Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Brandmueller / Brandmiller Update

I've been doing a great deal of work on the Brandmueller / Brandmiller family the past few weeks. Towards the end of October I received the research I had paid for in Germany regarding the Brandmueller, Hoenninger, Neidhardt Petsch/Rudelts, and others. You can see this data here: http://jadina.tribalpages.com/family-tree/jadina/5932/2484/Georg-Brandmueller-Family

 This provided me with a great deal of useful information, extending my Brandmueller line back through the 1700s. I received slightly more expanded information about the Neidhardt family, and the other related families back through the 1700s as well. It is apparent that there is much more work that can be done with these families. Hopefully I can afford that someday!

Closer to home I decided to start digging more into the Brandmueller / Brandmiller relatives I knew had immigrated from Germany. I knew the names and birth years of the children of my ancestor's (Georg Brandmueller) brother Michael, but had not really gone into much detail to find anything out about their lives, much less what Michael's wife's maiden name even was.

To begin this process, I went back to basics. I started exploring the Maryland State Archives website and re-found out that there are various parish records scanned and placed online. I believe I had found this site before but hadn't been able to figure out the username and password to access the data. WELL. This was extremely good for me (although time-consuming).

This is possibly the best resource available for the Baltimore area, since vital records weren't required by the city or state itself until much later than the time period I am interested in. Parish records, however, recorded nearly everyone. I had previously paid for death record information on the Brandmueller family from St. Mary's Seminary who holds parish records for St. Alphonsus, the church the family belonged to.

Well, the State Archives have the marriage books scanned in for St. Alphonsus. The lady who had done the research for me at the Seminary Archives had told me she had not found a marriage record for my ancestors, Georg Brandmueller and Johanna Hoenninger. This hadn't made too much sense, as they had arrived on the same ship but under their own last names (not married yet) but by a year and a half later they had had their first child. But I figured, eh, Baltimore was a big city, lots of different churches, maybe they got married at a different church I wasn't able to track down yet.

Looking through the St. Alphonsus marriages I discovered that the Archivist hadn't looked very carefully. I found their marriage, and that of Georg's brother Michael to his wife Katherine MARTIN. I spent a great deal of time scouring these records for any mention of any other Brandmueller or Hoenninger families. Through this, I was able to find a sister of Georg and Michael's. Her name was Margaretha and she married Martin Meckel. This was exciting. How many Brandmueller descendants were there??

The marriage records were extensive so I was able to look through for the marriages of some of the children of those mentioned above. I mostly only found information on Michael and Katherine's children, since obviously Georg's line moved to Wisconsin before getting married.

Anyway, from other information I started looking into other churches in the vicinity that may provide more information for me. Various other churches have had their Baptismal, Confirmation, Marriage, Death, and Interment records scanned and placed online. Not as many as I would like, but enough to fill in Some of the gaps in my information.

One of the most exciting gaps was that I found one more child who was born to Georg and Johanna Brandmueller, who I had not known about, because she was NOT in the records from St. Alphonsus, and thus hadn't been found when I paid the Seminary Archives. I stumbled across the Baptismal records for Holy Cross church in Baltimore. In it I found reference of a baptism for a Justine Brandmueller, born to Georg Brandmueller and Johanna Hoenninger, in September of 1864.

This led to some questions, as I had received death records from St. Alphonsus for Georg's mother, and his wife, Johanna. Johanna was supposed to have died 3 Feb 1864, several months before Justine was born.

 But everything on this document that I was seeing with my own eyes matched up. The parents names, the birthplaces, everything. So, I went back to Johanna's death record. I realized that they had cropped down to just the line which contained information on my ancestor, and that virtually all information on the actual date of death was handwritten by the archivist. Thus, I figured the error must have been a case of the lady writing down the wrong year. I wrote them a letter and she confirmed that yes, actually, she had died 3 Feb  1865, it was an error because the page was split between two years, the end of 1864 and the beginning of 1865. I was glad to find an easy solution to what could have been a complicated problem, but I was also reminded of why it is so important to me to do my own research in person whenever possible...

In any event I spent hours and hours scouring records. I'm sure I missed some things but I came across a great deal of other things allowing me to flesh out the families of Michael Brandmueller and Margaretha Meckel. I found that the Brandmuellers that remained in Baltimore strictly used Brandmiller in records. I also began digging to find obituaries so that I might determine where these families were buried. By finding that the Brandmiller family was buried in New Cathedral cemetery, I was able to contact the cemetery directly to find out information on the plots they are buried in.

Interestingly, it appears that they transferred Michael's remains to this cemetery from their original location. He died in 1879 and was buried in what was then St. Alphonsus cemetery. However, at some point that cemetery needed to be removed so they transferred most remains to Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery. I had figured that his remains were transferred along with Anne Neidhardt Brandmueller (his mother) and his sister-in-law Johanna Brandmueller. Now I wonder - were they transferred to Most Holy Redeemer? To another cemetery? Did they remain and get bulldozed? I tend to think they were namelessly transferred or left to be bulldozed, because direct family wasn't necessarily there to take care of them.

So, overall, I've found out all death dates for the children of Katherine and Michael Brandmiller. I was hoping by expanding this information I would find more on my direct ancestors, but that search continues. I hope someday I can figure out where Georg Brandmueller disappeared between 1870 and 1880.