52 Documents in 52 Weeks #47 – Etta Pauw’s Passport

Etta Berendine Pauw, circa 1927

Person of Interest: Etta Pauw
Relationship: Maternal grandmother


Source Citation: Etta Berendine Pauw passport issued by Germany, 1923; privately held by Martha Strait, Lafayette, New Jersey, 2017.


Document Description: The pictures in this post are digital scans of the original passport that Etta’s daughter Martha still has in her possession. The passport is a brown, heavy card stock covered booklet that is 4 inches wide by 5-1/2 inches tall. It contains all the original pages which are stapled into the booklet in two places. The pages are blue paper with a patterned background in red. Not all pages have information on them; nine through thirty are blank.


Document Scan/Transcription = Translation:
Front Cover
Deutsches Reich = German Realm or Empire
[German eagle symbol]
Reisepass = passport

 

 

 

 

 

Inside Front Cover and Page 1 in German
There are six German stamps that have been canceled with round stamps and also overwritten with the words “Aurich” and a couple of words I can’t make out.

Deutsches Reich = German Realm or Empire
[German eagle symbol]
Reisepass = passport
No. 35
Name Der Passinhabern = Name of the passport Holder

Etta Pauw
Begleitet von seiner ehefrau = accompanied by his wife
……………………………………….
und von ……………… kindern = and by …… children
Staatsangehörigkeit = nationality
Preußen = Prussian
Dieser Pass enthält 32 Seiten = This pass contains 32 pages

Pages 2 and 3 in German
[Photo of Etta stamped on all four corners with “Landrat Aurich” stamp]
Unterschrift der Passinhabern = signature of the passport holder
Etta Pauw [her signature]
und seiner Ehefrau = and his wife
………………………………………. [crossed out]

Es wird hiermit bescheinigt, daß der Inhaber die durch das obenstehende Lichtbild dargestellte Person ist und die darunter befindliche Unterschrift eigenhändig vollzogen bat. = It is hereby certified that the holder is the person represented by the above picture and that the signature below has been signed by the owner.
[Seal of the authority]

Personenbeschreibung = Personal description
Beruf…??? = job [I can’t figure out what this word is…]
Geburtsort…Octelbur = Place of birth…Ochtelbur
Geburstag…9 Juli 1902 = Birthday…09 July 1902
Wohnort…Ochtelbur = Place of Residence…Ochtelbur
Gestalt…mittal = Shape…Medium build
Gesicht…??? = Face…[I can’t figure out what this word is…]
Farbe der Augen…Blau = Eye color…Blue
Farbe der Haares…Blond = Hair color…Blonde
Besond.Kennzeichen…??? = Any special marks…[I can’t figure out what this word is…]

Kinder = Children
Name….Alter…Geschlecht = Name…Age…Gender [this section is blank]

Page 4 and 5 in German
Geltungsbereich Des Passes = Scope of the passport
Niederlande, und Alle Erdteile = The Netherlands and all the continents
[Some German writing here that I can’t make out]
Der Paß wir der pass wird ungültig am 10 Mai 1925 wenn er nicht verlängert wird. = This passport will be invalid on 10 May 1925 if not extended.
Ausstellende Behörde = Issuing Authority
[unreadable German word] Aurich = [unreadable word] Aurich
Datum = Date
Am 11 Mai 1923 = On 11 May 1923
Unterschrift = Signature
[Signatures of the issuing authority] = Signatures
[Seal with Landrat Aurich] = Seal

Verlängerungen = Extensions
1. Velangert bis 10 Mai 1926 = Extended until 10 May 1926
Aurich, den 31.12.24 = Aurich, on 31 December 1924
Dienststelle = Department
Handratsamt.Aurich = administrative officer of Aurich
Unterschrift = Signature
[signatures of authorities]
[seal of the authority]

2. Velangert bis 10 Mai 1927 = Extended until 10 May 1927
Amsterdam, den 14 Mai 1926 = Amsterdam, on 14 May 1926
Dienststelle = Department
Der Deutsche Generalkonsul I. A. = The German General Consulate
Unterschrift = Signature
[signatures of authorities]
[seal of the authority]

3. Velangert bis 10 Mai 1928 = Extended until 10 May 1927
Amsterdam, den 30 April 1927 = Amsterdam, on 30 April 1927
Dienststelle = Department
Der Deutsche Generalkonsul I. A. = The German General Consulate
Unterschrift = Signature
[signatures of authorities]
[seal of the authority]

Page 6 and 7 in German
No. 35
Etta Pauw
[This appears to be some language about the border crossing point. Both items in red are stamped over in purple with the German word for invalid: Ungültig.]
Eingang Weener = Entrance into Weener, Germany
24 Dez. 1923 = 24 December 1923
Ausgang Weener = Exit from Weener, Germany
5 Jan. 1924 = 05 January 1924

[There is some writing at the top of page 7 that I can’t make out]
Etta Pauw
Verlenging verbliif toegestaan tet en met 15 October 1923 = Extension to stay allowed until 15 October 1923
Den Haag, den 1 Juli 1923 = The Hague on 1 July 1923
Voor den Inspecteur der Kon. Marechaussee de administrateur Rijkspaspoortenkantoor  = For the inspector of the Royal Marechaussee of the national passports office.
[Illegible Signature] = a signature that I can’t read

Etta Pauw
Verlenging verbliif toegestaan tet en met 15 April 1924 = Extension to stay allowed until 15 April 1925
Den Haag, den 17 Oct. 1923 = The Hague on 17 October 1923
Voor den Inspecteur der Kon. Marechaussee de administrateur Rijkspaspoortenkantoor  = For the inspector of the Royal Marechaussee of the national passports office.
[Illegible Signature] = a signature that I can’t read
Leges f.6.

Page 8 [Pages 9 to 30 are blank] in Dutch
Etta Pauw
Verlenging verbliif toegestaan tet en met 15 April 1925 = Extension to stay allowed until 15 April 1925
Den Haag, den 30 April 1924 = The Hague on 30 April 1924
Voor den Inspecteur der Kon. Marechaussee de administrateur Rijkspaspoortenkantoor  = For the inspector of the Royal Marechaussee of the national passports office.
[Illegible Signature] = a signature that I can’t read
Leges f.

Pages 31 [Pages 9 to 30 are blank] in English
Quota Immigration Visa No. 350
Issued to Etta B. Pauw
This 2nd day of November, 1927
No charge… [signature] Edward A. Dow, American Consol.
[Seal of the American Consulate in Rotterdam, Netherlands]


Analysis: There are six canceled German stamps on the inside of the front cover. The stamps add up to 288 marks which was, I assume, the cost of getting a passport in 1923. I wanted to see what that would be in current U.S. dollars but the comparison wouldn’t really be valid as Germany was experiencing hyperinflation at the time. The country struggled to deal with the repercussions of losing World War I and the reparations that were required by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles and the 1921 London Schedule of Payments. These agreements required Germany to pay 132 billion gold marks (US$33 billion) in reparations to cover civilian damage caused during the war. All of this shortly made paper marks virtually worthless. The chart at the right shows the value of one gold mark to paper marks. It’s quite dramatic. The hyperinflation reached its peak in November of 1923 but was halted when a new currency was introduced. I’m not sure what sort of financial difficulties that Etta was having at the time in Germany but, given the financial crisis going on, an emigration in 1923 into the Netherlands was not all that surprising.

Looking at the front cover, the Deutsches Reich was the name for the German nation state from 1871 to 1943. Literally, it means the German Empire but roughly means that it’s the German Realm.

Looking at the first page, I was surprised to see Etta’s nationality listed as Prussian. I would have expected to see “Deutches” or something similar. However, with a little research I learned that Prussia was a state of Germany from 1918 until 1933. Etta came from this northern region of Germany.

From page seven, I was curious to know what the Kon. Marechaussee was. It stands for Koninklijke Marechaussee which is one of the four Services of the armed forces of the Netherlands. It is a gendarmerie force performing military police and civil police duties. They must have been in charge of passport duties while Etta was applying for her extensions.

This pangram, “Victor chases twelve boxers across the Sylt dike,” contains all 26 letters of the alphabet plus the umlauted glyphs used in German

While I was trying to decipher the red printing on page six, I found out the fancy font is an old German font called Fraktur. It’s mainly used now for decorative purposes. Thank goodness! Between the fuzziness of the print, the font, the big purple overprint, the possibility of unfamiliar characters (like the long s “ſ ” and the esszett “ß”) and the enormously long German words, I gave up on getting an exact translation for this bit of text. Not that I didn’t spend a lot of time in that rabbit hole. I did. But, from what I could gather, it has something to do with authority and licenses and a six month limit.

I can construct a short timeline for Etta based on this passport:

  • 09 July 1902 – Etta was born in Ochtelbur, Germany
  • 11 May 1923 – Etta was issued a German passport in Aurich, Germany
  • 01 Juli 1923 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in The Hague, Netherlands
  • 17 October 1923 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in The Hague, Netherlands
  • 24 December 1923 – Etta crosses back into Weener, Germany
  • 05 January 1924 – Etta crossed back into the Netherlands from Weener, Germany
  • 31 December 1924 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in Aurich, Germany
  • 30 April 1924 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in The Hague, Netherlands
  • 14 May 1926 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 30 April 1927 – Etta was granted an extension to stay in the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 02 November 1927 – Etta was issued immigration Visa No. 350 to travel to the United States at the American Consulate in Rotterdam, Netherlands

I have mapped out all the places mentioned in Etta’s passport (blue pins) plus her future husband’s school town (orange pin) of Leeuwarden. (The map is interactive. Go ahead. Hover over it, zoom in, zoom out, click on it. I’ll wait.) Ochtelbur was close to what is now Riepe and is in the Ihlow portion of the Aurich district.

 

This original source is a document that traveled with my grandmother as she journeyed from Germany to the Netherlands and eventually to America. It contains primary (firsthand) information as she obtained her passport, crossed borders, obtained extensions, and procured an immigration visa. It is direct evidence with regards to the research question, “Where and when was Etta Berendine Pauw, of Germany and then of Newton, New Jersey, born?” It answers the question directly with “Ochtelbur on 09 July 1902.” It is indirect evidence for any other number of research questions that can be crafted for this source and the information found within it.

CONCLUSION

While analyzing my maternal grandmother Etta Berendine Pauw’s passport, I learned a bit of German history, translated some German and Dutch, struggled with fancy fonts, mapped some locations on the European continent and constructed a timeline based on the dates found within it. I can answer the question, “Where was Etta Berendine Pauw on 30 April 1924?” She was in The Hague, Netherlands, getting an extension to stay in the Netherlands. All-in-all a very fun analysis!

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Sunday’s Obituary – Blanche (Mery) McNeil – Died 25-November-2003

Relationship to me: 1st cousin, 2x removed

This obituary was found online at Pocono Record by searching the online obituaries. Published on November 27, 2003.

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Blanche M. McNeil, 83, of East Stroudsburg, died Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 25, in Laurel Manor, Stroudsburg.  She was the wife of Warren K. McNeil, at home, to whom she was married 60 years.  Born on Nov. 7, 1920, in East Stroudsburg, she was the daughter of the late Andrew and Jennie (Repsher) Mery.  She was a lifetime resident of Monroe County.  A 1938 graduate of East Stroudsburg High School, she was employed in the office at the former International Boiler Works in East Stroudsburg. She then worked in the office of Stroud Manor Nursing Home in East Stroudsburg.  Blanche was a member of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, East Stroudsburg, and its Women’s Guild.  In addition to her husband, she is survived by one daughter, Kay D. Allen and her husband Russell of Deering, N.H.; one granddaughter, Jill Rapp and her husband Carl of Deering, N.H.; two great-grandsons, Adam Rapp and Aidan Rapp; three sisters, Jane Predmore of East Stroudsburg, Leona Mutchler of East Stroudsburg, and Elaine Swink and her husband Clair of Lebanon, Tenn.; one brother, John Mery of East Stroudsburg; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by one brother, Raymond Mery.  Funeral Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 25 Lackawanna Ave., East Stroudsburg.  The Rev. Kathleen Ash-Flashner will officiate.  Burial will follow in Prospect Cemetery, East Stroudsburg.  There will be a viewing from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 28, at William H. Clark Funeral Home, 1003 Main St., Stroudsburg, and 9:30 a.m. until the time of the services on Saturday at the funeral home.  The family has requested that memorial contributions be mad to Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 25 Lackawanna Ave., East Stroudsburg, PA 18301.

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #46 – Enoch Hunt’s City Directory

Person of Interest: Enoch Hunt
Relationship: 3rd great-grandfather


Source Citation: H. Wilson, compiler, Trow’s New York City Directory: For the year ending May 1, 1857, (New York: John F. Trow, 1856), 406; digital images, Google Books (http://books.Google.com : accessed 17 July 2017).


Document Description: This is a page from a New York City directory published in 1856. It was part of a digitizing project with Google books and the entire book is available for download. This indexed book has a listing of residents, streets, calendars, list of nurses, and commercial register with advertising.


Background on city directories: City directories are a great resource for putting people in a particular place at a particular time. If you haven’t checked out the FamilySearch Wiki yet, you should! They have a great page dedicated to city directories. This wiki page has information on why they were created (for salesmen, merchants and people wanting to find residents of the area…), why they are useful (locating people in large cities…), potential content (married couples, occupations, maps…), availability, and finding aids. They were generally published annually and were a precursor to the modern phone directories which are themselves becoming defunct. Many libraries and archives still have city directories, you just need to dig to find them.


Document Scan/Transcription: I am not going to transcribe the entire page… Not going do it, not going to happen! I will however transcribe the entry I’m interested in:

Hunt Enoch, printer, h 174 W 20th


Analysis: Looking up the “h” in the abbreviations shows that Enoch was living in a house as opposed to an apartment building or over a store.

So what do I get out of this nondescript listing of Enoch Hunt? From other research, I know that he spent some time in New York City and worked as a printer for a while. This city directory confirms his occupation as a printer. The commercial appendix (page 30) that has the listing of printers paying for advertising.  It shows that Enoch probably didn’t own his own business or, if he did, was not large enough to afford advertisement in this directory as a separate business. He was most likely working for one of the larger printers in New York City.

Enoch was living on W. 20th Street.  That made me curious to find where in New York City that was.

This address is located on Manhattan quite close to the Flatiron Building, Gramercy Park, and Washington Square Park. A 2017 Google map shows where it is located on the island. I went down a bit of a rabbit hole on this task. I tried to locate a Sanborn Fire Insurance map from 1855 or so, just to see what buildings would have been constructed and standing at Enoch’s time of residence. With the limited amount of time I gave myself I had no luck on finding anything online but that doesn’t mean I won’t turn one up later.

Source: Google maps, satellite mode, 2017

Perusing the rest of the Hunts in the directory yielded some other Hunts living nearby.

Henry Hunt, carman, living at 171 W. 20th

William Hunt, builder, living at 211 and 213 W. 20th

William S. Hunt, builder, also living at 211 W. 20th (perhaps father and son) and then another address at 218 W. 21st

Enoch lived with his daughter Kezia married to a man named Washer in New York City for a while, so I also looked for Washers in the directory. This listing goes directly from Washburn to Washington with no Washers in the mix.

This source is an authored work. Mr. H. Wilson compiled the directory (I’m sure with some help) and then published the work as a unique book. The information found in the book is secondary or even undetermined. Most of this comes from what Mr. H. Wilson collected and is prone to error. Case in point, there are mistake and addendum pages in the book. The evidence is direct with regards to the research question, “Where did Enoch Hunt, who worked as a printer in New York City, live in 1856-1857?” It directly answers that question with “174 W. 20th.” It is indirect in that it will not answer any kinship research questions like, “Who was the wife [or daughter or son] of Enoch Hunt, who worked as a printer in New York City, live in 1856-1857?” I would need to combine this with some other sources to answer kinship questions.

CONCLUSION

Since they were usually published annually, city directories are a great resource to track people in particular cities over the years. Locating this one for Enoch Hunt helped me to confirm he was working as a printer in New York City for a time but does not help to figure out why a man from New Jersey moved to New York City for some years to work as a printer. Perhaps the growing concerns about a Civil War lead him to move into printing. Another little mystery to add to my ever growing list of things to find or figure out!

Sunday’s Obituary – Florence (Fluck) Repsher – Died 23-January-2004

Relationship to me: wife of 1st cousin, 2x removed

This obituary was found be searching the Pocono Record’s online obituaries (screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-6-50-03-pm) on January 25, 2004.

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Florence E. Repsher, 88, of Quakertown died Friday, Jan. 23, in Belle Haven Nursing Home, Quakertown. She was the wife of Ross Repsher. They were married for 63 years in August.  Born in Richland Township, Bucks County, she was a daughter of the late Oswin R. and Anna (Horne) Fluck.  She was a graduate of Quakertown Community High School Class of 1933. Florence worked for more than 10 years as a bookkeeper for Quakertown National Bank before retiring in 1978. Previously, she was employed as a stenographer at the former Mountain Lake House, Marshalls Creek. Florence was a member of St. John’s United Church of Christ, Richlandtown, where she served on the Altar Guild. She was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Upper Perkiomen Chapter, and had served as a Mother Advisor to the Rainbow Girls. She had also volunteered at Grand View Hospital’s Child Care Center, Sellersville. Surviving with her husband are two daughters, Cheryl Farber and husband, Arthur, of Quakertown, Diane Huffman and her husband, Robert, of Marshalls Creek; a sister, Naomi Mann of Quakertown; a brother, Willard “Bud” Fluck and his wife, Anna, also of Quakertown; six grandchildren, Cort, Barrie, Cameron, Brooke, Shana and Evan; and two great-grandchildren, Owen and Ross.  Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, in St. John’s United Church of Christ, Richlandtown. Interment will be in Richland Town Union Cemetery, Richlandtown. Family and friends are invited to call from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, in the church.  The family requests memorial remembrances in the form of contributions to St. John’s United Church of Christ, P.O. Box 356, Richlandtown, PA 18955 or the American Diabetes Association, One Plymouth Meeting, Suite 520, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1316.

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #45 – Ora Strait’s Union Booklet

Picture002Person of Interest: Ora Simpson Strait of Sussex County, New Jersey
Relationship: Great grandfather


Source CitationOra S. Strait‘s United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America membership booklet, 20 October 1917; privately held by Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, AZ, 2017.


Document Description: This slim book is a black cloth-covered booklet issued by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA). It is 3-1/2″ by 5″ in dimension and only about 1/8 of an inch thick. It has no lettering on the cover. The inside cover has a membership statement with a seal. It has 24 pages in total and the binding is stitched with white thread. There are sporadic entries in the book and the membership statement is filled out. Some of the pages in the back are perforated to accommodate clearance cards (defined in the booklet) but all of Ora’s pages are intact.


oracarpenter004

The completely unexciting front cover

oracarpenter005Document Scan and Transcription:
[on inside of front cover] Membership Statement
Date of Birth Jan 26 1879
The bearer, Mr. Ora S. Strait was duly initiated as a (semi) beneficial member of the U. B. of C. & J. of A. in L. U. No. 1124, located in the City of Newton State of N.J., on the 20 day of Oct 1917. Initiation Fee, $7.50 (Financial Secretary to fill in the above statement.)
This is to certify that the bearer hereof, Mr. Ora S. Strait, was duly initiated (or admitted on clearance card) as a member of L. U. No. 1124 on the 20 day of October 1917.
John B. Kishbaugh, President
C. T. Browne pro tem Fin. Sec.
Members should relinquish possession of this book only as provided for but the Constitution and Laws of the U. B.
[There is a seal on the bottom left side of the Membership Statement.]

[Page 1] United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
SPECIAL NOTICE
Sec. 43. Each member is required to keep the Recording Secretary and Financial Secretary properly notified of his correct place of residence and any change of same under penalty of one dollar ($1.00) fine.
A member three months in arrears shall not be entitled to the password, or a seat, or office in any meetings of the Local Union. (See Sec. 45)

MEMBERS IN ARREARS
Sec. 45. When a member owes a sum equal to three months’ dues, he is not in good standing, and is thereby suspended from all donations and will not again be entitled to donations until three months after his arrearages are paid in full, including the current month.
A member owning a Local Union any sum equal to six months’ dues shall be dropped from membership without a vote of the Union, and his name be stricken from the books. After that he can be readmitted only as a new member, subject to such readmission fee as provided for in the By-Laws of their Local Union or District Council, together with the sum of three dollars ($3.00), which shall be forwarded to the Local where he was dropped.

oracarpenter006[Page 2 & 3] Dues page [no date at top or Ledger Page No. entered]

The Financial Secretary must sign this book and enter in the proper spaces the exact date and amount of payment. He should use an ink stamp with interchangeable dates and his signature all on one line.

Oct. – 75 – Oct 20 – C. T. Browne pro tem [Oct is written in pencil, the rest is ink]
Nov. – 75 – Nov 17 – ”   ” [in pencil]
Dec. – 75 – Jan 18 – C. T. Browne [in pencil]

[There are no other entries on this page. The facing page has a place for fines and assessments but there is nothing entered here either.]

oracarpenter007[Page 4 & 5] Dues page [no date at top or Ledger Page No. entered]

The Financial Secretary must sign this book and enter in the proper spaces the exact date and amount of payment. He should use an ink stamp with interchangeable dates and his signature all on one line.

Jan. – 75 – Jan 19 – C. T. Browne
Feb. – 75 – Feb 20 – O. S. Strait
March – 75 – April 20 – O. S. Strait
April – 75 –    ”      ”          ”        ”

[There are no other entries on this page. The facing page has a place for fines and assessments but there is nothing entered here either.]

Pages 6 & 7 are the same format of pages 4 & 5 but have nothing entered on them.

oracarpenter008[Pages 8 & 9] Dues page [no date at top or Ledger Page No. entered]

[Nothing official is entered on these pages. The Fines and Assessments page was used to do some figuring.]

oracarpenter009[Pages 10 & 11]
CLEARANCE CARDS
Sec. 46. A member who transfers his membership or who leaves the jurisdiction of his Local Union to work in another locality must apply to the Financial Secretary and present his due book and have clearance card properly filled out. It is compulsory for the Local Union to issue said card, providing against him and pays all arrearages, together with current month’s dues. Said clearance card shall expire one month from date of issue.
It is compulsory for the member to report and deposit his clearance card at the office of the District Council of Local Union where no District Council exists before securing work, pending a meeting of the Local Union, and comply with all local laws. And in no case shall the Financial Secretary accept dues other than to secure clearance cards from a member working in the jurisdiction of any other Local Union or District Council, without the consent of such Local Union or District Council. It shall be the duty of the Financial Secretary accepting dues from a member for clearance cards who is working in another jurisdiction to immediately report same to the District Council or Local Union where no District Council exists under penalty of a fine of five dollars ($5.00) for the first offense, ten dollars ($10.00) for the second offense, and for the third offense suspension from all local offices for a period of two (2) years.
Any member working in a district from which he returns home daily, or who is sent for more than one month into an outside jurisdiction by an employer from his own district, shall be required to take out a clearance card, unless he first secures a permit in writing from the Local Union or District Council in whose jurisdiction he Amy to to work without a transfer, and he shall be governed by the trade rules of the district in which he works.
No Local Union shall have the right to collect dues again for the month paid on a clearance card. The Local Union issuing the card shall pay to the General Secretary the tax for said member for the month only in which the card is issued, and he shall be considered a member of that Local Union until he deposits his card, when he becomes a member of the Local Union wherein said card has been deposited.
Any General Officer, while employed by the United Brotherhood, shall not be required to take a clearance card from the Local Union

oracarpenter010[Page 12 & 13]
of which he is a member at the time of his election or appointment.
A member of a Local Union taking out a clearance card before he is one year a member shall pay, where the initiation fee is higher, into the Local Union accepting the clearance card a sum equal to the difference in initiation fee before the clearance card can be accepted.
On entering a Local Union a member with a clearance card shall present his due book to the President, who shall appoint a committee of three to examine the applicant and his due book and report at once. If clearance card and due book are found correct, then a vote shall be taken, and if the majority of the votes are favorable he shall be admitted, except in case of strike or lockout, provided he qualifies in accordance with the District By-Laws.
On deposit of said card the Financial Secretary receiving it must sign and affix the seal to the coupon and forward it to the General Secretary as evidence of its deposit, along with his monthly report. The Financial Secretary receiving the clearance card shall immediately report the same to the Financial Secretary issuing the clearance card, under penalty of five dollars ($5.00) fine.

This is to certify that ……………………………….. having paid all dues and assessments in the Local up to and including the month of ……………….. 19…., has been this day granted a Clearance Card.
Dated ……………….. Signed ………………..Fin. Sec’y
Local Union No. ……………
[Page perforation here]
This is to certify that …………………………………………………………………. whose name is written is his own handwriting on the front inside cover of this book, was granted a Clearance Card on the …….. day of ………. 19…., all fines, dues and assessments having been paid in full. If not deposited within thirty days from the date of issue same becomes void.
Signed ………………………….. President
Signed ………………………….. Fin. Sec’y

[Page 14]
This is to certify that …………………………………………………………………. has this day been admitted to membership in L. U. No. ……….. from L. U. No. ………, located at ………………….. City, State …………………………………………………
Signed ………………………….. President
Signed ………………………….. Fin. Sec’y
[Page perforation here]
This is to certify that …………………………………. presented his Clearance Card from L. U. No. …………, located at City ……………………., State ………….., to L. U. No. ……. located at City ……………………., State ………….., on the …….. day of ………….., 19…., and after investigation was duly admitted to membership in the L U.
Signed ………………………….. Fin. Sec’y
This C.C. to be detached and forwarded to G.S. with Monthly Report. L. U. No. ……

Pages 15, 17, 19, 21, and 23 are repeats of page 13 and are blank/intact.

page-13

Pages 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24 are repeats of page 14 and are blank/intact.

page-14

There is nothing on the inside of the back cover.


Analysis: Birth dates can be elusive things to ferret out. Ora Simpson Strait’s birth date falls firmly into that category. I found his only birth year of 1879 on his tombstone.[1] I got closer with month and year of January 1879 when I found him in the 1900 census.[2] His death certificate states that his birth date was 26 January 1880 and that he was 38 years, 8 months and 6 days old when he died.[3] Neither one of these helped me feel confident that I’d found his birth date. The year seems to be wrong based on other sources and working backwards from his death gives us a date of 01 January 1880 which itself doesn’t even match the 26 January 1880 date from the death certificate! I got lucky when the artifact featured in this post popped up and revealed his whole birth date.

Shortly after my Aunt Sadie (Strait) Scabet passed away, her husband Jimmy decided to give up their house and move into an assisted living apartment. He had a particular style of clearing out houses. It’s called “dumpster.” He used this technique when clearing out his mother-in-law’s house and employed the same strategy with his own home. Luckily, his son David Scabet was paying attention to the lettering on some boxes instead of just wholesale pitching them into the dumpster abyss. He called my sister Jill to say, “Hey, thought I’d let you know. There’s a box over here that has ‘Give to the Strait girls’ written on it. You should come over now to come pick it up.” Jill boogied from her house in Randolph up to Newton to retrieve the box. Inside it were carefully saved personal possessions of members of the Strait family.

Some of Ora’s things were in that box: his wallet and a small book showing his membership in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. The wallet is a light brown leather in a trifold style with a snap to hold it closed. Opened up, it measures 4-5/8″ by 8-1/4″ and has another snap for the coin pocket. The leather on the coin pocket flap has survived better than the rest of the wallet; it’s soft and supple. The rest of the wallet is very dry and becoming brittle. Expected since the mini-calendar showing in the window at the bottom right was for January of 1918. It’s almost 100 years old! There were no coins in the coin pocket, bills in the billfold, or pictures of the family tucked into a corner. Dang….

oracarpenter001

Ora’s wallet

There was an identification card in the wallet that was filled out. It said the owner’s name was Ora S. Strait and that he lived on Condit Street in Newton, N.J. In case of emergency, Mrs. O. S. Strait, also of Condit Street, should be contacted.

oracarpenter002

The second item in the box is the focus of this post, Ora’s union membership book. He joined the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America on 20 October 1917, shortly before his untimely death in 1918.

carpenter_1_smThe UBCJA organization (see the historical notes on this page) came into existence in 1881 and was founded by Peter J. McGuire and Gustav Luebkert. They originally fought for fair wages and hours, along with sickness and death benefits, for their members. When Ora joined in 1917, there were probably close to 350,00 members. Like all organizations that become large and influential, they went through many changes both internal and political. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America is still in existence today. According to their website they represent “more than a half-million men and women who provide safe, productive work every day. We equip our professional craftsmen with skills that are demanded in today’s construction industry.”

The jackpot within this nondescript little union membership book is on the inside of the front cover. Ora’s full birth date of 26 January 1879 is found! Direct (explicit) evidence that answers my research question of “When was Ora Simpson Strait of Sussex County, New Jersey, born?” Also, there is a small bit of verbiage further along in the book that strengthens my confidence in this date, even if it is secondary information. (Ora doesn’t remember his birth, he’s relying on what other people have told him.)signature

On the clearance card pages, the wording “This is to certify that …………. whose name is written is his own handwriting on the front inside cover of this book” is found. That tells me that Ora was required to write his own name on the front cover and, when I compare the handwriting, it matches the script on the date of birth line. It’s also the same handwriting found on the identification card in his wallet.

CONCLUSION

Of all the sources I’ve found on Ora’s birth date, this union booklet holds the greatest weight for me. It’s an original record and, while it’s secondary information, it is direct evidence of his full birth date. It corresponds to the birth year calculated from all the census records I found and corroborates the birth year on his tombstone. Until I find a birth certificate for Ora Simpson Strait, this source is my favorite for his birth date!

These two items (wallet and union booklet) are also a bit nostalgic. His last entry in the union book was April of 1918. The calendar in his wallet is stuck at January 1918. He passed away on 07 September 1918 at the very young age of 39.[4] These two objects, which are both almost 100 years old, are some of the last physical objects that Ora handled while he was alive.

I’m grateful to David Scabet and Jill (Strait) Ray for rescuing these items from the garbage dump and obscurity. Thank you both!


[1] North Hardyston Cemetery (Rt. 94, Hamburg, New Jersey), Ora S. Strait and Audrey R. Hunt marker; photo taken by Jodi Lynn Strait, July 2006.
[2] 1900 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Lafayette Township, ED 169, p. 1B (penned), dwelling 23, family 25, Ira W. Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 995.
[3] New Jersey, Department of Health, Death Certificate, death certificate no. 593 (penned), Ora S. Strait (1918); Copy with Jodi Strait, Tucson, AZ.
[4] Ibid.