Sunday, March 23, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Engeline Christine Petersen

(This week's entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge)

Engeline was born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany on 9 March 1855.  The next nineteen years of Engeline's life are a complete mystery to me.  On 30 May, 1874 Engeline married Niels Christian Nielsen by Rev. Julius Bauch at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oak Harbor, Ottawa, Ohio.

Very soon after their marriage Engeline and Niels moved west.  Their daughter, Katherine, was born in Mt. Eden, Alameda, California in November of 1875.  Another daughter, Caroline, was born in 1879.

At the time of the 1880 US Census, the family was still in Mt. Eden where Niels worked as a laborer.  The following year Caroline died.  Two months after Caroline's death, Engeline had another daughter, also named Caroline or Carolyn.  Four years later, daughter Lillian completed the family.

29 February 1932, Oakland Tribune
At the time of the 1900 US Census, the family is still in Eden with Niels farming.  It is the first time where Engeline mentions her year of arrival in the US, 1871 (the is also the year she gives in the 1910 US Census).

By 1910 the family had left Eden for the city of Alameda, where they lived at 2702 Central Ave.  Niels is no longer in farming, instead he is a foreman for the salt works.  In 1918, Engeline's daughter Katherine, died.

The family is still in Alameda for the 1920 US Census, living at 1508 Alameda Ave.  Niels is a laborer for the city by now.

The 1930 US Census would be Engeline's last.  They were living at 1626 Versailles Ave. in Alameda.  Engeline died two years later.

I've actually done a good amount of research on Engeline but don't have much to show for it.  I'd love to know who her parents were, where she was from, when exactly she did come to the US, why she went to Ohio, why she went to California, and any other piece of information I can gather.  It isn't as if Engeline's paper trail didn't leave me a lot of clues.  I just haven't been able to do much with those clues, which are:
  • Engeline's obituary mentions two sister, Celia Catharina Petersen Claussen and Christina Patrina Petersen Strauss.  I have researched them in depth.  They also went to Ottawa County, Ohio before moving to Alameda Co., California.  However, they arrived at later times than Engeline.
  • When Celia and her family arrived their last residence is given as Dagebüll.
  • Both Oak Harbor/Benton Twp. and Mt. Eden had thriving Danish communities at the time.  It is likely that Engeline and Niels had relatives in both place.  However, I have researched some of the Petersen families in Ottawa Co., Ohio and found no connection to Engeline or her sisters.
  • The cemeteries for the various family members seem to have been popular with the Scandinavian community but I haven't been able to connect any of them to Engeline or her family.
Engeline was my third great-grandmother through her daughter, Katherine.

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