Challenge of Tracking Early Ackermans,
and keeping all the names and dates straight.
In researching the Ackerman Family we have endeavored to be as accurate as possible. When there have been differences in names and dates we carefully weigh the evidence, consider all possibilities, list the options on white paper on a wall, have a beer and throw a dart to determine the best answer. (hey come on we can’t let this genealogy details get to us!)
The earliest records in our country are the marriage records because a license was required. The original records were made when the license was applied for, and so it would seem that the date of the year in the records is accurate. Sometime, however, the minister failed to return the certificate to the County Clerk, and so the date of the actual marriage cannot be documented. Often our family records will supply the date, but occasionally we may question whether the marriage did occur.
In early year, births were rarely recorded, and frequently deaths went unrecorded too, unless there was a need for probate. Many settlers lived far from the courthouse, and it was inconvenient to make the trip or it was neglected.
Finding records from Europe is even more confusing, since the Mennonite familes moved often due to religious persecution, it is difficult to trace their movements and to find the records.
When land was purchased in the US in the 1800, it was frequently deeded only to the m an so that we cannot be sure of his wife’s name When the land was sold, however, it was deeded in both names so that we know the names and can also tell from their signatures whether they could write their names or make an “X” for a signature instead.
In the census records names as well as ages vary from census to census. One can only imagine the reasons. Perhaps someone did not like his or her name. Maybe it was recorded incorrectly. There are jokes about a woman becoming younger and younger from census to census, but it might have been difficult to remember the birthdates in large families, particularly if the family were relocating often.
Documenting lineage is difficult because these families used the same given names over and over . Children were named for parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, and because most families were large that meant that the children of brothers would often have the same names. Common given names in the 1800’s were Christian, Joseph, Peter, John, Catherine, Barbara, Mary Magdalena and Anna. When they lived in the same vicinity, identification of who belongs to who becomes quite a problem.
While the spelling of names may at times appear to be inconsistent, usually they appear as previously recorded. It will be noted in any French Court papers that the same name is spelled several different way in one record.
Variations of names are as follows
Catherine, Catharina, Katherine, Catherina
Anne, Anna, Ann, Annie
Belsley, Belsly, Belzy, Baltzle, Balsey, Pelsy, Beltzli
Roggi, Rocky Rusche, Rocky
Sauder, Sauter , Suter, Sowder
making it especially tricky to track at times.
So if you notice inconsistencies in our records, feel free to offer suggestions and work with us to get the most accurate information for the generations to follow.