Diane went on to say that Gerhard and her grandmother were related, and was very fond of Gerhard, but she wasn't sure of the full relationship between the families. Then she said that her grandmother's mother was Maria "Mary" (Muller/Mueller) Kroll and she had thought that Gerhard and my Granddaddy (Arthur) had been half-brothers.
Connecting with Diane brought my research back to my paternal side of the family. As far as I know and according to the documents I have, both Gerhard and Arthur had the same father, Theodore. Maybe the reason why Diane thought they were half-brothers is because Arthur's surname was Spedowfski and Gerhard's was Demut.
This is the mystery I am working on at the moment -- Theodore, his wife Martha, their 3 children and why there were two surnames. It appears that my Great-Grandfather also used the Demut surname at various times during his life, and his death certificate records his name as "Theodore Spedowfski aka Demut". Martha's death certificate records her as "Martha Ida Spedowfski" and underneath as "Martha Ida Demut".
Here are the names for Theodore on various documents I have found so far:
- "Theod Spidowski" on both the Hamburg departure passenger list (1) and the New York arrival passenger list (2).
- "Theodore Spedowfsky" on indexed marriage record (3) to Martha Muller; his parents are listed as Herman Spedowfsky and Louise Demut.
- "Theodore Spedowpky" on birth certificate (4) for son Arthur Theodore Spedowpky.
- "Theodore Spedowfski" on World War I Draft Registration Card (5).
- "Theo Demut", also wife Martha, in 1917 San Francisco City Directory (6).
- "Demut" surname for father on indexed death record (7) of daughter, Mildred Beatrice (Demut) Kirby.
- "Theo Demut", also wife Martha, in 1918 San Francisco City Directory (8).
- "Theo Spedowsky", also wife Martha, in 1919 San Francisco City Directory (9).
- "Theodore Spedwoffki" on 1920 US Federal Census Record (10), with wife Martha, son Theodore and daughter Mildred.
- "Demut" surname for son Gerhard on indexed birth record (11), U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Record (12), and indexed Social Security death record (13).
- "Theodore Spedowfski" on 1930 US Federal Census Record (14), with wife Martha, son Theodore, daughter Mildred, son Gerhard.
- "Theodore Spedowfski" on World War II Draft Registration Card (15).
- "Theodore Spedowfski", listed as spouse, on death certificate (16) for Martha Ida Spedowfski aka Martha Ida Demut.
- "Theodore Spedowfski aka Demut" on his death certificate (17).
It is very interesting to me that my great-grandfather used the "Spedowfsky/Spedowfski" surname on all Federal documents but apparently went by the "Demut" surname in city directories. I am also curious as to why his oldest child received the "Spedowfski" surname and his youngest two children were given the "Demut" surname.
I'm hoping additional research and joining forces with Diane will uncover the mystery of my great-grandfather and his two surnames.
(1) Ancestry.com > Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 > 1890-1900 > Direct Volume 100, October 1, 1898 - 31 Dec 1898 > Image 47 > Line 10
(2) Ancestry.com > New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 > 1898 > October > 29 > Auguste Victoria > Image 10 > Line 2
(3) FamilySearch.org > California, County Marriages, 1850-1952 > Film Number 1405837 > Digital Folder Number > 4640217 > Image Number 00459 and 00460
Marriage License #29674 > Photocopy privately held by author
(4) Birth Certificate of Arthur Theodore Spedowpky #5744, 21 Sept 1914, San Francisco, San Francisco County, California; photocopy privately held by author
(5) Ancestry.com > World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 > California > San Francisco > 3 > Image 925
(6) Fold3.com > All Titles > City Directories > California > Publication: City Directories-San Francisco > 1917 > Page 607 > Image #208427863
(7) Ancestry.com > California Death Index, 1940-1997 > Place: San Joaquin > Date 24 May 1994 > Mildred Beatrice Kirby (born 17 Jan 1918)
(8) Fold3.com > All Titles > City Directories > California > Publication: City Directories-San Francisco > 1918 > Page 527 > Image #194249571
(9) Fold3.com > All Titles > City Directories > California > Publication: City Directories-San Francisco > 1919 > Page 1532 > Image #202155377
(10) Ancestry.com > 1920 United States Federal Census Record > California > Alameda > Oakland > District 140 > Image 17 > Lines 17-20
(11) Ancestry.com > California Birth Index, 1905-1995 > Birth County: Alameda > Birthdate: 30 Jun 1921 > Demut
(12) Ancestry.com > U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 (NARA)
(13) Ancestry.com > Social Security Death Index, Master File > Issue State: California > Issue Date: Before 1951 > Gerhard Herman Demut
(14) Ancestry.com > 1930 United States Federal Census Record > California > Alameda > Oakland > District 189 > Image 55 > Lines 14-18
(15) Ancestry.com > U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (NARA) > California > S > Palmer, Alfred Flock - Zwaal, Lolke > Image 464
(16) Death Certificate of Martha I. Spedowfski #6015-4890, 21 Aug 1962, Oakland, Alameda County, California; photocopy privately held by author
(17) Death Certificate of Theodore Spedowfski # 3900-1953, 6 Nov 1962, Stockton, San Joaquin County, California; photocopy privately held by author