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Matrilineal Monday: The Springsteen Family Origins

Springsteen Word Cloud

Springsteen Family, Beerbower Family (Click for Family Trees)

The Springsteen surname is one you may have heard all your life, but it has not really been used for least 3 generations in our line because it was a matrilineal name. Abram Springsteen, “the youngest drummer boy in the Civil War,” was famous in our family. (Actually, there were quite a few drummer boys just barely into the double digits of age, and you can read more about Abram in our many previous posts- just put “Springsteen” into the search box.) The name “Anna Missouri Springsteen” (1854-1939) was quite a favorite- she likely was named for her paternal aunt, Missouri E. (Springsteen) Scotten, and was the sister of our young drummer boy. Anna M. married Edgar Peter Beerbower (1849-1916) in 1873, ending the name in our line (though they did name their son “Edgar Springsteen Beerbower”). They finally moved to Missouri too- wonder if that had been a dream, thus they used the name ‘Missouri” for daughters? I am so lucky to have one of Anna M.’s rings to wear everyday, and honor her memory.

According to the Dictionary of American Family Names, the surname Springsteen comes from the Dutch or North German language. It is what is considered to be a ‘topographic’ name, which is a name based on a place or a landscape object, such as the surname, “Hill.”

A ‘springsteen’ is a specific type of stone that is used as a stepping stone between houses or on unpaved roads. That seems somewhat foreign to us today- why were such things common? For a moment, time travel and put yourself into the context of older times: muddy, unpaved and rutted roads; no lawn services to provide a lush lawn; horses both with riders and pulling wagons, herded animals coming to market through town, dogs and cats running free through town and the farm, and all those critters leaving their mark on the road in piles that get run over and splashed- yucch. Let’s add in human critters spitting tobacco and etc. everywhere. (They were generally of the male species but there were some interesting female ones doing this as well.) Don’t forget that chamber pots were often just dumped outside, slop buckets of leftover food thrown out for the rummaging dogs and pigs, and wash stand water thrown out the window as well and into the street. Children and even adults may have had chronic vomiting or diarrhea due to parasites, infections, etc., with no antibiotics to make their life easier and reduce the filth being put outside the house. Now pretend you are a genteel lady with a long skirt that drags in the dirt- heavens, you would be a hussy if you showed your ankles, even with laced up shoes- and there is no such thing as an electric washing machine…

Yes, easy to see how they needed those ‘springsteens’ to keep out of the filthy muck.

Not sure that I like the idea of our family being compared to a rock, but maybe it was because the members of our family were useful and tough?

Our oldest Springsteen ancestor documented thus far is John Springsteen, the father of Jefferson and thus grandfather of our Anna Missouri (Springsteen) Beerbower; she was the mother of Anna May (Beerbower) Helbling who was born in 1881 and died in 1954. (Click on the family tree link at the beginning of this post for more details.) We believe John was born about 1782 in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York, but do not know his wife Mary’s maiden name nor the names of either of their parents. New York is a tough state to research, so it has been hard to trace John and Mary. The family did migrate to to the new frontier called Ohio, and then to the newer frontier, Indiana, where their son Jefferson and his brother Abraham were living by about 1839.

Springsteen families in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1896. R. L. Polk & Co., via Ancestry.com.
Springsteen families in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1896. R. L. Polk & Co. Indianapolis, Indiana City Directory, via Ancestry.com. Note that siblings spell the name differently: John W. has changed the last ‘e’ to an ‘i’ and thus his son Harry spells his name the same way.

There are stories that Jeff had returned to New York (which he did) but also visited in New Jersey where possibly his grandfather lived. There are quite a lot of Springsteens in New Jersey and New York, so more research will need to be done to sort them out and find the ancestors of our Springsteen line.

Looking at early immigration records, there are very many Springsteens who came to New Netherlands, which was Dutch New York. The first and middle names definitely look to be Dutch, such as “Joost Casparse Springsteen” or “Geertje Jans Springsteen.” Later arrivals who could possibly be John Springsteen’s parents immigrated to Long Island, New York, or possibly Orange or Albany. Jefferson did live in Brooklyn, New York, for a time, where he married his wife Anna Connor, so they may have had family there- have not found any information yet, but NYC is a good place to start researching again.

Ancestry.com has an interesting page on the website where one can research a family name. Using census data, they state 10-18 Springsteen families in 1840 lived in New York, and 4-9 in New Jersey, but this surely does not take into account all the spelling variations of the name. (Springsteen, Springsted, Springston, etc.)

By the 1880 US Federal Census, Ancestry.com shows 85-167 Springsteens in New York state, 29-84 in New Jersey and Michigan, 1-28 in various other states including Indiana. In 1920, Ancestry.com lists just 36-69 Springsteen families in New York, 13-35 in New Jersey and Michigan, and 1-12 in Indiana, Ohio, and 21 other states.

Ancestry.com also looked at the 1880 US Federal Census for Springsteen occupations, and compared the percentage to that of the general public. Slightly over one-third of Springsteens were farmers in 1880, similar to the general population. Springsteen’s also had a similar number of laborers (9%), 1% less farm laborers at 2%, 1% more working as blacksmiths, at 2% of Springsteens, and 5% working as painters when the general public was just 1%. (Both Jefferson, his brother Abraham, and his father John worked as painters at various times in their lives.)

Keeping house (6%) as an occupation was the same as in the general public, but this makes me wonder how these statistics were generated- they are probably only counting ‘head of household’ Springsteens, as theoretically there would be about the same number of wives named Springsteen as husbands.

Ancestry.com has 54 Civil War service records for Springsteens, and all fought on the Union side. (Not really a surprise since all lived in northern states.)

The inevitable question? Are we related to Bruce Springsteen? Possibly, since there is that New Jersey connection, but no link found as yet. We’ll keep you posted.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Ancestry.com

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), 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.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
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Treasure Chest Thursday: Roberta P. Beerbower Wertz

 

Roberta Pearl Beerbower, c 1920?
Roberta Pearl Beerbower, c1920? Posted with permission.

 

Beerbower Family, Helbling Family

Roberta Pearl Beerbower was the only child of Robert Warson Beerbower (1874-1900) and Anna Josephine Reiffel (1876-1965) who married 23 August 1898. Roberta was born 16 October 1900 in Indiana (likely Indianapolis) less than a month after her father died at age 26 in Colorado. Robert had gone to Denver for health reasons, and died of consumption there.

“Cousin Roberta” was a beloved older cousin of Mary Theresa Helbling. Mary looked up to her beautiful cousin and wanted to be like her. Roberta would have been 25 when Mary was born, which surprised me as I always thought they were closer in age, maybe just 5-10 years difference.

Recently I received a note from a Find A Grave member requesting I change Roberta’s middle name to Pauline on her memorial, as that was what Roberta’s daughter-in-law thought the name was. The family bible owned by her aunt, Anna May Beerbower Helbling, lists Roberta’s middle name as ‘Pearl’ so I am using that name here, but it needs further research. The new collaboration is wonderful though, as this researcher was able to provide the above beautiful portrait, and more information about Roberta and her marriage and family that I did not know.

 

Following are some photographs that Mary Helbling McMurray thought would be Roberta, or that were labeled with her name, and some of my notes. Please let us know if you have additional information or corrections.

May or Viola Helbling, possibly with Cousin Roberta Beerbower, Helbling home in St. Louis, Missouri, 06 June 1915.
May (age 4) or Viola Helbling (age 2), possibly with Cousin Roberta Beerbower, Helbling home in St. Louis, Missouri, 06 June 1915.

This is Roberta per Mary Helbling; Roberta would have been 15 in 1915 so this is likely correct. (Note ‘G.W. Helbling Undertaker’ sign in front of the Helbling home in St. Louis, Missouri.)

Possibly Roberta Beerbower with her mother Josephine Reiffel Beerbower? October 1910
Possibly Roberta Beerbower with her mother Josephine Reiffel Beerbower? October 1910
From left: Viola Helbling, Edgar Helbling, May Helbling, and possibly Roberta P. Beerbower? October 1910
From left: Viola Helbling, Edgar Helbling, May Helbling, and possibly Roberta P. Beerbower? October 1910

The above two photos could be Roberta, as she would have been 10 in 1910. Not sure about the date though, as Edgar was born in 1908 so 1910 for the photo cannot be correct if that is him with his younger sisters in the image. Will need to review photo album again. Maybe the girl on the right is another cousin? Maybe these are not Helbling children, though they do look like Edgar, May, and Vi, and were identified as such by their youngest sister Mary (but she wasn’t there as she was not yet born).

Roberta P. Beerbower with her cousin Edgar Helbling. August 1920
Roberta P. Beerbower with her cousin Edgar Helbling. August 1920

Edgar would have been 12 in 1920 and Roberta 20, plus these people were positively identified in photo album, so this identification should be accurate.

Roberta P. Beerbower with her paternal uncle Edgar Springsteen Beerbower. August 1920.
Roberta P. Beerbower with her paternal uncle Edgar Springsteen Beerbower. August 1920.

This photo was a game changer when I realized the date and the identification of the man with Roberta. The man was “Ed” per the caption in the album. Mary Helbling did not know if the man was her uncle, Edgar Springsteen Beerbower (1876-1940) or her grandfather, Edgar Peter “E. P.” Beerbower (1849-1916), both with the same nickname. Looking at the dates though, and the age of the man, lets us know it must be Edgar S. Beerbower, since  his father (E.P.) died in 1916 and had been born 71 years before the photo was taken. So now we can use this positive identification for other images of this man. (Sadly, though, it means we do not have a picture of Edgar Peter Beerbower.)

Roberta P. Beerbower with her paternal grandmother, Anna Missouri Springsteen. Summer 1927
Roberta P. Beerbower with her paternal grandmother, Anna Missouri Springsteen. Summer 1927

The photo album belonged to Anna May Beerbower Helbling, and her mother lived with Anna and her family in her later years. Love how cute ‘flapper girl’ Roberta is! No wonder that Mary Helbling, born in 1925, looked up to her glamorous cousin.

About 1930- May Helbling on left with her sister Mary Theresa Helbling in front. It was thought the girl in the picture was Roberta P. Beerbower but the age is not right- Roberta would have been 30 when this photo was taken.
About 1930- May Helbling on left with her sister Mary Theresa Helbling in front. Unknown girl on right.

It was thought the girl on the right in the picture was Roberta P. Beerbower but the age is not right- Roberta would have been 30 when this photo was taken because of the approximate age of Mary. Maybe it is the same girl as above that we are not sure about?

Robert Eldon Wertz, son of Roberta P. Beerbower and James I. Wertz. August 1935, age 3 yrs 1 mo.
Robert Eldon Wertz, son of Roberta P. Beerbower and James I. Wertz. August 1935, age 3 yrs 1 mo.

Robert Eldon Wertz was born 30 July 1932 in Indiana to Roberta and James F. Wertz (1895-1979). He was their only son, and he had no children with his wife, Halina Ulrych. He is such a cutie with that smile!

 

A special thanks to Shelley for sharing what she has to help us extend our tree.

Please do let us know in the comment section if there are any correction or if you have more information about these folks.

➡ Beerbower Family, Helbling Family

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family treasure chest of photos.

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), 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.
 

Copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.

 

 

 

Sentimental Sunday: Family Artifacts From the Moon???

Civil War Drum of Abram F. Springsteen.
Civil War Drum of Abram F. Springsteen.

No, we sadly don’t have any family artifacts from the moon, but Neil Armstrong’s family does. See the article here about the treasures his widow found stashed in a closet. (See also the Buzz Aldrin video- he is a national hero, now in more ways than one.)

Our more mundane family treasures may not have been to the moon, but they have been other places, perhaps a Civil War battlefield or used daily by our ancestors, which makes them priceless to us.

Above is the actual Civil War drum that belonged to Abram F. Springsteen (1850-1930), one of the youngest drummer boys in the Civil War. Our family, of course, told the story that he was THE youngest in the Civil War at age 12 on enlistment, but there were probably others who were that young as well. Mary Theresa Helbling McMurray, the granddaughter of Abram’s sister Anna Missouri Springsteen Beerbower (1854-1859), remembered going to Indianapolis, Indiana on the train for her grandmother’s funeral, and seeing his portrait in the museum. For many years we wondered what happened to his drum.

Thanks to the internet and Ancestry.com, we finally learned what happened. We got in touch with descendants of Abram’s son, Perry Harrison Springston (note change in spelling of surname), and they had the drum in their home! The drum had been passed on to the oldest son of each of the next generations.

The passing of the Abram F. Springsteen Drum.
The passing of the Abram F. Springsteen Drum from oldest son of a generation to oldest son of the next generation. (Click to enlarge.)

Sadly, this drum is not the one that Abram used throughout the war to give battle commands to the troops and spur them on through marching and fighting, as that was captured by the Confederates along with Abram. He did escape near the end of the war, but without his drum. It was replaced by his comrades, and throughout his life, Abram used that drum in Civil War Veteran parades. He would also walk along the boardwalk in Indianapolis, beating his drum on the anniversary of his enlistment. He was a lifelong activist in Veteran Affairs, and worked for the federal government’s War Department.

 

We were ‘over the moon’ (pun intended) to find the disposition of the drum, and more importantly, the cousins we had not known about! So even if your family treasures are not the Data Acquisition Camera that filmed the landing on Tranquility Base or the Waste Management Cover of the Eagle Lunar Module, they are worth documenting and preserving properly.

 

➡ Springsteen Family, Helbling Family

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Secret stash of moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrong’s closet: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/secret-stash-of-moon-artifacts-found-hidden-in-neil-arm-1684449533

2) Family photos of the Springsteen drum kindly shared by cousins and posted with permission without names.

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), 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.
 

Copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.

Beerbower Family Bible- Marriages

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Beerbower Family Bible
Beerbower Family Bible- Marriages
Beerbower Family Bible- Marriages

Transcription:

Marriages

Family Record 

 

Edgar Beerbower To

Anna M. Springsteen

Feb. 12 1873

at 117 Spring St.

Indianapolis Ind

By Rev. Hanford A. Edson

[Bible owners.]

 

Anna May Beerbower

Gerard W. Helbling

Thanksgiving Nov 24-04

St. Alphonsus (Rock Church)

8 a.m. Rev. Father T. Clark

[Daughter of Anna Missouri and Edgar P. Beerbower, on Nov 24- 1904.]

 

Edgar S. Beerbower to

Rosabel K. Hoppe Oct. 19- 1905

St. Louis, Mo.     Thursday

[Edgar Springsteen Beerbower, son of Anna Missouri and Edgar P. Beerbower.]

 

Robert W. Beerbower

Josephine Ruffle   Aug-23,

Indianapolis Ind.

[Robert Warson Beerbower, son of Anna Missouri and Edgar P. Beerbower.]

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Beerbower family bible.

2)Springsteen and Beerbower Family Group Records compiled over many years using bibles, census, and other data.

3) Edgar Peter Beerbower was called, “Ed” and I have seen him listed as “Edward.” Being that Edgar became a family name, I lean toward his name being “Edgar.”

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images.

Copyright 2013-2015 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.

 

 

 

 

Beerbower Family Bible- Births

Beerbower Bible- Births
Beerbower Bible- Births

“Jany 19 -74” may indicate that Anna Missouri (Springsteen) Beerbower began recording family events in the bible received from her father on that date. We also know that any dates that occurred before the date of presentation, 31 December 1873, may be subject to error, although most information has been verified with a few exceptions that will be noted.

BIBLE INSCRIPTION NOTES
Births
E. P. Beerbower Born June 28th-49Pickerington, O Edgar Peter was the husband of Anna Missouri Springsteen; year b.was 1849.
Anna M. Beerbower Born May 16th-54Indianapolis Ind 117 Spring St. Anna Missouri Springsteen Beerbower, bible owner. Year b. was 1854.
Robert Warson Beerbower Born June 16 187[?]126 Spring St. Indianapolis, Ind       Tuesday The first son of Edgar P. and Anna Missouri, b. 1874.
Edgar Springsteen Beerbower Born Oct 19 187[?]263 Christian Ave, Indianapolis, Ind     Thursday The second child of Edgar P. and Anna Missouri, born 1876. Given his mother’s maiden name as his middle name.
Mary Emma Beerbower Born April 22 1880   ThursdayBrightwood, IndMarion Co. Third child of Edgar P. and Anna Missouri Springsteen Beerbower.
Anna May. Born May 25th-81- 9 pm     ThursdayAt 264 East Ohio St. Indianapolis Fourth child of Anna Missouri and Edgar P.; year b. was 1881.
Willie Beerbower Born[Fe?]b 14 1889 at Cairo Ill Fifth and last child of Anna Missouri and Edgar P.; b. Feb 14, 1889.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Beerbower family bible.

2) Springsteen and Beerbower Family Group Records compiled over many years using bibles, census, and other data.

3) Edgar Peter Beerbower was called, “Ed” and I have seen him listed as “Edward.” Being that Edgar became a family name, I lean toward his name being “Edgar.”

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images.

Copyright 2013-2015 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.