Anna Sophia Wanecker Schnabel


The above photograph depicts Anna Sophia Wanecker Schnabel (1881-1955). I could find no record of Roy’s photography establishment at 515 South Broadway in Baltimore, but we know Kann’s store was at 509-513 South Broadway from at least 1887 until S. Kann, Sons & Company of Washington, DC sold the property to the Broadway Theater Company in 1913.

The book she is holding appears to be 1890 version of “The Reformed Church Hymnal” which was copyrighted in 1890. You can buy your own copy here. According to an item in The Baltimore Sun on 21 December 1895 entitled “Christmas Music,” Sophia was going to be a soprano in the choir at Faith Reformed Church on Christmas Day. Faith, which apparently was established circa 1887, held “opening services” at it’s new location at the corner of Gough Street and Patterson Park Avenue on 17 November 1888. The building currently at that location, a church building converted into condominiums, was built in 1920 according to some real estate advertisements.

Can we assume this photograph commemorates her confirmation? Do you wonder, as I do, which hymn is marked by her finger.

According to the U.S. Social Security Application and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Sophia’s parents were Gustav Wanecker and Mary H. Gardner. I could find no record of Gustav. Elsewhere, Sophia’s maiden name is given as Waneker, specifically in the above mentioned Christmas music announcement in 1895, an announcement that Sophia and her husband obtained a marriage license in 1899, and Sophia’s and her husband’s obituaries. I make this point so emphatically because it is new information to genealogists of the family who have created family trees on Ancestry.

All other available evidence indicates Sophia’s mother’s name was Mary A. Gardner (1848-1911). We first see her in the 1880 Census entry in which she is enumerated as Mary Wunderlich, seamstress, native of Prussia, either widowed or divorced, and living with daughters Minnie (1863-1947) and Margaret (1870-1946) at 286 Canton Avenue (now Fleet Street) in Baltimore. The name Wunderlich, which Google Translate informs means “whimsical” in English, was sometimes rendered Wonderling. The 1990 Census gives Mary’s immigration date as 1882 and backs that up by showing she had been in the U.S. for 18 years, but that is obviously incorrect given that she appears in the 1880 Census. The birthplaces of Minnie and Margaret are consistently Maryland. Confusion abounds.

Minnie’s obituary gives her father’s name as Christian Wunderlich but I dug up no further details about him. Minnie never married and is buried beside to her mother in Saint Matthew’s Cemetery, memorials 188540486 and 75923287.

Margaret, who was known as Maggie, married George A. Slater (1870-1915) and they had two children, Gustav Slater (1897-1991) and Mary (1899-1905). That Margaret named her only son Gustav further substantiates a marriage between Mary and Gustav Wanecker. Margaret, George, and Mary were buried in the Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Congregation of Baltimore Cemetery, also known as Trinity Cemetery, but their graves were moved in 1972 to make room for I-95. I did not try to find their current location.

Mary married Nicholas J. Thorn (1820-1901) in 1888. An unsourced document registering the wedding listed her name as Mary A Warnerger which is probably a garble for Wanecker. Their daughter, Nellie E. Thorn (1889-1970), married Joseph Francis Wess (1889-1948) and they had five daughters.

Sophia married George Frederick Schnabel (1872-1947) in 1899 and they had three children, Frederick August Schnabel (1900-1901), William Paul Schnabel (1902-1993), and Nellie Ruth Schnabel (1909-1983). They are all buried together, along with George’s parents, Frederick August Schnabel (1847-1903) and Elizabeth Meinschein (1844-1929), in Oak Lawn Cemetery in Baltimore County, MD. No direct descendants of Sophia and George have survived to the present day.

The following is the reverse of the photograph. I purchased the photograph at an antique store on The Avenue in the Baltimore neighborhood of Hampden.

1 1