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Few names are as robustly German in my family tree as that of my 3x great-grandmother Hermine Hiegersell. She arrived in America with her husband Friedrich Fleischhauer and three children in 1890 after a tedious voyage from Bremen, Germany to Ellis Island. Soon after their arrival, Friedrich and Hermine settled in the borough of Brooklyn, New York.[1] The majority of their lives in America was spent at 1188 Hancock Street.

My previous post “Fleshing out the details of the Fleischhauers [part 1]” focused on the origins of the family business as thermometer makers. I know quite a bit about Hermine’s son Franz Emil, who is my 2nd great-grandfather and a talented glassblower, but details of the lives of his parents and three sisters remained in obscurity.

Discovering that Hermine’s maiden name was Hiegersell came from two sources, the death certificate of her son, Franz Emil, and a death notice in the local newspaper.[2]

 

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Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, 24 Sep 1923. Image Source: Fulton History.

 

The research became more exciting because I stumbled upon another clue about Hermine while searching for other ancestors in The New York Times. Newspapers will often list the estates that were appraised and probated in the local court. In the case of New York, wills and estates are probated at the County Surrogate’s Courts. The estate of Hermine Fleischhauer is listed under Kings County, same as Brooklyn, and the appraisal of the estates proceeding lists the names of her four surviving children.[3]

 

“Fleischhauer, Hermine (Sept 22. 1923) – Gross estate, $14,466: net, $13,166 – to a son, Frank Fleischhauer, 8,936 187th Street, Hollis, L.I., and three daughters, Ida F. Fleischhauer, Anna Rattray, and Dorothy Minder. Claude W. Rattray, executor. The estate consists of realty, $6,000, and bank deposits, $7,753.”

 

The big clue that came from this sources was that two of her daughters were identified by their married names, Anna Rattray and Dorothy Minder. This immediately opened up new research directions. Ida Frances Fleischhauer, the eldest sister, had not married. The executor was Anna’s husband, Claude W. Rattray.

 

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Claude W. Rattray’s passport photo. Image Source: FamilySearch.org [4]

Anna and Claude sat under my nose while they lived at 1188 Hancock Street with Friedrich and Hermine. Little did I think of it when I located the 1920 Census schedule for Friedrich and Hermine Fleischhauer that showed Claude and Anna resided under the same roof, but now a piece of the family history had come full circle.[5] For a couple days, I gathered sources on the Rattray family [more about them in the next post]. The challenge was finding Dorothy Minder. No one with that name or genealogical profile was surfacing through research. Before I became too carried away with flurries of internet searches, I reminded myself that newspapers often published inaccuracies regarding names and considered that Hermine’s original probate records might hold the correct information for her daughter Dorothy.

Fortunately, I evaded the long waits and difficulty associated with requesting records from city offices to get the probate records for Hermine and once again I tip my hat to FamilySearch.org for having digitized the Kings County, New York Estate Files, originally held by the Clerk of the Surrogate Court, from 1866-1923. I felt even luckier because her date of death and probate just made the cut off point!

 

hermine fleischhauer probate p.1

Image Source: FamilySearch.org

 

Hermine Fleischhauer’s Estate File [1923], Kings County Surrogate’s Court

 

I found these sources genealogically valuable for many reasons, but the major findings from Hermine’s estate file include:

  • Daughter Dorothy’s married name was not Minder, but Mohrmann. At the time of probate hearing for Hermine, Dorothy Mohrmann lived at Windsor Street in Bound Brook, New Jersey.[6]
  • In her will, she bequeathed the family burial plot, located at the Lutheran Cemetery, Middle Village, Long Island, to her daughter Anna L. Rattray.[7]
  • Hermine wrote her will 12 May 1921 and did not name her spouse Friedrich.[8] The absence of Friedrich could mean two things: they were divorced or widowed. However, based on the fact they were married in 1920, the conclusion that Hermine was a widow seemed more likely.[9]

Since I had enough proof to assume that Friedrich’s predeceased Hermine, I looked in Kings County Estate Files for his will and probate. My search turned up an entry dated 1921 for Frederick Leonhard Fleischhauer and when the first image fully loaded on my screen, I knew I had a match. Son-in-law Claude Williams Rattray was also named executor of his estate.

 

Frederick Leonhard Fleischhauer probate p.1

Image Source: FamilySearch.org

 

Estate File of Frederick Leonhard Fleischhauer [1921], Kings County Surrogate’s Court.

 

I transcribed both wills to demonstrate in chronological order how the property was distributed to the children:[10]

 

I, Frederick Leonard Fleischhauer, of the City of New York, Borough of Brooklyn, County of Kings, and State of New York, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do hereby make, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament, as follows:-

 FIRST:            I direct that all my debts, funeral and testamentary expenses shall by paid as soon as they conveniently may be paid after my decease.

 SECOND:       I give and bequeath unto my beloved daughter, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, all of the machines, instruments, standards, fixtures, tools, implements and appliances of every nature and description of which I die possessed, used by me in connection with my business of manufacturing Hydrometers and Thermometers, which business is conducted by me at my residences at 1188 Hancock Street, Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York, or where else same may be at the time of my death, as well as the goodwill of said business, trade marks, trade name thereof, contracts and everything connected therewith, and if my daughter so desires, to continue to use the name under which my said business shall then be conducted, for here own use and behoof forever. In the event that my said daughter shale predecease me, then this bequest shall be and becomes part of my residuary estate.

 THIRD:           All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, and wherever situated, included my interest in the burial plot in Lutheran Cemetery, Middle Village, Long Island, I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved wife, Hermine Fleischhauer, for her own use and behoof forever. In the event that my said wife, Hermine Fleischhauer, shall predecease me, then I devise and bequeath my residuary estate as follows: the burial plot at Lutheran Cemetery, Middle Village, Long Island, to my beloved daughter, Anna L. Rattray, the remainder of my residuary estate or the proceeds thereof to my beloved children, Frank Fleischhauer, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, Anna L. Rattray and Dorothy Fleischhauer, share and share alike, for their and each ot their own use and behoof forever, and it either of any of them shall predecease me, or should die after my death but before the distribution of my said estate, leaving issue, then the issue of such deceased child or children shall be entitled to received the share its of their parent would have received had he or she been living, and if there be no issue then such share of the child of children as deceased as deceased shall be paid to the surviving child or divided equally among the surviving children, as the case may be.

 FOURTH:       I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my son-in-law, Claude Williams Rattray, executor of this, my last Will and Testament, and I order and direct that my said executor shall not be required to give bonds conditions for the faithful performances of his duties.

 FIFTH:            I hereby authorize and empower my executor to sell and convey any and all of my estate, both real and personal, of which I may die seized or possessed or which my said executor may acquire hereunder (except such as has been specifically devised and bequeathed herein) at such times, upon such terms, in such manner and for such price, and either at public or private sale, and either in whole or in part, as to him may seem most advisable and proper, and to transfer the same and execute and deliver and give good and sufficient deeds of conveyance, bills of sale and/or proper documents therefor to any purchaser thereof.

             Seemingly, It would appear that I have preferred my daughter, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, over my son and other daughters, but in making the bequest of my business to my said daughter, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, I have taken into consideration that my said daughter is entirely familiar with the business, has worked faithfully in my behalf and it is but just and proper that she reap the benefits for her years of service, which so far have been inadequately compensated.

 SEVENTH:      I hereby revoke all other Wills and codicils by me heretofore made.

 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal, this 22nd day of January, 1916

 

                                                                                                                    Frederick Leonhard Fleischhauer

 

Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament, in the presence of us and each of us, who in his presence and in the presence of each other and at his request have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses thereto at the end of the will.

 

John M. Mohrmann    Address 63 Barley Street Brooklyn, NY

 George P. Brauburger  Address 64 East Tremont Ave., New York City, NY

 

I, Hermine Fleischhauer, of the City of New York, Borough of Brooklyn, County of Kings, and State of New York, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do hereby make, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament, as follows:-

 FIRST:                  I direct that all my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses shall be paid as soon as they conveniently may be paid after my decease.

 SECOND:            I give and bequeath all of my house-hold furniture of every nature and description, including paintings, rugs, bricabrac, glassware, china, silverware and furnishings of every nature and description contained in my residence at No.1188 Hancock Street, Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York, or in any other residence which I may possess at the time of my decease, to my beloved daughter, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, for her own use and behoof forever.

THIRD:                I give, devise and bequeath my interest in the burial plot in Lutheran Cemetery, Middle Village, Long Island, unto my beloved daughter, Anna L. Rattray, absolutely and forever.

 FOURTH:          All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, and wheresoever, situated, I give devise and bequeath to my be beloved children, Frank Fleischhauer, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, Anna L. Rattray and Dorothy Mohrmann, share and share alike, for their and each of their own use and behoof forever, and if either or any of them shall predecease me, or should die after my death but before the distribution of my said estate, leaving issue, then the issue of such deceased child or children shall be entitled to receive the share its or their parent would have received had he or she been living, and if there be no issue then such share of the child or children so deceased shall go to the surviving child or divided equally among the surviving children, as the case may be.

 FIFTH:              I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my son-in-law, Claude Williams Rattray, executor of this, my last Will and Testament, and I order and direct that my said executor shall not be required to give bonds conditioned for the faithful performance of his duties.

 SIXTH:              I hereby authorize and empower my executor to sell and convey any and all of my estate, both real and personal, of which I may die seized or possessed or which my said executor may acquire hereunder (except such as had been specifically devised and bequeathed herein) at such time, upon such terms, in such manner and fro such prices, and either at public or private sale, and either in whole or in part, as to him may seem most advisable and proper, and to transfer the same and execute and deliver and give good and sufficient deeds of conveyance, bills of sale and/or proper documents therefor to any purchaser thereof.

 SEVENTH:           I hereby revoke all other Wills and codicils by me heretofore made.

 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have here unto subscribed my name and affixed my seal, this 12th day of May, 1921

 

                                                                                                                                       Hermine Fleischhauer

 

Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament, in the presence of us and each of us, who in his presence and in the presence of each other and at his request have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses thereto at the end of the will.

 

Wm. M. Howland        Address 1190 Hancock Street, N.Y. City

 George P. Brauburger  Address 611 Magie Ave., Elizabeth, N.J.

 

The most revealing and interesting piece of information is in the very end of Friedrich’s will. “Seemingly, it would appear that I have preferred my daughter, Ida Frieda Fleischhauer, over my son and  other daughters.”[11] He felt that it was very necessary to explain why most of his estate, including the entire thermometer business and everything related to it, went to his eldest daughter Ida Frieda Fleischhauer. According to Friedrich, Ida worked “diligently and faithfully” for her father, knew the business thoroughly and all the while “received inadequate compensation.”[12] This whole time I held the assumption that Franz, my 2x great-grandfather, carried on the family business. He was a talented glass blower, but the information from Friedrich’s will begs the question if Franz and his father held a tense relationship. Another important insight from this document is the indication that the Fleischhauer women were not interested in being domicile. Particularly because this occurred over 100 years ago when gender roles remained much more defined, Ida stands out as a progressive figure in my family tree. She is someone who was industrious, intelligent, and could hold her own with the men. All I can say to that is, go Ida!

[1] The 1892 New York State Census shows they lived in 28th Election District, but the schedule doesn’t provide a street address. One of their residences before moving to Hancock Street was 225 Woodbine Ave, as indicated by the 1897 Brooklyn City Directory. See Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, 1892 New York State Census, 38th Election Dist., 18th Ward, page 7, household of Fred Fleischhauer; Stephen P. Morse, “F….Directory,” (http://bklyn-genealogy-info.stevemorse.org/Directory/1897/f.html: accessed 19 May 2016), entry for Fred Fleischhauer.

[2] Queens, Queens County, New York, death certificate no. 3927 (25 Apr 1948), Frank Emil Fleischhauer, New York City Dept. of Health, New York, New York; Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, 24 Sep 1923, p. 8, col.1; image copy, Fulton History (http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html: accessed 10 Apr 2016).

[3] “Estates Appraised – Kings,” The New York Times, 29 Jun 1924, page 30; image copy, ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

[4] “United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKDF-6LCN : accessed 19 May 2016), Claude Williams Rattray, 1921; citing Passport Application, New York, United States, source certificate #147924, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925, 861, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,654,126.

[5] Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, 1920 US Federal Census, ED 1294, sheet 15A, household of Frederick Fleischhauer.

[6] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15281-32097-91?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Kings County > Fl > Fleischhauer, Hermine (1923) > image 2 of 13; Surrogate Court, Brooklyn.

[7] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15281-31604-68?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Fleischhauer, Hermine (1923), image 11 of 13.

[8] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15281-31604-68?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Fleischhauer, Hermine (1923), image 11-13 of 13.

[9] Brooklyn, New York, 1920 US Federal Census, household of Frederick Fleischhauer.

[10] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15245-25367-81?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Kings County > Fl > Fleischhauer, Frederick Leonhard (1921) > image 14-16 of 16; Surrogate Court, Brooklyn; “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15281-31604-68?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Fleischhauer, Hermine (1923), image 11-13 of 13.

[11] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15245-25369-83?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Fleischhauer, Frederick Leonhard (1921), image 16 of 16.

[12] “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866-1923,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15245-25369-83?cc=1466356 : accessed 19 May 2016), Fleischhauer, Frederick Leonhard (1921), image 16 of 16.


 

Copyright (c) 2016 Jake Fletcher.

Jake Fletcher. “”Seemingly, it would appear I have preferred my daughter”: The Wills of Friedrich and Hermine Fleischhauer.” Travelogues of a Genealogist, posted 19 May 2016. https://travelyourgenealogy.com/2016/05/19/seemingly-it-would-appear-i-have-preferred-my-daughter-the-wills-of-friedrich-and-hermine-fleischhauer

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