Charlotte Poppa: Are You My Great Great Great Grandmother? (52 Ancestors #32)

Charlotte “Lottie” Poppa is one of the ancestors that I’ve always been curious about.  Most of what I “know” about her is unproven.  When my grandma gave me a copy of her pedigree chart, she pointed Lottie out to me and said, “I couldn’t read the writing on the record, so it could be Poppa, Pappa, or Puppa.”

I don’t know what record she was referring to, she never named it or showed it to me.  I’m hoping a copy is still somewhere in one of the many fruit boxes containing all of my grandparents’ research.  I have been trying to research Lottie on my own, and she’s proven to be very difficult to locate.  According to the chart, Lottie was the mother of Louise Reisenberg.  Since Reisenberg is misspelled in a plethora of different ways, soundex search doesn’t always work.

Again, according to grandma’s chart, Lottie was married to Friedrich Reisenberg.  She was born on November 4, 1823 in Germany and died on October 20, 1907.  Presumably, Grandma got this information from the document(s) she mentioned to me.  Since I try very hard to only chart information for which I have sources, and pedigree charts don’t count, I use this as a guide for my research rather than proven dates.

I entered Charlotte Poppa into the form on and retried the search with various pieces of information each time.  I thought maybe I would come across a marriage record.  Surprisingly, Lottie Riesenburg turned up in the 1900 Census in Steuben County, Indiana.  She was living with her son-in-law, Kasper Shotts, and daughter, Amelia Shotts.  Fred Riesenburg was also listed.

I was surprised by this because I had heard the story of how Louise had come to America on her own.  I had never heard that her parents came over.  I looked at the immigration column and Fred and Lottie arrived in 1883, about a year after Louise.  I also looked at Lottie’s birth information to try to verify her birth.  She was born in November of 1823 in Germany.  The only trouble I have with this census information is that it says she has only one child.  She is living with her daughter, Amelia, so how then could Louise be her daughter?  To add more confusion, Amelia had a daughter named Bertha, and Louise had a daughter named Bertha Amelia.  I have seen in the census before where a person gave the number of children living with them instead of her actual number of children.  Perhaps this is a similar scenario, or, perhaps I simply have the wrong branch attached to my family tree.

I tried looking for the passenger list, but the only information that seemed to match did not have an original image attached.  I don’t trust indexes.  I may eventually end up ordering the film for this one.

My next step was to continue looking for census records.  She came over after 1880, there is no 1890, and I have her in 1900, so I moved on to 1910.  I couldn’t find her, so I switched tactics and looked for Fred.  I found him with Casper and Amelia Schott in Ottawa County, Ohio.  He is widowed.  This doesn’t give me much useful information for Lottie, but I now know she died between 1900 and 1910, so 1907 does fit.

At this point, I had enough information to search on Find A Grave.  I know she died between 1900 and 1910 in either Indiana or Ohio, but I still had to check all possible spellings of Reisenberg.  I finally found Charlotte Risenberg buried in Harris-Elmore Union Cemetery in Elmore, Ottawa County, Ohio.  She is linked to Friedrich Risenberg and Amelia Schott, so I know this is the one I was looking for.  Unfortunately, there is no photo and no other information.  I put in a photo request, but since no dates are listed, I’m guessing there either isn’t a stone or the stone is unreadable.

I did a search on for family trees and also checked with some distant cousins, but nobody seems to have any information on Louise’s parents.  I am fairly certain Lottie is the person I’m looking for because Grandma was pretty meticulous when it came to genealogy, though not meticulous enough to cite sources, but I will continue to search for the link between Lottie and Louise.  In the meantime, this search has yielded a confirmation of Lottie’s birth information, an immigration year, and a lead on her death information.  I still want to know more, but at least I know more than I did a week ago.