Name Changing

I was attracted to this story because of the name Gothard Pfennighausen.  As near as I can tell, this name means something like “penny house” in German.  He married Emma Hooss on June 9th at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville in 1890.  Gotthard’s trail led to many different places…..and several changes in names.  Plus, there will be a side trip to the Civil War.  I found this photo of Gothard, but no photo of Emma.

Gotthard Pfennighausen
Gothard Pfennighausen

Emma Hooss was the daughter of Thomas and Catherine (Cadenbach) Hooss of Perryville.  Thomas was a rather notable hotel keeper and merchant in that town.  Here is the 1870 census for Perryville that shows Emma’s family which also included several tenants of the hotel.

Emma Hooss 1870 census Perryville
1870 census – Perryville, MO

On this form, you can also see John J. Seibel, who was the subject of a recent post, Captain J.J. Seibel.

When she married Gothard Pfennighausen, Emma was marrying another child of a hotel keeper.  The 1860 census shows that Gothard’s father was a hotel keeper in Herman, Missouri.

Reinhold Pfennighausen 1860 census Herman MO
1860 census – Herman, MO

The name Reinhold Pfennighausen led me to discover that historians in his family tell a rather interesting story,   They say it really wasn’t the Pfennighausen family that came to America around 1850.  According to this story, Reinhold Pfennighausen was actually born as Julius Alexander Pawlikowski in Prussia in 1818.  He was Polish and living in Germany in 1850.  There was a war going on, and in order to get out of the country, he borrowed the necessary  papers from a neighbor named Pfennighausen.  He apparently kept the name even after arriving in the United States.

Reinhold was also involved in the Civil War.  In fact, he had a whole unit that still carries his name called Von Pfennighausen’s Independent Battalion Horse Artillery Volunteers.  That battalion was involved in the Chickasaw Bayou Expedition in 1862 that was a failed attempt to take the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. It was after he came home from that war that his son, Gothard, was born in 1865.

After Gothard and Emma were married, they must have moved to Pennsylvania.  The 1900 census shows their family living in Clearfield, Pennsylvania.  Gothard’s occupation was a machinist.  It also shows that two of their children were born in Missouri before moving to Pennsylvania.

Gotthard Pfennighausen 1900 census Clearfield PA
1900 census – Clearfield, PA

The 1910 census shows the family living in Hartford, Connecticut.  However, in the 1930 census we see another name change.  Gothard and Emma are both listed as having the surname Penning instead of Pfennighausen.  According to some family histories on, all of the children in this family would go on to take the name Penning.

Gotthard Pfennighausen 1930 census New Haven CT
1930 census – New Haven, CT

Gothard died in 1936; Emma died in 1944.  They are both buried in the Rose Hill Memorial Park in Hartford, Connecticut.  They are buried using the name Penning.

Name-changing like you see in this story makes the job of a genealogist harder.  I am just glad that someone else did the research on this family for me.  I wonder if Emma knew that she was married to a Pawlikowski and not a Pfennighausen.


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