Translator’s Blunder

Today’s discussion will be about solving a genealogical problem.  We noticed this issue when one of our sources indicated that the marriage of Justine Hopfer and Johann George Hesse took place on this day, July 12, in 1843.  Then we noticed that a birth was recorded to this couple at the end of September.  This presented a potential moral issue.  However, this problem was eventually resolved.

First of all, below is the translation of the German records which can be found for the Grace Lutheran, Uniontown church books, which is where the Hopfer/Hesse marriage is recorded.

Hopfer Hesse marriage record translation.JPG
Grace, Uniontown church records translation

Please note that the date July 12, 1843 is given here, and that the marriage was held on the farm of Jacob Atler.  Also note that the next record after this one involves the marriage of a Hemmann and a Frentzel.

A search of the Perry County Marriage Records indicate that this marriage took place on January 8, 1843.  Below is that record:

Hopfer Hesse marriage record Perry County
Perry County Marriage Record

In a couple of locations on this record it indicates that this marriage took place on January 8th.

Now we will look at a portion of the actual record, written in German, which can be found in the Grace, Uniontown church books.

Hopfer Hesse marriage record Grace Uniontown.JPG
Grace, Uniontown church record

Above the subtle line in the photo is part of the record for the Hopfer/Hesse marriage.  Below the line is part of the record for a Bergmann/Adler marriage.  One can possibly read the date of the 12th of July in the bottom record.  You can also see a reference to a Jacob Adler farm.

What appears to have happened here is that whoever was translating these church records made a mistake.  Their eyes must have skipped down one record to find the information from the Bergmann marriage to complete the Hopfer/Hesse record.  This is supported also by the fact that there is no record of a Bergmann marriage in the translation.

It is probably safe to conclude that the correct date for this wedding was January 8, 1843, not July 12th.  This also remedies the potential moral issue by placing the September birth more than 8 months after the wedding.  That child lived less than one month, which might also indicate an early birth.

Once again, the resources we have here in our family research library have proved to be quite useful in solving a genealogical mystery.


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