24 August 2011

Wisdom Wednesday - Collateral Lines and Ancestry Searches

I've heard that it's okay to search collateral lines from several sources. I've wanted to focus on my main four branches so as not to get lost in someone's tree. In a database containing 1500+ names, about 200 have been the four main lines of my family (Geiszler, Comfort, Brown, Long).

Well, I decided that in focusing on the main branches that collateral lines are important if I'm not doing someone else's line. If I'm trying to research in-laws and neighbors in an attempt to find an elusive ancestor, then I'm doing something productive. As a patient genealogist, I'm trying to be patient as I learn somethings that veteran genealogists have known probably since their birth. (Okay, just kidding).

Continuing on with my new resolve, I watched a webinar on Ancestry.com in an attempt to figure out their system. I hoped to pick up some skills that would allow me to better search for ancestors.

Okay... putting this all together, let's see how this plays out.

I know very little about my 3g grandpa Joseph Geißler. Here is what I know:

Born abt 1836 in Baden
Married: 16 Feb 1856 Caroline Mäck in Franklin County, Ohio
Resided: 1860 in Prairie, Franklin, Ohio
Death
: 5 Jul 1863 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio

This is who I'm trying to learn about. A family member has shared that Joseph settled onto property in Franklin County near two other German families: Mäck and Puesecker. In the 1860 Census record, Caroline said she had arrived in 1854. Her parents and brother Heinrich Louis Mäck were also listed in this Census record.

Here's where I decided to take a tangent. I decided to research Heinrich Mäck to see what I could find. I used Ancestry.com and played with the settings under name fields. I selected Restrict to exact matches and Soundex. That allowed me to find several more records then leaving the setting at default. Didn't really understand that option, until now. Then I also filtered results to include just Collections from the United States. Finally! I stopped receiving thousands of records that didn't match. Man I wish I understand these two simple filters so long ago!

Anyway, I came across lots of information about Heinrich
Mäck.

Birth 30 Aug 1842 - Hannover, Preußen, Germany*
Arrival: 1855 (1900 US Census)

Residence: 1860 Prairie, Franklin, Ohio, United States (1860 US Census)
Married: 15 Dec 1868 to Caroline W Pusecker (1900 gave wife's given name and marriage year, family records gave additional)
Residence: 1870 Norwich, Franklin, Ohio, United States
(1870 US Census)
Residence: 1900 Hilliard Village, Franklin, Ohio (1900 US Census)
Residence: 1910 Norwich, Franklin, Ohio, United States (1910 US Census)
Death: 24 Sep 1910*

* family tree, no official record found of yet

He was hard to find as in 1860 he was Loue Mack, 1870 he was Henry Mack, and 1900 & 1910 he was Louis Mack.

That's fairly normal, but I wanted to know more. So I gave an attempt at looking for the passenger list in 1854 (Caroline) and 1855 (Heinrich).

On the Ancestry.com website, I started with a basic search for Heinrich Mack. I then added information for the arrival date of 1855 and opted for +/- 5 years. I entered the Origin as Hannover and then pressed submit. I received FAR too many hits. I also switched from Summarized by Category to Sort by Relevance on the initial results page. I didn't see anything with an arrival date in 1855. I did see a Heinrich Macke with an arrival date of 23 Oct 1854. I thought that was interesting. But I wasn't certain. There were still a lot of potential options.

So I decided to change the Mack last name settings to Exact with Phonetic matches. This time I narrowed my window of arrival to +/- 1 year. Another Heinrich Mach appeared arriving in 13 Nov 1854. His age didn't seem correct. I wanted to find out who else was on the ship. If other family members were on the ship.
When I attempted to examine the passenger list, I was unable to see the original. The Baltimore Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1820-1872 are currently unavailable online. I had no way of knowing who else was on the ship to see if this was his family.

So I decided to change my search strategy. This time I selected search the Baltimore record only. I entered the last name Macke (default name filter) and no first name. I entered arrival date 1855 +/- 5 years. I receive 165 potential hits.



I saw a Caroline Mach (Heinrich's sister) with the closest age match. There is also a Heinrich Mach, 36, and Christina, 40. I knew these to be the names of Caroline's parents. So I wanted to continue filtering the records until I could see a family that looked like the Mack family I knew about. I narrowed my window down to a range of 1854-1856.



This one looked more promising. I can't find Heinrich at the correct age of 12-13. However, I noticed a Ludwig Mach, which could become Loue in 1860. I can't confirm this family is the one I'm seeking. Family history says that the Mack, Geiszler and Puesecker families traveled from Hanover to the US together and settled on property in Franklin County, together. I'll need to search this ship's records further to determine if the family story is accurate and if these families were on the same ship. If this is my family, there are several other Mach's on the ship that can be included in this 'tangent' family's file. Plus, I'll have one more nugget of information on my 3rd great-grandma Caroline.

The long and short of it, is I searched collateral lines and used some new found Ancestry.com tips to generate a lead which just might help me break a brick wall on Joseph Geißler.

1 comment:

  1. This was a great example of following collateral lines. Good luck in the continuing search!

    ReplyDelete

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