Monday, April 12, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 15 "Brick Wall"


In the realm of genealogical "brick walls" I've been very fortunate.  Over my 45 years of genealogical research I have been able to eliminate many of the brick walls that had occurred.  When I began my research there were no personal computers, no Internet, certainly no Ancestry and most of my research was done sitting in Library genealogical rooms, writing letters to Germany and Poland, waiting months for answers and encountering many, many brick walls.

Now that we have all the amenities that make research quicker, with the addition of countless records put online, I have been able to solve many of my brick walls.

Some do remain, however, and a portion involve my maternal Kramp family. 

My 2nd great-grandfather, Albert Ludwig Kramp, was born September 22, 1834 in Kathkow, Kreis Bütow, Pommern, Germany.  

His wife, my 2nd great-grandmother, Emilie Friederike Rott, was born December 16, 1840 in Borntuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern, Germany.

Both of those dates I have been able to secure from church book records of Kathkow and Borntuchen now found online.  It is an amazing good fortune that a major portion of the church books for these areas have been indexed and are available for online searching.  But gaps occur and as luck would have it some of those gaps leave brick walls in my research:

1.  Marriage of Albert Kramp and Emilie Rott  I have not been able to ascertain the date and place of their marriage.  The clues that I have amassed include the date of birth of their first child (1857 in Borntuchen, Kreis Bütow).  Since this village was Emilie's birth place as well I can perhaps assume that their marriage took place in Borntuchen.  But there is no absolute proof of this. Marriage records for this time period are not available - YET (!)

2.  Birth/Baptism record of child #1 of above couple, Pauline Kramp, - From her marriage record, immigration record and death record I was able to learn the date of birth of Pauline as December 30, 1857 in Borntuchen.  However, without the actual birth/baptism record from Borntuchen I am unable to prove the birth date is accurate.  There are birth/baptism records available for Borntuchen but they are not available for the years before 1860.  

3.  Birth/Baptism record of child #2 of above couple, Bertha Kramp, (my great-grandmother) - As with her older sister, Pauline, birth/baptism records for Borntuchen were not available at the time of Bertha's birth of July 26, 1860.  Amazingly the availability of birth/baptism records became available as of the beginning of August, 1860 - just not in time for the record I was searching for.  Again, from her marriage record, immigration record and death record I was able to ascertain the date of birth of Bertha.  However, without her actual birth/baptism record I am unable to prove the authenticity of her birth date.

In an interesting discovery for both Bertha and Pauline - they were married in Groß Tuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern, Germany in a double wedding on October 4, 1878.  Pauline married Heinrich Gersonde and Bertha married August Kolberg.  Later both families immigrated to the US, settling in Berrien County, Michigan.  I do have both marriage records as well.

Following the births of Pauline and Bertha, the remaining 8 children of Albert Kramp and Emilie Rott, all have birth/baptism records available for searching and I have been fortunate to find all of them.  Their third child, Robert Ernst Berthold Kramp, was born July 27, 1862 in Borntuchen and birth/baptism records were available for discovery which I was able to obtain.

4.  Birth/Baptism record of child #4 of above couple, Albert Carl Ludwig Kramp, was available in the church books of Borntuchen but for some reason showed only the year of birth as 1864.  His baptism was listed as Nr. 124 of Borntuchen, telling me from knowledge gained from reviewing in depth these church books that his birth was undoubtedly toward the end of the year.  The baptism record showed his godparents as well so it was nearly a complete record albeit without the actual month and day of birth.  Without his actual birth/baptism record, I am unable to ascertain the accurate date of birth.

Between the birth of Albert Carl Ludwig Kramp in late 1864 and late 1866, the family of Albert Ludwig Kramp and Emilie Rott relocated a short distance from Borntuchen to the village of Klein Tuchen where their remaining 6 children were born and, again, those church books are available for searching and I do have all their birth/baptism records which I received in the early 1980's by writing to the Priest in the village of Groß Tuchen where the church was located.  

(These German villages were part of Pomerania during the time my ancestors lived there and the Evangelical Church was the church in which they worshipped.  After WWII when the Germans were expelled from this area it then became part of Poland and the Evangelical church books were transferred to the neighboring Catholic Church and the village was given the Polish name of Tuchomie, Poland.  It was from the wonderfully cooperative priest in Tuchomie that I received reams of valuable documents.  We had a correspondence that lasted nearly 10 years until he was relocated to a different church in Poland.  His cooperation was a blessing.)

The remaining children of Albert Ludwig Kramp and Emilie Rott, all born in Klein Tuchen and baptized in Groß Tuchen are:

Ottilie Friederike Mathilde Kramp - born December 16, 1866.

Emilie Jakobine Catharina Kramp - born November 13, 1868.

Otto Wilhelm Hermann Kramp - born December 3, 1870.

Alwine Marie Wilhelmina Kramp - born January 18, 1873.

Hugo Max Kramp - born April 2, 1875.

Louis Conrad Kramp - born April 27, 1877

In reality I have done exceedingly well with uncovering valuable documents on all the members of this family.  

Albert Ludwig Kramp passed away in 1880 in Klein Tuchen.  Following his death, in stages over the next few years, his wife, Emilie Rott Kramp and her children all immigrated to the US and eventually settled in Berrien County, Michigan.  The only exception to this was their son, Albert Carl Ludwig Kramp, born in 1864 in Borntuchen, who remained in the area where he passed away in 1887. 

Once in the US, after first living in Freeport, Illinois, Emilie Rott Kramp married Ernst Zorr on February 22, 1884. They relocated shortly after to Berrien County, Michigan as well.  This is a photo that I do have of Emilie Rott Kramp and Ernst Zorr taken in approximately 1890 in St. Joseph, Michigan:

I continue to check availability of church books for the above 4 people hoping that the missing years will be discovered and put online.  Time will tell but they are my brick walls in any case.

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte


Barb LaFara said...

I imagine the records you are looking at are in German? and in the fancy script? wow! Even with the aid of computers that is very difficult. I have many German ancestors but have not attempted using any German-language records.

Cheryl said...

Thanks, Barb, for your comment. Yes, the records are in German in the old script. I'm lucky because I have a cousin in Arizona who is fluent in German and he has helped me decipher many of the records. But after many years it becomes easier to read the name of the person in the record, parents names, etc and in the case of baptisms - the sponsors. It gets tricky where there is a paragraph of information and then I have to rely on my cousin. Those paragraphs off to the side sometimes have really useful information in them. There is also a Facebook German translation group I joined and the members are so kind with doing translations for others out of the goodness of their hearts. The group has some stringent rules for posting a request but I have been fortunate to have very kind translators helping me.