Saturday, June 1, 2013

Surname Saturday - J. Bernard HENNINGS (1856-1919)

J. Bernard Hennings
Today is Surname Saturday, a daily blogging prompt from Geneabloggers.  As I move my way through the alphabet, I'm at the H's, so may I present to you my 2nd Great Grandfather, J. Bernard Hennings.

Since I didn't know the origins of the name, I did a search on the internet for the origin and meaning of Henning(s), and this is what I discovered.

Henning is a surname with origins in Northern Germany.  It originates as a given name from either Heinrich or Johannes.  In Germany and Scandanavia it is more often used as a given name than as a surname.1

The name Henning is indigenous to the North German areas of Mecklenburg, Hannover, Hamburg, Holstein and Pommern.  Especially the towns of Stralsund and Greifswald, in Mecklenburg, near the Baltic Sea is well known as places where the name originated.  Both towns formed part of Denmark up until the Third Years' War (1618-1648).2

According to my records, Bernard is the son of Frederick Hennings and Catherine Von Lindon of Germany.  He was born in Germany about May 1856 and according to the 1910 U.S. Census, he immigrated to the US about 1869.  He also became a naturalized citizen.

He married Ella Cole about 1880 in New York, probably in Steuben County.  They had the following children:  Frederick William (1883), Earl George (1888), and Arthur Cole (1892).  Both Earl and Arthur were born in Corning, Steuben County, NY.  I think Frederick was born in Port Allegany, PA.

I found Bernard & Ella on the 1892 New York State Census living in Corning, Steuben County, NY.  They were enumerated with Fred (8) and Earl (4).  Bernard's occupation was listed as a machinist.

I also found Bernard in the 1893 Corning City Directory listed as a machinist, and living on Main Street, Gibson.  I also believe that Ella died about 1893 in New York.

Bernard is next seen living in Maryland on the 1900 US Census.  Apparently he bought a farm in Nanjemoy, Charles County, Maryland.  He apparently remarried about 1894 to a Martha R. Caswell, from Maryland.  On the 1900 Census he's enumerated with Fred (16), Guy (13), and Arthur (8).
(l-r) Arthur C. Henning, Virginia Hennings,
Bernard Hennings, and Martha Hennings

The last census Bernard shows up on is the 1910 US Census, and he's now living Washington City, DC and working as an engineer at the German Embassy.  The Census shows Bernard living with Martha (59), Earl G (23) and Arthur (17).  The family is listed as living at 1410 E Street, SE.  See the picture to the right, as this is the house they are living in at the time.  Virginia Hennings is the wife of Bernard's oldest son, Frederick.

Martha died in August of 1912 and Bernard married Annie C. Gleasner in June 1913.  Annie and Bernard were only married about 6 years before he died on 25 Sep 1919 in Washington, DC.  He's buried at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC.

Questions:  What brought him from New York, to Maryland, then to Washington, DC.  Did he immigrate with both parents or just his mother?  What about brothers and sisters?  When/how did he meet Ella and when exactly did they get married?

Plan:  I am currently working on a research plan to confirm Bernard's parents, his date of birth, and find out where in Germany he is from.  Because of the search I did on the origins of the surname, I have a starting point of actual cities that I didn't have before.  But before I go searching all over Germany, I need to find his immigration and naturalization papers.  I just need to figure out what state he was living in when he became a naturalized citizen.  I also want to find the land records for the farm he owned in Maryland.  According to some articles I found in the local papers after he died, he still owned the farm.  I also need to see if I can get a copy of his will.

If anyone has any information on Bernard or think that we might be related, please contact me.

1 Wikipedia contributors, “Henning,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed June 1, 2013).

2 Wikipedia contributors, “Henning,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed June 1, 2013).

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