I can’t find Ludwig/ Louis Klee in 1880!

What do you do when the puzzle pieces don’t fit? Some pieces must be missing! You can’t find someone in 1920 census record and you are fairly certain that he or she was still alive.  Later, you discover that the person died in 1922. Information in death record leads you back to 1920 census. Careful documentation helps to complete the puzzle.

Image used with permission.  Barry J. Ewell, “Genealogy: Following every clue leads to genealogy success,” blog post, GENEALOGY BY BARRY, posted 22 Dec 2015

Great-Aunt Viola ‘s  eight-page family history, written in the 1980s, provided large pieces of the  family puzzle.[1]  She recorded names, events and dates for 4-5 generations of the Tucker-Maurer family.  Specifically, putting the puzzle together for Ludwig  (Louis) Klee and Anna Wolf, my maternal great-great grandparents (Generation 5) proved difficult.  This post reviews the clues and missing puzzle pieces for the title concern:  I can’t  find Ludwig (Louis) Klee in 1880 census.

To begin, there is the matter of Anna’s marriage to Charles Miller which occurred ‘several years after Ludwig’s death’ , according to Great- Aunt Viola. [2]  She recorded that Charles and Anna had 3 children.  CLUE #1 Anna was still of childbearing age when she married Charles.  She was certainly less than 40-45 years old and possibly closer to early or mid-30s.

In 2014, I found 1910 census record for Louis Klee, age 57, and wife, Anna, age 53, in Brooklyn. [3]  ANALYSIS:   Profile doesn’t fit if Anna had children with her 2nd husband and is a negative finding.  CLUE #2.  ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESIS:   The presumed children of Charles and Anna were Charles’ children with another woman.  This doesn’t exactly fit but is possible.

In 2017, I found Anna Klee listed as ‘wid Louis’ in 1876 Brooklyn City Directory. [4]  CLUE #3:  Louis died before 1876. If true, then Ludwig (Louis) Klee and wife, Anna, will not be found in 1880 census.

Clean-up of mom’s family tree resumed in January 2018. Ludwig (Louis) Klee, Anna, and Charles Miller were among my targets.  When did Louis die?  When did Anna and Charles marry?  The search tested new and rediscovered skills and did not follow the chronological timeline of actual events.

Great-aunt Viola reported three children for Charles and Anna – Charles, William, and Charlotte.  Charlotte married Otto Stumpf and had 2 children- Oscar and Otto.  The unusual surname seemed a good place to start. In July, 2018, I found a 1910 census record for Charlotte and Otto Stumpf in Queens, New York. [5] CLUE #4:  Lottie’s age of 30 suggests birth year about 1880. This is a “Reverse Genealogy” strategy because I started by moving forward in time instead of back. [6]  Using children to find out about parents falls into this category.

In August, 2018, I found 1870 census record for Louis Klee, age 30, and wife, Anna, age 25. [7] (See blog post, Name Variations in Census Records for details).  CLUE #5:  Ludwig was known as Louis and alive in 1870. Children listed on 1870 census are the same as the ones  listed by Great-Aunt Viola.

After careful review, I began again in December 2018.  I initially returned to Ancestry database but found no new information. Then, I moved to the Family Search database.


Find 1880 census record for Charles and Anna Miller.  Rationale:  Assume that Anna was a widow in 1876 and had remarried by 1880, birth year of Charlotte Miller Stumpf.

  • Multiple search criteria using various spelling of names with minimal results. Finally, a large puzzle piece emerged – New York Surrogate Court Probate Record for Anna Miller (formerly Anna Klee).[8]  (CLUE # 6). Record includes several important items:
    • Probate filed January 1892 by son, Louis Klee
    • Anna died 23rd June 1883 in Brooklyn, Kings county, New York
    • Named 7 children – Anna Maurer, Katie Reichert, Louis Klee, Mollie Klee “all of full age”. Charles Miller, about 15; William Miller, about 14; Carlotta Miller, about 12.
    • Husband, Louis Miller, renounced rights to Anna’s estate.
    • Analysis: Anna’s 2nd husband was known as Louis Miller, not Charles.  Charles could be his given or middle name.  Married names of Anna and Katie Klee are consistent with Viola’s history.  Charles Miller, born about 1877. William Miller born about 1878. Carlotta Miller, born about 1880, certainly the same person as Charlotte Stumpf, age 30 in 1910.
    • Why wait for 9 years to file probate after Anna’s death? Perhaps waited until Mollie, youngest child of Louis Klee and Anna, was ‘of age’  at 21 years?  Dispute between children of first marriage and Anna’s 2nd husband?
  • Changed husband’s name to Louis Miller for search. Still using Family Search database.
    • Marriage record for Louis Miller, widower, age 39, and Anna Wolf Klee, widow, age 29. Married on 25 September 1875 in Brooklyn, New York. [9] CLUE # 7
    • 1880 census record for Louis and Anna Miller in Brooklyn, New York. [10] Names and ages on  census record:  CLUE #8
      • Louis Miller, age 45, born Germany, tinsmith
      • Annie Miller, wife, age 35, born Germany
      • Annie Miller, daughter, age 16, born New York
      • Katie Miller, daughter, age 15, born New York
      • Louis Miller, son, age 11, born New York
      • Emalie Miller, daughter, age 9, born New York
      • Lizzie Miller, daughter, age 13, born New York
      • Charles Miller, son, age 4, born New York
      • William Miller, son, age 3, born New York
      • Charlotte Miller, daughter, age 6/12.
      • Analysis: Names of children and approximate ages, except for Lizzie, are consistent with other records.  Census taker may not have asked if any of the children had a different last name. Louis Miller could have adopted the Klee children. 
      • disco-ball-150x150Lizzie Miller, age 13, born about 1867, is likely the child of Louis Miller and another woman. BSO Alert!  Confirm parents of Lizzie Miller. Locate Louis in 1870 per census.

Recall my original objective – Find 1880 census record for Charles and Anna Miller.  Objective was not met because Anna Wolf Klee’s 2nd husband was known as Louis Miller, a previously missing puzzle piece.  However, I did find Louis and Annie Miller in the 1880 census.  the census record provides estimated birth years for the children.  The probate record shows that Anna Wolf Klee Miller died in 1883, age about 37 years.  She left seven children, ages 3 to 19. This section of the puzzle is almost complete!

Two days later, I renewed my search for information about Louis Klee’s death.  I got a hit almost immediately.  Louis Klee, age 31, died 25 October 1871. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Brooklyn, Kings county, New York.[11]  CLUE #9 and a missing puzzle piece.

FITTING THE PIECES TOGETHER:    Why couldn’t  I find Ludwig/ Louis Klee in 1880 census?  Many clues and irregular puzzle pieces later, I have the answer.   Louis died in 1871, leaving his widow, age 26, with 5 children under the age of 8.  His youngest daughter, Amalie, was only 4 months old when her father died.  His son, Fritz, is believed to have died within a year or two of his father’s death. Anna married Louis Miller in 1875 and bore three more children.  Anna Wolf Klee Miller died in 1883.  Aunt Viola had recorded only one piece of misinformation – the name of Anna Wolf Klee’s 2nd husband.



My search for this family has been long and difficult. Great-aunt Viola’s naming of Charles Miller as Anna’s 2nd husband threw me off track. This is one of the few things that I haven’t been able to  confirm.  I believe that Viola wrote what she remembered.   Louis Klee and Anna Wolf were Viola’s grandparents.  Both had died more than 20 years before Viola was born. Viola’s other grandparents, Valentin Maurer and Anna Katharina Corselius, died  about 8 years before Viola’s birth. Viola herself was an orphan at age 20. Piecing together the Maurer family story would be much more difficult without Viola’s history.  This blog is my gift to the next generation by telling the family stories.

I feel sad.  Men and women died so young and left young children to be raised by others.  Children grew up without knowing their grandparents.

What I learned:  Value of searching multiple databases.  Systematic, careful documentation of everything, even negative findings.  Use multiple names and dates as search criteria. I often use the Reverse Genealogy principle, although I didn’t know the term until recently.  Be persistent.  A record that wasn’t there last week may be there today. Or, maybe I didn’t use an appropriate search term last week?  Possibly  new source – The American Antiquarian Society.

What helped:  Viola’s handwritten history as a base.  Online resources and databases. Going back and forth in time as I searched.  Used different name spelling.  Writing more concisely to keep blog word count about 1500 words.  Question everything!

What didn’t help:  Frustration when hours of work turned up nothing. I was ready to give up more than once.  This family’s story is still not complete.  Piecemeal  record keeping during early years.

TO-DO:  Follow research plan to discover information about each of Anna Wolf Klee Miller’s children. Confirm parents of Lizzie Miller, age 13 in 1880 census.  Confirm residence and death information for Louis Miller, born about 1835, died after 1892 (Anna’s probate date).

NEXT POST:   Louis Miller’s story


[1] Viola Blanche Maurer Tucker, “Maurer-Tucker Family History,” 2 sections; MS, 1800s to 1980s, Huntington, Suffolk County, New York; privately held by great-niece, Susan Mercedes Posten Ellerbee, [address for private use], Yukon, Oklahoma, 2017.  Carbon copy of original document created ca. 1975-1980 and sent to Viola’s niece, Eunice Bertha Tucker Posten, Ms. Ellerbee’s mother.

[2] Charlotte A. Maurer section, “Maurer-Tucker Family History,” page 3.

[3] 1910 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Ward 32, enumeration district (ED) 0988, p. 7B (ink pen), dwelling 124, family 159, Louis Klee age 57; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 30 December 2014); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T624_985.

[4] The Brooklyn City and Business Directory: for the Year Ending May 1st, 1876 (Brooklyn, New York: Lain & Co., Publishers, 1876), page 485, column 2, entry for Klee, Anna, wid, Louis, h 138 Johnson; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed, downloaded, printed 19 March 2017), microfilmed from the holdings of the American Antiquarian Society.

[5] 1910 U.S. Census, Queens, New York, population schedule, Borough of Queens, enumeration district (ED) 1255, p. 8B (ink pen), dwelling 133, family 187, Lottie Stumpf, age 30; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 17 July 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T624_1064.

[6] Jennifer Dondero, “More Reverse Genealogy”, The Occasional Genealogist, (https://www.theoccasionalgenealogist.com/2017/01/more-reverse-genealogy.html  : accessed 1 December 2018).

[7] 1870 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, Ward 16, p. 78 (penned), dwelling 288, family 762, Louis Rleh [Kleh]; digital images, Family Search (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M8NB-M8X : accessed, printed, downloaded 14 August 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593. Surname transcribed as “Rleh” for Louis and “Kleh” for others in family. Recorded names and ages of children correspond to information in Aunt Viola’s family history.

[8] New York, Probate case files, Anna Miller (formerly Anna Klee) deceased; “New York, Kings County Estate Files, 1866 – 1923,” digital images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1: viewed, printed, downloaded 18 December 2018); filed 8 Jan 1892 in Kings County Surrogate Court.

[9]  “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/ark:61903/1:1:VVF : accessed & printed 19 December 2018), entry for Louis Muller and Anna Wolf Klee; citing Marrige, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.

[10] 1880 U.S. Census, Kings county, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, enumeration district (ED) 149, p. 328A (stamp), p. 53 (ink pen), dwelling 159, family 585, Louis Miller age 45; digital images, Family Search (http://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZ8 NVX : viewed, downloaded, printed 19 December 2018); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 0850.

[11]  “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, Family Search (http://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WC 845 : accessed & printed 20 December 2018), entry for Louis Klee, age 31; consistent with other records that his wife, Anna, was widow by 1875.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots, 2019.


2 thoughts on “I can’t find Ludwig/ Louis Klee in 1880!

  1. Pingback: Friday's Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

  2. Pingback: The tinsmith- Louis Miller | Posting Family Roots

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