[PA] Ledger Family,Philadelphia.
Researching my ggggrandfather who was an African American and went by the name of Joseph Ledger.
Joseph was born in Philadelphia in about 1844 [not confirmed] and came to England in 1866, where he married Anna Kreutzberg at Norwich. Anna was the daughter of Gottlieb Kreutzberg, the owner of a travelling menagerie. The family came from Germany and travelled throughout Eastern Europe,Russia and France.
Joseph's early years are undocumented, save to say that he claimed that some members of his family changed their surname from 'Ledger' to 'Holleger or Hollinger'. He retained his original surname and it's unclear why this happened, or when. I did have this confirmed for me by a fellow researcher, but her 'Holliger' relatives were white skinned and came from Delaware.
Joseph says he went to school and attended Professor Beard's Academy. I haven't discovered anything about this school or where it was.
He relates that he joined the 27th Pennsylvania Regiment and fought at the Battle of 'Bull's Run' and served under Colonel Mcmahon. Later on he fought at the Battle of 'Sedan' when involved in the Franco German war. I haven't been able to verify any of these claims and it's worth noting that although I have no reason to question these claims, it would be fairly easy for him to pick up this information and use it to flatter.
Joseph trained in Germany with Carl Hagenback to become a lion tamer, this has been confirmed. He then went on to be employed by various circus owners, including a stint at the 'Folies Bergere' in Paris in the 1875. I have copies of his contracts, also a newspaper article in the 'Reform' german newspaper which reports, together with a picture of Joseph sat on a camel, the arrival of animals at a german railway station for the 'Hagenbeck Menagerie'.
Joseph and Anna had 3 children, Victor born in Austria, Margeurite born in Paris and Percival born in England.
He died in 1901 in England after returning home from years of wandering with the circus. His last years were spent working with circus's in the north of England, mainly 'Wombwell's' a well known outfit.
I need a starting point for Joseph and I'm hoping that I can find some of his families ancestors in the USA.