I got Louis F. Schillinger’s death certificate today from the NYC Municipal Archives, and now I have a bit of a mystery on my hands.
The problem arises when I examine the section about the deceased’s parents. It says:
Name of Father of Decedent: Francis X.
Birthplace of Father: Germany
Name of Mother of Decedent: Mary Boch
Birthplace of Mother: Germany
What??? His mother is listed as Mary Boch? I don’t know who Mary Boch is. My records all show his mother as Catherine Autretter. In census records, the mother in the household was always listed as Catherine. I’ve never seen anything where is mother is listed as a Mary Boch. (On the plus side, I finally have a document that lists his father’s first name as Francis. Everywhere else, his father went by his middle name Xaver.)
Who is Mary Boch? That is a really good question. The first thing I want to do is verify other information on the certificate to confirm that I have the correct Louis F. Schillinger.
- Occupation: listed as retired architect. That’s a match.
- Address: listed as 169 Van Siclen Avenue, Brooklyn. That is also a match to his last known address.
- Wife: Louise. Match.
- Birthdate: 29 November 1863, Highland Falls, NY. Match.
- Death date: 3 November 1943. Match.
Five other facts match facts I know about my Louis F. Schillinger. I’m confident this is the right person. Back to the mysterious Mary Boch.
The next thing I want to look at is who the informant was on the death certificate. In this case, it is Louis Schillinger, his son. The son was born in 1896, nine years before the death of Catherine Autretter, so as he would have known his grandmother early in his life. The family all lived within blocks of each other while he was growing up, so he likely saw his grandparents on a regular basis. It’s reasonable to assume that he would have reliable knowledge about his grandparents’ identities.
This leaves me with a bit of a conundrum – who is Mary Boch and why is she listed as the mother on Louis F. Schillinger’s death certificate? Now I have a new family mystery to solve.