Another newspaper relevant to the area of Michigan’s Franconian settlements has been recently digitized. The Tuscola County Advertiser is now available on-line, free, spanning the years 1868-1943. The digitization project is sponsored by the Caro (Michigan) Area District Library. Along with the Tuscola County Advertiser, they have also digitized many years of Caro High School yearbooks from 1922-2006. The newspaper and yearbook collection can be searched here.
German government-sponsored newspapers often carried notices of intention to emigrate. These notices include the name of the emigrant, his or her place of residency, and occupation or status. Sometimes they contain additional information on the emigrant’s family. More and more German newspapers are being digitized and placed online.
This notice from 1845 contains the names and additional information on several of the original settlers of Frankenmuth, Michigan who came from Roßtall, Bavaria. It lists Martin Haspel, master weaver, with his wife and one child; Johann List, single journeyman carpenter; Johann Leonhard Bernthal (my second great-grandfather), single journeyman weaver; Johann Bierlein, single tenant farmer’s son; Kunigunda Bernthal, single wagon-maker’s daughter; and Anna Margaretha Walther, single ropemaker’s daughter.
Another notice from 1847 includes the family of Johann Michael Stern (my third great-grandfather). It provides his residency as Brombach. It also provides the full name of his wife, including her maiden name. It states that Johann Michael was a Gütler, or smallholder/farmer, and that he was emigrating with his wife and four children.
This notice for the Georg Gugel family who immigrated to Frankenmuth in 1859 is particularly valuable as it lists the full names of all of his children who are emigrating, as well as their birthdates.
Several websites include some of these newspapers where the emigration notices can be found including Google Books, Internet Archive, and Bavarica for papers specifically from Bavaria, Germany. These government-sponsored newspapers are usually titled “Intelligenzblatt” or “Amtsblatt.” Searching for one of these titles plus a locality (such as “Mittelfranken”) will return several results. Searching with the surname of interest may or may not return results; optical character recognition (OCR) is not perfect, and in my experience, even less-so with the Fraktur font used in these publications.
A helpful and amazing finding-aid for emigration notices published in newspapers in Mittelfranken, or Central Franconia, Bavaria from 1837-1874 was produced by the City of Gunzenhausen, Germany. Staff of the Frankenmuth Historical Association translated and compiled the information they provided. The finding-aid is published on the Saginaw (Michigan) Genealogy Society, Inc.’s website. This index includes not only immigrants to Frankenmuth and the surrounding Franconian colonies but throughout North America. Included in the index are the emigrant’s name, status and/or occupation, place of residency in Bavaria, North American destination when known, possible additional information on the emigrant’s birth or family, and, importantly, a reference to the newspaper where the notice can be found.
German newspapers are a great source of information on one’s ancestor’s immigration to North America, particularly when ships’ manifests can not be located or are extant. Emigration notices may hold the key to the ancestor’s village or town of origin, as well.
1. Königlich Bayerisches Intelligenzblatt für Mittelfranken: 1845 (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1845), 26 February 1845, cols. 361 & 62, item no. 8; digital images, Google Books (https://books.google.com : accessed 13 February 2016).
2. Königlich Bayerisches Intelligenzblatt für Mittelfranken (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1847), 24 February 1847, cols. 331 & 32, item no. 8; digital images, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Bavarica (http://bavarica.digitale-sammlungen.de : accessed 13 February 2016).
3. Königlich Bayerisches Kreis-Amtsblatte von Mittelfranken 1859 (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1859), no. 4, 15 January 1859, cols. 60 & 61, item no. 5; digital images, Bayerische StattsBibliothek, Bavarica (http://bavarica.digitale-sammlungen.de : accessed 17 February 2016).
If you’re as anxious to search for your German ancestors in original German records as I am, you will want to check out Archion. Archion is a relatively new German subscription website that provides digital images of church books (records of baptisms, marriages, burials, etc.) from Germany. I’m a recent subscriber, and it is keeping me busy!
Archion’s holdings are extensive but by no means comprehensive. At this time it appears only Evangelisch (Protestant) records are available. Many of their church book images are not available elsewhere outside the holding institution, although I have noticed that some had already been made available on microfilm via FamilySearch. FrankenGen readers may be interested to know that the site does include some holdings from the Mittelfranken region of Bavaria, from where many of the settlers of the Saginaw Valley’s Franconian colonies emigrated. Records from Gunzenhausen are offered, for example.
The website is in German, of course; however, an English translation is available for parts of the site. The majority of records available are written in German Gothic script. There is no digitized index for the records. Images of hand-written indexes created by the record-keepers are available for some parishes. It will likely take some persistence for users to find their desired records.
Archion is easy to navigate, and the website allows viewers without a subscription to see what parishes have records available. Record sets highlighted in green are available to search; records highlighted in white have not been digitized.
The current subscription cost for individual users is 19,90Euros (currently about 22.00USD) for a month’s access including up to 50 image downloads, or 178,80Euros (currently about 200.00USD) for a year’s access including up to 600 downloads.
I’m very excited about my family history discoveries via Archion, and I hope to share some of them on FrankenGen soon.
If you’re looking to hone your German genealogical research skills, it may be worth your while to check out this year’s offerings at the Ohio Genealogical Society’s annual conference. This year’s theme is “Tracking Your Ancestors.” The conference will take place April 28-30 at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. The conference includes six simultaneous lecture tracks to choose from, including an all workshop track, as well as an exhibit hall and several banquets and social events. And it’s located at a pretty sweet indoor water park.
I have attended the OGS conference twice, and both times found there to be an impressive variety lectures and nationally recognized speakers. There is no such equivalent conference offered in Michigan, so it’s a great opportunity for those of you who live in that state to attend a large genealogical conference nearby. Presumably, most of my readers are interested in German and German-American research. This year’s conference is rich in these offerings. The following lectures and workshop have a German research focus:
- Elizabeth L. Plummer: German Resources at the Ohio History Connection.
Find out what the Ohio History Connection’s archives/libraries have to offer that will help you with your German family history research.
- Teresa McMillin: So, You’ve Found Your German Town of Origin, Now What?
If you’ve found the name of your ancestor’s German town of origin but are new to researching in German records, this will get you started.
- Teresa McMillin: He Took Her Name: Understanding German Farm Names.
In certain areas of Germany, a man had to change his surname to inherit a farm. Learn about this custom and its impact on research.
- Michael Lacopo: German Genealogy on the Internet: Beyond the Basics.
Learn about online sites that all German-American genealogists should be aware of. There will be a strong concentration on lesser-used German sites.
- Sharon MacInnes: Desperation, Displacement, Determination, and Deuteronomy: Colonial Germans.
Leaving one’s home behind was a momentous decision. Why did they leave? Why did they come here? How? What records did they leave?
- Jenni Salamon: From Deutschland to Ohio: German Newspapers at the Ohio History Connection.
Learn about the German-language newspapers at the Ohio History Connection and how you can access the vast amounts of family history information they hold.
- Teresa McMillin: Read the Tabloids: German Church Records.
German church records sometimes deliver extra information, like modern tabloids. This talk is an entertaining learning experience, providing insights into our ancestors societies.
- James M. Beidler: German Handwritten Script and Fraktur Font. (Workshop/3 hours/additional fee).
This skills workshop teaches vocabulary and formats so participants can read tombstones and church records of German-speaking people. Included is practice writing and deciphering.
- Robert Rau: Reading German Church and Civil Records.
This presentation will discuss some of the aspects of old German handwriting, and give many examples of church and civil records used in studying German ancestry.
- James M. Beidler: Online German Church Registers, Duplicates and Substitutes.
Many German church records are coming online. Learn whether you’re looking at originals, duplicates or extracts from these records and why you should know the differences.
- Robert Rau: Eissfeller Vorfahren – Searching for Gertrud Eissfeller and her Ancestors.
This presentation is a case study of the search for a distant ancestor and extending her lines back three more generations in a small village in Hessen.
- Teresa McMillin: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Hanover Military Records.
Learn about the Kingdom of Hanover’s military records available to researchers in this country. This collection spans 1514-1866 and includes nineteenth century conscription lists.
All session descriptions are taken from the conference brochure. More information is available on the OGS Conference website, including the full conference brochure.
Happy New Year!
Following are FrankenGen’s most popular posts from 2015:
The post I wish more people had viewed is:
Probably my favorite posts of the year are:
Thanks for reading FrankenGen. Please share this blog with your friends and family. More content is planned for 2016. I look forward to reading your comments and listening to your suggestions!
Recently, I received a message from a woman inquiring about a potential DNA match with her mother. We had both tested through AncestryDNA and were a high confidence match. A couple of weeks ago, my potential cousin and I connected via the telephone and discovered our shared ancestry through the Hufnagel line.
Three years ago, I began my Hufnagel research only knowing the name, birth and dates of my great-great grandmother Anna Elisabeth Hufnagel (1855-1942) who had married George Michael Stern. This information had been recorded on a slip of paper by my grandmother which she had presumably written for my father. Beyond that, I had no knowledge of her or her family. The civil marriage record for the couple indicated Elisabeth Hufnagel was born in Germany and living in Bay City, Bay County, Michigan at the time of her marriage to my great-great grandfather on 15 July 1877. This led me to search for her family origins which in turn led me to other Hufnagels in Bay and Saginaw Counties.
The Hufnagel surname was not particularly common in the Saginaw Valley and a variety of census, marriage, death, church, newspaper, probate and other records indicated the following additional Hufnagels born in Germany and residing in either Saginaw or Bay Counties, Michigan:
- J. Michael Hufnagel (1842-1887)
- George Adam Hufnagel (1851-1920)
- Anna Maria (Hufnagel) Schreiner (1857-1922)
- Johann L. Hufnagel (1860—1896)
Given their common surname, birthplaces of Germany, and proximity of settlement in the Saginaw Valley, it seemed likely they were all related. Multiple on-line family trees had them all listed as siblings, although none had adequate sources supporting this. Through the various records mentioned above, I found connections as siblings for George Adam, Anna Elisabeth, Anna Maria, and Johann L. No records indicating J. Michael Hufnagel’s relationship to any of the other Hufnagels or their common parents were located.
A church record for Anna Maria (Hufnagel) Schreiner indicated her birthplace was Windsbach, Baiern. This led to a search for records from the town of Windsbach, Bavaria. This then led to the discovery of The Brenner Collection of family group sheets extracted from parish records in and near the district of Ansbach, Mittelfranken, Bavaria. These records include Windsbach parish. The Family History Library (Salt Lake City, Utah) holds microfilms, 764 rolls to be exact, of the Brenner Collection. I ordered a film potentially containing records for my Hufnagels of interest.
A family group sheet from the collection confirmed the parentage, birth dates and places for the Hufnagels I had already identified as siblings:
Children of Gg Andreas Hufnagel and Eva Els Böhm married 26 November 1848 in Windsbach:
- Georg Adam, b. 20 December 1851, Schwalbenmuehle [bei Windsbach]
- Anna Elisabeth, b. 29 August 1855, Schwalbenmuehle
- Anna Maria, b. 8 October 1857, Schwalbenmuehle
- Johann Adam (aka Johann L.), b. 2 June 1860, Schwalbenmuehle 
Schwalbenmuehle lies to the east of Windsbach. It translates as “swallows mill.” The record lists Gg Andreas as a “Mühlgutsbesiter,” a mill landowner. The record also listed these additional children of the couple:
- Anna Elisabeth, b. 28 August 1849, Windsbach; d. 1 January 1850, Windsbach
- Georg Michael, b. 21 October 1850 Windsbach; d. 15 November 1853, Windsbach
- Margareta Barbara, b. 25 March 1853, Windsbach 
J. Michael Hufnagel, born 1842, about six years before Georg Andreas Hufnagel and his wife were married, was not a part of this record. Still theorizing he must be a relation, I continued to search the Brenner Collection. Another family group record potentially identified his birth:
Child of Gg. Andr. [Georg Andreas] Hufnagel and M. Barb. [Maria Barbara] Böhm married 4 June 1838 in Windsbach:
- Johann Mich. [Michael], b. 11 January 1842, Windsbach 
This couple also had several other children between 1839 and 1846.
Based on his proximity in time and location to the other Windsbach area Hufnagels in the Saginaw Valley, this Brenner Collection record is probably the correct record for J. Michael Hufnagel of Bay County, Michigan. This was the only record from the Windsbach area that proved to be a possibility for him.
The Brenner Collection is a derivative source and the information provided by the records is out of context and error-prone, thus making it difficult to ascertain the definitive connection of Johann Michael Hufnagel of Windsbach to the Hufnagels of Bay County, Michigan and Frankenmuth, Saginaw County, Michigan; however, I offer this hypothesis:
There is not enough information from both family group records cited to state that the father Georg Andreas Hufnagel is certainly the same man. There is no death recorded for Maria Barbara (Böhm) Hufnagel, but her last children were twins born 12 May 1846. The other family group record for a Georg Andreas Hufnagel shows his marriage to have taken place on 26 November 1848. It is possible that the Georg Andreas Hufnagel of both family group records is the same man if his first wife died sometime between the birth of their twins and his potential second marriage. Moreover, there do not seem to be records for Hufnagels in Windsbach prior to the 1838 marriage of Georg Andreas, lessening the likelihood that there were several Hufnagel families residing there. This would make Johann Michael Hufnagel a half-sibling to the other Hufnagels of Bay County and Frankenmuth, Michigan; however, the original church records of Windsbach should be examined in context to possibly prove this. American church records for J. Michael Hufnagel have not yet been located; they may provide further insight into his identity.
Since originally examining The Brenner Collection on microfilm, I found that Ancestry.com has recently digitized the collection as “Ansbach, Germany, Lutheran Parish Register Extracts, 1550-1920.” The collection is also still available on microfilm from the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
1. “Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-1952,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 26 August 2015), Anna E Stern, 29 November 1942; citing Michigan Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing.
2. Bay County, Michigan, Marriage Registers, 1877, p. 58, no. 1594, George Michael Stern-Elisabeth Hufnagle [sic]; digital image, “Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 26 August 2015); citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.
3. History of Bay County, Michigan With Illustrations And Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men And Pioneers (Chicago: H. R. Page, 1883), 203.
Bay County, Michigan, Death Registers, 1887, f. 80, no. 386, Mike Hufnagel; digital image, “Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org : accessed 26 August 2015); citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.
Bay County, Michigan, probate case file no. 2172, J. Michael Hufnagel (1888); “Michigan Probate Records, 1797-1973,” digital images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 7 August 2015).
4. “Death Records, 1897-1920,” Michigan History Foundation, Seeking Michigan (http://seekingmichigan.org : accessed 30 August 2013), death certificate image, Bay County, no. 164 (stamped), George Adam Hufnagel, 8 September 1920; citing Michigan Department of State, Division of Vital Statistics.
5. “Death Records, 1921-1947,” Michigan History Foundation, Seeking Michigan (http://seekingmichigan.org : accessed 26 August 2015), death certificate image, Saginaw County, no. 73 736 (stamped), Anna Maria Schreiner, 31 December 1922; citing Michigan Department of State, Division of Vital Statistics.
6. Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 26 August 2015), memorial 116845299, Johann L. Hufnagel (1860-1896), Fremont Cemetery, Bay County, Michigan; a photograph by FELIX 5574 provides a legible image of the inscribed data including full birth and death dates.
7. Elaine Huber, translator, “St. Lorenz Lutheran Church (Frankenmuth, Michigan), Book II: Baptisms (1857-1885),” (typescript, 1995, St. Lorenz Lutheran Church Offices, Frankenmuth), p. 253, Schreiner no. 298.
8. 1884 Michigan state census, Bay County, Monitor Township, population schedule, p. 20, lines 9-12 , household of Adam Hufnagel; digital images, “Michigan State Census, 1884-1894,” Michigan History Foundation, Seeking Michigan (http://seekingmichigan.org : accessed 30 August 2013).
Bay County, Michigan, Marriage Registers, 1895, f. 174, no. 4800, John Hufnatel [sic]-Mary M. Kraft; digital image, “Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 27 August 2015); citing Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing.
“Death Records, 1897-1920,” death certificate image, Bay County, no. 164 (stamped), George Adam Hufnagel (1920).
“Obituary,” obituary for G. A. Hufnagel, The Bay City (Michigan) Times Tribune, Friday, 10 September 1920; digital images, GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 09 November 2013).
“Death Records, 1921-1947,” death certificate image, Saginaw County, no. 73 736 (stamped), Anna Maria Schreiner (1922).
“Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-1952,” database, Anna E Stern (1942).
9. Tobias Brenner, compiler, “The Brenner Collection,” type- and manuscripts, n.d., family group record for Gg Andreas Hufnagel and Eva Els Böhm, married 26 November 1848; FHL microfilm 541,585. The birth date for Johann Adam matches that of tombstone record for Johann L. (see reference note no. 6).
12. Tobias Brenner, compiler, “The Brenner Collection,” type- and manuscripts, n.d., family group record for Gg Andr. Hufnagel and M. Barb. Böhm, married 4 June 1838; FHL microfilm 541,585.
15. Brenner, “The Brenner Collection,” Gg Andreas Hufnagel and Eva Els Böhm (1848).
The Concordia Historical Institute (CHI) is housed in Saint Louis, Missouri on the campus of Concordia Seminary. CHI should be on the radar for those researching ancestors in the Saginaw Valley’s Franconian settlements or other “German Lutheran” ancestors located throughout the United States. Why? CHI serves as the Department of Archives and History for The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). All of the Franconian settlements’ original Lutheran churches were early members of this denominational body which was originally known as the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States. Frankenmuth’s St. Lorenz Lutheran Church was one of the charter congregations when the synod formed in 1847.
CHI’s facilities include collections storage, a gallery, and a reading room for researchers. It maintains biographical records researched by staff and files on past and present pastors, teachers, missionaries and others who have served in the LCMS. Additional items of interest to genealogical researchers include various church records and minutes, copies of church sacramental records, photographs, and personal papers of men and women who served in the church. Even if you don’t have a Lutheran pastor or teacher in your genealogy, you may find mention of them in church records or a minister’s papers who served their congregations.
Concordia Historical Institute maintains a website with finding aids, contact and membership information. Membership in CHI includes access to its reading room, discounts on research services and receipt of its publications: the Historical Footnotes newsletter and the venerable Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly (CHIQ). Both the Historical Footnotes newsletter and the CHIQ feature articles on Lutheran history. These have not infrequently included pieces containing information on Frankenmuth and the surrounding Franconian settlements. Sporadic back issues of Historical Footnotes are available on the CHI website.
I have made two research trips to CHI in the past three years, most recently in May. Each visit has turned up new and interesting and information to add to my family tree or flesh out the biographies of my ancestors and collateral relations. Examples of what I have found include biographical records, newspaper articles, photographs, birth and baptismal records, church minutes mentioning my ancestors and original letters written by long-deceased relations. Their most rewarding collection for me has been my maternal grandfather’s hand-written sermons spanning his career in the ministry. Sermons of exceptional interest include confirmations and marriages of relations, church milestones and celebrations, and funerals of his parishioners and friends. The funeral sermons also fascinatingly spanned the deaths of veterans and active-duty servicemen from America’s three major wars: the Civil War, World War I and World War II.
I never knew my mother’s father; he had died ten years before my birth. Our family was unaware that these papers were housed at CHI or even still in existence. Now, thanks to the preservation efforts of the Concordia Historical Institute, I have begun to know my grandfather.