After discovering that I have free access to the library edition of MyHeritage, it would appear that I have caught the genealogy bug once more after an almost decade long hiatus. I have been finding little trinkets of family history in something as basic as a city directory .
According to Wikipedia, a city directory is a listing of residents, streets, businesses, organizations or institutions, giving their location in a city. It may be arranged alphabetically or geographically or in other ways. Antedating telephone directories, they were in use for centuries. Many have been digitized and are available on-line through subscriptions services such as MyHeritage or Ancestry.com.
MyHeritage is an Israeli start-up that competes with Ancestry.com. Users of the paid platform can create family trees, upload and browse through photos, and search through over 12.5 billion historical records, among other features. The description for the library edition says: “More than 6 billion historical records from the United States, Europe, Latin America, and other regions.”
One of my great, great grandfathers was named George Caspar Spiegel. He was a cigar maker who lived for over 50 years in Dallas, Texas from 1871 until his death in 1925 at the age of 86. During his career, he was listed as either a “Cigar Maker” working for someone else or as a “Cigar Manufacturer” who owned his own factory and employed other Cigar Makers such as his sons, George and August.
I do not know if I found all available directories for George, but here is what I found:
1878 – George Spiegel – Cigar Maker for E. M. Kuhn res. 616 Wood.
Street numbers change over time, but 616 Wood is found today a couple blocks from Union Station in downtown Dallas. In another entry for 1880, the directory lists 616 Wood as on the corner of Poydras Street which would place this location on the south side of what is now known as Founders Square in downtown Dallas.
1880 – Spiegel George C., cigar maker Trinity Cigar Factory, res 309 Columbia bet Market and Jefferson.
It is a bit fuzzy as to where exactly the 309 Columbia location was. Today, there is a Jefferson Boulevard in Dallas, but it runs into Market Street a block north of the Tom Landry Freeway and not parallel to it. Also, there is a Columbia Avenue in Dallas, but it does not intersect with Market Street. It runs into Main Street in the area to the immediate east of downtown.
1884 – George C. Spiegel and his son, George E. Spiegel are listed. George senior is listed as cigar manufacturer and his son is listed as a cigar maker. Both reside at 1011 San Jacinto between Good & Boll.
San Jacinto Street runs in a north-east to south-west direction and may have been between Boll and Good streets at one time, but not today. In the northeast part of downtown Dallas, where two freeways intersect, Boll Street is now named Arts Plaza which ends about before reaching San Jacinto.
Good Street, which was named after an early settler in Dallas who served as mayor of Dallas in the early 1880s, is now named the Good Latimer Expressway. Today the address 1011 San Jacinto is several blocks to the west of where it was in the 1884.
1891 – Geo. C. Spiegel – Cigar Manufacturer – 106 N. Market.
This address is in downtown Dallas, one block east of Dealey Plaza. I think that this is address is for his cigar factory and that the family continued to live at the San Jacinto street address.
1893– listed are George C. Spiegel and three of his children. He is a cigar manufacture who lives at 343 San Jacinto. His son August F. is listed as a deliveryman for Sanger Bros. One daughter, Cassie is a saleslady for D. Brin and another daughter, my great-grandmother Helen “Nellie” Spiegel, is listed as a saleslady for Doolittle, Simpson & Co.
As I said before ancient street addresses do not always match current addresses. It could be that the 343 San Jacinto is the same place as the 1011 address was in 1884. Today 343 San Jacinto is about 5 or 6 blocks east of the block between Good & Boll. There is now only a Texaco gas station on the corner and the rest of the block is huge empty dirt lot hugging against the Central Expressway.
1896 – George Spiegel – cigar maker – residence 343 San Jacinto. Helen D. Spiegel, my great-grandmother, is listed as a saleslady at the Sanger Bros and her sister is listed as Katherine Spiegel, a saleslady at A. Harris & Co. Also listed as living at the San Jacinto address is their brother August F. Spiegel.
The house on San Jacinto appears in a number of photographs taken around the time my grandfather was born in 1902. (see here)
In a 1904 edition of International Cigar Makers Union journal, George’s address is given as 149 Pocahontas Street. However, it does not say whether this is a residence or a place of business. Given that throughout the years, the San Jacinto address is given as his residence, the Pocahontas Street address appears to be a cigar factory. Unfortunately there appears to be a gap in the available city directories for Dallas and the earliest year I can find after 1896 is the 1912 Dallas city directory
1912 – Spiegel George C, r 2619 San Jacinto. Son, Hans P. Spiegel is listed as a “wrapper”.
It is around this time that a several American cities got into a street renumbering kick. So, 2619 San Jacinto could very be the same as 343 San Jacinto.
1914 – George C. Spiegel resides at 4802 East Side Avenue. Both Hans P. Spiegel and his brother, Edwin (Eddie) R. Spiegel, are salesmen at the Colonial Motor Car Co.
East Side Avenue is found on the East Side, an area east of downtown Dallas and what is now the Central Expressway. It is a block or two south of Columbia Avenue.
1918 – Spiegel Geo C cigar mkr Rivera Cigar Factory r 4414 East Side av. Listed at the same address is his son Hans P., a mechanic.
1920 – George C. Spiegel, age 81, is listed as a Cigar Maker. He and son Hans P. Spiegel, mechanic, continued live at the East Side Avenue address.
1925 – In the year that he died at age 86, George C. Spiegel is no longer listed as a cigar maker or manufacturer.
He apparently has retired. George’s second wife, Katherine died the year before. He and his son Hans P. still live at 4802 East Side Ave. Hans is now a salesman for a Buick dealership.
George died at the height of the Prohibition and I wonder what he thought of a law that made beer drinking illegal. Back in brighter days, German Americans would hold annual song festivals or “Saengerfests”. In May, 1883 George is listed as a member of the Saengerfest reception committee. Texas had a large German population and based on the description found in the Dallas Herald, the city went all out for Saengerfest; decorating the post office with “German colors”, erecting arches over major thoroughfares and having special trains scheduled to bring visitors into town for the surrounding towns.
German songfests require a special ingredient: Beer. Here is what the Dallas Herald said about that.
I’ll talk about King Gambrinus in another post.