Wilhelmina Trautvetter Senf Kraft in the US Census-Part I

We’ve written before about Wilhelmina (Trautvetter) Senf Kraft. The 1808 native of Dorf Allendorf, Germany, immigrated to America some time presumably after 9 February 1846 (when her husband Johann Valentin Senf died) and 1869 when her brother Michael Trautvetter died in Hancock County, Illinois.

We will start with her 1870 enumeration as that’s the first one that was located.

1870 US Census, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, page 11 (handwritten), page 223 (stamped); digital image from Ancestry.com, 6 March 2018.

1870 US Census, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, page 12 (handwritten); digital image from Ancestry.com, 6 March 2018.

Relationships are not given in the 1870 census, but references to Wilhelmina in the probate records of her brother Michael indicate that her husband was George P. Kraft.

There are two adjacent Kraft households in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. The first [dwelling 103, household 96] is headed by a George B. Kraft, a 55 year old laborer, born in Berne. The only other member of the household is apparently 62 year old Wilhelmina Kraft born in Saxony. George B. apparently has real estate valued at $600 and personal property at $150.

The next household [dwelling 104, household 97] is apparently headed by George Kraft, a 24 year old laborer born in Ohio. The census entry is split over two pages. The following names in this household appear in the following order:

  • Jennie L. Kraft, 23 years old, keeping house, born in Illinois
  • Vandever Kraft, 1 year old, born in Illinois
  • John Kraft, 26 years old, a fireman on a steamboat, born in Ohio
  • William Kraft, 24 years old, a laborer, born in Kentucky

Relationships to head of household are not given in 1870, but it seems reasonable to initially infer that George is Jennie’s husband and that Vandever is their son. This conclusion should be substantiated with other records. John and William most likely are George’s relatives–probably brothers. This census does not provide evidence of that relationship. It does however suggest a relationship among the three Kraft men. The proximity of the two George Kraft households suggests that they are father and son.

There are a lot of things that are suggested in this record. That’s part of the problem with the 1870 census.

Both George’s owned real property. There may be records of the purchase of that property and it left the Krafts’ ownership. Those records may help establish a time frame for when the family arrived in the area or provide additional information on either George’s family if they owned that property at the time they died.

According to this census enumeration, the three potential Kraft brothers were born roughly in the mid-1840s in Kentucky and Ohio. Based upon the current time frame known for Wilhelmina (her husband died in Germany in 1846 and her last child was born there in 1845), she’s probably not their mother.

Probably–based upon our time frame.

It may be worth our time to look and determine if there are additional Krafts living in Nauvoo in 1870 before we move to other census records.




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