52 Ancestors: #9 Killing Off Mary Catherine Strausser

Posted by: Eileen A. Souza

R12-L22 Mary Meisberger on monument canvas & text added

My starting hypothesis is that Mary Catherine Strausser, wife of my 2nd great-grandfather, Theobald Meisberger, is the child of Peter Strausser and Sarah Strausser. I am still in the process of proving this one but here is my circumstantial evidence. My greatest persuader is the fact that Theobald sold Sarah Strausser a family property, something I don’t think he would have done to someone totally unrelated.

In the 1850 US census, Peter Strausser, age 32, Sarah Strausser, age 32, Mary Catherine Strausser, age 7, and Angeline Strausser, age 5, all live in the same residence in Norwegian Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania tax records show that Peter Strausser was on the tax rolls for Norwegian Township, Schuylkill County for the years 1847 thru 1855.

On the 15th of April, 1860, Theobald Meisberger and a Mary Catherine Strausser were married in Saint Edward’s RC Church in Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

In the 1860 census, Peter Strausser, age 41, Sarah Strausser, age 42, Angeline Strausser, age 15, Peter Adam Strausser, age 7, Sarah Matilda Strausser, age 5, John Henry Strausser, age 3, and David Strausser, age 5 months, all live in the same residence in Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

In the 1860 census, Peter and Sarah Strausser live next door to Theobald Meisberger, age 22, and Mary Catherine Meisberger, age 17. Theobald and Mary are both listed as having been married within the year as of 15 July 1860.

In the 1870 US census, Peter Strausser, age 52, Sarah Strausser, age 52, Peter, age 16, Matilda, age 15, John, age 13, and David, age 10, all live in the same residence in Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, which is still next door to Theobald Meisberger, age 30, and Mary Meisberger, age 27.

In the 1880 US census, Peter Strausser, age 61, Sarah Strausser, age 61, his wife, Peter A. Strausser, age 28, his son, and David Strausser, age 20, his son, all live in the same residence in Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, which is where Theobald Meisberger, age 42, head, and Mary, age 38, his wife, also reside.

In 1881, Theobald Meisberger sold one of his lots with house to Sarah Strausser.

In 1890, Theobald Meisberger buys back same lot from Sarah and Peter Strausser.

In Dec 1890, Peter Strausser dies.

In May 1891, Sarah Strausser dies.

Last year, I came across a technique recommended for a reasonably exhaustive search known as “killing off” the subject of the search. Through various church records, deeds, censuses and deduction, I thought I had “proved” that my ancestress, Mary Catherine Strausser was the daughter of Peter and Sarah Strausser.  I spent much time and money trying to trace Peter’s and Sarah’s parents and other ancestors.  I was thinking about using this family for a minor lineage submission. Examining all my “evidence” closely, it occurred to me that I did not “prove” Mary Catherine was their daughter because I had not completed an exhaustive search by killing her off.

I had her marriage record which did not list parents and I had her tombstone photo and cemetery record, both of which did not show parents.  I had not pursued her death record (she died in 1897 and PA started recording deaths in 1893), obituary or possible church burial record. If one of these would prove she was not their daughter, I would have wasted a lot of time and money on the wrong family.

There was no death record filed with the county for Mary Catherine Meisberger nor was there any obituary found.  In addition, no obituaries were found for Peter Strausser, Sarah Strausser or Theobald Meisberger.

While I did not obtain any new supporting evidence to make my case for Mary Catherine Strausser, I will remember to use this technique in all my future research.

 

 

Week 9 of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnston Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.

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2 Responses to 52 Ancestors: #9 Killing Off Mary Catherine Strausser

  1. Jody Lutter says:

    You are only going to have circumstantial in this situation. This is not negative.

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