Genealogy Report 1995

Genealogy Report – 1995 by John and Gene Geiger

Genealogy Report – 1995

In order to keep Brother Gene and myself off the streets and out of the Malls in 1995 we undertook a project to try to determine not where, but whom we came from.

The project — A Family Tree— spans 150 years from the earliest recorded birth of 1845. Since we are the composers of the Tree we decided to use our parents, Charlie Geiger and Irene (nee Fay) Geiger as the focal point. From this point we looked back at their Ancestors and found a whole bunch of folks who are Charlie and Irene’s — parents, grand-parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, and perhaps a few out-laws.

Louise Zangle, our cousin who lives in Arizona, and Mary (nee Murphy) Grogan of Long Island, NY, a distant {not from our hearts} cousin to our Mom, have been a tremendous source of information. Also assisting us were our brothers Bob and Charlie. We also received information from our father’s cousin, Elsie, who lives in Florida, and our cousin Gene and his wife Louise Krause, from Hawley, PA. We thank them for their contribution. We especially thank our Mom, Irene for her collection of family statistics. Many of these were written on scraps of paper, backs of envelopes, or whatever was available when she was in the process of recording a piece of family history.

My roll was as the ‘recorder of information’ assisted by my trusty computer and a software simply titled, The Family Tree Maker. Gene has been the journalist. He has written many letters to me and to the people mentioned above to solicit information and he conducted face-to-face or telephone ‘interviews’ in his search for the facts(?). One of these interviews was with the Grand Matriarch and storyteller — our mother, Irene. At this time we have assembled the names of 184 persons giving us a total of Six Generations. That is two generations prior to Charlie and Irene’s, plus their generation, plus three subsequent generations. Got the picture?

Preparing a Family Tree requires one to ask a lot of questions of family members who may have the answers. It’s interesting that children who grow up in the same household and of the same parents do not always possess the same information about their parents and their ancestors. We are fortunate that my brother Gene is an expert pursuer of the facts. He may have been a Private Eye in a past life at the Shirley McLain Detective Agency. To give you an example of his investigative talents I share with you a conversation he had with our Mom, Irene on May 13, 1995. Notice how tenacious he is.

“On both days she was asleep when I arrived but the attendant and I yelled and she came alive and spoke. Generally, after I say ‘it’s Gene’ she replies, ‘How is Beaulah, does she still work at Book of the Month?’ This time she said — ‘are you married?’ I said — ‘to Beaulah.’ Since she still looked a bit puzzled, I said ‘She works at Book of the Month,’ she said ‘– oh, yeah.’ I said ‘Tomorrow is your son John’s 63rd birthday.’ She said, ‘Yeah, May 14th.’ Then I said ‘Your daughter-in-law Midge was 63 last month.’ She said, ‘Yeah, April 23rd.’ I said ‘Mom, you remembered, that’s wonderful.’ She said, ‘Who are you again?'”

This is just an example of the kind of tough research it took to develop our family tree.

Gene and I did learn some facts that we did not know before. Gene did not know that our grandfather, John Fay, was an undertaker. I never knew that our grandfather remarried sometime after our grandmother, Josephine (nee Murphy) Fay died at the age of 32. Take a look now at some other information we gathered. These are in no logical order and there is some detail I have not included otherwise this may turn into a mini novel. Remember, Charlie and Irene are the focal point.

Charlie’s sister Bertha celebrated her 100th birthday on November 11, 1995. Happy Birthday!! Bertha is in a Nursing home on Long Island and in the adjoining room is her sister-in-law, Irene. Irene (our Mom) will be 97 years old on January 20, 1996.

Charlie’s mother’s parents were named Heinrich Carl Wilheim Meyer and Adolphine Caroline Louise (nee Nawo) Meyer. Heinrich, according to his daughter’s baptismal papers, is listed as both a Seaman and a Blacksmith. They resided at #17 Jacob Street in the port city of Bremerhaven, which is on the northwestern coast of Germany.

I always assumed that Charlie’s mother and father were married in Germany, but indications are they were married in Brooklyn, NY. We have no official record. His father, Eugene, was born in 1872 and received his US citizenship in 1894 at the age of 22. Eugene’s wife, Louise was only 18 years old in that year when their first child Caroline was born. I have learned from a reliable source that “in those days’ one had to ‘declare’ several years before receiving one’s citizenship” therefore (I assume) they must have arrived in the US several years prior. Our cousin, Louise Zangle informed us that our grandfather, Eugene started out as a Butchers apprentice. Our grandmother, Louise was once a Nanny for a more affluent family.

Charlie’s father Eugene was born in Untergrieves, Germany. We cannot find it on today’s map as it must have been incorporated into a larger city. It may have been in the same area as Bremerhaven because in order for Eugene and Louise to understand each other they would have had to speak the same German dialect. Germany was not unified until 1876. Before that, there were religious territories, Kingdoms, and who knows what else.

Irene’s father, John, was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1869. In 1882 at the age of 13 he became a US citizen in Jersey City, NJ’s 6th Precinct, 2nd District. I can only assume that he arrived in this country with both or one of his parents. Irene’s mother died in 1903, the same year their last and sixth child was born. Her death may or may not have been related to a child birth problem.

Irene was one of six children. There was Helen, Josephine, Charles, John, Irene and Julia. Josephine and Charles died within a year of birth. John was 22 when he died in France in WW1. Helen and Julia, both unmarried, died at age 79 and 47, respectively. Therefore, Irene was the only one to marry, and have children. Imagine if she did not.

Helen and Irene were raised by the Sisters of St. Joseph in Jersey City, NJ after their mother’s death. John, their brother, was raised by a relative. Julia was adopted by a family but we do not know when or by whom. Also, Julia suffered the loss of a foot due to a childhood accident but it never slowed down this gentlewoman.

My brother Bob and his wife Irene found amongst our mother Irene’s belongings four deeds for four burial plots in Jersey City, NJ. These were purchased by a Julia Fay for $20 on February 21, 1885. I am assuming that she is Irene’s father’s mother. I contacted the Holy Name Cemetery and found not four but rather eleven people are buried in these plots. Their names and other information are on the last two pages.

Charlie’s father owned and operated a Butcher Shop in the Navy Yard section of Brooklyn, NY when he and his three sisters were in their formative years. Being the only son he was required to assist his father at the shop before and after attending grammar school each day. (Kids think they have it rough today.) Later in life Charlie became a truck driver. His greatest talents however were in woodcrafts which were his hobby.

An injury to his leg caused Charlie’s father to sell the Butcher Shop and later purchase what we would call today a ‘Bed & Breakfast.’ They called it a Boarding House and it was in the Pocono Mountains area of Pennsylvania. We do not know when this occurred.

Charlie and Irene were married at ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Help’ church in Richmond Hill, Queens, NY. They lived at #440 McDonough Street in Brooklyn, NY where their first three children were born and the fourth son arrived later when they moved to 1217 Hancock Street, also in Brooklyn.

These are some of the facts we have uncovered. It’s been interesting and revealing for us as we have worked through this process this past year. In some way it has been like watching the replay of an old movie. Two resources that I found have been very helpful in this process. The first is America Online, there are a large number of people out there in the PC world researching their ancestors, and many other things. The other can be found in many Public Libraries and it’s called “LDS-FHC,” that is, the Latter Day Saints-Family History Center. It is the largest data base of genealogical information in the world and it is maintained by the Mormon Church and volunteers around the country. It is contained on CD ROM computer disks and the libraries will provide the computer access.

Initially, we thought we would publish the Family Tree along with the publishing of the annual “Geiger Gazette.” We also wanted to include photos of some of our ancestors. However, as the tree grew, Gene and I came to realize that it would take a lot of paper and postage to mail it out to all of the recipients of the Gazette. So, as a less expensive alternative, each of Charlie and Irene’s sons, Gene, Charlie, John and Bob will be provided with a copy of the Tree. If their Descendants are interested and wish a copy they can obtain a copy from them. Also, I will provide Lou Zangle and Mary Grogan with copies as it relates to their lineage.

I leave you with one final thought. In one of Gene’s letters he wrote the following….

Back in the days of ‘no phones’ there was a lot more correspondence as a means of communicating. I say, Thank Goodness. If telephones were available back in the days of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, we sure would have lost a lot of their thoughts without the letters they have written. I keep a record of all my outgoing and incoming correspondence. Who knows, it might be important some day, if I become somebody of importance??? If so, it better be sooner rather than later.”

From your Kin,

Gene and John Geiger


Other Facts

found among Irene’s belongings were four deeds for four burial plots ($20 per) which were purchased by Julia Fay, on February 21, 1885. I requested the following information by phone from someone at the Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City, NJ relative to the persons buried in those plots. They do not have any record of how these people may have been related. The dates shown are burial not dates of death.
Charles Curryn, 10/3/1897,
son of Mary and Michael Curryn. No idea who they are. According to the Holy Name Cemetery spokesperson, persons buried in the same plot as others back in that time period did not necessarily belong to the same family. There is a possibility however that Mary’s maiden name was FAY.
Josephine Fay, 11/21/1895
was an older sister of Irene, who died at 2 months of age.
Charles Fay , 7/23/1895 –
He was Irene’s older brother who died approximately one year after birth.
John J. Fay – 5/24/1921
This is also Irene’s brother. He died in France while in the Army, in 1918. It evidently took 3 years to get the body back from France.
Owen Fay , 3/5/1895
Was born in Ireland and is John Fay’s brother, Irene’s Uncle.
Michael Fay – 4/4/1898 –
Was born in Ireland and is John Fay’s brother, Irene’s Uncle.
Julia (nee Fay) Plate – 1/10/1934
Was 60 years old when she died. She is John Fay’s sister who married Frank Plate. This Julia could not be the one who purchased the plots as she was only 11 years old at the time of purchase. I believe that our mother Irene lived with her Aunt Julia in Manhattan when Irene started working in the business world.
Julia Fay – 6/24/1903 –
Was 76 years old when she died. She was born in Ireland. I am assuming that because of her age she may be John Fay Sr.’s Grandmother or Mother. She would have been born in 1827. John Fay, Sr. was born in 1869. She would have been 42 years of age when John was born, not impossible but unusual in those years to have a child at that age. She was 58 years old when she bought the burial plots in Holy Name Cemetery (aka-Hudson County Catholic Cemetery).
James Fay – 3/12/1914 – Age at death – 49.
He may have been a cousin to John Fay, Sr.
Margaret Fay – 2/13/1919 Age at death 61.
She may have been a cousin of John Fay, Sr.
John Fay, Sr. – 4/1/1931 – Age at death 61.
This is Irene’s Father.
There is a person missing from this list which is puzzling. There is no mention of Josephine Johanna Murphy, John’s first wife and Irene’s Mother. The only thing I can imagine is that she may have been buried with the “MURPHY” Clan in a separate grave site. Josephine was 32 years old when she died in 1903.
According to the info we received from Mary Grogan, John Fay, our grandfather had 4 siblings – Michael, Owen, Charles, and Julia so I can’t be sure who James and Margaret Fay are.