Google Search

George Sonnenleiter's Mugshot and the Importance of Primary Sources

 
sonnenleiter geowThe sheet of mugshots from which this picture of George Sonnenleiter was taken, clearly demonstrates the importance of primary sources. Yet, as a primary source its future was once tenuous. Its owner relayed a story about his purchase of the page. As he was buying the sheet of mugshots (the book from which it came is probably long gone), another fellow approached with the intent to acquire it, but realized he was too late. The buyer noticed the disappointment evident in the other person's demeanor and asked about his interest, thinking the latecomer had a family connection to the sheet. As they talked, it was revealed the prospective buyer wanted to use some of the photographs in a collage. The only reason he had not bought it immediately was because his girlfriend had the money and was elsewhere in the building. Yikes! Just think about information that might have disappeared had that particular art project taken off. 

    For instance, the location of the arrests, and those who were arrested, might have been forever lost. Although every mugshot on the page is labeled with some biographical information, no city or state is included. The arresting police knew their location and they probably never imagined mugshots would have genealogical relevance. However, the imprint (a printer's name and location printed on a document) reveals the sheet was patented by "Jones Eureka Leaf" on Feb. 7, 1905 and produced by Lucas Bros. in Balto. Maryland. This information provides a hint as to where to look for the men in the mugshots. In this particular case, the city of Baltimore, Maryland proved out.

   A couple of entries for persons named George Sonnenleiter (Sounenleiter) are found online. Dismissing the possiblity that online sources are talking about different men, confusion exists over Sonnenleiter's birth date.* Each of these online sources claims a different date of birth.  As a primary source, Sonnenleiter's mugshot lends creedance to one of the claims. 

   Archives, is only able to provide a "circa" birth year of 1892 for Sonnenleiter. In spite of this ,they do include information about his later years such as the names of his family members.** The part of Ancestry.com that I can access, provides a "circa" birth date of 1898. Find-A-Grave furnishes yet another  possibility, listing his dates as July 15, 1891 to 1957. Although, the photo of a grave stone is included, no birth month is recorded on it. Of course, Loudon Park Cemetery might have his birth records on file, but it should be noted that Find-a-Grave, Archives, and Ancestry do not cite the information from which they obtained the information. Find-A-Grave obviously has his years from the headstone, but the months are questionable.*** This is in no way a criticism of these essential websites, but rather a testament as to the importance of accessing primary source material. It also demonstrates the importance of questioning information found on the web.  

    Mocavo has a record of the household of German-born John Sonnenleiter. As of the census of 1900, John's household included one George Sonnenleiter, a male about age 15 born in October of 1885 in Maryland. The information provided below George's mugshot states he was age 24 when he was processed in 1909, which aligns perfectly with this census record. The information found on the mugshot which is, of course, contemporary with George Sonnenleiter and coupled with information provided on the census record--one mystery is cleared up because of primary sources.   

     However, many people often possess the same name, could these multiple dates be two George Sonnenleiters--one born in 1885 and another born in the 1890's?  Afterall, many people name their children after them leading to occassional (often) confusion. In fact, George Sonnenleiter named his oldest son George Sonnenleiter, Jr. (1925-2007). As a final piece of evidence, compare the picture found in Senior's mug shot against that of Junior (photo provided by Find-A-Grave in the link). If I am not very much mistaken, those two men share many of the same features.  

     Once again looking at the primary source, the mugshot, Sonnenleiter's ancestors have information about his appearance, his height, and his weight. Written below the photo is the fact that he also had a brown mole below his right eye, which is not visible in the mugshot.

     Surprisingly, the bit of information that is not found on these mugshots is the infraction for which the individuals were arrested. I have tried, somewhat half-heartedly, to look for that information. The family members might enjoy that part of the search provided they were not already aware of his stint in jail and, in all honesty, a transgression from 1909 that was probably slight, is not the scope of this article. 

    Sonnenleiter's mug shot proves invaluable for a variety of reasons. If provides the family with a physical description beyond what a mere photo relates. If the various George Sonnenleiters found on the websites sites are all the same person, the year of his birth may be finally be resolved. Most importantly, Sonnenleiter's mugshot serves to shed light upon the importance of primary materials and the resulting confusion without them.

 

 *The uncommon surname, roughly the same dates, some of the same familial ties, and the Baltimore association all suggest this is the same man.

 

**A the time of the 1940 census records, someone estimated he was 48 (If this is the same George Sonnenleiter, he was 55 at the time of the 1940 census). The Sonnenleiter family lived in Ward 25 in Baltimore City, Baltimore Maryland. The family included his wife Rose Sonnenleiter (37) and Carolina (19), George (14), and Wesley (7).

 

***Although it may be "written in stone," in this case a tombstone, information can still prove unreliable. However, if there are two George Sonnenleiters running around Baltimore at the same time, please let the readers know. I will happily stand corrected. 

 

__Pat Earnest, Delaware, November 1, 2015

 

***If you like what you read on Passed Time, please take a moment to help us. If you are planning to make any purchases through Amazon, do so using the Amazon Widget on our home page (right column about mid-way down) We do not gain access to your personal information, but  we do recieve an advertisment payment from Amazon. Every little bit helps defray our costs. Secondly, check out our advertisers....The money we receive from them allows us to keep giving you free access. 

 

Pat Earnest is a history enthusiast, who has great regard for the past and is especially proud of the Pennsylvania German culture. In addition to Passed Time, I am currently working on a project for the German Historical Institutes Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies (http://www.ghi-dc.org). I also contribute to various newsletters and am working on another book...or two. Feel free to email me at pcsuter@hotmail.com with  questions, comments, information, a shared love of history, an idea, because you want to chat or you have an great idea for PT. Please be aware, Files With Attachments will not be opened, but immediately deleted.

        

 

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

0
terms and condition.

People in this conversation

Load Previous Comments

Museum says missing Nazi submarine mystery solved

A Danish war museum says it found German U-boat U-3523 embedded on the sea floor, quashing years of speculation.

 

 

The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein

The Paperback of the The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein by Patricia Earnest Suter at Barnes & Noble. FREE Shipping on $25 or more!

USS Indianapolis wreckage found 72 years later - CNN Video

The remains of the USS Indianapolis, which delivered parts of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and was later sunk by a Japanese submarine, have been found.

 

Gaming etc.

 

Top 5 Mistakes Made by Game Company Executives

 

Modern Tabletop Arcades

 

Ahead of Their Time: Discontinued Game Consoles

b720c4c41cb9bc2cd64a95d692331521

Andrew Kamal is an app developer, programmer, and inventor who loves writing about historical technology and old games. He can be found in his free time hugging pugs and debating people about which pizza topics are better.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Siberia: Medieval Mummies From Mystery Arctic Civilization Discovered in Zelenyy Yar Necropolis

Two medieval mummies from a mystery Arctic civilization have been discovered at the edge of Siberia. The remains of an adult and baby were found in the Zelenyy Yar necropolis, an archaeological complex first discovered in 1997, and were covered in copper-with the adult having been plated from head to

 

Search This Site

Civil War Coloring Pages

Civil War Coloring Pages

 

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Library Company of Philadelphia

3d3f021a fd46 408d bfb6 eae0726eb7b8

A New Looking-Glass for the 1764 Pamphlet War

Save

Save

 

BibleRescue - Reuniting famly bibles with family

The family bible is a family's connection to the past and future. It connects an entire family across generations to their history, to their faith and provides an understanding of who their ancestors were. Family bibles often contain locks of hair, photographs, newspaper articles in addition to names, dates of birth, death and marriages.

 

 

Pennsylvania

be2acded e529 4958 b99a 550d69cebf62

ec91d0e7 13a7 4862 a980 bb23936626f6

25rd Annual Art & Leisure Auction

Features “Flashback Friday” Theme

 

Fastnacht Day: February 28 at

York County History Center

Fastnacht Day will be celebrated at the York County History Center’s Historical Society Museum on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. – noon. The Friends of the History Center will serve fastnachts, coffee, tea and hot chocolate at the Museum, located at 250 E. Market Street, York.

This free event is held each year as the Friends’ “thank you” to the community for their support throughout the year. Fastnacht Day originated with Pennsylvania Germans on Shrove Tuesday, when all fat had to be removed from the home before Lent.

The Friends hold fundraising events all year to benefit the programs and exhibits of the History Center.

 

York County History Center Closed January 26-27, 2017

Save

Save

universal York banner

Universal York Blog

Did colonial courthouse windows end up in the Dover area?

Jonathan Mifflin turns down York County post

York, Pa., really is the center of the universe, especially when you consider its place in historical events. Local historian June Lloyd looks at how things have converged on our hometown, past and present.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Pearl Harbor and the Erosion of Citizenship

1f349cd8 b394 4e98 b1cb 3c22f7b3570e

Save

Save

LMHS

 

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society | Preserving the culture of Mennonite-related faith communities in Lancaster County

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society has added a new field trip to the 2016 schedule of events. Get a new view of historic sights in Lancaster and Lebanon with the upcoming field trip, "The Trail of Greenywalt's Boys."

 

Special Offer

VALUE PACK – Books For Genealogists

 

Letterpress Printing Game

Links to External Sources

Windsor Historical Society

Windsor Historical Society - The museum, library, and historic houses explore 370 years of history in Connecticut's oldest English town

 

Latest Blogs

 

American Antiquarian Society

About AAS The American Antiquarian Society is a national research library of American history and culture through 1876.more

 

 

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs

 

African American History Month programs among 18 special events at the museums of the State of Delaware during February 2018

 

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to sponsor eight free programs during January 2018

 

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to sponsor 21 special programs during the 2017 winter-holiday season

 

“Doctor Who and William Penn” to be presented at Dover, Del.’s Old State House on Aug. 19, 2017

 

Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs July 28, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 7

 

Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs June 29, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 6

mountlebanon

 

Online survey seeks public input regarding the preservation of historic places in Delaware

 

Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs June 1, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 5

 

Zwaanendael Maritime Celebration: “A Sailor’s Life for Me” in Lewes, Del. on May 27 and 28, 2017

Andrew British Sailor WWI

 

Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs March 27, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 3

 

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to sponsor 14 free programs during March 2017

 

New exhibit now open at Lewes, Del.’s Zwaanendael Museum

 

“Listen Up! African-American History” program Rescheduled

 

Newsletter of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Jan. 31, 2017 * Volume 10, Issue 1

 

  African American History Month programs among 17 special events at the museums of the State of Delaware during February 2017

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

 

Virginia Tech was not the worst school massacre in U.S. history. This was.

That spring morning in 1927 could not have been more beautiful, one of the students would later recall. The Bath Consolidated School just outside East Lansing, Mich., was holding final exams, but before the morning bell rang on May 18, 1927, children ran and played outside. Peals of laughter could be heard.

 

WWII veteran's remains return home after missing 74 years

ATLANTA (AP) - More than 70 years ago, a U.S. Army plane dubbed "Hot as Hell" was headed for India on a supply mission. It never arrived, and no one went looking for the doomed aircraft or the eight men on board because military officials had no way of pinpointing where it went down.

Sword belonging to commander of black Civil War unit found

BOSTON (AP) - The sword that belonged to the commanding officer of the first all-black regiment raised in the North during the U.S. Civil War has been recovered after being lost to history for more than 150 years. The British-made sword carried into battle by Col.

 

'America's Frankenstein': Book to examine Philly's 'first mass murderer'

An upcoming book seeks to find the links between the fable of Frankenstein and a brutal Philadelphia mass murder that occurred nearly 50 years after the release of the famous novel. In "The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein," Delaware author Patricia Earnest Suter revisits the gruesome killings of eight people at the hands of Anton Probst in 1866.

Jaw-dropping discovery: Soldier's diary retells WWI horrors

Norman Gray, a fresh-faced 19-year-old was shipped off to France in 1914 to fight in World War I. Now his diary resurfaced, documenting the horrors of war.

 

 

Maria Tesch, 1850-1936 * - Kulturarv Östergötland

Östgötsk kulturhistoria. Uppgifter om arkiv, bibliotek, museer, hembygdsföreningar m.m.