By Don Taylor
In researching my (half) Aunt Barbara’s maternal line, I came to her great-grandfather Ferdinand J. Lenz. I found that trying to sort her Ferdinand Lenz from the others was very difficult. There were three Ferdinand Lenz’s in the 1890s in Chicago. I believe one of them even married a Lena in 1869, so separating the Ferdinands is difficult. I decided to try to differentiate Barbara’s great-grandfather through his immigration and naturalization information.
What I think I know about Ferdinand Lenz:
The 1880 Census indicates Ferdinand and Lena lived in Effingham, Lucas County, Illinois.
The 1900 Census is very helpful. It indicates that Ferdinand was born in March of 1850 and that he and Lena have been married for 30 years. It also indicates he came to the United States in 1862, 38 years before and he had naturalized.
The 1910 Census indicates he came to the US in 1867 and was naturalized. Finally, Ferdinand’s death record indicates he was born on 12 Mar 1850 in Stargard, Germany.
I have not been successful finding Ferdinand in the 1870 Census.
I searched Migration and Naturalization records for Ferdinand Lenz born about 1850 and who immigrated between 1862 and 1867.
Several candidates were eliminated for various reasons. There ended up with two potential candidates.
A Ferdinand Lenz naturalized on 17 Oct 1868, at the Supreme Court of New York County. This Ferdinand lived at 199 East 4th Street and was formerly Prussian.[i] After the Austro-Prussian War, much of what would later be called Germany was part of Prussia. So, this Ferdinand Lenz is a possible candidate. I should confirm that the Ferdinand Lenz who naturalized 17 Oct 1868, at the Supreme Court of New York County is or is not mine.
Next, there was a Ferdinand Lente who was born in Germany and naturalized on 10 May 1892 in the Circuit Court, Cook Co., Ill. Certificate No R-35 P-279 should show for certain. Unfortunately, this record is not available online, yet, and is available only at the Family History Library. It is film:
Naturalizations, v. 34-35 1892
Film Number: 1024202
DGS Number: 7781542
Page Number: 279 (and associated)
Germans to America indicated three potential candidates, but all were eliminated from my consideration for various reasons.
A search of the records at Ancestry.Com only found the same records I found at Family Search. So, basically, I am at an impasse (brick wall). I have not been successful finding Ferdinand Lenz’s immigration or naturalization records for certain.
I have two tasks.
- Determine the best way to find a copy of a Naturalization Record from 1868 at the Supreme Court of New York County. Once determined, attempt to receive a copy of the record.
- Add to my “Tasks for the Family History Library” a task to review FHC Film 1024202, Page 279 for the record.
In the meantime, Ferdinand’s death record indicated his father was William Lenz. Next time I work on the Durand Project, I’ll attempt to do a surname study of Lenz in the Chicago area before 1900. Hopefully, I will be able to determine the siblings of Ferdinand and learn more about his parents.
[i] New York Naturalization Index (Soundex), 1792-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVTW-322L : 15 March 2018), Ferdinand Lenz, 1868; citing , New York, New York, United States, Index to Naturalization Petitions filed in Federal, state and local court in New York, 1792-1906, NARA microfilm publication M1674 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 150; FHL microfilm 1,420,416.