6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 16, 2016 2:37 PM by Van Zbinden

    Where did my g-grandfather live in the United States? He came from Prague in 1857 and left the United States for Canada about January 1863. I have no record of his whereabouts durig his American years. He was a tanner and likely was in New York State..

    Newbie

      My grandfather's name was Karl Konig in Prague and Charles King in America. But I can't find any record of his location(s) in the United States.

        • Re: Where did my g-grandfather live in the United States? He came from Prague in 1857 and left the United States for Canada about January 1863. I have no record of his whereabouts durig his American years. He was a tanner and likely was in New York State.
          Van Zbinden Adventurer

          Paul sent his reply directly and wow he's done a lot of research. I've asked his permission to re-post it here so that we can all offer advice or suggestions if we have them.

           

          Van,

           

           

          You asked re Charles King's age. In fact, I have quite a bit of information about Charles King which I will relate to you below. I have no information about him in the United States 1857-1863, but some information before 1857 and an extensive amount after 1863 (in Canada). What I want to know is which tannery he worked at while in the United States.

           

          Charles King (28 December 1837 - 22 February 1915). He was born in Zwirotitz (Zvirotice)in Bohemia and died in Toronto, Canada.

           

          His name in Bohemia was Karl Konig (or Koenig). When he changed his name from Konig to King is not known, although when he arrived in the U.S. he may have noticed that the Governor of New York State had the surname King.

           

          A letter of introduction drawn up in Prague in English dated 1857 directs him to an unnamed tannery in Boston. He was an apprentice tanner in his uncle's tannery in Prague. Hours of search on Ellis Island site does not bring up his name. He arrived probably via Bremen to England and then likely (since I can't find a Castlefield entry) to Canada and then made his way to the United states. I believe there are no records for a border crossing at this time. I did also check Boston entries. The search is a bit weary because of name permutations and combinations (Karl, Carl, Karel; Konig, Koenig, and mistaken variants such as Kenig and others). His brother, Joseph Konig, comes to the United States in 1858. I assume he joined his brother. Whether they were in Boston or elsewhere is unknown.

           

          Family oral history claims that he manufactured the leather blower belts which drove the boilers on the ironclad Monitor. Extensive research has not uncovered where the leather belts for the Monitor were manufactured and the archival issue is whether there is a detailed receipt or account book which will reveal this.  There is nothing at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, VA., but in extended correspondence, they did send me a photo of a piece of the leather belt recovered in salvage operations in the 1980s. For my account of the conversion of oralfamily history into credible history see my article: "How Our Great Grandfather Won the Civil War for the North"

          http://jgsla.org/wp-content/uploads/Summer-2005mailout.pdf

          Efforts to locate Charles King (or Joseph King) in the United States through the US census, while not systematic, did not turn him up.However, an 1860 census scan for the 17th Ward, New York City, page no. 18, shows a"Charles Koenig, laqueur" appearing on last line. This is a tantalizing entry since the tannery in Prague specialized in patent leather and was known as a "lackir" concern in its title. But I don't know what else I can do with this entry. His age given in the census fits my Karl Konig.

           

          All in all, this is a tough nut to crack. If the National Archives in Washington has draft papers of the contract for the leather belt on the USS Monitor, maybe under papers of John Ericsson, or Continental Iron Works of NYC where the Monitor was assembled, or the Delamater Iron Works which built the boilers (but not the leather belt!), then there is a dim hope of finding something about my great grandfather's five years spent in the United States.

           

          If you read this far, I salute you. I am not sure that Hub History intended this kind of search.

          yours sincerely,

           

          Paul King

          • Re: Where did my g-grandfather live in the United States? He came from Prague in 1857 and left the United States for Canada about January 1863. I have no record of his whereabouts durig his American years. He was a tanner and likely was in New York State.
            Van Zbinden Adventurer

            If I understand Paul correctly what he needs to know to keep on with his research is not necessarily where Charles King was (though that's very important) rather he wants to know if Charles King helped build the U.S.S. Monitor. Does the National Archives, or anyone else, have documents that might reveal who worked on that project.

             

            This is a very interesting question and I have to be honest that I'm stumped. Paul I suggest that you send your request to the National Archives reference staff at archives2reference@nara.gov. I hope that there is a subject matter expert who can help with this question because now I'm interested to know this as well.

            • Re: Where did my g-grandfather live in the United States? He came from Prague in 1857 and left the United States for Canada about January 1863. I have no record of his whereabouts durig his American years. He was a tanner and likely was in New York State.
              Van Zbinden Adventurer

              As an update, Paul provided us with more information on his research. He sent a request to archives2reference@nara.gov and they pretty quickly responded to his request. It is included below:

               

              Dear Mr. King,

               

               

              This is in response to your inquiry.

               

               

              I have examined Record Group 19, Records of the Bureau of Ships and Record Group 45, Records of the Naval Library (Subject File), Construction of Vessels, and have been unable to locate the manufacturer of the belts that drove blower motors for the ventilation system of the USS MONITOR.

               

               

              It is always possible that further extended searching could eventually yield some pertinent documents. Since the documents relating to your subject are dispersed throughout the files, identifying them will require substantive research.  If possible, we would prefer to make the records available in our research room so you or your representative can examine the records specific to your research.

               

               

              When you come to Washington to do research, our records and microfilm publications are available for consultation without charge in our research rooms.  There are self service copiers available.  The National Archives in Washington, DC, is located at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, between 7th and 9th Streets, directly across from the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro stop on the Yellow/Green Subway line. The Pennsylvania Avenue entrance provides access to the Central Research Room, Microfilm Research Room, and the Textual Reference staff.  To enter the building you must show a photo identification card and proof of a current mailing address.   Entry into the Microfilm Research Room does not require any additional identification.  If you intend to use original archival records, you will need a valid researcher identification card.  If you do not have a research card, you must apply for one at the Researcher Registration area.  Once you have your researcher identification card, the staff can help you fill out your request form.  Our research rooms are open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Our subject matter specialists are not on duty after 5 p.m.  We retrieve original records from the stacks at 10:00, 11:00, 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00Monday through Friday.  Requests for original records must be made before 3:30 p.m.Monday-Friday.  No requests for original records can be made on Saturday and subject matter specialists are not available for consultation.

               

               

              I do have some suggestions regarding other facilities which may be able to answer your inquiry.  The first one is the archives in College Park, Maryland.  They have custody of ships plans, and drawings of engines and related mechanisms.  You can send your inquiry to, archives2reference@nara.gov or carto@nara.gov.

               

               

              You can also refer to the following web addresses,

              https://www.marinersmuseum.org/sites/default/files/MS335_USS_Monitor_Design_and_Construction.pdf.

               

              Also are the Thomas F. Rowland Papers,

              https://www.marinersmuseum.org/sites/default/files/MS376_Thomas_Rowland_Collection.pdf

               

               

              The final facility I located which may be helpful is the Samuel C. Williams Library (MacCord Collection) Stevens Institute of Technology.

               

               

              I hope the information provided is helpful.

               

               

              Sincerely,

               

               

               

               

              CHRIS KILLILLAY (Archive Specialist)

              Archives 1, Reference Section (RDTR1)

              Archival Operations - Washington, DC