Some of my great greats speak out more than others. Gerhard Wilmsen has been one of the quieter ones. But it seems that when I take a little time to review the facts I have for these family members that are hanging quietly in the background they might just reveal something new about themselves. So now, Gerhard's time has come. He was born about 1820 in Westphalia, a province of Prussia (now Germany). There's a circa 1815-1866 Europe map posted on the left that gives some idea of the size and location of Westphalia and Prussia. The darkened areas are Prussia and Westphalia is outlined in green within Prussia.
I'm short on information about Gerhard Wilmsen's childhood. But an 1846 marriage record provides his birth year and a few additional important pieces of information. I also learned from this church record that his father was a day laborer at that time in Ibbenburen, a town in the northwestern area of Westphalia. I can't presume that he was born in Ibbenburen from this record 26 years later. But, just maybe we'll find later that his family lived there for many years.
Thankfully, the marriage record from St. Pankratius Catholic Church in Emsdetten, Westphalia, tells us that on November 24, 1846, he married Elizabeth Kamp, a widower, from Hollingen, a village near Emsdetten. Gerhard was 26 years old and he had not been married before.
Emsdetten and Ibbenburen are about 7km, or 11 miles, apart. If Gerhard was living in Ibbenburen, this may have been quite a distance in 1846 for two young people to have known each other and married. So we could speculate that Gerhard left the town where his father lived when he became a young man and found a job that brought him closer to, or in contact with, Elizabeth Kamp. But wait a minute. I'm making up this story now. Too much speculation. I should be finding Gerhard Wilmsen's family facts before he was 26 years old and married. That's a research priority I'll add to my list.
But first…..What I do know is that Gerhard and Elizabeth Wilmsen setup their home in Hollingen, the village just outside Emsdetten where Elizabeth's family lived. And there also is where Gerhard made a living as a carpenter. This is revealed by the baptismal records of their four children in that same Catholic Church in Emsdetten. Four times in those records the priest recorded Gerhard as a carpenter in Hollingen. ( A brief summary of what I know about him is in his Individual Summary posted here.)
Now we have to skip ahead about 20 years to the next record in 1873. Also from these generous church records I know that his oldest child, Elizabeth Gertrude Wilmsen married Heinrich Joseph Niehues (Niehaus) on the 24th of June, 1873. At that time her father was living in Dorfbauerschaft, a town just a few miles northwest of Emsdetten. This provides yet another home for Gerhard, at 53 years old. But unfortunately, in this record in 1873 his occupation is illegible so I can't yet confirm that he was still a carpenter.
And that's where this family history for Gerhard Wilmsen stops for now. But, hopefully, I'll know more later. Because as I was writing about him, the ideas developed for finding more information. I took a break midway in this story to check the Family History Library catalog for the church records in Emsdetten to see if I had exhausted those sources. Well, I found that I have quite a bit more research to do in those Emsdetten files. There are microfilms I can order from the FHL where I might find Gerhard's baptism in 1820, his parents' marriage in the early 1800s, more about his brothers' lives and the family deaths recorded in that same church between 1844 and 1875. I'm thinking that this post has a good chance of a follow-up!
Thanks for visiting with me at Indiana Ties. If you are researching the Wilmsen family and would like to chat, leave me a message below.
If you would like to see my list of Kamp/Wilmsen descendants, CLICK HERE.
To find the Family History Library catalog of Emsdetten church records, CLICK HERE.
Here are other related posts that may be of interest:
Elizabeth Gertrude Wilmsen Niehaus: Ladies In My Line
Thanks Goodness for Elizabeth Kamp Wilmsen's Church Records
Note on 52 Ancestors Challenge: I am participating in the 52 Ancestors Challenge being led by Amy Johnson Crow at www.nostorytoosmall.com. She's bringing together family history writers who share ancestral stories throughout 2014. There's a wide variety of stories each week written by people everywhere and about people from everywhere. Visit Amy's blog to enjoy a few.
Copyright © Nancy Niehaus Hurley