I came across him because he was friends with my grandparents, Cornelius #7529 (1884-1950) and Margaret Siemens; and his life intrigued me because as a Polish convert in Nebraska he was not a typical KG member. Although he had children, none of them had any children; so he has left no descendants to research him and to preserve his memory. So I have taken that task for myself; and he has proven to be quite an interesting, if elusive, person.
First, I decided to find his immigration record, but that proved to be a fruitless search, even with the search capabilities of Ancestry.com. I also checked the Mennonite immigrant lists in Clarence Hiebert's book Brothers in Deed, Brothers in Need: A Scrapbook About Mennonite Immigrants from Russia, 1870-1885 and David Haury's book Index to Mennonite Immigrants on United States Passenger Lists, 1872-1904 but found nothing. I suspected that I didn't have his Polish name and that "John Glen" was an Americanized version and that he had used his Polish name when he arrived.
So then I decided to narrow it down by finding his year of immigration in the census records. But he reported variously that he had immigrated in 1874, 1884 (mentioned twice), 1885, and 1886. That didn't help much. But I did note that he said he had been naturalized, mentioning 1913 twice and 1915 once.
So I decided to look for his naturalization record since it should give his immigration date. If either of the two years of naturalization was correct, he should have been living near Meade, Kans., since the Kleine Gemeinde had migrated there as a group in 1908. When I searched in Ancestry, I found an index card for him in Meade, Kans., on 28 October 1913.
It took a while, but I came across a "Jan Glein" traveling in a group of 24 single men, mostly young, from Hungary, who arrived on 3 March 1884, on board the S.S. California from Hamburg. The Kingdom of Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at that time, so that fit the fact on the naturalization card that he had been a subject or resident of Austria. But he gave an age of 24, meaning that he would have been born in 1859-1860, while the naturalization card gave a birth date of 10 May 1864. But no one else on those two ships was even close, and enough of the facts fit so that I concluded it was probably he.
Here is his name from the passenger manifest:
|Passenger Jan Glein, Passenger Manifest of Vessels Arriving New York City, 3 March 1884, ship California, page 2, line 61. Accessed at Ancestry.com on 2 December 2016.|
I was so excited that I had manged to track down a single individual who changed his name shortly after arrival! But of course, I wanted to find out who his parents were.