My last post, quite some time ago, concluded with my about to embark on searching German church records by hand. That search only opened up new mysteries to me. The records were difficult to read at times, and all in German. The German was relatively straightforward to understand, however, so I did not have trouble. They also had a booklet that a few church ladies had put together translating some of the records.
These records were, however, fantastic in that they provided birth places in Germany for my ancestors. Simon Walter was listed as being born in Neubeuren bei Wiesenfeld. His wife, Margaretha, was a different story. She was listed intermittently as either a Strasser or Kuernlein // Kaemmlein by birth. The church records shed no light on these because they ALSO alternated between listing two two names. Sometimes her children's records said one thing, and then her own death record said another. Was Simon married to two women named Margaretha? In the cemetery records there was also a listing of an Eva Elisabetha Strasser, whose maiden name was Kuernlein, born 14 Sept 1805 in Weisenbach. She had a husband listed as Johann Michael Strasser, only his birth year was 1822 and he had been born someplace called Schnelldorf. Margaretha herself was born 2 Jan 1827, also in Weisenbach.
How were these three related?? The church records were infuriating. I had them all laid out in front of me in the basement of the church and they just kept leading me in circles without providing information on how exactly these three were related. They had to be. They were from the same tiny town in Germany. They had the same names. They had similar generations (1822/1827, and then the older generation line at 1805). Were johann and Margaretha siblings? What was going on?
I photographed every record and came home, still studying the same information and still baffled. I searched the internet for the town name "Weisenbach by Wuerttemburg" as it had been listed on the records. I determined that the town I was looking for was in Schwaebisch Hall region of Stuttgart, Wurttemburg state. There was even a road between Weisenbach and Schnelldorf, explaining how the Strasser and Kaemmlein families had met.
Because I was now armed with the proper locales and exact birth dates (thank you, St Johns in Oak Creek!) I could now attempt to find records in Germany. Luckily records existed. They let me know that Margaretha, wife of Simon Walter was a Kaemmlein by birth. Her mother was, Eva Elisabetha Kaemmlein, who had Margaretha illegitimately and therefore Margaretha had her mother's maiden name. The father may be listed on the record but it is incredibly hard to read on the scan they sent me in the mail.
Apparently, Eva Kaemmlein married Johann Michael Kaemmlein, only 5 years older than her illegitimate daughter, and came to America with him in 1852. I do not know more about the marriage of Eva and Johann Michael, but at least I do know the proper relationships between these three.
From this info I was able to find more info on the Kaemmlein family. Eva's parents were Johann George Kaemmlein and Anna Barbara Ballbach.
I can't afford to find more information at this time but I'm satisfied with having learned what I did so far.
More family research in German records:
I also acquired the birthdates of George Brandmueller and Johanna Hoeninger. Georg was born 12 Aug 1824 in Steudach, Erlangen-Büchenbach, Mittelfranken, Bavaria. His parents were Adam Brandmueller and Anna Neidhardt. I have found the Brandmueller line back to the mid 1700s now! Can you believe it?
Johanna Hoeninger was born 16 Sep 1824 in Buechenbach to Johann Michael Hoeninger (I had wondered as her sons had this name) and Barbara Rudelt. Barbara was an illegitimate child of Conrad Petsch and Catharina Rudelt. She is alternately listed by either surname in various records.
I have slowly been acquiring more info on the Grass families also. More to come when I can afford the research!!