Sunday, September 3, 2017

Finding Sarah’s Name - Wild Card Clues Offer Potential Link to Benjamin Mac/Mack and Andrew Entz


The family stories from Marie D. Barrett (née Hurst) indicated that Hiram Hurst married Sarah Mock/Mack.  Joseph A. Barrett passed the story of Sarah being either expelled/excommunicated from her church after a visit to her cousin’s home where she wore their clothes.  The family believed Sarah may have been Amish or Mennonite, possibly from the Lancaster area or King of Prussia in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  The cousin’s were believed to be in Philadelphia, which is where Sarah likely married Hiram Hurst eventually settled in the Mt. Airy area of Philadelphia. A final family story was that Sarah’s father may have fought in the Civil War but there was never any indication of his name.

Hiram Hurst and Sarah were living in Philadelphia according to the 1880 U.S. Census on Allen Lane in Germantown.1  Sarah was 26 years of age and the census indicated they had two children, Theodore, 3, and William, 1 month.  Sarah’s father is reported to be born in Pennsylvania and it appears her mother was born in Germany. By 1900, the Hurst family is living on Springer Street in Philadelphia.  Sarah is 46, listing her birth as October 1853.  The census indicates they had been married 24 years, which would indicate a marriage date of about 1876.  Sarah reported having 7 children, 5 were living.2  The household as of 1900 was as follows:

Name Relationship Birth (Month and Year) Age
Hiram Hurst Head July 1853 46
Sarah Wife Oct 1853 46
Wm Verner Son May 1880 20
Benjamin R Son Oct 1884 15
Susan Daughter Sept 1886 13
Bella M Daugter Feb 1888 12
Andrew Son Aug 1894 5

The death certificate for Theodore indicates he died 17 Nov 1883 in Philadelphia.3  Similarly, a death certificate for Eugene Orville Hurst was discovered indicating that he died 9 July 1890 in Philadelphia.4  Eugene’s was born 4 Feb 1890,5 and he was baptized on 29 Jun 1890.6 No maiden name for Sarah was provided in either record. In addition, the marriage record for Hiram Hurst and Sarah has not been located from various searches.

Sarah died 16 Apr 1938 in Philadelphia.  Her death certificate listed Wm. Mac Verner as her father and her mother is unknown.  The informant is listed as Verner Hurst, which is her son, William Verner Hurst. The record appears to confuse Sarah's family with that of Hiram's based on the potential name of Mac and the name Verner. Prior research on Hiram Hurst identified his parents as Joseph Hurst and Rebecca Verner.  Rebecca Verner is thought to be the daughter of William Verner.  A potential theory is that William Verner Hurst confused the names of his grandparents between the Mack/Mac/Mock name and Verner surname. 

A search was performed in the Pennsylvania Death Certificates on Ancestry.com for the death certificates of Sarah's children, which may provide additional information regarding her maiden name. The certificates for William Verner Hurst7 and Susan May Elder (née Hurst)8 were located while the New Jersey death certificate for Benjamin Russell Hurst9 was obtained from the New Jersey Bureau of Vital Statistics. The three records identify both parents’ as follows:

Child Date of Death Father Mother
William Verner 2 Nov 1963 Hiram Hurst Sarah E. Mack
Benjamin Russell 31 May 1947 Hiram Hurst Sarah Mock
Susan May 21 Nov 1957 Hiram Hurst Sarah E. Mac

The SS-5 application of Benjamin Russell Hurst listed his mother as Sarah Mock10  providing further evidence that Sarah was a Mock/Mack/Mac. However, the marriage record application for Andrew Entz Hurst presented conflicting information.  Andrew indicated his mother as Sarah Entz11 while his WWI service record indicated his mother as Sarah Walsh Hurst.12


Marriage license application of Andrew Entz Hurst

Andrew E. Hurst’s marriage license application reported Sarah’s birthplace as Norristown, PA. Norristown is about 4 miles from King of Prussia, both in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The application information seems to align more to the family stories indicating King of Prussia as Sarah’s birthplace rather than Lancaster county.

It is difficult to conclude if Sarah is a Mac/Mack/Mock or an Entz. Her son, Benjamin Russell indicated in his application for social security that his mother was Sarah Mock. Her other son, Andrew, whose middle name is Entz, identifies his mother as Sarah Entz in his marriage application. The death certificates for three of her children indicate she was Sarah Mac/Mack/Mock, with Sarah’s grandchildren as the source of that information. Examining the names of Sarah and Hiram’s children provide additional clues.

Naming patterns are common throughout genealogy, and with little else to refer to the names of Hiram and Sarah’s children were explored relative to what was known. Hiram Hurst’s mother was Rebecca Verner. Rebecca’s father was William Verner. Thus, William Verner Hurst, Hiram and Sarah’s second son, may have named their second child after Hiram’s maternal grandfather, William Verner. None of the other children were named for any known Hurst family members. The question is who, if anyone, might Theodore, Benjamin Russell, Susan, Bella, Eugene and Andrew Entz be named after?


William Verner (abt 1800-unk) Eliza UNKNOWN (1802-unk) Joseph Hurst (abt 1814–1863) Rebecca Verner (1832–1856) Hiram Hurst (1853–1920) Sarah Entz or Mock (1853–1938) Theodore Hurst (1876–1883) William Verner Hurst (1880–1963) Benjamin Russell Hurst (1884–1947) Susan M Hurst (1886–1957) Bella M Hurst (1888–1971) Eugene Orville Hurst (1890–1890) Andrew Entz Hurst (1894–1970)


Andrew Entz Hurst's middle name seemed unique that a search for Entz's in the area of Montgomery County, PA led to a 1860 U.S. Census record for the family of Andrew Entz in Norristown, Montgomery, Pennsylvania.13   Andrew Entz was married to a Susan and had a son named Theodore.  This record is interesting in that it hit on the name, Andrew Entz, such that the family of Andrew and Susan may represent an unidentified connection. In addition, Hiram and Sarah’s firstborn son was named Theodore and their first daughter was named Susan, while their youngest is Andrew Entz Hurst. The similarity in names appears more than a coincidence.

1860 U.S. Census - Andrew Entz, Norriton, Montgomery, Pennsylvania
Name Age Occupation Place of Birth
Andrew Entz 28 Daylabor Pa
Susana Entz 27 Pa
Theodore Entz 3 Pa

Wild-card searching, a valuable tool for genealogy research, offers the ability to do single letter substitutions or multi-letter substitutions to broaden searches including various spellings.  Multiple searches using various wild-cards for the Mock/Mack/Moc/Mac in and around Montgomery County led to the 1870 U.S. Census record for a Benjamin Mack and family living in Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.14  Among the children was Sarah Mack, born in 1854. The birth date is similar to multiple reported dates of Sarah in the U.S. Census records. Sarah was reported to have been born in Morristown, per Andrew E. Hurst's marriage application, the place identified the 1870 census for Benjamin Mack and family.

1870 U.S. Census - Benjamin Mack, Lower Ward, Norristown, Montgomery, Pennsylvania
Name Age Occupation Place of Birth
Benjamin Mack 46 Coach Trimmer Pennsylvania
Christiana Mack 47 Keeping House Pennsylvania
Sarah Mack 16 At Home Pennsylvania
Christiana Mack 12 At Home Pennsylvania

Building on the name research, Sarah and Hiram’s third child was Benjamin Russell Hurst, such that if the evidence continues, is possibly named for this Benjamin Mack. A further search using wild card techniques and varying the spelling led to an 1860 U.S. Census record for a family of Benjamin Mac living in Whitemarsh Twp, Montgomery, Pennsylvania.15   Whitemarsh Township is adjacent to Norristown in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Within the family was a Christiann Ence, age 60. Once again relying on various spellings, this may represent a connection between the name Entz and Mac/Mack. If Christiann is related, her age would suggest that she may be mother-in-law to Benjamin Mac. This might be another link for the Entz name and the Mac/Mack/Mock family.

1860 U.S. Census - Benjamin Mac, Whitemarsh Twp, Montgomery, Pennsylvania
Name Age Occupation Place of Birth
Benjamin Mac 40 Coach Trimmer Pennsylvania
Louisa Mac 40 Pennsylvania
Sarah Mac 10 Pennsylvania
Christiann Mac 2 Pennsylvania
Christiann Ence 60 Pennsylvania

However, notable differences are observed between the 1860 and 1870 census records. The ages are not 10 years apart when comparing each person in the census. Benjamin's wife in 1860 is Louisa/Louesa, while in 1870 his wife is Christiana.  Yet, Benjamin's occupation in both years census is the same, coach trimmer, making it likely that this is the same Benjamin.  Thus, the question is whether Benjamin's spouse in each census is the same and is Louesa actually Christiana, having gone by a different name to distinguish herself from Christiann Ence and Christiann Mac, a daughter or did Benjamin remarry if Louesa died between the 1860 and 1870 census records.

A marriage record was located for Andrew Entz. The record identifies his wife as Susannah Arp, and they were married in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in 1854.16  Andrew’s parents were identified in the record as Jacob and Christiana Entz.  This may link the Christiann Ence from the 1860 Census, the Mac/Mack/Mock family from 1860 and 1870 an the Andrew Entz family from the 1860 Census.  The record indicates the ceremony was contracted as Lutheran.

Based upon the information, there is nothing to confirm Amish or Mennonite heritage. It appears that Sarah Mac/Mack was from the Norristown area of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Additional research on Benjamin Mack may determine if he fought in the Civil War.

A proposed family tree is represented suggesting that Andrew Entz and Louesa/Louisa/Christiana were siblings.  Andrew and his family may represent cousin’s from family stories. Sarah likely moved to Philadelphia, met Hiram and married between the 1870 Census and the birth of her first son, Theodore in 1876.


William Verner (abt 1800-unk) Eliza UNKNOWN (1802-unk) Jacob Entz Christiana UNKNOWN Joseph Hurst (abt 1814–1863) Rebecca Verner (1832–1856) Benjamin Mack Louesa or Christiana Entz Andrew Entz Hiram Hurst (1853–1920) Sarah Mack (1853–1938) Theodore Hurst (1876–1883) William Verner Hurst (1880–1963) Benjamin Russell Hurst (1884–1947) Susan M Hurst (1886–1957) Bella M Hurst (1888–1971) Eugene Orville Hurst (1890–1890) Andrew Entz Hurst (1894–1970)


A special thanks to Tony Proctor of Parallax-viewpoint for sharing the SVG program to generate a more legible and interactive family tree.




1 Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1880 United States Federal Census (Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2010;), Database online. Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1181; Family History Film: 1255181; Page: 520C; Enumeration District: 457; Image: 0673.
2 Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census (Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 18;), Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1464; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0500; FHL microfilm: 1241464.
3 Index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VKDG-NST : accessed 22 Nov 2012), Theodore Hurst, 1883, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915, index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VKDG-NST : accessed 22 Nov 2012), Theodore Hurst, 1883.
4 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JK76-1W1 : accessed 22 Nov 2012), Hiram Hurst in entry for Eugene Hurst, 1890.
5 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2011;), Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records.
6 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2011;), Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records.
7 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1924 (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2014;).
8 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1924 (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2014;).
9 New Jersey, Department of Health, Death Certificate (31 May 1947), Benjamin Russell Hurst; Bureau of Vital Statistics, Trenton
10 Benjamin Russell Hurst, 197-09-5794, 30 March 1937, Application for Account Number (Form SS-5), Social Security Administration, Baltimore, MD.
11 Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939Z-18RN-4?cc=1589502&wc=Q6V1-397%3A1590243059%2C1590262660 : 16 December 2016), Schuylkill > Marriage license applications, 1923, vol 51, no 100-598 > image 144 of 358; county courthouses, Pennsylvania.
12 Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
13 Year: 1860; Census Place: Norristown, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1145; Page: 453; Family History Library Film: 805145
14 Year: 1870; Census Place: Norristown Lower Ward, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1378; Page: 35A; Family History Library Film: 552877
15 Year: 1860; Census Place: Whitemarsh, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1145; Page: 649; Family History Library Film: 805145
16 Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KHNX-2J8 : 24 June 2016), Andrew Entz and Susannah Arp, 1854.

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