Wilhelmine (Trautvetter) Senf Kraft is one of those people with a big gap in her life–at least when I use what I can find for her.
For years I knew little about Wilhelmine. She was listed as Wilhelmine Kraft in the 1860 era estate settlement of her brother Michael Trautvetter in Hancock County, Illinois. She died in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, in 1878 and was buried in the Old Nauvoo City Cemetery.
I assumed that she only had one husband–Mr. Kraft. Whether or not she had children was a mystery, but nothing in the Hancock County records where she lived suggested she had children.
That was wrong. Really wrong. Research in the records for Bad Salzungen and Wohlmuthausen, Germany, revealed there was more.
Wilhelmine was born on 26 Sept 1808 in Dorf Allendorf, Bad Salzungen, Thuringen, Germany to Erasmus and Anna Catharina (Gross) Trautvetter. Mr. Kraft was not her first husband. She was first married in Wohlmuthausen, Thuringen in 1834 to Johann Valentin Senf (1807-1846 both in Wohlmuthausen). She had a child in 1831 before her marriage to Senf for whom no father’s name is listed.
She had the following children (all born in Wohmultshausen–whose church records gave their dates of birth):
- Eva Elisabetha Trautvetter (born 1831)–there is a notation in the Wohlmuthausen baptismal entry for Eva that she died in Bad Salzungen.
- Johann Michael Senf (born 1835)
- Johann Valetin Senf (born 1837)
- Anna Marie Senf (1838)
- Johannes Senf (1842-1843)
- Luise Senf (1844-1844)
- Elisabeth Senf (1845)
Johann Valentin Senf immigrated to the United States and is living in Campbell County, Kentucky, in 1850 with his uncles Michael and Adam Trautvetter. What happened to him after that is unknown. It is not known if any of Wilhelmine’s children came to the United States.
Currently what I know about Wilhelmine ends with her husband’s death in Wohlmuthausen in 1846 and picks back up in 1869 when she signs a petition in Hancock County, Illinois, in regards to her brother’s estate. It’s a blank otherwise.
I had searched for a passenger manifest entry for her, but I had used the last name of Kraft. Now that I know she was married to Mr. Senf, she could just as easily have immigrated under that name. It’s also possible that there was another, as yet unknown, husband between Senf and Kraft. After all, Senf died in 1846 and her listing as a Kraft is not until 1869. There’s plenty of time for another husband–and another last name under which she could be listed.
Most of Wilhelmine’s siblings immigrated to the United States between 1846 and 1855. Some initially settled in Campbell County, Kentucky, but virtually all ended up Hancock County, Illinois. Brother Michael did spend a few years in St. Louis where a daughter of his sister Ernestine settled. A son of Ernestine (according to the estate settlement in which Wilhelmine’s petition appears) also supposedly lived in Cincinnati. It might be worthwhile to see if a Wilhelmine, born in Germany of the appropriate age, is listed nearby in census enumerations I already have for various members of her family.
There is no probate for Wilhemine. That would be the first and most logical place to look for her children. It seems reasonable that the surviving children immigrated to the United States.
Before I start typing her name in search boxes and hoping to find something, I need to think and make a plan.
That’s the topic of an upcoming post.