The Roots of Abraham Fickeisen and Margaret Mueller
The birth and death dates for Abraham and Margaret Fickeisen were taken off their tombstones in the Ludwig Cemetery on Pleasant Ridge Road outside of Marietta, Ohio. They are Abraham Fickeisen, born April 14, 1825, died February 19, 1895, and Margaretha Mueller Fickeisen, born May 7, 1825, died April 25, 1902. We do have this photograph of the elderly Margaret.
However, until just recently, it was not at all clear where the Fickeisens were born. My mother has always said that Abraham was born near Bonn, Germany on a farm and that Margaretha came from Prague. The census data, however, shows Abraham reporting his birthplace as Bavaria and Margaretha reporting her birthplace as Prussia. The borders of both Bavaria and Prussia have varied greatly. Bonn is not in Bavaria, and Prague is not in Prussia. How Abraham met Margaret, then, was a mystery in our family lore.
The origins of Abraham Fickeisen and Margaretha Müller would have no doubt remained shrouded in uncertainty had I not stopped at my sister's place of work one day in 1997 to chat with her. A man who worked in that office, Dan Wedig, told me that I would certainly want to visit the Local History and Genealogy department of the Washington Co. Public Library. Within an hour of my visit to this library, Mr. Ernest Thode had found a direct confirmation of where both these people were born. According to Mr. Thode's Origins of Washington County, Ohio Germans, Abraham Fickeisen was born in Gumbsweiler near St. Julien on April 20, 1825 (ref. W-6799), and Margaretha Müller was born in Buborn on May 7, 1825 (ref. W-6759). Armed with this new information, I used Adobe PhotoShop and maps from Mapquest to construct this map of my Mother's Family Tree. It turns out that instead of being born hundreds of miles apart, my great great grandfather and grandmother were born in two little villages in the Rheinland-Pfalz area of Germany just a few miles away from one another.
I continued my research by trying to determine what was the geography of this area in the early 19th Century. If one looks closely at this map of Germany 1819-1874 which is taken from Encyclopedia Brittanica, it can be seen that the Palatinate was annexed to Bavaria in 1834, when my great great grandparents were about nine years old. It is indeed possible that the border between Bavaria and Prussia cut between Buborn and Gumbsweiler at that time. (Also see this history of the Palatinate.)
Their parents. More recently, Catherine J. Sams contacted me by e-mail with some good news about my Fickeisen roots. She located the parents of my great great grandparents in the International Genealogical Index: Marriage Record: Jean Adam Fickeissen and Maria Marthe Doll Civil Marriage 16 December 1811 at Hundheim, Pfalz, (Bayern Batch #M988501 Source Call #415864). She also found these christening records for six of their children:
As we will see, these two brothers, Abraham and Jacob Fickeisen, had lives that intertwined in the new world.
Their aunts and grandparents. Catherine Sams has (probably) found Jean Adam Fickeissen's christening record in the International Genealogical Index. It says "Christening 24 April 1791, Evangelisch, Lauterecken, Pfalz, Bayern. The parents are given as follows: Peter Fickeissen and Sophia. The christening records of two of Jean Adam's sisters are given as follows: Maria Catharina Fickeissen, 18 Mar 1789 and Katharina Juliana Fickeisen, 30 Nov 1786, same religion and place for both.
At last, I have been forced to begin to question my mother's date of the Fickeisen's immigration: May 7, 1843. She based this date on the belief that they were about 18 when they were married. However, this leaves unanswered the question of where they lived between 1843 and 1850, when their first child is recorded to have been born in this country. We have debated this question in our family, but nothing conclusive has been arrived at. The one fact (if it exists) that could clear up some of this mystery is when exactly did they immigrate to the United States?
Created by Jim Andris, March 19, 2000.