Sunday, April 24, 2016

Taking My Research To Church, Birkenstock Research Project, Pt 3

     Where am I on the search for Katherine Birkenstock and Martin Kuhn’s marriage? It’s time for church.  My research in Part 2 guided me to look for Kate’s church records in Ruhlkirchen, Hessen, Germany in the 1830s. I’ve been enhancing my skills and having an interesting time taking that path.    
     But while I go about piecing together more of their lives, I thought it would be helpful to have in front of us a reminder of where Kate and Martin fall in the family chart. So below is a simple pedigree chart using my mother, Rosemary Weber, as a starting point. Kate Birkenstock is her great grandmother. If you are in her line, insert yourself or a family member where appropriate.  Kate and Martin Kuhn were immigrants to Connersville, Indiana in 1862. After Martin’s death, Kate came to Indianapolis to live, sometime between 1874 and 1879. Thus we have our roots of this Birkenstock/Kuhn line. 
Birkenstock Chart Framed
     Now, for that research into a church marriage record.  As a result of my review of “what I know about Katherine Birkenstock Kuhn” in Parts 1 and 2, I believe that Katherine’s birthplace is Ruhlkirchen, Hessen, Germany and the approximate date of her marriage to Martin Kuhn is between 1834 and 1836.  Since the history of the Kuhn family tells me that they were Catholic in the United States, I’m starting my search with Catholic church records for the area where Kate was born. I realize the Birkenstock family may not have been Catholic, but my search has to begin somewhere.
     The logical choice for me would be to begin by looking for possible online sources that might include an index, OR, if I’m lucky, an image of this marriage record.  In times past, I’ve checked without success at for church records in Hessen. But it’s good to return to see if there are additional records posted.  But, no luck. The Germany, Select, Marriages, 1558-1929, database at doesn’t cover the area I’m researching in Hessen. 
     Then I tried my newest online resource,  The Germany Marriages records on that site appear to be the same records as ancestry. An individual search within family trees likewise didn’t produce any good leads.  Of course, an online research effort wouldn’t be complete without a Google search. Again, there were no additional websites to investigate. That is, except the one I already had on my list -
     Here’s where the sun shown on my research!  My search began with a records search, inputting Anna Katherina Birkenstock, marriage place Germany and an estimated marriage date of 1834.  This might result in a marriage record that’s been indexed, or even a copy of the original church record.  Or there could be a clue from someone else’s family tree.  I didn’t find any records that I felt led me to  the marriage record.
     But there’s so much more to investigate at the familysearch website.  If there were microfilmed church records for Ruhlkirchen, I could look at the microfilm at a Family History Center near me.  So, from the main website page I used the catalog link to get to Germany, Marriages and select Hessen from the list of places in Germany.  The list of types of records and places in the state of Hessen is very long. I had to keep paging down to find the Ruhlkirchen church records.  The records available on microfilm could be promising. Below I’ve posted an excerpt from the search results: 
Kirchenbuch, 1731-1876
Katholische Kirche Ruhlkirchen (Kr. Alsfeld) (Main Author)
Format:  Manuscript/Manuscript on Film
Language: German
Publication: Salt Lake City, Utah : Gefilmt durch The Genealogical Society of Utah, 1973
Physical: 4 Mikrofilmrollen ; 35 mm.
Notes: Mikrofilme aufgenommen von Manuskripten im Dioezesanarchiv, Rottenburg.
Parish registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths for Ruhlkirchen, Hessen, Germany. Includes Ohmes, Vockenrod and Seibelsdorf. Text in Latin and German.

Subjects —  Locality Subjects
Germany, Hessen, Ruhlkirchen - Church records

Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1792-1830 -- Microfilm #939229

Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1830-1860 -- Taufen, Heiraten 1861-1891 -- Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1731-1792 — Microfilm #939230 

Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1830-1857 (Ohmes) -- Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1830-1860 (Vockenrod) -- Taufen, Heiraten, Tote 1830-1860 Seibelsdorf) -- Taufen, Heiraten 1857-1879 (Ohmes) -- Tote 1857-1900 (Ohmes) —  Microfilm #939231
     When I reviewed these listings I noted that there were marriage (heiraten) records from the Ruhlkirchen Catholic Church that fall within the 1830s dates that I’m estimating for Katherine Birkenstock and Martin Kuhn. Of course, my next step was to order these films.  At the bottom of the search results page is a link to the online ordering system. I paid the $7.50 rental fee for each microfilm and selected the Genealogy Society of Marion County as my Family History Center.  The microfilmed church records from Ruhlkirchen, Hessen, are on the way. I can peruse the records using the microfilm viewer at the GSMC. If the Birkenstock/Kuhn marriage is recorded in this particular church I’m optimistic that I’ll find it in this microfilm.
     Now I’m brushing up on my German.  I have lists of commonly used words from my research books so that I can decipher enough of the records to find Kate and Martin’s marriage.  And, if I get stuck, there are helpful genealogists around that I’m sure will assist.  I’ll be back with the results from my Ruhlkirchen church records, and more.

Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,

Copyright(c) 2016 Nancy Niehaus Hurley  
Related Posts:
Where and When Was Katherine Birkenstock Married To Martin Kuhn, Part 1
Ruhlkirchen and Neustadt, Hessen, Birkenstock Research Project, Part 2


  1. Nancy,
    I love how you described your search for Katherine B.K. and I sure hope that the microfilm records will reveal the answer for Kate and Martin's marriage. Can't wait to see what you discover! Crossing my fingers for you! - Anne

  2. Nancy,
    I love how you described your search for Katherine B.K. and I sure hope that the microfilm records will reveal the answer for Kate and Martin's marriage. Can't wait to see what you discover! Crossing my fingers for you! - Anne

    1. Thanks so much for your message, Anne! I'll keep after our great grandmother and have some more details of our history soon.


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