Wednesday, October 26, 2016

SUCCESS!!! Finding My Immigrant Family in German Church Records! (Part 2)

Back to the story...

Two days ago, I was sitting in the library looking at a microfilm of German church records. Searching for records of my immigrant family, I hadn't found the parent's baptismal records. I also hadn't found baptismal records for the first five children. But, for the final child, the sixth child, I had finally found a record! Joyfully, I had found my German family in a village in present-day Germany.

I continued to scroll through the microfilm looking at baptisms, marriages, and deaths. In each section, I did not find anyone with a Peters or Bünger, the wife's maiden name, surnames. But, I continued to the last section: confirmations.

The Peters family belonged to an Evangelical church. The oldest child, Louisa, was 15 when the family emigrated to America. [The passenger list says she was 14.] I wasn't sure at what age she would have been confirmed.

Evangelisch Kirche [Evangelical Church] Bellin, Kirchenbuch [Church Book], 1650-1873, page 632, item 7, konfirmationen [confirmation] of  Louise Carol[ina] Charlotte Peters; FamilySearch mircofilm #68993.

But, as I scrolled through the pages, I found Louise's confirmation! And, on the very next page, I also found her younger brother, Eckard, who was confirmed the following year, less than 2 months before they sailed to America. They were both 14 years old when they were confirmed. [Louise is #7 in the above image; Eckard is #5 in the image below.]

Evangelisch Kirche [Evangelical Church] Bellin, Kirchenbuch [Church Book], 1650-1873, page 633, item 5, konfirmationen [confirmation] of  Eckard Carl Joh[ann] Ludw[ig] Peters; FamilySearch mircofilm #68993.

Now I had 3 records showing my Peters family lived in Bellin. The first record, Friechen's birth, was from July 1854. The confirmations of the oldest two children, Louise and Eckard, were from May 1858 and April 1859. Since I didn't find any records before July of 1854, and there was a child born in May of 1852, it appears the Peters family moved to Bellin between May 1852 and July 1854.

Evangelisch Kirche [Evangelical Church] Bellin, Kirchenbuch [Church Book], 1650-1873, page 632, item 7, konfirmationen [confirmation] of  Louise Carol[ina] Charlotte Peters; FamilySearch mircofilm. Cropped.  #68993.
Evangelisch Kirche [Evangelical Church] Bellin, Kirchenbuch [Church Book], 1650-1873, page 633, item 5, konfirmationen [confirmation] of  Eckard Carl Joh[ann] Ludw[ig] Peters; FamilySearch mircofilm #68993.


So, where did the Peters family come from? Where can I find more records of them in Germany?

The confirmation records provide what is hopefully a vital clue. The third column appears to indicate where each young person was born. [I need the column headings both transcribed and translated!] For both Louise and Eckard, this column says "Berg. feld." I believe this is likely a village name Bergfeld and, hopefully, where I will find more records for this family!  

My next three steps are to: 
  • transcribe and translate all three records (one baptismal and two confirmations)
  • locate Bergfeld
  • order church records for Bergfeld if they have been microfilmed
I have actually made significant progress on locating Bergfeld, and hope to share about that process next!

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