Broke through a Brick Wall: Francis Pottgen in Alton, Illinois/St. Louis

I had one of those jump-out-of-your-seat-and-dance moments tonight!!

It has been a long time since I had a find this great.  A really long time.  And it felt darn good.

I have been stuck on my 4th great-grandfather, Francis Pottgen for the past 10 years.  This is what I had on him:

Abt. 1804  Born in Germany

1840 Living in Alton, Madison County, Illinois

1850 Nov 20: Living in Alton, Madison County, Illinois with his wife Sophia and children.

According to his wife’s pension (which she received upon the death of her son in the Civil War), Francis died in 1853.

The only other info I had on him was a reference to his naturalization records (which I have not ordered yet).  I did not know his wife Sophia’s maiden name.

I have had a very hard time researching this family, in part because of their last name.  It is one of those names that seems to have a variety of spellings: Pottgen, Poettchen, Poetchen, Pottchen, Poettgen, (and possibly Patkin, Patchin, Potgin, etc.)

Tonight I found the greatest record.  It brought tears to my eyes.  My ancestors are on the top right.  This is their marriage record, found on in the U.S. Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records collection.  If you notice, not only does it give Sophia’s maiden name (Ross).  It also states both Francis’ and Sophia’s parents FULL names (with maiden names for mothers).  It doesn’t get any better than that!!

So, I have now found out that Francis Pottgen/Poettchen and Sophia Ross were married in St. Louis in Feb 1835.  Sophia’s parents are Frederic Ross and Sophia Ketterhoff.  Francis’ parents are John Poettchen and Elisabeth Gerke.

I have also searched on the Illinois Regional Archives Depository website and found Francis Pottgen on the index for naturalization record and his declaration of intent.  I also found a probate record for Sophie Pottgen.  I am going to write to them for these records.

I am so excited that I now have some new leads and some new people to search for.

If Sophia was married to Francis in 1835 in St. Louis, then she most likely immigrated with her parents.  I will begin searching for them – in both St. Louis and Alton, Illinois.

I hope that I’m able to uncover some more information – possibly about where they are buried – before I make my trip through St. Louis this May!!!  Wish me luck. 🙂

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