I don’t usually do blog posts this close together, but I just had to share my latest break through. I was attending one of Legacy Family Tree’s webinars (Mining Uber-sites for Germany Ancestors by James Beidler) and using one of the tips, broke down my not-so brick wall. This brick wall has stumped us all for years. I’ve talked about George Thorward before.
- Wordless Wednesday: George Thorward – 1st Car
- Tombstone Tuesday: Thorwards – Tombstone pictures for George and his wife Josephine, plus an extra one of them outside their house.
- Did I Find Him? – An entry where I first wonder about the George Thorward/George Yohn question.
- Surname Saturday: Thorward – A very brief glimpse of what I knew of the Thorwards in July of 2010
- An Unexpected, Yet Expected Turn – George shows up in his marriage record as George Yohn and I end the entry with the question: Who are you George?
- Mysterious Ancestors: I tried to examine this George Yohn/George Thorward thing yet again.
- George Yohn… Again: I got Josephine and George’s marriage record in the mail
- Timeline: George Thorward: Again, I use a timeline strategy to sort out what I know about George Thorward/Yohn. Note: Eagle eye readers will notice I state at the beginning that I lost the article that showed where he came from in Germany. Then post that same article at the bottom of the post. Talk about losing things right in front of your face!
That brings us all up to date except for the recent revelations. I’ve been blocked when it comes to George for a long time. Until about a week ago that is. On Facebook, a conversation between some Thorward cousins popped up. My 2nd cousin 2x removed (haha, I love that), happened to mention that her father (grandson to George Thorward) used to tell a story about George. According to her father, the story is that George and his brother came to Newark, New Jersey in 1866 from Wüerttemberg to escape serving under the King of Bismark. According to him, George was 12 at the time. They came to Newark to stay with their sister whose last name was Gantz and she had a hat factory. The family lore also says their last name was originally Weigel but that the brothers made up the name Thorward. George then got a job on a farm in Towaco, New Jersey. There he met and married the farmer’s daughter, Josephine Doremus. My 2nd cousin also believed that George’s brother was Benjamin and he went west to the Chicago area. I will dissect this family lore in another entry on another day. There is going to have to be another timeline soon I think. 🙂
Now I had always heard about George and a brother who came with him, but I could never find the brother to substantiate anything having to do with a brother. George and his descendants were the only Thorward ever in New Jersey that I could find. There was one other Thorward family that pops up in the mid-west but I never had any connection to them. I know I should have been a good genealogist and researched them also. I mean if you think about it, there was only that one other family so they had to be related somehow. I just never got around to it with all my other things going on. Note to myself, a to do list will help with this in the future, haha. This other family was headed by Benjamin Thorward and he did say he was from Wüerttemberg. So now I will definitely be adding that family to my to-do list!
Fast forward to today’s Germany webinar and I got one little tip that sparked in my head. I was watching when I saw a database pop up as an example. It was called the Wüerttemberg, Germany Emigration Index. All I put into the search box was George Weigel. I didn’t add anything else.
This was the very first search result. I’m not going to lie to you, I might have blacked out for the second half of the webinar. I will definitely be re-watching it because it was full of such good tips. I just can’t remember any of them at the moment. If this turns out to be a match, it would also explain where the Yohn/John comes from in the earlier records for George.
I am very excited about this for a lot of reasons. I know this still has a long way to go to be a stronger connection. I have plenty of records I still want to get my hands on for both of my candidates here. I believe the next record I will get is George’s New Jersey death record and see what that says. It was on my to do list anyway. Plus I want to learn a lot more about this section of Germany and what was happening at the time.
So all of this is very exciting for me but I know there is still tons of work ahead. I’m sorry if I come across a little scattered but my brain is moving 500 miles per hour! Never fear though, I am taking a cooling off period and slowing down. I will be examining lots more records before I determine if this is my guy or not. I am so much closer than I ever was before though!
Records to Order:
- George Thorward’s death certificate from New Jersey. The issues that kept George from stating his real name in the beginning of his America journey, probably wasn’t shared by whoever filled out his death certificate. His wife was still alive, maybe she was aware of his family history. I might not ever be able to 100% prove the Weigel connection, but it won’t be from lack of trying.
Records to Find:
- An immigration record for either George Thorward, George Yohn, or Johann Georg Weigel.
- I am going to try and track down the sister by the name of Gantz.
- City directories – George showed up in many directories once his name was Thorward but maybe he used one of his A.K.A.’s in Newark before moving to the more rural area.
- Maybe a naturalization record would give some great information. As early as 1900 George stated on the censuses that he was naturalized. If he was telling the truth, that should give me something!
- I want to look for a will for George in New Jersey. It could be he might mention a brother or nephews/nieces in his will.
- The land records for George’s house on Central Avenue.
- Any more newspaper mentions of my George to see if it gives anymore about his German history or family.
- Research the other Thorward family that shows up in the mid-west. This is allegedly George’s brother. Maybe I will find records to help me, by researching them.
You can be sure you’ll be hearing more about this in the future!