I confess right away. I wrote today’s title just to get people’s attention. However, it is incredibly misleading. That is because today’s post is about the first marriage to be recorded in the church books of Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. I will confess also that today’s post will not fit the mold of most of my previous posts. That is because it is not going to be filled with all kinds of family research. However, that will be where I start.
Anna Luedemann was born on September 29, 1858 in Ostervesede, Scheeßel, Germany. She was the daughter of Johann and Anna (Boesch) Luedemann. When she was 7 years old, her family traveled to America aboard the ship, Carl. We see her on this passenger list.
Anna’s future husband, Johann Heinrich Miesner, was aboard the same ship in 1866.
On April 15, 1879, Johann married Anna in Jacob, Illinois. Here we see that marriage record as the very first one in the Christ Lutheran Church books. It stretches over two pages, so I have placed two images here.
The wedding photo of Johann and Anna is shown here.
The lion’s share of today’s story will center on another artifact from this wedding. I don’t know if this item is in the possession of Lori Adams, but she is the one who placed an image of it on Ancestry.com. It is a marriage certificate which must have been given this couple by Christ Lutheran Church.
This certificate appears to have some water damage, but it is still quite readable. I am going to enlarge portions of this certificate and discuss their significance. First, I will show the portion of this certificate that shows the pertinent information concerning the Miesner/Luedemann marriage.
The first pastor of Christ Lutheran Church was Rev. H.W. Heumann. There is no photo of him, but this information can be found in a 100th anniversary booklet from that congregation showing their first two pastors.
This certificate is loaded with symbolism and references to Bible passages and Bible stories. I will start with the drawing in the upper left hand corner.
A scene from the Garden of Eden is pictured. Above it, you will see the notation: 1 Mos 2 V.21-24. 1 Mos refers to the first book of Moses, which is mostly referred to as Genesis these days. Those verses from Gen. 2:21-24 are often read during marriage ceremonies to this day.
Next, we move to the upper right hand corner.
This drawing is a depiction of the Wedding at Cana. Above the drawing, it shows Joh 2 V.1-11. That is the reference for this Bible story.
Now we will move to the middle left of the certificate. Here we find this prayer.
My friend, Lutz Backmann, from Germany helped me with a few translations today. This is his translation of this prayer.
Lord you want to be our companion, and go with us on all ways, and show us all steep tracks and catwalks, save us before all accidents on our way. Amen
The gist of this prayer is that, with the Lord going with them, a couple can be spared from all kinds of dangers along the way.
On the right center, this prayer can be found.
Lutz translates this one this way:
Lord Jesus, you are the right path to heaven and the only steep track, help us on our pilgrimage to the fatherland because you have given your blood. Amen
The lower left corner has Psalm 127 written in German.
Here is that Psalm in English.
This psalm talks about how important it is for a house to be built by the Lord. I especially like verse 5 which states that a man is blessed if he has a quiver (arrow holder) full of children. Our German Family Tree says that Johann and Anna had eight children. I would call that a quiver-full.
The lower right hand corner shows the 128th Psalm.
Here is Psalm 128 in English.
Once again, this is a psalm that refers to the wife, the children, and even grandchildren (children’s children).
Finally, the center panel on the bottom shows this drawing.
The drawing shows a mother reading to several children with the father playing some music. Above the drawing is a reference which comes from Joshua 24:15 which states, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This is special to me, because this was the passage used in my wedding.
I think a certificate like this is a beautiful work of art. I looked on the website of Concordia Publishing House for marriage certificates. The ones they offer do not come anywhere close to the one shown in this post. In my opinion, that is a shame.
This certificate not only contains historical information that may be important to family researchers, but it is also packed with messages that are important to a married couple. I think if I had been given one of these for our marriage, it would be framed and hanging on a wall in our home.