The case of two Caroline Puseckers (Part 1)

Caroline Pusecker Mack with three  of her children.

One would think that a name like Caroline Pusecker would not turn up a tangled web, but it has. And she’s only a 3rd great-grandaunt. However, her story is connected to the Pusecker family that immigrated with my Mack ancestors, and yet it is not.

In September of 2011, I was looking at the family tree that a relative sent me. The family trees showed a relationship between fellow immigrants Heinrich Andreas Mack (1811-1868) and Karl Friedrich Pusecker (1808-1866).

Karl Friedrich had three wives. He had three sons with an unknown spouse. He had a step-daughter named Rosa Hoffmann. What I couldn’t understand was where a daughter Caroline fit in.

Here is the tree at that time this all began:

Karl Pusecker and unknown spouse:

  1. Karl ‘Charles’ Pusecker’ (28 Nov 1835 – 20 Jan 1915)

  2. Wilhelm Pusecker (abt 1838 – ?)

  3. Ludewich Pusecker (20 Dec 1844 – 14 May 1905)

Karl Pusecker with Magdalena Ackerman (1800 – 1879)

  1. married 22 Jan 1857 in Franklin County, Ohio

  2. no known children born to this couple

Karl Pusecker with Elizabeth? (1828 – 1913)

  1. Elizabeth had a child prior to this marriage named Rosina Hoffman

  2. the couple was married 30 Sept 1879, 6 months after wife #2 died

Then there was Caroline. Supposedly she was the second child of Karl and his first wife. If that’s the case, her birth date should be around 1836 or 1837. However, The Caroline listed in this record had a birth date of 16 Aug 1844 and death date of 2 Sept 1917. The birth and death dates were supposedly from her death record. (I hadn’t investigated this yet.). And Caroline, born in 1844, married Heinrich Ludwig Mack (son of Karl’s neighbor in 1856) in Franklin County, Ohio on 15 Dec 1868.

Without checking the sources, I proceeded to look for records from this point forward. I found the first name for Karl’s wife as Johanna. My cousin then had these conclusions to share.

Because of discontinuities in the record, certain inferences have to be made. Let us assume that Johanna Pusecker did not survive the journey. Karl Pusecker, a widower, married a new wife over here. Magdalena Ackerman became a stepmother to the three boys. Magdalena died in 1879. In 1880, widower Karl married a widow with a daughter named Rosa.

My guess is that Heinrich Mack and Karl Pusecker were brothers-in-law, Heinrich’s wife Christina having been born Pusecker. Maybe Johanna Pusecker was born Mack, don’t know. But that would make Caroline Mack and Ludewich Pusecker's first cousins.

Alright, so I’m still not seeing where Caroline, the daughter, fits into this scenario. But she’s included on family trees and I have to figure this out.

Immigration of Karl Puesecker

I discovered a passenger list for the shows the Puseckers (starting #322) and the Macks (starting # 328) arriving in Baltimore in November 1854. It indicates that Johanna did make the trip.

Johanna Macke burial record in Ohio

Soon, I discovered a Cemetery Index and then a tombstone entry for Karl’s first wife, a woman named Johanna Macke. I can’t remember how I figured out the connection, but I made it. Soon, a research trip in Gillersheim, Germany paid off and showed me this assumption was correct. So, Johanna’s death date was 9 March 1856 in Franklin County, Ohio.

Charles Puesecker Marriage Record in 1857

Family Search, “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1974” database, (http:/ :

Entry for Carl Pusecker, 15 January 1857 (accessed 12 December 2011)

The following year Johanna’s widowed husband Karl would marry Magdalena Ackerman, according to marriage records found in Franklin County, Ohio. And in the 1860 US Census… Karl, Magdalena, and three boys were in the Pusecker family home. Their home was beside Heinrich Mack and a Joseph Geiszler (who had married Heinrich’s daughter Caroline).

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So, neighbor Heinrich Mack has a son (Heinrich Ludwig) that married a Caroline Puesecker. Was she born in 1837 (as stated on the passenger manifest) or in 1844 (according to unverified death records)? My cousin pointed out that although Caroline would have been 10, not 17 (according to ship manifest); that the ship records were prone to errors and shouldn’t be relied on too heavily. Yet the manifest record included several previously unknown children for Heinrich Mack and all of his children’s ages are within a +/- 1 variance. As well as the Puseckers. Would a ship manifest really be 7 years off? Is it hard to tell if a young girl is 17 or 10?

Man the red flag was flying, but I wasn’t sure how the issues should be solved. The only thing I was certain of was that Caroline, daughter of Karl, having a birth date of 1837. But it still hadn’t dawned on me that Caroline born in 1844 was an entirely different person.

To be continued…

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