June 28, 2009

A walk on the fire side

Posted in genealogy at 1:55 PM by Kris P

The very last installment of my dissection of the obituaries for Charles Assenheimer Jr. leads me into the question why members of the Lafayette Fire Company No. 1 were also specifically invited to his funeral.

After finding out that he is interred at Greenwood cemetery in New Orleans, I did a search about the Lafayette Co. No.1. I couldn’t find any information, however, I did find information that led me to the Firemen’s Charitable and Benevolent Association.

From living close to Greenwood cemetery as a child, I remember there was a statue of a man holding a firehose, as a rememberance to all the firemen.

Looking into Greenwood Cemetery, the wesite states:

The Firemen’s Charitable & Benevolent Association (FCBA) was formed in 1834 to provide relief for its needy members who volunteered to protect New Orleans from the ravages of fire. The FCBA founded Cypress Grove Cemetery in 1840 and Greenwood Cemetery in 1852 as permanent memorials to the volunteer firemen who gave their courage and, sometimes, their lives to protect their neighbors.

So, it seems that not only was Charles a Mason, and a Druid, but also a volunteer fireman.

And finally, pictures of his family tomb:




June 27, 2009

A walk on the Druidic side

Posted in genealogy at 11:33 PM by Kris P

The second obituary for my great-great-granduncle Charles Assenheimer Jr. found in the Daily Picayune:


 Nothing but an honored name and cherished memory is left of Charles Assenheimer. He has for the last time heard the roll of the musketry. His battle has been fought and lost. For two years, Mr. Assenheimer has been ill with rheumatism and last Saturday a change for the worst came. Daily he grew worse, and at 2 o’clock Wednesday evening, his life ended. Death was but a relief for the sufferer and the end came painlessly. Yesterday his residence, No. 513 Basin Street, was crowded with sorrowing friends and relatives. They were there to pay their last respects to their kind friend. The body was escorted to the grave in Washington No. 2 cemetery by members of the Druids and Masons and Lafayette Fire Company No 1.

Mr Assenheimer was born 59 years ago in Wittemberg, Germany. He came to this country when quite young and entered the painting business with his father. When the war broke out, he enlisted with the Louisiana Volunteers and became a captain in Reichert’s Regiment. His record for gallantry is well known among his comrades. He leaves a wife, two married daughters and several grandchildren.

So far as I’ve been able to find out, Charles Assenheimer Jr came over from Germany between 1850 and 1860.  The 1860 census lists C. Assenheimer (Charles Assenheimer Sr.) at 57 years old and a painter with a real estate value of $2500 and a personal asset value of $250. His wife Fransceka is listed as 54 years old and a midwife. Children include: Charles-24-Painter, Mary-23-unlisted occupation, Alexander-19-Laborer, and Adolph-13.

The German Emmigration Index lists Friederike, Carl Fr. Ale., Alexander and Adolph Assenheimer all applying to leave Germany for North America in October 1850.

So what’s up with the Concordia Grove and the Druids? According to the Standard History of New Orleans, Louisiana by Henry Rightor, page 324 lists the following groves in New Orleans:

The Ancient Order of Druids, with the following groves: Concordia Grove, No. 1; Mispel Grove, No. 6 (German); Orient Grove, No. 10; Louisiana Grove, No. 13 (German); Crescent, No. 17; Merlin, No. 18; American, No. 19; Harmony, No. 22; Friendship, No. 23; Elvin, No. 24; Ivy, No. 25; Orleans, No. 26; E. E. Lee, No. 27; Stonehenge, No. 28; Hope, No. 29; Morvin, No. 30; Manhattan, No. 32; and Louisiana Circle, No. 1.

And what do the Ancient Order of Druids (AOD) stand for? The British website for the AOD states the theme of Justice, Philanthropy and Brotherly Love and says that it is the “founding order of the modern Druidic Societies, and was revived in the year 1781. Its object is to preserve and practise the main principles attributed to the early Druids, particularly those of justice, benevolence and friendship.”

The present AODA (Ancient Order of Druids in America) cannot possibly be the same AOD as the one Charles was a part of, as it was founded in 1917, according to their website.

However, the United Ancient Order of Druids were founded in New York around 1830. This would certainly give it more time to spread to New Orleans, where Charles would later become a member. The beliefs they hold are listed on their website as:

The Druids of today confine themselves to the moral, fraternal, patriotic and benevolent philosophy exemplified by the Druids of old. Their teachings and principles are derived from ancient Druidism, founded on reason and sound morality. The greatest of all Druidic teachers was Merlin, and his Seven Precepts are considered as a moral way of life, the finest oral virtues ever laid down for the guidance of man.

June 26, 2009

A walk on the Masonic side….

Posted in genealogy at 9:36 PM by Kris P

Alexander Dominikus Carl Friedrich Assenheimer….also known as “Charles Jr.” Assenheimer. The brother of my great great grandfather. I’ve found his obituaries through ILL (Interlibrary Loan), from The Daily Picayune, most likely a forebearer of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

ASSENHEIMER- In this city, at 2 P.M., Wednesday Jan 18, 1883, Charles Assenheimer aged 59 years 5 months and 11 days, born in Stuttgart, Wuertemburg.

The funeral will take place this day at 3 o’clock P.M. from his late residence, 513 South Basin, between Jackson and Phillip streets, in which friends of the family, the members of the Concordia Grove No.1, U.A.O.D., the Grand Grove of Louisiana, Mason Lodge No. 172 A and A.S.R. Masons, and the exempt members of the Lafayette Fire Co. No. 1, are respectfully invited to attend.

U.A.O.D.–The officers and members of the Grand Grove of Louisiana, of Concordia Grove No. 1,  and of all sister groves, are hereby invited to attend the funeral of their late brother, CHAS. ASSENHEIMER, as above stated.  Dr. R.J. MAINBORN, N.O.A.

Geo. B. Ebling, Gr. Sec.

HALL OF UNION LODGE No. 172 A.A.S.R.M. Masonic Temple- The officers and members of this lodge are requested to meet at their lodgeroom this Thursday, at 2 P.M. to attend the funeral of Brother P.M. CHARLES ASSENHEIMER, our late secretary. All M.M. are fraternally invited to attend.

P.M Schneidau, W.M.

This obituary sent me on a wild chase for information. Yes, we knew that he was a member of the Masons. But what did that mean? And what did it mean that he was a member of the Druids?

So let’s start with the Masonic part, and one day we’ll work into the Druids.

A.A.S.R.: Apparently stands for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. According to Wikipedia’s entry for A.A.S.R:

Although most lodges throughout the English-speaking world do not confer the Scottish Rite versions of the first three degrees, there are a handful of lodges in New Orleans and in several other major cities that have traditionally conferred the Scottish Rite version of these degrees.

The next term that stumped me was P.M. Since he was in the A.A.S.R., I checked the above mentioned article for degree structure, figuring it had to be a degree of some sort. The only thing that I saw that matched up to P.M. was the 5th degree title of Perfect Master. What I did notice also was that the dregrees started at 4. What happened to 1-3? Then I saw this little tidbit:

Attainment of the third Masonic degree, that of a Master Mason, represents the attainment of the highest rank in all of Masonry. Additional degrees are sometimes referred to as appendant degrees, even where the degree numbering might imply a hierarchy. They represent a lateral movement in Masonic Education rather than an upward movement, and are degrees of instruction rather than rank.

Interesting….so he was pretty high up there, and instead of just staying at a “Master Mason” at the third degree, he wished to continue onwards and upwards, and achieved the fifth degree by the time of his death. Also, the obituary noted that he was the “late secretary”. What exactly do secretaries do within the Masonic organization?

From another Wikipedia article it states: 

The Secretary’s office is sometimes said to be the real power base of a lodge. It is certainly true that the position is an influential one, and in those lodges which do not have an active general committee, the Secretary inevitably ends up making many key decisions in the life of the lodge.

The Secretary’s role includes issuing the ‘summons’ (a formal notice of an impending meeting, with time, date and agenda), recording meeting minutes, completing statistical returns to the Grand Lodge, and advising the Worshipful Master on matters of procedure. In many lodges it is also the Secretary who determines (with consultation) the progression of officers within the lodge. The Secretary is almost always a key figure in the interviewing of potential new members of the lodge.

So, he was a pretty powerful guy, this Charles Assenheimer Jr., my great great uncle.

June 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday – Introducing Morgan

Posted in Wordless Wednesday at 9:59 PM by Kris P

Our latest pet… Morgan.

June 23, 2009

Madness Monday – Ann Sharp Laughlin

Posted in genealogy, Madness Monday at 1:38 AM by Kris P

I’ve been driven to distraction lately by trying to find out who her father was. I thought I knew it….John Sharp Sr….three different genealogical books claim this is true. However, one….only one that I’ve found, claims her father is Thomas Sharp. And NONE of the books have their sources cited!

Dyer Descendants and Related families cites a book:  Thomas King and Susan Sharp and Allied Families 1970 by Rogers & Bullock

But of course, I can’t get a hold of that book! If anyone knows how I can get a copy of this book, pleae let me know!

June 22, 2009

Changing your name?!

Posted in genealogy at 1:11 AM by Kris P

Oh come on, if things weren’t hard enough to find in genealogy, then the rumor now circulating is that Daniel Smith (husband of Catherine Naomi Magee), changed his last name from Schmidt.

How do I even go about finding if this is true or not?!

June 20, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – when will I die?

Posted in genealogy at 9:15 PM by Kris P

Given that I have a rather normal point of view, I’m a nonsmoker, currently 31 years old, and have a BMI of <25, my projected death date is….

February 8, 2057

So I’ll be 79 years old when I die, does this take into account genetic dispositions towards some diseases, accidents, mass murderers?

June 19, 2009

Verified at last!

Posted in Daughters of the American Revolution, genealogy at 5:35 PM by Kris P

I just got word that DAR has approved me. They’ll formally approve me on July 9th, and give me my membership number.

I’m so excited. Now to work on my mother’s side.

June 18, 2009

Oh my god, the hilarity!

Posted in genealogy at 2:33 PM by Kris P

So I’m looking through marriage records of Washington County, VA trying to prove yet once more Ann Sharp Laughlin….and I come across this:

Koontz, Dorathy   60

(Note: Vulgarity is irresistable to certain types of mind. In variantions of this name, look where no gentleman should ever look, but many do. All respectable married women know what I mean. A divorce was recently granted a very nice woman on the basis that her husband was too sissy to avail himself of this free and delightful oppurtunity.)

If anyone else wants to see this for yourselves: Washington County Marriage register 1782-1820, p 92. You can find it in the Card Catalog of Ancestry.com.



DAR update – or quality not quantity

Posted in Daughters of the American Revolution at 1:57 PM by Kris P

So I still haven’t received a letter from DAR regarding my application. However, I did change the ancestor to Generation 7…Alexander and Ann Sharp Laughlin.

We do have the Laughlin Bible pages, which proves them and their relationship to John Laughlin who married Phebe Newton. However the biggest question is this: Is the Alexander Laughlin I’m related to the one that was the road surveyor as put forth in History of Southwest Virginia by Lewis Preston Summers, p 808, 809 and 813. Is  he also the same Alexander Laughlin put forth in the Annals of Southwest Virginia by Lewis Preston Summers, p 972, 1007 and 1354?

God I hope so! But now, its still up for debate till Washington decides to approve me in 2 weeks. 2 weeks from tomorrow. 15 more days.

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