The genealogy gods had a good laugh at me last weekend. I have been so frustrated by being unable to “find” the marriage record of my 4th great-grandparents from Russian Poland.
After all the success I’ve had with researching my German ancestors who moved to Russian Poland in the late 19th century, I hired a researcher to find the record in Bialystok (formerly Russian Poland).
The researcher found the marriage record but I was shocked when I saw this record. It looked so familiar. Then I started swearing. The record has been on my computer for SIX YEARS.
With being a typical family researcher, I research multiple lines at the same time and get easily distracted.
Six years ago, I ordered a microfilm from the local Family History Center for my family’s village of Ciechanowiec (Tsekhanovets in Russian). I scanned a few documents that had Hoffman and Lamprecht in them while I kept my 2 year-old son distracted with toys next to me in his stroller.
I got excited that Hoffman and Lamprecht appeared within one document. Maybe there was a chance it was the marriage record of my 4th great-grandparents. I knew no one who read Polish and didn’t want to bother anyone for a translation in case I was wrong about the record.
It sat on my computer, ignored until last weekend. I’m beyond words!
Thankfully, the researcher found more than the marriage record. I finally have the birth record of my 3rd great-grandfather, their son.
The story of this family gets even more interesting with that birth record. My Catholic 4th great-grandmother wouldn’t declare her son’s father in the birth record. The child was born out-of-wedlock in 1835. (It wasn’t forgotten by the church community. His grandson married 51 years later and his name was originally put as Lamprecht in his marriage record and then changed to Hoffman. I had wondered if he was raised by a step-father named Lamprecht.)
A year later, the Lutheran father (my 4th great-grandfather) steps up to be an honorable man and the couple marries. Finally, I also have the parents’ names of both 4th great-grandparents.
I thought I already had my 4th great-grandfather’s parents’ names from their son’s second marriage record in 1861. I assumed that the wife of his father in that marriage record was my 5th great-grandmother, but the marriage record from 1836 gives another woman as the mother.
Then the mother’s name of my 4th great-grandmother was quite a surprise, Bozyna Berba. The last name is German but the first name is possibly Czech. I would have never guessed that I could have Czech ancestry.
All of this is quite a learning lesson about assumptions. I assumed I couldn’t find the marriage record myself, that I already knew the name of my 5th great-grandmother and I would only find German ancestors in Russian Poland.
The journey of researching my family’s history is more interesting than I have been assuming for the past 6 years.
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