Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stumbling over the Crapser Brick Wall

My family, like many others, contains a brick wall - a point at which all record sources provide no further information or only provide inconclusive evidence.   My brick wall is my great-great-great-grandfather, Timothy Crapser, who according to all reasonable record sources has no parents.

I have heard we are descended from the one and only Crapser who came to America, a mister Johannes Krapsen von Rotenflau. But after searching, I still find no definitive record of Timothy's parents to tie us to Johannes. So here I sit, trying to find the connection between what I've been told and what the records say.  I've documented everything I know about Timothy on my Brick Walls page.

I know that Timothy and his wife Louisa J. Lane had three children: two daughters Rosa Eveline and Lizzie Jane and a son Melbourn Washington Crapser (possibly also be known as Melvin). The girls died fairly young; Rosa at 8 years and Lizzie at 21 years. Melbourn married at least three times and had 15 children between 1877 and 1915.

My records also indcate that Timothy was born on May 27th, 1825 in New York and died on July 23rd, 1898 in Boone County, Illinois.  With the birthdate being the date listed on his headstone.  The 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Catskill, Greene County, New York lists a Timothy Crapser aged 25 living with Charles and Catherine Crapser.  

However, looking for "Charles and Catherine Crapser" is right up the same alley as looking for "John Smith".  Every time I run into documentation for a Charles Crapser, I find a spouse by the name of Catherine/Catharine/Katrina.  

I'm inclined to believe that we may be descended from Charles Crapser and Catharine Helander.  Another genealogist has listed Charles Crapser and Catharine Helander as parents to a Timothy Crapser born about 1826.  Additionally, there seem to be very few Crapsers that came towards the Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota area; though many stopped in Michigan.  One of those that came farther west to Iowa is William Harris Crapser, son of Charles and Catharine (Helander) Crapser.

Time to connect with potential cousins ... we'll see what the connection brings. 

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