Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Hypothetical Ancestor Trade-Off

Amy Coffin of the We Tree Genealogy Blog wrote a blog post recently about "The Hypothetical Ancestor Trade-Off."  You can read that post and the one that sparked it here.  I decided to participate, and I ask you, dear readers, as Amy asked hers:

"Do you have an ancestor who is a challenge to research?  Would you like to hand him or her off to another genealogist for a couple of weeks and let someone else worry about it?

Tell us which one and why."

Boy!  Would I?!  I am sure any of you who has read this blog for any length of time can easily guess who I would trade off.  No question. 

My great-great-grandfather, George W. Schwalls.  He is a mystery wrapped in an enigma.  Or however that saying goes.

That is George, front row, 3rd from left.
He, like Amy's ancestor, seems to have landed on this earth, in the United States, in Johnson County, Georgia, with no parents or back story of any kind.  I have hit brick wall after brick wall while researching this man, and I have no idea where to go from here.

While George indicated at different times that he was born in Germany (Once he stated Bavaria.), I can find no record of a naturalization for him.  Therefore, I do not know exactly when he came to this country.  He was born January 1, 1837 and by 1862, he was serving in the Confederate Army.  Where he was at any point in between is anyone's guess. 

To research someone's ancestry in their home country of Germany, it is imperative to know what village or town or city they were from.  I cannot find that information for George.  Nowhere, not on the census nor his Civil War Pension File nor obituaries for his children nor anywhere that I can find, does he or anyone else list the town in Germany where he was born.

I've searched ship passenger lists for him.  The couple of George Schwall(s) I found did not seem to match.  The family legend is that he slipped into this country under a false name.  That may be true since I find no record of him anywhere.

There was a George Michael Schwall living in the next county over that I feel sure was related to him somehow.  Probably a cousin.  I've tried to research Michael's ancestry to find a link.  No luck so far there either.

So I am stuck.  Please, won't someone take his file for a couple of weeks?!  If someone else can figure it out, more power to them. 

Now it's your turn.  Who's file would you like to trade to another genealogist in the hypothetical ancestor trade-off?

(Thanks, Amy and her readers, for coming up with this blog topic.)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for playing along, and BOY can I sympathize! Good luck with Mr. Schwall.