Great Grandma Ufkes Would Be 111 Today–Confirmed by the Baptismal Entry

My great-grandmother Trientje Maria (Janssen) Ufkes was born 111 years ago today, on 17 April 1895. That’s the date I was always told she was born.

Fortunately that’s the date of birth given for her in the records of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Basco, Hancock County, Illinois, where she was baptized. Her baptismal entry is on pages 34 and 35 of the church’s register of baptisms (obtained digitally today on in their  ELCA [Evangelical Lutheran Church in America] database).

There were no surprises in the entry. That’s always good. Great-grandma never used the name Trientje (at least that I remember, but my point, but I was always aware that was her low-German name. Her baptism on 28 April 1895 took place within two weeks of her birth. This was typical considering that there was a nearby church with an available pastor.

Great-grandma was named for her maternal grandmother, Trientje (Behrens) Sartorius–her older sister Elske was named for their paternal grandmother Elske (Fecht) Janssen. Trientje’s sponsors were Tjark Janssen and his wife Meta (Flick) Jansen who lived nearby and attended the same church as Trientje’s parents. Bernard Geissler was also the pastor when Trientje was confirmed on 20 March 1910 (confirmation register page 132). The confirmation register gave the same date of birth as in the baptismal register.

If the dates of birth in the baptismal entry and the confirmation entry differed, more credence would be given to the baptismal entry. That entry would have been more contemporary to the birth than the confirmation entry would have.

And fortunately the notation that Trientje was Fredericka’s third child agreed with information I had located from other sources.

When I originally located this entry, the date of baptism and name of godparents were new to me. Neither piece of information was a surprise. After all, Lutherans practice infant baptism and relatives are common sponsors. It’s still idea to locate entries when “you know everything.” That’s because sometimes we don’t know what we think we do and sometimes pastors make notations on records that leave our expectations in the dust. And we don’t see those notations unless we look at the records.




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