Dear Sandy: Thanks for responding to my inquiry. James Bratt (who was married to Stella) is my Grandfather. Your father is my cousin.
You mentioned that James Bratt (Stella's husband) was institutionalized. If he was, it had to be when he was very young. I knew my grandfather. He and Stella lived in South Baltimore (Hanover St.) for years. After Stella died, he moved to Anne Arundel County with his daughter Marietta and her family. He lived there until his death on July 16, 1970. My grandfather had liver problems most likely due to his drinking. In July, 1970, he went to Harbor Hospital in South Baltimore with abdominal pains. His appendix had ruptured. By the time, the hospital realized what the problem was, peritonitis had set in. Peritonitis was treated with massive doses of penicillin. My grandfather was "allergic" to penicillin and unfortunately, either someone didn't check his chart to note the allergy or perhaps he didn't inform them (my bet is that the hospital made the error). Nonetheless, my grandfather died from the penicillin. His death certificate stated that he died from "peritonitis and ruptured appendix". I saw my grandfather throughout his stay at Marietta's house. My grandfather was also my godfather. Stella died of leukemia.
You are the only one in the family who knew the name of James' father (Daniel). I've been down to the Eastern Shore several times and couldn't find him in records anywhere. I'm about an hour and a half from Rock Hall.
You mentioned Stella working in the canning factory. I know that Annie Coleman worked there. Stella was not working there when she died. Stella had not worked in years, if ever. I have only one photo of Stella. I treasure it. My mother has old photos but I haven't spoken to my mother in several years. My mother has not even given me my photos of when I was a child.
There were some events over the years that split this entire family apart. The families used to gather at
Stella's house every Sunday for dinner. After Stella's death, the families did not see each other as often.
I saw your Dad and his brother, Mike, every once in a while. They were my favorite cousins. I know there was a problem with alcoholism as well as violence in these families but there were a lot of secrets kept by all. It was really nice to talk to your Dad.
I loved my aunts and uncles but they put their children through a lot and if you don't walk away from that dysfunction, you will surely repeat the pattern. Your Dad and Uncle Mike were really nice but they saw and experienced a lot of dysfunction just like the rest of us from that generation.
I do have a copy of Stella's and James' marriage certificate. I also have a copy of Florence Dadd's marriage certificate (Stella's mother). I'd be happy to send them to you. I was supposed to send them to your Dad a month ago but right after I spoke to him, I found out "accidentally" that my father died. My mother did not tell me of his passing (nice family) nor did she inform his remaining brothers and sisters of his passing. I had to contact each of them to inform them.
I pulled my family away because of all of the dysfunction in the family.
I don't doubt, for a minute, that there is a problem with depression in the family. Researching health histories was one of the things that drove me to look into the genealogy of this family.
There are a lot of different kinds of cancer in this family. I had thyroid cancer. There is also a problem with adrenal insufficiency. Thyroid cancer, Hashimotos thyroiditis, leukemia, diabetes, adrenal insufficiency - these are all autoimmune disorders and all can cause "symptoms" of mental disorders and can easily be mistaken for one. Most of the symptoms can be alleviated if one is diagnosed properly. Many of these illness are genetic as well.
When I researched my father's family, I found a profound problem with obsessive, compulsive disorder . It is throughout the family but again, very treatable, if diagnosed.
I also have a photo of the canning factory that Annie Coleman worked at (maybe others in the family as well). There wasn't a lot of work available in that area.
Lack of work is mostly what drove the family closer to Baltimore.
Sandy, you mentioned that Daniel Bratt was in the 1880 census - was that in Maryland (what county)?
If it was in a Maryland County, I can go to the courthouse and pull records. I don't think Daniel died in a war. There wasn't a war going on during the period of time that he goes missing. There were flu pandemics at the turn of the century - perhaps he died during one of them. My husband and I have been through several graveyards recording family members. In Stella's gravesite, there is a baby buried there. This baby was Marietta's baby girl, Connie, who died as a young child. Your Dad should remember - she had a hole in her heart. There is no headstone to mark her existence.
I'll be glad to give you what I have. I have several photos (none of my grandfather or Annie Coleman). I have the Kendalls back to when they were sharecroppers in the 1800s. I'll warn you there were first cousins that were married (that may explain a lot!).
If there is any research I can help you with here in Md., I'll be glad to help. My husband and I go to the Archives in Washington as well. It was amazing, Sandy, that no matter who you asked over the years, where the family originated from - no one could give a definite answer. I have the entire genealogy of one of the other Bratt families who came over. They hook up
somewhere. The original four families of Bratts to come over were all related.
I'd love to exchange information and photos with you.
I sent a package to your mother a couple of years ago and the package was returned, unopened.
Again, thanks for your response.
I don't have the family tree program that you have. The best way for me to receive anything is by regular mail.
My address is 904 Longview Ave., Pasadena, Md. 21122.
Thanks again, Debbie