Friday, July 15, 2016

Goldmine of historical stuffs. And a cousin lovin' surprise.

Today was going to be my trip to the archives for the Bas Rhin region, located here in Strasbourg. I woke up and decided to get a head start on what I would be asking for, as I learned the hard way from my London trip, that going unprepared is ill advised.

Quick geography lesson.

The Alsace region of France is located in Eastern France on the west bank of the upper Rhine adjacent to Germany and Switzerland.

It has two departments, the Bas-Rhin and the Haut-Rhin. The Bas-Rhin is more populous and densely populated of the two.
Strasbourg is the capital of the Bas-Rhin, and where we are visiting this week. (This is a map of the entire Alsace region. Colmar is the capital of the Haut-Rhin.)

While we may be in Strasbourg, because the archives are here, my family, it seems is actually from Steinbourg, which is about 21 miles away from Strasbourg. 

I spent a good portion of today researching and was able to expand my family tree by many generations. 

For review, this is my dad's side of the family, up to my third great grandparents. 

Madeleine Marie Ritter is where the French part of my family comes from and as far as I can tell, she is the only French ancestor in my families genealogy. 

She was born March 21, 1864 in Steinbourg, Bas Rhin, Alsace, France. She arrived in New York in November 24, 1871 and I have a passenger list showing her arrival. 

Prior to today, I had the names of her parents and grandparents, but that was it. After today, I have been able to fill in the some gaps, with names and some occupations. 

Birth of Jean Ritter - Birth name is Antoine June 6, 1830
Madeleine Marie Ritter's father may have been Antoine Jean Ritter. I was able to find a birth record for Jean Ritter, same date, but he was listed as Antoine, which would make sense as he was most likely named after his father but went by Jean. This was found at the archives in a document titled "Steinbourg - Marital Status - Tables decadal 1823-1832 - 4 E 478/11" (Full document saved in Google Drive).

I'm also thinking that I may be missing a generation between this Jean Ritter and Madeleine's actual father. In other words, it may be that Jean Ritter born 1830 was actually her grandfather. If you look here, you will see that Madeleine Bosch Ritter didn't appear to have a daughter named Madeleine Marie, but neither did her sons.  

I did find some evidence that a Madeleine Marie Ritter was born in 1864, but I haven't been able to track down anything that lists her parents.

Antoine Jean Ritter's parents were married August 21, 1810. I found that record as well.

What I've been able to fill in is below. Each arrow on the far right indicates more levels of parents,
although, all have dead-ended after one or two more generations, mostly male.

Madeleine Marie Ritter's mother was Madeleine Bosch, and I have to admit, this family line has been interesting. I'm going to break it down just a bit more to explain.

Madeleine Bosch's parents were Florent Bosch and Francoise Roth Bosch.

Take a look at Florent's tree.

The names Jean Bosch and Odile Lehman come up twice. They are both my 8th and 9th great grandparents. Their son Paul, born in 1694 married Catherine Gruss. They had a son, Jean Bosch, who was born in 1726. He would be a paternal great grandfather of Florent Bosch. 
Paul's son wasn't too born much after Paul's last brother, Jean Adam was born on January 12, 1698. Jean Adam married Anne-Marie Biri, which resulted in a son, Pierre Bosch, who was the maternal grandfather of Florent.  Therefore, Odile and Jean Bosch were BOTH the paternal third great grandparents AND the maternal second great grandparents of Florent Bosch. Does that mean he got double presents from them on holidays? I'm kidding. They were both dead before he was born. 

But wait! There is more. 

Florent married Françoise Brigitte Roth in 1828. 
Marriage of Florent Bosch and Francoise Roth 1828
Source: Steinbourg - Marital Status - Tables decadal 1823-1832 - 4 E 478/11 (Saved in Google Drive)

Now, take a look at her family tree...

You see it, right? Florent and Françoise were related. Her maternal third great grandparents were no other than Jean Bosch and Odile Lehman. Their son, Paul had three kids. Jacques Bosch (1719-1779) was Françoise's great grandfather. Florent's great grandfather, Jean Bosch (1726-1792), was Paul's other son. Paul and Catherine's oldest child was a daughter, also named Catherine.

What this means for me? Jean and Odile are three things to 8th great grandparents, twice and my 9th great grandparents once. Too bad they died so long ago. I would be racking up gifts at the holidays. I kid. I kid. 

It also means that Paul and Catherine Bosch are in two lineages for me. 

So, I'm not great at this stuff. Does this mean Florent and Françoise were...cousins? Apparently, marrying cousins was quite common back then. 

Florent and Françoise did have a daughter, on May 7, 1834 and I was able to find her birth record in the archives as well. 

In another document in the archives, I was able to find more information about her birth. I'm still working to decipher this document and see what other clues it can give me as to who her parents were. If someone out there has better reading skills than I do, please let me know what you see in here...

After nearly 6 plus hours of searching, I had to call it quits to eat and explore.

Prior to 1793, documents are much harder to read and things are harder to find. I'm going to keep searching. More than just finding dates, I want to know what it was like to live back then and live here, in this region.

A lof of the information that gave me clues today came from this website:

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