It is difficult when one knows little about a couple other than their names. Sometimes it feels like they literally appeared out of thin air. Depending upon how much one knows about the couple’s children, it can seem as if they never really existed at all.
It can be equally frustrating when locating something on a couple is not as easy as typing names into a search box. No one else has probably researched them either so they don’t appear in other databases of compiled record. Or these people are “loose ends” in someone else’s genealogy and that person has failed to find them and also feels like these people simply evaporated.
That’s the problem with Frederick and Maria Barbara [—] Siefert.
What I know is minimal:
They had a daughter named Barbara who was born abound 1825 in Germany, possibly in or near Darmstadt. That daughter first appears on an actual record when she married Peter Bieger in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1849. Other children are unknown. Whether the Sieferts immigrated or remained in Germany is also unknown. The only reference to their names is on an 1880-era marriage license for daughter Barbara.
Barbara and her family with Peter Bieger have been exhaustively researched in Hancock County, Illinois, where they settled in November of 1850. That’s when Peter Bieger purchased a lot and house in Warsaw, Illinois. Exactly what or who brought the Biegers to Warsaw from Cincinnati is unknown. Extensive research was conducted because Peter origins are just as elusive as those of his wife.
It’s really hard to pinpoint when the Sieferts were born–Maria Barbara was most likely between the age of approximately sixteen and her early forties when Barbara was born. Barbara’s father Frederick could have easily been older than that. Not knowing where Barbara fits into the list of her parents’ children broadens my time frame for them.
Brainstorming here is not a bad idea and I’m going to stick to that word. I won’t use the words “hypothesis” or “theory” as those concepts (at least in my lexicon) require a few more details on which they can be hinged. Brainstorming frees me from most details. I should also be clear to anyone with whom I communicate my brainstormed ideas that they are 90% conjecture, 9% evidence-based, and 1% dreaming.
My brainstorm should be realistic. Either Barbara immigrated with her parents, immigrated with another family member, or immigrated to where she had a family connection. While there are other more unusual situations, those three possibilities cover the most likely scenarios. I need to start with realism.
All of these brainstorms suggest that I perform more research in Cincinnati, where she married in 1849. While I should track Barbara after 1849, it’s always possible that actions she undertook after that time were based upon where her husband had relatives. Relatives of Peter Bieger (her first husband) could have brought her to Illinois. After his death, relatives of her later husband Conrad Haase could have caused been the connection for a move or a migration. And the longer she lived in Illinois, the longer she is to form new ties and associations with people who have no connection to her parents at all. Associate research is great, but one needs to be aware of the fact that associates can be added to a person’s circle at any point in their life and those associates added later in life may have no bearing on the early history of the person we are researching.
That does not mean that we should not research associates acquired later in a person’s life. We should. It is just that what they tell us about the person of interest may not stretch as far back into their life as we might like.
As for Frederick and Maria Barbara, my plan of attack is two-fold:
- research a Philip Pipher who is enumerated with Barbara and her family in their 1860 census enumeration in Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois.
- review my materials on Barbara to determine if there are any references to individuals that have not been followed.