Friday, November 21, 2014

Etzel Family Origins...


Image Source HERE



...still a mystery!  

(*Context - John Etzel (1826-1904) is my 3rd great-grandfather on my mother's maternal side of the family)

Every family researcher - novice and professional alike - eventually finds themselves face to face with what is commonly called a genealogical "brick wall".  In less than a minute, I can rattle off my list of most-wanted individuals.  I will neither confirm nor deny that these brick walls have robbed me of precious sleep on occasion.  What if?  Where?  Who?  Why?  

Last year, I wrote a bit about John ETZEL (1826-1904), his will and probate record in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania.  Mr. Etzel emigrated from Germany to the United States about 1854, according to the 1900 US Federal Census in Reading, PA.  Prior to this, though, I hit a brick wall with both John and his wife, Maria Schumacher (1837-1894).  The local prothonotary office could not locate a copy of his naturalization paperwork (which should give birth date, home town, etc.) even though I know from census records that he naturalized at some point prior to 1900.  Also, since wife Maria died before the 1900 census (valuable because it requires citizens to answer whether or not they are alien or naturalized & approximate date of arrival)...I do not know whether or not the couple were married prior to arrival or afterward.  I assume they arrived together - but that is just a gut feeling.  As for home town - that is also a mystery.  Here is a breakdown of info provided by census documents:

Birthplace of husband and wife John and Maria/Mary ETZEL listed in US Federal Census:

1860 - Baden
1870 - Bavaria/Bayern
1880- Prussia
1890 (no census available)
1900 - Germany (John Etzel...wife died in 1894)

One solution - I am looking for a town that was located in Baden in 1860, Bavaria in 1870, Prussia in 1880, and "Germany" in 1900.  This will require a refresher course in Germany history...specifically studying the ever-changing borders on historical maps.  What was considered Baden in 1860 might just have been considered Prussia by 1880.  I think I need about 5 extra hours in my day to tackle this one :).

In the meantime, here is a snippet from the US Civil War Draft Registration in 1863 including John ETZEL:

Source: Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
  


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