Recently I was surfing the Internet and came across a web site called Zellner Genealogy (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~zellner/). This site has a long list of birth records, so I went through them and found mostly the same names and dates my aunt had found in her research, with a few additions.
No one in either my aunt’s research or listed on the web site closely matches the name and birth date (Feb. 19, 1855) information provided in interviews with August Zellner’s children. One very tempting web site listing – because the birth date is so close - is August Friedrich Zoellmer, born Feb. 5, 1855. Unfortunately, the Paterson City Directory info from the web site give the name August H. Zellner, which is nowhere near a match to this birth record.
Using the City Directory info as a starting point, the middle initial H. would point toward any of five August H. Zoellners listed at the web site. But none of these have a birth date anywhere close to the one reported by his children – and he had to be old enough for his seventh child William to be born in 1891. This pretty much rules out birth dates in the mid-1860's, for example.
The most tempting name among the five August H’s is August Herrmann Zoellner, born Feb. 18, 1838. The name is only one letter off and the birth date is one day off. The year is way off but not impossible – he would have been 53 when William was born, and 89 when he died in 1927. Still, a birth date this early raises a number of questions, for example: If he was an army medic as a teenager, what war was that? If he emigrated to America right after, how come he doesn’t appear in the Paterson City Directory until 1883? If he was in his 50’s when John Casper Hosfeld was in his 20’s, how did the families become close friends – perhaps because his wife Lina (born 1854) was so much younger? Doesn’t that age difference seem strange too? And wasn’t he getting to be a little old to remarry after Lina died and then have two more children?
There are plausible answers for any of these questions. But personally, I don’t think anyone has found the real August Zellner yet.
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