Today’s birthday girl, Elizabeth Engert, led me on an interesting research trail today despite the fact that she only lived 44 years. Her story leads to several interesting questions. One has to do with her birth date. Another has to do with the time of service of some pastors. Another has to do with marriage records. This story also enabled me to discover another fact about one of my family members. So here we go.
Elisabeth Engert was born on January 7, 1868 (or was it 1869?). Back in May of 2016, in my early days of blogging, I wrote a story titled, Another Fertile Father. It told the story of August Friedrich Engert, who, between two wives, fathered 23 children according to our German Family Tree. Elisabeth was #21. Elisabeth’s mother was Anna Jungclaus. Elisabeth was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg, Missouri. Her baptism record definitely states that she was born in 1868, and it is included in the records toward the beginning of several other baptisms that occurred in 1868. We will find out later that Elisabeth’s year of birth on some records indicate she was born in 1869.
Elisabeth can be found as the youngest of the Engert children in the 1870 census. Her parents were shown on the previous page of the census which I did not show.
When the 1880 census was taken, Elisabeth’s father had died. Elisabeth was 11 years old.
Elisabeth’s future husband would be Robert Schade, who was born on February 26, 1865. He was the son of Friedrich Bernhard and Ernestine Wilhelmine (Gerler) Schade. Here is a photo of Robert’s parents.
Robert was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Below is his baptism record.
Robert first shows up in a census in 1870 as a 5 year-old.
We find Robert once again living with his parents in 1880. His father, just like Elisabeth’s, had died before this census was taken.
That leads us up to the marriage of Robert Schade and Elisabeth Engert which took place on May 14, 1889. Here is where a few questions enter the picture. There is no church record for this wedding in the Immanuel church books despite the fact that the Engert’s and the Schade’s were prominent members of that congregation. This made me look into the Immanuel church books, and I noticed that there were no marriage records for the year 1888 and only one marriage record for 1889, and that 1889 record was not for Robert and Elisabeth’s marriage. The only record we have is the civil marriage license shown below.
This document indicates that this marriage was conducted by a Justice of the Peace. In fact, here is where I found an new tidbit of information about my family. The Justice of the Peace was my great grandfather, Gottwerth F. Schmidt. I am now thinking that he may be the only member of my Schmidt family to have ever conducted marriages. However, this could only lead me to ask why this marriage was performed by a Justice of the Peace. My first thought was that there might not have been a pastor at Immanuel, Altenburg at the time. I looked in a book that we have which shows previous pastors of Immanuel, and it indeed does say that Rev. J.M. Bucka left Altenburg in 1889, and the next pastor, Rev. J.G. Hempler, arrived in 1890. I thought I had a possible answer to my question. However, I found other documents that proved me wrong.
I found a baptism record for Lina Bucka who was born on June 1, 1889. That baptism record can be found in the Immanuel, Altenburg books, so Rev. Bucka was still in Altenburg after May of 1889 when Robert and Elisabeth were married. I cannot resist showing a photo of Pastor Bucka with his wife and one of his children that I found. I had not seen this photo before. This photo may have been taken during his time in Altenburg.
Before I move on, let me point out that Gerard Fiehler helped me find another marriage license that shows G.F. Schmidt performing the wedding as the Justice of the Peace. It is shown below.
This marriage took place not long before the Schade/Engert wedding, and lo, and behold, it involved another Schade. That Carl Schade was in his 60’s when this marriage took place, and it was his third marriage. He was probably some sort of relative of Robert Schade, but I did not take the time to research that. I went down plenty of rabbit holes for this story already.
So, one of my theories for why a Justice of the Peace may have done the Schade/Engert marriage instead of the pastor might have been bad blood between the Schade family and Pastor Bucka. However, I also found another record that supports a different theory. The first child of Robert and Elisabeth Schade was born on August 8, 1889. That would have been just 3 months after their marriage. Another reason the Justice of the Peace did this wedding might be that the pastor refused to perform a marriage involving a woman who was obviously “in a family way”.
I also found another document that indicates that Rev. Hempler arrived on the scene before 1890. The only marriage recorded at Immanuel for 1889 took place in November, and the marriage license for this Bissig/Engert wedding says Rev. Hempler performed the ceremony.
Robert and Elisabeth had 7 children according to our German Family Tree. We see 6 of those children in the 1900 census. The last child was born after this census, but died as an infant.
The last census in which we find either Robert or Elisabeth was the one from 1910.
Elisabeth Schade died in 1913 at the age of 44. Here is her death certificate. This is one of those records that states that Elisabeth was born in 1869, not 1868.
Robert also died rather young. He was just 52 years old when he died in 1917. We also have his death certificate.
Both Robert and Elisabeth were buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg. Elisabeth’s gravestone is another place where you find the birth year as 1869. In my opinion, that is incorrect. I trust the baptism record in this case.
In a day and age when a person can go online to get certification to perform weddings, I suppose I could get myself qualified to be the second Schmidt in my family to perform weddings, but I can state emphatically that that is not going to happen.