Joseph Geissler: Naturalization Page Neighbors

Naturalization Paper Neighbor Analysis

In Examining Naturalization Dockets for Joseph Geißler's, I featured the court docket when my three times great-grandfather officially became an American citizen. I noted that several individuals from Baden, Joseph's home country, also became citizens the same day. I had the ambitious goal of learning more about these men in hopes of finding a family or traveling companions to my ancestor. The initial results were difficult to obtain.

Naturalization registration Franklin County Ohio 1863
Naturalization registration with the Franklin County Superior Court
Autumn 1863 Term, date: October 11, 1858.  (1 of 2 pages)

Here are the results of my attempts to find the following Baden now American citizens:

First, I'll start with the witness for my ancestor:

Joseph's witness is Adam Nortlick or Novttichi.
I've searched the 1850 and 1860 US Census and the City Directories for such a person. I am having absolutely no luck, no matter what combination of characters and names I use. HELP!!!! Who is this person and why can't I find him? I might find him outside of the 1850-1860 time period, but how would I be certain that I have the right man. I need someone who would have been in Franklin County prior to Joseph's arrival and might still be in the area following the naturalization process. I'm coming up empty handed.

Next, I examined the first name after Joseph's of someone who was originally from Baden along with his witness.

Ferdinand Reichardt of Baden
I've not found Ferdinand in the 1860 US Census. There's an outside possibility that Ferdinand is in Ohio in the 1850s, but I'm inclined to believe his naturalization would have occurred earlier if he arrived earlier. My current speculation is that Ferdinand used a different name in the census records and city directories causing him to be difficult to find. Otherwise, I have the wrong spelling of his name and I need help reading the writing. 
Ferdinand's witness Jacob Fearbach
I found Jacob Farbach along with a number of records that helped me to create his family on FamilySearch. His personal id #LK1W-7GQ is and you can go directly to his profile by clicking here.  Jacob was a German immigrant who arrived in America in the 1849-1851 time frame. He was about 39 when he served as Ferdinand's naturalization witness. He is also a Baden native. Boy do I wish he was Joseph's witness as he was much easier to discover. 
I also noticed that in the 1860 US Census, Jacob and his wife were boarding 4 other Baden natives. Perhaps he was a conduit that brought other Baden immigrants to Columbus, Ohio. Too bad Ohio didn't have an 1855 Census. That would have been pretty cool to discover. If I had more time/resources, I would love to see when Jacob received his naturalization. I'd also like to see just how many other German's he was the witness for. 
The next name on the same page of my ancestor was John Schlegel and his witness.

John Schlegel of Baden
I've found a number of John Schlegel's death records in locations other than Franklin County. As such, I'm not certain if they relate to this John or not. Additionally, I'm not certain if I'm spelling his last name right or what the alternative spellings could be. He may be in Franklin County in the 1858-1860 time frame but I am using the wrong search strategy to uncover him.

John's witness Peter Bauer
In the 1858, Columbus City Directory, I discovered possibly two Peter's that might fit the description. One is a bartender at the Eagle Hotel (which would give him the connections to serve as a witness for other immigrating Germans). The other is a laborer and has a cross street address. They could be one and the same person, or two completely different people. In the 1860 US Census, there is a Bavarian Peter Bauer who would have been 50 years-old as a witness to John Schlegel. This could be the man.  I'm just struggling to find confidence in my analysis.

I know that patience is a key in genealogy, but I have to admit, researching the names of individuals on the naturalization records are frustratingly uncertain.

I only know that these men appeared in a Franklin County court on October 11, 1858. I have a name that could be misspelled (as in the case of my relative), thus complicating the issue further. There are also no ages or birth years on these documents. I have no way to confirm if I have found the right new citizen or witness because I don't know their age.  Plus, I have no other relations on these records. If any of these men were not from Franklin County or moved shortly after their naturalization, I have no way of verifying their connection to this document on this day.

As a gateway source, these records are a difficult starting point for researching an ancestor. Being honest with my resource and skills at this time, I have to put the continued search for paper neighbors on hold. It's tough to do because what if one of these men are the ticket to opening the door or window on Joseph's brick wall? But then again, what if they're not.

It was worth an attempt to follow a the Genealogy Tip of the Day to investigate  "Who Else Did That Day?" I believe these tips are worth considering but need to be weighed against available records to decide if they're doable.

(If your spidey-sense is picking up on my discouragement, you get an A+).

Previous posts about Joseph:
Birth and Baden
Coming to America
Planting Roots in Prairie
An American Father
Tragedy in Prairie
Another Land in Crisis
Gone to Soon

Additional Posts about Joseph:
Can You Help Find the David Kinnaird Diary?
Surname Saturday: Gesizler Family

One of my ultimate goals of this series is to compile these posts into a printed book and share it with a family history archive. If you find grammar or spelling errors, please let me know. If you have suggestions or ideas on how I can improve this piece, share them as well. You can leave the comments below or send me an email using the form in my sidebar. Thanks for reading and helping me improve this history so my children may know.

1 comment:

  1. Looking at who else was naturalized at the same time as my ancestor wouldn't be my first choice of extending the FAN club (friends/family, associates, and neighbors), especially in a populous county like Franklin County, Ohio where dozens of people could be naturalized each week. Looking at others is a great way to find clues about our ancestors, but I would suggest staring with his neighbors (look around in the census or city directory if applicable) and in church records.


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