Monday, March 30, 2009

Madness Monday - More than one Maiden Name?

Researching my Great Grandmother, Maria, has been very frustrating. Depending on who you talk with and what record I find she has two maiden names. Her youngest daughters all believed her surname was Pergel. This can be found on some records where her 3 youngest daughters were the source. Her older sons recorded their mother's maiden name as Bergner. I have one record where Mary, herself, is the source where, on her husband's death certificate, she states her maiden name as Bergner. Oral family history may shed some light on this discrepancy. As the story goes - Maria's mother died when she was still young. She was thought to be the youngest of several children and her father gave her to a Jewish family to be raised as a servant. Perhaps one is her real name and the other belongs to the family that she was raised with.

She was born 12 Jan 1869 in Budapest, Hungary. Hungary was also cited as the place of birth of her parents in the 1930 census. She married Ignatz J. Kollain abt 1887 in Austria-Hungary and they immigrated to the U.S. in 1909. They were residing in NYC in 1912; and moved to Jamesburg, NJ prior to 1920. Maria Kollain died 12 Oct. 1957 in Jamesburg, Middlesex, NJ. Parents were listed as 'unknown' on her death cert. Her date and place of birth came from Ignatz's naturalization papers. That is all we have for Maria. Nothing further is known about her family or the family who raised her. Thoughts?


CMPointer said...

Have you checked the Family History Library Catalog? They have microfilm for Budapest (Hungary) -- like census, church records, civil registrations, etc. Do you have a satellite Family History Library near you, or a library that participates in their system? You can order and rent the microfilm and use there (abt. $5/film). My thinking was that maybe she was baptized/christened, and if you can find that record, that should list parents and possibly siblings, if she had any...Also, concerning her maiden name, I'd go with what she said it was - it's probably the closest to the actual one, but it might be the name of the family that raised her. Her youngest daughters are the furthest from the actual event, and it seems to be similar. Unfortunately, the name Bergner is sometimes a Jewish name, but also has German/Dutch/Swedish or Scandinavian origins. So,that's not much help in determining if it's her actual maiden name or the name of the Jewish family that took her in (assuming yout great grandmother isn't Jewish). Maybe first check church records to see if it's "easily" found. Then, check for available census records...Just a thought.

TCasteel said...

Thank you for your suggestions. I do have Bergner labelled as her primary name, but as you say, I cannot be sure which family it originated from. She was a German Catholic. An uncle suggested that the preferred surname might have been influenced by the time period and community they lived in. T.