You have no doubt heard the term, kitty cat. Today’s birthday girl has a name that reminds me of that term. Hedwig Katt was born on November 7, 1847 in Lamstedt, Germany. Before I move on, let me say that many German girls with the name Hedwig take on the nickname, Hattie, and that is the case for this girl. I should also insert here that the surname, Katt, would not be pronounced around here like “cat:, but like “cot”. She was the daughter of Johann and Gesche (Pulsch) Katt. It is not often that I find a German baptism record for someone in our stories, but in today’s case, I was able to find one for both the man and woman that make up today’s married couple. Below is the one for Hedwig Katt.
Now, we will turn our attention to Hattie’s future husband. His name was Michael Steffens who was born on September 26, 1835. He was also born and baptized in Lamstedt, Germany, and I was also able to find his baptism record. On this record, if you know where to look, you will see that Michael’s parents were named Mangels and Margaretha, and even more interesting is that Margaretha’s maiden name was also Steffens. These two were a Steffens/Steffens marriage.
When it comes to the marriage of Michael Steffens and Hedwig Katt, we have a little mystery. I don’t think I can answer the question about exactly when these two were married, but I think I have a clue about where. Before I move on, let me show you what we find about this pair in the German Family Tree.
As you can see, the GFT says these two were married “ca. 1870”. If we look at the birth and baptism record for their firstborn child, Mangels Steffens, you will see that he was born in February of 1870, so my better guess for their marriage year would be 1869, not 1870. You can also see that the 1900 census says Michael Steffens immigrated to America in 1869.
I located a Michael Steffens who made the voyage to America aboard the ship, Hermann, in November of 1869. Let’s take a look at that passenger list.
Michael was travelling with Hedwig Steffens, and it looks like they were married. However, the problem is that Hedwig’s age does not look right. If she was born in 1847, she would have been 22 years old, not 32.
It is not often that I find two separate passenger list documents for the same people, but in this case I did. Here is a second passenger list for this pair.
This record says Hedwig was Michael’s wife, but it also has the age as 32. I think this pair on these passenger lists is the Michael and Hedwig (Katt) Steffens couple we are discussing, but the age is for some unknown reason incorrect. If so, I also calculate that Hedwig made this trip while she was pregnant with her first child.
Our German Family Tree says that this couple had 5 children, 4 boys and a girl. All 5 of these children have been mentioned in previous blog posts. First of all, the only girl, Martha Steffens, was discussed in one of the Martin and Martha posts. The sons ended up marrying sisters. Two of them married Korte sisters, and they were discussed in the post, Korte Girls – Steffens Boys. Finally, two more boys married Lohmann sisters. One of those boys was highlighted in a recent post titled, Crosstown Couples. In that post, it was mentioned that the 2 boys not only married Lohmann sisters, but each had second wives that were Weibrecht sisters. I may still end up writing a post about the second Steffens boy who married a Lohmann and a Weibrecht.
I was not able to find the Steffens couple in the 1870 census, so the first census I can display is the one taken in 1880. Their entry spills over two pages.
This couple’s last child was born in 1882. Then we have to wait until 1900 to view their next census, which happens to be those census pages for Salem Township that are so difficult to read. I can tell you that Michael was still a farmer, and only two sons remained in their household.
Next, we find the Steffens household in the 1910 census. Michael and Hattie were living with their son, Mangels Steffens and his wife.
That would be the last census in which we find either Michael or Hattie. Hattie Katt died in 1912 at the age of 64. A contributing cause to her death given on her death certificate was a fall in which she fractured a hip joint.
Hedwig was buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Farrar.
Michael Steffens died in 1918 at the age of 82. We can also take a look at his death certificate.
Michael was also buried in the Salem Lutheran Cemetery, but, judging from a few photos on Findagrave.com, his gravestone must have fallen over and later been repaired.
The story of Hattie Katt turned out to be an interesting study. Our German Family Tree is an outstanding resource. I couldn’t do this blog on a regular basis without it. However, because it doesn’t take into account all the documents that are available, sometimes there are holes to be filled. I think the passenger lists for Michael and Hedwig might tell a little more about this couple’s marriage. Maybe as time goes by and more documents are made available, even more answers may be found.