John Etzel: City of Reading, Berks Co., PA

Are you using the long weekend to get a jump-start on your family history research?  Extra time to comb through records, articles, and photos?  After wearing both boys out at the playground this morning (and subsequent naps!), I decided to dig into the state records at Family Search - LDS genealogy website that I love, love, love for many reasons.

If you've experimented at all with their state records database, you know what I mean by "dig".  Many of the databases available are simply a collection of scanned records with no index...requiring lots of patience and time to painstakingly "flip" through the digital pages to find your item of interest.  This patient searching has paid off on many occasion - leading to some of my biggest finds!  One database in particular that has been helpful for my research is the collection of Pennsylvania Probate Records.  Unlike some of the other state collections of probate records, this collection is organized by county with alphabetical and chronological listings by the date that the will was "proved" (executed).

Since I had nothing else on my agenda for today (really...I have a million things I could be including PACKING for a trip back home to Georgia next week!)...I flipped, and flipped, and flipped through pages.  EUREKA!  Found a nugget.

John Etzel (1825-1904), born in Germany - died in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Wife Maria (Mary)
Children: Elizabeth (Etzel) Luden and Rose (Etzel) Oberly
John Etzel is my 3rd great-grandfather on my maternal grandmother's side of the family.

I've worked many an hour attempting to track down Mr. Etzel and his wife Maria prior to their arrival in the United States.  While this record doesn't add anything knew to my knowledge, it is definite proof of his relationship to his daughters Elizabeth and Rose.  Elizabeth's husband, Edward Musser Luden, was the executor of Mr. Etzel's will (his wife died in 1891).  Of particular interest here is a physical description of his property on 211 Moss Street, Reading, PA.  Google Maps' street view shows that this property is now a parking lot...


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