Friday, February 3, 2012

Plainview Family History Center: Nancy Drew and the case of Michael Stutzmann's parents

So, for many years, I was under the mistaken impression that my 4th great grandfather's name was Christoph Stutzmann. That was based on info I got from the German genealogy anthology Schlegel's. But Peter Stutzmann and Charlotte Schlick's marriage record states that Peter's father's name was in fact (Johann) Michael Stutzmann.

Now, Peter was born around 1812, supposedly in Grossbockenheim. I have yet to verify that. That's still on the to-do list. But his parents, according to his marriage certificate were Michael, as I said, and Jacobine Blasius. Okay, so I found a death record for a Michael Stutzmann that says he was buried in Grossbockenheim on March 7, 1844, that he was married to a Jacobine Blasius, and that he was 72 years old.

FHL #193970

A search of the FamilySearch website finds two Michael Stutzmanns born late in 1771 - Johann Michael born Aug. 1, 1771 to Johann Phillip Stutzmann and Maria Elisabetha Schrank in Asselheim in the Rheinpfalz and Johann Michael born Aug. 14, 1771 to Johann Michael Stutzmann and Anna Barbara Wessa in Dannstadt in the Rheinpfalz. Fun, right?

So, these were all my clues. This is what I have to work with until I can find a marriage record for Michael and Jacobine that definitively states "Michael, son of so-and-so." In lieu of that, I have to make an educated guess or find some other clues. First, I determine, which town is closer to Grossbockenheim - Asselheim or Dannstadt? Because people tended to not stray too far from home. Asselheim is less than 4 kilometers away, while Dannstadt is more than 32. So Johann Phillip and Maria Elisabetha take the lead as Michael's possible parents.

Next, my trip to the Plainview Family History Center yielded several helpful clues. In the notes next to Michael's death record, almost as an afterthought, is written "geb. 1 Aug 1771." Born Aug. 1, 1771. Definitive? Possibly. But since both of my possible Michael's were born in August 1771 with a "1" in the date, I can't be absolutely certain that whoever recorded this didn't leave out the "4" in "14."

So I keep looking. A lot of the writing is, unfortunately, gibberish to me but I'm starting to get familiar with the way German letters looked back then and any words that have been capitalized naturally jump out and it looks to me like I'm seeing the word "Asselheim," that the record is saying Michael is originally from Asselheim. Definitive? No. But my gut is telling me that Michael Stutzmann of Asselheim is my guy and I feel like I have enough to make an educated guess. So on my to-do list is to find a marriage record for Michael and Jacobine, which may require me ordering the microfilm that has the records for the Asselheim kirchenbuch, which may list his parents, and if I'm right, I should be able to use that same record to keep tracing the Stutzmanns back.

FHL #193802

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