Maybe, No, Maybe

I have identified a passport application for my husband’s great-great-grandfather, John Pope.  The passport identifies the date John Pope was naturalized in San Francisco, California.  I am currently on a quest to see if I can obtain a copy of the original naturalization paperwork or certificate.  You can read about my progress in my last post – Yes, No, Maybe…

Last week, I drove into San Francisco to continue my research at City Hall.  My first stop was actually across the street at the Superior Court of San Francisco. While I know the original was destroyed in the fire following the 1906 Earthquake, I also know that many people refiled their naturalization paperwork as “restored” records.  MAYBE.

A search done by the records clerk showed my John Pope did not file a restored naturalization.  While I was there, I went ahead and ordered copies of his probate packet and one for his son, John Rudolph Pope.  These are kept offsite and will be available for viewing next week.  The clerk in the records room were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable.

Next I walked across the street to City Hall.  My first stop was the Recorder/Assessor’s office.  While they do not hold naturalization paperwork, I have found in the past the clerk’s in this office are the most knowledgeable in the building about who holds what and where.  I also cross checked the book/page number with them for the clue I found from John’s grandma Shirley. Then note indicated a copy of the naturalization had been filed with the Registrar of Voters.  They did not have the said book/[age combination but pointed me downstairs to the Office of Elections.

The person in the office of elections was a more recent addition to the office.  He was kind enough to go ask others in the office to see if the book and page from the clue were kept in their office.  He returned to inform me that those records were old enough that they did not have them anymore.  NO.

I came home with a mixed bag of outcomes.  I am happy to get to see the probate files next week but I was totally bummed my initial MAYBE had not worked out.  I decided to keep at my exhaustive search for available records.  It was time to do some research into where else a copy of the naturalization paperwork or certificate would need to be filed to meet a requirement for something else.

This led me back to the Passport Application I found online.  The application states:

I was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the Superior Court of the State of Calif at San Francisco on the 30th day of March, 1904, as shown by the accompanying Certificate of Naturalization; that I am the identical person described in the said Certificate….

The digital copy of the Passport Application is just that  – a copy.  It need to get my hands on the original.   I have made inquiries to the National Archives in Washington, DC where the passport applications are held.  They informed me there are passport applications that do have additional paperwork attached. The new plan is to add a research trip to NARA while visiting my parents in Virginia this summer.  So I am back to MAYBE.

Yes, No, Maybe…

Genealogy research moves at a slow steady pace most of the time. Sometimes research can move in leaps and bounds and then come to a screeching halt. In those cases, I hope you were wearing your seat belt! The whiplash of excitement and frustration can leave you dazed.

Today is the perfect day to tell you what I have learned in the last week.  It was more of a seatbelt kind of week.  It all started with DNA test results.  All three DNA tests I ordered with the New Year’s sale had results posted last Monday, April 10th.  For each account, I quickly logged in to view matches and estimated origins.  I also created a gedcom file for each person to upload to their family tree.

I decided to take a quick look in Family Search and Ancestry.com before uploading the gedcom files to ensure I had the most complete tree possible for DNA matches to view.  The first search was for the DNA profile for my husband’s grandfather.  The family tree I have for him is on the limited on the paternal side.   Grandpa John’s grandfather was the entryway ancestor on this line.  John Pope (Poppe) arrived in the United States from Germany in the early 1880’s.  By the late 1880’s he is living in San Francisco and owns a brewery with his partners.

To my surprise, there was a new hint for John Pope (1862-1917) at Ancestry.com.  It turns into a jackpot moment! The hint contains a passport application from 1909.

The passport application confirms John Pope was born 3 April 1862 in Sandbostel, Germany.  It also gives us new information that he immigrated to the United States about the 10th of April 1881 aboard the SS Salir from Bremen.  The application also states John Pope had been living in San Francisco since 1889.  The biggest jackpot was John Pope listed he had become a naturalized citizen in the Superior Court of San Francisco on 30 March 1904. YES!

After my celebration dance at the dining room table, I took the time to analyze each piece of information.  This is when my YES turned into a NO.  It also ties into why today is a good day to tell this story.  Today, April 18th, is the 111th anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake in San Francisco.  The 1906 earthquake killed approximately 3,000 people and left over 80% of the city in ruins after the fires broke out. Most genealogists who do research in this area divide their research into before and after 1906 due to the fires and the documents which were destroyed.

The naturalization papers filed in 1904 are most definitely gone.

I was still really excited to share this new document with Grandpa John this past weekend when we visited for Easter.  On Saturday, my husband spent some time with his grandfather assisting him with some computer issues. While they were occupied, I took the Pope binder off the shelf to browse. Grandma Shirley was a genealogist and did an incredible amount of research in the pre-internet days.  She left 3-ring binders for each family with all the research she had accomplished.  About 10 years ago I scanned everything in the binders to ensure the information is not lost in case of disaster.

I realized flipping through the binder this weekend, I had not done a complete job of scanning documents.  I had scanned all the certificates, newspaper clippings, photos, etc.  I did not scan the handwritten notes in the pockets of the divider pages.  This was a major mistake.

In the binder divider, I found this sheet:

These undated handwritten notes are in Grandma Shirley’s handwriting.  They clearly state the original filing of the naturalization paperwork.  They also state the papers were re-filed with the courts in San Francisco on 26 March 1908. MAYBE…

The rest of this week I already have planned but next Monday or Tuesday, I will be in San Francisco trying to get copies of the re-filed naturalization paperwork. It has been a fun ride in the last week.  I am glad I had my seatbelt on.  Hopefully we will continue this story by returning back to YES.

Almost Wordless Wednesday – Pope Family

This is my husband’s 2nd great grandparents and their children.  John Pope(1862-1917) and Catherine Offerman(1865-1932) had four children: Louise Anna (1895-1961), John Rudolph (1899-1918) , Claus Alfred (1901-1971) and Elfrieda Johanna(1901-1990).

I am making an educated guess when this photo was taken by the age of the children.

 

Pope Family about 1909.
Pope Family taken about 1905-1908.

Tombstone Tuesday – Pope Family Grave

Last month I took the kids on an adventure to Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, California.  This is the cemetery where many of my husband’s Pope ancestors are buried.  There are many people buried in the family grave so I will present a couple of them to you at a time.  This week is the head of the family, John and Catherine Pope.

 

John Pope is the family patriarch.  He immigrated to the United States from Germany in the late 1800’s.  He married Catherine Offerman after arriving in San Francisco.  They had 4 children together.  John was the president of Northstar Brewing Company in San Francisco.  He is my husband’s great-great-grandfather.

 Catherine Offerman was also born in Germany.  She is listed as the beloved wife of John Pope in her obituary. Catherine died a horrible death after the house caught on fire while cleaning the floor with gasoline.  Her obituary lists many women and german groups that she belonged to.  Catherine is my husband’s great-great-grandmother.

Tombstone Tuesday – My Kids First Cemetery Adventure

My older daughter attends preschool three days a week.  Tuesday is a non-school day so we were looking for something to do.  In an attempt to avoid some house work, I suggested we go on a genealogy adventure to Colma.  San Francisco does not have any cemeteries inside the city limits.  Most people who live in San Francisco are buried just south of the city in the town of Colma.  My husband’s side has many family members buried in three of the cemeteries there.

I was immediately bombarded with “why” questions from my daughter.  It was the first time in many months that I was excited to answer several hundred why questions.  We talked about why there are cemeteries, who is in them, the gravestones, and how each of the people are related to us.

I tried to keep things simple such as “You have two grandmas.  Daddy’s Grandma Shirley also  had two grandmas.  We are going to visit both of Grandma Shirley’s grandmas.”  This description worked better than “This is your great-great-great-grandma.”

We kept is fun.  J did a bunch of rubbings at one cemetery.  She picked the little weed flowers at another to make a tiny bouquet for our gravestone.  We used each gravestone as a letters quiz.  (Can you find an E?)  J also acted as my photo shoot director.  At the Pope family plot, she would ask who was at each headstone and then tell me we needed a picture of them.

 

My little one is only a year old.  M had fun on our adventure too.  She wanted to touch each gravestone we passed.  I was cracking up because it looked like she was playing Duck, Duck, Goose.  Anything outdoors makes her happy.

It was a great day!  I taught my kids some family history, photographed some headstones that I was missing in my collection, and enjoyed a beautiful day outside.  I still had to clean my house but I did it with a smile thinking about the day.

Military Monday – Time Spent On Umnak Island

John Pope is my husband’s grandfather.  Last year Grandpa John, who is a young 84, was very ill and we were worried that we would lose him.  Our family was very fortunate that John agreed to surgery and is now back to his active self.  During one of our visits last Fall, Grandpa John, husband John, and I were talking about the time Grandpa John spent in Alaska with the Coast Guard.  I was so happy to have my Iphone with me.  I was able to record the conversation using the voice memo app.

John enlisted in the Coast Guard the day before his 18th birthday in November 1945.  He chose to enlist in the Coast Guard to avoid the draft and possibly end up in the Army.  One of John’s friends was already in the Coast Guard and worked on the San Francisco Bay.  This friend tried to get John assigned to his unit but unfortunately for Grandpa John, he was sent to Alaska instead.

Out of boot camp, John boarded a train full of other enlisted me bound for Alaska.  The train stopped in Seattle and the men then boarded a ship called the Rolling O.  The ship had a round bottom and was constantly rolling even in the calm waters of the inside passage.  Most of the men on the ship had never been on the water before and were very ill for the ride.  John remembers a dog they picked up in Ketchikan was sliding back and forth across the deck.

Out of Ketchikan, the ship began dropping 5 or 6 men off at a time to different Coast Guard stations in the Aleutian Islands.  Umnak Island was the final destination for Grandpa John, his buddy, Al Miller, and several other men.  Umnak Island had a Loran radio that was monitored by the radiomen 24 hours a day.

 

Google Map of Umnak Island

 

According to Wikipedia, Umnak Island is the third largest island in the Aleutian Chain at 72 miles long and 16 miles wide.  It has a volcano that erupted as recently as 2008.  As of 2000, it was inhabited by only 39 people.  Grandpa John remembers there being a few dozen people on the island including a rancher that lived nearby.  He described the island as desolate.  There was a large pond that served as their drinking water.  The station was located above the ocean on a cliff.  Each day they had to climb even higher to reach the radio station.

When the men arrived on the island, none of them had been trained for specialty jobs.  The man in charge simply asked who wanted to cook.  A man nicknamed Frenchie answered the he enjoyed cooking so he became the chef.  Al Miller, mentioned that he like to tinker with cars so he became the mechanic who was in charge of keeping the generators running at all times.  Al did not know anything about diesel but learned quickly.  Grandpa John did not raise his hand for any of the jobs so he became a scope dover.  John had to climb to the Loran radio each day and watch the scope while the engineers who had been trained at Loran school ran the radio.  Grandpa John claims that he was not very proficient at watching the scope.

John told us about down time on Umank island.  There was a pool table and ping pong table but they were rarely used. When not working, the guys would go hiking, fishing, and hunting.  There was trout in the tundra streams.  When the Salmon would come up the streams, they would be so thick you could walk across the stream.  The men enjoyed the freshly caught fish since all of the dry food was brought in by boat and they had no refrigeration.  The electricity produced by the generators was focused on keeping the radio running.

At the time, the island was teeming with eagles.  The rancher who lived nearby hated the eagles because they would attack his sheep. Sometimes the men would check out rifles and try to shoot down eagles.  John says that they rarely hit any.

Although John had a 3 year enlistment, he only spent about 6 months on Umnak island.  His decision to not raise his hand for a job turned out to be a good thing.  The men with permanent jobs stayed on the island while John was transferred to Ketchikan to finish his enlistment.  I will tell you more about his time in Ketchikan in another post.

Census Sunday – Ida Austin Household 1940

The biggest news in genealogy this week was the release of the 1940 Federal Census on Monday, April 2nd.  The week started off with a few bumps but has largely been a success for me.  One of the positives about living on the west coast is that when I woke up on Monday, news was already spreading about the insane number of people trying to access archives.org.  I decided to wait until Tuesday to take a peek at my ancestors.  This plan was somehow communicated to ancestry.com and they loaded the states I needed first (Haha – they did a great job getting all 3.8 million images loaded).  I am extremely happy to say that I have found 7 out of 8 grandparents (I was looking for my husband’s grandparents too.)  The only one missing is a grandparent that lived in Chicago at the time.  I do not have an address for her and Chicago is way to large to just scroll through the images.

I plan on using the Census Sunday theme to share my finds in the 1940 Federal Census.  I will start this week with the Ida Austin household in San Francisco, California.

Ida Austin is my husband’s great-great-grandmother.  She lived at 25 Fair Oaks Street, San Francisco, California.  Also listed in the household (in order) is Alfred Pope, Althea Pope, Joyce Pope, John Pope, Louis Richards, and Sophia Richards.

I laughed out loud when I read that all of the people listed had a relationship as lodger.  All of the other families on the sheet have more conventional relationships listed such as wife, daughter, step-son.  Althea is Ida’s daughter.  She is living with her husband and two children in her mother’s home.  Sophia is Ida’s sister and Louis is Sophia’s husband.

I would love to peek into the past to see who answered the questions of the enumerator.  No one in the household is marked with the X in a circle.  It is possible that one of the neighbors answered the questions for this family.  Since everyone in the household is listed as living in the same house in 1935, they obviously have been living as an extended family for some time.

Ida Austin owned her home and it was valued at $8000.  She made $1470 the previous year and appears to be the only person in the household working.  This is pretty amazing since her age is listed as 65 in 1940.  Grandpa John tells me that his grandmother worked at Columbia Outfitting Company.  Alfred is listed as a laborer but he did not have any income.

The education column is also interesting to me.  Alfred Pope is listed as having only 4 years of education.  When I asked Grandpa John about that, he told me that his father took classes at UC Berkeley.  This might be another indication that a neighbor answered the questions about the family.

Treasure Chest Thursday – Catharine Offerman Pope Death Certificate

Catherine Offerman in my husband’s 2nd great grandmother.  She was born in Germany in 1865.  She immigrated to the United States in 1887 or 1888 with her husband, John Pope.  They lived at 3335 26th Street in San Francisco.  Catherine died a horrible death.  She received 2nd and 3rd degree burns on her body after gas on the floor of her home caught fire.  I am told by my husband’s grandfather, who was 5 at the time of the accident, that Catherine was cleaning the floor with the gasoline.  The house burned down and was rebuilt.  I scanned the copy of the death certificate (below) from the genealogy stash at my husband’s grandfather’s house.  I plan on visiting the San Francisco Library to see if there were any articles written in the newspaper about the fire.  Hopefully, I will be able to add more to this story at a later date.

3335 26th Street, San Francisco, CA
Left: in 1989. Right:early 1900’s before burning down.

State of California, Department of Public Health, Vital Statistics, Standard Certificate of Death # 32-005460

1. Place of Death: Dist. No 3801, City and County of San Fransisco, Franklin Hospital
2. Full Name: Catharine Pope
3. Sex: Female
4. Color or Race: White
5. Single, Married, Widowed, or Divorced: Widowed, wife of the late John Pope
6. Date of Birth: August 27, 1865
7. Age: 66 years, 4 months, 24 days
8. Occupation: At Home
9. Birthplace: Germany
10. Name of Father: C.H. Offerman
11 Birthplace of Father: Germany
12. Maiden Name of Mother: Anna Hink
13. Birthplace of Mother: Germany
14. Length of Residence: 45 years, in California 45 years
15. Informant: Per Mr C H Offerman, 547 Guerrero Street
16. Date of Death: January 21st, 1932
17. Cause of Death: Second and third degree burns of body. (One half body area) Accidental ignition of gasoline.
18. Special Information, Former Residence: 3335 26th St.
19. Place of Burial: Cypress Lawn Burial
20. Date of Burial: Jan. 23, 1932
21. Undertaker: H F Suhr Co, 2919 Mission Street

Funeral Card Friday – Claus Alfred Pope

Claus Alfred Pope died at Sonoma Valley Hospital on 23 June 1971.  He had been sick with heart problems for the two weeks leading up to his death.  He was born 19 September 1901 in San Francisco, California to John Pope and Catherine Offerman.  He was survived by his wife, Althea (Austin) Pope, son, John A. Pope, daughter, Joyce (Pope) Hunter, and sister, Elfrieda (Pope) Fancher.

Black Sheep Sunday – My Dad lived in San Quentin

About 30 years ago, my mother-in-law took a ferry ride from Marin to San Francisco with her young son, husband, and in-laws, John A and Shirley Pope.  Shirley, my husband’s grandmother, pointed to San Quentin as they passed by and casually remarked “My dad lived there.”

I heard this story for the first time about 3 years ago and was amazed.  It was one of those stories that people knew but don’t talk about much.  I have since researched the story and found out that it is very important to pick your friends wisely.  This is the story of Charles Frank Gingg and his time “living” in San Quentin.

Charles Franklin Gingg taken June 1920 Pacific Heights Grammar School.
Charles Gingg was born Charles Franklin Padgitt on October 5, 1905 to John A Padgitt and Carrie Belle Wells.  His mother divorced his father and remarried William Carl Gingg.  Charles took William’s last name after his mother remarried.  All family stories have Charles using his middle name.

Frank Gingg married Agnes Mattson  September 5, 1925.  On the marriage certificate, Frank is listed as 22 and Agnes as 19.  In reality, Agnes was only 16 at the time.  She had lied to get past the age restrictions for marriage.  They had one daughter, Shirley Marie Gingg on September 16, 1927.  The 1930 census shows the young family living in Santa Rosa, California.  At the beginning of 1933, Agnes left Frank and took their young daughter to live in Santa Rosa.  Frank was living in an apartment in Santa Rosa with Ralph Thatcher.  Apparently, they both worked together as printers in Santa Rosa.

On February  20, 1933, Frank met with Andrew Mareck in San Francisco to discuss driving to Santa Rosa to rob a speakeasy in the back of the Buon Gusto Hotel on Adams Street. Frank, along with Tony Cardinelli, F.B. ‘Slim’ Hoyt, Ralph Thatcher, George Jones and Andrew Mareck drove up to Santa Rosa in several cars on February 25 and 26 and met at the apartment of Ralph Thatcher.  During the early evening of February 27th, the ‘gang’ robbed the 101 Ranch.  Frank was not present for this robbery as he was driving up from San Francisco.  He met the men at Thatcher’s apartment after.

Later in the evening, Andrew Mareck and Frank Gingg went to the speakeasy adjoining the Buon Gusto Hotel for some drinks.  They returned to the apartment once again, where they collected their friends and in two cars drove back to Adams Street.  Frank Gingg and George Jones remained in the cars as the get-away drivers.  Mareck, Cardinelli, and Hoyt entered the speakeasy with guns and declared “stick ’em up.”  They stole approximately $17 dollars from the speakeasy patrons and another $100 dollar from the three slot machines in the room.
There was a nightwatchman, C.R. ‘Bill’ Carrick, who made regular rounds in the neighborhood.  One of the victims of the robbery warned that the nightwatchman would be coming soon.  Slim Hoyt went outside to keep watch and ran straight into Carrick in the alley.  He shot Carrick six times.  Somehow, while being shot, Carrick was able to hit Hoyt once in the arm with his own gun.
Meanwhile, George Jones, who was waiting as a get away driver, was spooked by the gunshots and ran back to Thatcher’s apartment.  By the time he arrived at the apartment, both cars with the rest of the ‘gang’ had already returned.  Thatcher and Mareck, an ‘illegal doctor’ (he was on trial for performing abortions the year prior), tended to Hoyt’s wounds.  Gingg, Cardinelli, and Jones all immediately returned to San Francisco.
The cars used in the robbery/murder were quickly identified to police who within hours found them parked outside of Thatcher’s apartment. Police took Thatcher and Mareck into custody.  Slim Hoyt had escaped and was on the run.  After Mareck was interviewed, the Santa Rosa police had the San Francisco police go to his home.  At the apartment in San Francisco, the police found Thatcher and Gingg.  All men were arrested.  Thatcher and Gingg were not immediately transferred to Santa Rosa because the Sheriff had received threats of mob violence.
In the days after the murder, the police ordered that all speakeasy’s in Santa Rosa be shut down.  Apparently, the was not a drink to be found the following evening.
Agnes Gingg and her mother-in-law, Carrie Belle Gingg, visited Frank in jail.  Agnes told the local paper “I have all the faith in the world in Frank and I’ll do everything in my power to help him.  Frank has never been in any trouble before.  I can’t believe that he would do anything like this.  He told me when I talked to him that he wasn’t there when the shooting occurred and I believe him.  But, I can’t understand how he ever became mixed up with that crowd in the first place.”  Apparently, Frank became friends with the ‘gang’ after Agnes left him.
I have not found out if and when Slim Hoyt was arrested.  I have scanned the papers a month after the robbery/murder and he still had not been captured.
All of the ‘gang’ members were convicted of robbery and first degree murder in May 1933.  All of the men were sentenced to life and 5 years to life CS (My best guess is that notation means concurrent sentences).  Frank was processed at the intake center at San Quentin on June 2, 1933.  Mareck and Jones both tried to appeal their convictions.  Both of the appeals were denied.
Charles Frank Gingg, Prisoner Number 54252
While in prison, Frank received divorce papers from Agnes.  I am still trying to find the date that Frank was released from prison.  It was not included in the San Quentin prison records I received from the State Archives.  When he got out, Frank moved to Alaska.  He  lived in Ketchikan where he worked at the local paper as a printer.  I have been told by my mother-in-law that Shirley only told her sons that their grandfather had been in prison when they started to act up as teenagers.  She wanted to make sure that they knew the consequences if they got in trouble with the law.