Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Undertaker Valentine Heidt 1711 Peach St

Valentine Heidt, Erie, PA Undertaker

Valentine Heidt, Undertaker, 1711 Peach Street, Erie, PA. These buildings no longer exist.
Valentine Heidt worked as an undertaker in Erie, PA for 43 years before he died in the fall of 1906. The genealogy of the Heidt family is interesting, and there are a number of sources available to document this German family. One of the main sources that genealogists look for are obituaries. A quick check of the obituary index books at the Blasco Memorial Library revealed that Valentine's obit was published on September 1, 1906. The following information was gleaned from the newspaper on microfilm:

"The death of Valentine Heidt, Erie's oldest undertaker, took place at his home, 1711 Peach street, yesterday afternoon. He was 75 years and 10 months old and was born in Reinpfalz, Germany. He came to the United States when he was 15 years old and has been a resident of Erie since 1845. He is a good citizen and well liked by everyone. He had been in the undertaking business for 43 years. Mr. Heidt in 1852 married Elizabeth Stritzinger, who died ten years later. In 1864, he married Mary Theresa Abel, who survives him, as do four children by his first wife, Mrs. Anna Vreeland, Frank J. Heidt, William Heidt and Mrs. Katie Denean, and one by his second wife, Mrs. John Gingrich. He is also survived by two brothers, Roland, of North Dakota, and Jacob, of this city."
Grandma Heidt and John F.

There is a photograph of his headstone in Trinity Catholic Cemetery on which shows a birth year of 1830 for Valentin Heidt.

According to the website, Valentinus Heid, the son of Francisci Heid and Mariae Evae Malthaner, was baptized on October 31, 1830 in Neupfotz, Bayern, Germany. (If I was researching this family for a client, I would order FHL microfilm 367605 to view the actual document.)

On the U.S. passport application found at, Valentine Heidt stated that he was born in Neupfotz, Bavaria on October 30, 1830. It lists his occupation as 'undertaker' and his residence as Erie, PA. The passport application has a physical description of Valentine, who was 5 feet 8 inches tall, with gray eyes and light gray hair, a high forehead and a round chin. This matches the photo of him.
Grandpa Heidt.

Our last bit of information comes from the History of Erie County, PA by Samuel Bates:
"Valentine Heidt, undertaker, No. 1711 Peach St., Erie, Penn., was born in Germany, Oct. 30, 1830; son of Francis andn Maria E. (Malthaner) Heidt, natives of Germany, who came to America in 1851, settling in Erie. The former was a lumber dealer and reared five children. Our subject, who was the fourth, acquired his education in his native land and learned cabinet making, at which he worked from 1847 till 1852. In the latter year he came to this city, where he has since carried  on his trade in connection with undertaking; being also, at one time engaged in the manufacture of oil cloth. Mr. Heidt was married March 30, 1854, to Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas Stritzinger. They have five children- Anna C., Francis J., Frederick W., Katie and Julia. The family are members of the Roman Catholic Church."

Basic funeral services were often provided by a skilled carpenter or cabinet maker such as Heidt, who filled a need for building coffins and transporting bodies to the cemetery. It's possible that his father provided lumber for the caskets.

There is much, much more to discover about the Heidt family, just one of many successful German-American families that settled in Erie, Pennsylvania.

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