So what does one do when their military career is over at age 15?
Abram Furman Springsteen returned to Indianapolis to attend a private school after the Civil War. He later worked as a brickmason in Indianapolis after learning the trade from his uncle, also named Abram Springsteen (1825-1895).
Abram F. also worked as a clerk in the Federal Pension Department in Washington, D.C. War Department, then transferred to Los Angeles, CA c. 1915. He did receive a pension for his military service, as he was disabled “by Bronchitis and lung disease, contracted between Marietta and Atlanta Ga- between the 8th & 17 July 1864.”
Abram Springsteen married Laura May Longfellow on 11 Jan 1872 in Huntington County, Indiana. The Rev. C. M. Cain married them; Abram was 21, and Laura just 19. They had a child together on 20 Mar 1873, but Laura May died just 24 days after the birth of their daughter, 13 April 1873 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Possibly childbirth complications?)
Abram was living with his parents, brother, and a household servant when the June 1880 US Federal Census was taken. He was listed as a “Clerk in a C. Store.” His daughter Laura Grace Alien Longfellow Springsteen, was not living with them, and we have been unable to find where she was living at that time. Sadly, she too died at a young age, even younger than her namesake- Laura was just 12 in 1885 when she passed away at her grandparent’s home, on 29 March.
Four months after little Laura’s death, Abram remarried. The Rev. J. Walter officiated at the wedding of Abram and Emma Isola Coombs (1866-1938) on 22 July 1885 at St. Patrick’s Church in Washington, D. C.
Emma and Abram had three children: Walter F. Springsteen (1886-1886), Ruby Marie born 4 July 1887, and Perry Harrison born 6 June 1891. Abram and Emma divorced 28 June 1912 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
On 30 October 1912, in Indianapolis, Abram married Birdie Crozier. This was her second marriage, as her first husband, Charles B. Rosengarten, died 12 January, 1911.
Abram and Birdie had about eighteen years together before he passed away August 6, 1930 in Sawtelle Military Hospital, Los Angeles, CA. He was a resident of Santille, CA at the time. He is buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery.
Birdie (1873-1932) outlived Abram and collected his pension after his death, $20 per month. She died 10 January 1932 with her residence listed as Hermosa Beach, CA.
Abram was very patriotic, and even when very advanced in years, would walk up and down the street or boardwalk playing his drum on patriotic holidays and in parades. He was very sentimental- not just on Sundays- and very proud of his service to his country.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Family photographs, ephemera, bible.
2) 1880 US Federal Census, Jefferson Springsteen as head of household (indexed as Jeffers. Springstime on Ancestry.com)- Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana; Roll: 295; Family History Film: 1254295; Page: 244D; Enumeration District: 114; Image: 0190. Accessed 7/5/14.
Telling the family stories is a wonderful legacy to pass on to your children.
But I can’t find ANYTHING about my ancestor ANYWHERE…
Don’t know much about the actual stories of the lives of your ancestors? There are many resources available, both online and at specific places that can help you piece together a life and/or a family. If you are not lucky enough to have many family stories, you can learn more about your ancestors to help put their lives in context.
Newspapers are a great resource for learning the stories of ancestors, or the places and times in which they lived. Newspapers of 50+ years ago included who was visiting where, long or one-line obituaries, detailed political and voter information, etc. The obituary of Jefferson Springsteen (1820-1909) tells of him running away to join the circus as a boy- how could he then be upset when his son Abram Springsteen ran away to join the Union Army as a drummer boy at age 12? There is a story there… A short note about Miss Edith Roberts (1899-1982) taking first place in the Declamatory Contest as well as “the Dramatic’ is on the same page as the notice of the “Death of Grandma Roberts” (her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts, 1835-1917). What mixed emotions Edith must have felt that day! Such information from newspapers allows us to realize and then understand the challenges and triumphs of those who have gone before, and help us tell the stories of our ancestor’s lives.
Genealogy Bank is my favorite newspaper website for ease of use and breadth of papers held, though it is a for-pay website. Ancestry.com also has newspapers, as do a few other for-pay websites. Some favorite free websites are chroniclingamerica.loc.gov, http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc for California newspapers, and http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html for New York state and other newspapers, postcards, etc.
If you can’t find articles about your own family, read through the headlines, ads, and social columns of the newspaper from where they lived and during that time period- it will help to put your ancestors into the context of their times.
There are many books that can be found in the history section of the bookstore or library that can help you to piece together more information about your ancestor’s probable daily life. (Jane Austen’s England by Roy Adkins is on my list to read- it tells about everyday life in the late 18th and early 19th century England.) Used or out-of-print books may be found at abebooks.com, alibris.com, or a local used bookseller can do a search for you. Many other family or social history sources can be found on Google Books (books.google.com), such as county histories. Although your ancestor may not have had the money or inclination to buy a writeup in a county history (AKA “Mug Books” since they sometimes required a payment to be included), just reading about the area in the first part of the history can give an idea of the topography, religion, economics, goods and services provided, social groups, etc. Google Books may give you a snippet of information from a book so that you can determine if you would like to buy it, or it may provide an ebook for free to download. The Internet Archive (https://archive.org) has millions of pages of books, videos, etc. available for free. (Sadly, some of them are OCR’d images and may be hard to read, but may still be useful.) They also offer “The Way Back Machine” to help you find old web pages from now-defunct websites. Another good free online book source is hathitrust.org.
WorldCat (http://www.worldcat.org) is a great place to find a book, and then your library may be able to get it on interlibrary loan for you if it can’t be found locally. College libraries that include manuscript or special collections and dissertations may provide wonderful information. Some may be dry and/or scholarly, but you may be able to find information that can help you enhance the date and place information you already know about your family.
Here are some social history questions to ask, and research, about your ancestor’s time, place, and life:
What events were going on locally, nationally?
What was the economy like? Boom time or bust, or just a long struggle like in the 1890s?
What were prevailing religious views?
What were political leanings and issues of those in the area where your ancestor lived?
What provided income to your ancestor, and how common was that occupation?
Some of the answers can help provide family stories. We inherited some strange tools- they were very old and it was hard to tell what they were used for. They belonged to descendants of George Lee (1821-aft 1880) who lived in Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, England, which was a large shoe-making center. George and his sons all came to America, and at least one son, Josiah, was a shoemaker. With the knowledge that shoemaking was important in their hometown in England, and then the US Federal Census that listed shoemaking as an occupation for Josiah, some online research for shoemaking tools helped us identify the purpose of the artifacts. The tools we have were probably Josiah’s, and now we can add shoemakers to the family stories.
When telling your family stories, whether in print, electronic form, or oral stories, it is important to ALWAYS differentiate general facts from those known specifically about your family. Also, document sources with proper citations, so that you or others may revisit those sources to verify or disprove ideas and ‘facts.’
Adding social history to your research can give a deeper understanding of the lives of our ancestors, and enrich the family stories we leave as a legacy to our descendants.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Newspaper clippings are from the Prairie City News, around 02 Feb 1917.
2) I have no affiliation with any of the websites listed, and do not receive any benefits from them financially or in product. (FTC Disclosure.)
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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.
Laura May Longfellow was born about 1853 in Ohio to Jane (maiden name unknown, b. 1831) and George W. Longfellow (1817-1893). The family is found in the US Federal Censuses in Kankakee, Illinois in 1860, and in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1870. In both censuses, her father is listed as a Hotel Keeper and her mother a Landlady.
Laura married Abram Furman Springsteen (1850-1930, and a Civil War Veteran) on 11 Jan 1872 in Huntington Co., Indiana; the Rev. C.M. Cain officiated. Laura was 19, Abram 21.
Their daughter Laura Grace Alien Longfellow was born on 20 Mar 1873 in Indianapolis. Laura died just 24 days after giving birth, and their daughter Laura was raised by her paternal grandparents, Jefferson Springsteen (1820-1909) and Anna Conner (1824-1887). Sadly, little Laura died young, at the age of 12 years.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) 1860 US Federal Census: Source Citation- Year: 1860; Census Place: Kankakee, Kankakee, Illinois; Roll: M653_192; Page: 17; Image: 21; Family History Library Film: 803192. Accessed on Ancestry.com 12/3/13.
2) 1870 US Federal Census- Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Indianapolis Ward 7 (2nd Enum), Marion, Indiana; Roll: M593_339; Page: 440B; Image: 314; Family History Library Film: 545838. Accessed on Ancestry.com 12/3/13.
3) Springsteen Family Bible record of births, marriage, and deaths.
4) Obituary of Laura May Springsteen (daughter) published 30 Mar 1885 in the Indianapolis News- have just the clipping.
5) See also Find A Grave Memorials, where some of this information is also published:
Abram F. Springsteen: Find A Grave Memorial# 3755016