26 March 2012

Looking at Minuscule Genealogy Clues

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber 
March 2012

Tucked away in ornate lacquered box in my mother’s possession was a red season’s ticket to the Monarch Roller Rink.  When I discovered the ticket I immediately noted that it was assigned to “Feiler Reporter” and dated July 1885.   Two aha clues! I already knew that the box was from Portsmouth, Ohio.  But was the ticket from Portsmouth or had it traveled with “Feiler”?

I had worked diligently on my Feiler/ Feyler heritage.  Edward Leopold Feiler made his way to Hamburg from Hungry and boarded the Ship Coblenz on 10 August 1883.  The ship list calls him Leopold, a watch maker from Kenti, Galicia.  The ship sailed to Glasgow where he then boarded the ship Ethiopia and arrived 29 August 1883 in New York.

City directories usually have a lag time of six months to a year on individual listings.  Thus a person could be deceased yet show up as a resident in the same year of death.  The 1884 Indianapolis [Indiana] City Directory lists Leopold Feiler boarding at 84 S. East Street.     This is not far from Union Station and the Jewish Community.  On 29 March 1884 Feiler appeared in Marion County Circuit Court to declare an oath of allegiance.  

The next three years of Feiler’s life in America are murky.  According to his obituary published in the Portsmouth Correspondent, 29 June 1900 he migrated to America in 1884.  We know from the ship lists the newspaper clipping is incorrect by one year.  The same article says he got a position in Indianapolis and came to Portsmouth in 1889 as a help to Mr. C. Cohen.    Again erroneous information as we plow deeper into minuscule details.  While there is error in this German newspaper it was well worth my time to locate it by doing a physical search of the original microfilm.  In 2000 Jeffrey G Herbert abstracted and translated many of the death notices from this paper and after editing by Barbara K. Gargiulo it was published as Translated Abstracts of Death Notices in the Portsmouth Correspondent 1894-1908.  However they completely missed this almost column long obituary of my ancestor.  Thank goodness I follow up, when possible, with the original source material.

Tucked away in my jewelry box is a beautiful blue garnet ring inscribed 17 December 1887 E. L. F. to D. M. C.  D. M. C. is his future wife Dessie Mae Clayton.  There is no indication that she was in Indianapolis in 1887.  She became a member of Bigelow United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, Ohio in August 1885.  There are no family stories of how they met. 

On 26 March 1888 Edward Leopold Feiler appeared in Probate Court of Scioto County, Ohio to finalize his naturalization.  The clerk wrote his name as Feiler and then penned over the I with a Y.  With the stroke of a pen his surname became Feyler and all subsequent documentation appears to carry the surname as Feyler.  

And now I am directed back to the two clues on the Monarch Roller Rink Ticket. #1. The spelling is Feiler and #2. The date is July 1885.  When filling a chronology of an individual’s life no one wants a three year gap.  Where was Monarch Roller Rink and where was Feiler in 1885?  I searched the city directories of Indianapolis and found no listing for a roller rink of this name.  I searched for histories of Roller Rinks and yes I searched NewspaperArchives for “Monarch Roller Rink.”  And there is the minuscule computer search error that almost left my trail cold.  

I recently posted the ticket on the popular social network, Facebook on a created wall “You Know You Are From Portsmouth Ohio If?”  With 2120 active members I felt certain if this roller rink were in the area someone would know.  Chris Lewallen jumped in and after a search came back with no location found for “Monarch Rink.”  Not discouraged after several hours he pops back with a rink in Distel Hall in 1917.  When Chris wrote “Monarch Rink” I realized my error in research tactics. Shame on me!  I immediately hit the search engine again.  The Portsmouth Times at NewspaperArchives.com came back with many hits by removing the word “roller” from my search. The search term Monarch was too broad.  The earliest hit is for 5 December 1885 when the city solicitor announced that Monarch Rink had already taken out a license for the skating rink and opera house.   

My chronology now shows that Edward Leopold/Lee Feyler was in Indiana in 1884 and was in Portsmouth, Ohio in 1885.  

The same year he naturalized, 1888,  the Portsmouth Times announced that Ed Lee Feyler who had been associated with Charles Cohen accepted a position with E. Corriell.  The following year he opened his own store on West Second Street.  In 1890 Dessie and Edward Lee Feyler were married at Bigelow Church.  A son, Howard Clayton Feyler was born in September 1893.  Deeds, advertisements, and personal items fill in the years of his short life in America.  Edward Leopold Feiler/Feyler died 25 June 1900 from stomach cancer.  

From articles Feyler had an interest in bicycle racing.  But for now being a reporter at Monarch Roller Rink remains a bit of a curiosity.  Through the years the Monarch held balls, banquets even Temperance Meetings.  The 17 November 1888 Portsmouth Times describes the building as “The old barn like Monarch Rink…”  That same year they ran ads to rent the Rink to responsible parties for fairs, festivals and political meetings.  

My grandfather was just a 3 months short of his 7th birthday when his father died.  His mother, Dessie, kept postcards that had been exchanged with a cousin and his grandfather in Europe.  Those few minuscule lines sent across the ocean from one country to another have opened doors to learn more about my European heritage and to be introduced to surviving cousins from the Holocaust.  They have led my research from Temisvar now Rumania, Budapest in Hungry,  Bielitz, Austria Silesia and even Komarom Czechoslovakia.  

To date I have not found a record of Edward practicing his Jewish faith in Indianapolis or Portsmouth.  He married, as I have mentioned at Bigelow  United Methodist.  Yet once again I find a minuscule clue  buried within the pages  of the History of Scioto County, Ohio by Evans in 1903 “…and to this day most of the members of the choir at the Temple are also members of the choir of the Bigelow M. E. Church.”

Minuscule clues open the door to wonderful genealogy and historical avenues.

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