I am going to begin today’s post by displaying the information we have in our German Family Tree for today’s birthday boy, Gotthilf Ferdinand Fischer.
There are only 2 church records for Gotthilf, both from the books of Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. There is also something missing. There is no evidence of an early death for Gotthilf (of course, that might be the result of the “Koestering Hole”) My previous experience with records like these, especially for boys back in the late 1800’s, causes me to suspect that the son may have been sent off to either a Lutheran seminary or a Lutheran college to become a pastor or teacher. In Gotthilf Fischer’s case, I did find a little bit of evidence that he became a teacher, even if only for a little while.
As indicated above, Gotthilf F. Fischer was born on May 12, 1868, making today his 154th birthday. He was the son of Ferdinand and Martha (Weinhold) Fischer. There is a bit of a mystery about Gotthilf’s baptism record. The translation for this baptism record is displayed below.
The puzzling part is that on the corresponding page where you usually find the images of the actual records, Gotthilf’s baptism record is not pictured.
Gotthilf is found in his first census in 1870. I have to display this entry in two images because it spills over two census pages. Gotthilf was 2 years old, and his father was a retail dry goods merchant.
The Fischer household is found in the 1880 census when Gotthilf was 12 years old and going to school. His father had died in 1874, so his mother was the head of this household.
In 1882, Gotthilf was confirmed, and the record for that event can be viewed, and it confirms his date of birth.
It is at this point in Gotthilf’s life that he disappears from the German Family Tree. The next document I found for him was his marriage license. So, now we have to go elsewhere to find information on the woman who became his bride. Her name was Caroline Brockschmidt, who was born on April 19, 1874. She was the daughter of August and Barbara (Beuhner) Brockschmidt. She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is found in the only census in which she was a single woman in 1880. Her family was living in Braddock, Pennsylvania where her father worked in a steel mill. Caroline was 6 years old.
Gotthilf Fischer married Caroline Brockschmidt on August 24, 1893 in Braddock, Pennsylvania. A Pennsylvania marriage license gives us a few more details about the bride and groom.
First, this document says that Gotthilf was residing in Longtown, Missouri, and it also indicates that he was a school teacher. Secondly, this document is where we get evidence that Caroline was born in Pittsburgh, but was living in Braddock, which is really a part of the Greater Pittsburgh area.
Between the information found on census records as well as family histories on Ancestry.com, it appears this couple had 2 children, boys named Eugene and George. Their first child was born in Missouri in 1894, which means that Gotthilf and Caroline were living in Perry County for a while after their wedding. I finally found where Gotthilf was teaching when I looked in the Friedenberg Remembrances book. First, I found this paragraph that mentions Gotthilf becoming a teacher in Friedenberg in 1890.
That book also contains a photograph of Teacher Fischer and his students sometime during his tenure there.
There has to be a story behind Gotthilf Fischer from Perry County somehow managing to begin a courtship with Caroline Brockschmidt, a young girl from Pennsylvania. However, at this point in time, I do not know it. One of our guest bloggers, Cal Eggers, lives over in Pennsylvania. Perhaps he can beat some bushes and find an answer.
After Gotthilf left Perry County in 1897, we find him living the rest of his life in Caroline’s home territory, and I found no evidence that he continued teaching. When the 1900 census was taken, we find the Fischer’s living in Braddock, Pennsylvania where Gotthilf was called a salesman. You can see that their 2nd son, George, was born in Pennsylvania. Right below the Fischer household you will see the household of Caroline’s mother, Barbara Brockschmidt.
A 1902 city directory for Braddock says that Gotthilf was a grocer.
Next, we find the Fischer’s in the 1910 census. This time, Gotthilf was called a boilermaker.
I know that Gotthilf Fischer was still alive in 1920, but I was unsuccessful at finding an entry for him in the census taken during that year. Gotthilf died in 1924 at the age of 56. I am able to display a Pennsylvania death certificate for him. This form says Gotthilf was a clerk.
Caroline Fischer was still alive when the 1930 census was taken, but again, I was unsuccessful at locating her in that census. I did, however, find her in two more censusus. Here is the one for 1940, in which we find her living with her brother, Ernest Brockschmidt, and his daughter.
I even found Caroline in the recently-released 1950 census. She was living in the William Swartz household, and it says Caroline was an aunt through marriage.
Caroline Fischer died in 1955 at the age of 81. We can also view her Pennsylvania death certificate.
Both Gotthilf and Caroline were buried in the Monongahela Cemetery in North Braddock, Pennsylvania.
I cannot complete this story without mentioning one of the docents that has served our museum for many years. Her name is now Caroline Littge, but her maiden name was the same as Gotthilf Fischer’s wife’s name, Caroline Fischer. Caroline Littge spent a whole lot of years serving a variety of schools in Perry County during her long teaching career. She is seen on the left in this photograph taken at the grand opening of our museum’s south gallery this past October.