Three Out of Five Is Not Bad

The German researcher was able to locate six children of Johann Georg and Sophia Elisabetha (Derle) Trautvetter in the kirchenbuch from Wohlmuthausen, Germany:

  • Anna Elisabetha born 19 June 1833
  • Elisabetha born 4 May 1835
  • boy–stillborn on 23 January 1838
  • Johann Michael born on 22 June 1839
  • George Adolph born 16 August 1842
  • Christian Friedrich Theodor born on 16 October 1844

The dates of birth for the last three boys matched exactly the dates of birth which were listed on their death certificates in Hancock County, Illinois where they died in (1917, 1930, and 1927 respectfully). I was unaware that a child had been stillborn. It was fortunate that these dates of birth matched exactly.

Before the research was conducted in Germany, I had estimated Anna Elizabeth’s birth at “around 1834.” This approximate year of birth was based on several census enumerations for Anna Elizabeth as she died before vital records were kept in Illinois and no record of her date of birth had been passed down to current family members. The date of birth for Elisabetha was 4 November 1835 which was calculated from information on her tombstone in Hancock County, Illinois’ Daughtery cemetery which indicated that she was 34 years 2 months 18 days of age when she died on 22 January 1870. The date of birth is “off” by exactly six months. The difference is minimal and could be due to any of several errors.

The dates of birth that I’m using for all these individuals in my database are those that were obtained in the church records. The records from the church were contemporary to the actual births and created using information from someone who was actually present at the birth. All the baptisms were within a month (or less) of the actual birth. The tombstone will be transcribed as it is inscribed, but the stone would not be considered as reliable for the date of birth as the baptismal record would be.

Because the dates of birth for the sons as obtained in the church records match what was on their death records, I am wondering:

Was there a family bible or record of their births that was brought with the family from Germany when they immigrated to the United States? What records did they  bring with them when they immigrated? After all, the dates matched–someone kept track. And if there is a bible…where is it?


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