Time to tie up the name change theory, and how it went from a possibility as the reason for not finding much on my great grandfather, to becoming fact.
About a year later I was able to find his petition for naturalization with the name “Frank Smith”, before he had ever married my great grandmother, which was like finding a needle in a haystack with that name! That record had been denied for Want of Prosecution; he obviously could not provide proof to any of the info he had given. Another surprise on that record was a daughter that was listed as living with him in Washington and a wife in the Philippines, more family secrets! I have never found anymore records or information on another daughter or wife. I did find out later through letters to General Pershing, that he had been trying to get his old position back in the Philippines, even though he wasn’t in the military anymore. I still do not know if he really had a wife there or just said he had a wife there that he needed to get back to, so it would seem more urgent that he needed to get passage and his old job back, with help from government.
Searching with the new “official search criteria”, aka the newly found last name, I was able to find what I had believed was his passenger list. My great aunt’s daughter did not believe that it was his passenger list, just because the year of his birth was off by a couple of years. I had explained to her that accurate information isn’t always displayed on documents; there are various reason for this. That was the only passenger list I could find for someone with the last name that I had suspected was his, had his approximate year of birth, was from the exact area in Germany that he had been born, had come when he did (based off his 1900 Census and family), and had an occupation which was that of a carpenter, which I had put in the keyword box of the immigration resource section. Later that year I was able to find his second petition for naturalization under the “new search criteria” name; at the bottom of the document, it had said that the petitioner had wished to change his name from the name that I had suspected was his to the name that he went by here in the United States. That second petition also included his spouse and three of his four children, and where they had lived before he had passed away. The spouse was my great grandmother, and 3 of the 4 children were my grandmother; great uncle; and great aunt. My oldest great aunt was not listed; this was more evidence to confirm that I had found her correct birth record, which was found under a different last name and with a different father. This petition was proof of his name change, and how a strong hunch became reality! Years later, I had finally gotten some DNA matches from his line, which just verified my hunch of him changing his identity, the possible family line I had found him, and the newly found info even more. I still do not know why he changed his name! I wonder if he was hiding from something. I may never know!
Another ancestor who changed their name. Another ancestor with family secrets. If you've hit a brick wall don't rule out name changes! 😉
Genealogy Brick Wall the Case of an Ancestors Hidden Identity- Part 1: Here
Genealogy Brick Wall the Case of an Ancestors Hidden Identity- Part 2: Here
Genealogy Brick Wall the Case of an Ancestors Hidden Identity- Part 3: Here
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