Finding my Bull(ish) ancestors

Until recently there have been two mysteries concerning my great grandfather (my mother’s maternal grandfather). The first mystery concerned the exact birth place of “Fred” Bull. I knew he was born in Germany, but the family lore did not provide an exact location. The little bit of information that I had was confused by various spellings of the name of his home town.

Johann Friederich Theodor Bull

Eventually I did narrow the options down to one town that I thought was correct, but I could not find any accessible records for that town at first. Then I discovered a restricted microfilm at Family Search. With the help of some friends, I gained access to this microfilm on-line. The first find was the birth record you see here for my great-grandfather “Fred” Bull. His full name is actually Johann Friederich Theodore Bull. He was born in Brudersdorf, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. The birth date on this record matches the birth date shown on his tombstone. Other information that I found on the same microfilm convinced me that this was the correct birth record for my great-grandfather.  You can read a transcript and translation of this birth record here.

Of course there were other “finds” on this microfilm. I have been able to identify both of “Fred’s” parents and all four of his grandparents. I also learned that he had one younger brother (who died at the age of 8 years) and two older sisters. I have not yet started to look for descendants of Fred’s sisters.

That leaves me with just one mystery to solve about Fred Bull. I know that he died in May 1896 after being hit by a train. That fact is recorded on his death record, but that record was not filed until December 1896. Why was there such a delay in filing of his death record? I would also like to learn more about this “train accident.” Surely there would have been a mention of this death in local newspapers, but so far I have not found any mention of his death other than his death record and some evidence of legal action against the railroad company.



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