Thursday, December 18, 2008

Go To War! - Part Two

At the start of World War II the selective service was already in place. The fourth round of registrations took place on April 27, 1942. It was called the "old man's registration" in that it registered men born between April 28, 1877 and February 16, 1897 (ages 45 - 64).

The registrations have to be searched through a subscription service such as Some libraries have this service available for free at their local branches. Be sure to call to see if it is available.

We revisited After signing in, there is a SEARCH dialog box. There appear four tabs above the box - Historical Records, Family Trees, Stories and Publications, Photos and Maps. Make sure that the Historical Records tab is selected. In the Name boxes we typed George Ruth and clicked on Search.

This takes us to a page with every historical record for anyone named George Ruth. There are censuses, marriages, births deaths, etc. Scroll down to military and click on World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. There are 23 of them.

George Herman Ruth is the eighth one listed. We selected the View Image button and the following image appears to the right. Click on it to enlarge. It is the front side of the draft card.

George Herman Ruth is living at 173 Riverside Drive. His phone number is SC4 9118 He is 47 years old born Feb. 6, 1895 in Baltimore, MD. His wife is Claire Ruth and he is self-employed. At the bottom he has given us another autograph.

The back of the card is a physical description. George is 6' 2" and is 240 pounds. He has brown eyes, brown hair and a ruddy complexion. Click on the image to the right to enlarge.

If you are tracing a male family member born between 1877 through 1897, this resource is a good census substitute. The 1940 US Census will not be made available until after 2011.


Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Go To War! - Part One

Draft registrations for World War I and II have recently come on-line. These documents not only contain the name and birth information of the registrant, they also may list his employer, address of his home and employer, nearest kin, telephone number and physical description, and signature.

The registrations have to be searched through a subscription service such as Some libraries have this service available for free at their local branches. Be sure to call to see if it is available.

We got on the Internet and visited After signing in, there is a SEARCH dialog box. There appear four tabs above the box - Historical Records, Family Trees, Stories and Publications, Photos and Maps. Make sure that the Historical Records tab is selected. In the Name boxes we typed George Ruth and clicked on Search.

This takes us to a page with every historical record for anyone named George Ruth. There are censuses, marriages, births deaths, etc. Scroll down to military and click on World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. There are 77 of them.

We need to narrow our search. Fortunately there is a dialog box at the bottom of the list. We can select state / county / city of residence, birthplace and birth day / month / year. We are unsure where he is presently residing. We do know he was born February 1895. But there is some uncertainty if it was the 6th or 7th day. So we filled in the first and last name and the month and year and selected +/- 1 year.

The search returns 3 names Two of the three are George Herman Ruth. It appears that it is the same person but it is listed twice. Sometimes that happens. We selected the View Image button and the following image appears to the right. Click on it to enlarge.

It is not a good copy and is rather blurry. We can work at deciphering what it says or we can view a better image. Since George Ruth is a famous person, let us try a search with YAHOO for the following words "babe ruth wwi draft record". The first item returned has the title World War I Draft Cards: Babe Ruth.

The U.S. Archives sponsor this. Click on the following link:

If we then click on the Larger View button everything is much clearer. George Herman Ruth is residing at 680 Commonwealth Ave., Boston Massachusetts. Date of birth: Feb. 7, 1894.Note that the year is off by one. This is not uncommon. He might have been confused or he wanted to appear older. The card further states that he was a natural born citizen in Baltimore, MD.His occupation is Baseball. His employer is Boston American League at Fenway Park. He is married and has a wife dependent on him. Her name is not listed.

His signature is at the bottom of the card. On the back of the card it lists that he is 6 foot 2 inches and of stout build. He has brown eyes and dark hair. The card is dated June 5, 1917

All males in the United States, born between the years 1872 and 1900, were required by law to register for the draft throughout 1917 and 1918. If you need to find a male ancestor born about this time and you cannot find them with census data, you may have better luck with this resource.

Next Posting: Part Two


US Archive WWI Draft Card Image
Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Monday, November 24, 2008

Baltimore: Who What Where

Major cities have directories that go back to the 1700s. They provide important information such as full name, address, employment and individuals living at the same address. There was a need to locate residents of a community for delivery of mail and other goods, and governments kept track of residents for taxation. Genealogy societies, Archives and libraries have these available on microfilm. You have to go to the city or State in question to gain access. A good place to learn even more about directories is at the following link: AboutCityDirectories.

The directories were published to sell advertising space. Inside, outside and all around the margins are the sponsors. The image on the right shows an example of the 1906 Baltimore City Directory. This is two years after the great Baltimore Fire that destroyed much of downtown. The Hotel Rennert stresses that it is a fireproof building.

We will explore pre 1920 directories for the whereabouts of Babe Ruth's father. The directory for the year 1906, the directory is divided in two parts. The front part has all of the citizens alphabetized by last name. The back matter is alphabetized by types of business. The image at the right shows page 1730. George H. Ruth is listed about 10 names down from the second column. It simply states "Ruth Geo H, saloon, 406 w Conway". Further down is his brother " Ruth John A, propr Baltimore City Lightning Rod Works, 341 s Woodyear".

Some city directories are online and are free to access from a home computer. Once again we can use Heritage Quest that is accessible from Http:// A library card number is needed to proceed. We selected Research databases and then Genealogy. We clicked on Heritage Quest and entered our card number. We then selected Books followed by Publications. In the dialogue box we entered "Baltimore". The second and third items list Baltimore City directories for 1912 and 1913.

Select 1912 and go to page 1751 that appears to the right. George and John are living in the same locations respectively. John's occupation is Coppersmith.

Select 1913 and go to page 1769 that appears to the right. The following entry is shown"Ruth Geo H, (Columbia Harness Co) h 552 w Conway". The entry for his brother is on the next page that also appears to the right. It appears as "Ruth John A R, electrn, h 341 s Woodyear". Doing a Google search for "Columbia Harness" AND Ruth did not provide anything.

At this time the R L Polk Company published the directories. If we entered "R L Polk" in the dialogue box, 1277 books appear. Advance to the next page of results and the fourth result is the 1899 directory. Select that book and proceed to page 1244 that appears to the right. The entry for this time is "Ruth Geo H, (J A Ruth & Bro) 339 s Woodyear". Further down, the entry for his brother is "Ruth J A & Bro (John A jr & Geo H Ruth), lightning rod mnfrs, 341 s Woodyear". The houses are next to each other.

Historical Societies and Archives may also have old Telephone directories. Back then phones were still a premium item and not everyone is listed. The image to the left is the 1917 C & P Telephone Company book for Baltimore and Vicinity. On page 250 we find "St Paul 8335 Ruth Geo H, café 36 38 s Eutaw". Two entries down may or may not be his brother "St Paul 5632 Ruth John A, contr sand & gravel 213 Courtland". In the business section, George is listed under Restaurants.


About City Directories

Baltimore County Public Library

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Last time, we found Ruth in the 1910 census using the on-line service HeritageQuest. It was easy because that census was indexed by name. The 1930 census is not fully indexed by that site. This time we will use the Web site, which has a fully indexed 1930 census. Ancestry is a service that charges a yearly subscription fee. However, many libraries have it freely available for their patrons.

From the home page we click on "Search" and then select "US Federal Census" on the right hand side. The searchable censuses range from 1790 to 1930.

After selecting 1930 we type in George's name. There are 192 results. We trim that down by entering a birth year of 1895 +/- 2 years. This time we get 15 results. The eighth result down is George H Ruth living in Manhattan, NY. Clicking on the icon to the right brings up the actual image.

George is living at 345 W. 88th Street. The head of household is Carrie Merritt, age 59. Her sons are Eugene (38) and Hubert (34). George is then listed as the son-in-law to Carrie. He is 36 years old born in Maryland and his occupation is Baseball. Listed below Ruth is his wife, Clara (30) who was 17 when she was first married. Also listed are Clara's daughter's Julia (13) and Dorothy (9). Click on the image to the right to view it.

George Ruth cannot be found in the 1920 Census. Perhaps, we can find out more information about his wife's family for that year. The 1930 Census indicates that George's wife and mother-in-law were born in Georgia. We searched to 1920 Census using the name Carrie Merritt and entering Georgia for her place of birth. We get 6 results. The last one listed is in Manhattan.

Carrie (47) is living at 219 W. 80th Street. She is widowed and born in Georgia. Her daughter is listed as Clara Hodgson (22). Clara has a daughter, Julia (3 6/12). Also listed is Carrie's son Eugene (27). Click on the image to the right to view it.

This is as far as we can go for finding George Ruth in Census data. There is a restriction of over 70 years before a census is made available to the public. 1940 should be available in 2012. We could use census data to map out George's parent's families prior to 1900. For now, we will keep this project simple.

Next time we will take a look at some city directories.


NEXT POSTING: City Directories

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Sunday, September 28, 2008


In the last entry we used a free census search service for the 1900 U.S. Census. The service provided by did not provide an online search for later than 1900. Many LDS Family History Centers have access to other online services that are free to use. Find a FHC that is close to you by clicking on FHCSearch. Another place for free online searches are in the public libraries. Some public libraries such as the Baltimore County Public Library offer the ability to search from home using your library card number.

We used the online site at and selected "Research Database" from the left-hand side. We select "Genealogy" and it gives us the choice of using or HeritageQuest. Both are available at the library computer but only HeritageQuest is available from home. After selecting the site, we are prompted to enter our library card number. We are then given six areas to search. For now we select "Census". We type the Surname: RUTH, Given Name: GEORGE, Census Year: 1910. Click on "Search" and a list of states appear for George Ruth. Select the state of Maryland, which has four choices.

Clicking on RUTH, George H. age 15 brings up the image for St. Mary's Industrial School. The image is of poor quality and difficult to read. George H. Ruth is the 41st item down and does not tell us much, other than his age and that he is a "pupil". Click on the image to the right to view the actual image.

Back on the HeritageQuest site, click on the back-arrow and select George H. RUTH age 39. George, Sr. is the 81st item down. The address is 400 or 406 Conway Street. The father is a proprietor of a saloon. The mother has had seven children but only two are surviving. George, Jr. is listed again as well as his sister Mary age 9. You may view it by clicking on the image to the right.

In the 1900 Census, Catherine Ruth was born in Maryland and both parents were from Germany. In 1910 it shows that her parents were born in Maryland. It is a reminder that this information must be taken "with a grain of salt".

George Herman Ruth, Jr. cannot be found in the 1920 Census. This was the time, when he was sold to the New York Yankees. Maybe, he was moving around at the time and the Census taker missed him. In my experience this does not happened very often - but it does happen.

Unfortunately, the HeritageQuest site has not fully indexed the 1930 Census. Next time we will find him at one of the subscription sites.


Nearest FHC

Baltimore County Public Library Search

NEXT POSTING: More Non-Vital Records

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oh Pioneers!

The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints is also known as the Mormon Church.

"One of the core tenets of Mormon faith is that the dead can be baptized into the faith after their passing. Baptism of the dead evolved from the beliefs that baptism is necessary for salvation and that the family unit can continue to exist together beyond mortal life if all members are baptized.

"Mormons trace their family trees to find the names of ancestors who died without learning about the restored Mormon Gospel so that these relatives from past generations can be baptized by proxy in the temple. For Latter-day Saints, genealogy is a way to save more souls and strengthen the eternal family unit." (Source: PBS.ORG)

As a result, the Mormons collect records from around the world. They are microfilmed and stored in a climate-controlled repository that is inside a mountain. Everything of interest to a genealogist - Church registries, Censuses, Civil registrations of births, marriages and deaths and more.

You don't have to visit Utah and you don't have to be a Mormon to see the films. Find a nearby LDS Family History Center by clicking on the following link: FHC. When you are ready to view a particular film, go to that center and fill out a few cards and it will be loaned. There is a charge of a few dollars to cover postage. After a week or two, you will be notified that is available. The center has microfilm readers that are free to use.

The main site to begin searching is at We can search the library catalog by selecting "Search" from the pull-down menu and selecting "Library Catalog". When the new page appears, we then select "Key Word Search". When the dialog box opens we enter the name of Babe Ruth's first Baptism Church - "St. Peter the Apostle, Baltimore". We see that they have records available from 1872-1901 on "CD-ROM no. 1240". Not all church records are available for viewing especially if they have Baptisms going up until recent times.


We have already finished with Ruth's vital records. Let us scope out his life with Census data. The U.S. Census takes place every 10 years in years ending with "00". Censuses beginning with 1850 listed every person by name along with their age, sex, race and place of birth and occupation. By the time of the 1900 Census additional items were added such as the place of birth for each individual's parents, the number of children that a woman had, the number of years of marriage, immigration year, etc. In urban areas the street number and name were included.

We will view the actual census image by using the pilot site at Under the pull-down menu of "Search Records" click on "Record Search Pilot". In the center of the page is a world map. We want to click just above it on "View all Collections". On the next screen click on "1900 United States Census". A dialog box appears. Fill in First Name: George, Last Name: Ruth, Place: Baltimore, Maryland and select "Search". The third name down is George H Ruth born 1871. Click on his underlined name. Over to the right is a brief summary. Better yet, let us look at the actual image. Click on the document image on the far right. If you have a cable connection, it appears instantly, DSL takes about ten seconds, and a land-line seems forever.

The display that appears has a slide called a "Zoom". Adjust the Zoom until the document is readable. You can also choose to print the entire page. Examine the fields at the top of the census - Location, Name, Relation, Personal Description etc. Position the cursor over the center of the image. Press the left mouse button down and move the mouse. This will move the image. Let go of the button and the image will stop. Use this technique to move the viewing area to the bottom left of the image.

Georhe H Ruth is the 38th item down. He is living at 339 South Woodyear Avenue, which is a block west of the B&O RR Mount Clare Shop. The next two sets of number are for the census taker to total the number of dwellings and number of families. We learn that George is the Head-of-household, white, born Jan 1871, 29 years old and married for 6 years. He and his parents were born in Maryland. His occupation is a "Lightning Rod Agent". He can read and write. He owns his house free of mortgage.

George's wife, Kate was born July 1874, 25 years old. So far, she had 3 children but only 1 is still alive. She was born in Maryland but her parents were born in Germany.

George, junior was born Feb. 1895.

Living with them is a family named Brundig. Living next door at 341 is John A Ruth who is also a lightning rod agent.

Censuses have a lot of useful information in rounding out a person's life. We must be guarded in accepting information such as name spellings and birth dates. The census taker generally spells the names as they sound to him. Sometimes the family is not home and a neighbor gives estimates to the ages and names of the occupiers. Also, if the questions seem too private, people will lie.

Click on the image to the right to see the lower half of the Census sheet.

Next time we will take a look at some other free and pay-for sites as we explore the 1910 - 1930 Censuses.


Mormons on PBS


Nearest Family History Center

Pioneer Day

NEXT POSTING: More Non-Vital Records

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Monument for Katie

George's mother died on this day 96 years ago. Up until this year the mother of the world's most famous athlete rested in an unmarked grave.

Paul Harris, a semi-retired lawyer, has written a book, "Babe Ruth: The Dark Side." In researching his book, Harris went to the Holy Redeemer Cemetery and found where Catherine Ruth was buried. Through his efforts, funds were raised to purchase a monument. The story is told in a February 06, 2008 Baltimore Sun article by Rick Maese. The Babe Ruth museum is hosting the article and it may be viewed at the following link: "A Buried Past"

We can verify the date from the article by looking up the death record index at the Maryland Archives. Click on the following link: MDArchivesDeaths When the page opens, click on "MSA CE 42" and then select 1912 and the letter "R". On page 6 is RUTH, Catherine, Aug 11, 1912 Certificate # C 56,468. At the top of the page is a link to order a copy for $12.00.

Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery is in Northeast Baltimore City at 4430 Belair Road. The entrance is on the north side at Moravia Road. A map of the area may be viewed at the following link: MostHolyRedeemerMap

The article says that she is buried in Lot No. 126, section G. A copy of this cemetery's layout shows that section G is broken into G-1 and G-2. We visited the cemetery last Saturday under a cloud-streaked sky. Catherine is resting in the southeast corner of section G-2.

Thank you Paul Harris.

Click on the following images:

"A Buried Past"



NEXT POSTING: Non Vital Records

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Saint Mary's Industrial School

Based on the article from The Passionist, Ruth was Baptized once again at St. Mary's Industrial School. St. Mary's was a reform school and orphanage. Located on Wilkens Avenue, the site is presently occupied by Cardinal Gibbons School. The image at the right is sponsored by as of 2008.

The Church registers for St. Mary's were microfilmed in 1978. One place they may be viewed is at the Maryland Archives, 350 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, MD. It is given the Special Collections number MSA SC 2535. There is only one microfilm in this collection and it is Microfilm M1632. Since this film covers Baptisms up until 1949 it is restricted. Post 1930 Baptisms require written permission. We filled out a card at the desk giving the film number and the dates of interest.

The beginning of the microfilm has a sheet showing how the film is divided. The microfilm has six sections for St. Mary's School. It is Baptism index, Baptisms, Communion Index, Communions, Confirmation Index and Confirmations. Using the index, we find the place in the main Baptism register. George is at the top of page 13. He was Baptized August 7, 1906. Patrick Fogarty was a sponsor for all the boys. Francis Murrmann, C.P. was the priest. The "date of Confirmation" column was later filled in on May 9, 1907. It is cited as Baptism, George Ruth, 07AUG1906, St. Mary's Industrial School Baptisms, Md Archives, Special Collections SC 2535, Film M1632, Item 2, Page 13.

This record is not rich with information as George's 1895 Baptism. According to the Passionist article, they wanted to be sure that he was Baptized before receiving Holy Communion 8 days later.

Using the same microfilm, we advance to the 4th section covering first communions. We find George on page 16. It is August 15, 1906 and he is number 12 from the top. Next to his name is "convert" just like it said in the article. It is cited as First Communion, George Ruth, 15AUG1906, St. Mary's Industrial School First Communions, Md Archives, Special Collections SC 2535, Film M1632, Item 4, Page 16.

Using the same microfilm, we advance to the 6th section covering confirmations. If you were not given a middle name at birth in the late 1800s, Confirmation names sometimes became the middle name. George is at the top of page 19 of the Confirmation register dated May 9, 1907. He is the only one with a chosen name - Herman. It may be that he always went by his father's name, George Herman Ruth. The sponsors John G. Johnson and Henry A. Bosse were sponsors for all the boys that day. It is cited as Confirmation, George Ruth, 09MAY1907, St. Mary's Industrial School Confirmations, Md Archives, Special Collections SC 2535, Film M1632, Item 6, Page 19.

Cardinal Gibbons School


Microfilm M1632

NEXT POSTING: 11August2008 - A Monument for Katie

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Update: 04 March 2010
The Archdiocese of Baltimore has announce that it will close Cardinal Gibbons High School after this school year. The Baltimore Sun article is at the following link: Catholic School Closings. This link may be available for a few weeks.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

St. Peter the Apostle

Based on the article from The Passionist, Ruth was first Baptized at St. Peter the Apostle. From the mid to late 1800s, St. Peter was noted for tending the needs of the Roman Catholic Irish imigrants. St. Peter is at the corner of Hollins and Poppleton Street and is about 8 blocks WNW of 216 Emory Street.

About thirty years ago the Baltimore Archdiocese allowed the Maryland Archives to microfilm all church records. Films were made available to libraries and history societies. The Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore is a large repository of resources for the family historian. It is located 201 W. Monument Street and has on site parking.

The library catalog may be searched online at the following link: MDHSSearch. If we type in "St Peter the Apostle" , three results are returned. The third one down is the one we need. Proceeding through that link reveals that there are 6 microfilms in this collection. We need the following film as listed:

Call Number: Micro 3118
Location: Main Reading Room
Item ID: Q040069901
Media: Microfilm
Item Title: Baptisms 1872-1902 with index

The help desk will politely show you about. The microfilm #3118 contains the pages of the church's register. The front part has a sorted index. That would be handy, if we did not know the Baptism date.

We found the Ruth Baptism on page 111. It is cited as Baptism, George Ruth, 07FEB1895, St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church. Baptisms, Maryland Historical Society, Film Micro 3118, Baptisms, Page 111.

The Latin states "Baptism date March 1, 1895, I, the undersigned, Baptized George, born on 7 of Feb., son of George Ruth of the City and Katie Schamberger of the City, godmother Mrs. Lena Fell. J. T. O'Brien".

We learned a new name - Lena Fell. Usually, a Baptism sponsor is a relative. We can use records like this to tie members of a family together. If Lena is a sister of either George or Katie, this document will not tell if she is either a Ruth or a Schamberger.

In the case of this project it was easy to solve. Using a "Google" search for: Ruth and "Lena Fell" (in quotes) we find the first result points to a page at the Babe Ruth Museum that says Lena Fell is Katie's sister. The article also goes on to say that Babe Ruth's mother had an unmarked grave for 96 years. It can be read at the following link: BRMuseumArticle.

Next time we will finish up George's other Baptism and Confirmation record.

St.Peter the Apostle




Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Tale Of Two Baptisms

A couple of years ago we came across a piece written by Fr. Rob Carbonneau, C.P. Part of the article is the following:

[Begin Article]

"Batter Up! Baseball, Baptism, Babe Ruth, and Baltimore

Over a year ago I was looking through The Passionist. This magazine was published by Holy Cross Province from the 1940s until the early 1960s. It has a wide mix of Passionist history. The 1944 issue mentioned that Passionist Fr. Francis Murmann had died in Baltimore and that he had baptized Babe Ruth when Ruth was a youngster at St. Mary's Industrial School.

The baseball season kicks off for all teams but the Cubs and Mets - they already played in Japan - in the first week of April. What better way to celebrate the start of the season than to ponder where Fr. Murmann and Babe Ruth can lead us as we get ready to celebrate the Passionist Sesquicentennial in the U.S. in 2002.

First, with the help of Father Bill Murphy, C.P., the newly installed Passionist pastor at St. Joseph's Passionist parish in Baltimore ( and an Orioles fan) I was able to confirm more information about the baptism of Babe Ruth. My request by e-mail to the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore to date has not been answered! While baptismal information has to always be prudently respected, it is also true that most Catholic dioceses in the United States have put their records on microfilm. We thus hold in respect and prayer the following historical information.

George Herman Ruth was born on February 7, 1895. He was baptized in the parish of St. Peter the Apostle in Baltimore. (That parish is now linked with St. Martin's and St Jerome's). He was baptized by Fr. Joseph O'Brien on March 1, 1895. What most Babe Ruth fans know is that as a young boy, he was a student at St. Mary's Industrial School in 1906. It was there that he made his first communion on August 15, 1906. The record book has him listed at his first communion as a 'convert' because he was also baptized (again) on August 7, 1906, a week before his first communion, by Fr. Francis Murrmann, C.P. George Herman Ruth's confirmation took place on May 9, 1907. Patrick Fogarty is listed as his godparent. Why was Ruth baptized again? What Fr. Bill Murphy suspects is that it came time for the boys at the Industrial School to make their first communion and the baptismal certificate for Ruth was not found. So to make all things acceptable to God and Canon Law young Babe Ruth was baptized again, conditionally. And the 'convert' notation would seem to suggest he wasn't known as a practicing Catholic at that young age……….

………. So let us pray for our favorite baseball team. Let us pray for those who are orphans or abandoned. Let us pray for the Passionist presence in Baltimore. Let us pray for the Passionists as we make our way to celebrate 150 years in the United States in 2002.

Fr. Rob Carbonneau, C.P.
Historian and Director of The Passionist Historical Archives.
March 30, 2000

Please contact me at if you have any comments.

Copyright Passionist Historical Archives 2001. All rights reserved.
Permission of Archives needed for publication"

[End Article]

We obtained permission for publishing this part of this piece. The full article can be viewed at the following link:

Now that we know the story, we can fetch the documents.

Batter Up! Baseball, Baptism, Babe Ruth, and Baltimore

NEXT POSTING: Saint Peter the Apostle.

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Star Is Born

Ruth's death certificate said that he was born Feb. 7, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. Death certificates are usually correct for birth dates but they are far removed from the event. It is only as accurate as the informant's recollection.

In the case of George, he thought it was Feb. 7. It was only when he had to supply a birth certificate for a passport application that he found it to be Feb. 6. In most family history research it is usually the year that is off by one or two - not the month or day.

Fortunately, he was born in Baltimore City. Birth and Death certificates were required starting in 1875. The counties of Maryland started certificates in 1898.

"The earliest certificates contained the sex, race, and number (birth order) of the child, date and place of birth, names and birthplaces of the parents, occupation of the father, and the name and address of the medical attendant. In 1903 the city's Bureau of Vital Statistics revised the form to add a line for the child's name. However, the certificates do not routinely include the name of the child until 1911."

Birth Certificates that are 100 years or less are restricted. We are free to view and print all before 1908. However, we either have to pay the Maryland Archives or do it ourselves. The archive is located at 350 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, MD 21401. The birth certificates are indexed by the last name and provides the actual certificate number. The microfilm series is described at the link: MicrofilmBirths. The film we want is CM1134-11. We may have to use the 1894 and 1896 films, if we do not find anything for 1895.

The index gives the certificate number as A63400. At this point we can find the appropriate microfilm and print from there or we can view the copies of the actual certificate. The list of certificate groupings is at the link: ArchiveBirths.

* Dates: 1895/02-1895/03
* Description: 3, A63352-A64044
* Accession No.: 50,257-46
* MSA No.: C6-46
* Location: 2/61/1/23

I filled in the form at the desk and they provided the box. After viewing the image I decided that I wanted a certified copy. So, I paid $25.00 for an image with an embossed stamp. The citation is: Birth Certificate, 1st child, male of Geo. H Ruth and Katie Shamborg, 06 Feb. 1895, Baltimore City Health Department Bureau of Vital Statistics, Certificate no. A63400. {MSA C6, MdHR 50,257-46, 2/61/1/23} (1). Copy in possession of BabeRuthGenealogy.

The date of birth is not the 7th. It looks like a "6" that is over top of an "8". George is the first child born. The only names listed are the parents (Katie Shamborg and Geo. H. Ruth) and the midwife, Mrs. Minnie Graf. Father and mother were born in Baltimore and the father's occupation is a "Lightning Rod Worker". The place of birth is 216 Emory Street.

The mother's name on the birth certificate is a shortened form of Schamberger. According to the Babe Ruth Museum Site, he was born in the home of his mother's father, Pius Schamberger.

The 1899 Baltimore City Directory shows Pius and Gustav living at this address. Pius is an upholsterer. The address on the birth certificate provided clues for other family members. The directory lists Minnie J. Graf, midwife at 827 W. Lexington Street. In later postings we will use census data and city directories to search for people and addresses.

If we did not have access to birth certificates, we would turn to church Baptism records. There may be sponsors who are related.



MD Archives


Archive Births

NEXT POSTING: Baptism Records - Both Of Them.

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rest In Peace
Many novels by James Michener tell a tale of a geographic area. He tells the history of the place starting thousands of years ago continuing on up until the present. Genealogy is a lot like a Michener novel only we go in reverse.

A good place to start in tracing the past is a death certificate. The approximate date of a parent or grandparent's death is usually common knowledge. If we know the City and State, we can make a request through the Sate or City agency holding the records.

Death certificates are useful because they may list the names of the deceased's parents and their place of origin. It may also list the deceased's birth day and spouse's name. You can use this information to look up birth records and find more information. You can also find a match in Census records and learn more about the parents.

For the State of Maryland the last names are indexed and are searchable at the following link: Maryland Death Index. When you find a match, you can print out a form to request the actual death certificate. In Maryland there is a $12.00 fee.

In the case of George Ruth we need to look to New York. Books about Ruth state that his death is on August 16, 1948 in Manhattan. Let us see if that is correct.

Fortunately a trip to New York is unnecessary. We can do this from the Internet. New York City Department of Health and Public Hygiene has site that allows you to request a certified certificate. It also accepts credit cards. You can fill in your request for pre-1949 certificates at the Link: NY DHPH. You don't have to be related for certificates this old.

The citation is: Death Certificate for George Herman Ruth, 16 August 1948, Certificate No. 18226, New York Department of Health, Manhattan. Certified copy in possession of BabeRuthGenealogy.

As you can see there is a lot of information other than the date of death such as Address, Occupation, Birthday and place, Spouse's name, Parent's name and birthplace, Place of Burial and the Name of the informant.

Death certificates are a good place to start in a backward journey. We go from what we know to what we don't know. However, the information is only as good as the informant's memory. The most accurate fact is the date and place of death. Birthdays are usually accurate but may be off by a year. Parent's names are usually accurate but may not account for remarriage or use of Middle names as Given names.

Now is a good time to point out a difference between Primary and Secondary sources.

A Primary source is recorded close to the event it is citing. A Secondary source is removed from the event. In the case of a death certificate, it is a Primary source in reporting the death date and place. However, it is a Secondary source in providing information about birthdays and parents. We should take secondary source information "with a grain of salt".

In the case of George's actual date of birth, we will find this to be true!


The image at the top of this posting is sponsored by and the link for George Ruth is:



James Michener

NEXT POSTING: Baltimore City Birth Certificate - George Herman Ruth.

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Howard, The Marrying County

Whether you are married at the courthouse or by a minister, a license is issued. If you know the date of the event, you can retrieve the document itself. In the case of Babe Ruth it was October 17, 1914. We already knew the name of the church and had access to their records. The marriage license will not give us more information than we already have. However, if we did not have the church's records and we suspected that someone was married in Howard County, then the courthouse is the place to go. It receives marriage vitals from all the churches.

Howard County, Maryland is half way between Baltimore and Washington. Up until 1939 Howard County had no waiting period for marriage. As a result, over 90 percent of the marriages were of out-of-county couples. The Historical Society of Howard County holds the actual marriage licenses up until 1939. Volunteers have also created an on-line index that is accessible at this Link: HCHSMD. It is sorted both by Groom and Brides name.

Upon visiting the Historical Society located in Ellicott City, I picked out the Ruth - Woodford License and took a picture. The source is: Certificate of Marriage, George Ruth to Helen Woodford, 17 October, 1914, Circuit Court For Howard County. Howard County Library 8324 Court Ave., Ellicott City, Maryland 21043.

That's one vital record completed. In the next few postings we will complete the other vitals.


NEXT POSTING: New York Death Certificate - George Herman Ruth.

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Saturday, March 8, 2008

George and Helen

Part of my family lived in Ellicott City from the middle to late 1800s. They were Catholic so I searched the records of St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church. Along the way I stumbled across the first marriage record of George Ruth in 1914. I made a copy. The link to the image is at the end of this posting. There are two images for the marriage record. One is from the whole page showing the people married before and after George. The other is a blowup of just his record. The images are saved in an Adobe PDF format. You will need the Adobe plug-in for your WEB browser or you can download the PDF file for viewing off-line.

I did not have to go to St. Paul's to search their records. The Baltimore Catholic Archdiocese had most of their church records microfilmed by the Maryland Archives. They are available for viewing at the Maryland Hall of Records in Annapolis. The Church records are part of Special Collections. The St. Paul special collection is called SC 2583 and is made up of three microfilms covering 1838 - 1981. Click HERE to see what each film covers. The film covering George is M 2908 and it is restricted because it has Baptisms up until 1981. The film must be viewed at the Archives.

Documenting our source is most important. The citation should have enough information that would allow other researchers to verify the facts. Our citation could read as: Maryland State Archives Special Collections (Church Records Collection) St. Paul's of Ellicott City, Howard County, Maryland, 1914, MSA SC 2583, M 2908, Marriage record page 178.

Catholic Church records are in Latin. It basically reads: Day 17 October, 1914, I, the undersigned joined in matrimony George Ruth from the place of Baltimore whose father is George Ruth AND Helen Woodford from the place of Galveston, Texas whose father is Charles (or Carl) Woodford. Witnesses: Mary Dolan and Margaret Powers -- T. S. Dolan.

I notice that Mary Dolan was a regular witness indicating that she was used when a witness could not be found. At this time period Howard County was used for fast weddings because it did not have a waiting period. More about that in the next posting

NEXT POSTING: Howard County Marriage License of George and Helen

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Beginning

Genealogy is as much about tracing the roots of a family tree as it is about sifting the soil of history. In the process of mapping each generation, we discover how lives were shaped by the times they lived. Sometimes, other family historians cross our paths and we find common information to share. Along the way, we bump into historical figures as well.

While exploring the records of a church in Ellicott City, Maryland, I stumbled across the marriage record of George Ruth. My brother is a baseball fan so I copied the information for him. He was so pleased at something that is commonly available to any genealogist. It reminded me of when I first started this hobby. I was unaware of the paper trail that everyone leaves behind. These sources are the facts cited in books. Authors also use interviews with people and other written accounts. There is no shortage of books about The Babe.

So, as an exercise we wanted to show the availability of records left behind by a famous individual. Perhaps, this will inspire someone to begin a family project that keeps getting delayed. This project will be kept simple. We are uncovering simple records about one person's life. We are not interviewing any of Ruth's relatives. However, that is precisely what any novice family historian should do with their family. Talk with your elders, now.

This is not a family history course. Beginners should search the WEB for a genealogy society in their area and make contact.

In future postings we will uncover George Herman Ruth's Birth Certificate, Death Certificate, Baptism Records (both of them), Marriage Record, Draft registrations (WW I and WW II), census records, etc. Many of these records are accessible from a Computer.

NEXT POSTING: Marriage Record of George Ruth and Helen Woodford

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy