02 December 2010

Passenger List Search for Henry Trautvetter Family

I thought it would not be too difficult finding the passenger manifest for the family of Henry and Barbara Trautvetter and their family. The family came to the United States in the mid-1800s, settling eventually in Illinois, but probably making a short pit stop in Kentucky on their way.

The family was in Montebello Township, Hancock County, Illinois, in 1860 which was mentioned in an earlier blog post. Searches for the family in the 1850 census were unsuccessful and searches of them in the passenger lists at Ancestry.com didn't yield too much either. Even unusual names are not always easy to find.

It is time to stop typing names in boxes and get organized.

In a recent issue of Casefile Clues, I mentioned a search process I used to locate another German family from about the same time span. It might be time to use a similar approach for this family.

I won't repeat the whole process here, but it boils down to:
  • What I know about the parents.
  • Look at the rest of the family.
  • When did the father naturalize.
  • Are any of the immigrants in 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 census.

Henry died in the early 1870s and Barbara died sometime after the 1880 census. Death records are not going to help on the passenger list problem. Two sons were alive in 1900 and might have provided a year of immigration to the census taker. That year or those years could be used as an estimate when searching the manifests ,but it could be wrong. An older daughter married in Germany and immigrated with her own family in 1853.

While I would like to find the manifest entry for the family, there's another question: Do I actually need it? Is it worth my time to find it? While every record can be helpful, in this case the time might be better spent.

I already have good leads on where Henry and Barbara were from in Germany through records on the children of Henry's brother. I know where Henry's brother was born in Germany and who the parents were. The manifest might reveal a new detail about the family, but it's not likely to provide me with information I already have.

I should organize what I have on Henry and Barbara in an attempt to locate their manifest entry. I'm not certain though that spending several hours on the actual search is worth it. Sometimes one has to prioritize.