Thursday, May 30, 2013

Elizabeth Dunzinger Possibly Found

I was planning on posting about the mystery of my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Dunzinger Panther. That plan changed this morning! I may have found her!

I first need to state that this information is not yet confirmed to be "our" Elizabeth Dunzinger, but the timeframe and location are correct. I MAY have found Elizabeth Dunzinger's family in New York.

What we know for sure up to this point is that she appeared in the 1870 census in Des Moines County, Iowa, living in the Charles Wagner household in Burlington. She was listed as 17 years old, a servent in the boarding house Mr. Wagner ran. We later figured out that this was the Valley Street Boarding House located at 413 and 415 Valley Street in Burlington, Iowa.

A second cousin of mine showed me a newspaper article that her grandmother had noted that it spoke about relatives of Grandma Panther, meaning Lizzie Dunzinger. The people the article talked about were from Wemding, Bavaria, Germany.

We have found Dunzinger families in Wemding. We just haven't been able to connect her to these families.

I just received the most recent newsletter from Family Search, which touted that new collections are added each week. The email contained a link to their online collection. I browsed down the list and found the 1855 New York State Census and did a search. A search for Dunzinger returned this family in New York City, New York County, Ward 20, Enumeration District 2:

Andrew Dunzenger - M - 32 - born in Germany
Fanny Dunzenger - F - wife - 27 - born in Germany
Mary A. Dunzenger - F - child - 4 - born in New York
Elizabeth Dunzenger - F - child - 1 - born in New York <----- This could be her!
Victoria Sualemar - F - 68 - mother - born in Germany
Adam Pacoke - M - 16 - brother - born in Germany

Our information said she was born in either 1854 or 1856. If she was born in 1854, the age would be correct in this census. I believe the next step would be to find Andrew and Fanny's marriage and/or immigration record, and, to confirm family stories, to see if they died in the next few years.

It's possible our most frustrating brick wall may finally be crumbling!

edited 01 June 2013 - changed sister name from Margret to Mary A.


  1. We've found some more circumstatial evidence that this is the correct family and links us back to Wemding, Bavaria, Germany.

    First, note that Andrew Dunzinger is listed in this 1855 New York census entry with the occupation of "paper stainer". Second, note that Andrew is the Americanized version of the German name Andreas.

    I found a Google ebook copy of a book called "Jahrbuch Stadt Wemding - 1835/36" or "Yearbook of Wemding - 1835/36". In this book, it lists an Andreas Dunzinger as an Oberlieutenant in the military. It also lists his occupation as a color master. Now, I realize that the Andrew Dunzinger in New York in 1855 was too young when this book was published to be an officer in the military (he was only 12 years old). It is interesting though that we have the same name in the correct town, with an occupation that is so similar. What is the exact definition of a paper stainer? What is the exact definition of a color master? I can't say for certain they are the same thing but they seem awfully similar. It could be a family occupation and the son ended up moving to America. The census does show that he moved to America in about 1844,when he would have been 23 years old.

  2. Well, I didn't find Andrew and Fanny's death record in 1858. Next I'll order the microfilms containing 1857 and 1856 death records. The marriage record microfilm I ordered had a ridiculously small number of records, especially for New York. I'll likely have to call churches in the area and see where I could find their marriage records from around 1850.