So what do I know (or think I know) about Joseph?
- He was born in the German state of Saxony in 1795.
- He married a woman named Eva Justine in Germany sometime prior to 1850.
- He and Eva had four children in Saxony prior 1850.
- He, his wife, and his four children arrived in New York in April of 1850 aboard the bark Nord America.
- He purchased 42 acres of land in Springwells Township, Wayne County, Michigan in August of 1850.
- By 1856, he was dead.
Let's start by examining what I know concerning Joseph's birth and death. He first appears in the American record as a passenger - along with his family - on the bark Nord America as it enters New York harbor on 16 April 1850 from Hamburg, Germany. The passenger manifest lists his age as 55, which if it is to be believed would place Joseph's birth sometime between January and April of 1795. The manifest does not have a column for place of birth, but does record each passenger's last residence. For Joseph and his family, the name of the city/village/town that they left for American shores appears to be called Treba. While a significant clue, it doesn't necessarily mean that Joseph was born there. Besides, Treba is itself a mystery - but I'll save that for another post.
|The Knoch family as passengers on the Nord America|
|Eva and Joseph (the younger) Knoch in the 1860 census|
The sources found and discussed thus far haven't given any clues regarding where Joseph was born. For that, I leap ahead in time to the 1880 U.S. census - the first census to record the birthplace of an individual's parents. Looking at the entry for Joseph's son Christian (I haven't been able to locate Eva yet), he declares Saxony to be where his mother and father were born. While it's true that this is essentially hearsay, the entries that I was able to locate for Joseph's other children corroborate the Saxon roots. Still not 100% accurate, but it's the best I have so far.
|The Christian Koch family in the 1880 census|
In my next post, I'll try to tackle the frustration by examining where that starting point might lie.