German Genealogy

Proving Family Connections.

Most of the time proving sibling’s is easy, you see a baptism record with the same parents listed and in the same town or village location, then they are likely siblings. In the United States you can prove families with census records, but in Germany I have not found any census records or anything that lists the whole family on them. So proving family in Germany can be a little tricky. As in the case of my Great Grand Aunt Henriette Gossmann.

I found a marriage record for Henriette Gossman and Albert Wilhelm Steinhauer. This was a surprise to me as I already had a marriage record for Henriette to a Johann Christoph Steinmentz. I looked for Johann Christoph’s death record and did not find anything and so far I have not found any records to search in Germany for divorces. I also searched for children of Henriette and Johann Christoph with no luck.

So did Henriette marry a second time or is this a different Henriette Gossmann all together? Names have been a real challenge in German research. I have seen the same names several time and they have been different families. The second marriage record did not mention the first marriage or her parents info. So how do I prove if this is my Henriette or not?

The second marriage record I was sure was my Henriette, born in the same small village on the same day but did not list the parents. I really felt like she was my Henriette but was really hesitant due to the common name and I wanted more proof that she belonged in my family.

Henriette Gossmann marriage to Johann Christoph Steinmetz in Wehlheiden Germany 1913. Document from ancestry

Henriette Gossman 2nd marriage to Albert Wilhelm Steinhauer in Wehlheiden Germany 1921. Document from ancestry

I started by looking for the original marriage records (the records above were transcribed from the originals in 1953 and 1973). At the time of my search I did not locate the original marriage records. My next step was to start comparing the 2nd marriage record to the siblings marriage record. I found a connection. Henriette’s brother Freidrich Wilhelm Gossman married in 1919 just a few years before Henriette’s 2nd marriage and both their address matched on the marriage records.

Friedrich Wilhelm Gossmann marriage record in Wehlheiden Germany 1919. Document from ancestry

Both Henriette Gossman and her brother Friedrich Gossmann resided in Kassel, Kochstr. 9 at the time his marriage and her 2nd marriage. I now had enough proof that she was my family and I could add the 2nd marriage.

I did later find a child for Henriette and Albert Wilhelm Steinhauer (2nd husband) and the original marriage record listing her parents.

Death record for Helmut Wilhelm Steinhauer, son of Henriette and Albert Wilhelm Steinhauer. Document from ancestry

I have found one child for Henriette and Albert Wilhelm Steinhauer and it appears he died during WWII and was Lance Corporal. I do not know more about his service during WWII. According to his death record (pictured above) he died 23 October 1943 and his title or job at the time was Lance Corporal and Butcher. I need to learn where to research for more records on him and his service during the war. If any one has any tips or hints on where I can find out more about his military service I would love to hear from you.

I love learning new ways to confirm family ties and using an address was new to me. Now I always check and see if there is an address listed to try to prove family.

5 thoughts on “Proving Family Connections.”

  1. I know that the service records for World War Two are held at the National Archive of Germany. You should start with this page: and see how far it gets you. It should be possible to request them, although I’ve personally never tried. If you do request them, I’d love to read on your blog how it went!


  2. Dear Jennifer, all documents shown in your post are from the city records of Kassel. The last address on death certificate is Kirchweg 21, which is part of Wehlheiden. Did you check death register of his church congregation? It happened quite often that family had added the name of army unit he served last in church death register. This will of great help when you search for the soldier in the records of Bundesarchiv, as JM suggested. Also the place he died mentioned in the death certificate is a useful information your further research


  3. Jennifer, you don’t need a divorce register. Apparently divorce requires a court decision. This is mentioned as additional remark on the marriage certificate of Henriette with Johann Christoph Steinmetz. First stamp right of Steinmetz’ name reads:
    “As of the legal binding verdict by the county court Kassel on May 18th 1920 got this marriage divorced.”
    The second stamp below the first one reads:
    “The man has refused the woman to carry on the surname.”
    The third stamped remark (only partially visible) confirm the death date of Steinmetz as April 10th , but the year is not visible on the pic you posted.

    So, Henriette got her maiden name back due to the divorce, as her former husband did not allow that she keeps Steinmetz as surname. This is the reason that on the marriage certificate she is named Henriette Goßmann again and not Henriette Steinmetz nee Goßmann.

    By the way, the stamped remark on top right of the second marriage certificate of Henriette Goßmann informs that the husband (Albert Wilhelm Steinhauer) did pass away in Kassel on December 12th 1952.


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