Monday, May 25, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Anna Steichen nee Melzer

Close-up of Anna Steichen nee Melzer's tombstone*
Information can be wrong. It just can and if you obsess over it then it can really give you a headache. You can see in the tombstone for Anna Steichen nee Melzer that she was born on September 1, 1840 and died on April 8, 1900. The tombstone is in German, but even if you don't understand German you  should be able to figure it out. They just put the day of the month before the month and usually there is a period after the day is how they make it an ordinal number (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc). The tombstone doesn't show the period. Some do some don't.

So what's wrong with the tombstone? Possibly nothing, but the information on the tombstone is slightly different from her death certificate. I had pulled her death certificate during one of my trips to the Wisconsin Historical Society. I discovered it in my Melzer file when I started dedicating time to this line in an effort to see if my Katherine Boegel nee Melzer is a child of Wenzel Melzer and Ursula Christof. I haven't made that possible connection yet, but I had pulled this certificate because when I did a search for Melzers in their search engine I got a hit on Anna Steichen...or rather Anna Steigen.

Anna Steichen nee Melzer tombstone*
That's one of the differences between the tombstone and the certificate. The "g" changing to a "ch" isn't a linguistic reach. Seeing the change when comparing the certificate and tombstone can help to soothe a genealogist that may be having a difficult time making the jump and acknowledging that this is the same person. The next difference between these two sources can be a little harder to swallow for some researchers though.

The death certificate lists her date of birth as October 15, 1840 in Germany. The tombstone has September 1st. That's a month and a half of a difference. So some researchers might freak out and think that this is a different person. It's not though. You can see that her death on the certificate is April 8, 1900 and that matches the tombstone. So why is the date of birth off? You need to remember that both the death certificate and the tombstone are not primary sources of information. They are created based on the information submitted to the county in the case of the certificate and the information submitted to the person/company that made the tombstone. The information could have been written down incorrectly or the person submitting it could have just been not thinking clearly. They are grieving after all. This death certificate also doesn't tell you who is submitting the information. It most likely was a family member, but you don't know who. I don't have a birth certificate or baptismal record for Anna, but I'd lean toward the information on the tombstone being more accurate. I know if a family member's dates or name came back wrong on the tombstone I'd be more likely to tell them to go fix it. Still, either could be correct or both could be wrong. It still doesn't change the fact that this is the correct record.

All of those details while important weren't the focus of my retrieving this record. This record shows that Anna is a child of Wenzel Melzer and Ursula Christof (photo bottom left). Anna is also buried in St. Kilian's Cemetery (photo bottom right) with Joseph who is believed to be a child of Wenzel and Ursula and Katherine Boegel nee Melzer who may be a child of Wenzel and Ursula. Joseph's obituary doesn't name Anna or Katherine or his parents. That made it incredibly unhelpful in attempting to link my Melzer line with his. I don't know if Anna's obituary will show her siblings. She died in 1900 so she may not even have a very detailed obituary in the newspaper, but now that I know who her parents were and know when she died I can add that to my to-do list, AKA my research calendar, and see if it takes me anywhere.

(*Thank you to John Uhlman who gave permission for me to use the photos from his FindAGrave memorial for Anna Steichen nee Melzer!)

Here you can see that she died in Wayne, Washington
County, Wisconsin and is buried in St. Kilian's
You can see Anna's name, her parents' names,
her DOB and death, and husband's

Honoring a Friend

What a wonderful picture! SFC Sandoval went to Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to a mutual friend, colleague, and mentor of our, CSM Christopher Alan Raines. Chris was my First Sergeant and Command Sergeant Major when I was a Drill Sergeant at the Defense Language Institute and he knew my hubby (a retired First Sergeant) back when they were both young military pups. Thank you for doing this, Rico.