Saturday, August 1, 2009

German Brick Walls

The topic for the 22nd edition of Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy is roadblocks and breakthrough encountered during your genealogy research.

I have actually had some breakthroughs with my German ancestors, although it’s all been through research here in the U.S.  Now, they’ve become my German brick walls, as I am having a hard time finding information across the pond.

There are several reasons they are now brick walls:

  • In some cases, I don’t know where in Germany to start looking.
  • I don’t know enough about Germany to effectively search.
  • I don’t speak/read German, so when I do find something with potential, I can understand it (online translators do help).

So I am going to use this carnival topic to share what I have found so far on each of my direct-line German ancestors.

Emil MILLER & Hulda WACH – Emil and Hulda are my second great-grandparents.  Alternate spellings I have come across for Miller are Muller and Mueller (with and without the ü).  From the information I have gathered, I believe he was born in Germany around 1862.  He and Hulda married on 8 August 1886 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.  They had three children:  Heinrich “Henry” Frederick, Emil Charles, and Ida (all born in Chicago).  Except for their marriage, I cannot find Emil in the U.S. and suspect that he died before 1900 (I have yet to find a death certificate).  As for Hulda, she remarried in 1901 to John Fred SEVERING, had another daughter, Lilian, and then I lose her after the 1910 census.  I haven’t the slightest clue where to look for them in Germany.

Henry WACH & Amelia WIETZKE – Henry and Amelia are my third great-grandparents.  This is a recent discovery.  I’ve known of Amelia (also spelled Emillie) since I started my research, as she is found with her children in the U.S. up through the 1920 census.  I had no idea who her husband was, nor her maiden name.  A few months ago, I obtained her son Henry’s death certificate.  Lo and behold, it listed his father’s name AND Amelia’s maiden name and confirmed that they were both born in Germany…jackpot!!  Since Amelia remarried while in Germany, I suspect that Henry died in Germany.  But again, I have no idea where to start looking for either of them.  Henry and Amelia had three children: Hulda (mentioned above), Alvina, and Heinrich :Henry” Emil.  Amelia married an unknown SCHULTZ and had another daughter, Mildred.  All of the children were born in Germany.

Herman LEPPIN & Minnie HAEMFIFLER – Herman and Minnie are my second great-grandparents.  Research indicates that they were both born in Germany.  Herman was born on 22 March 1873 and died on 31 March 1948 in Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona.  Family notes indicate that Minnie was born in 1872 and died in 1946.  They were married on 26 March 1894 in Cook County, Illinois.  Together they had four children:  Alma Mary, Henry August, Herman Paul, and Charles F. all born in Cook County, Illinois.  Nothing as of yet points to where to further my research in Germany.

Phillip ROTTMAN & Mary Eva REEDER – Phillip and Mary are my second great-grandparents.  Family notes indicate that Phillip was born in Germany, while Mary was born in France.  The notes also indicate that they were married in France.  Research indicates that Phillip and Mary had six children:  John W (born in Georgia), Anna E (born in Missouri), Malissa Elizabeth (born in Pennsylvania), Charles Henry (born in Iowa), Mabel Louise (born in Pennsylvania), and George (born in Iowa).  Research also indicates that Phillip was born in Bavaria, so I guess this could be a place to start.

Charles STOFFEL & Mary BRAUN – Charles and Mary are my second great-grandparents.  Of all the direct-line German ancestors, there is potential to finding information on the across the pond.  Family papers indicated that they were born in Frankfurt, but I was able to confirm that at least Mary appears to have been born in Frankfurt as it is indicated on her death certificate (which I just recently obtained).  I have not been able to find a marriage certificate for them in Illinois, so I suspect they may have been married in Germany.  Charles and Mary had seven children, all born in Illinois:  Henry C, Anna E, Margaret, Charles L, Elsie A, William, and George.  I started to do a little digging when I confirmed that Mary was born in Frankfurt, but was unable to find anything relevant.

There you have it; my German brick walls.  I hope to do a little digging on Charles STOFFEL and Mary BRAUN since they’re the only ones that I have some proof of where in Germany they came from.  I am heading to SLC in September, and they are on my list.



Claudia's thoughts said...

You are doing much better at your German brickwalls than I am with mine.

The great grandparents never emigrated and all I know are the cities on my grandmothers side (Celle and Jena) and my grandfathers all I know is where he was born (Quickborn) but that is not where they lived.

Sometimes I feel that I am looking for the Needle in the Haystack

Barbara Lass Grempler said...

Check out the first two entries at:

Carl is a German var. of Charles.

It's a possibility.

Julie Cahill Tarr said...

That immigration record is quite possible. In censuses I show the immigration year of 1884.

Anonymous said...

stoffel coat of arms is on the hidelburg castle sorry 4 spelling if i can help futher contact me at stoffelcurt@hotmail.com

aajje47 said...

Phillip Rottman and Mary Eva Reeder are my great grandparents. They are also my brick wall. Their son, Charles Henry Rottman, is my grandfather. I have quite a bit of info on him, wife and children.. would welcome any info you have...and will share any I have.

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