My grandparents aren’t around anymore, so I was very fortunate that my mother and father had asked them a lot of questions and written down everything they were told a LONG time ago. When I started my research, one of the first things I did was read through all the information my grandparents had given my parents. In addition to names and dates, it was also filled with funny little stories about my grandparents’ siblings.
One of the things that stuck out to me was this story my grandfather, Frank Meditz told about his brother Gottfried, or “Uncle Skinny,” who claimed he was born on the boat coming to America.
According to my parents’ research, Frank and Gottfried’s father, John, was naturalized in 1894, and Gottfried was born in 1899. So we all just laughed it off. That is, until I started finding census records. Here’s the 1910 Census, for example.
Whereas all of his other siblings were born in New York, there Gottfried is, an American citizen born in Austria. Gottfried was only 9 months old when the family arrived from Austria. So he may not have been born on the boat, but he wasn’t too far off!
This was one of the first things I discovered, and it’s interesting because it means my great-grandfather and his family went back to Austria after living in New York for some time. Hopefully some day I can find out more about why they might have gone back!