Bertha’s Popp-ular Husband

Today’s birthday girl is Bertha Magdalena Kaufmann, who was born on February 22, 1889. That means she was born on the 157th birthday of our country’s first President, George Washington. Bertha was the daughter of Heinrich and Pauline (Bodenschatz) Kaufmann. She was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. An image of her baptism record is displayed below.

Bertha Kaufmann baptism record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

Because we cannot view the 1890 census, the first census in which we find Bertha was the one taken in 1900. She was 11 years old, and her father was a farmer.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

That census entry would be the only one in which we find Bertha as a single person. Her future husband would be Rudolph Heinrich Popp, who was born on October 24, 1888. Rudolph was the son of Martin and Margaretha (Hacker) Popp. He was the last of 7 children in his family. The first 3 Popp children, born before 1877, were baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg, but then the next 3 were baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. However, for some unknown reason, there is no baptism record in the Concordia books for Rudolph. I have every reason to believe that he was baptized there, but no record was entered to document it.

Like Bertha, Rudolph is not found in a census until 1900. His age on this entry looks like it could either be an 11 or 12. His father was a farmer.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Rudolph Popp married Bertha Kaufmann on November 7, 1909 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg. The church record from that congregation’s books is pictured here.

Popp/Kaufmann marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg, MO

We can also look at this couple’s marriage license.

Popp/Kaufmann marriage license

Our German Family Tree lists 5 children born to this couple. All of the baptisms took place at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. The first one was stillborn. When the 1910 census was enumerated, we find this couple living with Bertha’s parents. None of the children had been born yet. It is hard to read, but it says Rudolph was in a farm partnership with his father-in-law. That means at this time, Rudolph and Bertha must have been living in the Altenburg area.

1910 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In 1917, Rudolph had his World War I draft registration completed. It says his family was living in Frohna where he was a farmer. This document also states that there were 2 children in the family.

Rudolph Popp – WWI draft registration

I found no record of Rudolph being called into military service during that war. When the 1920 census was taken, we find the Popp household with 3 daughters. Rudolph is called a saddler who had a shop.

1920 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we find the Popp’s in the 1930 census. Another son had been added to this family. This time, Rudolph is called a carpenter.

1930 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Bertha Popp died in January of 1940 at the age of 50. We can take a look at her death certificate.

Bertha Popp death certificate

Normally, I wait to display a person’s gravestone until later, but I want you to see Bertha’s marker now. She was buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.

Bertha Popp gravestone – Concordia, Frohna, MO

I assume it was Rudolph that gave the instructions to have the phrase, “She was the sunshine of our home” on this marker. I think it demonstrates his great love and admiration for Bertha.

The final census we can view is the one taken in 1940. Since Bertha died earlier in the year, we see Rudolph as a widower. His daughter, Alita, had married Hugo Oberndorfer, and their family was living in the household with Rudolph.

1940 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Rudolph had a World War II draft card completed in 1942. This form says Rudolph was a carpenter and a painter in Frohna.

Rudolph Popp – WWII draft card

In 1950, Rudolph Popp married again. His second wife was Lydia Parrott. I am afraid that I was not able to find out much about her. This couple’s marriage record is found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Shawneetown. That record has some interesting notations that give me the only clues as to who Lydia Parrott may have been. This record says that both Rudolph and Lydia were from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. However, I cannot explain that set of circumstances.

Popp/Parrott marriage record – Trinity, Shawneetown, MO

A marriage license for Rudolph and Lydia is also available to view. This document also states that both Rudolph and Lydia were from St. Louis.

Popp/Parrott marriage license

Rudolph Popp died in 1969 at the age of 80. His death certificate says he died at the Pine Lawn Nursing Home in Perryville. It also says that he was still married to Lydia, which implies that she was still alive in 1969.

Rudolph Popp death certificate

I found no evidence indicating where Lydia might have been living and no evidence of her death. Rudolph was buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.

Rudolph Popp gravestone – Concordia, Frohna, MO

This is an example of a story in which some questions that arise within it might be answered at least to some extent when the public will have access to the 1950 census. I have seen it reported that this may happen after April 1st of this year. And since I was born toward the beginning of 1950, I am curious to see if I can find myself in that census. I guess that’s a sign of old age.


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