A marriage took place on this day 151 years ago in Altenburg, but most of the rest of this story takes place across the river in Jackson County, Illinois. The bride and groom had been in America for just a year or two. I will start with the groom who arrived in 1866.
Joachim (John) Heitmann made the voyage to America aboard the Carl that arrived in New Orleans on October 22, 1866. I wrote a story a while back about all the passengers aboard the Carl that settled in either Perry County, Missouri or Jackson County, Illinois. It was titled, Carl’s Arrival. Below is Joachim’s name on that ship’s passenger list on which we find him traveling alone.
Let’s take a moment to backtrack to Germany. Joachim was the son of Hans and Anna (Weseloh) Heitmann. His birthday was September 27, 1841. His baptism record can be found on Ancestry.com.
The bride in the October 4th wedding was Maria Brunkhorst, who was also from the Scheeβel area of Germany. Maria arrived in this country on November 7, 1867 after traveling across the Atlantic Ocean on the Uhland. That ship was another one that brought numerous passengers that ended up settling in this area. Like her future husband, she traveled alone. Here we see her on the Uhland passenger list.
We can also backtrack to find out about Maria’s beginnings in Germany. She was the daughter of Johann and Anna (Boesch) Brunkhorst. Here is her baptism record from the Scheeβel area.
Joachim Heitmann and Maria Brunkhorst were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg on October 4, 1868. That was during the time when Rev. J.F. Koestering was the pastor, so there is no church record, but there is a Perry County record we can look at.
The first three children born into this family were baptized at Trinity, Altenburg. The last of these three was baptized in 1874. Then when the next child was born in 1875, that child and the rest of their children were baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob, Illinois. This family must have begun farming in Fountain Bluff Township around that time. We find them in the 1880 census. It just so happens to be the only census in which we find Joachim and Maria.
According to our German Family Tree, there were 7 children born into this family. Only 4 of them survived childhood. The 7th child was born on April 4, 1882. On April 14th, Maria died at the age of 33. Below is her church death record in 2 images.
I included the death record shown above Maria that took place in 1881. That person was another Maria Brunkhorst, but Brunkhorst was her married name. Her maiden name was Bellmann.
On June 16th, the Heitmann baby died. Now Joachim was a widower with 4 living children, some of which were rather young.
On May 14, 1883, Joachim married again. His second wife was Anna Margaretha Ruhkopf. She also traveled to this country aboard the Uhland just like Joachim’s first wife. Anna Margaretha came with her mother, step-father, and sister. Her mother had married Heinrich Meier. Margaretha was 7 years old in 1867.
Anna Margaretha’s parents were Conrad and Anna (Beckmann) Ruhkopf. The German Family Tree lists 4 girls born to this couple. One of them is Anna Maria Ruhkopf, who is said to have been born on September 23, 1852, and another is Anna Margaretha Ruhkopf who is said to be have been born on November 24, 1854 or November 25, 1854. This gets quite confusing. Almost all of the records I find say that Anna Maria is called Maria while Anna Margaretha is called Anna. You have to be very careful. Plus, I found this baptism record from Scheeβel for Anna Maria Ruhkopf.
This record states that Anna Maria’s birth date is November 15, 1852 (not September 23rd). I was unable to find such a baptism record for Anna Margaretha Ruhkopf. There are also confusing issues here with lining up the ages on the Uhland passenger list with Margaretha and Engel’s ages. The older Ruhkppf daughters must have come to America on a different ship.
Anna Maria Ruhkopf married Heinrich Roehrs at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown in 1881. The church record for that wedding is shown below. It says Heinrich Roehrs was from Fountain Bluff, Illinois, so I must assume that Maria Ruhkopf must have been a member of the church in Uniontown. We also see Anna Ruhkopf as a witness. That would have been Joachim Heitmann’s second wife.
In 1884, when Joachim and Anna’s first child was born, he was baptized at Christ, Jacob, Illinois. Here is the baptism record.
When you look right underneath Heinrich’s baptism record, you find the baptism record for Anna Maria Roehrs, the daughter of Heinrich and Maria (Ruhkopf) Roehrs. Those two babies were cousins. Joachim Heitmann sired 8 babies with his second wife, Anna, but only 3 of them made it to confirmation age.
Joachim died in the Lutheran Hospital in St. Louis in 1896 at the age of 54. Below is his death record from his church in Jacob, Illinois.
We still find Anna Heitmann in the 1900 and 1910 censuses.
Anna Margaretha Heitmann died in 1913 at the age of 58. We have her church death record.
Her death record states that her birthday was November 25, 1854. Joachim and his two wives are said to be buried in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Jacob, Illinois. However, only Anna Margaretha has a photo of her gravestone on Findagrave.com, and it says she was born on November 24, 1854.
There are certainly some challenges for a researcher within this story. Similar names can potentially mislead you. Different birth and death dates are puzzling, and in this case, I don’t think these differences can be explained. I think the bottom line is that sometimes people who are creating records make mistakes. It then becomes a challenge to determine which “recorder” has it right.