One of my goals in the family hunt for a long period of time was to find when and where our Keen/Kraut great great grandparents married. It turns out that Lawrence Keen and Elizabeth Kraut were hiding in plain sight in Baltimore, Maryland. For several years we've known that Lawrence landed with his father and two sisters in Baltimore in 1840. But as far as his marriage connection with Elizabeth there was this major gap. Their married life together in my family history began with the first child's baptism in Zanesville, Ohio in 1848.
But I kept on searching. Whenever a new set of records came to my attention that might shed some light I looked for clues to the Keen Kraut family. It seemed that consistently the records I could uncover in Ohio and Maryland didn't produce pay dirt...Until I stumbled across a new database posted online at familysearch.org containing images of the baptisms and marriages in St. James and St. Alphonsus Catholic Churches in Baltimore, MD. The baptism records included the early 1840s and the marriages began in 1845. Based on the knowledge of the children's baptisms in Catholic Churches and the Keen family's arrival in Baltimore, I was very excited.
I searched those scribbles in the baptisms at St. James Church to find any family names that could connect. Since Lawrence’s name upon arrival in this country was consistently spelled Lorenz Kihn, and sometimes Kien, I had to be sure to keep my eyes open for the alternate names. The discoveries of Kihn family names as parents and sponsors was encouraging, to say the least. I have several records from this baptism search that very likely will fit into this family at some point. I know now that St. James was the Keen family’s parish. However, only the baptisms for St. James have been filmed and posted online, so far. So I wasn’t able to check this church for the Keen/Kihn/Kraut marriage.
But, I mentioned that there was another church on the list of published records, St. Alphonsus. And I did not find any Kraut baptisms in the St. James parish. So, I was still hopeful about this additional resource. Maybe Elizabeth Kraut’s family lived in the neighboring parish and belonged to St. Alphonsus.
Research on the Catholic churches in Baltimore in that time frame told me that the members included many German immigrant families. So, of course, I combed through those church marriages. I slowly and carefully read the script to be sure not to miss a Latin and/or German spelling. After almost giving up on the list of marriages, there it was. The entry is difficult to decipher but once you put together the details, the facts fit perfectly with the information that’s confirmed about Elizabeth Kraut and Lawrence Keen (Lorenz Kihn). The actual church record book is below this transcription:
Place: St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, Baltimore, Maryland
Date of marriage: 20 June 1847
Groom: Lorenz Kihn, Age 24, Birthplace: Michelbach, Bavaria
Bride: Elizabeth Kraut, Age 23, Birthplace: Somborn, Bavaria
Sponsors: Anton Kunkel and John Franz
Now we know that Lawrence and Elizabeth did meet in Baltimore, Maryland. He was 24 and she was 23 when they married in St. Alphonsus Catholic Church on 20 June 1847. They were married about eleven months before their son John was baptized in Zanesville, Ohio, at St. Nicholas Catholic Church. Their story is progressing well. I know….this information makes you wonder why they left for Ohio. But, some things we just can't know!
Of course, there are always more pieces we hope to find to complete the family story. For instance, where are Elizabeth Kraut's parents?! The sleuthing continues...I do have a couple of clues and will, hopefully, have much more to report here soon.
Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,
Corresponding family stories you may want to read:
The Elusive Elizabeth Kraut
Who is Cousin C. A. Kraut?
The Dreaded Tax Time: John and Chris Kraut, 1863-1864
Copyright © 2017, Nancy Niehaus Hurley