Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Who was the Father of Reinhard Koechle?

As I worked on my Koechle/Kaechle chapter for the Holthoefer family book, I was shocked to come across a piece of conflicting evidence which threatened to chop off a branch of my tree. For years I'd worked with the thought that Reinhard Koechle's father was Thaddeus Koechle. But, upon discovering Reinhard's death certificate at Seeking Michigan, I saw his father's name listed as Mathias. For about 24 hours, I was desperately trying to determine who really was the father of Reinhard Koechle.

Detail of  Reinhard Kaechle's death certificate (from Seeking Michigan site) showing father's name as Mathias

Reinhard's death certificate (detail above) lists his father as Mathias, not Thaddeus as expected. The informant was Geram Kackle, who must have been Reinhard's son, Jerome. 

Jerome was born in 1871. Thaddeus, Reinhard's expected father, died in 1880. But, though Jerome would have been about 9 years old when Thaddeus died, Jerome lived in Detroit while Thaddeus lived about 120 miles away in Norwalk, Ohio. So, should Jerome have known his grandfather's name? Probably. If he knew his grandfather's name was Thaddeus, why would he say Mathias?

Here is the evidence I have that Reinhard's father is actually Thaddeus, and not Mathias:
  • No records have been found for a Mathias Koechle either in Norwalk, Huron County, Ohio, where the family settled after migration, nor in Grissheim, Freiburg, Baden, Prussia (now Germany) where the family lived before coming to America.
  • Reinhard is found in the household of Thaddeus Koechle both on the 1851 passenger list as a 6 year old child (coming to America) and the 1860 U.S. Census in Norwalk, Ohio at the age of 16.
  • In Reinhard's pension file, there is an affidavit from both Theresa (Koechle) Mueller and her husband, Charles. Theresa is a daughter of Thaddeus Koechle, so she's an expected sister of Reinhard.
  • In Theresa's affidavit, she is trying to prove Reinhard's marriage to Mary Magdalena Karbach/Koerbach. "Lena's" surname had been badly spelled as Garabaugh. Theresa's affidavit states that there were only two witnesses at the wedding of Reinhard & Lena: one was related to the JP and the other was Jerome, "the brother of Reinhard." Thaddeus did have a son Jerome which would mean Reinhard's father was also Thaddeus.
I believe this is sufficient proof that the "Mathias" listed as Reinhard's father on his death certificate was in error. But, after going through all of this, I realized I had another piece of evidence...
  • A baptismal record for Reinhard Koechle with parents Thaddeus Koechle and Katharina Kern in the right year, 1844, and the right place, the village of Grissheim. No other records have been found with his birth date listed. This is just an index listing on Ancestry, but I've ordered the FHL film to get the actual record.
So, between my other pieces of evidence and the baptismal record, I feel confident in saying that Reinhard Koechle's father was Thaddeus Koechle.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at


  1. I think Tom Jones would be proud of your reasoning...great research methodology!


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