Monday, July 19, 2010

FamilySearch: Following the Stutzmann-Schlick line...

Last entry I talked about this project I had just found out about on the FamilySearch website and how excited I was about it. Well, the excitement continues. The problem with the normal FamilySearch website is that while a lot of their information comes from actual vital records and is therefore accurate, a lot of it comes from user input, and is therefore in many cases very inaccurate, and you have to figure out which of the entries to trust and which to discard. But this new project seems to be based solely on input from vital records, and even though many of them do not have an original image indexed, there are many that include a transcription of said vital record.

So in that vein, let's talk about the Stutzmanns. As any of you have read this blog know, the Stutzmanns (my paternal grandmother's family) had been a fairly prominent family in the Ridgewood area of Queens and Brooklyn and within that local German community, so some work had already been done on their family tree (some of it not at all right, but for the most part fairly accurate) before I even entered the genealogy game. So, thanks to the work of others, I could go back 8 generations to the late 1700s in a town called Grossbockenheim in Germany to the parents of Peter Stutzmann, who with his wife Charlotte Schlick had a bunch of kids whose lines have all been pretty well traced down to now.

Through my own research I had discovered that Charlotte's real first name was probably Louise, since in Germany apparently every kid gets the Christian name and then the middle name, and no one goes by their Christian name and everyone goes by their middle name, so you end up with a bunch of sons named Johann and a bunch of daughters named Maria. Anyway, today I decided to focus my search on this line, since in all my own research, I've never been able to get past Peter's parents, who I knew to be Christoph Stutzmann and Jacobine Last Name Unknown, or Charlotte. Today I found a transcription for a marriage certificate for one J. Peter Stutzmann and one Charlotte Schlick. A birth certificate transcription for one of their kids showed that Peter's real first name was Johann, which to be fair, I should've guessed anyway. So, this marriage transcription - the ages for both Peter and Charlotte are right, the year, 1841, jibes with when they started having kids, the town is right, and lo and behold, we have parents' names for both of them. Score!

So, according to the transcription, Peter's parents are Michael Stutzmann and Jacobina Blasius. Though the father's name doesn't match, wacky German naming traditions means it's possible that both Michael and Christoph are the right name for Peter's dad. Or, with the spotty accuracy of the original info I built my research on for this branch, it's possible Christoph is completely wrong. But Jacobine and Jacobina jibe, so that's another point in this transcription's favor. And we also have names for Charlotte's parents - Rudolph Schlick (which seems right seeing as how many Rudolph's, including Charlotte's son, as well as my great great grandfather, ended up on this Stutzmann branch) and Ottile Elisabetha Dhuy (which, it seems her last name should probably be D'Huy, which seems to be a Belgian name).

You always have to take new information with a grain of salt, but you have to start someplace, and these new leads give me a place to start to build my own foundation for this information as I go about trying to verify or disprove. The point is...the Case of the Stutzmann Tree continues!

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