|Beginning of Ledger Entry May 3, 1854|
Appointment for the merchant Carl Neumann as consul to Porto Plata.
Not one to give up on brick walls, I recently Googled Carlos Neumann and to my surprise got a hit on a Spanish language economics journal that had an article about the impact of the Dominican Restoration War of 1863-1865 on commerce in Puerto Plata1. With the help of my Spanish neighbor, I found that there were several references to Carlos Neumann as the proprietor of businesses with an analysis of the impact on his business based on inventories and reports he filed as consul to the government of Prussia. There were also footnotes providing references to the archive holding those reports in Germany. With the help of my German neighbor (I live in a very multicultural neighborhood), I corresponded with the Geheimes Staatsarchiv PreuBischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian State Archive) in Berlin and they sent me images of 59 pages of letters and reports related to Carl Neumann of Karsruhe Prussia including the one shown above naming him consul to Puerto Plata (or Porto Plata as they called it). I had to hire a professional translator as these were handwritten in old German, and they are still being worked on, but shown above is part of one page of the official ledger where they copied official correspondence showing the letter naming him as consul. The paragraph shown above reads:
"We, Friedrich Wilhelm by the grace of God King of Prussia, etc. do hereby declare and add:, that, having found it convenient to appoint a consul in Porto Plata, we have chosen and accepted there in grace Carl Neumann, a merchant who is acclaimed for his knowledge of business and other good qualities”2.
It seems that in the official correspondence his name was spelled with a C, and that the often signed his letters as Charles! The remaining correspondence in addition to business information seems to include references provided in connection with his appointment with information about Carl's business, his character, and possibly about his origins in Karlsruhe. There are also some hints in the Spanish article that may lead to further information on the family in Puerto Plata. I will have lots to do to follow up on these new hints, but for now, it's good to know that the family story about Carlos being the consul is correct even if the assumption about the "German" spelling of his name was wrong.