Simon genealogy - Bernhard Simon from Gensingen or Bingen Germany

Jan. 2006:
This photo may be from the wedding of my great-grandfather Bernhard Simon to Ida Waddington in January 1904. The photo was from the Tinton newspaper, listed simply as "a private wedding ceremony at the home of A.J. Johnston." A.J. ran a local tin mine; Ida served as a maid/cook at the home.

Bernhard and Ida met and married in Tinton, South Dakota. While in Tinton, Bernhard Simon seems to be better known as "Ben Simons" in the newspaper, and sometimes as Ben Simon. Bernhard worked at a tin mine in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Bernhard told the 1905 South Dakota census taker he was born in Germany, was 28 years old (born 1877), and had been in the US for 15 years (since age 13).

Bernhard Simon arrived to Tinton in 1902 via Ft. Meade, South Dakota after serving in the "War with Spain" July 1898-April 1899 with the New Jersey Infantry, Company L, 4th Regiment. Bernhard also served in the 13th Regiment US Cavalry, Company K, and the US Cavalry 1st Regiment, Company H. "The US Army Register of Enlistments 1798-1914" lists Bernhard Simon as having been born in Bingen or Gensingen, Germany. He was a bartender at the time of enlistmentment.

Shortly after Ida was hospitalized in 1907, the legend tells us Bernhard "went west" to make money for the family. My grandfather was sent to live in Montana with Ida's older sister Alice Waddington and her husband Richard JB Dore. My grandfather worked the potato farm of his Montana cousins while Ida was in the hospital; my grandfather always appears in records with the 's' added in our last name (Simons).

Supposedly Bernhard did quite well; legend tells us it was perhaps with a gold mining operation somewhere "out west". Until March 2009, we had no photos of Bernhard Simon. I was mining for clues about Bernhard. Bernhard was an enigma. It was my hope that he would turn out to be more than a flash in the pan.

Since December 2008 I have learned that my great-grandfather Bernhard Simon had 12 siblings. There were children of Ferdinand Simon & Henriette Wolf, and then of Ferdinand Simon and Betty Rothensies. Most were from Gensingen, Germany and born 1873 and later; some arrived to the US from Leipzig or other areas. Ferdinand Simon had a brother August Simon, who also had two wives: Pauline Wachter and Barbara Mayer.

Bernhard's first wife was Ida Waddington. At some point Bernhard ended up in Charleston, West Virginia with a woman named Marie Goldbach. I have no record of a marriage to Marie (yet), but they did own property together. Bernhard's second wife was Rae Wolfe of Philadelphia. Rae and Bernie were married on St. Valentine's day 1932 at the home of a rabbi. Both indicated they had not been married previously.

Bernhard died in Philadelphia in 1942, Rae died in 1952. They are buried together at the National Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Julius married an Anna (from Austria), had 3 children in New York City 1905 and later (Henrietta, Ferdinand, Jacob).

Wilhelm had 3 daughters, born in Germany in 1920's and arrived to the Philadelphia in 1937/38. Gerda, Edith, Lotte.

Ludwig had 1 daughter, Margot, born 1927 in Germany and arrived to Philadelphia in 1937.

I have little info on Alfred and the remaining female siblings.

As of 2009 I'm still looking for clues regarding:

  • Bernhard Simon from Bingen or Gensingen, Germany - his parents' names were Ferninand Simon and Henrietta Wolf. His step-mother was Betty Rothensies. Who were the parents of Ferdinand Simon and Henriette Wolf?
  • How did Bernhard get to the US? Did his two older sisters arrive with him, or did he come alone?
  • What do we know about the siblings and ancestors of Ferdinand Simon in Gensingen? Supposedly Ferdinand was a wine merchant. I know that other Simon families in nearby Bingen were grape farmers and wine producers, so perhaps this was a business of an extended family.

Other surnames that tie into this puzzle include:

  • Wolfe (Rae or Raye Wolfe) in Philadelphia
  • Futernick (Benjamin Futernick, sales of Keen Company, Inc.'s "talking machine" around 1909)
  • Rosenau and Neheimer in Philadelphia
  • Dore (Richard J Benard Dore, and wife Alice Waddington, of Montana)
  • The winery of Seligmann Simon, later purchased by the firm of Nathan Fromm

Contact | Home