Mueller Mystery Solved

Two questions quickly came to my attention as I began researching today’s main character.

  • What was the first name of the baby being baptized on January 29, 1882?
  • What was the correct date of birth for this baby?

Let’s take a look at the baptism record in question. It is included in the books of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg.

Baptism record – January 29, 1882

Our German Family Tree lists this information under the family of Jacob and Anna (Hartung) Mueller.

Unknown Mueller – GFT information

As you can see, for some reason, the first name of the baby being baptized is missing from this baptism record. I will add at this point that this baptism likely occurred in Wittenberg because that is where this Mueller family lived. Also, this baptism took place when Rev. J.F. Koestering was pastor of Trinity, Altenburg. Although Pastor Koestering is well known for having missing marriage and death records in his congregation’s books, he did do a decent job of listing baptism records. However, this one is mysteriously missing the child’s first name. Perhaps in an era when plenty of baptisms were taking place, he simply forgot what this baby’s first name was and intended to fill it in later.

Also included in our German Family Tree is the information shown below for a child named Lina Josephine Mueller who was confirmed in 1895.

Lina Josephine Mueller – GFT information

She is listed amongst several of what could be called “leftover” Mueller’s that couldn’t be placed in a previously listed family. No names of parents are given in this confirmation record, and the birth date is given as January 25, 1882, not January 24th. This Josephine has to be the daughter of Jacob and Anna Mueller that is unnamed in the previous baptism record.

So, we have answered the first mystery. Now, we have to determine the correct birthday for this child. We will have to wait until we look at Josephine’s death before we get that answer. But first, let’s take a look at the life of Lina Josephine Mueller. The telling of her story should not take long. She presents a challenge when looking for her in census records. I can only display two of them, and she never shows up in a census record for Perry County.

The first census in which I found Josephine Mueller was taken in 1900, and we find her living in St. Louis at the age of 18. She was a servant in the household of H.J. Bromschwig, who was a grocer.

1900 census – St. Louis, MO

I was unable to find Josephine in another census until the one taken in 1940. I have reason to believe that she had lived in St. Louis most of her life, but I cannot be 100% sure. I do know that she never married. In the 1940 census, at the age of 58, she was seamer at a shirt factory. She was living in the household of John Schuler, who was a distributor for a bottling company.

1940 census – St. Louis, MO

Josephine Mueller died in 1942 at the age of 60. Her death certificate lists her birthday as January 25, 1882. This form also states that Josephine was a sewing machine operator for a dry goods manufacturer.

Josephine Mueller death certificate

The informant on this death certificate was Miss Cordia (Concordia) Mueller, who was Josephine’s younger sister. In a 1940 census, we find Cordia also working at a shirt factory in St. Louis. Cordia was also never married.

Josephine Mueller was buried in the Bethany Cemetery in St. Louis. Her gravestone is another place where we find her birthday given as January 25, 1882.

Josephine Mueller gravestone – Bethany, St. Louis, MO

Josephine’s confirmation record, death certificate, and gravestone all say that Josephine was born on January 25th. The only record that gives her birth date as January 24th was her baptism record. I am convinced that she was born on the 25th, making today her 140th birthday. That’s why this story is being published on January 25th.

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