Welcome to Koppelmania, the Koppelman Family History News Blog

Welcome to the Koppelmania, the Koppelman Family History blog. This blog is a way to post news about the families in our Koppelman family tree, and about developments in research into our family history.

If you can trace your roots back to Lutheran Gardenville and Raspeburg, two small northeast Baltimore communites of truck farmers radiating north and south from Belair Road between Erdman Avenue and Raspe Avenue, please visit Lutheran Gardenville.

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“Greatly Loved and Sadly Missed”: Carole (Schmidt) Treat-Rebert, 1939-2016

Carole Treat-Rebert from her online death notice.

Carole Treat-Rebert from her online death notice.

These days it seems most of my posts are about deaths. Another Koppelman-Schwarz relation passed away in March 2016: Carole Treat-Rebert.

Born Carole Margaret Schmidt in Baltimore to George Schmidt and Edith (Kraemer) Schmidt, Carole graduated from Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School in Baltimore in 1957 and attended Penn State University. She became a paralegal, a vocation she practiced for decades.

Her 41-year marriage to Edwin Francis Treat lasted until his death in 2004. Edwin, a veteran of the Korean conflict and a paratrooper, worked for many years in cemetery sales and management. They lived in the York area until he died.

Carole had five children with Edwin: Robert, Leonard, Edith, Holly and Sylvia. With her first husband, she had a daughter, Donna Hammen.

She left behind a sister, Jean Schmidt Fell, and many grandchildren. Their brother, Robert W. Treat, died in 2013.

Carole is inurned with Edwin Treat in Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Pennsylvania.

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Emily Laura Koppelman Barger (1917-2015)

Portrait of Emily Koppelman Barger from her online obituary.

Portrait of Emily Koppelman Barger from her online obituary.

Another Koppelman passed on this summer.

Emily Laura Koppelman Barger died at the home of her son Robert W. Barger in Lynchburg, Virginia on her 78th wedding anniversary, June 12, 2015.

Emily had lived with her son and daughter-in-law since the passing of Emily’s husband, Bernard Otey Barger, in 1998.

Emily Koppelman was the daughter of John Lewis Koppelman (1891-1960) and Emma Marie Christ Koppelman (1892-1980).

She grew up on the nine-acre  farm on Bowley’s Lane that John’s father, my great-grandfather John Harman Koppelman, had given his eldest son in 1919 (Baltimore City Land Records, SCL 3345,  p. 247, 19 April 1919).

Emily attended grade school at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church at Franklin/Frankford and Seifert avenues.

After leaving St. Anthony’s school, she did two years of “commercial studies,” perhaps at a school like the one my mother attended after high school, Baltimore Business College, in downtown Baltimore.

Following her business training, Emily went to work typing invoices at Montgomery Ward’s. She married Bernard Barger in 1937 in the rectory of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church.

At first they lived on Radecke Avenue, not far from her parents, but after the war, Emily and Bernard moved to a big white house at 3804 Parkside Drive, just north of Belair Road, near Herring Run Park.

They raised their two children, Joyce and Robert Barger, in the Parkside Drive house. Bernard worked as a foreman for Welsh Construction Company.

Emily Koppelman Barger rests beside her husband Bernard Barger in Parkwood Cemetery, Baltimore.

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“Reserved for the Koppelman Family Forever”: The Fate of a Family Cemetery

Many rural family cemeteries on the outskirts of Baltimore disappeared as the streetcar suburbs advanced into the countryside. In northeast Baltimore, some remain, including the Gontrum, Biddison and McCormick/Councilman family burial grounds.

I knew from the Hopkins Atlas of Baltimore County that there had been, as late as 1898, a Koppelman family burial ground just north of the corner of Franklin/Frankford and Radecke avenues in Gardenville/Raspeburg.


Detail of 1898 Hopkins Atlas of Baltimore County showing location of Koppelman family cemetery on Franklin/Frankford Avenue.

When I found Johann Hermann Koppelmann’s will, I learned that he had directed that the family burial ground be preserved in perpetuity.

A codicil dated 8 January 1877, about two months before his death in February 1877, reads:

“This added to my Last Will and Testament which I have made some years back but had forgotten to mention the graveyard in the same the Grave Yard is situated on my property called Grindon containing 1 quarter of an Acre Shall remain as a grave Yard forever and ever and if the place is ever sold the Grave Yard is to be reserved for the Koppelmann Family for ever and is never to be sold.”

Detail from will of Johann Hermann Koppelman.

Detail from will of Johann Hermann Koppelman.

But I  knew from visiting the former location of our family’s original farm that no cemetery remained. All the Koppelman, Schaub, and related family remains we had located were buried in graves in Parkwood Cemetery (ancestors of John Hermann’s son John George Koppelman) or Baltimore Cemetery (ancestors of John Hermann’s son John Henry Koppelman).

The graves of our immigrant ancestors, Johann Hermann Koppelmann and Anna (Messmann) Kopppelmann, are in son John Henry Koppelman’s plot in Baltimore Cemetery.

A number of Schaub and Schaub-related graves are located in Oak Lawn Cemetery on Eastern Avenue.

So what happened to the Koppelman family burial ground? It wasn’t until I did extensive research into land records in the Maryland State Archives that I discovered the answer.

On 6 October 1920, 34 of Johann Hermann Koppelman’s descendants  and their spouses–surnamed Koppelman, Raab, Christ, Schaub, Greensfelder, Hedeman, Sack, Gleitsman, Lutz–signed an agreement that deeded the 1/4 acre burial ground to John Henry Koppelman’s widow, Anna Catherine (Weber) Koppelman, presumably so that she could sell the entire farm surrounding the cemetery to a developer (SCL 3690, Folio 122, pg. 122).koppelman-burial-ground-deed-1920-detail1


Excerpt from SCL 3690, Folio 122-123, Land Records of Baltimore County, Maryland.

The family’s argument was that “the purpose of the lot . . . so set aside as a burial lot . . . has since ceased to be used as such . . . and the dead there buried have . . . been either removed or are about to be removed.” And since all 34 descendants agreed, the terms of our immigrant ancestor’s will could be broken.

Descendants of family members recall their parents talking about the property transfer, but the details of the discussions were never recorded. No photographs of the Koppelman family burial ground have been discovered.

The legally-sanctioned demise of our family burial ground makes me wonder how others in the vicinity endured. Were the terms of wills written more carefully? Did descendants fail to come to agreements similar to the one I’ve described? If you know the answers for the Gontrum, Biddison and Councilman/McCormick cemeteries, I’d like to hear from you.

All of the Koppelman family graves I have documented are gathered in a “virtual cemetery” on findagrave.com.

To learn about doing research on Maryland land records, visit the Maryland State Archives website.  Finding these records takes great patience. You can request free access to digitized land conveyances on MdLandRec.net

The best way to research Baltimore County wills is to purchase the excellent Baltimore County Wills Index from the Baltimore County Genealogical Society. You will find it listed under “Publications for Sale” on the “Resources” tab.

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“Crabs, Mitchell’s corn, and hopefully a Buick”: Clarence Cromwell Boyle Sr.

Clarence C. Boyle, Sr., long-time proprietor of Boyle Buick in Abingdon, Maryland, died on March 27, 2012.

A World War II veteran, avid pilot and talented baseball player who was scouted by the Brooklyn Dodgers, Mr. Boyle was well-known and widely esteemed in Harford County.

After working his way up from salesman to general manager of Lee Buick in Perryman, he purchased the franchise in 1968 and later moved the business to Abingdon, where the Boyle Buick GMC dealership continues to thrive.

He married Irene Kahoe, daughter of farmer Stephen Michael Kahoe, in 1948. ” ‘We courted in his plane,’ said his wife of 64 years . . . ‘He had a two-seater Stearman and he did stunt flying all over Harford County’ “(Baltimore Sun 2 April 2012).

The Boyle family became linked to the Koppelmans through the marriage of Lillian Betz Lynch’s son Donald Lynch Jr. to Clarence and Irene Boyle’s daughter Mary Sue.

The large Boyle clan has deep roots in Harford County. Their earliest identified paternal ancestor, Andrew Boyle (1823-1902), was farming in the Pylesville area by 1850.

Detail from Martenet’s 1878 map of Harford County, near Pennsylvania border, northeast of Pylesville. Andrew Boyle’s farm is roughly at center; the stream is Deep Run. The current Old Boyle Road may mark the environs of Andrew Boyle’s farm (Library of Congress Map Division).

Andrew Boyle was elected as Harford County’s representative to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1876.

He is buried at Tabernacle Cemetery, Hydes, Harford County, Maryland.

Clarence C. Boyle Sr. is buried at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Hickory, Harford County.

Watch a 2010 interview with Clarence and Irene Boyle, archived at the Harford County Library.

Read a Baltimore Sun story about the family business, Boyle Buick GMC.

Thanks to Thom Painter for his painstaking documentation of the graves in Tabernacle Cemetery, and to the Harford County Library.

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Louis Soeder, Lost and Found

When my distant Soeder cousin Susan and I researched our immigrant Soeder ancestors, we found a mystery.

Bernhard “Barney” Söder, a miner born in Solingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, and his wife Maria, brought five children to Baltimore in 1853 aboard the ship Aeolus: Georg (1841-1927), Ludwig, Magdalena (1843-1922), Maria Phillipine (b. abt. 1846), and Dorothea Söder (b. abt. 1851).

Detail from the 1853 passenger list of the “Aeolus,” Bremen to Baltimore. The origin of Bernhard, Maria and eldest child Magdalena is given as Solingen.

Their destination on the ship’s passenger list is given as Ohio, but instead, most of them stayed in Baltimore.

Bernhard and Maria tried farming with their son Georg near Randallstown, but gave it up. They remained laborers.

Magdalena married a thriving Mount Winans blacksmith, Frederick H. Bealefeld, Sr. She opened a saloon/restaurant and amassed substantial property. Bealefeld’s blacksmith shop was on Mt. Washington Boulevard southwest of the city.

A number of Frederick Bealefeld’s descendants served in the  Baltimore Police Department, including  Frederick H. Bealefeld, III, until recently, Baltimore’s Police Commissioner.

Portrait of Magdalena Soeder Bealefeld, taken at the Russell Studio, Baltimore, Md. (courtesy of Susan Rozar)

Maria Phillipine married John Frackmann or Freckmann, also a blacksmith. Like Magdalena, Maria ran a restaurant, but on East Madison Street in the city of Baltimore proper.

Dora married a George F. Jackson and moved to New York.

But what happened to Ludwig, or Louis, Söder?

Years passed without locating him. But in 2011, we returned to a lead we’d previously passed over: A Louis Sader (1841-1973) buried in Minneiska, Wabasha County, Minnesota, turned up on findagrave.com, now with an excerpt from a biographical sketch and a drawing of “Mr. and Mrs. Louis Sader.”

Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Sader from History of Wabasha County, Minnesota (Winona, Minn: H.C. Cooper, Jr., & Co., 1920), courtesy of Kathryn Hill.

Two Wabasha County local historians, Tom Mauer and Kathryn Hill, had posted the memorial online in the course of their work documenting cemeteries and citizens.

Sader family plot marker, St. Mary’s Cemetery, Minneiska, Wasbasha County, Minnesota (photographed by Tom Mauer)

We excitedly contacted them, and Ms. Hill kindly provided the rest of the sketch. Thanks to Minnesota’s excellent digital resources, we were quickly able to acquire his death certificate and an obituary from the Minnesota State Historical Society.

Grave of Louis Sader, St. Mary’s Cemetery, Minneiska, Wabasha Co., Minnesota                           (photographed by Tom Mauer)

The 1920 biographical sketch confirmed that Louis Sader originally spelled his last name “Soeder,” his parents were Barney and Maria, and that he had come from Baltimore.

According to his biographical sketch, 18-yr-old Louis Soder ran off to join the 1st Maryland Regiment of the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War. Later he became a teamster for the army until the end of the war.

“Then, having made up his mind to seek his fortune in the northwest, he came to Wabasha County, Minn., and took a homestead of 160 acres in Watopa Township.”

After hardship and privation, Louis Sader eventually succeeded as  a farmer, married Angeline Cuvener, and had six children: Barney, John, Elizabeth (Sader) Doyle, Margaret (Sader) Kramer, Gerharth, and Eva (Sader) Day.

One thing in his biography is puzzling. We know from the passenger list of the Aeolus that the Söders, including 10-year-old Ludwig, journeyed to America in 1853. Yet in his biography, Louis claimed that he and his parents had been born in Pennsylvania. The 1870 census records his place of birth as Maryland.

Is it possible that he did not remember? Could a 10-year-old boy forget the harrowing voyage across the Atlantic? If not, then why did he obscure his German immigrant origin? Susan continues to investigate.

Posted in Schwarz-Soeder Connections | 2 Comments

Confirmation, Easter Sunday 1931

The Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church confirmation class of 1931 gathers at Reissert’s Studio.

Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church‘s confirmation class of 1931 sat for a portrait at Reissert’s Studio, 321 N. Gay Street, Baltimore, to memorialize the Easter Sunday affirmation of their faith and full membership in the community of the church.

The serious expressions of these 13-year-old children reflect the solemnity of the sacrament of first communion.  They had completed months of study with the pastor in order to understand the meaning of what they were undertaking. They had stood in front of the whole congregation in suits and ties, heels and hose, and affirmed their Christian faith by reciting, with the congregation, the Apostles’ Creed.

Their group portrait was meant to help them remember the day they had moved from child to adult in the church.  The studio where they gathered, with its conventional painted background  and faux marble floor, was owned and operated by Max J. Reissert (b. abt. 1867), like many of his customers, a German immigrant.

Memory fades; we know only a few of the names. Pastor Paul C. Burgdorf (1884-1948) presides; immediately to his right is his daughter, Beatrice Hermance Burgdorf.  Beside Beatrice is Mary Ripley Boyer (b. abt. 1918, Md); third from the right is Julia Charlotte Koppelman.

Extreme left, first row is Doris Irene Weger. Leonard Arthur Malwitz (1917-2011) stands in the second row, second from the left.

The area around their church, located at Belair Road and Moravia Avenue in northeast Baltimore, consisted of newly-built working class neighborhoods that still had  a scattering of small truck farms and dairies. The church mainly served the descendants of the many German immigrants who had come to grow vegetables and fruit outside Baltimore in the 19th century.

Mary Boyer’s father was an apparel salesman. The Boyers lived at 3508 Belair Avenue (aka Belair Road), less than a mile to the southwest of the church, on the other side of lovely Herring Run Park, one of Baltimore’s many strip parks created around the numerous streams that tumble to the Chesapeake Bay.

Doris Weger (b. abt. 1918, Md.)  lived on Kenwood Avenue; her father, Harry Weger, was foreman in a upholstery shop. The Malwitz boys, Leonard and Earl, lived around the corner from the church, on St. Thomas Avenue; their father Edward, a recent German immigrant like Reissert, worked as a lithographer. Earl became part of the Schwarz-Koppelman clan when he married Gloria Jean Schwarz (1924-1998).

In those days, the modest two-story, two-bay brick row homes in the streets around the 1875 church buildings were new and clean.  Many were built by the E.J. Gallagher Realty Company, and are marked by his distinctive innovations: deep porches, small lawns and fieldstone accents instead of marble, and basements (Holcomb, The City as Suburb: A History of Northeast Baltimore Since 1660, p. 185 ff).

Clutching their confirmation certificates, every white-clad girl, ankles demurely crossed, sports the fashionable “bob” haircut that swept the nation after World War I. The perfect waves were achieved using the curling iron invented by Marcel in 1872.

The neighborhood has changed; hard times haunt the houses there now. Hair styles have changed many times since those days when the “bob” was a symbol of modernity. Some of the boys and girls lost their faith with adulthood; some deepened their commitment. But the park is still green, the church founded in 1842 endures, and Herring Run still burbles toward the bay.

Note: If you would like to know more about how Baltimoreans are working to preserve the area’s many streams, or “runs,” visit Blue Water Baltimore. To learn more about the Lutheran Church and its beliefs, visit The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Eric L. Holcomb’s The City as Suburb: A History of Northeast Baltimore Since 1660 was published by The Johns Hopkins University Press in 2005.

Update 5 March 2017: In going through the records of Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, I came upon the  list of 32 names of the boys and girls who were confirmed on Easter Sunday 1931. However, there are 33 young men and women pictured, so something is off. At any rate, here is the list, transcribed as best as I could. The online images of the church’s register include sponsors (often the parents) and dates of birth:

Genevieve Grace Beck

Mary Ripley Boyer

Beatrice Hermance Burgdorf

Doris Elizabeth Coleman

William H. Collings

Johanna Dorothea Cook

Dorothy Minnie Fischer

Luther Richard Fischer

Dorothy Louise Gerkens

Carl Arthur Gerkins/Gerkens

Herman William Greensfelder

William Henry Greensfelder

Cynthia Virginia Hobbs

Arthur Richard Hoffield

Margaret Elizabeth Kahler

Gordon William Kelley or Keeley

Julia Charlotte Koppelman

Leonard Arthur Malwitz

Carl John Matheisz [sp.?]

Henry Frederick Meise

Hilda Anna Margaret Myers

Grace Geneva Quast [sp.?]

Emma May Schneider

Edward Henry Schneider

LeRoy Vernon Schulhause [sp.?]

Howard Walter Schultz

George William Smith

Magdaline Christina Stromer

Bertha Charlotte Ulrich

Elmer John Henry Vogel

Doris Irene Weger

Margaret Edna Wirth


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Bengratz Raab is Broken

Mingled excitement and dismay. Charlie Herr, an intrepid and generous findagrave.com volunteer in Baltimore got in touch to let me know he had found and posted photographs of many Raab graves in the cemetery of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, in Fullerton.

Among those he found and photographed are the graves of the immigrant Raab ancestors: Barbara (Lehuetz) Raab (1832-1913) and Bengratz (aka Pankreuz or Pankratz) Raab.

Then I saw the pictures. Bengratz Raab’s marker has disintegrated into at least three pieces, and is riddled with cracks.

Bengratz Raab’s grave is in the center; Barbara’s is on the left.

To see about repairing his marker, I contacted the church’s cemetery director. I wanted to make sure that Raymond Merkle Memorials would be an acceptable choice to make the repairs.  She agreed, and I await an estimate.

Close-up of Bengratz Raab’s Broken Grave, St. Joseph’s RCC, Fullerton, Md.

Bengratz, Barbara, and son Bengratz, are listed on an 1860 passenger manifest for the ship Columbia, bound from Bremen to Baltimore, as Pankranz, laborer, Barbara and son Pankranz Raabe.  Son Pankranz eventually anglicized his given name to to Bengratz and then to Benjamin.

The Raabs were fruitful and multiplied into a large clan, many of whom remain in Maryland and nearby states.

The Koppelmans are doubly related to the Raabs: First, through the marriage of Anna Mina Koppelman (1888-1980), daughter of Gardenville truck farmer John Harman Koppelman and Anna Schaub, to George P. Raab (1891-1953), son of Peter Raab and Emilie Brockmeyer; and second, through the marriage of Charles Dietrich Koppelman (1897-1983), son of John Harman’s brother Henry Koppelman, to Goldie Raab (1897-1976), daughter of Peter Raab’s brother John Andrew Raab and Alberta Barbara Harpel. Simple, right?

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