April 21, 1884: The Birth Of Gustave Wrann

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Knowing that my grandfather Gustave Wrann was born in Buffalo, I sent $20 to the City Clerk and requested a copy of his Birth Record. Unfortunately the filing of birth records in NY State in 1884 was not a widespread practice and several weeks later I received a letter stating they were unable to find the record.

After a few months of gathering additional records I submitted a request to a website called Random Acts Of Genealogical Kindness asking for someone to look up Gustave Wrann in the genealogy section of the local library. While they were unable to find anything for me they DID find something in the local governments Inactive Records Office. There in an old ledger was an entry for the birth of Gustave Wrann. The volunteer took digital photos of the entry and emailed them to me. Below are the pictures tacked together. Click on the image to enlarge.

The birth entry indicates the child’s name is Gustave Wrann. He was born on April 21, 1884 to Gustave and Mary Wrann who are both from Germany and who live at 32 Lemon St. The occupation of the father is “Cigar” (obviously meaning he was in the CIgar trade). Gustave’s father is 33 and his mother is 22. He is their first child. The midwife who delivered the child was M. Wolf.

This child would eventually marry Florence Parker and they’d have four children; Helen, Florence, Willard, and Virginia.

Unfortunately we have no marriage record for Gustav Wrann and Mary Paulmann. We have no idea if they were married in Germany and came to the States together or if they met in the U.S. and were married here. I’ve had several searched done in Buffalo for a marriage record and I’ve searched the Municipal Archives in NYC myself for one but have yet to come up with anything.

My second cousin Dennis sent me a copy of a letter his Grandmother (my Great Grandmother) Florence Parker Wrann sent to him when he had inquired about family history. The letter is dated Sept. 20, 1975 – one month prior to her death. In the letter Florence says:

“Grandpa Wranns name was Gustave and I don’t know Grandma Wranns before she was married. Grandma changed her name from Vronn when she came to America from Germany.”

Based on the letter we can assume that Great Grandma Florence believed that Gustav and Mary were wed prior to their arrival in the U.S. and that their last name had been changed from Vronn. Unfortunately I have yet to find any evidence in records supporting these beliefs. Quite possibly the biggest frustration from a research standpoint has been discovering if our last name REALLY was Vronn (I’ve not found ANY Vronns EVER in Germany but have found many Wranns) and figuring out where Gustav and Mary were from. It’s entirely possible that Florence was 100% accurate and the onus is on us to verify her claims. It’s also understandable that their Gus and Mary’s past is clouded due to the nature of Gustav’s death in 1895….but that’s a story for another post.

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