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140 years ago today

The groom had just turned 24, that June day 140 years ago, as he entered the church in the village of Bad Köstritz in what was then the Fürstentum Reuß jüngerer Linie (principality of Reuss younger line, in English), to join his life to hers.

He was an only child, as far as we know. Certainly born out of wedlock to his then-21-year-old mother in another little village a bit further north called Ossig in Sachsen-Anhalt.1 Whoever Hermann’s father was — the man with whom his mother had that affair — never gave him his name; Hermann used his mother’s maiden name all his life.

The bride was still some months away from her 24th birthday. The oldest of seven known children born to Johann Christoph Gustav Graumüller and his wife Auguste Wilhelmina Zimmermann, the church she entered that day 140 years ago was her home church in Bad Köstritz.

It was there, in 1852, that her parents had been married.2 It was there, in November 1855, that she herself was baptized.3

And there, on 22 June 1879, that her father — a deacon of that church — gave Emma Louisa Graumüller in marriage to Hermann Eduard Geissler, a bricklayer in the village.4

There are no photos of that couple that day, 140 years ago today. This one is the only one close to that time, and it’s undated.

Emma and Hermann

A lovely couple, aren’t they? The Legal Genealogist‘s paternal great grandparents.

About whom I know so little.

I know that they produced seven children of their own, starting with the first of their five daughters in October 18815 and ending with the baby, their second and last son, in March of 1891.6 That baby, Hugo Ernst Geissler, was my grandfather.

I know that they’d moved to the city of Gera, then the capital of the Principality of Reuss-Gera, by the turn of the century.7 That they lost their older son, Arno Werner, in World War I.8 That they then saw most of the rest of their children move not just away but far away, across the Atlantic to America.9

They were closing in on their Golden Anniversary when Emma died in Gera on 3 January 1929.10 Hermann followed, also in Gera, on 30 July 1933.11

Happy anniversary, Hermann and Emma. 140 years ago today.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “The anniversary,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 22 June 2019).


  1. Evangelische Kirche Ossig (Kr. Zeitz), Taufregister 1855 nr. 4, Hermann Eduard Geisler; Kirchenbuchduplikat, 1799-1874 (Staatarchiv Magdeburg); digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 June 2019).
  2. Kirchenbuch Bad Köstritz, Trauregister Seite 434 Nr. 11 aus 1852, Marriage Record of Johann Christoph Graumüller and Auguste Wilhemina Zimmermann; digital image in possession of JG Russell).
  3. Ibid., Taufregister Seite 110 Nr. 52 aus 1855, Baptismal Record of Emma Louisa Graumüller.
  4. Ibid., Trauregister Seite 11 Nr. 11 aus 1879, Marriage Record of Hermann Edward Geissler and Emma Louisa Graumüller.
  5. Ibid., Taufregister Seite 23 Nr. 52 aus 1881, Baptismal Record of Emma Hedwig Geissler.
  6. Taufregister Seite 69 Nr. 21 aus 1891, Baptismal Record of Hugo Ernst Geissler.
  7. Adreßbuch der Haupt- und Residenzstadt Gera… 1901
  8. See Judy G. Russell, “Death on the Eastern Front,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 28 July 2012 ( : accessed 22 June 2019).
  9. See ibid., “Living and losing,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 28 Oct 2017.
  10. Death Certificate, Nr. 7 (1929), Emma Luise Geisler; Standesamt Gera, 4 January 1929 (photocopy provided by Stadtarchiv Gera, 2011).
  11. Nr. 645 (1933), Eduard Hermann Geisler; Standesamt Gera, 31 July 1933 (photocopy provided by Stadtarchiv Gera, 2011).
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