Pursuing the Pertls – Is this Bertel a Pertl or just a distaction

Pertl Anton 1870 chicago census

I know other researchers might say at this point I should continue the path I was on researching Vincent/Jim Pertl before jumping down the rabbit hole I found at the end of the last post. And maybe I should. But, I’m not going to. I’m comfortable that my research has been documented well enough that I can pick up where I left off with Vincent if this bright shiny object (BSO) turns out to be nothing. For more information on BSOs just google “genealogy and bright shiny objects” and you will find plenty of information, mostly about how to record them to research later. In my case however, although I was in the process of researching Vincent, my true goal is to find where Anton and his family came from in Bohemia. This may lead me closer to that goal, and so I am going to pursue it.

The stories handed down seem to conflict with what this census record indicates. I also do not know for sure if this Bertel is really my Pertl. My first step is going to be to create a new research record of this Anton Bertel and his family to see if there is other information that would confirm that this is actually another family. There don’t seem to be any obvious Bertel or Bartls named Anton in the Chicago area. They could have moved away though. If this indeed Anton’s family, Mary will have passed away prior to 1874 (when Anton married Angeline) and Julia will have passed away prior to the 1880 census. I was not able to find death information on either of them however.

At this point in my search, I took a wide detour that was unnecessary. As I initially was writing this, I included all my steps and spent more time than I should have searching for the church that Julia may have been baptized at. I first postulated that it might be the same church Anton’s other children were baptized at. I spent time analyzing his addresses between 1885 and 1895 and then looking up parish records on FamilySearch. I never did find any of their baptism records. Somewhere along in the process I realized that the 1870 city directory was available on Fold3. I was able to find Anton and John living at 52 Fisk. This at least confirmed to me that he was living in Chicago in 1870. When I first looked at the nearby churches, I realized they were not opened early enough. So I did a Google search and came across a book called “The Catholic Church in Chicago, 1673-1871: An Historic Sketch” by Gilbert Joseph Garraghan. The book indicates that the first Bohemian Catholic church in Chicago was St. Wenceslaus in 1865 followed by St. John Nepomucene in 1871. When I searched St. Wenceslaus I found Julia’s baptism record! In it her father is listed as Anton Pertl and her mother Mary. I was a little disappointed not to have Mary’s maiden name, but this was nice validation that Anton Bertel is actually Anton Pertl. The earliest death record for St. Wenceslaus is 1892, so I was unable to check for any deaths. I did check for Anton’s marriage (just in case) but did not find any record of it.

So this is fabulous information for me to have but… it does not get me any closer to finding where the Pertls came from.  In my previous post I discuss his potential brothers.  In the 1870 Census there is a James Bertel born in 1851 – perhaps this is one of his brothers?  Vincent (whom we haven’t verified is a brother yet) was born in 1854.  There is also a potential brother James who married Angelina’s half-sister.  I think the next step is to do further research on James.  I will also not that I could potentially research the two boarders that are living with them – James Berger and Michael Gotersene – to see where they came from.  A genealogist’s work is never done!

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