I introduced you to my great grandma last month. I figured since I hit a brick wall it couldn’t hurt to share and ask for help. Her name was Bertha May Servatius Geier Keane, and if you’d like to read about her, that post is here.

When she was six years old on the 1880 census, Bertha was listed as adopted. She’s also referred to as the “adopted daughter” in her mother’s probate records. Incomplete records and scanty information leave the researcher with more questions than usual.

One other record states that Bertha’s parents hailed from Scotland and Spain, her birth mother and birth father, I assume, since her adoptive parents were born in Prussia and Pennsylvania. I was able to find connections to Scotland when researching Bertha’s adoptive mother, Cordelia Matts. This makes me wonder whether Bertha was a niece on the Matts side, a relative perhaps whose parents could not care for her, or maybe they’d died. The Scotland connection could be correct, but is speculation only.

We have no further clues to Bertha’s familial connections.

We have no known photos of Bertha, but I found this one in the pile. My best guess? This is Bertha with her son, my grandfather Carl Geier, in about 1920. He left the Navy in 1920 after a bad fall. He injured his back, necessitating a discharge (honorable) and the cane.

geier carl j and likely his mother Bertha Servatius Geier Keane_circa 1917 or 1920 before or after Carl entered Navy



The following year Carl married my grandma Lalla in Tacoma.

The woman here is not in the wedding photos, and Bertha would not pass away for another three years in 1924.

You are right.

The lady here could be a favored neighbor, a good friend, maybe a beloved aunt.

I wish I could be certain.




Please feel free to ask questions, share, and discuss what you see on this page.

Comments are welcome below.

Servatius submissions are taken using this link.

Thank you!

Anton Servatius b. unknown m. Anna Mariae Schmitz

Their son Peter Servatius b. 1783 m. Barbara Sauerborn

Their son William Servatius b. 1830 m. Cordelia F. Matts

Their daughter Bertha M. Servatius b. 1874 m. Joseph Geier

Their son Carl J. Geier b. 1893 m. Lalla M. Butterfield

Their son Rodney M. Geier was my father.

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