Sunday, March 29, 2009

Researching My Central and Eastern European Female Ancestors ...

As many of you probably know from reading my blog, I have several ancestors who came from Germany or were ethnic Germans from the Russian Empire, and for this upcoming edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy, I am supposed to write an article about my the resources I use for my research on a female ancestor from those regions in Europe. Instead of focusing on only one ancestor, I thought I would focus on a few of my German female ancestors, and write about the resources I have used or still need to use to trace them.

I have briefly written about my ancestor, Caroline, before, but I did not focus on the resources I have used or might use to research about her. I have not done as much research on her as I have on some of my other female ancestors, but the few sources that I have used have mostly been records created in the U. S. One of those sources happened to be a death notice that was published in a Detroit newspaper a few days after her death, and I have included the death notice below. (Note: I have blackened out the surnames of my ancestor and those of her daughters as a way to protect the identities of living family members.)

As you can see from the death notice, Caroline's surviving children are listed as well as her husband, and when I found this death notice, I was able to confirm relationships between her and other family members. Of course, this death notice was not the only source I used in doing my research on Caroline, and I was able to find her death certificate as well. Unfortunately, her parents were not listed on her death certificate, so I was unable to confirm my family's tradition about her maiden name. I also used the passenger manifest that had her and her three children (at the time) listed as a confirmation of when she entered America in and where she once lived. Unfortunately, her last residence was in Germany, so I'll have to do more research to determine where in Russia she was born. I am hoping that either her husband's naturalization papers or her marriage certificate will be able to answer some of my questions, but I have yet to obtain those records.

As for my other German female ancestors, I have a little more information on them due to the fact that my research into them has been easier than my research into Caroline has been. Emilia (Kees) Klippel is one of those ancestors that I have more information, but even then, I still do not have all the answers I wish I had. My first source of information on Emilia was a family tree that had been printed in the '30s or '40s, and that tree listed where she had married her husband. I used the information to order a microfilm of Trippstadt marriages, and I was able to find her marriage record. Besides finding her census record, I was able to use census records and a passenger manifest to trace her and her family movements in the U. S. Additionally, I used deeds to determine how long she and her family lived in Cleveland, Ohio, and I also used information from two books, provided to me by a woman over in Germany, to determine who her siblings were. Her brother's passport record also helped to confirm the relationship between the two. Besides those records, I also used city directories and her death record to determine where she lived and when she died. Unfortunately, I still have not been able to find the location of her burial, so I'll have to do some more research.

As for Emilia's mother, Amelia (Cotta) Kees, I am still doing research on her, but I have more information on her than I do on Caroline. Like Emilia, I also used the family tree as a resource to find information on Amelia, but I also used the two secondary sources to determine when Amelia married and who her children were. In addition, I used the death records of two of Amelia's sons and her death record to also determine when she died and who her children were. The death record for Amelia is below:

Amelia's death record lists her by her maiden name, and gives the names of her parents and husband. The record also gives her age and a possible birthplace. Thus, I have a few more leads as to where I should look for records, and hopefully, I will be able to do more research on her over this summer.

So, as you can see, I have used several different types of records to find information on my female ancestors. I just hope that I will be able to find more information on these three ancestors, and when I do find more information, I will let everyone know what I have found. Unti then, stay tuned ...


Judith Richards Shubert said...

Great job of detailing how you've searched for your female ancestors. This offers me some very important steps in researching my own.

M. Diane Rogers said...

Thanks, Jessica. Lots of good ideas here for researching women. As you show, it's very often useful to research 'sideways and back & down' - siblings, aunts, uncles, and everybody's children.

And thanks for inviting me to guest host this Carnival of Central and East European Genealogy.