I have one line of my German ancestors that is Catholic and I was not sure how to research them. As I learned about archion.de having Lutheran Church records, I started to research how to find Catholic records and see if I could find my family.
I was specifically looking for more information on my 3rd great-grandparents Heinrich Brand and Anna Catharnia Schneider. I was looking for information to prove if Heinrich Brand had once been Hildibrand. I had some who told me that it was Hildebrand but every thing that I had was always Brand. Heinrich , who was Lutheran, married Anna Catharina Schneider who was Catholic. I was not finding anything on archion.de on this family.
After traveling to Germany, hoping to find more about my family and returning home with out learning anything new. I really wanted to learn more about this family and seemed stuck as to what I should do next.
I remembered an email, from the archives in Germany that I received when I was trying to set up appointments to visit them. As I read the emails it had a contact for the Catholic archives in Fulda, Germany. The held the Catholic records for the state Hesse in Germany, where my family was from.
This is the email I sent to them.
I am seeking help on my 2nd Great Grandmother Anna Elisabeth Brand/Brandt she was born in Wehlheiden, Kassel, Germany on 13 Aug 1865 and died in Wehlheiden, Kassel Germay on 16 Nov 1940. Her parents are Heinrich Brand and Catarina Schneider. I have no other information on her parents. Anna married Wilhelm Gossmann on 12 Dec 1886 in Wehlheiden, Kassel Germany. Anna and Wilhelm had 16 children all born in Wehlheiden. Anna was catholic. I would really like to find more information on her parents. I am not sure how to find the catholic records from Wehlheiden. If there is a website that I can look at record please let me know.
Sincerely, Jennifer Bigham
Wehlheiden is a village with the town of Kassel, Germany where family lived in. After I sent the email I had to wait and wonder if I would ever find what I was looking for. Luckily it only took about two and half weeks to receive a response.
Here is the response I received-
Dear Ms. Bigham,
“I have some information for you but it is more like a puzzle than anything else and a little complicated.
Most of the parish records oft he diocese are filmed and in this form hold in our archive; the records are not yet online. Kassel-Wehlheiden has parish records of its own since 1896 but they are not filmed. Before 1896 it belongs to the parish of Kassel, St. Elisabeth so I found the birth record of Anna Elisabeth Brand in the records of Kassel, St. Elisabeth (s. attachment). S he was born 13 August 1865 and baptized 20 August in the church;
Her parents were Heinrich Brand, cow-shepherd (at this time), and (Anna) Catharina Schneider. I didn’t find the marriage of the parents in Kassel, St. Elisabeth but some siblings:
Carl Heinrich Brand, born 10 April 1854, baptized 16 April in the church (he died 17 June 1856), the father is titled as railwayman.
Friedrich Wilhelm Brand, born 20 November 1857, baptized 6 December in the church, his father titled as day labourer.
Karl Heinrich Brand, born 10 October 1861, baptized 27 October in the church (he died 22 April 1862), his father titled as day labourer.
Looking for more information I found two more children:
Anna Friederike Schneider, second illegitimate daughter of Anna Catharina Schneider, born 17 October 1845, baptized 22 October in the „Entbindungsanstalt“, a house/institution where single women could get their child
Marie Friederike Brand, first illegitimate daughter of Anna Catharina Schneider, born 28 October in Cassel, Vinzensstrasse no. 660, baptized 5 November in the church; as father declared Heinrich Brand, at this time working as shoemaker in Wehlheiden.
In this entry the birth date of Anna Catharina Schneider is noticed: she is born 21 April 1823 in Kassel as daughter of Andreas Schneider and his wife Friederike Wilke, whom he seems also to have married after her birth (in German „nachherige Ehefrau“).
Entry (s. attachment): Anna Catharina Schneider was born 21 April 1823 in Kassel as daughter of Andreas Lips (later Schneider Lipsius and simply Schneider) from Kassel and Friederike Wilke from Luechtingen.
I did not find the marriage of the parents.
But I found a sister of Anna Catharina: Maria Theresia Schneider Lipsius, born 6 November 1830 as daughter of Andreas Schneider Lipsius, of protestant confession, and Maria Agnes Wilken (?) from Luechtingen, kingdom of Prussia; Maria Theresia died 28 April 1833.
Anna Catharina Brand (born) Schneider/Lips died 23 November 1893 in Wehlheiden, reported by her son (?) Friedrich. She is declared to be 70 years old, so the birth date of 21 April 1823 fits: s. http://www.lagis-hessen.de/de/subjects/gsearch/sn/pstr?q=wehlheiden&submit=LAGIS-Suche (there exist state-run registration offices in each town since 1875; these documents could be found online).
I did not find the death entry of her husband.
I did not find her death entry in the records of Kassel, St. Elisabeth so I wonder if the records of Wehlheiden separately start earlier than 1896 (my information is out of literature but this could be wrong). I too did not find the marriage entry of Anna Elisabeth Brand 1886 in the records of Kassel, St. Elisabeth, just online via LAGIS as above the death of Katharina Brand. The original records are still in the parish of Wehlheiden.
In her death document is said that she is the daughter of Andreas Schneider, day-labourer, and Friederike Wilke.
I found the death entry of the mother Friederike Schneider 5 January 1847; the family lived in Cassel, Vincenzstreet no. 660 (s. above).
Friederike Schneider, born Wilke, was born 20 August 1792 in Cassel (s. death entry, the catholic records of Cassel start 1808).
I did not find the death entry of her husband Andreas Schneider because he was protestant.
Maybe this is the case for Heinrich Brand too (??).
Maybe you’ll find some more information in the protestant records; those are to be found online (you have to pay for it): https://www.archion.de/de/browse/. (Landeskirchliches Archiv Kassel).
Or you could contact the archive in Kassel therefore: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
I received not only the above information on my family but the Catholic Church records to to go with the information she sent.
This email had so much information on my family but I still had not found the marriage record on my 3rd great-grandparents. The mystery of Brand or Hildebrand was not solved. Don’t get me wrong I was so thrilled with the information and documents I had received. I had added several children to Heinrich and Anna Katharine Brand. I also had added Anna’s parents and two possible siblings to the family.
My next step was to check out archion.de again and see if I could find Heinrich and Anna’s marriage record . I had a better idea of when they married, according to the records I received, they had two illegitimate daughters born 1843 and 1845 and then a legitimate son born in 1854. I still could not find them in the marriage records for that time period.
I decided to email the Luthrean archives to see if they could help me locate the marriage record. This time it only took about three days to receive a response. The informed me where in archion.de that I could locate the marriage record.
Heinrich Brand and Anna Katharina Schneider married in Kassel, Germany on 12 March 1854.
I had now found both Heinrich and Anna’s parents and added to my family tree for my Catholic line. I also was able to find six siblings for Heinrich. As far as I could find Heinrich’s sure name was Brand or sometimes Brandt, which seems common in German surnames for the t to be added or missing.
I am still working to see what I can add to Anna Katherina Schneider’s family as they came from a different state in Germany and since they were Catholic I need to research and see if they have any records available for me to research.
The most amazing part of this is that I offered to make a donation to the Catholic archives for all their work in helping me research this family and they kindly said it was not necessary. The Lutheran archives also has not charged me for my several emails requesting research help. I wold have gladly donated to them or paid a fee for all their help.