Who is Jacob Konzen?

There are some things in life that we love to hate and hate to love.  I’d probably tell you that Konzen mysteries are one of those things for me.  But it would be a lie, because I secretly love that there are always more mysteries to be solved with the Konzens.  I hate leaving any stone unturned and I’ve always wanted the answer to every single question.

Sometimes, I have to put a mystery on the back burner because there are so many of them and only so much time available to look into these mysteries.  One of these back burner mysteries is Jacob Konzen.  My cousin Michelle pointed out that Jacob’s “story” should be told, so here it is.

Jacob was born about 1840 in Luxembourg and he came to America sometime in 1860 or earlier.  The census taken on August 10, 1860, states that he was living and working as a farm laborer on Theodore Konzen & Marie Demuth’s farm in Iowa Township, Dubuque, Iowa, USA on June 1, 1860. After 1860, we have no idea of what happened to Jacob.  He could have died, but most likely he left Theodore’s farm and probably moved out of Iowa.

We’ve found some Jacob Konzens who could possibly be our Jacob.  One Jacob marries Anna and lived in Ohio until his death on 23 Sep 1916.  They had at least three children: John H Konzen (born about 1881), Jacob Konzen (born about 1876), and Peter Konzen (born about 1872).  I received a copy of this Jacob’s death certificate and it states that his father was J Konzen who was born in Germany.  It also says Jacob was born on 23 Nov (presumably in 1842) in Germany and he was 73 years old at his death.  I also found a naturalization index record in Family Search for this Jacob and it says he didn’t immigrate until 1867, so he’s probably not our Jacob.

Another Jacob lived in South Bend, Indiana, and he died in 1920 leaving behind a wife and four children.  It looks like this Jacob was born about 1852 according to census records, so he’s also probably not our Jacob.  The third Jacob married Rosina and lived in Wisconsin.  If our mystery Jacob could only be one of these three – my bet’s on this Jacob.

There’s also a Jacob Konzen who arrives in New York in 1843 from Antwerp, Belgium.  He’s 3 years old and he arrives with Johan Konzen, 45 years old; Anna Konzen, 38 years old; Magdalena Konzen, 15 years old; Franz Konzen, 12 years old; and Cath Konzen, 8 years old.  This could also be our mystery Jacob.  It seems that this family lived in Hinterweiler, Germany, because Tom Pick’s index shows a Konzen family with the same names and approximate birth dates living there.

And, Wilhelm Konzen – brother to Peter Konzen and son of Theodore Konzen and Catherine Schuler – and his third wife Maria Margaretha Kieffer had a son named Jacob/Jacques Konzen born in Olingen, Grevenmacher, Luxembourg, in 1842.  This Jacob/Jacques would have been Theodore Konzen’s first cousin and that makes him a possibility for the Jacob Konzen in the 1860 census.

I’m hoping that somebody will read this and have a lead for us.  Maybe we’ll be able to find Jacob and connect him to our Konzens one day.


The Mystery of Angela Susanna Konzen

Peter Hansen & Angela Susanna Konzen’s Marriage Application – Angela is listed as Susanna Konzen on her marriage application, but, as far as we know, that’s the only time she didn’t go by Angela.

According to Vernon Auderer’s book on the Konzens, Angela Susanna was born in Rollingen, Germany (this is actually Ralingen, Germany) and her husband Peter Hansen was born in Oberbettingen, Germany.  Since Vernon wrote that all of the Konzens (Theodore, John, Catherine, and Angela Susanna) were probably from Rollingen, I’m guessing that Vernon came to this conclusion because Catherine’s gravestone says that she was born in Rollingen, so he must have assumed that they were all from there.  That was a great assumption at the time, but now we’ve proved that Theodore, John, Mathias, and Margaretha were from Kruchten, Germany.

I ordered a microfilm of Ralingen parish records and in it I found a lot of Kons/Konz/Konzens.  There was a Nicolas Konzen who had daughters named Susanna (born Jan. 27, 1819), Angela (Feb. 1, 1825), and Catherine (Feb. 6, 1830).  Nicolas and his wife Anne Marie Dockendorf also had five sons, Wilhelm (Jan. 29, 1821), Theodore (Nov. 13, 1822), Nicolas (Oct. 1, 1827), Christopher (Aug. 9, 1832), and Henry (Feb. 8, 1835).

Our Angela Susanna was born, according to Vernon, in February of 1822 (various census records state that she was born in 1820, 1824, 1823, and February of 1822).  However, at this time giving accurate dates of birth (or really an information) to census takers wasn’t as important as it is today.  Also, Angela Susanna and her family probably had a thick German accent which probably made it hard to understand any information they gave the census taker.  So it’s hard to tell if Angela Susanna would be Angela or Susanna of Ralingen, but my guess is that she was Angela since she was born on Feb. 1, 1825.

This is based on the fact that there is a census record stating she was born in February and none of the censuses I’ve found her in state that she was born before 1820.  I’d expect to see that if Angela had been born in 1819.  We’re not sure why she would’ve gone by Susanna (especially if that was her sister’s name) on her marriage record, but maybe she started using Susanna as her middle name after her sister Susanna died (if she did die young or before Angela).  Maybe we’ll know someday.

Angela Konzen’s birth

I’ve also written a letter to Ralingen asking for a copy of their family book, hopefully we’ll hear back from them soon.  It also seems very likely that the Ralingen family of Konzens are related to our Kruchten/Lellig Konzens because the names Theodore and Wilhelm are also names of some people in our family during that time period.  And because what are the chances of two (or more) different Konzen families arriving in the same county in Iowa at around the same time?  It really seems that they have to be related somehow…

*Note – after more research we realized that we are 99.9% certain that Angela Susanna Konzen is not the daughter of Nicolas Konzen & Anne Maria Dockendorf of Ralingen.  We don’t know if Angela Susanna is or is not a Konzen (yes, there’s been a little debate about that), but we have been unable – so far – to find a family for her.