proposal was made in 1814, but because hostilities ended with the Treaty of Ghent in 1815, this progressive tax of 0.833% to 10% was never implemented.

By the time of the Civil War, however, the need for a federal income tax was apparent to pay the high costs of war, and income taxes were imposed on personal income in 1861. Any income over $800 was taxed at 3%. The Revenue Act of 1861 was repealed but another tax was implemented in 1862.

In 1894, an income tax was again passed to compensate for the reduction of federal income due to the Wilson-Gorman Tariff, which also reduced tariffs. Income over $4,000 was taxed at 2%, which only affected about 10% of the households in the United States. In 1895, however, a Supreme Court ruling effectively made this an impractical tax to impose, due to constitutional limits on direct taxes needing to be apportioned by the states per the census enumeration. Thus technically no ‘income taxes’ were paid to the federal government until ratification of the 16th Amendment on 02 February, 1913.

Amendment XVI to the US Constitution:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

“Excise” taxes, however, were imposed before this time, because it was possible to tax on property; such records may be found in the NARA records for the IRS. Some are available on Ancestry.com, such as the record above that shows Francis Helbling paid 85 cents excise tax on his two cattle (40 cents each) and one calf (5 cents tax). I have not proved that this is my ancestor, but it is possible since Francis X. Helbling was a butcher and lived in Pennsylvania at that time. Many families kept some cattle for their own use, too. I have also seen Civil War IRS records for other family members, but am not sure how to find those on my Ancestry tree without going through each head of household’s data sheet for the proper time period. It is great to find these records, though, as they tell us a bit more about daily life for our ancestors.

 

And I’ll bet our ancestors complained about paying taxes just as much as we do.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: National Archives (NARA) microfilm series: M603, M754-M771, M773-M777, M779-M780, M782, M784, M787-M789, M791-M793, M795, M1631, M1775-M1776, T227, T1208-T1209. Accessed 02/01/14.

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States. Accessed 02/01/14.

3) Of course, other taxes were imposed such as road taxes, a poll tax to vote, etc. Those records are sometimes available as well.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Helbling Family Home & School, Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Helbling Family Home & School

 

Helbling family home in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. From a family photo but image may also be found in St. Augustine Diamond Jubilee, page 40-2, St. Augustine Catholic Church, Lawrenceville, PA. From a family photo but image may also be found in St. Augustine Diamond Jubilee, page 40-2, St. Augustine Catholic Church, Lawrenceville, PA.
Helbling family home in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania.
From a family photo but image may also be found in St. Augustine Diamond Jubilee, page 40-2, St. Augustine Catholic Church, Lawrenceville, PA.

In the year 1854, the Franz Xavier and Maria Barbara (Helbling) Helbling home was across from the Allegheny Cemetery and halfway between Sharpsburg and St. Philomena’s Roman Catholic Church. The Redemptionist Fathers of St. Philomena’s often stopped at the home of the devout Helbling family when traveling between the Church on Fourteenth St. and Sharpsburg. (The home was still standing in the 1930s, but 4807-4809 Butler St., Lawrenceville, PA, is now an empty lot.) German Catholics were very devoted to parochial schools- they felt their children should start their day with a Mass and that they should be schooled in a Catholic school. The Helblings had eleven children, and there were many more children of German Catholic families in the town of Lawrenceville, PA, near Pittsburgh which was rapidly becoming an important industrial city.

The Helbling children attended the English-speaking school at St. Philomena’s on 46th St., but it was quite a long way to travel. Father John Hotz, C.SS.R. visited the Helblings at their home in the fall of 1854, and asked if the Helblings would board a teacher who could instruct their children. A schoolroom was set up on the second floor of the double house, and the teacher arrived.

 

Nine of the Helbling children attended school with this teacher: Elizabeth Barbara, Francis X., William, Philomena Rosanna, Catherine Josephine, Mary Sophia, John Baptist, and Joseph Anthony Helbling; sometimes Bertha Louise, just 2 or 3, attended class. The teacher was very stern and strange, only left the house on Sundays to go to Mass, and wore a long black robe but was not actually a priest. (He may have been a Redemptorist lay brother but no information has confirmed this.) He prayed to a picture of Our Lady of Guadeloupe constantly. The story told is that when, one day, Mrs. Helbling sent little daughter Bertha Louise to get some corn cobs from the yard, the child returned with them and said, “I got them.” The teacher, not being very fluent in English, thought that the child had said a curse word, and said, “Bertha Louise is surely going to hell.”

The adults in the family soon began to question the eccentric behavior of this teacher that their children greatly disliked and feared. The family never even knew his name- he was always just addressed as “Teacher.” As a mother, Mary Theresa (Knipshield) Helbling feared for her children that the teacher was about to lose his mind, and asked Father Hotz to dismiss him from their school and home. Fr. Hotz transferred the teacher to a school in Sharpsburg, where he did in fact lose his mind and have to be removed. Nothing further is known of him.

To be continued…

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) St. Augustine’s Parish History 1863-1938. Personal copy from a cousin, but the entire history may be found online at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~njm1/StAugJub-TC.html, page 11. Accessed 1-22-2014.

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Tombstone Tuesday- Dr. John H. O’Brien

John H. O'Brien- Headstone. (Used with permission of photographer.)
John H. O’Brien- Headstone. (Used with permission of photographer.)

My mother always thought that her family were most probably just poor Irish or German immigrants, with little education and only blue collar jobs. Little education did not mean little intellect, however- as an example, her father was brilliant and read everything. With the publication of the 1940 census last year I was surprised to learn that her father had only completed 8th grade, and her mother completed 2 years of high school. Education was very valued within the family, and that has been passed on through subsequent generations.

I wish my mother had been able to know about her family- by the time I found the early information on the family, it was too late. She would have been very happy to know about Dr. John H. O’Brien, who was the maternal grandfather of G. W. Helbling.

John H. O’Brien was born in June, 1808 in Carrick on Suir, Ireland. His parent’s names are as yet unknown- there are a lot of John O’Brien’s in Ireland!

Dr. John H. O'Brien- headstone detail
Dr. John H. O’Brien- headstone detail

John O’Brien graduated from the University of Dublin with a medical degree sometime before 21 Jun 1831 when he immigrated to the United States. Western Pennsylvania was in the midst of a cholera outbreak around that time, so his medical skills were put to good use right away. The inscription on the monument is appropriate for his calling, and states:

Blessed is he that understandeth concerning

the needy and the poor, the Lord will deliver

him in the evil day. -XL Psalm 

Dr. John H. O’Brien married Jane Neel who descended from early pioneers, and they lived in Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania, in various places such as Baldwin, Scott, and Pittsburgh. It has not been as easy to find information about John’s life and career as with other doctors- possibly because he was Irish, and they were looked down upon? Or because he initially practiced out on the frontier of Western Pennsylvania?

O'Brien Headstone- Anna Bell O'Brien and Eleanor O'Brien detail. Possibly daughters of John O'Brien and Jane Neel?
O’Brien Headstone- Anna Bell O’Brien and Eleanor O’Brien detail.

John and Jane had at least 10 children, and possibly two more who are listed on the O’Brien monument in Saint Mary Catholic Cemetery, Lawrenceville, Allegheny Co., PA, Section H.

Nothing is known about Jane Neel O’Brien’s death as yet, and she does not appear to be buried in the same cemetery, at least, not with this same name. She did survive him, and one researcher states she died 06 Dec 1895. More to come about the children and Jane Neel and her family in upcoming posts.

A grandchild of John and Jane is also buried in this plot, and listed on the monument:

O'Brien Headstone- Charlie O'Brien detail
O’Brien Headstone- Charlie O’Brien detail

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) The 1940 census was a goldmine for family historians, if you can find how they were indexed- Gerard W. Helbling is listed on Ancestry.com as “Gerhart W. Hebling.” I found the family by looking for their daughter and her husband- they lived in the same house.

2) 1940 US Federal Census for Gerard W. Helbling: Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: St Louis, St Louis City, Missouri; Roll: T627_2208; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 96-670. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls. Accessed 12 Jan 2014.

3) I have been unsuccessful as yet getting information from the University of Dublin re: John O’Brien’s attendance there.

4) A John O’Brien’s immigration is listed in 1840 in Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania, at Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2010. WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY, Pittsburgh, compilers. A List of Immigrants Who Applied for Naturalization Papers in the District Courts of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh: the society. Vol. 2, 1841-1855. 1978. 139p. 7,800 names, p. 82. Original data: Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research, 2012. I believe this may be another John O’Brien, or maybe when his papers were filed. More investigation is needed. Accessed 12 Jan 2014.

5) Find a Grave Memorial # 55460843 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=55460843. Accessed 14 Jan 2014.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.