Bad News and Good News: Update on My German Genealogy Mystery

By Diane Haddad

I wrote awhile back about plans to solve my German ancestral mystery at the Family History Library.

I’d discovered the Ladenkotter family’s place of origin, so I knew the right church records to look for (more below about finding German immigrants’ birthplaces with help from our upcoming Trace Your German Immigrant Ancestors webinar).

Well, that search didn’t pan out.

I found the German baptismal records for brothers Joan Caspar Ladenkotter and Johannes Franz Caspar Ladenkotter, but they gave no clues as to which brother is my fourth-great-grandfather, or any indication that the older Caspar died as an infant (my sneaking suspicion).

On the other hand, my search for Seeger relatives went swimmingly. Scrolling through unindexed church records on microfilm, I found the marriage record for my third-great-grandfather Johann Henrich Seger and his wife Maria Catharina Kolbeck, which also gives their parents’ names:

In baptismal registers, I also found the names of three siblings to my great-great-grandfather Heinrich Arnold Seeger. Only one, sister Maria Theresia, appears to have lived beyond childhood. These registers were full of death dates, like so:

In the Ladenkotters’ hometown, either everyone was exceedingly healthy or noting deaths in baptismal records wasn’t the practice.

Sprinkled throughout the records were surnames that matched my ancestors’, so I need to spend more time with the film to figure out how and whether I’m related to all those folks.

I also noticed that the Seeger surname was consistently spelled Seger in these German records. That could explain why Heinrich spelled his name that way when he applied for a passport to return to Germany in 1907, after having used Seeger in his other US records.

To find your German ancestors’ church records, you need to know where in Germany they’re from. In our March 19 webinar, Trace Your German Immigrant Ancestors, German research expert Michael D. Lacopo will tell you about records that can reveal a German place of origin (including lesser-known published resources), as well as the best new German genealogy resources and websites.

Everyone who registers for the webinar will receive access to view it again as often as they want. Find out more today in Family Tree Shop!