More Isserstedts

Our Ancestry ThruLines tree for Isserstedt, (I removed more recent names from the chart).

I can hear the question now — “Why, or what, am I looking at?” Well, this is the tree that showed up in Dad’s Isserstedt ThruLines recently. And this ThruLine is telling me that we have a DNA match with a descendant of Fredrick Isserstedt’s Uncle Johann Christian Isserstedt (I know his name because I did a little research). This Johann Christian had a daughter Johanna, she married Heinrich Ernst Koch and so the line continues through their son Karl all the way down to our present DNA match.

Here is Johanna’s marriage as noted in the church record:

Number 21 in the list is Johanna Maria Dorthea Isserstedt’s marriage record to Heinrich Ernst Koch. It lists her father Johann Christian Isserstedt and her mother, Elizabeth Moltzer.

For me this is cool, because it might help with finessing the Isserstedt line with German church records that have been digitized, and are available to research at Ancestry, and the Family History Library.

This is also a useful match, because if I can find out their chromosome location it will tell me which part of our Isserstedt/Sachs line is the Isserstedt segment.

Even all that aside, it is kinda cool that we are getting matches with some of our recent German immigrant lines. (We also have matches with folks whose ancestors were from Schwabsburg, but their lines are the Nehrboss and Knoblochs.)

So much fun is happening with our DNA matches. It’s hard to keep up.

In other DNA news, I finally heard back from our Hamman match. To review, I sent an email to the one and only match with our cousin’s HAMM yDNA at FamilyTreeDNA, and finally, after re-sending my email three times over the last year and a half, heard back. I received a very friendly email from a nephew of the tester. He provided a history of their line with a tree. But, at this time we can not connect the two.

There is a connection, but we don’t know where yet.

I asked if he would be able to get his uncle’s yDNA results bumped up to 111 markers (currently it is only 25). There is a 2 marker difference right now, if this marker difference increases with more markers tested, that means that the connection is likely a bit further back in time. But, if the difference remains at 2 or 3, then we are looking at a more recent connection. Fingers crossed.

Frederick’s journey?

While on vacation earlier this month, I saw that I had received an email from my German acquaintance Friederike. She wrote to let me know that maybe she could explain how Frederick Isserstedt and Wilhelmine Sachs could have possibly met when they lived so far apart in Germany.

She also sent me this link: <–GO READ THIS FIRST!


Journeyman — The tradition of setting out on travel for several years after completing apprenticeship as a craftsman.

There was a short time in the Isserstedt’s lives when they decided to open a shoe repair shop in downtown Plymouth, Wisconsin. This foray into retail didn’t last long though and they went back to farming full-time, no doubt because there wasn’t much money to be made in shoe repair. (Shoe forms and anvils were passed down in our family.)

In 1866 the Isserstedts sold lots in downtown Plymouth as seen below. Before this would most likely be where and when they would have opened their shop.

This Indenture made the first day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty six between Frederick Isserstedt and Wilhelmnie Isserstedt his wife parties of the first part and Peter Lesch party of the second part all of the county of Sheboygan and State of Wisconsin.

…in consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars to them in hand paid…[for] the following described piece, tract and parcel of land situated lying and being in the County of Sheboygan and State of Wisconsin to wit:

The South eighty four and one half (84 1/2) feet of lots no. one (1) and two (2) and the North eighty four and one half (84 1/2) feed of lots no. seven (7) and eight (8) in Block no. ten (10) of the Village of Plymouth.1

In order to have opened a shoe shop, Fred would have had to know how to make, or even repair, shoes. This skill would have been learned in Germany. So it is possible that Fred apprenticed as a shoemaker, and then went on to his journeyman training. This would have required that he travel all over the country finding masters that would teach him the skills he would need to make a living, and eventually to be accepted as a master shoemaker himself. So the story goes — Fred traveled as far north as Dömitz, met a girl, fell in love, and married her, as soon as he was done with his travels. (And how could he not fall in love, she had such a cute smile.)

Of course Fred’s possible journeyman’s travels are purely speculative on my part, but, it would explain a lot.

Thanks Friederike for the heads up! I knew nothing of this tradition until now.


  1. Sheboygan County Wisconsin, Register of Deeds; Deeds (1839-1886) and index to deeds (1839-1888); Deeds, v. 22 (p. 312-end) 1866-1867 Warranty deeds, v. 23-24 (p. 313) 1866-1867  –  FHL film #1,392,898 – vol. 24, page 13 [image 1211].


I swear I don’t go looking for this stuff.

I just wanted to know if the Isserstedt’s had a court case in Sheboygan County, because I remember a letter from George Hamm to his in-laws where he had asked if there was anything he could do regarding somesuch, and his father-in-law, Friederich, said to paraphrase ‘No. It’s all cool. They had everything in hand’.

Thankfully, Sheboygan County recently gave the Wisconsin Historical Society their court case microfilms. Yay! (Otherwise I would have to travel to Sheboygan to do research, and I didn’t wanna.) With a little digging, I was able to find that there was indeed a court case with Fred Isserstedt and, bonus, there was also a case that sort of mentions a George Hamm/en.

So, in a nutshell, it appears that both George Hamm and his brother-in-law Friederick Isserstedt, jr., (aka Fritz), were in court for bastardy. Meaning both men were accused of being the father of a young woman’s child. To be clear though, these are two different women and two different cases.

The case against George was in November and December of 1874. A woman by the name of Auguste Harp accused George of being the father of her child, which she had conceived in June of that year. The case against Fritz was in 1881, and appears to have continued to 1883. The accuser in Fritz’s case was Amelia Hecker.

About the time that George’s case was going on he was preparing to get married my great great grandmother Amelia Isserstedt, (which they did on 22 December 1874). Fritz had just married Phoebe Coon when his case was brought to court, (22 May 1881).

I can only imagine the stress and confusion of my great great Grandmother, and her sister-in-law at the time these cases came to court. Fritz Issersted in the pic below:



Harp Family Picture copyhamm_george

The above two pictures are George Hamm and Auguste Harp (I found her picture on an family tree site. )

The Harps moved to Iowa shortly after the case was brought to trial and concluded. And it is there that Auguste probably had her child. It is possible that Frederika Wilhelmine Harp Ludloff raised her for a short time, after which she was raised by Auguste’s parents, as a Minnie Ludloff is listed as a ward of the family, age 5, in the 1880 Iowa census, the age Auguste’s child would be in this census.

It is unclear in the case file if George was determined to be the father. Of course only DNA could prove it one way or another now. It is quite possible, and wouldn’t be at all surprising if George was. Although it would make for a refreshing change in the Hamm family sagas to know that he wasn’t, and couldn’t possibly be the father because a Hamm would never…nah.

In Fritz’s case we know the child was born 19 May 1881, but I have been unable to find anything more, not even if it survived. Amelia Hecker married Henry Sampse in 1883. And, again, we do not know if indeed Fritz was believed to be the father. It appears that the final conclusion of the jury was ‘Not Guilty’.


Sophia Catharina Wilhelmine Sachs…

3215373137_a36e6bab60_bOr as she was called by the family, Mina.

Mina was born in Dömitz, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany on the 28th of June in 1820 and was baptized two days later.1 Her parents were Johann Christoph Wilhelm Sachs and Ursula Margaretha Sophia Schult. In her picture on the right, she looks exactly like I would want a great grandmother to look, including that impish little smile.

Recently I have been able to search the indexed church records of Dömitz and expand Mina’s tree a few generations. So here it is now.sachs-sophia-catharina-willhelmine-meina

We have some pretty interesting German surnames to add to our family: Lütken / Lüthgen / Lütdan (apparently no one knows how to spell it), Schlein, and Schult. Schult has been on the surname list for a while, but these recent finds in the church records, make me more certain that the name is not Schultz, although I did see it in one record as Schulten.

Mina lost both of her grandmothers before she was even born. Of her grandfathers I have been unable to ascertain when they died. And, unfortunately for Mina, both of her parents were dead by the time she was almost 16 years of age, her father dying about 2 months before her birthday in 1836. She did have two sisters and one brother all older than her, the youngest of her siblings was 19 when they became orphans.

As none of her siblings were married when the last of their parent’s died, I am assuming that they were taken in by relatives until they were. Her sister Johanna married the next year to Christian George Heinrich Strempel.

In 1820 Mecklenburg abolished serfdom. While it is a good thing that this happened, it had  unintended side affects now that land owners were no longer responsible for the people who lived on their land. They reduced the amount of housing that was available, so the former serfs no longer had a place to live, land was not available for them to buy and farm for themselves, and work became much harder to find. About 250,000 people left Mecklenburg in several different waves of immigration. Many went to the United States, the rest went to other cities within Germany itself. The conditions at home left them very little choice. “Almost every third person from Mecklenburg left their home country, almost 90 % of them came from rural places.”2

Of great interest to me, is finding the answer to the question of how Mina and Friedrich Karl Isserstedt, who was born in Hessleben, Sömmerda, Thuringia, Germany, met. They were married somewhere in Germany, and came to America with 3 of their children who were born in Thuringia (where Hessleben is located).

Here is a map showing the location of the two towns in Germany where Mina and Fred were from. Where and how did they meet? 

Was Friederick in the military and somehow ended up in Dömitz? Did Mina leave home because of the conditions in Mecklenburg and end up in Fred’s neck of the woods? I am hoping I can find the answer to these question with more digging. I would especially love to find out where they married as there is no record in Dömitz of their marriage. It doesn’t mean they weren’t married there, just that I can find no record if it.

In 1855 the Isserstedt family left their residence in Wandersleben3 and made the long trip to America. Sailing from Hamburg to the port of New York. Eventually ending up in Plymouth, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, where together they carved out a new home from the wilderness and prospered.

OBITUARY Mrs. Wilhelmine Isserstedt nee Sachs, one of the oldest settlers in this area, died on Friday in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Emilie Hamm, near Medford, at the age of over 70 years. Her husband, Mr. Friedrich Isserstedt, died about a year ago. She was born in Doemitz, Mecklenburg-Schwerin on 26 July 1820, and came to America in 1855 with her husband. At first they lived on a farm in the Town of Sheboygan Falls. Later they lived in the city for a time where Mr. Isserstedt has a shoemaker business. Then they again moved on a farm in the northeastern part of the Town of Plymouth. They lived there many years when they moved on the farm formerly owned by the deceased Chr. Komen where they lived until Mr. Isserstedt’s death. She is survived by a son, Mr. Fred. Isserstedt, in the northeastern part of Town Plymouth; three daughters, Mrs. Henriette Hoppe and Mrs. Emilie Hamm, Medford, and Mrs. Minna Kaestner, Town Plymouth. Another daughter, Mrs. Amanda Hoffmann, died several years ago. The funeral was held in Town Rhine on Sunday.4 [died 13 Aug 1899]

1. Sophia Catharina Willhelmina Sachs baptism, Taufen, Hieraten, Toter, Konf. 1835-1852 vol. 2, entry ?3, (1820) page 12, Stadtkirche Kirchenbuecher Church Records Evangelical Lutheran, Doemitz, Mecklenburgische, Sippenkanzlei, Mecklenburg-Schwerin: FHL Film #69078, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
3. According to the passport records from Hamburg. Wandersleben is near Gotha, which is also in Thuringia, where their only son was said to have been born. Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2008. 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 00.
4. Wilhelmine Sachs obituary, The Plymouth Post, Plymouth, Wisconsin; [reprinted in ‘From Here and There’, 17 August 1899, page 1??, Historical Research Center, Inc., Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin].

Fritz and the in-laws…

My 3xgreat Uncle Fredrick (Fritz) Isserstedt, jr. was the only son of Fredrick and Wilhelmena Isserstedt. He was born in Gotha, Germany on the 8th of March in 1852. And was only 3 years old when the family made  their 49 day voyage over the Atlantic Ocean to America on the ship ‘Elise Rühke.’

When he was 29 years old Fritz married Phoebe Coon in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, where the Isserstedts had established their new home. A few years later, in 1886, Fritz and Phoebe ‘purchased’ land from Phoebe’s parents Benjamin and Philena Coon. But this wasn’t just a simple transfer of money for property, there were some interesting stipulations with this purchase.

This indenture made this 5th day of Feb. 1886 between Benjamin Orrin Coon and Philena R. Coon his wife all of Sheboygan County Wisconsin parties of the first part and F. J. Isserstedt of said County party of the second part. 

…..on the following terms and conditions to wit: 

The said F. J. Isserstedt shall furnish one half of all seed neccessary to be used on the said premises the said Benjamin Orrin Coon the other half each to furnish one half of the cows to be kept on the farm the said F. J. Isserstdt to turn over one half of the proceeds of the farm at the end of each season to Benjamin Orrin Coon as the consideration for this conveyance made to him of the said premises and in case said Benjamin Orrin Coon shall die before his wife does, then said Isserstedt or his heirs or assigns shall turn over to the wife of said Coon the one half of the said proceeds during the term of her natural life.  

It is further agreed between the parties that when it is necessary to have new machinery or farm implements on the farm each is to furnish one half of the expense of such new machinery or farm implements.

The said party of the first part shall furnish a good able bodied man to work on the farm eight months in the years commencing about March 14 of each year each party shall furnish one half of the trains or teams necessary to do the work on the farm. 

The party of the first part and his wife shall have the privilege of residing in the dwelling house from on said described premises and in case a new house shall be [built on the?] premises by the parties of the second part the first part shall have the privilege of residing in such new house in suitable manner to be provided for them by the parties of the second part during the terms of their natural lives.

It is further agreed between the parties that a failure to perform any of the conditions of the foregoing agreement shall under this conveyance absolutely void and the party of the second part shall become a tenant at sufferance of the parties of the first part in case this agreement beomes void as aforesaid and be liable to be recorded as such tenant. 

So instead of giving the in-laws money for the property, they made a deal to work the land together with each couple doing their part to share in the profits and expenses as long as the in-laws can continue to live on the land and even move in to any new digs built on the property, if they so desire.

Another example of land records doing more than just showing a transfer of property, here you find some interesting family dynamics. (See documents below.)

Digital image of deed.1

Sheboygan County Wisconsin, Register of Deeds; Deeds (1839-1886) and index to deeds (1839-1888); Warranty deeds, v. 53 1883-1884 Deeds, v. 54 1883-1887   –  FHL film #1,392,913 – vol. 36, page 453 [image 1213]:

Back to my old tricks…

Well, it has been almost a week since I came back from my exhausting trip to Salt Lake City. When Mary told me she took about 40 pictures of documents during her research, I just blinked and said “Really, I think I took about 400”. I was close, 448. That’s just with my camera, that doesn’t count the 30 or more I took with my iPhone.

I have pretty much recovered, although not from the weather shock. I really miss my 80 degree days.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting a few items from my trip, but it is going to take me a while to assess the haul. As of right now I am not quite sure if I have anything of significance, as I don’t have time to read the material, just find and photograph it.

But, I do have something to share that wasn’t from my trip.

Friederike, my new German acquaintance, has sent me something even better than Friederick Karl Isserstedt’s birth record, he has found his parent’s marriage record.

This is the marriage record of Fred Isserstedt’s parents.

They were married in St. Michael’s Church in Hassleben, Germany.

“The 16th of October [1811] bachelor Mister Johann Heinrich Isserstedt ?? citizen and linen weaver of this town, [son of] Mister Johann Carl Isserstedt ?? citizen and linen weaver of this town ??  born in marriage [meaning legitimate], with Magdaline Regine Gross, [daughter of] Johann Nicolaus Gross ?? citizen and neighbor of this town, oldest born in marriage ?? ?? of this town, were married.”

The question marks are items that Friedrike was unable to translate or transcribe. He also sent me the records of all the siblings, or at least the ones from the church records, I do not know if there were more. I will post those next week.

Now thanks to Friedrike’s help I have gone back two generations, although I am missing the women’s names from the marriage record. Of course. I am extremely grateful for Friedrike’s help, otherwise I would probably never have gotten these records, as they have not been filmed by the Family History Library. Friedrike tells me that he does this to help other genealogists who have relatives from Hessleben, as that is where one of his ancestors also came from, his RAGK.

Family and travel…

As I am heading out to Salt Lake City for my annual research trip tomorrow, I thought today’s post would be most appropriate. It is about family and travel. Hence the title.

Frieda Isserstedt, born 1882.

Frieda Isserstedt is my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Or to be less confusing, she is the daughter of my gg grandmother Amelia Isserstedt Hamm’s brother, Fritz. I hope that helps. She was a graduate of the University of Chicago and was a teacher. From all accounts a very much respected one too. According to her students no one could stump her on a historical event date.

In 1929 Frieda decided to take a European tour.

This article is from the Sheboygan Press.

That sounds like quite a trip, she never visited the family’s hometown, but it looks like she might not have had time.

Here is the Olympic, the ship she sailed home on:

A postcard version of the ship. As you can see it is a White Star Line ship, the same as the Titanic, and no, the ship made it home just fine.
This is the passenger list for the Olympic, Frieda is number 8 on the list.

My trip won’t be as exotic. But I do hope to have a good time. At least the restaurants are usually excellent. I can’t wait to head to my favorite sushi stop, way better than anything we get here.

I won’t be posting anything next week. Unless I have a really big find, but I have my doubts about that. So until the next post, stay cool. Aloha.

Another generation…

I had a surprising email waiting for me this last weekend. It was a notification from that someone had left a messsage for me with my account. As it has been quite a while since anyone has contacted me through Ancestry I was eager to see what it was about.

A gentleman from Germany was asking me if I was still interested in information on my Isserstedts in Hassleben, Germany. My first thought was, ‘hell yeah!’

Friedrike is German and has been helping out folks with ancestors from Hassleben, because he has an ancestor from there. He has photographed all the pages from the St. Michael’s church books and sends them out to folks who are in need of copies. As the Mormon Church hasn’t microfilmed any of these church records, this was an excellent opportunity to get those church records.

Unfortunately, the book earlier than 1798 was burned in a fire and the one between 1824ish and 1843 was stolen, but as least there was one record he could send me:

Whole page of church book with Friedrich Carl Isserstedt entry.

Close up of Fred’s church entry, 1822, p231
Here Friedrich, my German acquaintance, translated the information so I would be sure to know what it means.

The translation (with a few grammatical corrections to read easier):

5. Friedrich Karl, Mister Johann Heinrich Isserstedt and his wife Magdalene Regina (born Grosse) 4th child, was born the 26th of February [1822] and baptized the 3rd of March through his godfathers 1. Johann Felix Mälzer Chirurgus = doctor 2. Adelgunde Sophie Grimmer wife of Johann Nicol Grimmer in Werningshausen [is a small town some miles north of Hassleben].

In case you haven’t figured it out by now this is Fred Isserstedt’s birth record from Germany. According to the church record Fred had three siblings and I am hoping to get their names. I don’t know if I will be able to find out much more on his parents as the church books needed are missing. Not having done much research with records still in Germany, it will be interesting to see if I will be able to find anything else about the family.