Sunday, January 23, 2011

Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers Quarterback and His Connection to the Chicago Bears & Pittsburgh Steelers

While watching the big playoff game today, I became interested in the Green Bay Packer's quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. He shares the same surname with my mother's family.. and it's spelled the same way with the "D" too! I come across Rogers often, but not Rodgers. So, I became intrigued and wanted to know more about Aaron Rodgers' family tree.

A simple Google search brings up his name is Aaron Charles Rodgers and was born 02 Dec 1983 in Chico, Butte County, California. Knowing that has database for birth, marriage and death records for California, I immediately head over there to do some simple searches.

I navigate to the database "California Birth Index, 1905-1995" and I find him with his full name and birthdate and the database also contains his mother's maiden name, Pittman. I then go to the sister database "California Marriage Index, 1960-1985" and search for a marriage between a groom Rodgers and bride Pittman. Bingo! His parent's names are Edward W. Rodgers (born about 1955) and Darla L. Pittman (born about 1958). They were married on 05 Apr 1980 in Mendocino County, California.

Going back to my trusted friend, Google, I search for Edward W. Rodgers in Chico, California. Up pops a bagillion results for a Chiropractor named Edward W. Rodgers, (JR!) in Chico, California. We now know he's a Junior! I also take note that he comes up as Edward Wesley Rodgers, Jr. I immediately go back to and do an Advanced Search for an Edward Rodgers in Chico. I find what I believe to be Aaron's grandfather in the "Social Security Death Index" and also "U.S. Phone and Address Directories, 1993-2002". Both name him as Edward W. Rodgers with the same birth date of 07 Nov 1917 and either living or died in Chico, Butte County, California. Noticing on the "Social Security Death Index" that he passed away in 1996, he should appear in the database "California Death Index, 1940-1997". He shows up stating that he was born in Illinois and his mother's maiden name was Larrick.

This is when the fun really starts! I head over to the new and do an Advanced Search for Parent's surnames of Rodgers and Larrick. I find three definite results. The first two are a birth certificate for a Louis Alexander Rodgers and also a death certificate for him. The third result is what I'm looking for.. a birth certificate for Edward Wesley Rodgers, born 07 Nov 1917... in CHICAGO! As in the Chicago Bears?! So these documents state that the parents names are (with variations like abbreviations) Alexander John Rodgers and Cora Larrick. The birth certificates state that Alexander John was born in Pennsylvania and that Cora was born in Illinois.

I was then able to locate the family in the 1920 census, although they weren't living in Chicago anymore. They were living in Rock Island Township, Rock Island County, Illinois. It's definitely the right family, as you'll be able to see from the names and places of birth in the household.

According to the birth certificates of Alexander John's two children, he was born about 1892 or 1893.. prime age for the WWI draft! I find his WWI Draft Registration Card with him having registered in Jun 1917 in Chicago. It states that he was married, although unfortunately it doesn't state the wife's name. His place of birth more than makes up for the fact of a lack of his wife's name. It states he was born on 25/28 (hard to make out) Jan 1893 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.. as in the Pittsburgh Steelers! I sure wish these dang WWI Draft Registration Cards were much more clearer and easier to read. I've never seen a single clear image. Anyway..

Well considering we know his birth date and place of birth, we should look for him in the 1900 census in Pittsburgh.. and he's easily found.. maybe too easily. He is listed as Alexander J. Rodgers, born Jan 1893. He is with his widowed mother, Louisa Rodgers, born Mar 1870 in Germany. They're both living in the household of Louisa's parents (Alexander's grandparents), William and Sophia C. Houseberg.. natives of Germany. Them being from Germany leads me to believe their surname would've been Haasberg or something similar back in the old country. Haas is the German word for House.. they wouldn't have used "House" in Germany. The family is living at 646 Herron Ave, in Pittsburgh.

At this point, I'm now stuck in a rut. I'm not aware of any resources online for Pittsburgh vital records or even a state census for 1895 (does it even exist?). I then remember this awesome website that has tons of old Pittsburgh city directories digitized online, so I head over to to see what they have available. I find a directory for Pittsburgh 1900, so I decide to take a look.. considering I know Louisa Rodgers (widowed) was living with her parents are 646 Herron Ave. I'm surprised to locate Louisa and she's living at 648 Herron Ave.. and she's listed as the widow of Archibald! What are the odds?

As for Archibald, I did find one result in the Pittsburgh 1880 census for an Archibald that would be roughly 2 years older than Louisa; but I can't be positive it's him, I would need more proof. This Archibald is the son of Alexander (Archibald's only child's name!) and Mary Ann Rodgers, both born about 1837 in Ireland. Interestingly enough, Alexander's occupation is listed as a "puddler", which according to Wikipedia (horrible source, I know...), "puddling was an improved process to convert pig iron into wrought iron with the use of a reverberating furnace"

We now have Aaron Rodgers' connection to the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers! Now I wonder if he has a connection to New York (New York Jets!).. other than immigrations, of course.