Friday, May 31, 2019

An explosion of siblings

One of the best things about coming to genealogy conferences is the inspiration I get in working on my own family history. I love learning how to do my research job better, but I also have a huge interest in further expanding my own family tree as far and wide as I can. In between working on learning the What Are The Odds? tool better, I managed to sneak in some time to look for some additional children for a few families on my Joseph side.

What got me going on that side was an email response from a match of my grandpa Fred Gibson, who seems to be a distant relative of my Joseph side from way back in Poland, where my Josephs were originally from. As I was looking at those ancestors, I came to the families of Justine Witt and Ludwig Heinrich Joseph, who were both the only children of their parents that I knew of. Since only children were pretty rare in those days, I've wondered for years whether I could find records for siblings of either of them. Today I finally took the plunge and dug into those old Polish records and started looking.

It's been a couple years since I've been on the site, but I was able to get the hang of it again pretty quickly, even with it being in Polish (I realized later there was an option to view the site in English, but where's the fun in that?). I had already found my ancestor, Justine Karolina Witt, born in 1842 in Reischewo, and wanted to see if she had any siblings in these records. I poked around until I found the index, and there actually quite a number of Witts born in this area around the same time. Some of them turned out to be from other fathers (possibly brothers or other relatives of Justine's father Jacob). But eventually, I was able to identify six siblings for Justine - all sisters!! Justine turned out to be the second oldest of the girls. Her older sister was Luiza Kataryna (maybe Louisa Katharina in German?), with younger sisters Anna Karolina, Eufrozyna, Wilhelmina, Karolina, and Zuzanna Krystyna (Susanna Christine maybe?). Imagine Jacob and Anna (Joseph) Witt, raising seven girls all in one little house - yikes!The repeated use of the name Karolina makes me think it was the name of either Jacob or Anna's mother. Death records for this area aren't available until 1870, so I don't know how many of these girls lived to adulthood. I'd like to hope that all of them did. It does make me a little sad thinking of Justine leaving such a large family behind when she moved to Volhynia with her husband in the 1860s, and even further away to Canada in the 1890s.

Louiza Kataryna Witt birth record.

I didn't have quite as much luck for Ludwig's family. I did find a birth record for his brother Michael, who I knew about but didn't have a birth record for previously, as well as one additional brother, Karol Jakob (probably Carl Jacob) Joseph, born in 1844. So their parents, Christian and Euphrosine (Freder) Joseph had at least three boys. Ludwig and Michael eventually wound up in Canada. I wonder what happened to Carl?

Carl Jacob Joseph birth record
The only downside to finding all these records is, when I went to review them later, I found my attempt at saving them only saved what was visible on the screen at the time, not the entire image. >:( Now I have to go back in and save them all over again. At least I know where to look now!

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