What Happened to Helena: The Case of the Disappearing DOTZAUER Daughter



Bavarian immigrants Louis and Louisa (Backert) Dotzauer had five children – all of them born in New York City, four of them surviving to adulthood (surname DOTZAUER):

  1.    Louise, born January 28, 1859. This child appears in the 1860 federal census but not in 1870; she probably died in infancy.
  2.   William Henry, born January 22, 1861, died December 23, 1924 in Flint, MI.
  3.   Louise Helena, born January 18, 1863; family lore says that she disappeared about 1885 in New York City.
  4.   George Edward, born January 16, 1865, died January 30, 1928 in Manchester, CT.
  5.   Adam Louis, born May 21, 1867, died April 13, 1940 in Long Beach, CA.

These children were called by their middle names in the German style of the time. William Henry Dotzauer was known as Harry. George Edward Dotzauer, known as Ed, reversed the order of his given names to “Edward George.” Adam Louis Dotzauer was called Louie.

The sole surviving daughter was Louise Helena Dotzauer. Normally she went by “Helena” and was remembered by her brother Ed as “Lena.” Her birth record gives her name as “Louise H. Dotzhauer,” while her baptismal record states her name as “Helene Catharina Dotzauer” with a date of birth identical to the one recorded by the city of New York. This discrepancy may reflect some discussion by Helena’s parents about what, exactly, to name her. Or it may simply be a clerical error on the part of the First German Presbyterian Church in NYC where Helena was baptized on April 5, 1863.

Louis Dotzauer, father to this brood, inexplicably ended his life on August 29, 1868, when he jumped off the top of the five-story building in which his family resided. His widow Louisa succumbed to smallpox on March 1, 1871. The children – Harry, Lena, Ed, and Louie – ended up in the New York Orphans Asylum. They went their separate ways as they grew to the age where they could be released to the world.

Edward, Harry, and Louie Dotzauer

By the time the 1880 census was taken, all of the Dotzauer siblings had left the orphanage. Harry boarded with a family in Yonkers, in Westchester county, NY, and worked as a machinist. He found work first with a railroad, then with Remington Arms. Ultimately Harry Dotzauer moved to Flint, Michigan, to forge a career with the Buick Corporation, where he rose to the position of plant superintendent.

(L to R) Dotzauer brothers Edward, Harry, and Louie.

Edward Dotzauer was living in Connecticut in 1880. He had been “taken from the orphanage by a Mr. Hettrick (a New Yorker) and placed on the farm of his daughter Mrs. Fox. This was a spacious, beautifully located Gentleman’s farm on the Niantic River in Waterford, Connecticut, about five miles from New London. While there, he was only a farm hand and treated as such. He must have left the farm when he was old enough to be on his own, as he learned the stonecutter’s trade. He couldn’t have worked at this trade long, for he became a machinist in the employ of the D.E. Whiton Machine Co., and worked there ... until he retired about three years prior to his death.” Ed’s daughter Mabel wrote these words on July 7, 1969.

Louie Dotzauer was three days’ shy of his 13th birthday when he left the orphanage on May 18, 1880. Most likely he was put on an orphan train to Iowa, where he lived on a farm and worked, like his brother Ed, as a farm hand. (The Orphan Train Society has no record of him.) The 1880 census shows Louie living in Stanton township, Plymouth county, Iowa, and listed as “adopted” by George and Mina Burt, a farming couple whose birthplaces were listed as New York. Louie’s career included working as a teacher and farmer, running for office (Plymouth county, IA, clerk; he lost), and running a garage business with his son after they moved to Long Beach, California. Data from the 1940 census indicate that Louie had completed four years of high school.

Considering how far apart the three Dotzauer brothers ended up, it is surprising and gratifying that they managed to stay in contact with each other.

This brings us to Helena and what became of her. Seventeen-year-old Lena Dotzauer was enumerated in 1880 as a servant living in the household of Joseph Cudlipp and his wife Jane in Kings Bridge, New York county, NY – in the area now generally known as the Bronx.




Family lore tells us these orphaned children had a bachelor uncle living in the city. No one could recall the name of this uncle, though he was remembered as a musician or music teacher. Apparently he drowned in the Hudson River (or in the East River – accounts vary) on one of his frequent swims. And this uncle had given (or left) a sum of money to each child.

The Dotzauer children’s uncle was Johann Georg Zitzmann, older half‐brother of Louis Dotzauer, the children’s father.

Johann Georg went by “John G. Zitzman” in the US. He was born circa 1826 in Germany, almost certainly Burgpreppach, Bavaria. He was one of six children born to Erhard and Barbara (Müzel) Zitzmann. In 1830, after Erhard’s death, Barbara married Georg Adam Dotzauer and had three more children, including Louis.

Per the 1870 census, John G. Zitzmann was an unmarried music teacher living in Yonkers, Westchester county, NY. He died intestate in Yonkers on or around June 27, 1876. Given that the city of Yonkers borders the Hudson River, we’d guess that is where John drowned.

By the time John’s estate was settled – paying off debts and compensating administrators for their work – its initial valuation of $496.50 dropped to a final sum of $270.04. Half of that went to John’s surviving half‐brother Wilhelm Dotzauer in Germany. The rest was divided equally among the four Dotzauer orphans.

The children’s inheritance money, $35.75 each, sat in the Peekskill Savings Bank for a while, earning interest. We suspect the money was disbursed to each when he or she reached 21 years of age. By 1886, only Eddie’s and Louie’s inheritance sums were left in the bank, increased by $7.77 in interest. By 1887, only Louie’s sum remained, having grown to a total of $46.68. Louie would not be 21 years old for another year. And he now lived in Iowa.

As the story goes, Harry and Ed (but probably really just Harry) agreed to loan Louie’s share to Helena, who wanted to use it for a business venture of the family with whom she was living.

Helena disappeared some time after that, and never paid the loan back. The older boys ended up repaying Louie from their own funds. This story was handed down through Louie’s family. Louie’s grandson Donald E. Dotzauer told us that Harry and Ed Dotzauer went to New York City to search for their sister. They did not find her.

Edward Dotzauer’s eldest daughter, Mabel Dotzauer Watson, wrote in 1968, “Our Dotzauer grandparents had a daughter named Lena. The Dotzauer brothers lost all track of their sister and I know this was of much concern to my parents. They did their best to follow any leads as to her whereabouts.”

Edward Dotzauer’s youngest daughter, Dorothy “Dottie” Dotzauer Lockward, recalled her father’s sister as “Louisa” (Helena’s first name was Louise). Dottie wrote in the 1980’s that her cousin Marjorie Dotzauer Griffin (Harry’s child) “could not solve the mystery of our fathers’ sister.... The brothers had never been able to locate her and had reached the conclusion that perhaps she had died. Throughout my childhood I had romantic fantasies of finding her. Nowadays the media can help locate lost relatives. But by now Aunt Louisa would indeed be long dead.”




The family with the ‘business venture’ probably was that of Joseph and Jane (Hill) Cudlipp, who employed Lena as live-in domestic help. They appear to have been an ambitious couple. Joseph's father, Joseph Cudlipp, Sr., an Englishman by birth, was listed in the 1850 census as a “gardener.” By the time of the 1860 census, Joseph, Sr., had become a “gentleman” by occupation, and a wealthy man, while Joseph, Jr., was listed as a gardener. When the father died in August 1863, the son inherited the house and a portion of the land.

On January 23, 1867, the New York Times published an item regarding the creation of a Laborers’ Savings Bank:

“The bill to incorporate this bank, introduced by Mr. LEFEVRE, names as incorporators Ira O. Miller, R. L. Darragh, G. W. Bradford, Joel W. Mason, Wm. A. Darling, Alex. Ward, Robert Wilson, G. N. Furguson, Fred. Kopp, G. R. Denton, Joseph Cudlipp, and others. Said bank to be located north of Fortieth-street in New-York City.”

The 1870 census notes that Joseph Cudlipp was now a “manufacturer.” But by 1876, Joseph seems to have encountered some trouble. He was named a defendant in a foreclosure case brought by the United States Trust Company of New York. (We don’t know the outcome of that.) The 1880 census, where we find Lena working for and residing with the Cudlipp family, recorded Joseph as a “farmer.”

There was at least one more lawsuit in which the Cudlipps were involved, following the untimely death of their only son, Joseph Raymond Cudlipp, in 1895. This 1903 suit, related to the foreclosure sale of property which Raymond would have inherited, had he outlived his parents, revealed that (a) Raymond had "executed a mortgage upon his interest in the premises," which ended in foreclosure nearly two years after Raymond’s death; (b) Raymond’s father, Joseph, had put these real estate holdings in his wife Jane’s name; and (c) there was a lien on this property due to non-payment of “taxes and water rents on the premises.” (Little wonder the plaintiff, who bought this real estate at the foreclosure sale, encountered trouble obtaining clear title to it.) Jane Cudlipp lost the appeal.

Overall, Joseph Cudlipp seems to have prospered in business and achieved the status he sought. In fact, in the 1900 census, Joseph’s occupation was recorded as “capitalist.” His two daughters married affluent men; and the elder of the two, Jane Wilhelmine, is listed with her husband and two children in the 1916 New York Social Register. When Joseph died in 1917 at age 83, the New York Times published his obituary:

“Joseph Cudlipp, a veteran of the civil war, in which he fought as a member of the Seventy-first New York Regiment, and a retired lawyer, died last night at his home, 60 West Seventy-fifth Street, in his eighty-fourth year. Mr. Cudlipp was a member of an old New York family, his ancestors being among the early settlers of Bloomingdale. The Cudlipp estate was once at Seventy-sixth Street and the old Bloomingdale Road. Mr. Cudlipp was once a member of the Committee of Seventy of the Board of Aldermen, and was a candidate for Representative from his district many years ago.”

Joseph Cudlipp was laid to rest in Trinity Church Cemetery in Manhattan where his parents, wife, and son are also interred.




Tempting as it may be to assume that Joseph Cudlipp exploited his young housekeeper and her modest sums – Lena likely invested both her own and Louie’s cash – we simply can’t know what took place. Lena may not have been misled or coerced into contributing to that business venture; she might have wanted to participate. That Lena’s disappearance was connected somehow to the question of Louie’s money, however, seems a reasonable assumption. Lena probably was afraid to face Harry and Ed after losing Louie’s money.

Harry remained in New York a lot longer than both Ed and Louie, making him and Helena nearer neighbors. Harry would have tried looking for Lena at the last address he had for her. If that place was the Cudlipp house, then Lena probably had left their employ without telling them where she went next.

Unlike the Cudlipps, Lena Dotzauer was virtually invisible in the commerce of New York City. We’ve not found her name in any NYC directory, possibly because domestic servants residing in the homes of their employers don’t seem to be listed along with the dressmakers, shoe shiners, clerks, and laborers who lived in the city’s tenements.

Thanks, however, to a couple of vital records preserved by the City of New York and made available online, we finally know something about what happened to Helena.




Lena got married at age 30. On November 18, 1893, in Manhattan, Helena “Dotzaner” wed John “Artiago” (certificate #14477). John’s surname was Arteaga, but Artiago is how it appears in the online groom’s index for NYC marriages.

John, known as Juan in his younger years, was born June 24, 1852, in Key West, Monroe county, Florida, and grew up there. He appears to have been the eldest child of José M. Arteaga and Juana Perez, immigrants from the Canary Islands (owned by Spain).

Apparently Juan first married a woman named Mary Louisa Baker on June 18, 1878, in Key West. They had at least two children together – son Willard and daughter Irene. When the 1880 federal census was taken, Juan, Mary, and baby Willard were living with Mary’s parents. By 1885, however, when the Florida state census was taken, Mary and her two kids were still living in Mary’s parents’ household but Juan is not listed with them then or ever again.

Juan’s brother Manuel spent time living and working in New York City, so it seems that Juan – “John” – chose to relocate there with him. Manuel’s name shows up in a couple of NYC directories, but John’s name never appears.

Little more than six months after John and Lena’s wedding, Lena had a baby.

Name: Frank Perrie Arteaga
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 29 May 1894
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA
Father's Name: John Arteaga
Mother's Name: Helena Louisa Dotzauer Arteaga

“New York, Births and Christenings, 1640-1962,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FDBW-LFZ : accessed 14 Aug 2013), Helena Louisa Dotzauer Arteaga in entry for Frank Perrie Arteaga, 29 May 1894.

This child does not show up in the 1900 census; probably he died in infancy.

Lena moved with her husband to Tampa, Florida, where she gave birth to a daughter named Angela on October 12, 1895. John and “Luisa” Arteaga are listed in the Tampa city directory for 1899; and they are recorded in Tampa in the 1900 census and all subsequent censuses until the end of their lives.

Lena went missing in the late 1880s but did not leave New York until 1894-95. We can only think that she didn’t want her brothers to find her. Harry, Ed, and Louie Dotzauer never knew anything about their sister’s marriage and children.

While this is a profoundly sad story, the silver lining is that Lena seems to have lived a stable life with her new family in Tampa.




In the beginning, John, Lena, and Angela Arteaga lived in the part of Tampa known as Ybor City, at one time the “cigar capital of the world.” John worked as a cigar‐maker, as did nearly every one of their neighbors.

On April 27, 1912, in Hillsborough county, Florida (probably Tampa), 16-year-old Angela Arteaga wed Joaquin Rodriguez. Joaquin and Angela (Arteaga) Rodriguez had at least two children – a son, Joaquin, Jr., born circa 1913; and a daughter named Elena Luisa who died (at age “0”) on December 9, 1914, in Tampa and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Tampa, the next day. It’s probably safe to say that Angela named her little girl after her own mother.

By 1920, Angela, her husband, and her son resided in the southeastern part of Tampa known as Palmetto Beach, near McKay Bay. John and Lena lived with them. Interestingly, Angela was a working mother: This census gives her occupation as “stripper” in a “cigar factory.” Perhaps Helena cared for Joaquin, Jr., while Angela worked.

Ancestry.com offers more than a dozen years’ worth of Tampa city directories in which we find John and Helena listed. John occasionally shows up as Juan. Helena shows up as Louisa, Luisa, Lena, Elena, Helene, and Helena (but most often as Lena).

John Arteaga died at age 84 at his home, 2019 Corrine St., Tampa, on November 11, 1936, just a week ahead of his and Helena’s 43rd wedding anniversary. He was laid to rest in Woodlawn Cemetery in Tampa, in the “Old Section,” “Monument Garden,” Block 96, Lot 3, Space 3.

Our last glimpse of Helena is in the 1940 census. The spelling of her last name suffered one more variation, this time as “Artuaga.” Helena lived with her daughter and son-in-law in the same house as in 1935. The novel item this census offers us is a listing of the “highest grade of school completed.” Joaquin, Sr., had completed the 3rd grade, while both Helena and Angela had completed the 4th grade.

Louise Helena (Dotzauer) Arteaga outlived all of her brothers. She died on January 25, 1944, at a hospital in Tampa. Three days later she was interred in the same plot in Woodlawn Cemetery where her husband Juan was buried. Apparently someone thought Lena was 82 years old when she died. Our data, which gives her birth year as 1863, suggests that Lena had celebrated her 81st birthday exactly a week before she passed away. Lena’s obituary mentioned her home as the same Corrine St. address and named two survivors, daughter Angela Rodriguez and grandson Jack Rodriguez.




Memorial medallion on the gravestone of Juan Arteaga Perez

What could possibly be better than finding Lena? Finding a picture of her, too.

This black-and-white photo of a man and woman is on the memorial medallion affixed to Juan’s headstone. Who else could it be but Juan and his wife? Despite the pitting that mars the medallion’s surface, we could see the woman’s resemblance to Edward Dotzauer’s daughters, particularly Mabel.

We are indebted to Mike and Bushy Hartman who took these headstone photos and posted them online, with dates of birth and death, at the Fernandez Cousins website, on one of its Cemeteries pages. It was the Fernandez Cousins website that gave us the full Spanish form of Juan’s name, Juan Arteaga Perez, allowing us to find his listing at the Find A Grave website and at the City of Tampa website offering a search engine for locating Tampa burials.

Please note that Arteaga got transcribed as “Ortega” by someone compiling probably-handwritten burial documents. The Find A Grave volunteer posting Juan’s and Lena’s info used data from volumes produced by the Florida Genealogical Society for the years covering 1840 to 1985.

Lena’s listing at Find A Grave gives her name as Luisa Elena Artiaga. The little girl who was named Louise Helena by her German immigrant parents grew up to marry a man with Spanish roots. By the end of her life, Lena’s name reflected her new family’s heritage.

We know the Dotzauer brothers cared about their lost sister. And we’re glad she’s finally ‘found,’ more than 100 years later.

Gravestone of Juan Arteaga Perez

POSTSCRIPT: We have not determined what became of Joaquin and Angela (Arteaga) Rodriguez’s son Joaquin “Jack” Rodriguez, Jr., born circa 1913 in Tampa. Did he have children? If any of Juan and Lena (Dotzauer) Arteaga’s living descendants find this article and wish to contact the author, please do! An email address can be found on our Home page.


© 2013‐2023 Elaine Schenot


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