Archive for the ‘Vital Records’ Category

1889: The Birth Of Walter Wrann

November 14, 2008

On October 4, 1889 Walter Harry Wrann was born. The fourth child to be born to my great great grandparents Ferdinand Gustav Wrann and Marie Paulmann, Walter would be the final child the couple would have together.

Based on later Federal Census data we knew Walter was born in Pennsylvania but why the Wrann’s moved there from NYC is not known. They didn’t stay long in PA and would soon move back to Manhattan.

At the time of his birth Philadelphia did not hold Birth Certificates but instead kept the records in a ledger. Following is an image taken from a microfilm copy of the Birth Registration for Walter. Click on the image to enlarge it.


The information contained in the ledger is as follows:

Date Of Birth: Oct 4

Name Of Child: Walter H. Wrann

Sex: Male

Color: White

Ward: 16

Place Of Birth: 401 No 4

Name Of Parents: Gustav + Maria Wrann

Occupation Of Father: Cigar Maker

Name Of Physician: Matilda Ullrich

Residence Of Physician: 709 St. John’s’

Unfortunately this document does not indicate the birth place of his parents…something we are still trying to pinpoint to this day.

Walter would one day marry and have a son and later grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Walter’s son was my Grandfather Willard’s cousin and it seems the two lost touch with each other long before I was born. A few years ago I managed to track down Walter’s granddaughter and she and her sister have since attended a Wrann gathering and keep in touch via email! Re-establishing a connection between my grandfather’s Wrann family and her father’s Wrann family has certainly been one of my proudest moments since becoming involved in this research.


1887: The Death Of Gertrude Wrann

July 8, 2008

My initial excitement at discovering a previously unknown sister of my Great Grandfather Gustav Wrann was dampened when I discovered her name in the NYC Death Index for the year after she was born. The index indicated her Death Certificate # was 599964 and that she had died just 6 months after her birth.

While at the Municipal Archives in NYC I looked up her certificate on microfilm and purchased a certified copy of it.

Following is Gertrude’s Death Certificate. Click on it to view an enlargement.

1. Full Name Of Deceased: Gertrude Wrann

2. Age years, 6 months, 12 days.

5. Birthplace: NY

7. Father’s Birthplace: Germany Father’s Name: Gustave Wrann

8. Mother’s Birthplace: “ “ Mother’s Name: Mary

9. Place Of Death: 441 E 81

10. If a Dwelling, by how many families, living separately, occupied, 4 Floor 1

11. I hereby certify that I attended deceased from: March 12, 1887 to April 28, 1887 and that I last saw her alive on the 26 day of “ “ 1887, that she died on the 28 day of March 1887, about 12 o’clock, A.M., and that to my best knowledge and belief the cause of her death was as here under written:

Chief and Determining: Enteritis (Diarrheal) Asthenia

Witness my hand this 28th day of April 1887.

Signature: Frank B. C… M.D.

Residence: 136 E. 18th

Place of Burial: Lutheran

Date of Burial: April 29, 1887

Name of Undertaker: Herman Lange 433 E 81st Street

A few notes/observations regarding this death certificate:

Gertrude was born at 435 E 81st St. Her death occurred at 441 E. 81st St. I’ve checked old maps and both places appear to be apartment buildings and not hospitals. Not sure if the Wrann’s lived at both places. The undertaker lived a few doors down as well. I’ve also noticed that St. Monica’s Roman Catholic Church is around the corner so I may contact them to see if they have baptismal records for Gertrude.

There is no new information on Gustave or Mary.

Her cause of death was Diarrheal Enteritis (inflammation of the gastrointestinal system) – my Aunt Pat helped me decipher Enteritis when I saw her in VT last year. I had originally thought the second cause of death listed was “Asthma” but it didn’t make sense to me…didn’t seem to fit in with Enteritis. I did some research into archaic medical terms and found the likely translation: Asthenia. Asthenia means weakness or lack of energy and strength and makes more sense than Asthma when associated with Enteritis. Click HERE for the full definition.

There are some inconsistencies in the dates the physician saw her. Looks like he wrote March once when he should have written April as it’s fairly clear she died on April 28 and not March 28. I believe he actually first saw her on March 12 and she was ill for six weeks before dieing on April 28.

The birth certificate indicated she was buried at the Lutheran Cemetery which would be the Lutheran All-Faiths Cemetery in Astoria, Queens. I contacted the cemetery and unfortunately they were not able to find a record of her burial or plot. I plan on inquiring again in the future – maybe I’ll get someone who has better luck searching.

1886: The Birth Of Gertrude Wrann

June 26, 2008

On October 15, 1886 F. Gustav Wrann and his wife Mary Paulmann Wrann had their third child Gertrude.

Following is her birth record. Click on it to enlarge.

1886 Birth Record For Gertrude Wrann

State Of New York – County Of New York – City Of New New York

Birth Return

1. Name Of Child: Gertrude Wrann

2. Sex: Female – Date Of Birth: Octo 15, 1886

3. Place Of Birth (Street and Number): 435 E 81 St

4. Name Of Father: Gustav Wrann

5. Full Name Of Mother: Mary ” ”

6. Maiden Name Of Mother: Paulmann

7. Birthplace (Country & State) Of Mother: German Age: 24 Years

8. Birthplace (Country & State) Of Father: German Age: 33 Years Occupation: Cigar Maker

9. Number Of Child Of Mother: 3 How Many Of Them Now Living: 3

10. Name and Address Of Medical Attendant or Other Authorized Person, In Own Handwriting: Signature: H. Mendolsohn Address: 528 E 82 St

11. Date Of This Return: Oct. 27 1886

I’m not 100% certain whether her name is GerDrude or is actually GerTrude. Both names were traditional German female names and it’s difficult to tell for sure what it was based on the two documents I have with her name.

We can tell from this document that the family has moved uptown from their Pitt St. address seen on earlier documents.

1885: The Birth Of Lillian Wrann

June 18, 2008

This was an interesting discovery!

The woman many of us know or knew by the name Lillian Wrann was actually named Elsa at birth.

Following is the birth record for Ferdinand Gustav Wrann and Mary Paulmann’s second child – Elsa/Lillian. Click to enlarge.

1. Name Of Child: Elsa Wrann

2. Sex: Female Date Of Birth: August 7, 1885

3. Place Of Birth (Street & Number): 137 Pitt Street

4. Name Of Father: Gustav Wrann

5. Full Name Of Mother: Mary Wrann

6. Maiden Name Of Mother: Paulmann

7. Birthplace Of Mother: Germania Age: 25 Years

8. Birthplace Of Father:Age: 35 Years Occupation: Cigarmaker

9. Number Of Child Of Mother: 2 How Many Of Them Now Living: 2

The certificate is dated August 18, 1885 and is signed by the midwife E. Herschell who lived down the block at 55 Pitt St.

I’ve only ever seen a handful of photos of Lillian taken late in her life. Not sure if any from her younger years still exist.

April 21, 1884: The Birth Of Gustave Wrann

June 15, 2008

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.