Sunday, February 6, 2022

Missing German Immigrants?

Map Image: PLZ-SUCHE.ORG, Postcode Klingenmünster;

Tips to Tracing and Connecting the Siblings

Well, they really weren’t missing, but four of the nine immigrants who came to America changed their first names from how they were written on their German baptism records: completely changed! Three of the nine changed the spellings of their surname, and others Americanized their names. Come to think of it, of the nine immigrants (siblings), only Margaretha’s original name was found in the US printed and used periodically exactly as spelled on her baptismal record - and even she was nicknamed Gretchen.

Let’s add to the obstacles of this immigrant research and share that the children immigrated from abt. 1856 until abt. 1863. Mostly they entered by way of New York and settled in California, Oregon,  Louisiana, and Texas. Oh and all but one of the five sisters of this brood married multiple times in America.  

Well the scenario is not unique; mater of fact at a3Genealogy, we pretty much know what to expect.  So we thought we'd share a few tips.

Start with Birth/Baptismal Records
You may be able to analyze the indexed birth and baptismal records on, or locate a filmed in the Family History library collections.  Researchers need to analyze the original documents to confirm family units. And the German genealogists on this project was able to access all of the children of Sebastinus and Christina, Katholic, Bavaria using the documented naturalization record for birth and place of birth.

Well, actually, this immigrant was born in Klingenmünster, Germany. The associated German records revealed his parents names and names of Godparents. Don’t forget the Godparents, they are often extended family. Plus, it may be the Godparents that prove you have the correct family unit. Because we know there can never be too many Anna Maria’s or Johannes with a surname of Clos or Glos?

3 Cautionary Tales
Let’s take the surname Clos or Glos for an example. Surnames were fluid. People think American immigrant surnames are the key to locating the origin. Well, this cannot be further from the truth. The occurrences of our ancestors from various countries, or different ethnic groups across countries, and of course, the ancestors who chose to adopt a new surname or Americanized spellings were just too common! This voids the theory that surnames are attached to place of origin. 

1. Altered Surnames. The baptismal surname used uncovered as Glos. Though this research began about twenty years ago in Germany using baptism records, they are now indexed on, and the digitized record may be within the Family History Library collection. 

Outside the USA, Glos was a popular surname in Jordan, Poland and Scotland, as well as Germany. But, to learn more about a surname don’t’ forget one place surname studies, such as Guild of One-Name Studies (or you may wish to start one); and the various surname histories like Forebears.

It was here that we discovered the key to confirm sister number five (#5). Her descendants were of little help as they used Klaus, Close, Glos, Gloss, and Glose as her surname. Through our surname research we learned that Glos, in Germany, might also be seen as Clos, Close, Glose, Klaus, etc.. With this tidbit of information, we were able to trace the small breadcrumbs that lead directly to her identification: family letters, government records, American births and deaths, DNA, etc. tying her directly to her siblings.

2.  Adopted and Americanized Names

We keep reminding our readers that the most direct line to your ancestors may be through other family members or the community. There are several associated family records that may reveal adopted names.    

      • Passports 
      • Government Affidavits 
      • Family Obituaries
3. Married Women Are A Hassle! to trace especially when they marry multiple times. 
But analyzing households, court records and obituaries  and coroner records of the full family, you too may realize that your Magdelana turned “Helen” in America married twice and her niece mentioned in the coroner’s report was identified as the married daughter of one of the sisters.  

Coroner's Register, San Francisco, CA, 1951,

Success! No, it’s not easy, but it can be done.  We were able to flesh out the lives of  all nine of the known "sibling" immigrants. German records proved that the older two lived and died in Klingenmünster.

Happy February 2022

Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers




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