Frederick Pratsch is my great-great-grandfather and my
most mysterious ancestor. We have not been able to learn much about him
through any documents, but the family story goes as follows: He came to
North America to avoid military service in Germany about 1863. He may
possibly have been from the area around Berlin in Germany. He may possibly
have entered the United States through Canada. He worked as a sailor on the
Great Lakes, and met his future wife at the Reid House Hotel in Lorain Ohio
where she was employed as a maid. (Lorain is a port on Lake Erie, near
Cleveland.) Frederick and Catherine married in 1878 and bought some land in
Lorain, where they built a house. We have not located a church marriage
record, and the civil records give very little information. Frederick died
of typhoid fever in 1894.
We hoped that church records of his death would give his place of birth, but they did not. (His wife was one of the founding members of the St. John's Evangelical church in Lorain.) So far we have not found any evidence that he had contact with any other Pratsch family members while he was living in Lorain. We continue to do research on Frederick, but all the easy sources have turned up negative.