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Born on the…

It is the Fourth of July weekend here in the United States — with July 4 our Independence Day celebration and as many of us as can do so taking as much of the long weekend as possible to celebrate, get together with family and enjoy.

And since this is Family Saturday, that sent The Legal Genealogist scurrying to the database to check out the special Fourths in my family’s history.

And, it turns out, there aren’t all that many folks who were hatched, matched or dispatched in my family on the Fourth of July.

There are a few that I’ve recorded, starting with an early marriage that’s one of my gems. My second great grand-aunt Nancy Gentry, just 16 years old, married Amos T. Humphries in Noxubee County, Mississippi, on the Fourth of July in 1845.1 The fact that her father, Rev. Elijah Gentry, had to give consent to his underaged daughter’s marriage is one of the key pieces of evidence I’ve used to reconstruct this family.

Then there are two births I’ve recorded, for Fleety Baker, born in 1884,2 and his younger brother Robert Franklin Baker, born in 1886,3 both the sons of Samuel P. and Dora (Graham) Baker, of North Carolina.

The fact that both were born on the same day, and that neither of them is documented beyond family lore or self-reported information, makes me wonder about the date. Fleety, at least, used that birthdate when he registered for the draft in World War I,4 but the only draft registration I can find for a Robert Franklin Baker that matches this cousin has a different July 1886 birthdate.5

And there’s a death I can document, for Sheridan Davenport in Shooting Creek, Clay County, North Carolina in 1919.6 The death certificate says the cause of death of this 27-year-old farmer was “not known.” From the date, you have to wonder if it wasn’t the Spanish flu.

All of these family members left other records at other times of other events in their lives. But there is one other special Fourth in my family history… one record of one person who left, as far as I’ve been able to find so far, no other record at all.

Benjamin Franklin Ernest Schreiner was born at 4839 Bishop Street, in the 31st Ward of the City of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, on the Fourth of July 1895.7 I can only suppose that it was the day of his birth that made his German-born immigrant parents name him Benjamin Franklin.

His mother, Augusta Paula (Graumüller) Schreiner, was my great grand-aunt — my German grandfather’s aunt. She and her husband, Herman Franz Schreiner, called Frank, were the first of our serial immigrants to the United States, coming here in 1886.8

Auguste was 37 years old when this baby — her first (and as far as I know only) child — was born. Frank was 41.9

That they wanted children is evident, I think, from the fact that they had brought my then-eight-year-old grand-aunt Hattie over to live with them in 1890.10 Hattie remained with them until her marriage in 1906 to Paul Knop.11

So… about Benjamin…

There are no other records of this little boy. He is not recorded on the 1900 census with the family.12

There is no record of his death that I’ve been able to find in Cook County.13 No grave recorded in Find-A-Grave.14 No family lore passed down to tell what happened to this child.

The only hint we have comes from that 1900 census, in the columns next to Augusta’s name for “Mother of how many children” and “Number of these children living.”

The second column is clearly marked: 0.

The first… well, the first does read 0… but it appears to be marked over.

With a single line.

A number 1.

One child, who did not survive.

Benjamin Franklin Ernest Schreiner.

Born on the Fourth of July.


  1. Noxubee County, Mississippi, Marriage Book A, Amos T. Humphreys and Nancy J. Gentry, 04 Jul 1845; Circuit Clerk, Macon; FHL microfilm 900,888.
  2. Social Security Administration, “Social Security death index : 1937-1998,” database, ( : accessed 11 March 2010), entry for Fleety Baker.
  3. Message board post, James Dan Miller (grandson of Robert Franklin Baker), “Descendants of David Baker,” posted 9 Dec 2000, Baker Family Genealogy Forum, ( : accessed 19 Dec 2000).
  4. “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images, (http:// : accessed 23 April 2011), card for Fleety Ervin Baker, no. 1624, McMinn County (Tenn.) Draft Board; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, National Archives microfilm publication M1509.
  5. Ibid., Robert Franklin Baker, no. 1162, Clermont County (Ohio) Draft Board.
  6. Death Certificate, North Carolina State Board of Health, certif. no. 15575, Ebby Sheridan Davenport (4 Jul 1919); Bureau of Vital Statistics, Raleigh.
  7. Cook County, IL, Return of a Birth, No. 15466, Benjamin Franklin Ernest Schreiner (4 July 1895); County Clerk’s Office, Vital Statistics Department.
  8. 1910 U.S. census, Cook County, Illinois, Chicago 29th Ward, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 1272, p. 71A (stamped), dwelling 143, family 345, Frank and Auguste Schreiner; digital image, ( : accessed 30 June 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T624, roll 275.
  9. Cook County, IL, Return of a Birth, No. 15466, Benjamin Franklin Ernest Schreiner (4 July 1895).
  10. Manifest, S.S. Rhein, August 1890, page 7 (penned), passenger 329, Hedwig Geisler; digital images, ( : accessed 8 March 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication M255, roll 48.
  11. Illinois, Cook County, marriage license and return, no. 447077, Paul Knop-Hattie Geisler, 28 November 1906.
  12. 1900 U.S. census, Cook County, Illinois, Chicago 30th Ward, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 914, p. 71A (stamped), dwelling 210, family 528, Frank “Sweiner” household; digital image, ( : accessed 30 June 2017); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623, roll 282.
  13. A search for all persons with the surname Schreiner or any variant thereof in Cook County Genealogy database at the Cook County Clerk’s Office website ( : accessed 30 June 2017) was negative.
  14. Ditto for the Find-A-Grave database. Find A Grave ( : accessed 30 June 2017).
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