Casefile Clues

23 July 2013

Another Residence for Michael Trautvetter-Don't Assume Those Unusually Named People Are Always Yours

Just because a name is unusual does not mean a "match" is your person.  It is usually advised to have evidence connecting the "unusually named" person to others known to be in the family. Sound research methods should not be ignored simply because the name being researched is uncommon. After all, every Michael Trautvetter out there might not be yours.

This 1867 reference to Michael Trautvetter in St. Louis, Missouri, was actually one that I stumbled upon. I can't say that I was actually looking for him in St. Louis, or even that he was "missing" in a certain range of years in the chronology I had compiled for him. I thought I had him "everywhere." A search for Michael Trautvetter on  Fold3  located a reference to the name in their city directory collection. Just because the Michael I was looking for was alive in 1867 and the name was unusual did not mean I necessarily had the same person. I was actually looking for references to another Michael Trautvetter--nephew of this Michael--who was also alive in the same time period.

The Michael who was apparently in St. Louis in 1867 immigrated from Germany in the 1840s and was in Campbell County, Kentucky, in the 1850s and the 1860s. He died in 1869 in Hancock County, Illinois. While he left no descendants, Michael did have family in the Kentucky and Illinois counties where he lived. His interactions with other relatives in those counties ties him to other members of the family. Records of his estate's settlement in Hancock County, Illinois, indirectly indicate he owned property in Campbell County, Kentucky, providing an additional connection.

But St. Louis?

His name appears on page 774 of the 1867 St. Louis city directory with a residence on Cardonelet Avenue.


 I knew I had seen that street name before. I was not certain where, but I knew that Michael had a married niece, Wilhelmina (Trautvetter) Rothweiler, who lived in St. Louis from the early 1850s until her death in the late 19th century. Sure enough, the entry for her husband George indicated a 1701 Carondolet Avenue address. The Michael in St. Louis had to be mine.
If I had not already done some research on the larger Trautvetter family, I would not have been able to tie this Michael to my family of interest so quickly.

At this point, I need to see if I can locate land deeds for 1701 Carondolet to determine who actually purchased and owned the property. Both Trautvetter and Rothweiler are listed as "residing" there while another Rothweiler is listed as a "boarder." There may be a reason for the distinction and it may have to do with who owned the property at 1701 Carondolet.

Trautvetter did not stay in St. Louis very long--he was in Illinois in 1869 when he died there in February of that year. But now I have one more place where I can look for information.

Never assume that your research is complete.

Note: the Marie Rothweiler listed as a "wid." who "bds." at 1701 Carondolet is likely George's mother. Married women during this time period are rarely listed in city directories by name.