German Genealogy

Wilhelm Gossmann and Anna Elizabeth Brand and their 16 children.

Wilhelm and Anna are my great grandparents from Germany. I knew nothing about my German family and when my mom and grandmother (Anne Burghardt) visited with my grandmother’s sister and was given a copy of the Gossmann family book. It was filled with information. Wilhelm Gossman was born in Kassel Germany on 13 July 1862 and Anna Elizabeth Brand was born in Welheiden, Kassel, Germany on 13 August 1865.

Wilhelm Gossmann.
Right to Left Anna Elizabeth Brand and her daughter Anne Gossmann.
This is a page out of the Gossmann family book. My grandmother translated the information for me. My grandmother told me that Anna was superstitious and changed her birthday date to the 14th. You can see in the middle of the second page were she crossed out the 13th. and put in the 14th. The other thing to note on this document is the fact that Kassel used to be spelled Cassel. When I learned this it really helped me in my research.

Wilhelm and Anna married on 28 October 1886 and then had a Church marriage on 25 December 1886. It seems to be common in Germany to be married in a civil ceremony first and then have a Church marriage later.

Gossmann family book, information on parents of the groom and bride. Father of the groom Jost Heinrich Gossmann died in Wehlheiden 30 March 1885. Mother of the groom Katerina Charlotte Beyer. Father of the bride Heinrich Brand died in Wehlheiden. Mother of the bride Katherina Schneider died in Wehlheiden.

Wilhelm and Anna had 16 children, I think this is the most children I have found in my family tree. They had two children before they were married. This may explain the reason to marry in a civil ceremony first.

Gossmann children from the Gossmann family book.

  1. Martha Catherina born 2 April 1884 in Wehlheiden, Kassel, Germany. She married Paul Richard Kuhn on 17 February 1904 Wehleheiden, Kassel, Germany. Paul was born 7 March 1880 in Freideburg, Amthshaupt, Germany. He died 24 April 1952 in Oberkaufugern Germany. I have not found Martha’s death date or any children for Martha and Paul yet.
  2. Lisa born 11 June 1886 in Wehlheiden Germany. This is the only information I know on her.
  3. Gertrude born 2 August 1888 and died 30 August 1888 in Wehlheiden Germany. She is the first of several children to die.
  4. Anna Martha Elizabeth born 18 September 1889 in and died 6 June 1897 at the age of 7 years old. She was born and died in Wehlheiden, Gemany
  5. Frieda Wilhelmina was Anna Martha’s twin born 18 September 1889 and also died 9 May 1897 both in Wehlheiden, Germany.
  6. Henrietta born 26 February 1891 in Wehlheiden, Kassel, Germany and married Johann Christoph Steinmentz on 1 November 1913 in Kassel, Germany.
  7. Friedrich Wilhelm was the first son born to Wilhem and Anna. He was born 6 January 1893 in Wehlheiden, Kassel, Germany and married Anna Barbara Auguste Elizabeth Marie Markus on 14 June 1919 in Kassel, Germany.
  8. Johanna Christine was born 8 April 1895 in Wehlheiden, Kassel, Germany and died 15 March 1897 at almost two years.
  9. Elizabeth was born 7 February 1898 and died 24 May 1916 in Wehlheiden, Kassel, Germany.
  10. Baby girl- born 8 February 1900 and died 9 February 1900 in Wehlheiden, Kassel, Germany. On her birth record it says Machen Gossmann ohne Vornamen, which translates as Girl Gossmann without first name.
  11. Augustha born 27 August 1901 and died 2 October 1901 in Wehlheiden, Kassel, Germany.
  12. Anna born 30 September 1902 in Kassel, Germany and married Ernst Karl Hermann Stohr on 25 June 1952. Anna died 8 April 1973.
  13. August was born 28 November 1903 in Kassel, Germany and died 31 July 1904 in Kassel, Germany.
  14. Erna Lina (My great grandmother) was born 2 April 1905 in Kassel, Germany and married August Heinrich Burghardt on 24 December 1925 in Kassel. They had 4 daughters Anna Marie Elizabeth, Anne (my grandmother) and twins Traudel and Gredel.
  15. Christoph Lorenz born 19 April 1906 in Kassel, Germany and married Elizabeth Luisa Jahn on 25 November 1933 in Kassel. Christoph died in Versa Finland on 6 August 1941. I assume he was in the military and died while fighting in Finland but have no information on his service or how he died.
  16. Heinrich Willy born 16 Nov 1908 in Kassel, Germany. As of today I have no more information on Heinrich.

In 24 years they had 16 children including one set of twins. They lost four children as infants, one child at about a year old, their twin girls died within a month of each other at age 7 and they lost an 18 year old daughter. Wilhelm died at the age of 54 years old on 1 April 1917 in Wehlheiden, Kassel, Germany and Anna died at the age of 75 on 16 November 1940 in Kassel, Germany.

Back Row-Anneliese Burghardt, Anne Gossmann, Erna Lina Gossmann. Front tow Traudel, Anne and Gredel Burghardt. Erna Lina and Anna are sisters and the kids are Erna Lina’s four daughters.

I am still in the process of locating more information on the children of Wilhelm and Anna and what happened to them. While it is sad that they lost so many of their children they also had so many live to adult hood, marry and have families.

14 thoughts on “Wilhelm Gossmann and Anna Elizabeth Brand and their 16 children.”

  1. Wow, that is a lot of children! And it is so special that you have those photographs and documents for your great-grandparents’ family. It must have been so exciting to discover your German heritage!


  2. I cannot imagine having 16 children. I loved seeing the German docs and scripts. (I speak German but don’t have German ancestors. My hubby has a couple though.)

    Thanks for sharing this.


    1. Thanks I do not speak German but can read some of the old German script. My grandmother was the first of her family to come to the US from Germany another sister also followed her but so far those are the only ones I know of the left Germany.


  3. 16 children is a lot for one woman, but with the child mortality rate so high, many parents buried a lot of young children. How wonderful it is that your family book has continued to be passed down through descendants. I wish my family had passed on one (or many!) of those books.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In kingdom of Prussia and a few other German kingdoms and shires the governments decided in the 1860s that the only legal binding person’s status records are done and kept by the respective kingdom/status. This was done by establishing civil status offices in towns and cities. These offices were responsible for birth certificates, marriage certificates and death certificates. All this occurred in the course of separation of power and responsibilities between state and church. Church continued with their previous practices on birth, confirmation, marriage, and death. One reason was that church got documentation to raise state independent fees and taxes from the members of their congregations/parishes.
    As result of separation of state and church both requested separate marriage ceremonies in church (not legally binding) and in front of a qualified state officer of civil status office of residence of marriage willing couple.

    After foundation of Deutsches Kaiserreich in 1871 the civil status offices were rolled out and established everywhere in Germany over the following years (did take until approx. 1876). The civil status offices later also received the responsibilty of issuing IDs, passports. And by government order everybody has to register his/her residency within 3 days after taking residence in village, town, city. Same has to de-register residence the latest on day you leave (or within 3 days of death, family/descendants have to de-register) I think it was after WW1 that the tasks on residence registering and passport/ID issuing were transferred to a new administrative city office, the registration office.

    Hope clarifies the “customs” of having 2 marriage ceremonies. Often the marriage at civil status office occurs first, usually on the day prior to marriage in church. But “State” marriage can occur much earlier, the latest on day of church marriage. The civil status office also issues(d) and hands(ed) out the family book (also called Stammbuch) to the fresh married.

    Liked by 1 person

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