One of my genealogical mysteries is the brother of my great-grandfather George Weil. The brother’s name is Conrad August Weil, born in 1895 in Pittsburgh. He grew up with his siblings, attended Concordia Orphans’ Home (read more about this orphanage in this post), and then disappears. Here’s a timeline of everything that I know about his life:
- 1895 : Conrad August Weil is born on 4 September, 1895 in Pittsburgh, PA. His parents were Conrad and Louise (Metz) Weil. He is baptized on 22 September 1895 at the 2nd St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Pride Street in Pittsburgh.
- 1898 : Conrad lives with his family in Pittsburgh. His mother Louise dies from typhoid on 24 October 1898 and is buried at Minersville Cemetery in Pittsburgh. At the time of her death, the family lives at 2137 Rose Ave. Conrad’s baby sister, Anna Louise, who was one year old at the time, disappears from the records at this time. She may have died at the same time as her mother, or she may have been adopted by another family.
- 1898 : Conrad and his older siblings Karl, George, and Marie are taken in at the Concordia Lutheran Orphans’ Home near Marwood, Butler County, Pennsylvania. They are admitted on 21 November 1898.
- 1900 : Conrad appears in the 1900 census at the orphanage with his siblings Karl, George, and Marie. He is listed as 4 years old.
- 1908 : This photo (right) was taken of the George, Marie, and Conrad at the Orphans’ home, approximately 1907-1910. Conrad is the youngest boy in the front.
- 1910 : Conrad is confirmed at the Concordia Orphans’ Home on 20 March 1910.
- 1910 : Conrad appears in the 1910 census at the orphanage at the age of 14. His siblings no longer live at the orphanage, and it’s unclear whether they have much contact with Conrad. Karl lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and children. George is about to attend school at Addison Normal School in Addison, Illinois. Marie works as a servant in a household in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Their father, Conrad Sr., lives in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in the coal mines there.
- 1911 : Conrad appears to leave the orphans’ home. The last mention of him in the journals of the housefather is on 19 April 1911, and says “Tom Hiller of Allison Park fetched Conrad Weil today.”
I presume that Tom Hiller (or Hillen) had hired Conrad as a hired hand. Tom appears in the 1920 census in Allison Park, but has a different hired hand living with him. It appears that if Conrad did work for him, he had left by 1920. Conrad also does not appear in the 1917-1918 Draft Registrations, nor does he appear in any of the locations where his siblings lived. My great-grandfather George stayed in contact with his sister Marie, but lost contact with his brother Karl, his father Conrad and his brother Conrad. I have no further clues of Conrad August’s whereabouts after April 1911. Where did he go? Did he go back to Pittsburgh? Did he move out west? Did he go to work in the mines like his older brother Karl? Did he change his name? Where and when did he pass away? So far, I have been unable to conclusively answer any of these questions.
I have located a possible clue. I have found a girl who may be Conrad’s daughter. Marie Cathryn Weil is found in a newspaper clipping and death certificate. She was born in 1915 to Evelyn Simon and Conrad Weil. In 1910, Evelyn Simon was living with her parents in Hampton, PA, just minutes away from Allison Park, where Conrad would be the following year. Evelyn and Marie were living in Allison Park in 1917 at the time of the newspaper clipping. Marie passed away at the age of 17 in Indiana, Pennsylvania when she was married to a Charles Heidenrich. Conrad Weil is listed as her father on her death certificate in 1933. Evelyn Simon Weil lived with her parents in Allison Park for the rest of her life, and passed away in 1948 in Pittsburgh. She never remarried, lived with her parents, but Conrad Weil is listed as her husband on her death certificate. It seems that they did not live together at least from 1920-1948. However, it is not conclusive whether this is my Conrad Weil, and I’m unable to find any more information about this particular family at this time.
I’m planning a trip to Pittsburgh very soon, and I’ll be doing a bit of research while I’m there. I’m hoping to uncover something about Conrad in my travels! Do you happen to know any clues about Conrad Weil? Please comment below or contact me directly!
Note: There have been three Conrad Weils in three generations in my family tree. Conrad Weil (the eldest) was the father of Conrad August and George. He was born in 1862 in Germany, and died in 1932 in Castle Shannon, PA. Conrad August Weil was born in 1895 in Pittsburgh, and is the son of the elder Conrad and brother of George. George Weil also named one of his sons Conrad August Weil. George’s son Conrad was born in 1924 in Kingston, Ulster County, New York. This Conrad grew up in Kingston, served in WWII, and also lived in Skokie, Illinois.
- Excerpts and student lists from the housefather’s journals: “Journals of the Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Orphanage and Old Folks Home” Journal entries made by housefathers and superintendents, from 1883-1935. Provided by Concordia Lutheran Ministries via email.
- “Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh City Deaths, 1870-1905,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-17724-122665-2?cc=1810412 : accessed 24 November 2015), 0505838 (004263751); image 58 of 685, Louise Weil; Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh.
- 1900 United States Federal Census, Butler County, Pennsylvania, Population Schedule, Jefferson Township, p. 13B, institution Concordia 1, family 265, Conrad Weil, image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 1 Aug 2017); citing FHL microfilm: 1241387.
- 1910 United States Federal Census, Butler County, Pennsylvania, Population Schedule, Jefferson Township, p. 11A, Concordia Orphans Home, Conrad Weil, image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 Aug 2018); citing FHL microfilm: 1375335.
- Weil family photos and documents, originals; Weil Family papers, privately held by Paul Weil, Kingston, Ill.
- “Small Society Girl,” The Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 16 Jan 1917, image copy, (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 Aug 2018), page 23; Newspapers.com World Collection.
- Pennsylvania (State) Death Certificates, 1906-1966, certificate no. 23783 (1933), Marie Heidenrich; image copy (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=5164 : accessed 12 Sep 2018); Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 [database on-line].
- Pennsylvania (State) Death Certificates, 1906-1966, certificate no. 40266 (1948), Mrs. Evelyn Weil; image copy (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=5164 : accessed 12 Sep 2018); Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 [database on-line].