Anna’s origins

According to family stories, my great-great-grandmother Anna Elisabeth Mohrmann emigrated in 1864 from Germany to Cleveland, Ohio. She was supposedly about 17 and came with other young women from her community to marry men who had preceded them to America. For some reason Anna and her intended husband did not marry. There has been a lot of speculation in my family about why the marriage did not occur. Maybe her betrothed was dead? Maybe he had married someone else? Maybe Anna called off the marriage?

In any case, soon after her arrival Anna met my great-great-grandfather Henry Dauber, a “perfect stranger,” and supposedly married him after three days. The family story ends with the following description, “He was 6’4″ and she was 4’10” and they were an odd looking but very happily married couple.”

My research into Anna discovered that she arrived in New York on 24 May 1864 with a group of other young women of similar age.[1] However, she was not 17, as my family’s story stated; instead, she was 22. Her final destination was Cleveland, as it was for three of the other women.

“He was 6’4″ and she was 4’10” and they were an odd looking but very happily married couple.”

Anna Elisabeth Mohrmann married Henry Dauber in Cleveland on 28 December 1864.[2]  For more on Henry’s background, see my previous post here. Henry was a Civil War veteran and was mustered out in New York City on 13 June 1864.[3] Family stories stated that after his discharge he went west looking for work; he liked Cleveland, so he stayed. As far as I have been able to determine, Henry had no previous connections to Cleveland. This means the family story that Anna and Henry were strangers could be true. I am not sure if they married within three days of meeting, but they did marry within six months of Henry’s arrival in Cleveland.

Anna and Henry went on to have three children and lived the rest of their lives in Cleveland. Anna died there on 15 July 1907.[4] She led a genealogically uneventful life and left few records.

For years Anna has been one of my brick walls, as I could find no record that named her parents or a place in Germany where she was born. The closest I could get was the German state of Hesse (formally Hesse Cassel). This was found on the 1864 passenger list and on her entry on the 1870 census.[5]

However, recently I had a breakthrough in my research on Anna. Her civil marriage stated she was married by the Reverend H.C. Schwan, the minister of the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cleveland.[6] Church records are an important genealogical resource. This is especially true for German church records, which may list parent names and a birthplace. I very much wanted a copy of Anna’s church marriage record but was repeatedly unsuccessful in tracking it down. Then came news of the publication of a new volume of German Immigrants in American Church Records. I was delighted to learn one of the most recent volumes contained transcribed records for the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cleveland!

Once I had my hands on this book, I learned that Anna Elisabeth Mohrmann was born in Raboldshausen, Hessen-Nassau (now part of the German state of Hesse).[7] No parent names were given, but now I had a location in Germany I could search for records.

Consulting Meyers Gazetteer, I learned that Raboldshausen had a Protestant parish church.[8] These records I then discovered were available on the German church record portal Archion. Searching Raboldshausen’s church records I discovered that Anna Elisabeth Mohrmann was born on 26 November 1841 and was the daughter of Jakob Mohrmann, linen weaver, and his wife Anna Margaretha (Paul) Mohrmann.[9]

I also found two further confirmations that I was in the right place. Four of the young women traveling with Anna in 1864 also appeared in Raboldshausen church records. Anna and these four women were also named in a commemorative publication by the village of Raboldshausen. In 1999 the village celebrated its 775th anniversary and published the names of auswanderer (emigrants) who left Raboldshausen between 1854 and 1873. In 1864 five women with the occupation of dienstmagd (maid) were named. They were Catherina Constantin, Maria Gundlach, Catharina Waldschmidt, Anna Elisabeth Wetzel, and Anna Elisabeth Mohrmann,[10] the very same names that appeared on the 1864 passenger list.

Notes

[1] “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV33-LXYZ : 20 February 2021), Anna Elis Mohrmann, 1864.

[2] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XD2D-Z3V : 8 March 2021), Henry Dauber and Anna Mohrmann, 28 December 1864.

[3] “U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865,” database, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1555/), Heinrich Dauber, enlistment date 6 June 1861.

[4] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F6XS-24W : 1 March 2021), Anna E. Dauber, 15 July 1907.

[5] “United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M6KL-4Z6 : 29 May 2021), Henry Dower household.

[6] “Encyclopedia of Cleveland History,” database Case Western Reserve University (https://case.edu/ech/articles/z/zion-evangelical-lutheran-church), Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.

[7] Roger P. Minert, editor, German Immigrants in American Church Records, Volume 28: Northeast Ohio Protestant (Orting, Wash.: Family Roots Publishing, 2019), 249.

[8] Meyers Gazetteer (https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/20534024), Raboldshausen, Hessen-Nassau.

[9] Raboldshausen Taufbuch (baptism register) 1830-1885, page 66, no. 297, Anna Elisabeth Mohrmann, 26 November 1841; Archion (https://www.archion.de/en/browse/) > Kurhessen-Waldeck: Landeskirchliches Archiv Kassel > Homberg > Raboldshausen > Tauf 1830-1885 > image 786; permalink http://www.archion.de/p/3317416b18/.

[10] Festausschuss zur Vorbereitung der 775-Jahrfeier Raboldshausen, Hrsg., 775 Jahre Raboldshausen, 1224-1999 (Raboldshausen, 1999), 107; http://www.raboldshausen.net/.

About Pam Holland

Pam is a certificate holder from the Boston University Genealogical Research program and has researched family history for over 14 years. She has attended numerous genealogical institutes, including Samford University Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) and Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). She also has a B.A. from the College of Wooster and a M.S. from Northeastern University. Her areas of interest include New England, New York (both city and state), Ireland, Germany, Social History, and DNA.

13 thoughts on “Anna’s origins

  1. Congratulations, Pam, on this great brick-wall breakthrough! Such discoveries are so gratifying. Your post highlights both the helpfulness and limits of family lore and the expanding possibilities for breakthroughs as more records are digitized (especially overseas).

  2. Oh, if only I could find a clue like that for my German lines!! “Germany” or rarely “Prussia” is the closest I’ve come. And the two locations were not consistent.

  3. Fascinating, thank you for the search techniques. I have been looking for the GEORG, WEIS, FREIND, BESTINE, HEMEL and MORGENWECK families for some time. They were also Protestants and from the villages of Frielendorf, Todenhausen and Allendorf only 20+ kilometers from Raboldshausen. They arrived in the 1850s and settled in the Catskills.

  4. Well done! I love these mysteries solved. I have many as well the majority have been resolved in the 50 years since I began! A few brick walls remain in New Jersey. Where all genealogies go to die lol.

  5. This is a fine research story, Pam.
    One of the things I love about the German website Archion is that there is a Forum for asking questions. It is often difficult to read the old German script, especially for people who know only a little German language. Old spellings of place names and personal names can be tricky to decipher. In the forum section “Lesehilfen” (reading aids), one can post a link to a record and ask a question about what it says. When I’ve done this, I’ve typically gotten a helpful and informative reply very quickly.

      1. You’re welcome, Pam. In Archion, to get the url link, click on the chain symbol above the image (“permalink”). If you have already zoomed in on the specific record and you check the box for “Zoomstufe & Bildbereich einschließen” (“Include zoomlevel & image-section”), the permalink will go to the exact record of interest in the image.

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