We Will Go... Hi Ho The Merry O.......
I've been hunting this week in a place I've never been. I've been
hunting for some "old country roots" for a friend of mine. With
scant information, and I mean scant, I've searched for her
grandparents. All she knew is her birth father was reported to be
first generation American of German descent.
The hunt began easily with a search on one of the paid sites to which
I subscribe. A hunt that ended almost as soon as I began. I found
the marriage of her parents and then I found the birth of her
father. Her father's birth record lists the name of his parents.
The problem is that's about all it listed.
Her grandfather had a name which was Americanized. What I haven't
found is whether he changed the name or whether his new name came
from when he immigrated. According to census records, he was born
about 1863 in Germany and he immigrated in 1881. So, he is here too
late for the 1880 census and there are no remaining records of the
A person with his last name and a name similar to his Americanized
name is found sailing into New York in 1881. This information states
he was single and originated in Prussia. So now what. Keep hunting.
The next record found is one of the Americanized name application for
a passport in 1894. On this application, the name is correct, the
year and month of birth is correct. The year of his immigration
correlates with the year of immigration found on the census reports.
Other information noted is a specific location in Germany--
Ruthweif, Rhinforting (sic?). What is odd is this application was in
San Francisco, not Washington State as I had anticipated.
The application stated he lived in both St Louis and in San Francisco
since moving to America and was naturalized in St Louis in 1886. It
still can not be discounted as being the incorrect man. But, he is
not documented fully as being the right man. As of now, I strongly
suspect he is the man for whom I am searching. To date, I have no
rumors of when he moved to Washington or where he lived for the first
several years of being in America.
The 1900 census shows our man living in Kitsap Co, Washington, as a
boarder and he has been naturalized. The US Immigrations Records
show our man going to Germany for a visit in 1904.
The 1910 census shows him married to a German girl who came over
about 1904. Now, since I don't have a good feel for the spelling of
her maiden name, I have yet to identify her coming into the country.
What I have uncovered is she was about 20 years younger than her
husband. They rapidly had 3 girls and one boy. Since it appears she
became a citizen after 1906, we can check with the federal government
for her naturalization papers. All naturalizations before 1906 were
done locally with no requirement to send paperwork to the federal
government. Finding naturalizations before 1906 really means hunting
long and hard for where someone was living when they were
naturalized, and then finding which court naturalized them.
Our man disappears after the 1930 census. His wife's death was
easily found from the Washington State Death Index. Since the index
is only online from 1940 and his name is not listed, I will deduce he
died between 1930-1940.
The hunt is far from over. Next, I contacted the Random Acts of
Kindness organization and found a volunteer in Kitsap County. Within
a 24 hour period, this volunteer has located the obits and popped
them in the mail. I look forward to seeing if the obits answer any
of my questions.
I've also sent the passport application to a cousin of mine to see if
he can decipher the correct name of the town and region of Germany.
I look forward to seeing his response.
Hunting for kin. A Hunting we will go. Hi Ho, the Merry O- can't
wait to see the catch!