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Emma Graumüller Geissler

She was born just about noon that Friday, the 27th of October, 157 years ago today. The year was 1855, the place most likely the little village of Bad Köstritz in what is now the German State of Thürigen. Her father was Johann Christoph Gustav Graumüller, her mother Auguste Wilhelmina (Zimmermann) Graumüller.

Emma around 1880

On the fourth of November, she was baptized at the Lutheran Church in Bad Köstritz and given the name Emma Louise.1

From the available records, Emma was the second of the seven children born to her parents, who had been married in that same church in 1852.2 She had one older sister, three younger sisters and two younger brothers.3

Emma grew to adulthood in Bad Köstritz and, in the same church where her parents had married and she and her siblings were baptized, she married Hermann Eduard Geissler, son of Friederike Geissler, on 22 June 1879. In the marriage record, Hermann was shown as a bricklayer in Bad Köstritz; Emma’s father by then was a deacon of the church.4

Her birthday present in 1881 was her first daughter, Emma Hedwig, called Hattie, born just a day before Emma turned 26.5 Six more children followed — four daughters and two sons — each of them baptized in the church of their parents and grandparents in Bad Köstritz.6

All but Pauline grew to adulthood; Emma’s life must have been filled with family, surrounded by her six surviving children.

And then it all began to disappear.

     • Not later than 1899, oldest daughter Hattie had sailed for America, to live with Emma’s sister and brother-in-law Frank and Auguste (Graumüller) Schreiner.7

     • On the 22nd of June 1915, her son Arno was killed in Galicia, in what today is probably the modern Ukraine. A casualty of the First World War.8

     • In January 1923, daughter Elly emigrated to the United States, joining other family members in Chicago.9

     • In March 1923, daughter Martha also emigrated to the United States, also settling in Chicago.10

     • And in early 1925, her baby, my grandfather, Hugo Ernst Geissler, and his family emigrated to join the others in Chicago as well.11

Only daughter Agnes remained behind in Germany. And only Agnes was there to join my great grandfather Hermann in mourning Emma when she died on 3 January 1929, at Gera, Germany, at the age of 73.12

Happy birthday, great grandmother. I hope your life was happier than what little I know of it. I hope you rejoiced in the lives your children made for themselves in this New World. And I hope you’d be proud of your family here today.


  1. Kirchenbuch Bad Köstritz, Taufregister, Seite 110 Nr. 52 aus 1855 (Church book, Baptismal Register, Page 110, no. 52 of 1855); digital image of entry in the possession of JG Russell.
  2. Ibid., Trauregister, Seite 434 Nr. 11 aus 1852, Marriage Record of Johann Christoph Graumüller and Auguste Wilhemina Zimmermann.
  3. Ibid., Taufregister, Seite 57 Nr. 35 aus 1855 (Ida Emma Graumüller); Seite 162 Nr. 64 aus 1857 (Auguste Pauline Graumüller); Seite 216 Nr. 83 aus 1859 (Henrietta Louise Graumüller); Seite 313 Nr. 19 aus 1863 (Ernst Gustav Graumüller); Seite 414 Nr. 42 aus 1865 (Karl Emil Graumüller); Seite 10 Nr. 54 aus 1867 (Anna Emilie Graumüller).
  4. Ibid., Trauregister, Seite 11 Nr. 11 aus 1879, Marriage Record of Hermann Edward Geissler and Emma Louisa Graumüller.
  5. Ibid, Taugregister, Seite 23 Nr. 52 aus 1881 (Emma Hedwig Geissler).
  6. Ibid., Seite 34 Nr. 4 aus 1884 (Martha Pauline Geissler); Seite 41 Nr. 45 aus 1885 (Arno Werner Geissler); Seite 48 Nr. 8 aus 1887 (Ida Agnes Geissler); Seite 57 Nr. 89 aus 1888 (Elly Marie Martha Geissler); Seite 64 Nr. 21 aus 1890 (Paula Ida Geissler); Seite 69 Nr. 21 aus 1891 (Hugo Ernst Geissler).
  7. Exactly when Hattie first came to the United States isn’t clear. A child by that name entered at the Port of Baltimore in August 1890. Manifest, S.S. Rhein, August 1890, page 7 (penned), passenger 329, Hedwig Geisler; digital images, ( : accessed 8 March 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication M255, roll 48. And a ship departure list showing Hattie and Auguste traveling together to the U.S. in 1899 indicated Hattie was then a resident of Chicago. Departure list, S.S. Fürst Bismarck, October 1899, page 1691, Augusta Schreiner and Hedwig Geisler; digital images, “Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934,” digital images, ( : accessed 8 March 2010), citing Staatsarchive Hamburg, 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 105, Seite 1792 (Mikrofilm Nr. K_1785).
  8. See Judy G. Russell, “Death on the Eastern Front,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 26 Jul 2012 ( : accessed 26 Oct 2012).
  9. Manifest, S.S. President Harding, January 1923, p. 131 (stamped), line 1, Elly Nasgowitz; “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, ( : accessed 8 March 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication T715, roll 3244.
  10. Manifest, S.S. President Arthur, March 1923, p. 125 (stamped), line 2, Martha Benschura; “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, ( : accessed 8 March 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication T715, roll 3269.
  11. Manifest, S.S. George Washington, Jan-Feb 1925, p. 59 (stamped), lines 4-6, Hugo, Marie and Hugo Geissler; “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, ( : accessed 8 March 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication T715, roll 3605.
  12. Death Certificate, Nr. 7 (1929), Emma Luise Geisler; Standesamt Gera, 4 January 1929 (photocopy provided by Stadtarchiv Gera, 2011).
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