… and they’re all named Johann
On the 31st of May 1852, a couple was married in a small town in what is today the modern German state of Thüringen.
The records reflect that, on that day, The Legal Genealogist‘s second great grandfather Johann Christoph Graumüller married second great grandmother Auguste Wilhelmine Zimmermann in the church at Bad Köstritz. Johann Christoph was a stonemason, son of another stonemason, the late Johann Christoph Graumüller of Rüdersdorf.1
Going backwards into Johann Christoph Graumüller’s family, however… not so easy. Although he married in Bad Köstritz, the church records show that he was born in Rüdersdorf, a nearby village now a district in the town of Kraftsdorf.4 That part matches up to his civil death record. But that record creates problem number one: the informant, his widow, gave his name as Gustav Christoph, his father’s name as Gottlieb, and her own given name as Wilhelmine.5
Oh joy. Call names, maybe — those middle or baptismal or confirmation names the person is called in the family but not always in the records.6
She did go on to give his age as 71 at death and his mother’s maiden name as Rosine Mothes.7
So I need to review the Rüdersdorf church records, looking for a Graumüller boy born around 1823-1824 with a name approximating Johann Christoph with a father with a name approximating Johann Christoph Graumüller and a mother with the maiden name approximating Rosine Mothes.
Problem number two: getting to the Rüdersdorf church records. They’re one of the locked sets at FamilySearch. But the record there says the records are on microfilm at the Staatsarchiv at Weimar. Problem solved.
And problem three created: there were two Johann Christoph Graumüllers born to Johann Christoph Graumüllers in Rüdersdorf in 1823. Neither of their wives was named Rosine. Both mothers, in fact, were recorded as Johanne Justine.8
Johann, born to Johann and Johanne. Twice over.
Oh joy redux.
Want more complications? Every single one of the fathers was named Johann Christoph Graumüller. Only one mother had Rosine in her name, Marie Rosine Schramm, and her son Johann — the 1817 Johann Gottlieb — died as an infant.12
I’m willing to eliminate the 1816 Johann Gottlieb and the 1820 Johann Carl Gottfried because both went on to marry and live in Rüdersdorf.13
But that leaves me with the two 1823 Johann Christophs, each born to Johann Christoph and Johanne Justine. One of them is mine, and married in Bad Köstritz; the other isn’t, and married in Rüdersdorf.14
So… what are the clues that might help figure out who’s who here? In order of what is to me their persuasive power:
Clue No. 1: My guy’s age was given by his widow as 71 at his death on 21 June 1895. If she was right, he was born between 21 June 1823 and 20 June 1824. One of those 1823 Johann Christophs — the son of Johann Christoph and Johanne Justine Kämpfe — was born in March 1823 and so would have already been 72 in June 1895; the other — the son of Johann Christoph and Johanne Justine Modess — was born in November and so would have still been 71.15 That leans towards the November boy.
Clue No. 2: Though no record suggests Rosine as a call name for either of the mothers, the maiden name Modess is an awful lot closer to the widow’s recollection of Mothes than is the maiden name Kämpfe. That also leans to the November boy.
Clue No. 3: My guy was a stonemason and son of a stonemason. The Johann Christoph who fathered the November boy was a stonemason,16 as was his first-born son, the 1820 Johann Carl Gottfried.17 No record conclusively shows the occupation of the father of the March boy, but nothing suggests a trade like stonemason. So this leans to the November boy.
Clue No. 3: My guy was shown in his marriage record as the third-born son of the stonemason Johann Christoph Graumüller of Rüdersdorf. Both sets of parents conceived three sons, but only Johann Christoph and Johanne Justine Modess had three born alive. The other couple, Johann Christoph and Johanne Justine Kämpfe, had a son stillborn in 1821.18 And the other Johann Christoph — the one who married in Rüdersdorf rather than Bad Köstritz — was recorded as the second-born son. That has to be the March boy, with only one older brother born alive.
Good enough for me. My guy has to be Johann Christoph, third-born son of Johann Christoph and Johanne Justine (Modess) Graumüller — whatever they were called at home.
So welcome to the family, Graumüller third great grandparents. And, oh yeah, welcome fourth great grandparents Johann Georg Samuel and Anna Christiane Modess, and…
But enough of the Johanns already yet, okay?
Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Navigating the Johanns,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 31 Aug 2019).
- Kirchenbuch Bad Köstritz, Trauregister Seite 434 Nr. 11 aus 1852 (Church book, Marriage Register page 434, no. 434 of 1852), marriage record of Johann Christoph Graumüller and Auguste Wilhemine Zimmermann (digital image in possession of JG Russell). ↩
- Ibid., Trauregister Seite 11 Nr. 11 aus 1879, marriage record of Hermann Eduard Geissler and Emma Louisa Graumüller. ↩
- Ibid., Taufregister (Baptismal Register) Seite 69 Nr. 21 aus 1891, baptismal record of Hugo Ernst Geissler. ↩
- See “Rüdersdorf,” Gemeinde Kraftsdorf (http://www.kraftsdorf.de/cms/ : accessed 30 Aug 2019). ↩
- Standesamt (City Registrar) Bad Köstritz, Nr. 43 aus 1895, death certificate of Gustav Christoph Graumüller, 21 June 1895 (digital image in possession of JG Russell). ↩
- See “Vorname and Rufname – about German Given Names,” First Names Germany, posted 10 Mar 2009 (http://www.firstnamesgermany.com/ : accessed 30 Aug 2019). ↩
- Standesamt Bad Köstritz, Nr. 43 aus 1895, death certificate of Gustav Christoph Graumüller. ↩
- Kirchenbuch Rüdersdorf, Taufregister Nr. 11 aus 1823, baptismal record of Johann Christoph Graumüller, son of Johann Christoph and Johanne Justine Kämpfe, and Nr. 52 aus 1823, baptismal record of Johann Christoph Graumüller, son of Johann Christoph and Johanne Justine Modess (digital images in possession of JG Russell). ↩
- Ibid., Taufregister Nr. 23 aus 1816. ↩
- Ibid., Taufregister Nr. 3 aus 1817. ↩
- Ibid., Taufregister Nr. 10 aus 1820. ↩
- Todtregister (Death Register) Nr. 3 aus 1817. ↩
- Ibid., Trauregister Nr. 5 aus 1845, marriage records of Johann Gottlieb Graumüller and Henriette Klotz, and Trauregister Nr. 1 aus 1846, marriage records of Johann Karl Gottfried Graumüller and Johanne Christiane Frölich. ↩
- Trauregister Nr. 10 aus 1847, marriage records of Johann Karl Gottfried Graumüller and Johanne Rosine Jäger. ↩
- Ibid., Taufregister Nr. 11 aus 1823, baptismal record of Johann Christoph Graumüller, son of Johann Christoph and Johanne Justine Kämpfe, and Nr. 52 aus 1823, baptismal record of Johann Christoph Graumüller, son of Johann Christoph and Johanne Justine Modess. ↩
- See the baptismal record of that boy, ibid., Taufregister Nr. 11 aus 1823, and the death record of his brother Johann Christian Friedrich. Ibid., Todtregister Nr. 5 aus 1826. ↩
- See his marriage record, Trauregister Nr. 1 aus 1846. ↩
- Ibid., Todtregister aus 1821. ↩