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The Search for Michael Laufer

Updated: Jun 12, 2022

I've hit a bit of a dead end for now on tracing back the first Laufer in our family. What I know so far is

  • Edward Had a brother who predeceased him (the bio below is from 1896)

  • He was married to Rose Laufer

    • The complication for her, is her birthday was listed as 1820, but she was listed in her 80s when she died in 1881. Probably an issue in linkage.

  • They owned land in Fosters Meadow Long Island

  • Both Michael and Rosetta left wills

When he arrived

Michael came to America in 1852 from a town called "Stosestedt"

There is no place that pops up with a search for that name. My working theory is the correct name is "Tostedt", part of the "Harburg" district. This town is near to Bermen (port of departure), and Lower Saxony itself is a large farming area.

Immigration of Michael Laufer

Tostedt and Bermen in North German, by Denmark and Holland

Why come to America in 1852?

Leaving the aftermath of the revolutions of 1848 seems to be the most likely reason my family came to America. 1852 itself was the year the London Protocol was signed, ending the First Schleswig War.

Europe in 1848

A full list of maps from the period can be found in this excellent story map. Of note, is this migration map by Charles Joseph Minard. There was a mass migration of Germans during the time period.

Charles Joseph Minard - Migration Map

A religious reason to leave?

Michael's son (Edward) was a noted member of the Dutch Reformed Church (Calvinist) . A brief review of German history from the time period, shows that Prussia conducted a forced union of Churches.

Potential Break throughs

I think the four most likely breakthroughs will be

  1. Finding Edward's brother name

  2. Finding Michael, Rose, Edward in the Reformed Church records

    1. Notably, Calvin Laufer was a famous hymnist on Long Island in the Reformed Church. He was listed as the pastor at Steinway Reformed Church from 1900-1905. I have not been able to link Calvin with Edward's family yet; they may have a common ancestor.

  3. Finding a different surname/progenitor of Michael, starting in Germany

  4. Finding a link in the Dutch Church records

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