The Stephen A. Schwartzman Branch of the NYPL.
On Friday I spent the afternoon at the New York Public Library (NYPL). I viewed two books: A History of Washington County, Maryland and St. Mary’s Catholic Church Records, 1818-1900.
W. Angelo Powell married two sisters from Hagerstown, Maryland: Regina and Cecelia Gillmeyer. The Gillmeyers were practicing Catholics and they worshipped at St. Mary’s Church.
During my initial research on Powell, I requested information on the Gillmeyer family from the Washington County Historical Society. The society sent me some copies from the St. Mary’s Records book, but I wanted to make sure they didn’t overlook anything. The devil is in the details, so I decided to scour through the book myself.
The NYPL is an amazing resource for research. Luckily a copy of the St. Mary’s Records book resides in the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy of the Schwartzman branch. That’s where I started:
The Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy at the NYPL.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Regina and Angelo’s ceremony took place on April 14, 1857. I wanted to know if their wedding was recorded by the church. Unfortunately it was not. Either the compiler overlooked it or they were married elsewhere.
Approximately nine months after Regina and Angelo were wed, Regina died in Baltimore. I assume Regina expired due to complications during a pregnancy or possibly during childbirth. Her brief obituary was also published in the Sun, but the cause of death was not given.
The loss of his wife and unborn child must have been devastating for the thirty-year-old architect, but Angelo Powell remarried quickly. On September 30, 1858, he wed Regina’s younger sister, Cecelia. The record of their ceremony appears in the St. Mary’s Records book as does the baptism date for the Powell’s second daughter, Celia (Lillie) Powell.
So what did I learn from this? The volunteers at the Washington County Historical Society did a wonderful job. They sent me copies of the most relevant pages, but they did overlook one thing. After checking the index, I found a baptism date for Catherine (Katie) Powell, Cecelia and Angelo’s third daughter.
Katie’s baptism ceremony occurred on May 15, 1869. I believe Angelo and Cecelia moved their family to St. Joseph, Missouri, in the spring of 1868. But the date of Katie’s baptism means they may not have arrived until June or July of 1869.
There is another possibility: Cecelia and the children spent the summers of 1869 and 1870 in Maryland.
According to the census taken in Hagerstown on June 2nd, 1870, Cecelia and the children were living (or staying) with her parents (or brother). But the census taken in St. Joseph on January 18, 1871, placed Cecelia and the children with Angelo.
Summers (i.e. the height of the building season) were Angelo’s busiest time. Its possible Cecelia and the children made extended visits to Hagerstown leaving Angelo in St. Joseph to work. This would explain the dates for Katie’s baptism and the census.