How appropriate—it’s been four years to the day that I last wrote about any progress on the case of my second great-grandfather, Emil Müller. Sadly, it’s taken about that long to make much progress, but I have made some major breakthroughs that I thought I’d share.
Last March, Archives.com released a collection of Evangelical Lutheran Church of America records. To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement, as I knew I wanted to get my hands on those records, knowing the Müller family attended a church in Chicago that eventually became a part of the ELCA (I also knew that the records were a part of the ELCA archives). Armed with a seven-day trial, I managed to find some records. No real breakthroughs at that point, although I uncovered a possible second marriage for Emil (which was confirmed).
Several months passed, and by August, I decided to set aside some time to do more work on this family by going though all the church records. So I signed up for a one-month subscription to Archives.com and got to work. I knew the family had been associated with the church through at least three generations (now I know it is actually four), which meant a lot of record browsing. I went through nearly 100 years of baptisms, marriages, and deaths. I looked at each entry, concerning myself not only with the Müller surname (as either primary participants or witnesses) but the surnames of witnesses I found in Müller events.
Cluster genealogy is a wonderful thing, and to make a very long story short, by late October, I was able to give Emil a mother and a brother. Additionally, I learned the whole identity of his mother, thereby giving Emil an uncle and some first cousins.
Fortunately, back in September 2012, I had identified a potential area in Prussia where Emil came from. I had it narrowed down to Bromberg, Posen, Prussia. Bromberg is a city, and “county” and a “state” so who knew what would come of this information. Another fortunate find was a village name listed in one of his mother’s church records. The village of Maximilanowo, situated in Bromberg Kreis (county) suggested that Emil was probably from this smaller village.
Anyway, back in October 2013, I actually found an index entry for him in the Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 database at FamilySearch. No doubt it was him, and I also found an entry for his brother and his mother. I couldn’t wait until January to walk into the Family History Library and retrieve the records.
I don’t know when this family got so easy! Really, it didn’t, or at least it wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t taken the time to comb through all those church records using the cluster genealogy technique. And while I did obtain those baptism records and more, I also uncovered some additional information that I was not expecting, but that’s a story for another time. In the meantime, here are the three baptism records I obtained.
Emil August Müller Baptism Record
Source: Evangelishcen Gemeine zu Bromberg [Evangelical Congregation of Bromberg] (Bromberg, Bromberg, Posen, Prussia), “Taufen [Baptisms], 1862-1864,” entry no. 1310, p. 486, baptism of Emil August Müller (1863); FHL microfilm 245,344.
Entry no. 1310 / born 15 December 1863 / Legitimate male / born in Bromberg / baptized 27 December 1863 / given name, Emil August / Pastor Romberg / father, Friedrich Müller / mother, Maria Wojan / parents both of the Evangelical faith / father’s occupation, tailor / witnesses: Gottlieb Wojan, a potter, and Albertina[?] Thiede, a single female.
Eduard Friedrich Müller Baptism Record
Source: Evangelishcen Gemeine zu Bromberg [Evangelical Congregation of Bromberg] (Bromberg, Bromberg, Posen, Prussia), “Taufen [Baptisms], 1859-1861,” entry no. 929, p. 405, baptism of Eduard Friedrich Müller (1860); FHL microfilm 245,343.
Entry no. 929 / born 4 October 1860 / Legitimate male / born in Bromberg / baptized 14 October 1860 / given name, Eduard Friedrich / Pastor Romberg / father, Friendrich Müller / mother, Maria Wojan / parents both of the Evangelical faith / father’s occupation, tailor / witnesses: Ottilie Michaeles[?], a single female, and Johann Lang, [occupation ?].
Maria Petronella Wojahn Baptism Record
Source: Evangelishcen Gemeine zu Bromberg [Evangelical Congregation of Bromberg] (Bromberg, Bromberg, Posen, Prussia), “Taufen [Baptisms], 1837-1841,” entry no. 216, p. 41, baptism of Maria Petronella Wojahn (1837); FHL microfilm 245,338.
Entry no. 215 / born 30 April 1837 / Legitimate female / born in Maximilanowo / baptized 15 May 1837 / given name, Maria Petronella / Pastor [?] / father, Johann Wojahn / mother, Elisabeth Niemann / parents both of the Evangelical faith / father’s occupation, [?] / witnesses: Michael Wichmann[?], [occupation ?]; Christian Potratz, ditto; Regine Ristau, [?], Maria Niemann, ditto.