Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Timing Is Everything

Even in genealogy, timing can make a huge difference. The level of detail on certain documents produced a decade or two apart is astonishing.

A passenger list from the 1870s provides just the basic information such as name, age, gender, occupation, country departed, and country intended to inhabit. The 1899 immigration record for my great-grandmother, Elise (Alice) Laubersheimer, provides so much more. I can see that her last residence was Pirmasens, Germany; her final destination was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and that she was going to join her uncle Fred Waldschmidt on Federal Street in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

My husband's great-grandfather, Caspar Kaufman, arrived in the U.S. in 1876. He submitted his petition for naturalization in 1911. That document is such a treasure! Unlike earlier naturalization records, it contains the birth details for his entire immediate family, showing that the family moved around Washington and Allegheny counties in Pennsylvania, until settling in the town of McDonald:
  • Casper - 25 Jul 1858, Breitenbach, Germany
  • Gertrude - no birth date given, Valrodt (perhaps Wallrode?), Germany
  • Elizabeth - 19 Apr 1884, Bulger, Pa.
  • Mary - 14 Nov 1887, Oakdale, Pa.
  • Edward - 24 Jan 1890, Oakdale, Pa.
  • Margaret - 18 Dec 1891, Sturgeon, Pa.
  • George - 1 Mar 1896, Midway, Pa.
  • Anna - 23 Jun 1900, Midway, Pa.
  • William - 6 Feb 1903, Midway, Pa.
  • Freda - 5 Jul 1905, Venice, Pa.

An additional bonus is that it's typed, so it's easy to read. I'm very glad that Casper waited almost 40 years to finalize his U.S. citizenship!

Petition for Naturalization, Casper Kaufmann, 1911

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