Christmas is not a just day. Instead, it is a 12 day celebration that begins (in some traditions) on December 25th and continues for 12 days (until January 6th). As a reminder, we have the 12 Days of Christmas carol.
For each of the 12 days of Christmas, I will be posting one event / person from my genealogical research that relates (sometimes in a rather convoluted way) to the particular gift of that day in The 12 Days of Christmas. If you wish to peruse the entire schedule, check previous posts for Days 1-6 and Days 7 – 12.
Dec. 27 – Two Turtle Doves (Day 2)
Turtle doves are ”migratory birds whose population in Europe has fallen by 62% in recent times due to changed farming practices.” Who is your most recent direct line ancestor to have immigrated to your current country? Why did they come? Was it for economic reasons or for adventure or to avoid something back in their country of origin?
As I began this post, I was ready to write about my 2g-grandmother, Adelia Mieding. In the 1900 census, her immigration year is listed as 1859 (5 years later than another 2g-grandparent, John Brenner). I had neglected to check conflicting data (in that same census enumeration). In the column following the 1859 year of immigration, 51 is listed as the number of years of residence in the United States. 51 years of residence would put the immigration year as 1849 (not 1859). I then went back and checked the 1860 census for Adelia. She is listed with seven children. The oldest four were listed as born in Saxony (aged 19, 17, 15, and 13). Hetty, the 13 year old, would have been born in 1847 or 1848. The youngest three children (ages 7, 5, and 3) were born in New York. Teckla (listed as Thackler), at seven years old, would have been born in 1853 or 1854. The other two who were born in New York would also have been born in the 1850s. Therefore, I would conclude that Adelia Mieding (along with her husband and 4 children) arrived in the United States in 1849 (not 1859). I can only guess that whoever provided the information to the census enumerator made a mistake in calculating the year of arrival. Whatever the reason for this mistake, it means that my 2g-grandfather, John Brenner, is the most recent direct line ancestor to immigrate to the United States.
I have not, in any of my research, discovered a reason why John emigrated from Germany. I do know that his older brother, Conrad, left Germany for the United States two years earlier. In 1854, the year of John’s immigration, Conrad was now married and living in Columbiana County Ohio. John and Conrad’s aunt and uncle (Katharine & Martin Winterbauer) were living in Youngstown, the next county north of Conrad. John was 18 when he arrived. He first visited acquaintances in Philadelphia and acquaintances or relatives in Rochester, New York, before moving to Ohio.
I received a copy of all the research of Dana Bode (a first cousin, once removed). Dana’s mother was a Brenner, sister of my grandfather. John Brenner was Dana’s great-grandfather. In Dana’s records is a handwritten translation of a travel pass, John received in Germany. I am guessing that Dana did not have access to the original document or he likely would have a copy of it. I also pretty sure that Dana did not do the translating. I compared the handwriting of the translating with handwritten documents Dana developed. Dana’s work tends to be printed in a very neat hand. The travel pass translation was written in a less neat manner. Also, comparing letter formation would likely point to another translator. All this to indicate that I cannot at this time verify the accuracy of the translation or the original document to which it is purportedly related. (The typed transcription is mine.)
The travel pass does not give any reason why John is emigrating in order to take up permanent residence in North America. It is significant, however, that it addressed “To whom it may concern both civil and military.” This would seem to indicate that John is free of military, legal, and financial obligation. For an 18 year old living in Baden emigration might have seemed a good idea. Baden had just been through the Revolution of 1848/9 and the Austro-Prussian war was just 10 years ahead. It must have been a politically upsetting time. If John were to have received a letter or two from older brother Conrad and/or from uncle & aunt Winterbauer, a trip to the United States could have looked like it might provide a better future. (Of course, I have no evidence that such letter(s) had been received.)