Searching for Unidentified Child

  • Hello,

    I am trying to identify the eldest child of my great-great-grandmother and great-great-grandfather. Information I have is as follows:

    My great-great-grandmother, Ernestine Wilhelmine Lässig geborene Härtel immigrated to America around April 19, 1856. I have a copy of her Reise-pass (entitled Reise-pass fur das Ausland) and it is dated April 19, 1856. The Reise-pass states that she was leaving from Bremen "....accompanied by her five children of ages 12, 11, 7, 5, and 3 years." Her husband immigrated before the rest of the family we believe in 1855 as he was located in a state census taken in 1855 already in America. Her husband's name was Johann (John) Gottlieb Lässig. The five children mentioned in the Reise-pass above are all known except for the 12-year old, who I am seeking information about.

    The 3 year old: Hugo Lässig, born November 7, 1852 in Crimmitschau, Sachsen
    The 5 year old: Anna Louise Lässig, born March 14, 1851 in Crimmitschau, Sachsen
    The 7 year old: Hermann J. Lässig, born December 15, 1848 in Crimmitschau, Sachsen
    The 11 year old: Mary (Marie) Lässig, born April 1, 1845, in Crimmitschau, Sachsen

    The 12 year old listed in the Reise-pass is unknown and no record of this child was ever found in available records in America. All that is known is a story passed on that a Gustav Lässig died in Red Bud, IL in 1865 in a deer hunting accident, which was written down by an elderly relative's now deceased father in the 1930s. We believe the year of death, 1865 is in error, as the family was in the 1860 census, but this child did not appear in this census, so we think the year he died may actually have been 1856 rather than 1865. Since there were no death records kept in Illinois prior to 1870 and we found no church record source, the only possible source of a record would be his birth/baptism which is believed to have been in Crimmitschau, Sachsen as were his/her brothers and sisters. Based on his age in the Reise-pass of 12, and the Reise-pass being dated April 19, 1856, he/she was probably born in 1844. It is my understanding that in 1844, the only church in Crimmitschau was the Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirchgemeinde St.
    Laurentius Crimmitschau, so if any birth or baptismal record of this unknown child exists, it is probably in the Kirchenbuche of St. Laurentius, Crimmitschau.

    We believe that the child's mother and father were also married at St. Laurentius, but have no record or evidence of this, and if this child were their first child and born in 1844, we estimate that Ernestine Wilhelmine Härtel and Johann Gottlieb Lässig were married at St. Laurentius around 1842 or 1843.

    We would like confirm the name and birthdate of this oldest child listed in the Reise-pass of age 12.

  • If you don't have records concerning the marriage and the baptism of the first child the parents you have to think about these both things somewhere else. They may have moved to Crimmitschau after the birth of their first child. It is really difficult to figere out where they might have lived before. Do you know the birth place of Ernestine Wilhelmine Härtel? Most marriages took place where the bride lived with her parents although this will not be true for all. Her passport should say when and where she was born.
    Unfortunately the name HAERTEL is not just rare and LÄSSIG too, so searching is very difficult. Do you know the husband's profession? Maybe there are other records in Crimmitschau which could state, where the family came from.

  • Thank you very much for your response.

    We do know the occupation of the husband, Johann Gottlieb Lässig. Family stories passed down to my generation state that he was a wooldyer.

    The Reisepass is a very old document, dated April 19, 1856, and it did not list where and when Ernestine was born, but only stated that her place of residence was Crimmitschau if I translated it correctly.

    We feel rather certain that she was born and married in Crimmitschau, as we know that she had other family members living there. The evidence we have of this is the existence of two letters dated in the 1860s from a sister-in-law named Caroline Härtel. In this letter, Caroline described how she had built a new addition to a Gasthof that she owned that was three stories tall now. The Gasthof was called "The Hirsch" (Stag) in 1866. She also described two of her sons, one Bernard Gustav Härtel and one Karl Albrecht Härtel. She was describing to Ernestine that Bernard was going to be a soldier but because she needed him at the Gasthof, she would buy his exemption. She also described that Karl Albrecht was going to be a soldier, and she could not afford to buy his exemption from military service. She also described that Albrecht was going to sail to America on the ship "Hermann" and hand-carry the letter to Ernestine in America, and we found a record where Albrecht arrived in the U. S. at Castle Garden in 1866 at the age of 19 years about four weeks after the letter was dated. We later confirmed that Caroline, Bernard, and Gustav appeared in some civil records of Crimmitschau in a microfilm of a Burgerrolle (tax list or citizens list?) and this Burgerrolle provided the dates and birthplaces of both Bernard and Albrecht. We also found an image of the birth certificate of Bernard in some Crimmitschau birth certificates that had been microfilmed by the Family History Library. From all this evidence, we believe strongly that Ernestine was born in Crimmitschau because she had family members still living there.

    Also, when reviewing the Burgerrolle, we found several people in the 1820s to 1870s with the last name Lässig listed as well as birth certificates of several Lässigs. We believe these are all relatives but have nothing to prove lineage to Johann Gottlieb Lässig. Thus we will need to try and research the St. Laurentius church records to establish these proofs, because when I contacted the Crimmitshau chamber of commerce, I was told that no civil records exist prior to 1870 and that the only records would be church records.

    I also located a book on Google books that has been imaged that was entitled "Geschichte des 5. Infanterie-Regiments 'Prinz Friedrich August' Nr. 104 1867-1889." This book is a history of the 5th Infantry Regiment of the Franco-Prussian War, and in that book I found a man who served as a sergeant of the name Karl Albrecht Härtel, whose birthplace was listed as Crimmitschau. I believe this is the same son of Caroline Härtel that was referred to in the letter we still have from that period, which confirms Caroline's fears that Albrecht would become a soldier.

    The family letter also referred to both the parents of Ernestine, and the parents of John and left the impression that both sets of parents were alive and living in Crimmitschau in 1866.

    This letter was only recently translated after the original post I placed above.

    I believe that all this evidence points to the Härtels and the Lässigs has having been born and married in Crimmitschau.

  • After writing to the Evangelische Kirchegemeinde St. Laurentius, Crimmitshau, I was successful in locating the baptismal record of the unidentified child on the Reisepass of my great-great-grandmother.

    He was found to be named Carl Gustav Lässig, which agrees with a name listed in a very old book on the french language that was found among old family artifacts. The name in the book was "Gustav Lässig" and thus agrees with the baptismal record from the St. Laurentius Kirche.

    We found also a marriage record listed in the St. Laurentius church book for Ernestine Wilhelmine Härtel and Johann Gottlieb Lässig, but the marriage entry stated that Ernestine was from Glauchau, which is not far from Crimmitshau I understand. The marriage entry also provided the name of Johann Gottlieb Lässig's father as Johann Gottlob Lässig, and the name of Ernestine's father as Carl Friedrich Härtel. Only the names of the fathers were given in the marriage record, but no information on either of their mothers.

    The marriage entry also stated the marriage was "solemnized" in Glauchau, if I translated the letter from the St. Laurentius Kirche correctly. I am guessing that this means the actual marriage ceremony was performed in Glauchau, which if in the Evangelische Lutherische Kirche, would most likely be at the St. Georgen Kirche in Glauchau. I have written a letter to the St. Georgen Kirche requesting research of the church book for this marriage, to determine if additional information can be found.

    Your suggestion to research the Crimmitschau churchbook did provide not only the unidentified child's full name and birth date, but also confirmed the birthdates of the other children we knew who traveled on the Reisepass with Ernestine, and there was full agreement of the names and known dates. Further, we learned of another child born in Crimmitschau to Ernestine and Johann but who died at the age of 3 months, so this new information was very welcome.

    Some progress is being made pushing back another generation.

    Thank you for your suggestion.