05 November 2013

Occupations of Henry Geiszler

George Geiszler with his parents: Maggie Hoppe and Henry Geiszler, c 1920s


My second great-grandfather was Henry Geiszler, of Columbus, Ohio. My fellow Geiszler researcher said that Henry was in the practical horse shoeing business. I've been attempting to create a timeline to determine when this might have taken place.

I constructed this time line based upon the records indicated:

1889, 1890, 1891 Columbus City Directories - occupation, stone mason
1900 US Census - occupation, car repairer
1910 US Census - laborer, General Work
1920 US Census - (Two entries) either laborer, odd job, or Well Driller in construction
1930 US Census - Can't find him (though I speculate he's living above a bar. Not sure)
1931 Death record - he dies

Henry had two sons, William Joseph Geiszler and George Joseph Geiszler. My fellow genealogist is from William's line. I'm from George's line He says that William took over Henry's practical horseshoing business and pursued that as his own profession. He even has a photo of the old Horse Shoing shop with the Geiszler name on the sign outside.

William J Geiszler Practical Horseshoers


William's family history includes a story of Henry moved around doing well-drilling.  It is believed that he must have made core samples for construction. The assumption is that Henry invested money he made doing this in the Practical Horseshoers venture. If this family story is accurate, then he might have opened the horse shoing business after the 1920s.

Another family story suggests that there was a  lucrative contract, providing services to the polo club.  I do not know if this was William, the son, or Henry the father who might have had this contract. And I do not know which polo club is being referred to.

Another speculation is that Henry Geiszler is listed as a building inspector, apparently a municipal patronage job.  It is believed Henry, and or his son William, are in a group composite photo at the old Germania club that hung on the wall. Further speculation links him to the Democratic Party machine.

But what is practical horse shoing?

The Geiszler horse shoing business did not make the horeshoes. Instead, they purchased blanks from a manufacturer. The Geiszler store was like a shoe store for horses.  The shoes would be selected, a horse's hooves clipped, and then appropriate the shoes attached. 

My cousin has this selection of the shoe blanks that he mounted on a board.  There were different styles of shoe for different purposes, like shoes are different.  What does the horse do?  What kind of surface is he walking on, or running?



How does someone begin to validate these stories?

My cousin suggested that if Henry purchased the land upon which the business located, then there would be a deed record at the courthouse.  But if he only leased the land, purchased and adapted an existing structure, or bought the business already existing on leased land, then there would be no real way to trace it. 

So... the first step is to look for deeds between 1920 - 1930 that have the last name Geiszler.

Now, it's possible that Henry was never involved in the horse shoing business. In the 1920 US Census, William is listed as a blacksmith, owning his own shop. The same is true in the 1930s. So, is this blacksmith shop the horse shoing shop? As a blacksmith, horse shoes could certainly be made. If William is doing this in the 1920s, it's entirely possible that the business was purhcased before 1920s, so perhaps I should really look at deeds between 1910 and 1925.

Another twist... William is listed as a  seventeen year-old apprentice blacksmith in the 1900 US Census. I have not found him in the 1910 US Census. To me, the blacksmith/horse shoing story is leaning more towards something that William did. I wonder who he was apprenticed to and how long his apprenticeship was. Additionally, when did William start his own shop? Did he take over from his mentor?

I also would love to find out how to determine if Henry was a building inspector and when.

I would also love to know what history 'the old Germania' club has and if any Geiszlers appear in their records or photo composites.



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