My happy dance had to be in the summer of 2002 when my husband and I went to Manhattan to research at the New York Genealogy & Biographical Society (NYGBS). Although we were members, we had never visited their library and didn't really know what to expect. We met some really nice librarians and patrons doing research and we had fun going back in all of the early directories where my husband's great great grandfather, Frederick Christmann, would appear. We knew he fought in the Civil War, and having already acquired his Pension File from NARA, we had some dates to use. We knew that he married 3 times and the dates of each marriage was recorded in this file. Frederick Christmas was born in Lahr, Germany and his wives were German.
The cool thing about this visit was that someone at the library told us that the St. Matthew's German Lutheran Church Records were on microfilm and that we should go through them to find the record of his marriages.
My husband sat at one microfilm machine and I at another and we tediously went through the rolls of film looking for Frederick. It sounds easier than it actually was. The church records were handwritten and in GERMAN!
My husband was the lucky winner, finding Frederick's second and third marriage entries. We never found his first marriage. I think we knew from the Civil War pension file that the 2nd and 3rd marriages were at St. Matthew's German Lutheran Church. We are not sure when or where the 1st marriage took place.
The records that we found provided the names of his parents, hometown and the names of each of his wives and their addressess! We also found out that his second wife, the woman my husband descends from, was a widow and we were later able to find some half-cousins from her first marriage! The marriage record for his 3rd wife, provided names for Frederick's parents.
We BOTH did the happy dance when my husband found this record and I will always remember that sense of accomplishment we both felt at the end of a very long day!
Here is the record for his second marriage. It is jam packed full of vital information. Thank goodness we had a friend in Germany to assist us with the transcription:
Frederick Christman and Eliza Eggersmann's marriage is the last one listed on this image. If you click on it, it will enlarge. They were married on August 7, 1864 in New York, New York.
Frederick Christmann, Wittwer [widower]; aus Lahr, Baden; 44 Jahr; 275 Mulberry Str; Schneider [tailor]; und Wittwe [widow] Elise Eggersmann; geb. [maiden name] Meier; aus Salzhausen, Hannover; 36 Jahr; Crosby Str. 35; Zeuge [witness]: David Mebold Mulberry Str. 277. Christian Zimmermann 275 Mulberry Str. (legitimiert durch C. Stollmann; Mott Str. 167) [legitimacy by C. Stollmann]
It was through his marriage to his 3rd wife that we discovered the name's of Frederick's parents. And we almost stopped when we found the record for the marriage that my husband descends from! What a mistake that would have been....
In this record, we found out his father's name was also Frederick and his mother was Salome Maaler.
This just goes to show you, you are never finished until you are finished...and that is sometimes hard to tell in genealogy!!!