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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Name Changes - Myth or Fact?

Barbara asked
I hope you can help me with this one. My Great Uncle was Charles Gebhardt born in 1879 in Manhattan, New York. His parents are Friedrick and Annie Gebhardt. Charles was an accountant and when the anti-German sentiment was heating up before WW I he legally changed his last name to something like Gerrard. Is there a way to access the court records for this? I can't find a Charles Gerrard in the SSDI or 1920/30 censuses. Charles is first listed in 1880 census, born in August 1879. I also have him in the 1900 census. Friederick may be his middle name and Americanized as Frank since that's the way they listed his father in 1900.

OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Dear Barbara, I found a man who may be your Charles but there are discrepancies with what you have told me.

He is in the WW1 Draft Registrations on If it is your Charles, he is still using the Gebhardt surname. I also found the same man in the WW2 records, still using the Gebhardt name. He is also born in Germany, not New York. Here is what I found, I will leave it to you to figure out if this is the man you seek.

WW1 Draft Registrations

Charles Frank Gebhardt born 4 Aug 1879 (alien) registered Sept 12 1918. He is a Bartender at the Astor Hotel in Manhattan.

c/o J--- [can't read it] Stumpf
310 E. 57th St New York

U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Name: Charles Frank Gebhardt
Birth Date: 4 Aug 1879
Birth Place: Frankfort
Residence: Queens, New York
Race: White
Roll: WWII_2371409

signs as "Frank" and says Helen LaCaz knows his address

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