Our initial attempts at researching are not always productive. I think that is the case which searching for clues about witnesses on my 3-times great-grandfather Joseph Geißler's naturalization proceedings.
On October 11, 1858, in the Franklin County Superior Court, Joseph completed the steps necessary to become a US Citizen, along with 75 other immigrants. Each new citizen had to bring with them a witness who could attest that they had lived in the county for a specified length of time and that they were of good character.
Naturalization registration with the Franklin County Superior Court
Autumn 1863 Term, date: October 11, 1858
Joseph is the second name listed on this document, even though his name is spelled as Keizler rather than Geißler or other name variations. His witness's name looks like Adam Nortlick, Nottick, or Novttichi. I initially put these names into Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org to see if a census record for 1850 - 1860 would have any results in Franklin County, Ohio and my search results were empty.
Having had success with posting queries about relatives on Google+ communities, I posted a query in an Ohio group that looked like this:
"Need some help, if you can. This is a Naturalization document. My 3rd great grandfather Joseph Keizler is the second entry on this image. He's listed as from Baden.
I'm having two problems:
1) Reading his witness name. It looks like Adam Notlick, but I'm open to other interpretations.
2) How would you research more about Adam Nortlick as a witness?
This is from the Franklin County Courthouse records house in Columbus, Ohio. The date is 1858. If witnesses could be relations/friends/countrymen, I'd like to track down more about Adam but there's not much to go on.
Thanks in advance for your consideration."Genealogists love specific questions like these. Within moments, I had someone attempt to answer the first question. Wendy Negley offered her interpretation of the written name, "Possibly Novttichi or ki, looks like a double t and an i at the end because there is a dot above last letter."
I began searching FamilySearch in the 1850 and 1860 Census for Adam Novttichi or Novittiki and came up empty. Regardless, I was so thankful that Wendy would look at my image and offer a suggestion. It's wonderful to know there is a community of like-minded individuals willing to lend a second set of eyes to a problem.
After this search, I was a bit discouraged and wrote:
I've tried Census records and City Directories and I'm stuck. There doesn't appear to be an Adam or another man with this similar name in the 1850 or 1860 Census. He may have immigrated right after the 1850 Census and then died right before the 1860 Census. Perhaps he's using a grossly misspelled name (or a false name) and I'm going to keep the brick wall solid.Remember I'm A Patient Genealogist not because I always am patient but to remind myself and others to have more patience in the journey. I was reminded of this as other community members share their thoughts on the documents and potential research quest. Each contribution was invaluable.
Then Rob Boudreau weighed in the conversation. He went put his skills to work on FamilySearch and then returned to the group to share a few links for me to investigate. He found an "A. Noetlick" as a father on a birth record from the 1900s. The date was much later than the time period I was searching, but Rob suggested this could be a grandson's birth. He suggested I investigated the line as the individual is in Columbus, Ohio. The last name Noetlick looks like a strong possibility for the document above.
Over the years, I have learned how to use wildcard characters when doing searches. I had seen this A Noetlick possibility but was too afraid to go down the research path. I hadn't thought of the grandson possibility, so I took Rob's advice and thought, "What could it hurt?"
A Noetlick is Albert Noethlich
I assembled a profile for A Noetlick from his son's birth record. As I worked carefully constructing the tree based on census records and additional vital records, I discovered this first A Noetlick was Albert Louis Noethlich. His father was also named Albert, and he was an immigrant from Saxony. (Click for Albert Noethlick's FamilySearch Profile)
Albert Noethlich, the elder, was married to Magdalena Kratz. He immigrated to Ohio in the 1850s, right after the failed German Revolution of 1848-1849. He says he's from Saalfeld, which seems associated with Saxony.
This man sets up shop as a grocer and then a book dealer. He marries in 1854 and would have been in the area to serve as a witness for my 3rd great-grandfather Joseph Geißler's (Keizler) naturalization in 1858.
Searching Albert's children, I had hoped to see the name Adam appear connecting Albert and Adam. There was no such evidence. On the other hand, Albert's wife's father's name was Adam Kratz.
So, I did find an A Noethlich in Ohio prior and following to the 1858 Naturalization date. I'm just not sure how I can validate whether Albert and Adam are one and the same.
Stay tuned for next week, I analyze my discoveries.
Joseph Geißler's life story:
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
Examining Naturalization Dockets
Naturalization Page Neighbors
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.