Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Genealogue Challenge #67

John mentioned Cardinal infielder Solly Hemus in a post today.

What was Solly's father's middle name, and why (probably) was it chosen?

Extra credit: On about what date did his father's first wife settle in Solly's city of birth?


Solly's father was Benjamin Orlando Hemus. I found them in the 1930 census in San Diego.

Interestingly, the 1930 census says the son born in 1921 was Benjamin Orlando as well. But the birth certificate in Arizona says Orlando Solomon. Solly was born in 1926, his birth certificate isn't in the Arizona database as far as I can tell, and there seems to be a confusion of first names. Anyway...

According to a post I found in the Surnames-Misc-L archives on Rootsweb, a Benjamin Orlando Hemus was born in Birmingham, UK, married to Nettie Fuller, and they arrived in the US approximately 1863. Since that's about 60 years prior to Solly's birth, I suspect he might be Solly's great-grandfather, so it's probably a family name going back some distance. (Maybe after the Shakespeare character originally?) There is a Ben Hemus in San Bernadino, born in England in the 1840s, in the 1920 census. I suspect Ben is the one mentioned on Rootsweb.

Now the wife in the 1930 census has a name of Emily, and the wife on Solly's brother's birth certificate is named Nagilly Bittner - so is that his father's first wife? She came from Austria, supposedly, but I haven't figured out when, and I don't think Nagilly's her real name. Because it sounds Irish. And it's possible Emily got written as Nagilly? Or Nagilly became Emily? In which case there's an earlier wife I haven't found.


Solomon's father, Benjamin Orlando Hemus, was probably named after his maternal grandfather, Orlando Fuller.

Benjamin's first wife, Pearl May Trilden, arrived in Phoenix, AZ approximately September 22, 1918, according to her death certificate.


A little difference in birth certificates, death certificates and military burial names:

Wikipedia shows Solly Hemus as:
Solomon Joseph Hemus b: 17 Apr 1923

AZ Birth Certificates show:
Orlando Soloman Hemus b: 25 Feb 1921 in Phoenix AZ; father: Benj. O. Hemus (age 46), mother: Nagilly Bittner.

A death is shown for Pearl May [Tilden] Hemus, wife of B.O. Hemus, 27 Feb 1920 in Phoenix AZ. Extra Credit answer: she lived in Phoenix for 2 yrs 6 months and 5 days before her death.

WWI Registration for Benjamin Orlando Hemus b: 22 Jan 1875.

An online pedigree chart shows Benjamin's mother as Antoiniette Fuller. Her father's name was Orlando Franklin Fuller - the "probable" reason for his middle name being Orlando.



Solly Hemus' father was Benjamin Orlando Hemus, b. 22 Jan 1875 in Michigan and died 24 Nov 1960 in San Diego, CA.

Benjamin's first wife was Pearl May Tilden Hemus, I think, who died 27 Feb 1920. Her AZ death certificate says she came to Phoenix 2 years, 6 months and 5 days prior to her death, which would be about Sept 1917.

Still looking for the Orlando connection.

Is the Orlando Solomon Hemus b. 25 Feb 1921 in Phoenix the same person as Benjamin O. Hemus, Jr., b. 25 Feb 1921 and d. 28 Jul 1987, according to findagrave? I'm so confused!


Question 1. Benjamin Orlando Hemus. Solomon Joseph (Solly) Hemus was born in Phoenix, Maricopa Co., AZ in 1923. According to an article in the Lancaster, OH, Eagle Gazette, his father was born in Michigan and his mother in Austria, and the family moved from AZ to San Diego, CA when he was a young boy.

"Soloman J. Hemus" was living in San Diego during the 1930 census with father Benjamin O. and mother Emily B. Benjamin's age is listed as 55 (thus born 1874/1875). Based on this birth year, we find the WWI draft registration card for Benjamin Orlando Hemus in Maricopa Co., AZ. In each record, he is listed as being involved in the cement business.

Question 2. Benjamin Orlando Hemus was probably named after his father, who is listed in various family trees on as Benjamin or Benjamin Orlando.

Question 3. The first wife of Benjamin Orlando Hemus (Solly's father)--Pearl May Tilden Hemus--died in Maricopa Co., AZ, on February 27, 1920. According to her death certificate, she had lived there for 2 years, 6 months, and 5 days. Therefore, she arrived in Maricopa Co. on August 22, 1917.


Yes, Benjamin Orlando's middle name probably derives from his maternal grandfather, Orlando Fuller. And according to her death certificate (pdf), Pearl May (Tilden) Hemus had lived in Phoenix since about 22 Aug. 1917, give or take a few hours.

I can't explain why Solly's brother was named Orlando Solomon, but was later called Benjamin Orlando. Maybe Solly knows.

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