Several years ago I was at a dinner at my great Aunt Amelia’s house. There were several cousins from my mother’s generation there and as we talked someone mentioned that they remember something about two babies born with the same name and that one died at a young age. The thought was that Grandma Charlotte Boche (my 2-great grandmother and Amelia’s mother) had two boys with the same name. Something about she had one and he died and then named the second one the same name, but no one could remember any details.
While I was looking at a microfilm of Pennsylvania births, I came upon a possible answer to the question; “Were there really two babies with the same name?” I found that there were two Joseph Eli’s born in October of 1902. On 2 October 1902, Charlotte Ducley Boche had a son, who lived to have a family. The second Joseph Eli was born to my grandmother Orpheline Mary Boche Bionaz, my great-grandmother and Charlotte’s oldest daughter, who was born 7 October 1902. This Joseph Eli died at a young age. I still do not know when he died, but I do know he died before the 1910 Census. He is not listed in the 1910 Census and the census states that Orpheline was the mother of 3 children, with only 2 still living. A picture taken about 1908 of Orpheline’s children only has Charlotte and John, the two children listed in the 1910 Census, and no Joseph Eli in it. Also, John E. Bionaz, Orpheline’s husband, Petition for Naturalization dated Sep 1908, does not list a child named Eli, it only lists Charlotte and John as his children. I do not know if these are the two babies with the same name that was mentioned that day so many years ago, but they could be.