Can anyone tell me whether the following squares with any research anyone has done?
My great great grandfather was a Theodore Karls. He lived most of his life in and around Fond du Lac, WI, but I know at times he went one county to the west (to Ripon and Princeton, WI) and then one county to the northeast (Calumet County). I think I have found his 1900 census location as Chilton, WI, which is about 20 miles up the lakeshore from Fond du Lac, where he was living with his wife Gertrude and several of his 9 children. If indeed I have correctly found my great great grandfather, and the census information is to be believed, I know that he was born in Germany circa 1845, and would have emigrated to the U.S. when he was 2 or 3, i.e., circa 1847.
My "proof" of his existence is my grandfather, 91 years old and still of sound mind, who vaguely remembers his grandfather "walking down the streets" of Fond du Lac to go fishing on Lake Winnebago. I have also in my possession a photograph of Theodore and Gertrude and all nine of their children, and the photograph carefully annotates who is who, and from this it is possible to estimate the date of the photograph as circa 1905 because it was taken about the time of my great grandfather's wedding, and thenceforth to estimate the ages of my relatives to within a few years. (It is on this basis that I believe I have found the right 1900 census entry).
The oral history of our family holds that my gggrandfather Theodore came to America with two other brothers, and that the three brothers didn't necessarily get along all that well and split up and went their separate ways. Judging from the age of the children I would presume that their parents came too. I unfortunately have no record of the names of the other two brothers, nor of Theodore's parents, or where any of them went or were buried. My grandfather knows nothing else, except that there were some "strains" within the family that chilled relations between them all. For instance, my grandfather says that his grandfather (Theodore) disowned certain parts of their families because of disputes over religion (what else?).
I have read many of the threads on this message board but frankly it is difficult to piece together much of a picture from these, as it seems that there were three or four different Karls migrations to America at different times, and it's hard for me to see how they necessarily fit together if at all. To make matters more complicated, it seems that certain names were quite common at the time, e.g., Joseph, Frank, Anna, Catherine, etc., that one can't put much stock in seeing a "Joseph Karls" and getting excited about it. The closest I have seen is a thread that mentions a Theodore as having two other brothers and settling around Fond du Lac in the 1850s, but the estimated age for Theodore puts him a bit younger than what is stated for the Theodore I found in the 1900 census.