1)Start with what I do know. I have a page out of a family date book (some was originally written in German, then translated) that states Maggie Dennis nee Molten married Jacob Helfrich Oct 19, 1890 in St Louis, Missouri.
Emil Helfrich listed as witness on Marriage Record
|Emil Helfrich listed in 1930 Census|
|Emil Helfrich Birth Record|
|Emil Helfrich Draft Registration|
3) Ok let's trace back now. Peter and Katherine Helfrich were listed as Emil's parents. I looked up city directories to see where they lived in accordance with Maggie after Jacob was gone. I found they lived on Peopping Street which was not far from Michigan Street, where Maggie lived.
|1913 St Louis City Directory|
|1914 St Louis City Directory|
|1917 St Louis City Directory|
4) Based on Census records and directories, I was able to find out what Peter did for a living. I traced Peter back in the directories and found him living with a Jacob Helfrich and a Nicholas Helfrich, along with a couple other Helfrichs. Finally a Jacob! A quick search of the census records and I was able to determine Nicholas was the father, and all the other Helfrichs were his children. Since I don't have a birthdate for Jacob, I still have no official proof this is the correct Jacob, but the trail leads to this Jacob. I feel pretty certain this is my Jacob.
1900 US Federal Census for Peter & Kate Helfrich
|1880 US Federal Census for Peter & Jacob listed with father Nicholas|
5) Jacob is listed in the St Louis City directories until 1899, when it starts listing Maggie Helfrich as the widow of Jacob. So I assumed he passed away at that time. Although I did not find any death record. I got in touch with Dan, a relative of the Helfrich family, to ask him some questions. He had information that Jacob had passed away in Indiana at a refining company. He had had an accident, which matches up with what my little record book stated about Jacob's death. It said he was killed, but I had no date. I contacted the Knox County Library in Indiana and they were able to send me a copy of the death record for Jacob Helfrich (based on the new date Dan gave me).
|1899 St Louis City Directory listing Maggie as Widow of Jacob|
Jacob Helfrich Death Record Page 1
|Jacob Helfrich Death Record Page 2|
6) On the death record, it says Jacob was divorced. I asked Dan about this and here is what he said, "Most likely she considered herself a "grass widow." Basically if your husband is always gone, if you were divorced, or if you were abandoned, you could pretty much claim that status and it wouldn't be abnormal in those days. My great great grandma is listed as Widowed on the 1930 census even though her husband outlived her by about 17 years, and I think it was a similar deal."
|Maggie Helfrich Death Certificate|
Based on these facts, I lean toward the belief that this is the correct Maggie and Jacob. I have researched Jacob's brothers and sisters with no success in proving that Maggie was apart of the family. The search is by no means complete, but for now this is what I have as far as proof.
If I wouldn't have chased that lead on the marriage record, I would never had me the connection.