Traveling Men

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Leonard “Fuzzy” Fiderius (left) Christina Fiderius (center) and Joseph Fiderius (right)

I have written a little about my Great- Grandmother Mary Fiderius, but nothing about her parents or brothers and sister.  Today I am writing about her brother’s Leonard and Joseph. 

Several years ago I hit a brick wall on the Fiderius line of my family tree, and I just haven’t gotten back to it.  However, I did think of this line when I saw that this week’s theme from 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is Travel.  Way back in the 1990’s I worked at a library, and we received some computer Cd’s (pre-Internet) with phone books from all over the country (USA) on them.  At the reference desk, we were told to learn how to use them so we could help patrons.  I started putting in all the surnames of my ancestors.  When I got to Fiderius only three showed up in the whole country and they were in the Cleveland, Ohio area.  I knew my grandfather was born in Toledo, Ohio and Fiderius was his mother’s maiden name.  I figured they must be related, and way back then the only way to contact them was telephone or regular mail.  I was too shy to telephone so I wrote each one a letter.  I received a very nice letter from Erick Fiderius (my second cousin 1X removed).   The other two I wrote to were his father and his sister.  He told me about my great-grandmother’s brothers, Leonard and Joseph.  He also included a picture of my great-great grandmother Christina Oberdoester with her son’s Leonard and Joseph (see above).

Here is what Erick wrote on January 6, 1997I was delighted to receive your letter requesting information on your family lineage.  I am in fact related to your Great Grandmother Mary Beischer.  She would be my Great Aunt and sister of Joseph Fiderius, my Grandfather (about 1877 – 1970).  His brother Leonard was my Great Uncle “ Fuzzy” who must have gotten his nickname from his curly hair (see photo on left).  Fuzzy met his wife in Altoona, PA. I’m not sure but possibly your Great Grandmother Mary could have been from around that area. Both Joe and Fuzzy lived the majority of their adult life and died in the Cleveland area.  They were both very involved (held elected positions) in the early start of the local and possibly the national brotherhood of electricians, and I remember hearing stories of how they spent time (1920-1940’s?) working or wiring many of the old amusement parks of the day form Cleveland and east to NY (such as Luna Park and Euclid Beach Park).”

There was more to letter, but about other ancestors.  I found it interesting that they traveled around the country wiring amusement parks.  I wonder how many they did and where they were all located.  I have great memories of going to Riverview in Chicago.  It doesn’t sound like they made it west to Chicago to wire Riverview, but who knows maybe they did.  Since 1997, I have done more research on Leonard and Joseph and here is a short biography of each.  

Leonard Adam Fiderius was born 20 October 1884 in Cleveland, Ohio to Peter Fiderius and Christine Oberdoester.[i]  Leonard married Louisa C. Wagner on 24 November 1909 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.[ii]   Leonard did travel around wiring amusement parks as Erick said in his letter.  In 1907 Leonard was the chief electrician in the construction of a Luna Park in Scranton, Pennsylvania. [iii]  Around the same time he was chief electrician for Luna Park, he purchased a moving picture theater Dreamland in Hazelton, Pennsylvania and renamed it Bijou Dream.[iv]  Two months later he is trying to sell it.[v]  In 1914 Leonard is named chief electrician for the year at Luna Park.[vi]  While I was researching Leonard, I was surprised to find this headline:  19 indicted by Cleveland Jury.  Here is a transcript of the entire article from 20 June 1914:

“Cleveland, June 20 – (AP)— Nineteen electrical construction contractors and officials of the Cleveland Electrical Workers Union were indicted by the county grand jury here today on charges of violation of the Valentine antitrust law. 

The indictments charge the men entered into a conspiracy to fix prices on electrical construction jobs that they prevented competitive bidding.  The grand jury investigation followed three weeks of investigation.

Those indicted were Louis G. Kubach, John H. Fitzgerald, L. A. Fiderius, Herbert C. Mohr, Godfrey C. Davis, Albert G. Koestle, John A. Linden, William C. Schuur, Adolph P. Goldberger, Charles N. Dennison, Henry C, Morlock, Max Rapport, Herman R. Keppler, J. B. Morgan, George W. Billington, William E. Ranney, L. Wolfert, George W. Malone and Tom C. Fowler.

Fowler is president and Kubach secretary of the Electrical Business Association, a contractors’ organization, which according to Prosecutor Ray T. Miller, conspired with the union.

Fitzgerald and Fiderius are officers of the union forced the contractors to submit to the conspiracy under threat of withdrawing labor from jobs.  The contractors allegedly were required to bid on jobs at agreed prices and to take turns bidding.”[vii]

I could not find out if he was convicted or not.  Leonard lived a long live and passed away on 4 September 1970 at 85 years, 10 months, and 15 days in Cleveland, Ohio.[viii]

Joseph P. Fiderius was born on 7 December 1889 in Cleveland, Ohio[ix]  Joseph enlisted in the Army on 12 November 1917 and received an honorable discharge 30 November 1918.[x]  Joseph worked as an electrician.[xi]  Joseph married Mary Louise Kardos on 19 May 1919 in Cleveland, Ohio.[xii]  Joseph and Mary Louise had one child, Walter, born 1 May 1920[xiii]  It seems Joseph lived a rather quiet life compared to his brother Leonard.  Joseph passed away on 11 January 1975 at 85 years, 1 month, and 4 days in Cleveland, Ohio[xiv

* Sad Note:  Erick Fiderius passed away on 7 March 2009 at 54 years old in Cleveland, Ohio.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

[i] U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2014.  Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

[ii] Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania website:  Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania marriage applications:  Fiderius, Leonard/Wagner, Louise C., Book 93, Page 202, File Number 0093-00202,Marriage date: 11/24/1909.

[iii] The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) 17 May 1908, Sunday,  Page 6.

[iv] The Plain Speaker (Hazelton, Pennsylvania) 12 October 1907,  Saturday, Page 5.

[v] Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 8 December 1907, Sunday, Page 42.

[vi] The Scranton Truth (Scranton, Pennsylvania) 29 April 1914, Wednesday, Page1.

[vii] Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio), 20 June 1920, Friday, Page 8.

[viii] and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010.Original data:  Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. Death Certificates and Index, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1953.State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio.

[ix] Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831776; Draft Board: 12. Source Information: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

[x] Ohio Soldiers in WWI, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.  Original data: The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18. Columbus, OH, USA: The F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1926.

[xi] The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147.  Source Information:   Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

[xii] Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 103; Page: 296; Year Range: 1917 Jun – 1920 Oct.  Source Information: Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

[xiii] U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.  Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007.

[xiv] and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010.  Original data:Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. Death Certificates and Index, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1953.State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio.  Ohio Department of Health. Index to Annual Deaths, 1958-2002. Ohio Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Columbus, OH, USA.

* U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2014.  Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

Same Person Two Names

This week 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic is the “same name“.  When I first started genealogy back in 1979, I started with my parents and grandparents and asked them a lot of questions.  My father’s name was George, and his father’s name was George, and I was told that his father’s name was George.  Not much was know about my great-grandfather George Manfroid. In the early 1990’s I visited a Family History Center and found a man named Isidor Manfroid that was born in Germany in May 1855.  I didn’t think much about it and kept searching for a George.  Back then you inserted disks into the computer, there was no Internet yet for public use.  Below is a printout from that time period.  I even eventually wrote a note on it that said, “Wondering if this is George.  George born May 1856 in Germany according to the 1900 census.”

Manfroid Isidor (IGI)

Also on the 1900 census, he named one son Isidor and one Felix.  The Isidor in this IGI  printout’s father’s name was Felix Joseph Manfroid.  Manfroid is an uncommon name so there was not many in the index or in the phone books of Germany, France, Belgium and the United States.    As it turned out, finding my great-grandfather Isidor George Manfroid was a search that took me years to solve.  It seemed that sometimes he used Isidor and sometimes he used George, but not together.  Also, my father knew next to nothing about his grandfather.  He knew his name was George, but he didn’t remember him except that he thought he went to his funeral when he was 3 or 4 years old.  My father thought he was born in Germany, and that his grandparents had divorced.  It was with these skimpy facts that I was finally able to find my Great Grandfather. For years I didn’t know if Isidor and George was the same person. I was pretty sure, but could not prove it until I found his marriage record to my great-grandmother where he is listed as G. Isidor Manfroid.

Here is the story of Isidor George Manfroid. or George Isidor Manfroid

Isidor (George) was born on May 22, 1855 in Siegburg, Rhineland, Preussen to Felix Joseph Manfroid and Elisabeth Kelterbach.[1]  Isidor George Manfroid left Germany around 1877 and came to the United States.[2]  George’s occupation was an iron molder.[3] I do not know how George found his job in iron molding, or why he came to the U.S., but  he may have come due to economic conditions in Germany, or to escape being conscripted in the German military service.[4]

It seems that sometimes my great-grandfather went by George, and sometimes by Isidor.  In 1885 Isidor married Sophie Ahrens in Chicago, Illinois.[5]  In 1886 Sophie died.[6]  In 1889 George appears to be living in Cleveland, Ohio.[7]  Cleveland was the home to Mary Fiderius, her parents, and bothers, and sisters.[8]  Mary was the first child born to Peter Fiderius and Christina Oberdoester on July 1, 1870 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.[9]  By 1878 Mary and her family were living in Cleveland, Ohio[10].  In 1889 her father, Peter, worked for the Cleveland Malleable Iron Company as a general labor.[11]  The Cleveland Iron Malleable Company was located at Platt Avenue and East 79th Street[12].  In 1890 George is listed as living on Platt Avenue and his occupation is listed as molder.[13]  I believe that he probably worked for Cleveland Malleable Iron Company too.  It is presumed that George and Mary met because they lived near each other, or her father knew George through work.  George was 14 years older than Mary, and I wonder how Mary’s parents felt about the age difference.  I don’t know George’s religion, but Mary was Catholic.[14] George and Mary were married in 1889 in Cleveland, Ohio,[15] but by December they were living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where their first child, Laura was born.[16]  It appears that Laura did not live long.  She does not appear in the 1900 census.[17]   Around 1892 they moved to Toledo, Ohio, and their son, also named George, was born January 1, 1892 in Toledo.[18]  In 1894 they are back in Cleveland,[19] in 1898 they moved back to Toledo,[20] and in 1900 they move to Chicago.[21] During the 1890’s fthree more children, Christina, Felix Philip, and Isidor are born.[22]  The son Isidor only lived to be two and half years old.[23]   During this time, it is presumed that George probably worked for Cleveland Malleable since they also had plants in Toledo, and Chicago.[24]  It is possible of course that he worked for another company that made iron.  After 1903 they moved again out of Chicago,[25] and I believe they may have moved to one of the Chicago suburbs. In 1901 they had another son, Arthur Anton[26] and another son Theodore was born in 1904.[27]

Sometime between 1904 and 1910 George and Mary divorced.  The exact date and reason for the divorce are not known at this time.  I believe it to be this time period because I assume they were together when the last child was born, but by 1910 the two youngest sons are not living with their mother.  Arthur is in St. Mary’s Training School in Wheeling, Illinois,[28] and Theodore is in St. Vincent’s Infant Asylum (orphanage) in Chicago.[29]  At that time their were no safety nets for single mothers, so I think she temporarily sent them to these places because she could not take care of them. I did not find either George or Mary on the 1910 census. Considering the time and Mary’s religion the only reason for divorce was the man deserting his family.  I do not know if this is the reason for the divorce, it can only be assumed.  I have been unable to find a divorce document to date.

I believe after the divorce, George moved back to Cleveland and became a barber.[30]  He lived there for a while and returned to Maywood, Illinois where he died alone and poor in January 1924.[31]  He died at Cook County Hospital in Chicago of Pancreatic Cancer.[32]  He is buried in a pauper’s grave[33] at Waldheim Cemetery (now Forest Home Cemetery) in Forest Park, Illinois.[34]

I do not know George’s personality, but knowing my father’s and Grandfather’s personality, I picture George as an introvert, and hard-working, but always poor and maybe not very lucky in life.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

[1] Birth Record for Isidor Manfroid, 23 May 1855, Siegburg, Rheinland, Pruessen; Duetschland Geburten und Taufen 1558 – 1898, Record 10442, GS Film 1057304.

[2] 1900 United States Census, State: Illinois, County: Cook, Township: WestTown, City: Chicago, Enumeration Dist: 293, Ward 10, Sheet 16B, Line 69

[3] Ibid.

[4] Energy of a Nation:  Immigration Resources, a project of the advocates for human rights;

[5] Marriage License & Certificate for Isidor Manfroid and Sophie Ahrens 29 August 1885; State of Illinois, County of Cook, City of Chicago, Certificate # 94849.

[6]Illinois, Marriage and Death Index, 1883 – 1889. Sophia Manfroid 3 August 1886; Cook County, Illinois, Marriage and Death Index, 1883 – 1889.

[7] Cleveland City Directory 1889 – 1890; listing for George Manfroid, 29 Carr; Occupation: Molder.

[8] Cleveland City Directory 1878, 1979, 1880, 1881, 1882,1882, 1884, 1885, 1886,1887, 1889 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908-  1908; listing for Peter Fiderius living in Cleveland, Ohio.

[9] Told to Author’s mother by Mary Fiderius Manfroid Beischer in 1947 and recorded in Author’s baby book.  In Author’s possession at 2916 Martin Drive, Spring Grove, IL.  60081

[10] Cleveland City Directory 1878 –  1908; listing for Peter Fiderius, Leonard Fiderius, Christina Fiderius & Joseph Fiderius

[11] Cleveland City Directory 1889 – Listing for Peter Fiderius, Address: Cleveland Malleable Iron Company.

[12] William Ganson Rose, Cleveland; The Making of a City  (Cleveland & New York: World Publishing Company, 1950), p. 351.

[13] Cleveland City Directory 1890 -01 – Listing for George I. Manfroid, Address: 31 Platt, Occupation: Molder.

[14] Told to Author and Author’s Mother by Mary Fiderius Manfroid Biescher between 1950 – 1960.

[15] Marriage record for G. Isidor Manfroid and Mary Fiderius, State of Ohio, CuyahogaCounty, SS., 5 February 1889.

[16] “Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709 – 1950,” index, FamilySearch (https://familyserch/pal:/mm9.1.1/V2JV-3f4: Laura Manfroid, 13 December 1889.

[17] 1900 United States Census, State: Illinois, County: Cook, Township: WestTown, City: Chicago, Enumeration Dist: 293, Ward 10, Sheet 16B, Line 69

[18] Illinois State Board of Health Return of Marriage to County Clerk (DuPageCounty) for George Manfroid (son of G. Isidor Manfroid) and Helen Desens, 22 March 1919.  Birth place of George Manfroid listed at Toledo, Ohio.

[19] Cleveland City Directories 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897 list George Manfroid living at 235 Herald, Cleveland, Ohio.

[20] Toledo City Directories 1898, 1899, 1900 listed George Manfroid as living at 259 Caldonia and 255 Woodford, Toledo, Ohio.

[21].1900 United States Census, State: Illinois, County: Cook, Township: WestTown, City: Chicago, Enumeration Dist: 293, Ward 10, Sheet 16B, Line 69.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Department of Health: City of Chicago: Bureau of Vital Statistics: Undertakers Report of Death for Isidor Manfroid (Son of G. Isidor Manfroid) 12247, 22 March 1901.

[24] William Ganson Rose, Cleveland; The Making of a City  (Cleveland & New York: World Publishing Company, 1950), p. 352.

[25] Chicago City Directories 1901, 1902, 1903 listed George Manfroid as living at 1313 N. 42nd Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

[26] Certificate of Birth for Arthur Anton Manfroid, 5 January 1901, State of Illinois , Department of Public Health, Division of vital Statistics registered no 72637, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois

[27]  Texas, Deaths, 1977 – 1986 index and images, FamilySearch (, 1978 Vol 140, Sep, Certificates69501-70000,  Harris County, Image 149 of 579 for Theodore Manfroid 8 August 1978

[28] 1910 United States Census, Wheeling, Cook, Illinois; Roll T624-241, Page 21B, Enumeration District 0132; FHL microfilm 1374254.

[29] 1910 United States Census, Chicago, Ward 21, Cook, Illinois; Roll T624-264. Page 168, Enumeration District 0923; FHL microfilm 13742777.

[30]ClevelandCity Directory 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912.

[31] Death Certificate for George Manfroid, 22 January 1924. State of Illinois, County of Cook, City of Chicago; Registration  no. 2041.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Forest Home Cemetery Records, 863 South Des Plaines Avenue, Forest Park, Illinois; Lot 1736, Section IH.  Date of burial: 24 January 1924, 68 years 8 months, 10 days.  No Marker.  Lot owned by State of Illinois.

[34] Ibid.