The Family of Clara Bauerle

Hedwig Clara Bauerle  German Cabaret Singer
Hedwig Clara Bauerle - German Cabaret Singer
I hit the jackpot a few weeks ago in the case of Clara Bauerle. At least... I think it's a jackpot.

I was doing a search on Ancestry for Clara's name, something that I do on a fairly regular basis. New documents are always being digitized and I cycle through some of the key names, just to see what else might show up. Well... there was a hit from a genealogical research source called the Lutheran/Evangelical Wurttemberg Family Tables.

These are similar to what the Roman Catholic church calls Family Books. Each family in that parish or church gets a page on which are recorded the birth, marriage and death information for the father and mother, grandparents as well as all of the children.

Here's what I found:

Parents of Clara Bauerle
Wurttemberg Family Table for the Adolf Bauerle & Dorothea Barbara Schäufele Family (Ancestry) (low resolution copy)
Wurttemberg Family Table for the
Adolf Bauerle & Dorothea Barbara Schäufele
Family (Ancestry) (low resolution copy)
  • Adolf Bauerle - born 29 March 1866
  • Dorothea Barbara Schäufele - born 29 August 1870 in Dettingen; died 20 May 1941
Adolf and Dorothea were married on 15 October 1891 in what looks like Zurich (presumably Switzerland). Given that their first child was born seven months earlier... in March 1891... one can perhaps imagine why they may have seen fit to be married in another country, far from the prying eyes of neighbours and church congregations.

These are the same parents who were listed on Clara Bauerle's death registration from December 16, 1942, in Berlin.

Which leads us to the children of Adolf and Dorothea.

Siblings of Clara Bauerle
  • Adolf Friedrich Wilhelm Bauerle - born 17 March 1891 in Dettingen (his mother's home town). The family table notes that he "fell" (in battle) on 2 August 1917. The German War Casualty list from 22 September, 1917, notes - Adolf Bauerle, unteroffizier (Non-Commissioned Officer) born March 17 in Dettingen, living in Kirchheim, died.
    The German War Graves Commission lists an Adolf Bäuerle, unteroffizier, who died on 2 August, 1917. Adolf is buried at the German War Cemetery in Selvigny, Block 1, Grave 388. This was Clara's eldest brother and he died when she was 11 years old.
  • Anna Bauerle - born on 12 September 1892 in Langenau (just outside Ulm); died 10 July 1893 in Dettingen - less than 1 year old.
  • Dorothea Anna Bauerle - born on 12 July 1895 in Ulm; died 10 August 1895 in Ulm - just over 1 year old.
  • stillborn Bauerle - stillbirth on 3 February 1897 in Ulm.
  • Hedwig Klara Bauerle - born on 27 August, 1905 in Ulm (our Clara).
  • stillborn Bauerle - stillbirth on 12 December 1907 in Ulm.
  • Christian Willy Bauerle - born on 18 November 1898 in Neu-Ulm.
Tracing the Siblings
Out of seven children, two were stillbirths, two died around one year old, and one died in World War I. Which leaves us with Clara and her brother Christian Willy (Wilhelm or William). While we know what happened to Clara, what became of her older brother?

Christian Wilhelm Bauerle immigrated to the United States of America in the mid 1920s. He applied for Naturalization in 1927 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That same year, on June 19, he married Else (or Elsie) Luise Krimmer (from Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart) in Germantown, Philadelphia. Elsie had come over to the United States in 1923.

Family home of William Christian Bauerle & Elsie L. Krimmer 255 Berkley Street (with the crenulated roofline), Germantown, Philadelphia. (Google Streetview)
Family home of William Christian Bauerle & Elsie L. Krimmer
255 Berkley Street (with the crenulated roofline),
Germantown, Philadelphia.
(Google Streetview)
In 1928, a daughter was born to the young newly-weds, Clara (Claire) E. Bauerle.

Christian, who preferred to go by William, was a painter by trade and the family lived at 255 Berkley Street in the Germantown district of Philadelphia.

In 1937, another daughter was born to them, Barbara Rosine Bauerle.

In 1942, William was called up for the World War 2 draft, although there is no record that he served in the military.

William's wife, Elsie, passed away in 1950 from chronic myocardial degeneration due to coronary sclerosis as a result of obesity. She is buried at the Hillside Cemetery in Rosyln, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in plot 397 of the German Lutheran section. A few years later, Claire would join her.

Claire married James F. Spraker in 1953 in Germantown, Philadelphia but passed away just over a year later, on August 5, 1954. She died of renal failure due to nephrosis (kidney disease). She too was buried at Hillside Cemetery.

That same year, in November, William married Wally Herta Gottschalk (born in Berlin, Germany). A few years later, in 1957, William's youngest daughter, Barbara, married Russell Howell Bell in Germantown, Philadelphia.

William passed away in October 1965 in Philadelphia. His burial place is unknown, although Hillside Cemetery seems likely.

The trail of the expat Bauerle clan grows a little hazy but it would appear that Barbara and Russell had three sons - Gary, Greg and Scott. It would also appear that the couple either got divorced or that Barbara passed away, for Russell later remarried a woman named Dorie (Doris). Russell apparently passed away in 2014 in Florida and was buried in the Sarasota National Cemetery (he had served in the US Navy for 4 years as a YNT2 - Yeoman Typist Second Class).

One does wonder if William Christian Bauerle's daughters had any idea that their Aunt Clara, the (semi-)famous singer, would later be revealed as the acquaintance of a German spy? Or that she flirted with serving in the German Abwehr? Or that she had a passing connection to the Bella in the Wych Elm mystery? Perhaps the family papers have some old letters from Clara to her American relatives? Claire would have been 14 years old when Aunt Clara passed away in Berlin and Barbara would have been only 5 years old. Perhaps the family papers also contain photographs of the Bauerle parents - Adolf and Dorothea Barbara? I'm always amazed at how far this blog travels so... we'll see.

There is one oddity in the Family Table listed above. All of the children are listed in chronological order of birth with the exception of Christian Wilhelm. He was born in 1898 and yet he is the last one on the list, after the last stillbirth in 1907. Two possibilities suggest themselves. He was forgotten when the list was first drawn up and added at the end. The handwriting looks identical for the entire page so this seems most likely. The other possibility is that he was added to the family later, perhaps as an adoption or a nephew. Given that the entire document is written in the same hand, including the death of the mother in 1941, it would suggest that this document was drawn up after that time. Was it a transcription error or was Christian added at the end because he joined the family after 1907. Rather hard to say but an intriguing oddity.

Ancestry - genealogy site - births, marriages, deaths, US census records (1930 & 1940).
FindMyPast - genealogy site
Fold3 - military genealogy - genealogy - obituary - living people records


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