Sunday, November 6, 2016

Henrietta (Sievert) Fiday Was Lost Among Reichmans

Henrietta Charlotte Sievert was the sister of my second great-grandfather, Vincent Sievert.[1] He and three other siblings all immigrated to the United States in the 1850’s.  Henrietta and her husband, Joseph Feitag arrived in New York aboard the Bark Elida on 22 May 1854 and along with her sister, Eva and her husband, Christoph Winke, and her brother, Johan Siewert and his wife, Anna.[2]

1854 Ship List of the Bark Elida for the Siewert & Freitag families

In the United States, the Feitag named morphed into Fiday. There were many records with at least three versions of the spelling: Feitag, Freitag, and Fiday, along with a variety of spellings of these names. The passenger list from Hamburg had their name spelled Freytag which is pronounced the same as Freitag. Freitag in German means “Friday.”

1854_Hamburg List for J. Freytag (see last line above)

Joseph Fiday died 16 Apr 1895 and was buried at Saint Johns Cemetery in Joliet.[3] Henrietta died 7 May 1902,[4] and she was also buried at Saint Johns.[5] So what happened to her between Joseph’s death and her own? Where did she live?

In searching the 1900 Federal census, I couldn’t find Henrietta Fiday in any household. Often widowed mothers would live in households of their daughters or sons. I adjusted the search parameters to search on Henrietta’s first name only and birth year around 1828.  One possible return came up: Henrietta F. Richman. Her daughter, Magdalene, married Joseph J. Reichman on 12 Jan  1897.[6] Here is a portion of the census entry.

1900 U.S. Census, Will co., Illinois, Jos. J. Richman (Reichman) household with Henrietta Fiday
Some observations about this census:
  • On first glance, the head of the household looks like Jas J. (for James J), but it could read as Jos. J. (for Joseph J).
  • When I first read the number of years married, it appeared to be 23 years. I immediately thought I must have the wrong family. But looking closer, the “2” after M for married, refers to the number of marriage, as in this is a second marriage for both, which is the case. So the number of years married then is 3, which matches the marriage date of 1897.
  • Everyone in the household has the same surname. It is Henrietta F. Richman, who I think could be Henrietta Fiday. She is the correct age at Apr 1828 and seventy-two years old to be Henrietta Fiday. She was a widow. The census listed ten children with seven living. Nine known children were born to Henrietta and two known children had died before 1900: Johann (back in Posen) and Josephine Owen who died the previous year.[7] That makes seven known living children. Her immigration year was listed as 1854 and that was the year of their arrival.

There is a strong case that Henrietta Richman was really Henrietta Fiday, who became lost among all of the other Richmans in this census entry. To be certain, the rest of the household should be analyzed.

Questions to answer in the next set of research: 
  • Was Magdalene, the wife of Jos. J. Richman, Henrietta’s daughter? 
  • Or was Henrietta actually Joseph J. Richman’s mother? 
  • Which of the children listed belonged to Joseph and his first wife? 
  • Which children might belong to Magdalene and her first husband? 
  • Do any children belong to Elizabeth or Julius who were both listed as married? 
  • Where they married to each other?

Stay tuned to the next installment.

[1] In Posen, the surname was spelled Siewert. It was spelled Sievert in America and that spelling will be used in this writing.
[2] "Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1957," Bark Elida, 22 May 1854, p 5, Joseph Feitag, digital images, (
[3] Find A Grave, database with images ( : 6 Nov 2016), Memorial# 81532800, Joseph Fiday.
[4]Will County, Illinois, Register of Deaths, Family History Library, 1902, No. 9791, Josephine Fiday; fhl film 2342566 item 3. Note, Josephine was listed as the first name for Henrietta inadvertently. It was most likely Henrietta, as the death date on her tombstone matched the death date of the death record.
[5] Find A Grave, database with images ( : 6 Nov 2016), Memorial# 81532838, Henrietta Fiday.
[6] Will County, Illinois, Marriages, p. 87, 1897, Joseph Reichmann to Magdalena Waeber, FHL film 1673899.
[7] Will County, Illinois, Register of Deaths, 1899, no. 7453, Josephine Owen; Family History Library film 2342566 item 3.

Copyright © 2016 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating. I think you're on the right track. What a huge coincidence it would be if Henrietta was really James/Joseph's mother even though the census recorded her as "mother" to the head of household. So many data points fit with her being your Henrietta though. I'll stayed tuned for more!


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