In “Details the Estate Settlement Does Not Care About,” we saw an 1871 era estate document from Illinois that seemed to suggest that an Ernestine (Trautvetter) Hess had three children: Valentine Hess, William Hess, and Wilhelmina (married to an unnamed man with the last name Rothweiler). All that is said about Ernestine is that she was a sister of the deceased Hancock County, Illinois, resident Michael Trautvetter and that she had “intermarried” with Hess. Based on Michael’s approximate age, Ernestine would have been born roughly between 1790 and 1810 in Germany.
I had used the statements in the estate document for Michael in an attempt to locate information on the three children of Ernestine. The estate records indicated Wihelmina was in St. Louis when she received her money from the estate in the 1870s. Valentine had lived in Cincinnati but could not be located by the estate administrator. William received his money and no notation was made as to his residence. Based upon the information in the file, I concluded that all three children of Ernestine had immigrated to the United States. I could make no such conclusion about Ernestine.
Wilhelmina married in St. Louis as Wilhelmina Trautvetter. That seemed odd. The probate document clearly styled her as the daughter of Ernestine (Trautvetter) Hess.
There was a reason she married as Wilhelmina Trautvetter.
The church records in Wohlmuthausen, Thuringia, Germany, indicate that Ernestine was not married to Kasper/Caspar Hess–the man with whom she had three children, including Valentine (born in 1827) and Wilhelmine (born in 1828). Ernestine’s son George Valentine Hess was born in 1831 and died in 1932. Ernestine had two additional children in Wohlmuthausen whose fathers are not named: Wilhelm in 1834 and Ernestine (born in 1837 and died in 1839).
The church records explain Ernestine’s three children who were listed in the estate settlement as being her only heirs-at-law. Her marital status and the fact they had different fathers was immaterial to the estate of Michael Trautvetter: they were her children. Listing them all as Hesses may simply have been easier to the person providing information to the court.
Even though Wilhelmina’s father is listed in the church record of her 1828 birth in Wohlmuthausen, their marital status may explain why she married as a Trautvetter–that was her mother’s last name when Wilhelmina was born.
And the two sons of Ernestine that I cannot find? They may not be listed as William and Valentine Hess in United States records.
They may have gone by the last name of Trautvetter as well.