Monday, January 23, 2017

When Was "Uncle Teddy" Born?

Four sources have been found which give evidence for when Theodore "Teddy" Peters was born:

When was Theodore Peters born?
SourceListed AgeEstimated Birth Year
1860 U.S. Federal Census1
61853 or 1854
1870 U.S. Federal Census2
101859 or 1860
1875 Kansas State Census3
161858 or 1859
-1859 (stated)

Although records created closest to an event are often the most accurate, in this case I do not believe that to be true. The first census which records Theodore Peters was in 1860. However, this census seems unreliable due to other known errors. [See my previous post.]The other three records indicate Theodore was born in 1859 or 1860, with his tombstone stating he was born on July 6th, 1859.

All three census records agree Theodore was born in Ohio. But, his family arrived in New York City from Germany on July 2nd, 1859. Could the family, especially his pregnant mother, have traveled to Ohio in only four days time after crossing the Atlantic Ocean? It doesn't seem likely.

1860 Census showing Theodore as 6 years. I will write a post about the odd way this enumerator wrote the number 6.
There's another issue with Theodore being born in 1859. The 1860 census, the "highly unreliable" census of this family, has another child listed: Sarah, age 1. So, it would seem she was born in 1858 or 1859. But, in that census, Theodore is listed above her and listed as 6 years old. Strange!

So far, no other records have been found regarding Sarah. Did she even exist? If so, was she Theodore's younger sister? Or her twin?

My Great Aunt Beulah wrote this in her genealogy file for Theodore:
The only child of Joachim Peters/Henriette Bingher that was born in the United States.
Mother always talked about Uncle Teddy, but I know nothing about him.
[Note: Teddy would have been Beulah's mother's great uncle.]

My next goal is to find possible birth or baptismal records for Theodore and Sarah. The family was living in Pee Pee, Pike County, Ohio in 1860, about a year after Theodore's (and Sarah's?) supposed birth. I am working on a lead to those church records now.

11860 U.S. Federal Census, Pike County, Ohio, Pee Pee Twp, population schedule, page 394 [printed], page 158 [written], dwelling #1112, family #1083, Joab [sic] Peters household; image, ( : accessed 15 January 2016), citing National Archives microfilm M653, roll 1024.

21870 U.S. Federal Census, Pickaway County, Ohio, Pickaway Twp, population schedule, page 462 [printed], dwelling #44, family #44, Jochim [sic] Peters household; image, ( : accessed 23 January 2016), citing National Archives microfilm M593, roll 1256.

31875 Kansas State Census, Sumner County, Geulph Twp, population schedule, page 4 [written], dwelling #36, family #36, J Peters household; image, ( : accessed 23 January 2016), citing Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925, roll ks1875_19. 

4Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, database ( : accessed 23 January 2017); Record Theodore Peters (1859-1876), Memorial No. 172832317, Records of Peters Family Cemetery, Sumner County, Kansas, photo posted by JRS.


  1. Could the census taker reversed the births of Sarah and Theodore? Perhaps she was six and he was one, almost two and born in 1858? If so, and the family arrived in July 1859, then none of the children would have been born in the U.S.

    1. Thanks, Linda. That's an idea, but neither Sarah nor Theodore were listed on the July 1859 passenger list.

  2. I agree with your assessment that July 6, 1859 seems highly unlikely, given the family's arrival in America just 4 days earlier. No relationships are one of my ancestor's census listings, a niece was visiting and was shown with the same surname, right along with the family. Friends-family on the same page or living nearby, perhaps?

    1. Marian, Great reminder that no relationships are listed! My great aunt, Beulah, did call him "Uncle Teddy," though, and did say he was the only child of Joachim & Henriette to be born in America. So, I think he is their son. As far as Sarah, perhaps she is listed with the wrong family. The enumerator (or someone) did a horrible job on this record. As far as her being a niece, though, I don't believe any other family members came to America. But, that is just an assumption on my part, and definitely something I need to look into further! Thanks for the ideas!

  3. You've got a mystery on your hands - hope you're able to solve it!

    1. Thanks! Hoping baptism records will be uncovered. I emailed a library yesterday, but haven't heard back yet.

  4. Have you looked for other '6's written on the same census? Doesn't look much like a 6 to me.

    1. Hi! Yes, I did. I studied it quite a bit & wrote a blog post about it here: I know it is strange, but I truly believe it is a 6 based on the rest of the census record. Thanks for the comment!


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