I was all ready to tell a very sad story today, and I will, but that story led to some really great news for our research library. Charlotte Saalfeld, a 60 year old woman, who was one of the original immigrants, died on February 27, 1839 in St. Louis, Missouri. In other words, this elderly woman, who also happened to be one of my great great great grandmothers, traveled all the way across the Atlantic Ocean and up the Mississippi River only to die less than one month after setting foot on Missouri soil. That is a sad story.
Probably because Charlotte came to America on the same ship as Rev. Gotthold Loeber, her death record is included in the Trinity, Altenburg church records. Here is that record. It is one of the first records in those books.
Before I move on to the rest of the story, I will add that one of Charlotte’s granddaughters, two year old Eva Magdalena Schmidt died about one month after her grandmother died. Her record is also in the Trinity church books.
In the process of researching Charlotte’s death on Ancestry.com, I made a discovery that may be very important to our research library. Some records I have not seen before started showing up in my search results. These records were from Germany. It was not long before I realized that Ancestry.com has recently added a whole bunch of records that I had not seen there before. The following records were added to their site on February 9th of this year:
This file contains almost three million records.
Each of these last two files contains about a half million records.
Not everyone may be able to access these records. First of all, you have to have a subscription to Ancestry.com. In addition, you probably have to upgrade that subscription to the World edition of their product which enables you to get to the records in other countries. The good news is that the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum has this subscription. It is also free to use if you take the opportunity to come visit us. We also have several people who volunteer here who could provide assistance.
I was just plain giddy when I managed to find this record.
In the upper left, you can find the baptism record for my great great grandfather, Georg Joachim Friedrich Schmidt, who was born and baptized in 1796. Here is a magnified image of that record:
Before I viewed this record, I did not know the names of Joachim’s parents. His father’s name was Hans Jurgen Christian Schmidt. His mother’s name was Margaretha Elisabeth, but I also discoved a new surname in my family tree…..Gielow. That was his mother’s maiden name. What a pleasant surprise to find documentation for some relatives that were previously unknown to me. Note: I am not one of those folks you see on the TV advertisement for Ancestry.com who find they are not who they thought they were. I am definitely what I always thought……a German.
This record was from a church in the village of Sternberg in Germany. Sometime after he was born, Joachim moved to Kahla, Germany. It was there that he was married and had two children before coming to America. Kahla is also the place from which Rev. Loeber came.
According to my figuring, there should be plenty of people who can trace their ancestry back to the original immigration to this area that could very well make exciting discoveries like I did. Come on by the museum someday, and someone may be able to help you search through this treasure trove of documents.