Sunday, July 29, 2018

52 Ancestors: Color

This week’s blog prompt definitely had me scratching my head.  Did I have a colorful ancestor in my tree?  Hmmm, not that I could think of.  How about an ancestor who came from a colorful area?  Orange, California qualifies but nope, none of my ancestors ever lived there.  Redwood, California also qualified but nope, none of my ancestors ever lived there.  So….. how about a “color” name?  I checked my ancestors and found a few that might fit the bill and finally settled on Charlotte WHITE, wife of my great grand uncle, Adolph Gunzendorfer.  I guess you could say that Gunzendorfer is a pretty colorful name so maybe that was the sign I needed to move forward.

I didn’t know much about Charlotte White and after an afternoon of researching her, I don’t really know much more than I did before.  I think Charlotte was born in about 1873-1874 in California to Lowell Clark White and his wife, who may have been named Jennie.  I think in 1880 the family was living at 1516 California Street in San Francisco but there is a little, bitty shred of doubt that maybe I have the wrong family.

Based on Charlotte’s obituary, she had a brother named Marshall Winship White but since he was born in 1883, he wouldn’t have shown up on the 1880 census making positive identification of the family nearly impossible.  But I’ll continue with this theory because as I trace back the parents of Lowell Clark White, I found that his father was Marshall White and his mother was Marsylvia Winship.  So those two clues seem pretty solid.

Of course without the 1890 census, the next place I looked was the 1900 census.  I haven’t found any of them yet but I’ll keep looking.

1910 found Charlotte with Adolph Gunzendorfer on 1637 Sacramento in San Francisco.  Charlotte and Adolph stated that they had been married for 9 years so I searched for any sort of marriage records from about 1901.  Nothing.  Marshall W. White was living with them, along with a boarder, Ralph Knowlton.  I don’t know what caught my eye but I noticed that Ralph listed his occupation as “Repairer, Typewriters”.  Now that was an interesting tidbit since Adolph’s younger brother, Jacob, was the proprietor of Typewritorium in San Francisco.  Perhaps Ralph worked for Jacob?

In 1916, Adolph and Charlotte were living at 1516 Larkin and by 1918 they had moved to 645 Bush.  The 1920 census shows them on Bush street, enumerated as Lodgers with about 90 others.  It looks like that address is currently a 5 story apartment building, built in 1911, with 52 units.  So that makes sense.

And that’s about all I know until Charlotte died on 10 Feb 1922 in San Francisco. 

Charlotte White Gunzendorfer Death Record cropped
California, City of San Francisco, Halsted & Co. register of deaths 
Halsted & Co. funeral records, register of deaths, book 3, A-N, Apr. 1913-Sept. 1930

Could the date to the left, 1-3-1873, be her date of birth?  The column heading is just “No.” and most of the column is blank.  Maybe they used it for the date of birth if they knew that at the time of death?  But after searching for a birth record for Charlotte with that date and father Lowell Clark White, no luck.

I have no idea how she died or any details.  But the death notice in the paper was what led me down the path of her brother, Marshall White.

Charlotte White Gunzendorfer Obit SF Chronicle 13 Feb 1922
San Francisco Chronicle, February 13, 1922

And after a few hours following that path, I’m really no further than I was before.  I have no idea where she is buried or even where Adolph is buried.  Maybe I should request death certificates for both Charlotte and Adolph.  But as disorganized as I am, I can’t guarantee I don’t already have them.



  1. Looks like you found quite a bit---if you want some help filling a few of the holes, I would be glad to help. I have no experience with CA research---but I bet someone in one of the FB groups does.

    1. Thanks, Amy. I'm in a few FB groups but not sure the ones I'm a member of would help with this type of thing. Any suggestions?

  2. Well, I assume you've already joined one of the California genealogy groups. For the 1900 census, have you tried wildcards? Any old city directories online for San Francisco?

    1. I just joined a few more. LOL! How would you suggest using wildacards?

  3. I checked the 1890 San Francisco directory, but there's no Marshall or Lowell. There is a Lovell though??

  4. Good question---hard to imagine misspelling White---but perhaps try just the first initial with an asterisk? Or the first two letters?

  5. I enjoyed your style of writing. Your humorous introduction captured my attention, as I too was puzzled initially what to write about and went through the same thoughts. There are even White ancestors too on my husband’s side. Good luck with finding out more about Charlotte.