Carl Joseph Diefenbach is my wife’s paternal great-grandfather. While I do know who Carl’s parents are, he’s the ancestor I know the most about in the Diefenbach line. This is a summary of what I know and can document, but should not be taken as a definitive compilation.
It’s not clear when he arrived in the United States. The 1910 Census shows an immigration date of 1896, but the 1920 Census shows 1893. The 1930 Census shows that his mother immigrated in 1889. Carl would have been twelve in 1896, nine in 1893, and only five in 1889. I haven’t found him listed on any passenger lists yet, but I’ve been focusing on finding him instead of looking for his parents, Louis Diefenbach and Margaretha Herman.
According to the 1930 Census, Margaretha was a widow. I believe Louis died between 1920 and 1930, as they seem to be living near Carl and his family in 1920.
Carl married Magdelena Schmidt on Thanksgiving Day (November 28) 1907. They were married by Reverend Louis H. Steinbach. According to the marriage license, it was the first marriage for both. He was 23 and she was 28. She lived in Clintonville and was born in West Jefferson, Ohio. Her father was John W. Schmidt, and her mother’s maiden name was Schwartz. Carl was working as a baker and lived at what looks like 561 E Beck St in Columbus. While the license is hard to make out, that address matches their 1910 Census record.
Carl and Magdelena had four children that I know of. Margaret Louise was born in 1908. Magdalena was born in either December 1909 (likely) or January 1910. That’s based on a census date of 25 April 1910 and a reported age of five months. Carl Louis Diefenbach was born in 1918, and William was born in 1920. William Diefenbach is not listed in the 1920 Census, dated 8 January, but he’s reported as ten years old in the 1930 Census.
By 1930, Carl Joseph was working as a railroad stock clerk, and had been working in the railroad industry since 1920. He was still a baker in the 1910 Census.
By 1920, Carl had moved from Beck to 391 S 6th Street. His son Carl Louis Berle Diefenbach eventually lived there as well. The house was sold sometime after Carl Louis Berle’s death in 1998, having been in the family for over eighty years.
The names “Carl,” “Magdalena,” and “Margaret” figure prominently in Carl J’s descendants. There are three other Carls, two more Margarets, and another Magdalena. That has made tracking people down problematic on occasion.
For 2018, my primary goal is to establish Carl Joseph’s immigration dates and location. I assume Louis and Margaretha came to the US as part of the massive influx between 1861 and 1900, as my family did. In forty years, almost 3.5 million Germans immigrated to the US. I assume the Diefenbachs landed on the East Coast and made their way to Ohio, but as always, the question is, “Why?” Certainly German Village would have been a huge draw for an immigrant at the turn of the century.
I’d also dearly love to find any photos of the older generations. I know some exist, as some of Diana’s cousins have posted large groups of photos. But far too few are identified well.
If you’re related to Carl Joseph Diefenbach, please contact me. There are several descendants working on filling in the details of his family, and we’d love to collaborate on the work. You can use the Contact form here, or the Suggest tab on his page at my genealogy site.