At Play In The Archive
I have at last finished sorting and scanning a great many pictures of my Great-Grandmother Margaret Spielmann’s people, most of which were unlabeled. A few images did have dates, and a precious few others did have some meager information written on the back, but there was really very little to go on. I started noticing certain faces repeated over and over again, and after wringing from Ancestry.com what details I could about the family, I began piecing the clues together.
Meet my great-grandmother Margaret’s family of origin–this is the only picture I have with all of them together.
The Pater and Mater of this lovely bunch were Herman and Francizca (Fanny) Spielmann. Some documentation of Herman exists, but I found precious little about Fanny, so I do not know her maiden name or her country of origin. She was born around 1872. Herman, born in July of 1866, hailed from Vienna, Austria.
Margaret, born November 26th, 1891 in Vienna, was the eldest of eight children. At the time this impressive brood was founded, Herman was 25 years of age, and Fanny was about 20. Margaret was followed by Ernst, born 1893, then Hilda, born in 1895, followed by Walter, born in 1898. Next came Lillian, born in 1900, followed by Gilbert in 1901. After a short break, Erwin arrived in 1905, and finally, baby Leonor was born in 1911, when Margaret was 20 years old. It warmed my heart to learn that, just like me, Margaret was a practice child.
At first I thought there were nine children, because the 1900 census also reported a Jennie Spielmann, born in 1882, living with the family in Manhattan. However, examination of the actual document revealed Jennie to be a “sister-in-law.” Though the relationship was supposed to be listed relative to the head of the household, I think that Jennie must have, in fact, been Herman’s sister, and therefore Fanny’s sister-in-law. Otherwise, why would she have the same surname as Herman? In any case, Herman’s occupation is listed as “collector” (though of what is not revealed), and Jennie’s is listed as “operator” which I assume means of a telephone switchboard.
The family took quite a lot of pictures–I would love to know if this was common or uncommon for the time–and a few documents survive as well. Lots more to come on these folks, but take what I say with a grain of salt. I really am only making educated guesses.