Monday, April 18, 2016

Who Was Grandpa Corell?

This nineteenth century cabinet card is housed in the Arts Collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. It pictures men in a three-piece string band. The only individual who has been identified is “Grandpa Corell” on guitar, in the center of the group. On the back of the card is the name of the photographer, C.A. Cross.

Notes with the original item indicate that the  picture was taken sometime between 1885 and 1900. To determine the identity of Grandpa Corell, we consulted print sources  in our collection, as well as online genealogical databases. The book Sandusky Then and Now indicates that Christoph. Correll, who was born in Odenbach, Bavaria, Germany in May of 1819, and moved to the Sandusky area about 1849. Christopher Correll (often spelled Corell) married Catherine Christopher. In the 1870 U.S. Census, there are several children listed to Christopher and Catherine Corell, including sons named Charles, William and Ira Corell.

It turns out that Charles Corell died relatively young, and William Corell moved to Michigan. The 1890 Sandusky City Directory listed Christopher Corell, a carpenter; and Ira J. Corell, a plane maker.

By doing some quick math, in 1890 Christopher Corell would have been about 71 years old, and Ira J. Corell would have been 31 years of age. Since the guitar player looks to be a young man, the logical conclusion is that “Grandpa Corell” is very likely named Ira J. Corell. After doing a search for Corell  in our PastPerfect Database, other Corell family items which were donated appear to have come from the Ira Corell family, giving further evidence that this cabinet card most likely came from the Ira Corell family as well. If you have family photographs, be sure to the label people in your pictures, for the benefit of future generations who may have an interest in family history.

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