Finding Answers On A Tiny Piece of Paper

As you research your family, always check and investigate everything piece of information you come across, for you never know what interesting bit about the family can be discovered.  The following illustrates just such an example that happened in my research.
Wedged deep in between the pages of the family Musselman Bible was the tiniest sliver of a very old newspaper clipping I located years ago.  It only measured half-an-inch high by two inches long and contained about twenty-eight words. It read:


DAMMANN – On Tuesday morning, 18th instant, at ten o’clock, MARY VIRGINIA, in the 21st year of her age, third daughter of Dr. L. H. and the late Elizabeth Dammann.

No dates were listed front or back of the clipping, no location was given, nothing to assist in truly identifying this individual whose death was written about.  It had to be a young lady beloved by the Musselman family to be so safely placed in the massive family Bible.

Marked in the Musselman family Bible record was only one Elizabeth, born January 06, 1810 to Henry and Sarah Musselman, the eldest known ancestors of that branch.   Listed also was Elizabeth’s death date of February 14, 1902. However, no mention of a husband or a married surname was ever located.

To investigate who were the individuals listed in the clipping with the surname of “Dammann” was a good starting point.  First, I checked the U. S. Federal Census Records in Maryland and Pennsylvania since that was where most the Musselmans lived.  In the 1850 census nothing was located in Pennsylvania, but a listing for a doctor “L. H. Damman” was found in Baltimore City, Maryland.  In the household was his wife, Elizabeth, age 31 (making her born about 1819) and three children (one of which was named Virginia, age 2).  Next the census for 1860 was reviewed and the same surname spelling was used as in 1850.  In the household besides the doctor was his wife, Ann E. Damman, age 37 (born about 1823) and six children, including Virginia at age 11.  It wasn’t uncommon for women to alter their age when reporting to the census taker, so the age difference was not that special.

By the June 1870 census, the family was still living in Baltimore with the doctor’s name written “Lewis Dammon”, along with his five daughters, but no listing for Virginia or a wife.  There were two individuals missing from the Dammon household, yet it is noted that Virginia would have been age 21 years old around 1870.  The clipping stated she was “in the 21st year of her age” and her mother was the “late Elizabeth Dammann”.

Examining obituaries for Baltimore from 1868 to 1870 revealed a newspaper death notice for Elizabeth Dammann in the Baltimore American newspaper for May 22, 1869, stating that on May 20th, Annie Elizabeth, wife of Dr. Louis Dammann, died in her 50th year.  So with that information, there was no way the Elizabeth Musselman marked in the Bible, who died in 1902 was the same person. The question arises, how was this Dammann family related to the Musselmans?

The marriage date of Annie Elizabeth and Lewis Dammann was needed along with her maiden name.  Using the International Genealogical Index (IGI) at the local Family History Center, the name Lewis Dammann was researched eventually producing his spouse’s name, Ann Elizabeth Huster, married April 3, 1843 in Maryland.  The surname of  “Huster” was familiar and listed in the Musselman Bible.  Another daughter of Henry and Sarah Musselman written in the Bible record was Sarah Jane Musselman, born April 15, 1822 and married to George Charles Huster on November 13, 1851. This marriage was confirmed with the Family History Center IGI search.

Doing research of the Huster family in the 1840s and 1850s revealed that indeed, George Huster was a younger brother to Ann Elizabeth Huster and brother-in-law to Dr. Lewis H. Dammann of Baltimore.  So the tiny newspaper clipping was for the death of George and Sarah Huster’s niece, Mary Virginia Dammann, who died in January 20, 1870.  By checking with the Baltimore City cemeteries, the date of Mary Virginia Dammann’s death was authenticate on her headstone at the Baltimore Cemetery, on North Avenue in Baltimore where several Dammann family members were buried.

This demonstrates that even the tiniest piece of paper tenderly placed in the family Bible in 1870 can open doors to provide some interesting family history.

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dan 4/08/11

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