Those forgotten other names
She was married 109 years ago today, in the City of Chicago, Cook, County, Illinois.
The marriage was before the Honorable Joseph Arne, Justice of the Peace of Cook County. Her groom: Paul Knop.1
There’s no doubt of the name on the marriage certificate. You can click on the image and see it larger. Hattie Geisler marrying Paul Knop.
And therein lies the tale.
Because every other record I could find for Hattie told me the same thing.
Her name was Hattie Geisler Knop.
So says the 1910 U.S. census of Chicago: Hattie was recorded as Hattie Knop, age 27, born in Germany of German parents, living with Paul and their then-one-year-old son Irving.2
So says the 1930 U.S. census of Chicago: Hattie was recorded as Hattie Knop, age 48, born in Germany of German parents, living with Paul and their then-21-year-old son Irving.3
So says each of the family death notices in the Chicago Tribune: when Paul died in 1945, his widow was identified as Hattie;6; when Irving died in 1961, his mother was identified as Hattie;7 when Hattie herself died in 1966, her own death notice identified her as Hattie E. Knop.8
So why, I kept asking myself, couldn’t I find her immigration record? Her entry into the United States?
There was just one hitch.
One thing I kept forgetting.
That minor little issue in German families — something known as call names. Something that’s simply a fact of life for anyone with German ancestry.9
The minor little issue that what someone is called isn’t necessary what that person’s name was.
Oh, Hattie is for sure what she was called. And what she called herself here in the United States.
But when she was born in the village of Bad Köstritz in what is now the German State of Thüringen and was then the tiny principality of Reuss jüngerer Linie,10 her name wasn’t Hattie.
The name she was born with, baptized with — her legal name as it was given — was Emma Hedwig.11
Which is how her immigration record really is recorded.
For those of us with German ancestry, something not to be forgotten.
And something I was reminded of, on this anniversary of Hattie’s marriage to her beloved Paul.
- Cook County, Illinois, Marriage License and Return No. 447077, Paul Knop-Hattie Geisler, 28 Nov 1906. She used the Geisler spelling instead of the Geissler spelling my grandfather preferred. ↩
- 1910 U.S. census, Cook County, IL, Chicago Ward 31, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 1358, p. 269(B) (stamped), dwelling 106, family 148, Hattie Knop; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 Oct 2011); citing National Archive microfilm publication T624, roll 277. ↩
- 1930 U.S. census, Cook County, IL, Chicago 15th Precinct, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 16-2542, p. 25(A) (stamped), dwelling 217, family 284, Hattie Knop; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 Oct 2011); citing National Archive microfilm publication T626, roll 439. ↩
- 1940 U.S. census, Cook County, Illinois, Chicago 16th Ward, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 103-1109, sheet 9B, household 199, Hattie Knop; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 Nov 2015); citing National Archive microfilm publication T627, roll 954. ↩
- Ibid., household 201. ↩
- Chicago Tribune, death notice, Paul Knop, 11 Nov 1945. ↩
- Chicago Tribune, death notice, Irving L. Knop, 15 June 1961. ↩
- Chicago Tribune, death notice, Hattie E. Knop, 26 Sep 1966. ↩
- See Anne S. Riepe, “German Naming Customs,” Riepe Roots (http://www.rieperoots.com/ : accessed 27 Nov 2015). ↩
- See Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.com), “Principality of Reuss-Gera,” rev. 9 Oct 2015. ↩
- Kirchenbuch Bad Köstritz, Taufregister Seite 23 Nr. 52 aus 1881, Baptismal Record of Emma Hedwig Geissler (digital image of record in possession of JG Russell). ↩