Saturday, June 30, 2012

Surname Saturday: Theisen of Meriden, CT

    One of the best ways to learn Luxembourg-American genealogy is practice, practice, practice. This time, my practice focuses on a family from Meriden, CT. Joseph C. Theisen was born c. 1868 in Luxembourg, married in his late 30s, and employed by a local factory. His should be an easy to trace Luxembourg history, but I've already hit a road-block. I'm hoping one of you might be able to break through it. 
   Since I'm not  tracing a specific family, I started with the United State Federal Census. For some reason, the 1880 census is relatively reliable about listing Luxembourgers as born in Luxembourg, not Germany. I used an Ancestry.com search of that census with a residence of Meriden, CT (a known Luxembourger settlement) and a birth place of Luxembourg. I got a few hits, including a family I hadn't traced before.
   Joseph C. Theisen and his wife Margaret were life long residents of Meriden.Theisen was born in Luxembourg or Germany, according to the 1910 through 1930 census enumerations. He arrived in the United States relatively young. According to the census enuemrations, the dates vary from 1868-1870.   I'm not sure when either died, but I've been able to trace them in a city directory as late as 1932, using Ancestry.com's "U.S City Directories, 1821-1989" database. According to an 1893 directory in the same database, Joseph worked for B & H Manufacturing Company (which made lamps and http://www.si.edu/oahp/bradley_hubbard/thebradleyhubbardmfgco.htm.)
   It's in tracing Theisen back to Luxembourg that I run into problems. I have a likely candidate for Theisen on New York passenger manifests. A six year old Joseph arrived on 27 September 1873 with a nine-year old girl named Susanna. Ifs this my Joseph? I don't actually know. I've tried to trace him back further, but I've run into problems. A search of the 1853/1863 decennial tables lists only one Theisen. I searched for Joseph in that town without success. Ideas?

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