Sometimes we feel that we stand in front of a brick wall with no way of pulling it down. Actually we often think there is a brick wall, but there still is one or the other source we have not looked at. Let me share with you how one of our alleged walls came tumbling down!
We were searching for the ancestors of a couple that married in 1899 in Gerresheim, today a part of Düsseldorf. We did have a so called Heirats-Bescheinigung, a confirmation of marriage. This record provided us with the following information:
- Groom: name and date of birth in Eisenstein in Bohemia, his occupation: stoker
- Groom: his parent’s names and his father’s occupation: glassworker
- Bride: name and date of birth in Trechel in Pomerania, her mother’s name (it was an illegitimate birth)
- The date of marriage
Marriage Confirmation, issued by the Standesamt Gerresheim on 12 January 1889,
Photo Private collection of D. Abel
We checked Eisenstein (today Železna Ruda I in the Czech Republik) and Trechel (today Trzechel, Poland) and found interesting information; but it remained unclear what had become of the groom’s father and the bride’s mother, her husband and her half-siblings. They had vanished from earth. Where could they have moved? And how on earth did the bridal couple end up in Gerresheim, when they had been born many hundreds of kilometers away?
Map Germany, by google maps
I first took a closer look at the town of Gerresheim. This town had one main employer – the Gerresheimer Glashütte, once the biggest glassworks in the world with up to 8000 employees. The workers and their families came from all over Germany, especially from Northern Germany and Pomerania.
With the groom working as a stoker, he might have worked at this foundry. With his father being a glassworker this would not be unthinkable. And maybe his parents lived there as well? And who knows, maybe so did the bride and her parents?
The Marriage Certificate
There was one record that could answer this question: the marriage certificate. You might wonder why, as we did have the marriage confirmation and knew all there was to know. But the marriage certificate holds much more information. I sent a request to the City Archive of Düsseldorf and when the record arrived, it took less than a minute to make our brick walls come tumbling down.
Marriage Certificate, Standesamt Gerresheim, Marriages, 2/1899.
This record gave additional information to what we already knew.
The Groom: he lived in Gerresheim.
The groom’s father: he died in Mitterteich, a town in Bavaria, not far from Eisenstein; Mitterteich was known for its glassworks as well.
The groom’s mother: lived in Eisenstein
The Bride’s mother: she died in Gerresheim
But the biggest surprise were the two witnesses.
The first one was a young glassmaker, and the other one actually was the bride’s youngest half-brother, a glassworker in Gerresheim as well.
So, it did seem as if at least the family of the bride did reside in Gerresheim. And as only the oldest half-brother had been born in Trechel, the family might have moved to Gerresheim when the bride was a child; her siblings might have born here. And, maybe, who knows, the bridal couple had met through her brother or other family members.
What will be our next steps? We will search the vital records of Gerresheim for family members to find out who was born, lived and died there.
Also, we will check if there is a Melderegister (Register of Inhabitants) that will give information on when the family moved there. And, if we are lucky, there still is an archive of the Gerresheimer Glashütte.
This is how we had our alleged brick walls came tumbling down just be ordering one single record!
Find out more about civil records in my blogpost 110-80-30!
This blog post was first published on the blog of the In-Depth Genealogist on 26 January 2016.