Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Brick Wall Ancestor: Frances Pressner

[Note: I am utilizing a structure and format suggested by Miriam Midkiff Robbins over at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors]

Name: Frances Pressner
What I Want To Know: Frances Pressner is my great-grandmother and I would like more information on her parents, her siblings, when she arrived from Germany or Prussia and her marriage to Richard Henneberg.
Known Information - Positive:

New York City Grooms Index: married in the Bronx, New York on April 16, 1991.
Source:  New York City Health Department, New York City Grooms Index, 1908 - 1936, (http://www.italiangen.org>, examined for any reference to "Henneberg," accessed February 8, 2008. Certificate #794 Bronx County.
1920 Federal Census:  living with her husband, Richard Henneberg at 405 East 162nd Street, Bronx, New York.  Age listed as 32 (birth date abt. 1889), keeping house, born in Germany, speaking German and English.   Also listed are: 
Richard Henneberg, head of household.  Age 31.  Occupation: Clerk.  Born in New York, speaks German and English.
Anna May Henneberg, daughter.  Age 7.  Goes to school.  Born in New York.  Speaks English.
Richard Henneberg, Jr., son.  Age 5.  Born in New York.  Speaks English.
Ethel Henneberg, daughter.  Age 3.  Born in New York.  Speaks English.
Charles Henneberg, son.  Age 1.  Born in New York.  Speaks English.
Source: 1920 US Census, (http://www.ancestry.com), accessed February 10, 2008, citing Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 1, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1131; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 79; Image: 572.
1930 Federal Census (listed as Hennaberg):  living with her husband, Richard Henneberg at 1165 Morris Avenue, Bronx, New York.  Age listed as 41 (birth date abt. 1889), keeping house, born in Germany, speaking German and English.   Year of immigration listed as 1892, not a naturalized citizen.  Also listed are: 
Richard Henneberg, head of household.  Age 42.  Occupation: Salesman, Werth Baking.  Born in New York, speaks English.  (Note: the occupation information has been placed in the space for Frances not Richard)
Annie Henneberg, daughter.  Age 18.  Goes to school.  Born in New York.  Speaks English.
Richard Henneberg, Jr., son.  Age 15.  Goes to school.  Born in New York.  Speaks English.
Ethel Henneberg, daughter.  Age 13.  Goes to school.  Born in New York.  Speaks English.
Charles Henneberg, son.  Age 11.  Goes to school.  Born in New York.  Speaks English.
Edward Henneberg, son.  Age 6.  Goes to school.  Born in New York.  Speaks English.
Source: 1930 US Census, (http://www.ancestry.com), accessed February 10, 2008, citing Census Place: Bronx, Bronx, New York; Roll: 1467; Page: 42B; Enumeration District: 149; Image: 850.0.
Known Information - Ambiguous:

World War I Draft Registration Card: dated January 5, 1917, Richard Henneberg is listed as age 28, living at 423 East 162nd Street, Bronx, New York but was born in Liepetiz, Germany, January 26, 1888 and a naturalized citizen.
Source:  World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918  (http://www.ancestry.com), accessed February 10, 2008, citing M1509, 4,582 rolls.
Negative Searches:

There seems to be no Social Security Death record for Frances Pressner (searching under Frances and Francis)
Also tried to find the German equivalent of the name Frances or used Frannie, Franny, etc. for searches.
No immigration or arrival records are apparent.
Also have tried the last name Preusner.
Possible Resources and Suspicions:
I really don't have much to go on right now.  I've tried almost every combination in names and I keep finding possible matches but either the birthplace is New York (instead of Germany) or the birthdate is too late (1897, etc.)

5 comments:

Miriam said...

Thomas, you don't mention whether you've looked for or been able to find death information. Her death certificate may state her birthplace and parents' names.

Is it possible to order her marriage license and marriage record from what you've found in the Grooms Index? I imagine that she could have had a family member or two act as witnesses.

I did some other searches in Ancestry and Footnote and will send you the results by e-mail.

Thomas MacEntee said...

I will order the marriage certificate but the backlog is almost five months - I thought there might be more cost effective ways to do this. I do have a death date (April, 1960) given to me by one of her grandsons.

Thanks for your help!!

Donna said...

Thomas,

Some quick thoughts on it...

1) Get her death record. If she died in 1960, there is a good chance she does have an SS-5 application, but it will not show up in any SSDI indexed the records for deaths beginning in 1962 (with some exceptions).

2) In German, the letter "P" tends to "sound" like the letter "B", so try that as an alternate spelling. Bressner would not come up in an Amercian soundex which is based on the first letter of the name only. Try taking out the "r" also (Pessner).

3) Get the marriage record. If you don't want to wait, use maps and other sources to determine what church it may have been. Do you have the husband in the 1910 census? You could try that neighborhood since you don't have her address.

4) If she immigrated in 1892, then she came as a baby with parents. She'd be on the 1900 and 1910 census somewhere.... I tried some search variations without success. Try neighboring states like CT or NJ. If you can get the death record (or marriage) you will know what father's name to look for.

5) I strongly encourage you to get the church baptismal record of the children, starting with the oldest. If they married and baptized their children in a German church, the record could likely contain her birthplace.

6) Was Richard Henneberg really born in NY as he says in the census, or in Germany as he says on the draft card? Do you have his birth record from NY? (I know, that has nothing to do with her, but...if he was German and was naturalized, you can get more on her through his record).

7) It's a long-shot, but in Germany a lot of women have Maria for a first name, and later use their "middle" name. Maybe that was the case with your Franziska.

I'm so glad you have a German immigrant for your "brick wall". Most of the genea-bloggers seem to have colonial American brickwalls, and I can not offer any useful advice at all!

Donna
What's Past is Prologue

pastprologue said...

I should have clarified #1...the reason you want her death cert is because it will have her SS# on it if she had one. Then, you can get her application.

Donna

Thomas MacEntee said...

Thanks Donna - you shed some new light on possible last names. And it is nice to have some German background what with all my New York Dutch and Rhode Island English!