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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

HINT: Use the Ethnic Name of Your Ancestor and NOT his Americanized Name when Researching!

Norma asked about:
Name: CHARLES W. ERNENPUTSCH b: 1844 Germany d: 3 MAR 1918 Newaygo County, White Cloud Michigan. I Searched, German directory, Passenger Lists

His one son Charles was murdered (unsolved) in White Cloud 3 May 1933. He
was a farmer. I am searching for the entry date of both Charles, Port of entry, and the names of parents of Charles W. Ernenputsch Sr.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi Norma, Three questions in one email is good as it allows me to pick and choose :-) Actually you may be able to find out the answers to all three in one document - naturalization papers or passport applications. Footnote.comlicon is what I use to look for naturalization records (including passports).

You haven't given an estimated year for his arrival in America. You should find him on all possible census records in USA, that will help narrow the timeline for his immigration. Also the 1900, 1910 ,1920 and 1930 census identify citizenship status, with notations showing the individual was an Alien,
or had started the Naturalization process or had his final papers. Finding your ancestor in the 1900 and 1910 census will give you more to go on. For more help with what you can find in the various census records regarding citizenship status, see

Remember though that "Charles" is not a German name. In all probability your ancestor was Karl or Carl which anglized to Charles in America. Also he probably had a formal first (baptismal name) which is how he might be found on a passenger list. In other words his name might be something like Johannes Carl and he may be recorded on a ship manifest by whatever first name he was given at his baptism. Be cautious too with his surname of ERNENPUTSCH. That can be misspelled in a variety of ways! I would definitely use wildcards in any search you conduct, so for example if you are seaching the passenger lists, search under ERN* as that will allow for misspellings or misrecordings of his name.

In fact I had a quick look in the Hamburg Passenger Lists on and bingo! This looks like your man:

Carl Ernenputsch arrival 6 Nov 1885 born abt 1845 Hartlepool (Amerika (USA) via Liverpool) Ship Name: German Empire

You will have to view the image to get full details and see who was travelling with him. It shows his port of departure, residence, occupation and much more. I do see 3 other family members with him, including his son Carl (Charles). Knowing his specific town of origin, you may be able to find church records for the births of the family members, including your Carl/Charles Sr.

Don't forget you can also look for this ship and your family in the New York arrivals. They may have different information or details.

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