Sunday, November 28, 2010

Collaterals to the Rescue!

So this week's post isn't so much about research in the southern United States except the family I was working on did come to Texas. They were German immigrants. I was having a hard time finding the origins of a couple who both came to Texas where they married about 1873. Death certificates weren't much help even though they both died in the 20th century. Apparently they never told their kids much about their lives in the old country because only the death certificate of the wife gave a surname for her father but no other information was supplied for either. Talk about frustration!!

I found that the husband had petitioned for citizenship and so I sent to the District courthouse for copies of his records but to my dismay they didn't give any indication of his village back in Germany. It only gave a date of arrival in the United States. A search of passenger lists didn't turn up anyone with his name on a ship that came in that day. More frustration!!

I then turned my focus on the family of the wife. Because I knew her maiden name, I found references to a citizenship record for a male with the same surname in the same county as the ancestral couple. Once again the citizenship papers came back with no place of origin except Germany. It didn't even give an arrival date!! My next step was to go to the census and see if I could locate this man and see if I could tie him back to the wife.

I traced him in several census records and located him with his widowed mother and several siblings. I then went to the passenger lists and found the ship they came in on but the ancestral wife I was hoping to find wasn't ever listed with the family but I didn't stop there.

Since the family arrived before the 1870 census year. I searched for them in 1870. I found them, the mother and the children, listed with a man, the probable father. Also listed with the family in birth order as if she were a daughter was the female ancestor I was looking for!! What was also hopeful was that they were living just a few counties away from where she and her husband were living in 1880.

To verify that this was probably her I looked for her future husband as they were known to have married in 1873. Lo and behold I found him in the same county as his future bride. I also found to my delight that there was another young man with the same last name also living in the same household. No they weren't living with parents but these two men were probably brothers who had come over together and were living as boarders. Now I can go back to passenger lists and see if I can find the two men coming over together.

Oh and I forgot to mention that the passenger list for the mother who came over with her children gave a village name in Germany!! More future searches. It is interesting to think about this family. I'm wondering if the father and the other daughter, the ancestor, were already here when mom and the other children arrived or if they were missed on the passenger list. More mysteries to solve!

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