Thursday, April 13, 2017

Oh The Dreaded Tax Time: John and Chris Kraut And The IRS in 1863 and 1864

     It’s that time of year that most of us dread, Tax Time.  But in this one case, I’m glad taxes existed.  Recently I uncovered tax assessment lists that could assist in confirming the Kraut family connections.    While looking  into each and every Kraut record that might be tied to Elizabeth Kraut Keen (Zanesville, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana), these two in Madison, Indiana, became important.  (See prior posts on Kraut research.)  Little did John and Chris Kraut know in 1863/64 that I would be resurrecting and examining their tax records 154 years down the road.

     The information contained on these tax lists can be enlightening for family historians.  For instance, if I am able to link these Kraut men to my Elizabeth Kraut, I will have background on their occupations, selling retail liquor.  In order to understand better the situation, I decided to refresh my understanding of taxation in the United States.  Both Family Search and Ancestry provide background on the history and content of the available tax records.

     I learned that governments have collected taxes in the United States since the colonial era.  Depending on local laws, males were usually taxable at the ages of 16, 18, or 21 through about age 50 or 60, with some exceptions for veterans, ministers, paupers, and others. Most tax records were eventually based on personal property, real estate, and income.   The federal government directly taxed citizens in 1798, 1814 to 1816, 1862 to 1866, and at other times until 1917 when personal income and other taxes were introduced. has tax records dating back to the 1700s.  (See wiki for more thorough information.)

     At I learned that the Internal Revenue Act passed by Congress in 1862 created the IRS.  The intent of the law was to pay war expenses.  Searching ancestry’s files led me down this path to the tax assessments listing John and Chris Kraut.  These documents (below) indicate that these two businessmen paid for a Class B retail liquor license in Madison, Indiana.  In 1863 they were each assessed $20.00 and in 1864 the fee was $4.17.  I wonder if the higher amount in 1863 was to create a reserve, which then kept down taxes in 1864.  Who knows?   There’s much more to this story, I’m sure.  A very brief analysis of the two pages of tax information below seems to reflect the same rate of tax for people in the same business.  Although, it appears that the types of items taxed in each year may have differed.   I see income taxed on the 1863 page but not on the 1864 page.  Also, I note there are no animals listed in 1863, but there are taxes on cattle on the 1864 list.  Of course, one page doesn’t present a very thorough picture. 

     Here’s an excerpt from the resource information provided at which sheds some light on the documents listing the two Krauts and others in their Collection District 3, State of Indiana:

About U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918

On July 1, 1862, Congress passed the Internal Revenue Act, creating the Bureau of Internal Revenue (later renamed to the Internal Revenue Service). This act was intended to “provide Internal Revenue to support the Government and to pay interest on the Public Debt.” Instituted in the height of the Civil War, the “Public Debt” at the time primarily consisted of war expenses.  The Internal Revenue Act also established the Office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and allowed the country to be divided into collection districts, of which assessors and collectors were appointed.
Taxable goods and services were determined by legislative acts passed throughout the years. All persons, partnerships, firms, associations, and corporations submitted to the assistant assessor of their division, a list showing the amount of annual income, articles subject special taxes and duties, and the quantity of goods made or sold that were charged with taxes or duties. The assistant assessors collected and compiled these lists into two general lists. These lists were:
    1. A list of names of all individuals residing in the division who were subject to taxation
    2. A list of names of all individuals residing outside the division, but who were owners of property in the division
These lists were organized alphabetically according to surname and recorded the value, assessment, or enumeration of taxable income or items and the amount of tax due. After all examinations and appeals, copies of these lists were given to the collector who then went and collected the taxes.
The assessment lists are divided into 3 categories:
    1. Annual
    2. Monthly
    3. Special
Annual and monthly lists are for taxes assessed or collected within those periods of time. Special lists supplemented incomplete annual and monthly lists and also included any taxes that were indicated as “special” by the assessors.
About the Records:
Form 23, Assessment List, was the form used for many years to record tax information. Although there are several different versions of this form, it generally recorded:
  • Name of Collection District
  • Name of Collector
  • Date of the list
  • Instructions for completing the form
  • Name of person or business being taxed
  • Address
  • Taxable period
  • Amount reported by the collector
  • Remarks on the assessment
  • Article or occupation taxed
  • Record of payment if the tax was paid
  • Amount paid or abated
Form 58, List of Unassessable Collections, recorded the receipt and disbursement of unassessed collections. Unassessed collections could include: conscience money, paid court order fines, and offers of compromise, among others.
Years covered for Indiana, 1862-1864
Tax Assessment, 1863, Chris  and John Kraut, Marked
Tax Assessment, 1864, John and Chris Kraut, Madison, IN, Marked
     Let’s  hope these additional Kraut records bring more answers to the whereabouts of  Elizabeth Kraut’s parents and siblings.   For sure, I can see that I need to dig further into references on tax documents to get the full value of the information contained within them.  John and Chris Kraut’s liquor businesses may lead me to happy days.
     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,
    Copyright © 2017, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Who Is Cousin C. A. Kraut?

      I wrote recently, (see post on February 25), about the news that Anna and Clara Keen visited their cousin, C. A. Kraut, in Madison, Indiana.  This discovery sent me on the quest to find C. A. Kraut and any surrounding family.  I’m hoping this research will lead me to the ancestry of Anna and Clara’s mother,  Elizabeth Kraut Keen.  Maybe we can now begin developing some details of the Kraut family.
     Taking this small lead for C. A. Kraut in Madison, Indiana, in the Madison Herald,  I was able to gather some hints that might connect to Elizabeth.  First, I narrowed my search by the probable age of Mr. C. A. Kraut. I am assuming C. A. is a male for now. Since the information I have is that he is a cousin of Clara and Anna Keen, I am estimating his birth to be between 1845 and 1870.  Using this estimation as a starting point, I searched censuses and other resources for variations of his name from 1850 through 1900.  Narrowing the results to possibilities for this cousin, I came up with two census records: 
1870 Census: Christian Kraut, born 1852 in Wurtemberg, living in Louisville, Kentucky.  This 18 year-old appears as a part of the family of Frederick and Serina Kraut, with their ten children.
1880 Census: Chris Kraut, born 1849 in Prussia, living in Madison, Indiana.  This 31-year-old is married to Louisa and operates a restaurant.  He also could be the cousin we are seeking. 
1900 Census:  No C. A., Christian or Chris Kraut/Krout turns up in the census search.
     These two records above are the closest to a match for the information I have to date on C. A. Kraut.  The date of birth and residence are close enough to earn consideration.  Hopefully these are pieces of the puzzle that will fit at some point.
     I did come across other Christian and Chris Krauts in Madison, Indiana.  However, the age for these men would make them possibly the father of our cousin, C. A. Kraut.  I hope that’s the case.  Meaning, I’ve found Elizabeth’s brother!  But for now, I’m accumulating all this information so that I can hope to squeeze out some proof of the Kraut family.
     I also researched burials, city directories and a few other resources. The only piece of interesting or relative information I was able to locate was the burial of a child, Christian Kraut in 1880 in Madison, Indiana. 
     To summarize this section of the Kraut family research, I developed a Research Log with the information I was able to put together.  It includes information that may eventually connect to this cousin, C. A. Kraut.  The Results in red are those that appear at this time to have a connection to C. A. Kraut and his family.  My goal is to carry forward with these efforts to bring the Kraut family history into focus.  Below is the C. A. Kraut research to date.


     There’s no conclusion to be drawn yet on who exactly C. A. Kraut is or where he is.  As I’m able to uncover more connections I’ll have answers that paint him into our family history, enhancing Elizabeth Kraut Keen's story.  For the time being, I’m glad to know this cousin to some small extent.

     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Copyright © 2017, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Will Rogers Post Card From Sister to Sister, 1942: Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

     This tiny message from Peg (Weber) Stull to her sister, Rose (Weber) Niehaus tells a huge tale. Although, since I'm making this an "Almost Wordless Wednesday" post....I'll save those and just let the sisterly words speak.    
     On November 3, 1942, Peg writes from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she’s been visiting her husband, Shad, during his Army training exercises.  Peg is writing to my mother and father in Indianapolis. She comments about Mom’s admiration for Will Rogers (pictured on front of the postcard).  The handwriting is getting dim after 65 years, so I’ve transcribed Peg’s message below.

Will Rogers Postcard, mailed from Oklahoma to Indiana in 1942 by Peg Stull, to her sister, Rose NiehausWill Rogers Postcard, 1942, from Peg Stull, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Rose & Frank Niehaus in Indianapolis, IN
--------   Transcription of Will Rogers Postcard   --------------
From Peg Stull to Mr. & Mrs. Frank Niehaus
Postmark: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Nov 3, 1942
Addressed to:
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Niehaus
1733 Thaddeus St.
Indpls, Ind.
Dear Sis and Frank:
I thought you would like this card because you were always crazy about Will Rogers. I bet it is a surprise to hear I am coming home too isn't it? Well I've had a good time and Shad hasn't much time out of camp now.
    There are a ton of places this story could go when I think of the times, the people, and the circumstances.  Even the style of script means a great deal to me as it’s so similar to my mother’s.  It was very nice to run across this sister-to-sister communication.  I’m going to share it with Aunt Peg again soon.
     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

     Copyright © 2017, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Family In The News: I’m So Pleased That The Keen Girls Visited Their Kraut Cousins

     For the longest time, years that is, I’ve searched for connections to Elizabeth Kraut’s family.  It seemed as though she dropped into Zanesville, Ohio, in 1848 as Lawrence Keen’s wife. That record of her first child’s baptism at St. Nicholas Catholic Church illuminates so much.  But where’s the rest? Immigration? Census? Parents?  Where’s her Kraut family?  I kept looking for a clue.
     Well, persistence does pay off.  Even a brief comment in the news can be of tremendous help.  That’s how this story goes. 
     One day while having some fun with newspapers online I decided to use the names of Elizabeth’s children in a search.  I was surprised when two short pieces from the Madison Weekly Herald in Madison, Indiana, popped up on the screen.  Wow!  There were mentions of Clara Keen of Indianapolis visiting the Kraut family and another news item actually stating that Anna and Clara Keen were cousins of Mr. C. A. Kraut.  The news clippings follow:
Madison Weekly Herald, 25 May 1888:
Keen, Clara, News, Kraut Family in Madison, IN, 1885
Miss Clara Keen, of Indianapolis, who has been visiting the Kraut family in this city, returned home
on the train this morning.  Friends accompanied her to Louisville on the excursion yesterday, and she
enjoyed the trip very much, it being the first time that she had ever been on a steamboat.
She made many friends during her stay here who hope to see her soon return on another pleasant visit.
Madison Weekly Herald, 14 June 1888:
Keen, Anna, Clara, Kraut Family in Madison, IN, 1888
Misses Anna and Clara Keen, of Indianapolis, cousins of Mr. C. A. Kraut, accompanied by
Mr. Cheseldine and Mr. Pates came in on the excursion yesterday.  Both gentlemen are
red-hot Democrats and are of the opinion that Cleveland and Thurman will carry
Indiana next fall by at least 20,000.
     These two tiny personal news mentions are like gold to my Kraut research.  Especially the second piece where the journalist was helpful enough to mention the family relationship and the names of the two gentlemen accompanying the ladies.  You see, documented family research shows that in 1889 Anna Keen married Andrew Cheseldine and Clara Keen married George Paetz. Here they were traveling to Madison with their fiances to visit their Kraut cousins.
     Of course, the political comment in the above news item makes me more curious about the lives of Mr. Cheseldine and Mr. Paetz.  But, for now, I’ll try to keep my eye on the goal of discovering Elizabeth Kraut’s family.  There are leads in southern Indiana that need to be followed.  Who is C. A. Kraut?  How many more family may have been living in the area?  When did they arrive in the United States and where?  Was Elizabeth with them when she was a child?  Oh, how the list of questions and ideas is growing…..All of them from these brief newspaper mentions.  I’m so pleased that Anna and Clara Keen enjoyed visiting their cousins in 1888.
      Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,
Related posts you may want to reread:
copyright © 2017, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Fresh Look At The Road To Family History Priorities and Progress

     Staying focused on my priorities in family history research can be tough.  There are constant shiny objects attracting me that are oodles of fun to follow.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  For me, enjoying the search and discovery is certainly a huge part of the reason to do this.  But, sometimes I feel the need to get back on the main highway.
     So I’ve slowed for a few minutes to bring the road into my scope again.  Where am I?  What locations in the family history would I like most to visit soon?  Which families might I have flown by without notice?  Where have I made some inroads in the past year? Who would I most like to know more about, if at all possible?
     image In order to help me get some of these answers I went back to one of the basics.  I created my own pedigree chart once again to see the overall situation. (Click on the image to the left for larger version.)  After comparing older charts, I’m happy to say that I can see the history growing.  Of course, my history has a few more roads to travel.  But Wow! Look at the people here that are a part of all of us in this family group. (The 4th and 5th great grandparents in the Risch line didn't make it to this page.)
    Also, in my opinion, taking a look at this pedigree chart lays out the landscape.  I can decipher some overall goals for this next year.  Those 2nd and 3rd great grandparents’ open spaces are sending loud messages.  Come find me.  
      To use this tool a little further, I put red X’s next to the surnames, or surname blanks, that I’ve decided to make priorities.  I’ll post a copy on my bulletin board where I see it all the time. Maybe those challenges will be louder that way. 
      Some of these names on the To Do list, such as Beerman, Kamp and Kraut, have had only a minimum of focus over many years of researching. Yes, those surnames are three of my ladies.  I’m realizing that this may be the year for enhancing the stories of my 2nd great grandmothers.  They’re waiting for my burst of energy. 
      This chart also reminds me of research I’ve already begun.  There are a few stubborn family members lurking in the forest that I abandoned in mid-stride.  I’ll reconnect those research projects and see where they lead this time.  Such as the Kuhn/Birkenstock Project where I had great success in 2016. I know there’s a strong lead to be followed on the marriage of Martin Kuhn and Katherine Birkenstock in Neustadt, Kurhessen, Germany.  Time to jump into those church records from the Family History Library. 
 For a quick summary of those red X’s that make up the new surname research priorities:
           ----  Albers         ----  Beerman        ----  Birkenstock     
           ----  Kamp          ----  Kihn (Keen)   ----  Kraut        
           ----  Kuhn          ----  Wilmsen

   To Martin, Kate, Maria, Elizabeth and Valent, and all of those yet unknown:  I’m on my way.  I can already feel the wheels turning and making progress down the road.
   Are there any fellow researchers interested in the folks on my list of priorities?  I’m happy to share information, ideas or just connect.
Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

    Related Posts from the Past:
    Birkenstock Project
    Our Niehaus History

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Cutting Bark For Postal Cards, 1940, Rosemary Weber Album: Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

RW Photo Album, Cutting bark for postal cards, 21 June 1940
     I’m so thankful for the photos that memorized these experiences.  This is a photo from my mother, Rosemary Weber’s, photo album from the 1930s and 1940s.  She was a young woman in her 20s, working as a secretary in Indianapolis and traveling with her friends when possible.  The story behind it could be thousands of words.  But for today it will speak for itself, mostly.  Mom has written “Fri, 6-21-40, morning.  Hosteling.  Cutting bark for postal cards.  Near Plymouth, N.H.”
     My background comments are brief:
--  Two of Mom’s friends are shown cutting bark from a birch tree while they were on a bike ride.  Mom isn’t pictured.  I’ll presume she took this photo.
--  The group of friends from high school went on trips to various parts of the United States, staying in hostels, riding bicycles, exploring and having a great time.
     Do you think it’s possible they could make post cards from this bark?  If so, none of those cards survived.  I’m happy that the photo’s here to tell me about my Mom as a young woman and those times.

     Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties, 

Copyright © 2017, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thanks From Indiana Ties: Research Websites For Fellow Family Historians

       At Harry Adam Weber, owner of Weber & Zimmer Dry Goods, Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN, 1889 - 1912the end of 2016, the bicentennial year of our State of Indiana,  I’m happy to say that my Indiana Ties website is still growing and providing nutrients for our family history.  This year of researching, analyzing and writing was a sunny merry-go-round ride.  For example, I stepped into the surprising Birkenstock records in Ruhlkirchen, Hessen;  learned details of my father, Frank Niehaus’s, birth that enhanced the hazy picture of his mother and gained a stronger understanding of  Henry A. Weber’s family from his Last Will and Testament. There are so many experiences to think about over the year; but meeting new cousins is definitely a topper. Such as the niece of World War II veteran, Roy Albers, who wrote to introduce herself and say she enjoyed the blog. And a Niehaus cousin from Tennessee who’s offered to share his father’s historical records.  Finding these new family stories took me on some very interesting journeys.  I’m hoping for many eye-opening and gratifying interactions with other family members in 2017.
    During this year I have also added my page for Nancy’s Finding Aids (see tab above).  This list is a great assistant for me when I need reminders of handy research locations. As I sign off for 2016, I’m listing a few more of the websites that I’ve found helpful and sometimes just plain fascinating.  I hope they provide a bread crumb or two on your path to those personal family stories:
  --   Indiana Township Maps  --  Indiana’s Official Digital Data Center.  Need a map of a certain section of Indiana? This site also includes helpful tools, such as an inflation and cost-of-living calculator..  Dearborn Co Depot, Aurora, IN
--   Locations of Railroad Genealogical Materials --  Helpful information on railroads around the country, including links to historical societies and museums.  
--   National Park Service: Civil War --  Compendium of collections and databases, including a search for your civil war ancestor.
--   Online Indiana Death Records & Indexes: A Genealogy Records Guide – Compilation of Indiana records from specific counties that relate to death.
Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties.  Please join me in 2017 and let me know what’s on your mind.  Happy New Year!

copyright © 2016, Nancy Niehaus Hurley