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A cousin to be found

It’s just one single word on a birth record from Bremen, Germany.

The word “zwilling.”

It appears in the record of the birth of Gustav Nuckel, born 83 years ago today, on 25 September 1938.1

And it means “twin.”2


And it’s been driving The Legal Genealogist batty3 since that record first surfaced.

Both of those babies were the children of Gerhard Nuckel and Lina Sophie Henriette Blanke, who were married in Bremen, Germany, in May of 1922.4 That makes them my first cousins once removed — first cousins to my father, whose mother Marie was the older sister of their father, who was called Gerd.

I know what happened to Gustav. Like so many of Gerd and Sophie’s children, he died as an infant, just 49 days later, on 13 November 1938.5

But I don’t know what happened to that twin.

I do know, now, that the twin was a girl named Anna.6

But there is no death record I can find for any Anna Nuckel born in 1938 in Bremen, not in the funerary records of Bremen that so carefully record the deaths of so many of her siblings, including her twin. It’s inconceivable to me that she wouldn’t be found in those records if she had died young.7

So… Anna, wo bist du? Where are you, cousin of mine?

Finding an answer to that question is always tough in Germany where privacy laws are strict. Vital records are closed for 110 years for births, 80 years for marriages and 30 years for deaths.8

I’d hope to perhaps connect with living members of this family in a research trip I had planned.

For September.


Yeah, right.

So I’m left with the questions, Anna.

Where are you?

What happened to you?

Did you live to adulthood, marry, have children?

Did you stay in Bremen or move away?

Did you ever know of your cousin who came to America with his parents before you were born?

Did you ever wonder if perhaps some day one of his children might be sitting here exactly 83 years after the day you were born, wishing you a happy birthday (Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!)…?

I’d sure like to know what happened to that zwilling…


Some day…

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Anna, wo bist du?,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 25 Sep 2021).


  1. Bremen Standesamt, Zivilstandsregister (Bremen city registry office, civil status registers), Geburten (births) Reg. Nr. 5535 (1938), Gustav Nuckel.
  2. Langenscheidts Universal Wörterbuch (Berlin : Langenscheidt, 1957), 548.
  3. Okay, battier. Happy now?
  4. Ibid., Heiraten (marriages) 1922, Reg. Nr. 815, Nuckel-Blanke (1922).
  5. For the death, Bremen Standesamt, Zivilstandsregister, Todten (Deaths) 1938, Reg. Nr. 3486. For the burial, “Die Leichenbücher der Stadtgemeinde Bremen von 1875-1975” (Funerary Records 1875-1975); database, entry for “Nuckel, Gustav,” Die MAUS Bremen: Gesellschaft für Familienforschung (Die Maus – Family History and Genealogical Society) ( : accessed 25 Sep 2021).
  6. Bremen Standesamt, Zivilstandsregister, Heiraten 1922, Reg. Nr. 815, Nuckel-Blanke (1922).
  7. The record set, “Die Leichenbücher der Stadtgemeinde Bremen von 1875-1975,” ends in 1975.
  8. See FamilySearch Research Wiki (, “Germany Civil Registration,” rev. 30 June 2021.
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