52 Ancestors #33 Ellanora Boelling

Ellanora Boelling was my great-great-grandmother. She was born on February 24, 1864 in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Franz “Frank” Heinrich Wilhelm Boelling and his wife – whom I do not know the name of.

In 1880, at the age of sixteen, she was listed as a servant in the house of William Espel in Cincinnati, Ohio. William Espel was also a parisioner at St. John’s German Church. In the late 1800’s there was a cholera epidemic and it is likely that Ella’s family suffered losses that had her needing to be hired out. Her father did not die until 1918, so perhaps her mother died in the epidemic.

Ellanora Boelling wedding photo 1885

Ellanora Boelling wedding photo 1885

January 11, 1885, she married Henry Graff in Cincinnati, Ohio at St. John’s German Church.

Boelling/Graff marriage return

  Boelling/Graff marriage return

St John's German Church Cincinnati

St John’s German Church Cincinnati

By September, Henry and Ella were in Manhattan, NY and on Sept 20, she gave birth to twins, Goldie and Hanna. (Goldie & Hanna died in 1890).
Annie (1887-1955), Henry William (1890-1971)[my great-grandfather], Lillian Catherine (1892-1974), twins, Charles & Frank A. (15 Apr 1895) Charles I don’t know when he died – likely before 1898 when a photo of the children did not include him- but Frank died 2 days after birth. Arthur Henry (1897-1915), Edward Dewey (1899-1939), Ellanora Mary (1902-1990) and Amanda Elizabeth (1904-1964)

Using Cincinnati Residency records, and church records, I found her father – and two of her brothers – Frederick and Henry.

Family stories say that Ellanora was beaten by one of her sons – likely my great-grandfather, Henry William. She was in the advanced stages of pregnancy. The child died. Ella died on June 12, 1910 in Manhattan. Her death certificate states the cause of death as “endocarditis”. Both mother and child were buried in Manhattan, but there was a huge schism between the church and the family over the burial. The family wanted mother and child buried together and the church refused.

ella death certificate

ella death certificate

With the burial certificate, was a second page. Place of burial says “Lutheran Cem” but then “Lutheran” is crossed out and “Calvary” written in. Date of burial, June 15, 1910.

page two death cert

After Ella’s death, her husband Henry went downhill fast. Annie ended up taking care of the younger ones, even taking the youngest with her when she married.  I wonder if Ella ever knew that Henry was still married to his first wife…while he was married to her. (See this link.)


Ellanora Boelling (1864 – 1910) is your 2nd great grandmother
Henry William Graff (1890 – 1971) son of Ellanora Boelling
Edward Dewey Graff (1916 – 1994) son of Henry William Graff



About T.K. Eldridge

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