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Author Topic: Nelson John Adams - born Alsace, France, in 1838  (Read 182 times)
Messages: 4

« on: 02 February 2017, 19:25:06 »

Hello all,

I'm hoping someone here can help me with this elusive ancestor of mine.

I show that he was born in France on June 24, 1838, immigrated to the US, and settled in Illinois in Hinckley, IL in 1880. (his son Nelson John Jr. was born in Hinckley in February 1880.) He was married to Anna Lorenz (or Lawerance) i believe in 1877 in Chicago.

I show some census records showing him in Iowa, same birth year, saying he immigrated in 1846 to the US. I am unable to find an immigration record. I'm also assuming this is my Nelson John Adams since it says he was born in France, same year. I show a war record saying he registered for the Civil War in IA in 1863. This man, if it's the same man, seems to have moved around a lot between IA and IL.

I have his death certificate, but it says he was born in France and the informant (granddaughter) didn't know who his mother or father were.  He died in IL in 1929.

On different censuses, it says he's German or French or Bohemian, and this is what my mother and her brother recall being told, that they were all those things.

I'm hoping someone can help me!

Thank you,

Messages: 152

« Reply #1 on: 28 July 2017, 04:37:47 »

see  Germany

Messages: 1091

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« Reply #2 on: 28 July 2017, 15:49:59 »


I hope that beatles78 will read this someday

In the 1850 Census of DUPAGE (illinois), you can find the following family

Samuel ADAMS °1804 France
Theressia ADAMS °1800 France
Samuel ADAMS ° 1834 France
Neil ADAMS °1839 France
Josephine ADAMS °1842 France

Crosschecking those informations with the Geneanet Database, you can find this

As you can see : born 24 june 1839 in the town named SAND (FRANCE - departement BAS RHIN - Région ALSACE)

You can also see

1) that the father probably died in the US according to the owner of that tree
2) that the years of birth of the father and mother are roughly the same than those in the 1850 census

Ignace probably changed his name when in the US because it was difficult to pronounce in english

NB : everything should be  checked but I think we've got something here...

NB2 : ALSACE is a French region near the border of Germany. The region was disputed between those two states, especially during the franco - prussian war of 1870



Messages: 4

« Reply #3 on: 28 July 2017, 16:25:23 »


Thank you so much for your reply! A month or so after I posted this, I found distant cousins who confirmed my ancestry and gave me information on the Adam family dating back to the 1600s - to Simon Adam, 1638-1698 - looks like the Adam clan was from Diebolsheim, France. Very exciting!

I actually just came from an ancestry trip to Naperville, IL (which is only 30 minutes away from me!) and found all the graves of the Adam family, including Ignace (grave labeled as Nelson John Adam) and his mother and father: Theresia and FX Adam. It was thrilling to finally uncover all this.

Family members believe that the family was German - and yes, every census differs with their nationality. My mom and uncle were always confused as far as what they were because it kept changing - no one told them i guess that the area was under different countries' control depending on the year!

Would be cool to go back even further...but not sure that is possible.

Thank you so much for responding!

Messages: 70

« Reply #4 on: 09 August 2017, 13:11:39 »

Alsace became part of the French kingdom in 1648.
It was seized by force by Prussia’s led coalition in 1871 and became Reichland (Terre d'Empire) until end of 1918.
This was the main objective - for France- of World War I. UK and later US had other views against the German empire.
At the time of their emigration to US, your ancestors were French.
Messages: 4

« Reply #5 on: 09 August 2017, 15:24:41 »

Hi thank you for your reply!

So it's been French for a very long time - so my ancestors most likely spoke only French? Was it German before 1648?

So if that's the case...what is the nationality of my Adam ancestors - German and then as generations went on, they spoke french since they were part of the French kingdom for hundreds of years and generations of Adam descendants? Very confusing!

It's very interesting though because my mother's ancestry DNA shows that her genetic communities very close to the region of Dibolscheim, France. See image attached.

Thank you again for responding!

Messages: 70

« Reply #6 on: 09 August 2017, 18:53:46 »

well, well, they were french citizen from 1648; (ie "de jure", part of the French kingdom); but it took maybe 80 years or more for feeling french.
The poor peasants near the Rhine river, far from big towns open to outside influence, and before the wide-spreading of mandatory school, spoke only the local language, which is an Alsatian dialect, western part of the Alemanic speaking Europe.
before 1648, they were part of the Habsbourg dynasty, or ruled by archbishops or other external nobility, or belonging to free towns (such as the Decapole = 10 towns league) , etc .
So it is complicate : giving a nationality before the creation of nation has little value.
(Germany as a nation, exists only from 1871; and as a destiny community, only from the Napoleonic wars).
For the history of Alsace, please read in French (you can translate using chrome translation) .
So your ancestors have been french citizen for 200 years before emigrating to US.
They could in the 1850's speak French outside their village, but for sure only their dialect within their families and with their friends.
During all that time Germany as a political united power or nation, didn't exist.

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