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A Seemingly Dead End with Katherine

Again I spent the week searching for my mysterious German ancestor Katherine Stillenbaugh/Stansbaugh, and again I found almost nothing. Katherine’s daughter was reportedly born at Edinburg, Johnson County, Indiana in April 1865 so I tried a few different sources for that location:

  1. A close review of a 1913 history of Johnson County revealed no mention of a Stillenbaugh or Stansbaugh family in the county. I also looked for similar sounding German names like Stilgenbauer and Stillabower, but I found none of those, either.
  2. I searched the 1860 U.S. census for Johnson County for any girl named Katherine/Catherine who was born between 1830-1850. The only unmarried Catherine was Cath McLane, born 1840, living in Clark. This does not seem a likely match.
  3. I searched Bartholomew, Brown, Johnson and Shelby counties for single girls named Katherine/Catherine who were born in Germany between 1830-1850. There were none in Brown, Johnson, and Shelby Counties. In Bartholomew, I found five: Catherine Ball, Catherine Mench, Catherine Strawbeck, Catherine Vogelpohl, and Catherine Woerner. I could follow up on these girls to locate their marriage records. This would tell me the names of their spouses. Anyone not married by 1865 would be a candidate for the woman who married my 2nd great-grandfather.

After finding nothing probative in these searches, I broadened my census search terms to look nationwide for single girls named Katherine/Catherine Stil* or Stan* born 1830-1850 in Germany. This search turned up three women:

  1. Catherine Stilgebauer, born in Ohio in 1837, living in 1860 in Bucks Twp., Tuscarawas Co., OH with husband Jacob and daughter Sophia. Wrong marital status, wrong birthplace.
  2. Catherine Stansbaugh, born in Baden in 1846, living in 1860 Bethlehem, Stark County Co., OH with parents John and Margaret. An alternative surname of Steberger for this person has been added on Ancestry.com. I should search for more information on this woman. Did she move to Indiana? Was her true name Stansbaugh (wouldn’t that be great?) or Steberger?
  3. Catherine Stillbower, born in 1830 in Germany, living in 1850 in Perry Twp., Stark Co., OH in the Henry Shike household. She did not appear under the same surname in 1860, so she probably had married by then.

None of this gives me much to go on. With no marriage record, no certain census record, and no grave for my Katherine, my only hope will be either to uncover something in a record created by one of the as-yet-unidentified male relatives in her life or to find a DNA match to a German family. I have a lot of records left to search.

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