Monday, March 21, 2016

Where and When Was Katherine Birkenstock Married to Martin Kuhn? - Refreshed, Thorough Researching, Part 1

      My freshened-up research is underway — Keeping my focus on one goal or question...and taking my time to be thorough.
     With a nod to Women’s History Month I’ve taken on a gnawing question about my great great grandmother. “Where and when was Katherine Birkenstock Kuhn married?” Locating this answer may (hopefully) open the floodgate of related history.

Rich Genealogy Resources are on the shelves
     I do have the starting point for where - Germany. That scope of the search is already established over my family research annals.  That's just the beginning though, right!?  We need to know all about her,  of course. So, let's snoop.
      This segment of the Birkenstock/Kuhn family history would be easier if I was very skilled at locating and reading German records. I’ve considered hiring a German researcher. That avenue is a possibility down the road. For now, I want to learn more about the records, the locales and the challenges involved and at least pave the way on my own.
     Most likely, since this marriage would have occurred in the early 1830s,  I’ll be exploring German church records. Fortunately, I've ventured into another family’s church records in Germany through microfilm from the Family History Library. This investigation into Katherine’s marriage may lead me there again.  But, I’m jumping ahead here.  That’s my old habits coming back.  Get on track, Nancy!  I’m about to incorporate my planning tools and see where this “organized” research adventure leads me.
First step: Katherine’s Timeline.
    In order to review and get a clearer grasp on what I know, I created a timeline of her life, including a bit of history for the country where she was living.  Those facts also shine light on why the family decided it was necessary to leave Germany. But again, the immigration adventure is for another day.  The timeline helped me to better speculate on what resources would assist in moving down the road to the marriage information. Here’s what I was able to develop for Katherine Birkenstock Kuhn's Timeline and Analysis:

Anna Katherina Birkenstock Kuhn Timeline & Analysis, Pg 1, 1808 - 1857
   Anna Katherina Birkenstock Kuhn Timeline, Page 2, 1862 - 1890     
     It was fun returning to the paths of Katherine’s journey. In creating her timeline, there were details that didn't directly relate to this particular question of the marriage. But there is always a chance something may connect unexpectedly.  And, as I took another view overall at her life, the vision of the whole family was clearer. I could see this woman's strength and her determination to make a better way.  Now I’m more psyched to complete her story.
     One unofficial piece of my documentation is especially treasured.  As you can see on my timeline under 1854 and 1856 above, I came to have a copy of a letter from Katherine’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Scherrer, that gave her place of birth as Ruhlkirchen in Hessen. This letter was a fantastic gift from an aunt who made contacts with family in the 1970s! Thank you again Aunt Dolly. Pairing that piece with the Neustadt origin of the family contained on their passenger list and Katherine son's will, I can narrow the probabilities for her marriage place.  Since the family is Catholic, Katherine and Martin were most probably married in the Catholic church in Ruhlkirchen or Neustadt, about six miles from each other in Hessen.
     The timeline did help me to find the direction I should take to fill in "when and where Katherine Birkenstock married Martin Kuhn.”  My preliminary research plan is outlined in the chart below. My hypothesis is that the marriage was between 1830 and 1835 in a Catholic church in either Ruhlkirchen or Neustadt in Hessen.
     My To Do list starts with establishing whether there's any possibility there were civil records kept in Hessen in the 1830s, and, whether they might be available anywhere. Then, I'll examine the records at for microfilm of the Catholic churches in those two towns. And lastly, if necessary, I'll determine where I can write for the church records.  My "organized" researching will include keeping better research logs than some of my past quests.   I'll be following up here on the blog as I go through the TO DO list:
Anna Katherina Birkenstock Kuhn Analysis & Research Plan 

Thank you for visiting Indiana Ties.

You might also be interested in these related stories:
Katherine Birkenstock Kuhn's Will
Martin Kuhn's Emigration From Neustadt Kurhessen
Will & Estate Proceedings: Charles Anthony Kuhn, 1916

Copyright (c) 2016 , Nancy Niehaus Hurley

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