Gustavus, Wilhelm/William Würdemann, and Judge Gustavus Family Connection

Been trying to tie up some loose ends in the family tree.  There have been several noteworthy Würdemann family members that have been unconnected to the tree for a lack of any known family.  Recently four pieces of the puzzle came together.

Have been working with Don Wurdemann from Canada on his tree and how, if at all, our trees intertwined.  So far we have been unable to make a connection, but despite that, we have been attempting to connect his family with the Dr. Harry Vanderbilt Würdemann (HVW) family.  Through Don’s family he had a photograph of Judge Gustavus Adolphous Würdemann.  He also came up with a census record for the Susan Würdemann family that Gustavus was a member of.  What was unusual about her census record was the lack of a husband.  Even when a spouse is absent when the census is taken, their name is noted as being a resident of the house.  Another dead end, or so I thought so.

When researching William Wurdemann I discovered a project oriented around architect Adolf Cluss that built the Würdemann “mansion” in Washingon, DC.  I started getting assistance from Joe Browne who is working on the project.  He gave me information from the William Wurdemann will.  This gave me immediate family members for a Würdemann for which I had no previous family members.  Unfortunately these were all offspring, not giving me any of his parents or grandparents to connect to the tree.

Having had it for over two years, I thought I would tackle a tree I had been given by Dustin De Koekkoek (connected to the HVW family).  When entering the names, I noticed a similarity in family names with another family.  The family members in the Wilhelm C. F. Würdemann tree were the same family members of William Wurdemann, the mathematical instrument maker.  Wilhelm/William was brought into the country by the U. S. Coast Survey specifically for his skills.  So now I finally knew where William plugged into the tree, having found him under his birth name.

Having just worked on the information from the William W. will, the same sequence of names in the HVW tree were too coincidental.

Were not done yet.  For quite awhile the Würdemann Heron has been hovering around my computer, wanting to be plugged into the family tree.

It was thought through previous research that the the bird was discovered by a Gustave Würdemann, or at least his name was put on it, but I was unable to positively connect Gustave with the Heron named after him presumably.

I reached out to cousin David Cahlander, the birder in the family.  He came back to me with a link that identified the the Wurdeman Heron as having been named for Gustavus.  We still didn’t know who Gustavus was though.

Being stubborn, I thought I would do some more research.  I stumbled on an obituary for Gustavus Würdemann.  It mentioned Gustavus was connected with the U. S. Coast Survey, the tidal study, and his connection with the Smithsonian, a source for the Würdemann Heron picture.  Was my tidal surveyor, the father of Judge Gustavus, brother to William, and husband to Susan?  YES!

Died September 29, 1859 in Swedesboro, NJ –   William’s brother died unknown date 1859

Died in Swedesboro, NJ in 1859, explaining his absence on the 1860 census.  Susan Würdemann’s census was taken in Swedesboro, NJ.

Gustavus worked for the U. S. Coast Survey, Williams employer and later main client.  William’s son Charles took over most of William’s duties with the U. S. Coast Survey, allowing William access to all the expensive instruments to make his own instruments.

And…he discovered the Würdemann Heron !

Lew “Sherlock” Wurdeman

Gustavus Würdemann Obituary 9/29/1859

2 comments to Gustavus, Wilhelm/William Würdemann, and Judge Gustavus Family Connection

  • DonWurdemann

    By the way Lew did you notice the fact that Susan Keyser- Wurdemann and her husband Gustavus, are in the HVW tree. The ascent goes directly to Hermann Wurdemann Burger(Mayor) of the city of Bremen who married his cousin Elise Phillipine Amalie Manns . This Hermann emigrated to Baltimore Maryland in 1810. What I think you have to realize is that in the 1800’s before the days of computors, people named their children after their relatives to keep track of them. The problem is all relatives usually had similar names because of this. Example : My Great Grandfather named Hermann Wilhelm.

  • Wurdeman

    That was the point of the blog, to point out the connection between these people and the HVW tree. Prior to this conclusion, these people weren’t connected, or at least not by me.

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