I had very little information about my great-grandmother, Gretchen Bunge Jensen. We knew she was in NYC in 1900 and that her father was a doctor whose name was Carl Bunge. One family member had her autograph book, which Gretchen started at age 12 and in which she got signatures of some family members. One such signature said "Your sister, C. Paetzold". We assumed this was her sister's married name.
I started by looking in the 1900 soundex for NY (not a small task :-)), looked and looked for Carl Bunge, C. Bunge, and found nothing. I was very perplexed, then thought maybe his name was really Karl and headed off to the "K"s. Well, you know how when you are looking through microfilm and you're turning the crank sometimes your hand just stops?? I was thinking to myself "Please please I really need to find them" when for some reason my hand just stopped.
In front of me on the reader was a card "2 of 2" and the first name on the list of children was "George Paetzold" and under that was another Paetzold and under that was "Paul Bunge" which you could barely read. I was just about to start turning the crank again when my slow brain said "Paetzold"??? I'm not in the P's! And as I slowly turned the crank backwards to look at card "1 of 2" -- there they all were. My heart started pounding and tears came to my eyes. Carl Bunge was going under the name Charles Bunge and he had 4 stepchildren who carried the surname Paetzold, as well as my great-grandmother Gretchen and her half-brother Paul.
I suppose that at some point I might have gotten desperate enough to look card by card through the 1900 soundex BUT all I know is that finding that census record was a gift from my ancestors. If Clara had not signed that autograph book as "C. Paetzold" I might never have found them, and from the census information I was able to take the Bunge line back to 1800 in German records, etc. etc. etc.