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Those who live in God never see each other for the last time.

- Goethe (from a memorial to Sister Clementine Seidel)


Note:  A Seidel Descendency Report is available at


Seidels and the U.S. Census Records

The search for the Seidel name associated with the present work began in 1976. Initial research was conducted by Fred Edelmann, through personal interviews with his mother and father-in-law, Charles Edward and Martha Seidell.

On February 10, 1979, Census Records for Bloom Twp., Scioto Co., Ohio were searched for the presence of the Seidel family name. On page 42, dwelling number 21 of the 1860 Census, Benedict Saidle (sic) age 54, was recorded as a farmer, possessing an estate worth $1000, with wife Mary A. age 48, and son, William age 11. Census records were often inaccurate, especially with regard to the spellings of names, as this example clearly shows.

On page 11, dwelling number 25 of the 1870 Census, Benedikt Sidle (sic) is listed as farmer, age 54, with wife Mary (housekeeper), and son William, age 21 (farmhand).

Finally, on page 28 of the 1880 Census, Benedikt Seidle (sic) age 64, is listed as a widower farmer. Members listed in his household were his son, William age 31, his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth age 25, and grandchildren, John, Annie, and Frank. While Elizabeth’s birthplace was listed as Ohio, her parents birthplace was listed as Prussia.

At the time of this discovery, little was known about William’s parents. However, with the aid of the ages and names listed in the census records, William Seidel’s parents were found to be Benedict and Mary A. Seidel. In addition, William (Bill) Joseph Seidell visited the cemeteries in the area of Portsmouth, New Lexington, Wheelersburg and Tick Ridge during this time, and discovered tombstone inscriptions that supported the Census record findings. Both Elizabeth and William were buried at Wheelersburg, while Benedikt and Mary were buried at Tick Ridge.

During discussions with Sister  Clementine prior to her death, Bill Seidell was able to learn that her father (William Seidel) and grandparents (Benedikt and Mary Seidel) were buried near South Webster, Ohio, at "Tick Hollow".  Bill subsequently contacted Ed Brown (see below, the grandson of Portsmouth, Ohio, who mentioned that a distant cousin, Dave Seidel may have more information regarding the family history.  Bill provided his address to Dave, should anything develop.

Dave Seidel in turn, gave Bill's address to Phyllis Seidel of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1984, Phyllis Seidel, who married into the family of Heinrich (Henry) Seidel (Benedict’s brother) sent a copy of a family history she had written to Bill Seidell. He in turn forwarded a copy to John Edelmann.  A copy of this document is available here.   This information confirmed the genealogical findings which resulted from the census research.  In her document, Phyllis writes that Henry was an aide for a general of the Prussian army for two years prior to his emigration. A portrait of him in uniform is in the possession of his descendants.  This would prove to be an invaluable link to the discovery of the German origins of the Seidel family name.

The Seidels of the Grand Duchy of Baden

At the time of the Census findings, Baden, Germany was listed as the origin for Benedict, Henry, and their families.

As fortune would have it, Ute Edelmann’s mother, Helga Wehrle lived in Karlsruhe, Germany during the course of part of the Seidel search. Karlsruhe is the political center for the present day state of Baden, and as such, many historical records for the area are stored there. In 1993, armed with the knowledge that Benedict’s brother Henry was involved in the Prussian army, Helga attempted to locate historical references to his military record. With the aid of an expert in military history, she was able to locate two different Henry Seidel’s who served in the army. One was from the town of Oberschopfheim, Germany. Following an exhaustive search of Catholic Church birth, marriage, and death records, it was ascertained that the Heinrich and Benedikt Seidel of Oberschopfheim and the Henry and Benedict of Scioto County, Ohio, were one and the same.

Heinrich Seidel, The Soldier’s Aide

At the time of the Seidel emigration from Germany, Baden was a sovereign state of the German empire. It was impacted greatly by the many wars, revolutions, and invasions from adjacent military powers.

The military historian who assisted provided additional information on Heinrich. It appears as though he was involved in the revolution of Baden (1848-1849), aiding the insurgents against the grand-duke of Baden. Historians note that many of the leaders of the uprising were mutinous soldiers, since the army sympathized with the revolutionaries. But once the grand-duke joined with Bavaria in requesting the armed intervention of Prussia, the revolution was doomed. In the end, Heinrich was probably wanted for treason, and as an ex-officer, would have been executed if caught. However, it is likely that he sought refuge by emigrating to the United States with his family after 1849.

As a result of the connection made to Oberschopfheim, Helga Wehrle was able to find many excerpts of church records which related to the Seidel family there.

From these records, it is evident that the infant mortality rate was quite high. In all of the generations of Seidels uncovered, many more children died than survived. Given names of deceased infants were oftentimes repeated for later siblings in the same family. In most cases, the church records were very detailed, including dates and times for births, christenings, marriages (including both decrees of marriage banns as well as ceremonies), deaths and burials.

From these records, it was ascertained that the "Mary A." listed in the U.S. Census records as the wife of Benedikt, was, in fact, Anna Maria Kopp. They were married on September 4, 1839. Prior to emigrating, the records indicate that their son William (born May 20, 1849) had no fewer than six siblings, each of whom died within a year of their birth.

Further, it was found that the parents of Benedikt and Heinrich were Benedikt Seidel and Marie Anna Mußler. An additional child of this couple was Damian, who married Agnes Heine on July 12, 1843. As an example of the high rate of infant mortality, Damian and Agnes had a total of nine children, five of whom did not survive beyond the 12th birthday.

Marie Anna Mußler died on May 15, 1827, and Benedikt (senior) was married to his second wife, Agatha Spitzmüller on October 19, 1829.

Another note about name spelling is in order. The German version of Benedict is Benedikt, and the German version of Henry is Heinrich. These names will be used interchangeably in the following text.

In 1994, Ute and John Edelmann along with Martha and Fred Edelmann visited Oberschopfheim. The town’s continuing Catholic heritage was evidenced by the sizable and modern parish church. But otherwise, the town is today a small and quiet hamlet, composed of private dwellings and the usual administrative offices. A search of the town’s register indicated that Seidels no longer inhabited the place.

Since descendants of Henry Seidel are presented in the history by Phyllis Seidel, the remainder of this section will concentrate on the descendants of Benedikt Seidel and Anna Maria Kopp.

Upon arrival to the United States, the Seidel families initially moved to Altoona in Blair County, Pennsylvania. Eventually, they moved to Bloom Township, in Scioto County, Ohio. The date for the emigration has been placed at 1852, based on the date a child of Henry and Catherine Daniel was born during the voyage. Additional evidence is that a descendant of Benedikt’s, namely, William Joseph Seidell, recalls the existence of a chest with the Seidel name dated with the year 1852.

As part of her research, Phyllis Seidel discovered mention of Benedikt in the History of Scioto County as a trustee and building committee member in 1861 at St. John’s Catholic Church, at Tick Ridge, Ohio.

As mentioned above, Benedikt’s only son, William, was born prior to the family’s departure from Germany. In the census records of Scioto County, Benedikt is always listed as living with William and his family. William married Elizabeth Will on November 19, 1874.

The 1880 Census indicates that both William and his father, Benedict, were farmers. This same census also indicated that Elizabeth Will was a native of Prussia. The death certificate of Elizabeth indicates that her parents were Nicholas Will and Anna Davis, both of Germany. She resided at South Webster, Ohio, at the time of her death on September 1, 1944.

William and Elizabeth had eight children, namely, John William, Ann, Frank, Ben, Joseph, George, Wilhelmina, and Emma. Of the four males, only John William carried on the Seidel name (though he changed it to Seidell). Two died relatively young: George, who died at the age of 7 months and 7 days, and Frank, who died at the age of 21 of pneumonia.

Sister Clementine

Wilhelmina Catherine Seidel, also known as Minnie, was a member of the Sisters of Charity. The following notes are excerpts from a newsletter commemorating her service to the Community at the time of her death.

Minnie took the name Clementine when she joined the Novitiate on June 8, 1911. On December 8, 1918, she made final vows. In the end, she was a member of the Community for 79 years. From 1912 until 1981, Clementine ministered as a dedicated and proficient housekeeper at convents throughout the Community. Her first mission was at St. Bernard in Corning, Ohio and subsequent missions included: Immaculate Conception (Dennison, Ohio); St. Mary of the Woods (Whitesville, Ky.); St. Mary Convent (Shawnee, Ohio); St. Catherine Academy (Lexington, Ky.); Sacred Heart Academy (Helena, Ark.); and 44 years at Nazareth Convent (South Boston, Mass.) including service from 1921-1939 and 1947-1973. She retired from her active ministry in August 1973 and moved to the Motherhouse at Nazareth, Ky. She later moved to Nazareth Home, Louisville, Ky., in May 1981. She died January 20, 1990 at the age of 99. At the time of her death, she was survived by one sister, Emma Ebmeier, of Columbus, Ohio.  

Emma Seidel

 Julius Ebmeier and his wife, Lydia had three children, George, ( a printer,who married Emma Seidel), Andrew and Lydia.  George J.  and Emma, were parents of Wanda and Janet.  George was a Sgt in WWI.  The following obituary of Emma is from the Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 19, 1991, p. 8D, and was obtained on a bulletin board in Columbus.

EBMEIER Emma C. Ebmeier, age 98, of Columbus. Sunday at Wecare Nursing Home. Survived by daughters, Janet C. Hagerman of Ala., Wanda E. Collura of N.C.; 3 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren. Friends may call at O.R. WOODYARD CO. CHAPEL, 1346 S. High St., 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Tuesday. Memorial Mass. Wednesday 12 noon at Holy Family Catholic Church, followed by funeral service at the funeral home at 1 p.m. Fr. Francis X. Schweitzer officiating. Interment St. Joseph Cemetery.

This information was provided by Lu Buerkle of Florida.

Anna Seidel

Anna married John Vollmer, and had one son, George William Vollmer. He died shortly thereafter, however, as is mentioned in John's obituary notice in the Portsmouth Times, of Wednesday, January 30, 1901:

John Vollmer died Tuesday evening at 9 o'clock after an illness of 5 months. He was formerly conductor and motorman on the street car line in this city. He leaves a wife and one child. Funeral services will take place Friday morning at 9 o'clock from St. Mary's church.

This item indicates that John Vollmer died on Tuesday, January 29, 1901 and was contributed by Bernadine Gemperline, a relative of the Gemperline and Vollmer families of Cincinnati, Ohio. She also located an entry for the Vollmer household in the 1900 Census, which confirms the recorded dates of birth for the individuals, as well as the fact that they lived at 364 Robinson Ave., Portsmouth, Ohio.

Helen Dush, the youngest child of John William Seidell (next section), related that George William Vollmer subsequently had two children, and lived in the Portsmouth, Ohio, area.

Following the death of John, Anna married Henry Brown. According to Helen, from this union came five children, Edward, Berty, Clara, Catharine, and John. Edward was married, but had no children. Clara never got married, and was said to have been crippled with a hump back. Berty also had no children. Catharine had one child. John Brown had several children.

Some extended information regarding the Gemperline family is known.  The photo below (click on the thumbnail to access the larger portrait) is a marriage portrait of Mary Gemperline and husband, John Edward Snider/Snyder [seated], and Mary's sister, Katherine and an unknown gentleman.   Mary and Katherine were sisters of Magdalena, wife of John William Seidell.

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John William Seidell

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(Click on thumbnail to access regular sized portrait)

John William, the oldest son of William and Elizabeth, changed his last name to Seidell, probably as a result of the confusion resulting from the coexistence of another John Seidel, from Henry's descendants.  Benedikt’s brother Henry [Heinrich] Seidel and Mary Brooker’s first child was named John (1862-1923). This John and the aforementioned John William Seidell were contemporaries from 1875-1923. In addition, another John William Seidel, son of Karl, son of William, son of Henry and Catherine Daniel, was born on February 27, 1929. Thus, from 1929 to 1936, there were two John William’s simultaneously alive. John William Seidel and John William Seidell were second cousins once removed.

John married Magdalena Gemperline of Portsmouth, Ohio, on July 10, 1901, and the couple moved to Newark, Ohio, probably after the birth of Arthur, their second child. Magdalena was the daughter of Frank Gemperline and Julie Neimer (her other siblings were Mary, Katherine, Rose, and Ed). Julie was the daughter of John Neimer, of Germany. Julie’s death certificate did not provide her mothers name. In Newark, John worked as a molder, only to succumb to the ill effects of the ever present silica dust in the factory. Five children were born to this union, namely, Lawrence, Arthur, Charles Edward, Catherine and Helen. Arthur died as an infant. In as much as Lawrence had no sons, the only heirs to the Seidell name came from Charles. John died of Tuberculosis brought about by cirrhosis of the lung on December 9, 1936. Of note is the existence of several portraits of four generations of the Seidel/Seidell family, namely, William, John William, Charles Edward, and William Joseph, which are in the present possession of the latter, William Joseph. The last portrait was made sometime in 1934, before the death of William (August 7, 1936).

Lawrence Seidell

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Owing to new information being contributed by Lawrence's granddaughter, Nancy Deuschle, this section is now under construction.  Lawrence married Lora Crawford, of New Lexington, Ohio. Nancy found this web site while investigating her ancestry online, and  subsequently contacted the author.  Some of the Seidell grandchildren are now communicating after a lengthy hiatus, as the result of regretful and painful enmity that grew between Lawrence and his brother, Charles Edward (see below) over the years.

Helen Seidell

Helen was born September 17, 1910, on Wilson St. , in Newark, Ohio. On February 28, 1932, she married John Rolland Dush, who was born June 6, 1905. John died on May 23, 1985. John and Helen had two daughters, Alena and Karen.

In her later years,  Helen provided some interesting first hand information regarding the early years of the Seidell family.  She is now deceased.

Charles Edward Seidell

On June 19, 1907, John William Seidell and Magdalena Gemperline gave birth to Charles Edward Seidell . He lived his entire life in Newark, Ohio, and was employed by the railroad as a minor (he lied about his age to secure work). Later, he worked as a molder and as an enameller at the renowned Wehrle Stove Company, in Newark. As a young boy, Ed (as he was known) enjoyed trapping along Raccoon Creek, which flowed nearby his home in the city, and later, hunted squirrel and rabbit in the outlying woods.

A high school friend named John Thornton introduced Ed to Martha Hofacker (see Hofacker), his future wife. Martha lived with her large family on a farm in Perry Township, Licking County, Ohio. Ed even dated Mary, Martha’s older sister on one occasion. Five years after Ed and Martha were joined in marriage, John Thornton wedded Mary.

This began a relationship that was to eventually be plagued with considerable turmoil. As the result of mutual ill will and deception, by 1952, Ed and John had virtually no contact with each other at all. Furthermore, Martha and Mary did not speak for more than 10 years. However, at the time of Mary’s death, Martha was one of the few individuals Mary recognized: regretfully too late, they were finally reconciled.

As an interesting side note, John William purchased a Maxwell, the family’s first automobile for $900. In 1927(the last year of production), Ed bought his first car, a Ford Model T, for $550. In 1938, Ed purchased a Ford Model A, and added a rumble seat.

At the time of the United States involvement in World War II, Ed was 35 years old, and therefore ineligible for service.

Ed and Martha recalled the Great Depression well, and his employment at the Wehrle Company was frequently interrupted by strikes and layoffs. Finally, when a worker’s union was formed, Ed was greatly benefited by the period of equanimity that ensued. He retired from what was then the George D. Roper Corporation in 1970, several years before the union leaders became unyielding. This unfortunate turn of events ultimately doomed the factory, and it closed on June 26, 1975. The Newark and Licking County Chamber of Commerce provided a reprint of a newspaper article with a brief history of the Newark factory.

After retirement, Ed continued to hunt game in the woods around Newark, and spent considerable time visiting his daughter Martha Rose, in Gallipolis, Ohio, and his son, William Joseph, in Roanoke, Virginia. In about 1985, a worsening emphysema condition forced him to be placed on constant supplemental oxygen. In the summer of 1992, his wife, Martha, was diagnosed with cancer of the lower abdomen. She did not pursue treatment, however, until early in January 1993. By this time, the lymphoma had spread to a terminal condition, and she died on January 18, 1993. Ed moved to Gallipolis with his daughter and her family, and the house at 48 Bower’s Avenue was sold soon thereafter. Within three weeks of relocating to Gallipolis, Ed acquired a serious case of pneumonia. On February 9, 1993, Charles Edward Seidell died at Holzer Hospital, in Gallipolis, Ohio. In a lasting testimony to the deep love shared by Ed and Martha, it is perhaps one of life’s many sentimental mysteries that the two were never separated during the more than 65 years of their marriage, in body or in faith on Valentine’s Day.

William Joseph Seidell

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On November 6, 1930, Ed and Martha gave birth to their first child, William (Bill) Joseph Seidell . He grew up in Newark, and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force from 1948-1952. Bill married Eleanor Castanien on September 25, 1954, at St. Patricks Catholic Church, in Kent, Ohio. On August 11, 1955, Bill and Eleanor gave birth to their first child, Mark Edward. He was followed on August 8, 1956 by Paula Marie. On June 13, 1958, Lori Ann was born. The fourth and final child, Mary Kay, was born November 10, 1962. In 1965, Bill moved to Roanoke, Virginia, and within a few years, the family was well established in the area. In time, the family spread throughout Virginia:

Mark married Sandra May Bates on June 12, 1982 and have remained in the Roanoke area, with their children, Christopher Brian and Danielle Christiane. It is sobering to note that Christopher is the sole heir to the Seidell name, spanning no less than six generations in a direct line from his emigrant ancestor, Benedikt. Descendants of Benedikt’s brother Heinrich, are, however, more numerous.

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Paula married Paul Richard Pietroski on April 14, 1987, and relocated to Centreville, Virginia. They have two children, Jason Paul and Amanda Marie.

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Lori married John Bonner Maddux, Jr., on June 14, 1985. They have two children, Nicholas Ryan and Tory Christian, and now live in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Mary Kay married Anthony Michael Marchetti on June 17, 1989, and relocated to Richmond, Virginia.

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The Seidell and Edelmann families have kept close contact over the years, due in part to the closeness nurtured by Ed and Martha Seidell. In August 1992, frequent family "get-togethers" evolved into "official" annual family reunions. It is the hope of all that, though the extended families continue to grow, the spirit of closeness that has endured since the families left Newark will remain.


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