The Family Member that Didn’t Exist

As I was working on my family tree I came across an odd problem. One of the family members didn’t seem to exist. His name in all of our family records was Fred H Brandt, my 2nd great grandfather, yet this individual would not show up in any records no matter how long I looked.

This would normally have been considered a dead end along that line of the family tree, but in this case I knew both his father and grandfather’s names, both immigrants from Germany in the late 1800’s. Both of these individuals showed up in many different records varying from death certificates and censuses in both America and Germany to records of their immigration to America. It became even more odd when after researching his father, Heinrich, I never found mention of children in any of the censuses I found.

That’s when it occurred to me that he might have changed his name like his father. His father arrived in America as Heinrich Ludwig Brandt but after living here for some time changed his name to Henry Louis Brandt for it to seem more American. Looking into this possibility I quickly found a Fredrick H Brandt born in the same town his father was living in at the time. I had found my missing man.