Today’s post is a result of two researchers working together in an attempt to solve some confusion between two names that appear in our German Family Tree. Those two researchers are very good friends of our museum and research library. Those two are Dale Kirmse and Lori Adams. Since Dale lives in Florida and Lori lives in Arizona, these two never had the opportunity to discuss their research face-to-face, but they were still able to make some great progress in settling some puzzling issues. I know that as a result of this research, Lynn Degenhardt, the creator and sustainer of our German Family Tree, has plans to make changes to that document using these results. We at the museum are very grateful for the efforts of these two in their research as well as the post that was put together to publish on our blog.
Let me also say that there are some items in this post that are in red letters. Those are links. If you click on them, it will take you to another site where you can find additional information if you are interested.
When Claus Heinrich Korte was born on August 10, 1849, in Scheeßel, Lower Saxony, Germany, his father, Hans Korte, was 19 and his mother, Anna Sophia Wahlers, was 25.
In 1881, Claus Heinrich Korte and his family immigrated to Perry County, Missouri, USA.
Claus H. Korte was a farmer from Germany and was traveling with his family to the United States of America aboard the SS Ohio. As shown by the Passenger Manifest of the ship and its transcription, the Korte family were included in the 1195 passengers taken aboard the ship at Bremerhaven, from where they departed on October 5, 1881. After two weeks and one day at sea, they arrived at the Port of New York on October 20, 1881
Note that there is only one child (Margr. age 7) listed on the Ohio ship passenger manifest for the Claus H Korte family. A ship passenger manifest was usually generated at the time the ship left port and sometimes corrections were added at the end of the passenger manifest. However, there were no additions to this passenger manifest.
There is a question as to where their daughter Anna was born. According to the 1900 US Census, Anna Korte was born in Germany, but she is not listed as having immigrated to the USA. However, in the same census record. the rest of the Claus H. Korte family is noted as having immigrated in 1881. And, no documents from Germany have been found to give any information about Anna’s birth or baptism.
Fred Eggers has noted that Anna’s confirmation record shows that she was born October 9, 1881.
If this information is correct, then Anna was born at sea, and could explain the absence of her name on the ship’s passenger manifest as well as in the lack of records in Germany.
Claus Heinrich Korte married Margaretha Cordes in 1873 in Germany. They had three children during their marriage.
FRONT ROW: Claus Heinrich Korte
BACK ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Anna Christine Korte, daughter of Claus Heinrich and Margaretha (Cordes) Korte; Margaretha Sophia Korte, daughter of Claus Heinrich and Margaretha (Cordes) Korte;Heinrich Mangels Steffens, son of Michael and Hedwig “Hattie” (Katt) Steffens and husband of Margaretha Sophia Korte; Margaretha (Cordes) Korte, daughter of Johann Peter Hermann and Margaretha (Lüdemann) Cordes and sister of Heinrich Cordes
LEFT TO RIGHT: Margaretha Sophia Korte, daughter of Claus Heinrich and Margaretha (Cordes) Korte; Heinrich Mangels Steffens, son of Michael and Hedwig “Hattie” (Katt) Steffens
Margaretha Sophia Korte was born on April 5, 1875 in Germany. She died on August 22, 1948. She married Heinrich Mangels Steffens on 24 Oct 1895 in Farrar, Perry, Missouri, USA. He was born on February 11, 1870 in Farrar, Perry, Missouri, USA. He died on November 24, 1932 in Perry County, Missouri, USA.
LEFT TO RIGHT: Anna Christine Korte, daughter of Claus Heinrich and Margaretha (Cordes) Korte; Joachim Martin Steffens, son of Michael and Hedwig “Hattie” (Katt) Steffens
Anna Christine Korte was born on October 9. 1881 (probably at sea). She died on January 23, 1969 in Perryville, Perry, Missouri, USA . She married Joachim Martin Steffens on November 9, 1905 in Farrar, Perry, Missouri, USA. He was born on August 15, 1882 in Farrar, Perry, Missouri, USA. He died on May 18, 1928 in Perry County, Missouri, USA
Claus died on January 18, 1932, near Seventy-Six, Perry County, Missouri, at the age of 82, and was buried in the Salem Lutheran Church Cemetery at Farrar, Missouri, USA.
Many family trees such as on Ancestry.com and the German Family Tree (GFT) confuse and combine the families of Claus Heinrich Korte and his brother-in-law, Heinrich “Henry” Cordes. A comparison of the family group sheet for Heinrich “Henry” Cordes shown below to the one shown above for Claus Heinrich Korte illustrates why they are often confused for each other.
There are at least a dozen commonalities of Claus Heinrich Korte and Heinrich Cordes that lend to the confusion between the two men and their families.
- They both have Heinrich in their given names
- Their surnames are somewhat similar, Korte vs. Cordes
- Their birth years are the same, 1849
- The both were born in Scheeßel, Rotenburg, Germany
- The given names of their wives are Margaretha, Margaretha (Cordes) vs Margaretha (Meier)
- They each have daughters whose given name includes Anna, Anna Christine Korte vs Anna Marie Cordes
- They each have daughters whose given name includes Margaretha, Margaretha Sophia Korte vs Martha Margaretha Cordes
- They both had a son whose given name includes John or Heinrich, Johann Heinrich Korte vs John Peter August Cordes and Heinrich Cordes
- Their sons died in infancy
- They both immigrated to Perry County, Missouri, USA
- Both were members of the Salem Lutheran Church, Farrar, Missouri, USA
- Both were buried in the Salem Lutheran Church Cemetery, Farrar, Missouri, USA
For more information about Claus Heinrich Korte and Heinrich “Henry” Cordes, see My Scheeßel Relatives – Vol 1 located at https://myscheesselrelatives.pressbooks.com/.
2 thoughts on “Confusing Two Heinrichs”
The origin of this blog post is the result of the following correspondence and subsequent joint family research of Dale and Lori.
Dale wrote to Lori:
Just a note to let you know that the Heinrich Claus Cordes (1849-1899) and family in the Fritsche/Miesner Family Tree on Ancestry.com is a melding of two separate families, Heinrich Cordes (1849-1899) and Claus Heinrich Korte (1849-1932). Take a look at the Kirmse Family Tree on Ancestry.com.
Lori responded with the following analysis:
Thanks, Dale! I knew something didn’t look right for the daughter Anna Christina in the 1900 Census because it shows that her father was still alive, even though Heinrich Cordes had died in 1899, so now this makes more sense! It certainly doesn’t help with every other person having the same names, same name for the spouse, and so on! It gets too confusing!
I do know that the German Family Tree (GFT) at the museum in Altenburg has the information incorrect also. [Note: The GFT is a compiled, alphabetical index of persons who are listed in church records and census records in the Perry County area. It is a great place to begin researching family history. The GTF leads researchers to other library resources such as family histories and digitized church records. Lori and Dale have both drawn material from this resource in the past.]
The GFT at the museum lists the Claus Heinrich KORTE family this way:
Claus Heinrich KORTE — 1849-1899 — m. Margaretha nee Meier — 1840-1902
1. Johann Peter August — 1873-74
2. Margaretha Sophia — 1874-1948
3. Anna Marie — 1876-1907
4. Heinrich — 1878-78
5. Martha Margaretha — 1879 – they show no death date/yr
6. Anna Christina — 1880-1969
7. Marie Christina — 1881 – they show no death date/yr
8. Johann Heinrich — 1884-84
It also looks like the GFT has the spouse connections different as well:
a) It shows the husband of Margaretha nee Meier (1840-1902) is Heinrich Klaus KORTE (1849-99).
b) It has Heinrich CORDES has the same birth date as Heinrich KORTE, and he is shown as married to the Margaretha nee Meier (1847-1929).
The GFT has the Heinrich Claus CORDE’s children as :
1. Johann Peter August— 1873-74
2. Anna Marie — 1876-1907
3. Heinrich — 1878-78
4. Martha Margaretha — 1879-1967 — this one DOES show a death date, unlike the one above.
5. Marie Christina — 1881-1915
6. Johann Heinrich — 1884 – no death date given
Margaretha Sophia and Anna Christina are not listed in the GFT’s tree with this second family.
The Heinrich KORTE who died in 1932 was younger than his wife, which matches the info in the 1900 Census — he’s shown to be 4 years younger than her in that record. And, that census also lists their daughters Margaret S H and Anna “O” — obviously it’s a C — which also match.
The Margaretha nee Meier who was a widow by the 1900 Census, correctly shows her as born in 1847; also her daughters Anna, Martha, and Mary, as well as a boarder “Richard”? Fritsche, born in 1873 — likely the Richard Bruno who was future husband of her daughter Anna.
So it looks like the GFT has some of the same mix-ups that I had, but then also mixed up spouses incorrectly. Good to see that I at least had the spouses matched correctly! I’ll email Lynn Degenhardt and bring this up with him.
You were absolutely right — I had some mistakes on here. I’m glad you pointed them out to me. Thanks!
If I have any more questions for you, I’ll be sure to ask! Same to you, if you have any questions for me. I’d be glad to help you if I have any answers!
Oops! My mistake I just noticed — I put Margaretha nee Meier as the wife of Heinrich Klause Korte, but it’s Margaretha nee CORDES, not Meier. And she is the sister of the Heinrich Cordes who died in 1899. Oh, the confusion!
Following this exchange, Lori and Dale did considerable joint family research to expand and correct both of their family trees.