Sunday, March 11, 2018

MY BIG FIND AT THE FHL- Part 2 ~ What else was I able to turn up once I had John Doller’s original name?

Copy of Dollars-FreadasParents
John & Bertha - about 1935

If you read my blog yesterday, then you know that I made a pretty huge find (with help from library staff), while I was attending Rootstech.  You can read about it here WHAT A FIND - John Doller's real name was Johann Tolarowski - my husband's great grandfather.

In the 15+ years I’ve been researching mine and my husband’s family, I was never able to find some of the records I wanted to for John Doller and his wife, Bertha Keller. 

Now I know why!
If you enter John Doller in the search criteria on a website, you aren’t likely to come up with hits for Johann Tolarowski.
Once I learned John’s birth name, in German records, I was able to locate more information.

The first thing I found was his German passenger record.  He traveled from Germany to the U.S. with his wife, Bertha, son, Erwin and infant daughter, Ida.

 TALAROWSKI_John-Bertha-Erwin-Ida passenger record 1890_Germany to NY

They traveled on the ship Columbia from Hamburg, leaving on 3 Jul 1890.
Here’s the index for this record.  His occupation, Maurer, means Mason.  Family lore says that one child died on the ship.  We know it wasn’t Erwin, so it had to be little Ida.  More on that in a minute.

Name: John Talarowski
Gender: männlich (Male)
Departure Age: 32
Occupation: Maurer
Birth Date: abt 1858
Residence: Dahlwin, Westpreußen
Departure Date: 3 Jul 1890
Port of Departure: Hamburg
Port of Arrival: New York (New York City (All Boroughs))
Ship Name: Columbia
Captain: Vogelgesang
Shipping Clerk: Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft
Shipping line: Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft
Ship Type: Dampfschiff
Ship Flag: Deutschland
Accommodation: Zwischendeck
Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 068 A
Household Members:
Name Age
John Talarowski 32
Bertha Talarowski 26
Erwin Talarowski 4
Ida Talarowski 8 Monate

The New York Passenger record I located has the family arriving in New York harbor on 11 Jul 1890.  There is an entry in the column title “Date and Cause of Death” across from Ida’s name.  What do the numbers 12-18 mean?

TALAROWSKI_John-Bertha-Erwin-Ida NY passenger record 1890_Germany to NY

I have searched every way I can think of for information on the numbers 12-18 in the date/cause of death column for Ida.  There are ICD codes for causes of death on many death certificates, but 12-18 isn’t one of those codes.  I tried looking at the beginning of the microfilm series for any indication of what the numbers in that column could mean.  No luck.  I welcome any input from others who may have an answer.  Were they able to take baby Ida off the ship?  Is there a death record for her in the U.S.? Is she buried in New York?

 The next record I located for this family was the 1892 New York state census.  On 16 Feb 1892, the Talurowski family is enumerated in the second district, Buffalo, Erie, New York.  This was the first U.S. record I located with the family still using the name Talurowski.  This is 19 months after their arrival and Ida is not named with them.  Further indication of her death.

John Talurowski, male, age 33, born in Germany, alien, working as a Mason, Bertha Talurowski, female, age 26, born in Germany, alien, Erwin Talurowski, male, age 6, born in Germany, alien.


We can see that John had not yet applied for citizenship, nor was he using the surname, Doller.  According to the 1920 census, he was naturalized in 1902.  I had searched naturalization record listings at the FHL, but they did not have 1902.  I would really like to find this record.

I’ve mentioned time and time again, on this blog and in classes I’ve taught, that social media can be one of our greatest resources for genealogy.  Especially Facebook groups.  I belong to many of them, not only in the U.S., but for other countries as well.  I wrote a blog post about this subject back in 2014 and it still holds true today FACEBOOK – HOW IT CAN BE VERY USEFUL IN YOUR RESEARCH

I decided to ask for assistance on the Western New York Genealogical Society group, to which I’ve belonged for some time. I thought perhaps someone in the group would have some tips specifically related to obtaining naturalization records from the Buffalo area.
Here is my query: Posted on 10 Mar 2018 at 10:37 a.m.

ADVICE needed.
Hello everyone. I wonder if you could tell me if anyone has experience in retrieving naturalization records? I have been looking for years for the papers for a particular person in the Buffalo area. A HUGE find at the FHL was that the last name was not Doller, but Tolarowski. It would appear that he arrived and kept the name Tolarowski for a few years. I believe he may have changed it when he was naturalized. Which gives me even more reason to want the record. From census records he was naturalized in 1902. The family lived in Buffalo from 1890 until his death in 1935.
Thanks in advance for any advice.

Within minutes I began receiving responses.  I continued to check back as I wrote yesterday’s blog post.  About an hour after I first posted, I checked back only to find that one of the members had located the information I needed on Family Search.  I, of course, know about and use Family Search daily, but hadn’t had a chance to look through their records since learning of John Doller’s German name.  Not only did the member, Kasia, tell me that the record was on Family Search, she posted images of the various records she found.

TALAROWSKI_John_naturalization card_1905 - Copy

Now that I have this information I should be able to request his naturalization papers.  I’ve got a volume number and a page number.  I’m doing my genie dance again!
After the loss of two young daughters and one son, John and Bertha did go on to have one more daughter, Freada Emma Meta Doller (my husband’s grandmother), born in Buffalo, Erie, New York on 24 Aug 1895.  Freada married Heinrich “Henry” August Fink and they had four children.  She died at the age of 85 in San Diego, California.  Her older brother, Erwin went on to marry Lena Boskat and they had 6 sons.  Erwin lived to the age of 77 and died in Buffalo, New York.

John and Bertha continued living in Buffalo until their deaths.  John died 15 Dec 1935 and is buried in Buffalo Cemetery, Cheektowaga, Erie, New York.  You may visit his memorial here #80147013 and Bertha died 6 Oct 1950 and is buried in the same cemetery #80147168.

This has been a great story to write and I hope to learn more if and when I locate John’s naturalization papers.

Please contact me if you are related to this family, I’d love to hear from you.
To read more about the Doller family please see the following blog posts.  There are several more photos included in these posts.


SEPIA SATURDAY ~ The Doller Family of Buffalo, New York, early 1900’s


Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall



  1. Such an amazing find! I tried to look for the numbers 12-18. All I can find is that numbers were written on later and may not have had any meaning. Maybe she didn't die on board but later in Dec? Maybe she was sick when they arrived? Great job Diane!!

    1. Thanks Debby. I have the same questions about little Ida. I will continue to try and locate records for her.

  2. I viewed several sites and articles that concentrate on ships manifests during the latter half of the 19th century. Though many mentioned the Date and Cause of Death column, none gave explanation of entries there such as the "12-18" entry found on this manifest, nor did they explain the other cryptic entries in that column. The only thing I can think of is that the "12-18 might represent days into the voyage during which the baby was ill. Unfortunately that hypothesis would not explain the other "1-0" and "0-1" entries.

    1. Thanks for checking John. I thought maybe the 12 could have been July 12th. However, they arrived in NY on the 11th of July. The crossing only took 7 days. So the 12 and 18 don't make sense in that respect. I will continue looking for more records about little Ida. At least now I know her name and that means she isn't forgotten.
      Thanks for your comment.

    2. Susan suggested that the 12-18 might represent her date of birth.

    3. Tell Susan - good thinking. However, I've checked the church record and she was born 19 Aug 1889. Wonder if we'll ever figure out what those numbers mean?


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.