Saturday, December 6, 2014

John Etzel: Place Name Game


Schöllkrippen, Germany (Image Source HERE)

This month, I have been spending the majority of my research time working through one particular family unit from my mother's side of the family - John (Johann) ETZEL (1826-1904) and wife Maria (Schumacher) ETZEL (1837-1894).  Here are quick links to previous installments -part I (from 2013), part II, part III, and part IV.

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.


A week or so ago, I last wrote about my search for more information about my 3rd great-grandfather, John Etzel.  I presented a great find - his name (and the names of his future in-laws and wife, Maria Schumacher) on a passenger list from the port of New YorkOne question remained: where was the city/village "Schillgrippe", listed on the passenger form, originally located?  Gazetteer searches proved fruitless...and I was out of ideas.  Until I decided to ask the question on an Ancestry.com message board...


Here was the reply I received from a gentleman in Germany in less than 24 hours after my initial post (yay!):


"...This location could be Schöllkrippen in the northern part of the Bavarian county of Aschaffenburg (district of Lower Franconia), in the local dialect "Schöllgröbbe". The older Catholic parish registers are in an archive in Würzburg. Please keep me informed, if you need further assistance."

YES!  Genealogical gold.  

Here is the place name information as described in one of my favorite German genealogical resources - the Meyers Gazetteer of the German Empire:

Source: Ancestry.com. Meyers Gazetteer of the German Empire [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
Original data: Erich Uetrecht. Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs. 5th Edition. Leipzig, Germany: Bibliographisches Institut, 1912-1913.

I find it so interesting that the town's name is Schollkrippen, yet as the person responding to my post indicated, this place name would have sounded like "Schillgrippe" in Johannes Etzel's regional dialect (especially to an English-speaking port authority).  Schollkrippen is located due east of Frankfurt (love the airport, by the way!).

One mystery solved.  Now, to track down the Etzel family in Germany.  Sadly, it appears that his naturalization documents in Cincinnati, Ohio were destroyed in the late 1800s when a riot caused the courthouse - and important records - to burn. 

I last promised an article about a connection I found between my John (Johannes) Etzel and another Etzel family in Reading, PA...stay tuned! 

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