Bring me up to speed on what we know so far. Is this still the family that lived in the poorhouse that we are discussing? I am making an assumption that perhaps they left without permission from the government because the father wanted to avoid military service. The fact that they lived in the poorhouse suggests that either the father did not have a trade or was not able to maintain steady employment. The fact that the son born in New Zealand committed suicide at age 19 suggests to me that perhaps he had a mental illness, probably the same mental illness that kept his father from being able to work. The children being left behind could have been either because the father was considered unsafe to be around them or because they would eventually grow up and be able to be drafted into the military or a combination of the two, which apparently they didn't appreciate, as your records show them being accused of leaving the country without permission and not showing up for military duty. My great great great grandmother was Catharina "Trinke" Johannsen. She was born somewhere in Schleswig-Holstein on 4/12/1809. She married Heinrich "Henry" Schnoor Born 9/22/1806 in Kuden, S-H, Germany, in 1830. They immigrated to the United States from the port of Hamburg to the port of New Orleans, Louisiana and came up the Mississippi river in a boat, eventually coming to Jackson County Iowa where Henry passed away. Catharina eventually came to Dallas County and is buried in the Woodward Cemetery. There is still much mystery that surrounds this family, even though there is a family history in the Woodward Cenntenial Book. I don't have any information about Catharina's parents or siblings. I also have two different families of Hansens in my family tree, as well as Seeman(n)s who came from Brodersby, S.H. as did one of the families of Hansens. My suggestion about mental illness comes because depression and bipolar disorder are a common occurance in our recent family and most of my ancesters from both sides come from Schleswig-Holstein and created a community in Iowa where they almost exclusively intermarried. I have over 2000 people in my family tree that are mostly on my paternal grandfather's side of the family and are related by blood or marriage or perhaps both if I go back far enough. They did a recent study on the Amish Pennsyvania Dutch community that has a high incidence of bipolar disorder since it is a closed community.