Success in the Census

Apparently brick walls are not only reserved for genealogy research.  My marathon training has hit a brick wall of its own in the form of one minor leg injury after another.  First it’s my knee, then when that heals it’s my hamstring.  Maybe some of the brick wall tips I’ve learned will apply to running too? Or maybe I just need to take some time off.

This week I continued my German genealogy hunt.  I learned some tips on how to link German names from America back to the actual German version.  Most names got lost in translation during the immigration process if the immigrants couldn’t read or write in English.  I also did more digging into my Klenzendorf relatives.  I confirmed that my Great-great-grandfather Frederick Klenzendorf was born in 1880 by locating the 1880 census.  It said he was only a few months old at the time of the census and had an older brother named Henry, who was born in 1877.  They lived at 843 W Chicago Avenue with their parents (my Third-great-grandparents) John & Fredricka Klenzendorf.  John was a tailor, just as my grandfather told me, and he was supposedly born in 1840.  Fredricka, or Frida, was born in 1845 or 1846.  Their birthplaces were listed as Prussia.

Prior to my German 101 class, this would have confused me, but I’ve learned that prior to the German unification of 1871, Germany was made up of many independent German states.  The largest of these was Prussia, which was in the northern part.  I also have seen on an un-sourced family tree on Ancestry.com that the Klenzendorf’s may be from Hannover, Germany.  While this is unconfirmed, Hannover does fall in Prussia, so perhaps my search for their homeland is narrowing!  I went on to find an index record to John & Fredricka’s marriage, which was on Jan. 10, 1875, and then a naturalization record for John.  The naturalization record said John was born on February 9, 1840 in Germany, that he arrived in the U.S. on May 7, 1873, and was naturalized on October 20,1904.  Finally, the record said he lived at 843 W. Chicago Ave.  The address matched that of the 1880 census, so I was confident I found a match.

Not too bad!  One week later and I complete one of my three goals for this family.  I believe I’ve determined John’s arrival & naturalization times, and I have a strong lead on the specific location in Germany that my relatives came from.  Hopefully I’ll get some great new tips from my German class that will help me take this even further.

Following up on my post from two weeks ago, I finally had a conversation with my grandfather’s cousin’s son on the Blake side of my tree!  He was the one who had been doing genealogy research on the Blake side a while back.  We shared some stories and information, and we agreed to send each other our findings

I hope everyone has a great week!


Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Brian Parotto of Hampshire, Ill.


Here are some of the tools Brian is using to launch his genealogy education. Check them out:

Leave a Reply