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A Challenge on Background of a 1821-1865 New Orleans Ornithologist

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A Challenge on Background of a 1821-1865 New Orleans Ornithologist

Posted: 1357756038000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1357756144000
As part of a project to use current genealogical databases to check on biologists in: Barbara and Richard Mearns, 1992, "Audubon to Xantus, The Lives of Those Commemorated in North American Bird Names", I researched a New Orleans native, one Adolphus Heermann for whom a gull is named.

We learn from Mearns book that his father, Lewis (Louis) Heermann was a naval surgeon and at the time of Adolphus's birth, was stationed in South Carolina, and the "stated" birthplace of Adolphus is South Carolina. Lewis married Eliza Potts in March 1821. Adolphus was the youngest of five sons, and thus his date of birth based on that and other factors was about 1827. He had an older brother, Theodore, who was a year or two older.

Most of what I've just written taken from Mearns book about dates and locations is inaccurate. It looks like source material for these events was sparse. The Mearns cite Witmer Stone who wrote a short biography about Adolphus in 1907 and could not discover his date of birth.

So what's the "truth"? Here are the records I used, with some free sites referenced: census records (1850 Sacramento CA (, 1860 Bexar Tx (, New Orleans birth indexes (, passport application for the brothers showing their birth months/years and places, passenger list manifests, the father's probate records (, a city directory, and a correspondence with a descendent of Lewis Heermann I found online.

The family has a marriage date of Jan 13th, 1821 for Lewis and Elizabeth Essler Potts in New Orleans. Although the information is not backed up by documentation, it apparently comes down from the first genealogist of the
family, Annie Potts, Elizabeth's sister. In addition, the date fits better with the date of the birth of their first son. To resolve the marriage date I hope some person here will go to the New Orleans Public library and look through
their historic newspaper collection for this date and can provide any possible marriage announcements to me and I'll send it on to the family.

I find from my records search that Adolphus was born on Oct. 21st, 1821 in New Orleans, Louisiana. All his siblings were also born in New Orleans. His father was a resident of that city and died there in 1833. Adolphus was the oldest son, with Theodore a year younger.

There is an inconsistency about the death of Adolphus I would like to see resolved. The Mearns book indicates that Adolphus in the 1860s "spent the last few years of his life" in San Antonio, and that Theodore wrote a friend of Adolphos that on September 2nd (1865), Adolphos had died due to a hunting accident. However, on, from an index to New Orleans Death records, there shows one "Adolphus Lenis Heermann" age 43 who had died on Sept 27th, 1865. Could someone here track down the original record that the New Orleans Death Records Index refers to or see if the historic New Orleans newspapers have information.


Joel Weintraub
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sixrwe 1357760095000 
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sixrwe 1357760943000 
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