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In trying to trace my grandfather's immigration I have discovered that my grandmother (his wife) bears the same surname as her mother. She was born in 1911, but I can't find her birth record at the moment. She was Gertrud Schollhorn. I got the information from her death notice.

The death notice was the reporting of her estate. Filed at NAAIRS (I was there on Monday) it listed her mother Cresenzia Schöllhorn and father John Dill from San Francisco. I couldn't get a copy as it was a bound file. Photo indistinct. The estate was reported by my grandfather.

Is it safe to presume she was born out of wedlock? What was the protocol in 1911?

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  • By death notice do you mean a short newspaper item? If so, it may be worth including a scan of it in your question. – PolyGeo Sep 22 '15 at 12:16
  • The death notice was the reporting of her estate. Filed at NAAIRS I was there on Monday, it listed her mother Cresenzia Schöllhorn and father John Dill from San Fransisco. I couldnt get a copy as it was a bound file. Photo indistinct. The estate was reported by my grandfather – Brendan Sep 23 '15 at 18:41
  • @Brendan Thank you for adding this additional information, it makes the question much clearer. I've moved the information up from your comment into the question. I've also deleted my answer now, since knowing this additional information makes my answer mostly incorrect. – Harry V. Sep 24 '15 at 14:35
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There are cases in Germany where the parents are contractually obligated to pass the mother's surname on to all or some of their children. It could be connected to an ancestor's dowry or to a piece of land the family purchased, leased, or inherited.

An example of my Jostpille family can be seen continuing through the female line in my answer to this previous post:

Wife's name on old German records, first middle, or middle first?

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