The 1916 membership of the Philadelphia Lettish Baptist Youth Society included four young women with the surname of Mauring: Alma, Emma, Selma (Thelma) and Tillie (Matilda, Tilly). At least three of them — Alma, Selma and Tillie — were sisters, although the life stories of all four have been difficult to piece together. Obituaries in the Miami Herald established that Alma, Selma and Tillie were siblings. Emma likely was related to them, too.
Selma was born in 1889 in Latvia. The other three were born in Virginia: Tillie in 1892, Emma in 1894 and Alma in 1899. (According to the 1930 census, Alma was born in Russia, but other sources show Virginia as her birthplace. Also, Selma appears to have modified her name to Thelma.) Emma's marriage certificate revealed that her parents were Peter and Carrie Mauring, so perhaps the Mauring family settled in Virginia in the late 19th century along with other Latvian Baptists. The U.S. census of 1890 could have been helpful in tracking the family, but unfortunately those records were destroyed in a 1921 fire.
According to the 1910 federal census, Tillie (Matilda) Mauring worked as a servant in a boarding house at 819 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia. She was recorded as a German immigrant.1 Similarly, Selma worked in a home on Baltimore Avenue and also was recorded as the daughter of German parents.2 In 1916, Tillie resided at 4205 Pine Street in West Philadelphia. Emma and Selma, meanwhile, lived several blocks away at 1346 S. Melville.3
In 1920, Tillie married Alfred Baker Sherlock, a resident of Media, Pennsylvania. Sherlock was born in 1892, had served in the Army during World War I4, and was worked as a driver. Tillie remained a member of the Philadelphia Lettish Baptist Youth Society until at least 1924, according to organization records. The Sherlock couple stayed in Media until 1934, but by 1935 had relocated to Miami, Florida. They joined a number of Latvians who had moved to the Sunshine State — including Tillie's sisters Alma and Selma.
According to Latviešu kolōnijas by Vilberts Krasnais, by 1931 some 200 Latvians lived in Florida, including a small group of families that had planned to start a new settlement to be called Riga.5 Other Latvian Baptists from Philadelphia who moved to Florida included Ernest Bumbeer and his wife Emily, who spent a few years in Manatee County before returning to Pennsylvania. Karl Pawelkop and Minnie Pawelkop moved from Pennsylvania and lived in Florida until their death. Frederick Lukewitz and his wife Katherine Lukewitz also moved to Florida and both died there.
Alma may have been the first of the Mauring sisters to move to Florida.6 She married Martin Kirik, an Estonian immigrant and fisherman. Martin Kirik was born in 1895 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1918. When he filed his Declaration of Intention in 1921, he already was living in Jensen Beach, Florida.7 By 1930, Alma and Martin Kirik were living in Miami.
Around 1925, Selma (Thelma) married Latvian immigrant John T. Bloom. By 1930, the couple was living in Miami, where John worked as a fisherman.8
Selma (Thelma) died in 1974 at the age of 85.
Tillie died January 7, 1978, in Dade County, Florida, at the age of 83.9
Alma died in 1987 and is buried in Miami. She was 87.
Finally, Emma Mauring, 16, in 1910 worked as a servant in a home at 4925 Hazel Avenue in Philadelphia. Her birthplace was listed as Russia, but she was reported to be Yiddish. In 1920, Emma Mauring married Joseph Richard Marsden.10 According to the 1930 census, the couple was living in Denver, Colorado, where Richard Marsden worked as a mechanic for a railroad company.11 No further information about Emma has been found.
1. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
2. "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MGZR-MBV : accessed 19 January 2017), Selma Mauring in household of Chas G Henderson, Philadelphia Ward 46, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1192, sheet 4A, family 60, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1413; FHL microfilm 1,375,426
3. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
4. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, U.S., World War I Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
5. Vilberts Krasnais, Latviešu Kolōnijas (Rīga: Armijas spiestuve, 1938), p. 436. Krasnais noted that because of the Great Depression of the 1930s a number of Latvian families moved to Florida. Although no Latvian ethnic enclaves developed, several concentrations of immigrants and ethnics could be found. For example, several fishermen and their families lived and worked around Jensen Beach in Martin County. However, most Latvians were concentrated in the Miami area. The reference to a new settlement came from a 1932 story in the Rīga newspaper Pēdēja Brīdī that told about a planned development near Bartow, Florida, to be called "Riga."
6. A 1921 Miami city directory list an Alma Mauring on Buena Vista Drive. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
7. Ancestry.com. Palm Beach County, Florida, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1823-1974 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2021.
8. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.
9. Ancestry.com. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
10. "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MGZR-MKW : accessed 19 January 2017), Emma Mauring in household of Theodore B Palmer, Philadelphia Ward 46, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1188, sheet 12A, family 227, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1413; FHL microfilm 1,375,426; Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
11. "United States Census, 1930", database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X7WT-HR1 : Thu Aug 03 16:25:52 UTC 2023), Entry for Richard Marsden and Emma Marsden, 1930.