Surname Saturday - Joseph Geißler, A Difficult Man

In a previous post, I shared how difficult it was to find my grandfather Joseph Geißler in Columbus, Ohio between the years of 1850-1865. The more records I find about him, the more frustrating he becomes.

Let's review the first signature I noticed.

This one is on his marriage license in 1856.

(Interesting note: The 1856 marriage certificates in Franklin County, Ohio don't have much information about the person other than name, if they are of age, and the dates for the licenses. However, they do have the groom's signature which I find completely fascinating.)



Joseph Geisler of Columbus Ohio
This one is from the deed he signed in 1856 for property in Franklin County, Ohio.
Death of Joseph Geisler's son in Franklin County, Ohio
This is an entry in the Holy Cross Catholic Church records regarding the death of his young son in 1857.
not his signature
Joseph Geisler in St James Lutheran Church Book
St James Lutheran Church Book of Life, entry regarding his son's death in 1857
not his signature
St James Registry Franklin County Ohio
Joseph's entry signing on behalf of his wife to join the St James Registry
The name on his naturalization certificate of 1858. not his signature

Because of his many name variations, I have trouble deciding if I've found something pertaining to him or not. For instance, I have found a possible entry for Joseph Keizler or Keezler in the Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registrations, but I can't prove that it is him.

I have had no luck finding him on a passenger list to determine where he came from. His naturalization certificate has him born in Baden. However, I can not find the paperwork that proceeded the certificate. Only the certificate that was has been passed down through the generations.

Joseph, dear Joseph, Where are you???? Where are you buried? When did you come to America and who are your Geißler family members?

Additional information:
b: abt 1836, Baden
1856, purchased property in Franklin Co, Ohio
m: 19 Feb 1856, married Caroline Mack in Franklin Co, Ohio
11 Oct 1858, naturalization certificate signed
26 Jul 1860, appeared in 1860 US Federal Census, in Franklin Co, Ohio
d: 5 Jul 1863, potential death date if church records are about him, otherwise, death is prior to remarriage of his wife 19 Sept 1863

Thankful Thursday... German Research Prompts New Questions


It's good to be a genealogist these days. My cousin contacted a Lutheran church in Gillersheim, Hannover.  He made inquiries regarding our Mack relatives and their friends, the Puseckers, who traveled together to Columbus, Ohio on the Anne Lange in Nov 1854.

He received a wonderful letter in response to his queries. A sweet woman spent about 7 hours looking through the Kirchenbuch for the church and seems to have pushed our family back a few generations and supplied names for a wife we had not previously known. I'm very thankful for this wonderful woman's efforts.

Here comes the challenge. How, oh how, do I document this information? And is the letter of a person willing to do research enough 'evidence' to include these new names on my family tree? She says she looked through the Kirchenbuch and found this information. Since I'm so unfamiliar with German Genealogy, I'm stumped. I really want to be excited and claim new relatives. On the other hand, I feel a desire to have 'proof.'

What do you think? What have your experience in these situations been? And, would you ask for further proof (i.e. copies of the books or photos) or would you let it accept it and celebrate the discoveries?


Surname Saturday... Hoppe, Grener, Puesecker, Brown


I wanted to catalog some of my research as a way to help remind myself of steps that I've taken. In so doing, perhaps others can either a) learn from what I've done or b) help me know the next steps or other secrets I've missed.

The majority of my nearest relations lived in Franklin County, Ohio. I have used RootsMagic to organize the information from my family. I have used FamilySearch.org connect to other family trees as well as researching records they have made available (for free). After exhausting their records, I've paid for a membership to Ancestry.com research more records for these individuals.

For individuals who died between 1867 and 1908 in Franklin County, Ohio, their death records are not currently available on either website. However, the FamilySearch.org catalog has a listing for the index to the Death records, 1867-1908. They have an index split between two microfilm reels and death records split between two other reels.

I ordered one index reel to look for death records. Perhaps I should have ordered the death records and bypassed the index. Since I haven't done microfilm research in this area before, I thought an index search would be best. Unfortunately, I didn't pay attention to the fact that I really needed both index films to cover all the years in this series. When I loaded the index film, I only saw the years 1899-1908 and didn't know where the 1867-1908 years were. Oops! I'll have to order the first part of this series. But I've learned the lesson of paying close attention to what the films actually will contain.

In any case, I was searching for the following individuals who I believe died in Columbus, Ohio based on other information that I have on these individuals.

  • Ludwig Pusecker b. 1844 d 1905
  • Conrad Grener b 1822 d 1899
  • Conrad Grener b 1853 d 1905
  • Samuel Curtis Brown b 1821 d 1900
  • Martha Gordon Brown b 1827 d 1901
  • Christian Christopher Hoppe b 1859 - 1900

Results:
I was able to locate both Conrad Greners in the death index. I'll want to look up their death records on the film from Salt Lake City. I might have found the record for Samuel Curtis Brown. I will look that record up as well.

I was unable to find Ludwig Puescker (possible alt. Lewis Pusicker), Martha Gordon Brown or Christian Christopher Hoppe.

I decided to take a peak into the final three. Ludwig Puescker's death date of 14 May 1905 was obtained through FamilySearch.org's Ohio Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997. This index was derived from some county and church records but also from individual submissions to the LDS Church. Since his death doesn't appear in the death record index, I'm curious as to why. I suspect several possible reasons a) he didn't die on that date or in Franklin County or b) it wasn't reported to the proper officials. It's possible the name was indexed as something else. So, I'm a bit stuck with verifying this person's death.

Martha Gordon Brown... Martha's death date was recorded in a family bible. When church or government records are not available, a family bible can represent a primary source. I'm still not sure why her death was not recorded in the Franklin County death index. I'll have to see if the Samuel I found (her husband) is truly the Samuel I seek. Perhaps that may or may not give me clues.

Finally, Christian Christopher Hoppe. He is a tricky young man to track down. I received his death information from the family records of a cousin who also does genealogical research. I'll have to ask for the source information next time I think of it. I also have Mr. Hoppe (he used both names without consistency, so I'm not sure which one to refer to him as) found Mr. Hoppe on a website that lists the names of people who are buried at Green Lawn Cemetery. It's not the official cemetery record, so I'll have to see what the cemetery actually has on Mr. Hoppe.

I have seven more names to look at in the 1867-1899 film. At $5.50 a film, that's kind of pricey on a per name basis. So perhaps I'll just order the full records and hunt rather than spend $11 for the index and then the actual records. Hmmm... decisions, decisions.

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