Friday, October 15, 2010

Brainstorming with the Boldas

So after getting the death certificate for Julius Bolda, I've got some conflicting evidence regarding his parentage. His wife, Marie/Mary, was the informant on the record and while she did give confirmation that Veronica, the woman Julius was traveling with upon arrival to Baltimore in 1887, was his mother, the information she gave regarding his father's name was not the name of the man who was Veronica's husband at the time of their arrival and in subsequent census records. I need to try to find out if this is just a case of a mistake, which is a very often occurrence on death certificates since the person who would be able to identify their parents is not around to name them, or if Veronica had been married previously, or if Franz/Frank also used the name Joseph.

Right now I'm still undecided about whether this is a mistake or not. I knew already that Veronica and Franz, the man she and Julius arrived with in 1887, settled in Detroit and they are found there in 1900 along with their other children,

Several of the children who appeared with Franz and Veronica on their passenger list have since died according to this census, and Veronica claims to have only three children now living-the three living with her. Julius would make the fourth and I'm looking at it (right now) that she was counting her surviving children who were living with them. But that's just one inconsistency found in this census enumeration. Another is the marriage date. Franz and Veronica claim to have been married 29 years. That would mean they would have gotten married around 1871-ish, depending on the time of year and taking into account the June date of enumeration. Julius' birth date, (and this too is a source of conflict) though conflicting, generally falls within the 1868-1869 date (though his death certificate and naturalization index card give 1860-1861 as his date of birth). So far, the earliest record giving his birth date is his passenger list which states he is 18 in 1887 and this is consistent with the est. 1869 birth date. No matter whether he was born in 1861 or 1869, both dates predate Veronica and Franz's given marriage date. As does the existence of another young male traveling with the Bolda family during their arrival in Baltimore.

Josef Bolda, appears to be aged 24. It's also interesting to note that Joseph was the name Mary cited as Julius' father. He's obviously too young to be so but that could be the explanation for where she had heard that name before. Another thing to notice is that the family is arranged first by the head and spouse, followed by children in descending order according to age. In this light, Josef could be seen as being 14 years old instead of 24 which would then make it more plausible for Franz to be Julius' father because without his age to push further beyond the 1871 marriage date from the census, we don't have much more than a couple of years difference between the marriage and the estimate birth date for Julius. A couple of years is much more easily explained then nearly 10. It should be noted though, that when you look at the handwriting on the page, the connecting flair of the first number is more common when the number is a "2" than when it is a "1" so it does look more likely to be "24" than "14" from that perspective.

With the information we have right now, and most of it is pretty speculative at this point, I don't really have a feeling one way or another as to whether Franz, known as Frank in Michigan, was Julius' father. At least not yet. I feel like it's entirely possible for him to have been a child from a previous marriage, and it's not completely unlikely that if that was the case, the father could have been a sibling or a some other relation to Franz, which would explain why Julius was a Bolda even if Franz wasn't his biological father, not to mention the possibility of adoption. But that's thinking that the name issue was more than a mistake. It very well may be just that. Marie may have just gotten the names mixed up, especially since this couple lived out of state and it was unlikely that Julius and Marie would have spent a lot of time together, if any at all. She did use a name that we know was used in the immediate family so I think it's very possible that she just mixed up the names. But at this point, who knows.

There is quite a bit to figure out so I'll be working on things for a while. Now that I have more evidence that Veronica is his mother though, there is definitely going to be more time devoted to tracking the family in Detroit. It's time to start getting acquainted with Michigan records. This will be my first endeavor in that state and right now I'm clueless. I was able to find out a bit about ordering death records from Michigan....

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