Thursday, August 25, 2011

Genealogy Serendipity Moment - Grandma Tessie and The Truth of the Matter

Grandma Tessie's information has often been fairly accurate. As a skeptical genealogist I often question the reliability of something she relates in her books.
In the moment I shared last week I included the following statement about John Hau:
"He landed in Baltimore, Maryland. Lived in Kersey and lived with relatives, one Andrew Hau. He later moved to Chicago, and went with a wagon train to Kentucky." This small piece of personal knowledge is an important connection. It totally changes the course of his travel in the United States after his arrival.

The first part leads me to the passenger record. The second part leads me to investigate Andrew Hau who lived in Kersey. I had no idea where Kersey was and even trying to google, searching the place, did not really bring up any likely places. There is one in Colorado, but I doubt that he would have gone so far west.

Then I turned to the census records for Andrew Hau/Howe. Clearly he is an important, previously unknown, relative. I found an Andrew Howe in Fox Township, Elk County, Pennsylvania in the 1850 census. He was age 25, with a wife Margaret age 21. They are in the same town in 1860 and the post office listed is Kersey.

In the 1860 census the household has:
Andrew Howe 36, born in Bavaria as John Hau was.
Walburga Howe 29, possible second wife.
John Howe 1 (9), a son.
Andrew Howe 7, a son.
Peter Schwartz 17, farm laborer. 
Mary Spander 7, not identified.

In the 1870 census they are in the same town and the household has:
Andrew Howe 45
Waltberger Howe 49 (she aged twenty years, probably not accurate)
John Howe 11, a son.
Andrew Howe 10, a son.
Theressa Howe 9, a daughter.

The 1880 census is the last one I found them in. They were now living in Centerville, Elk County, Pennsylvania. The household has:
Andrew How 55, widowed.
John How 21, a son.
Andrew How 20, a son.
Thresa How 18, a daughter.
Thresa Exstine 55, servant.
George Exstine 12, nephew.
Hunt Hermon 30, boarder.

Andrew Hau lived in Elk County, Pennsylvania for over thirty years. Both he and Margaret/Walburga were born in Bavaria. I have been unable to find a passenger record for them. Their son John shows up in the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census in Fox township. John and his wife Amelia are buried in Saint Boniface Cemetery, Kersey, Elk County, Pennsylvania, as shown on They adopted two children, a girl named Cunegunda and a boy named Leo.

So, did Andrew name his first child after our John or another relative? Our John does not show up on the census in Fox township as he arrived after the 1850 and was gone before the 1860. Was there family correspondence between these two families? Are there possible records that will help to further explain the connection? Those family members known to buried in Fox township are buried in the Catholic Cemetery, so the Catholic Church  will be a good place to look for family information.

Clearly there is more work to be done on this family. What, you may ask, is the serendipity moment? For me it is the one census that shows the post office for the town of Fox being named Kersey. While Andrew and his wife do not show up on, it would seem most likely that they are buried within this township. I will post more in the future as I find information about the family. If  you have any suggestions or questions please share them. The search is on!

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