The developments in the Birkenstock Project are excellent….although still not complete. I’m getting a strong feeling that there will be a few more chapters before the end. The Ruhlkirchen Catholic church records are expanding our Birkenstock family history nicely. I feel as though I’m edging closer to success on the original goal: “Where and when did Katherine Birkenstock and Martin Kuhn marry?” The new facts so far have revealed interesting details of the story behind the names.
For instance, I discussed in Part 5 the baptismal record that I located for Kate and Martin’s son, Gottfried Kuhn, in 1835. Recorded along with this baptism was a remark that Gottfried was “legitimized through the marriage in 1842.” No wonder I couldn’t find their marriage record before he was born. Kate and Martin hadn’t yet made it to the church, for whatever reason. This happening has taken me down a side road again. I’ve been looking into the culture and background of illegitimacy in this era. I’ll share the results soon.
But not to stray off the path just yet, I put my attention further on the microfilm of the church records that I had on loan from the Family History Library. To squeeze all I could from the Ruhlkirchen church, I reviewed carefully the 1842 marriage records. Giving it my best shot at deciphering the script for the Birkenstock and Kuhn names, I still could not find a marriage record for Kate and Martin. Then, for good measure, I reviewed the years leading up to 1842. But still…no luck on those names in the marriages.
Oh well. Let’s stop to think about what we know at this point. The church record we have says Martin Kuhn and Catherine Birkenstock were married in 1842. I know that at some point in their marriage Martin and Kate made their home in Neustadt, Martin Kuhn’s birthplace that’s six miles from Ruhlkirchen. The family claimed Neustadt as their place of origin in immigration and other records in America. Therefore, I wonder if they moved to Neustadt after their first child was born and married there. That’s another set of records I’ll have to investigate.
Meanwhile, “How could I get more from these Ruhlkirchen records before returning them to the Family History Library?” What other family events might I discover? Aha! Since Ruhlkirchen is Kate Birkenstock’s family’s home, I wonder if her baptism might be recorded. I already had a birth date of 17 Feb 1808 from family history passed down and from her tombstone. Now would be the opportunity to document that information at the actual location. So, I hit the back button one more time and rewound the microfilm to 1808. Success! Listed on 17 Feb 1808 is what appeared to be the baptism of Anna Catharina, daughter of a Birkenstock and Anna Gertrudis, born Schlitt.
Hooray!! If I am reading this correctly, I have now moved back another generation with an addition of Kate’s parents. But first, I wanted to double check my translation. I went to my trusty helpers from the German Genealogy Group on Facebook to confirm that this record says what I think. Below is the translation and a copy of the record excerpted directly from the 1808 Ruhlkirchen Catholic church record book:
Baptism, 17 Feb 1808; Anna Catherina, father, Johannis Birkenstock, renter and herdsman in Ruhlkirchen and Anna Gertrudis, born Schlitt, his wife. Sponsor: Anna Catherina, unmarried daughter of Johannis Roth.
To recap the Birkenstock Project, I’ve covered as much in the records of the Ruhlkirchen church as I can. I don’t yet have the exact marriage record for Kate and Martin. But, I’m very happy with the family history I did discover. I have the actual baptismal records for Anna Catharina Birkenstock in 1808 and for her son, Gottfried Kuhn in 1835. I also have that valuable lead to their marriage, somewhere, in 1842.
This was another time to pause again for a quick genealogy happy dance! And also to add a new generation to the family database — Catherine Birkenstock’s parents: Johannes Birkenstock and Anna Gertrudis Schlitt.
Now, what’s my next step in this search for the marriage of Katherine Birkenstock and Martin Kuhn? I have another possible resource for their marriage. Stay tuned as I investigate Neustadt, six miles northeast of Ruhlkirchen, where we can hope to highlight more Birkenstock Kuhn family details.
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Related links for this story:
Getting Into The Ruhlkirchen Church Records -- Birkenstock Project, Pt 4
Copyright © 2016, Nancy Niehaus Hurley