Sunday, August 28, 2011

Churches in Our Family History, The Lutheran Story, the 109th Carnival Of Genealogy

CABS for Reflections From the Fence

The subject of this month's Carnival of Genealogy is "Our Ancestors' Place of Worship!"  Thanks to Jasia of Creative Gene and a new mystery blog who are sponsoring the COG this month.  Thanks to footnoteMaven for the totally fabulous poster.

Man's family is strongly Lutheran.  I so love that, as there are so many Lutheran church records that have survived, and in my experience, for the most part, their pastor's keep really fabulous records!  Oh, ya, there is that small issue of many of them being written in German, but, even I managed to learn to read the records enough to extract the facts.  Well, those really old handwriting ones have been a challenge, but, I have a secrete helper there.  Seems my daughter-in-law is German, and she knows elders that live in her parent's apartment building (back in Germany) that have been able to read the old German handwriting for me.  Sweet, eh??

I am not sure how many Lutheran Churches may be involved in Man's heritage, I know I have written letters to many!  Thought I would focus on four, all of which have meant so much to this family.

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Calvary Lutheran Church, Lincoln Park, Wayne County, Michigan.  Two of our sons were baptized here, many cousins as well.  Man was confirmed here, as was his mother.  Man's parents were married here.  Cousins married here.

(Right:  Our first born, baptismal day at Calvary.)

Last year we buried Man's mother from this very church.  She attended Calvary since her parents moved to Lincoln Park sometime between 1925 and 1930.  She received her last communion from the pastor of this church shortly before her death.  The pastor came to her apartment, where with 2 of her cousins, she had her last religious supper.

Above:  Calvary Lutheran Church, Lincoln Park, Wayne County, Michigan
(Source of photo unknown.  Year unknown.)
Interior, Calvary Lutheran Church
(Source of photo unknown, year unknown.)

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St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pigeon, Huron County, Michigan is the church were Man's mother was baptized.  (See her certificate right, written in German.)

It is also the church where her parents, Man's grandparents, were married.

Many years ago this church let me borrow a photographic copy of their early church records.  Can we say, genie happy dancin'?  I was able to copy pages and pages of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths.  I have been forever thankful for that treasure trove of data.  There were even page long obituaries, written in German, but of course.  (Several translated, but of course.)

It so happens that this is the only church of the four that Man and I have never personally visited.

Above:  St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Pigeon (Linkville), Huron County, Michigan
(Photo appeared on their history dated 1894-1994.)

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The Lihue Lutheran Church in Lihue,  Kauai, Hawaii is where Man's great-grandparents Karl and Charlotte Gehrke and their children worshiped during their years on the island.  Karl and Charlotte lived in Hawaii from 1888 to 1904.  They left Germany in 1888, worked at the sugar plantations and in 1904 moved on to Oakland, Alameda County, California.

The church allowed microfilming of their early church records and I have borrowed that film from the LDS FHC and made a LOT of copies.  I have well over 45 different events recorded from that one film alone.  There are baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths for this family recorded in this church's records.  For example here is Man's grandfather's confirmation record. (This is a two page record, first page on top, second page on the bottom.  I folded photocopies of the record so I could get the headings of each column to line up with the actual record.)

There are some terrific old photos and a bit of history on the church here.  The church also has a web site, while you are there, be sure to click on the tab for the history, which tells us in part:  "The long experience on board ship was reflected in the architecture of the church, as they carried out the symbolism of a ship as descriptive of the church. The floor slants like the deck of a ship; the balcony is the captain’s bridge; the ceiling is like the hull; the lights are ship lanterns; and the pulpit the forecastle."

Man and I had the opportunity to visit the island and the church while we vacationed there in 1993, just six months after Hurricane Iniki hit Kauai.  We were delighted by the interior of the church, you really feel that you may be on board a ship.

Above:  Lihue Lutheran Church, Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii
(Source of photo unknown, possibly a post card,
believed to be pre-Iniki.)
Behind the church is the church cemetery, where several of Man's extended family relatives are buried.

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The last church highlighted is also from Man's lineage.  This church is in Miseau, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.  There is some interesting town history for Miseau, here.  For those who are interested, I also found a map on this page, that shows where Miseau is located, you can enlarge the focus area for a closer look.

Man's second great-grandfather, Valentine Ruthig (Rudig) was born nearby and was baptized in this church in  1821.  From three rolls of film available via the LDS FHC I was able (with a TON of help from my friends) to take this Ruthig - Rudig - Ruediger lineage back at least 4 more generations and intersecting lines back 4 to 6 generations.

While I was in SLC at the research mecca in May/June of this year I took the very last day of research to review these films and try to capture digital copies of the records.  My prior copies of the records are of rather poor quality and digital is so wonderful.  This is the baptismal record of Valentine's great grandfather, born 1736 and baptized in this church.  Ya, not only is this written in German, it is written in the old German handwriting.  Whew!  I was unable in one day to obtain copies of all the ancestors, but the few I did get are precious and I just love how clear the images are.

In 1997 Man and I (in fact, our entire family) went to Germany to celebrate the wedding of our son and his German bride.  While we were there we were able to visit Miseau.  We did not have a lot of time, for a lot of reasons, much too complicated to go into here.  Suffice it to say, we somehow managed to find Miseau, even managed to stop at a fuel station and convey to the clerk in sign language that I needed a map of the area.  But, alas, the church building was locked when we arrived and we had no idea how to find anyone to assist us in gaining entry (all those that spoke German in our family were not with us on this adventure).  So, we took photos of the outside of this lovely church that was built in 1738 and called it a day.

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Four Lutheran Churches, uncounted documents for baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths.  Yes, I do so love researching Lutheran families!



Karen said...

Wow.. wow... wow... great post, Carol - I don't know where to start! Man's mother's baptismal certificate is such a treasure, as are the German church records. And the church at Miseau - just beautiful. What a shame you could not see the interior. Maybe next trip??? :)

Dorene from Ohio said...

What wonderful research!!! You did a terrific job on this post!

Greta Koehl said...

Ooo, I love the pictures of the church in Miseau. And it is wonderful to have ancestors who belonged to churches that were into keeping records!

Barbara Poole said...

I loved that you found information from Hawaii, Germany, Salt Lake City and your own state. Your husband is very lucky he has you as a researcher. Like Greta, I love your Miseau church photos. BTW, who is the young cute girl holding the baby?

MHD said...

Thank you for sharing! This is a beautiful post. I especially liked seeing your Lutheran church photos: I hope that someday I'll be able to find my ancestor's church in the "Old Country!"