John Etzel: Continuing the Search

Topographic View of the City of Reading, Pennsylvania, 1881.  Library of Congress

Research Goal: To locate information about John ETZEL (1826-1904) and wife Maria SCHUMACHER (1837-1894) prior to their listing in the 1860 US Federal Census in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Context: John Etzel  is my 3rd great-grandfather on my mother's maternal side of the family.
In 1860, John and Maria ETZEL are listed in the US Federal Census in Reading, Berks, Pennsylvania -

John, age 35, male, laborer, birthplace - Baden
Mary, age 23, female, birthplace - Baden
Rose, age 6, female, birthplace - Ohio
Lizzie, age 2, female, birthplace - Pennsylvania.

This indicates to me that John and Mary lived in Ohio at some time between 1855-1858, based on birth date and location for daughter Rose ETZEL.  Census records are notoriously "off" when it comes to specific birth dates, and late US Census records give an approximate birth year of 1855 for Rose Etzel and 1858 for Elizabeth (Lizzie) Etzel.

With those dates in mind, as well as the date of immigration for John ETZEL listed in the 1900 US Federal Census (he gives an arrival date in the US of 1854), I searched through the passenger lists at  Castle Garden was the precursor to Ellis Island, accepting immigrants from 1855-1890 in New York ( 

Low and behold, here is what I found:


This is the only ETZEL listed in 1854 with a name and age the information I already know about my relative.  Wife "Maria" is not listed.  Destination: Cincinnati.

Could this be my John Etzel?

More research to follow!  Also, did he meet Maria in Cincinnati...when did they marry...and did they come from the same hometown? 


  1. Intriguing! Now you can look to see if there is a passenger list of that particular ship and see if there is anyone interesting arriving with him. Nice find!


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