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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Peculiar, With a Side of “Huh?”

A few months back, I posted about finding the birth record for Margarethe Kremer, my second great-grandmother.  The record was found in FamilySearch’s Luxembourg Civil Registrations record collection.  Periodically, over the last few months, I’ve  continued to review more of these records, working mainly on the line of Margarethe’s husband Johann Schwatrz.  Research was going well, even though I can’t read German (or even French, which started to appear the further back I went).  I can get the gist of the records since they follow a pre-printed register, and therefore, a (usually) predictable pattern.  While I had much success with the Schwartz family (going back two more generations than previously known), I can’t say the same for the Kremer side.  To illustrate the research path I took and ultimately present my predicament, I will outline what I did, step by step.

  1. It all started with the information found on the marriage license for John Schwartz and Margarethe Kremer (Kane County, Illinois; 1888).  Margarethe’s parents were listed as John Kremer and Magdalena Terres, and her place of birth was “Konsdorf,” Luxembourg.  This information, coupled with an alleged date of birth from Margarethe’s death certificate (Kane County, Illinois; 1945), gave me a place to start while looking at the Luxembourg birth records.  And there is was, in the right place, the same birth date, and the correct (sort of) parents.  The birth record (Consdorf, 1866) listed the parents as Johann Kremer and Catharina Terres.  Well, I though, everything else is spot-on, so perhaps someone in one of the records goofed. 
  2. I continued looking though the birth records and found five more births in Consdorf (from 1857 to 1870), where the parents were listed as Johann Kremer and Catharina Terres.  A marriage record (Consdorf, 1857) confirmed this union and listed their parents respectively as Franz Kremer and Catharina Muller, and Mathias Terres and Maria Sinnen.
  3. I then began to search for the birth records for Johann Kremer and Catharina Terres.  There are two possibilities for Johann, one in 1824 and one in 1829, both born to Franz Kremer and Catharina Muller (later research did not find a death for a Johann to these parents from 1824 to 1829 to suggest the reuse of the name due to death of an earlier child, so I’m not really sure what’s going on here—but that’s another mystery for another time).  I noticed that there were never any records for the surname Terres and thought perhaps Catharina was from another location.  I went back to their marriage record and realized that she was from the neighboring town of  Rosport.  So off to the birth records in that area.  Starting in 1820, I found the birth of Catharina Terres in 1825, daughter of Mathias Terres and Maria Sinnen.  Perfect!  (I also realized, if I’m reading the German and handwriting correctly, that their ages at marriage were 32 and 31, making the Johann born in 1824 the likely suspect.)
  4. Eventually, I moved on to the death records for Consdorf, from 1821 to 1890.  In 1860, I found the death of Catharina Terres (they record women with their maiden name), born in Rosport, daughter of Mathias Terres and Maria Sinnen.  Not even thinking about it (note to self, don’t do serious research when you’re in a bad mood), I recorded the death in my database.  This was yesterday.  Today, with a slightly clearer head, I noticed that something didn’t seem right.  Catharina, who apparently died in 1860, had four more children between 1860 and 1870.  Huh???
  5. I’ve gone back over the records several times and cannot figure out what happened here.  Each of the children born between 1860 and 1870 all say Catharina “Theres,” which is a variant (especially when the surname never appears in this location, ever from what I can tell).  Catharina’s marriage record ties her to her birth record, both in turn seemingly connecting her to this death record.  But what if I’m reading the death record wrong?  I can see the parents names, but I’m having a hard time deciphering the rest of the record.  In neighboring towns, if the female was married, they would list her parents, as well as her spouse (deceased or not).  This record also contains the name Pierre Kremer, which may be the person who reported the death (if the death records follow the same pattern as the birth record).  I’m also having a hard time reading the age at death of Catharina.  I don’t get it.  Name matches, parents are the same across all records, all three records indicate a birth in Rosport…again, I say, “huh?”

To say I’m confused would be an understatement.  Perhaps I’ve screwed up somewhere.  Perhaps Mathias and Maria had two daughters names Catharina (odd, but you never know, there appear to be two Johanns in the Kremer family, with two more born in later years, with at least one of the previous, my ancestor, living).  And remember, my second great-grandmother listed a completely different first name (Magdalena) for her mother when she applied for a marriage license.  While all of the other records so far would indicate that her mother’s name was Catharina, maybe the name Magdalena means something and is some sort of clue.  Who knows.

At this point, my first step has got to be getting the 1860 death record for Catharine Terres translated.  It’s the only way I can know for sure (I hope) that they either are, or are not, the same person.  If anyone wants to take a stab, I’ve inserted the death record below, but a larger version can be viewed on the FamilySearch website by clicking here (record no. 30, top left).  Any help at this point would be welcomed!!


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9 comments:

Jacqi said...

That certainly does sound confusing! The only thing I can add to this puzzle is that I've known of some old German families (and French, too) in which consecutive children are all given the same first name (such as Johann or Jean), often in honor of saints (or more particularly Joseph and Mary). Each child's middle name then becomes the working name, and that first, more formal name is never really used. Perhaps that is why your family has several children with the same first name (where you couldn't find any death record for the older child). Perhaps that might also be the key to Magdalena/Catharina's identity?

Julie Cahill Tarr said...

@Jacqi That's a VERY good point. This is one of the things you "know" but when you actually need to know it, you forget. Thanks for reminding me of this very important point...you could be absolutely right!

Julie Cahill Tarr said...

I also remember Michael John Neill talking about how he had a family group who had two Johns. If I remember correctly, he said that one was actually Jan and the other Johann, which in German are actually two different names, but when Anglicized, they both took the name John.

Yvette Hoitink said...

The death record says that Catharina Terres was 40 years old, the wife of Johan Brücher and daughter of Matthias Terres and Maria Sinnen.

Some of the details are hard to read on this low-res image. Do you have a higher resolution scan? I would be happy to translate the record for you as I always enjoy your blogposts. I am not a native speaker of German or English but know both languages well enough to translate between the two.

Anyway, from what I can read it is clear that her husband's name was Johann Brücher, not Johann Kremer. Did you try to find the births of all the children of Matthias Terres and Maria Sinnen? It seems like you may have another case of siblings with the same name on your hands!

Julie Cahill Tarr said...

You're right, Yvette. I totally read the name wrong when I posted this back in January. I have since found the error, but I wasn't able to find a birth for the Catharina who married Johann Brucher, just her marriage record and the birth of two brothers and another sister.
Unfortunately, I'm still confused :)

I'm providing links to three records. Feel free to take a stab at them...perhaps you can find some sort of clue that I am missing.

Catharina (Terres) Brucher Death

Johann Kremer and Catharina Terres Marriage

Johann Brucher and Catharina Terres Marriage

Thanks in advance for any help you can give in deciphering these records!

Yvette Hoitink said...

There is a contemporary index to the civil registration, called the 'Tables décennales'. Per period of 10 years, the birth, marriages and deaths are indexed. And because they are in a table, they are much easier to read if you don't know the language.

In Rosport, the tables seem to be starting in the year ending with -3, so 1823-1832 has the 1825 birth record of Catharina Terres m. Johann Kremer. But the 1847 marriage record of Catharina Terres m. Johann Brucher says she was 26 years old, giving a birth year of 1820/1821. She would be in the 1813-1822 section of the tables. And lo and behold: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11676-90508-77?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-L6T:n97477692 shows a "Catharina Therres" born in Rosport on 26 August 1820. Once you know the date, it's easy to retrieve the birth record:
https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11618-14446-38?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-L6K:n1548117469 The match with the parents' names, place of birth and age in the marriage record is enough to discount the slight discrepancy in the name (Therres vs. Terres). There were more Therres children in the 1813-1822 table so there may be more siblings waiting to be found.

Yvette Hoitink said...

About two siblings having the same name: it can mean that they were named after two different grandparents who shared a name. In many European countries there was a tradition of naming children after family members. In the Netherlands, the first son was named after the paternal grandfather and the first daughter after the maternal grandmother. The second son after the maternal grandfather and second daughter after the paternal grandmother, and then on to the aunts and uncles or, if the third child of the same gender was born, to male or female variations of grandparents who had not been named after yet. I don't know if this can explain the two Johanns or Catharinas in your family but it is something to be aware off.
Another common case were multiple siblings have the same first name is if the older died. The younger would then be named after the same family member plus the deceased sibling and receive the same name. In this case, there would be only one adult sibling with the same name, so this does not explain your case of multiple siblings with the same name because they both got married so the eldest could not have died in infancy.

Julie Cahill Tarr said...

Thanks for your help, Yvette. I pulled the birth record for the first born Catharina, as well as two more children, one happening to be name Magdalena. I also found the marriage for Mathias and Maria. There's still so much to do with the family group :)

Thanks again!

Yvette Hoitink said...

You're welcome! Sometimes all you need is a fresh pair of eyes :-)

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