Ted and Bertha – The Meyr’s (or Meyer’s)

Today’s pair was first mentioned at the end of a post titled, Meyr or Meyer?. That post stated that Ernst Meyr and his wife, Magdalena, must have decided to change the spelling of their surname from the Austrian spelling, Meyr, to the more common spelling of Meyer. So, today, when we focus on one of their sons, we once again see a person who is born as a Meyr, but has a gravestone that says, Meyer.

Josef Theodore Meyr was born on January 31, 1883, so today would be his 140th birthday. He went by the name Theodore. As mentioned above, his father was Ernst Meyr. His mother, Magdalena, had the maiden name of Doering. According to our German Family Tree, Theodore was child #4 of 7 children born to his parents. Theodore was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. We had even more ice and sleet in Altenburg since yesterday, so I will not be making the trip to the museum to get photos of church records today. Instead, I will show you the wording that is found in the German Family Tree for the records that apply to this story. Here is the information about Theodore’s baptism record.

[NewWellsMO]: Josef Theodor Meyr, Born 31 Jan 1883 & Baptized 18 Feb 1883 to Ernst & Magdalene nee Doering Meyr, Sponsors: Josef Meyr, Ernst Doering & Emilie Meyr

Because we cannot view the 1890 census, we don’t see Theodore in a census entry until he is already a teenager. Below is the Meyr family in the 1900 census. Theodore was working on his father’s farm in the Shawnee Township.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Theodore would get married in 1910, but not before the census was taken that year. I don’t know if it was just a census taker who mistakenly wrote the surname as Meyer, or whether these Meyr’s had decided to change the spelling of their name. Theodore was still working on his father’s farm.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Now, we will take a look at the woman who would become Theodore’s bride. Her name was Bertha Rosalie Steiner, who was born on February 20, 1886. Bertha was the daughter of Matthias and Auguste (Mirly) Steiner. Like her future husband, Bertha was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells. Here is what our GFT says about that baptism record.

[NewWellsMO]: Bertha Rosalie Steiner, Born 20 Feb 1886 & Baptized 28 Feb 1886 to Matthias & Auguste nee Mirly Steiner, Sponsors: Matthias Mirly, Amos Meyr, Theresie Lichtnegger & Rosalie Steiner

Let me digress for a moment. When I was a teacher in Memphis, our faculty included a woman named Bertha Steiner. She was married to Mark Steiner, who was a Lutheran pastor in that city and later a chaplain in the military. Mark has his roots in Pocahontas, so he was connected to the Steiner family in this post. Bert and I had some great conversations about Perry County Lutheran history during our time together on that staff, and I still maintain a Facebook connection with her.

Bertha is also found in the 1900 census as a teenager. She was the oldest child in her family, and her father was a farmer in the Shawnee Township.

1900 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Like Theodore, Bertha is found in the 1910 census as a single person in the same year as her wedding. She was 24 years old at the time.

1910 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Theodore Meyr married Bertha Steiner on May 8, 1910 at Zion Lutheran Church in Pocahontas. The GFT contains the following information about that wedding. This transcription uses the spelling, Meyer.

[PocahontasMO-Zion]: Theodore Meyer age 27 from New Wells MO, married Bertha Steiner age 24, on 8 May 1910, Witnesses: Otto Steiner, Ella Meyer, Otto Meyer & Ida Steiner

Theodore had a World War I draft registration completed in 1918. This form uses the Meyr spelling and gives a Shawneetown address.

Theodore Meyr – WWI draft registration

I will continue to use the Meyr spelling. This Meyr couple had one child, Edgar. Theodore and Bertha were living with Theodore’s parents when the 1920 census was taken. Their only child is found in this entry. Another grandson of Ernst and Magdalena, Arnold Wachter, was also included in this household.

1920 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The last census in which we find Theodore was the one taken in 1930. Theodore was a farmer in the Shawnee Township.

1930 census – Shawnee Township, MO

Theodore Meyr died in 1939 at the age of 56. His death certificate is a place where we see his name spelled as Meyer.

Theodore Meyr death certificate

Bertha is found in the 1940 census as a widow living with her son, Edgar, and his wife, Meta (Kahnert).

1940 census – Shawnee Township, MO

The last census in which we find Bertha was the one taken in 1950. She was still living in her son’s household. Now, Bertha, had 3 grandchildren living with her.

1950 census – Shawnee Township, MO

I knew the date of Bertha’s death, but I had trouble finding her death certificate. I eventually found it using a technique I sometimes use on the Missouri Secretary of State website that is the home of such death certificates. I admit that I was not happy where I found it. Bertha died in Farmington, Missouri in 1957 at the state hospital. Her death certificate says she was 70 years old when she died and had been at that hospital for 5 years.

Bertha Meyr death certificate

Theodore and Bertha Meyr are each buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in New Wells. Each of their gravestones was engraved with the surname, Meyer.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the Meyr family has a bunch of births and marriages that took place at the end of January. My searches for special events in our German Family Tree have landed on several Meyr special occasions in the past several days.

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