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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Bennett and Jahnke Familes of NYC

Presumed to be the children and
grandchildren of George and Augusta Bennett
George and Augusta are seated in the front row
For the past 6 months I have searched to bust down the brick wall on my husband’s paternal family line.  I have had little luck and it can be very aggravating because the two family names are not that uncommon in turn of the 20th Century New York City.  I have to know the story of George Bennett and Augusta Jahnke, even if it takes me years to put the puzzle pieces together.

James and Isabella “Bella” Bennett appear together on the 1880 US Federal Census with their children at 1529 1st Ave New York, New York.  The Next time I was able to find this family was in 1920 with Isabella living with her son George Bennett and his family in Hartford, Connecticut. 

Emil Jahnke, widower, appears with his Daughter, Augusta Jahnke Bennett, and her family in the 1910 Census at 408 east 108th Street New York, New York.  By back tracking a little I find him living with Mary Jahnke, age 13, in 1900 2 blocks away From George and Augusta in the Bronx.

Then a hint fell into my lap.  A fantastic breakthrough!   On Family Search I found an index listing for George and Augusta’s marriage, in Manhattan, during August 1894.  On it  had the most amazing bits of information.  The grooms parents were listed as Jas. Bennett and Isabella Ruddy and the bride’s parents were listed as Emil Jahnke and Mary Meyer.  BINGO!  I know, not a lot to go on, but hey I will take what I can get.

Even better, when I put Emil Jahnke and Mary Meyer into Family Search I came up with a listing for a possible marriage certificate for them.  My only problem, it is 10 years after his eldest daughter was born, in 1884.  So, who do Augusta and Mary belong too, really?  Or, is this even the correct family?  The pieces all fit just the dates are all screwy.  Am I at square one again or this a trail that could lead me to the right people?

On the Emil and Mary indexed marriage record it listed his full name as Emil Herman George Jahnke and hers as Maria Meyer Heinritz.  His parents were listed as Ferdinand Jahnke and Louise Engelman.  I had several hits on this family showing that he had a brother named George.  It appears that they immigrated to the US in the 1870’s.  Odd part, both boys are listed as living with their parents on every US and NY state census I can find; even when they are in their 30’s.  This was getting stranger and stranger by the minute. 

I have a father that immigrates with his parents after his daughter was born, marries her mother 10 years later, lives with his parents for decades while appearing to live on his own or with his children, and then disappears after 1910.  Owie, my brain is starting to hurt.  I have ordered the marriage certificates from New York, maybe seeing the real thing will help.


  1. Hello!
    I really enjoyed reading your blog!
    I am descended from Jahnke Family and I live in Brazil, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul There is a good amount of relatives here in Rio Grande do Sul who lives in the town of Candelaria.
    Farina and married a atulamente use the name Ivania Farina.
    A hug,

    1. Wow! Great to meet you. My husband and his father will be so excited to hear this information. I would love to correspond with you in the future. If you could head over to my Facebook page and send me a private message that would be fantastic!