We have to look at the end of the alphabet to find the surnames in today’s tale. Today would be the 136th wedding anniversary of a pair made up of two “W” surnames…Wittschieben and Weber. I will begin with the groom.
Claus Hans Wittschieben was born in Germany on January 20, 1859, the son of Claus and Margaret (Jirkens) Wittschieben. In 1882, when Claus was 23 years old, he traveled to America aboard the ship, Baltimore, which also landed in Baltimore. We find his name on the passenger list of that ship.
Because he got married in 1885, we do not find Claus in a census until after he was married. His bride was going to be Emma Maria Weber, the daughter of Friedrich Herman Weber. There is some debate about both the name of her mother and the date of her birth. A note found in our German Family Tree says this about her mother’s name: Note: Pauline was the daughter of Johann Braeautigam and an unknown mother. At some point, she started to use the maiden name of Schroeder, perhaps because a Schroeder family raised her. Maria’s baptism record from the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg says that the mother was Pauline nee Braeutigam. This baptism record is displayed here.
The above baptism record is the only one in which we see the maiden name of Braeutigam. This record was written during the last year when Rev. Beyer was the pastor. Several later baptisms recorded by Rev. J.F. Koestering, like some of them shown here, just gave the mother’s first name.
Later during Rev. Koestering’s time, he started including maiden names, and the last children in this family were said to have a mother named Pauline Schroeder.
There is also debate about Maria’s birthday. The above baptism record says she was born on April 27, 1863. We will see later that her death certificate and her gravestone say that she was born on April 19, 1863. Maria is found in her first census in 1870 at the age of 7. She was the oldest child in this family, and her father was a farmer.
Next, we find Maria in the 1880 census
That leads us up to the marriage of Claus Wittschieben and Maria Weber that took place on October 1, 1885. The church record for this wedding is found in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.
Our German Family Tree lists 4 children born to this couple. Their first child was baptized at Trinity, Altenburg. Their second child was baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. The last two children were baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. All of these children were born before the 1900 census was taken. We find this family living in the Union Township, and Claus is called a farmer.
In 1910, we find this Wittschieben household. Only their youngest daughter remained in this entry. Claus was said to be a laborer at odd jobs.
Next, we find the Wittschieben’s in the 1920 census. This time Claus and Maria had an empty nest, and Claus is described as a laborer who was “working out”.
Maria Wittschieben died on Reformation Day in 1929 at the age of 66. Her death certificate says she died of heart disease. The maiden name of her mother looks to be an attempt to spell the name, Breautigam. It definitely does not say Schroeder. Also, please note that the date of birth on her death certificate says she was born on April 19, 1863.
We can still find Claus in the 1930 census, living by himself and called a janitor for a Lutheran school. I have to assume that he was working at keeping the school at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown clean.
Claus Wittschieben died in 1936 at the age of 77. I had some difficulty finding his death certificate because his name was transcribed as having an “h” after the “W” at the beginning, even though it is pretty obvious that there is no “h” on this form. This form is the source that gives his mother’s maiden name as Jirkens.
Claus and Maria Wittschieben are each buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown.
This story seems like a pretty basic story, but I discovered that it presented me with some rather interesting research issues that made things somewhat challenging. But that is sometimes what takes an ordinary story and makes it more interesting.
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