Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Kaufmans of Baltimore-- and Raboldshausen, Germany

I wrote earlier about Kaufman Kaufman, one of my nieces' favorite "family tree stories."  He was the brother of their 4th great grandmother, Amelia Kaufman Schwerin.  The Kaufman family immigrated to Baltimore in 1853, and since my family all arrived in the 20th century, I've been fascinated with the research opportunities available for earlier immigrants.  But could I trace the family further back to Europe?
Kaufman Family Ship Manifest; February 1853

The Kaufman family sailed from Breman, Germany and arrived at the Port of Baltimore in February 1853.  Parents Moses (aged 44) and Merle (40) came with seven children:
  • Henrietta, 13
  • David, 11
  • Caroline, 9
  • Edward, 9 (this was actually Ettel, who went by Adeline in the US)
  • Esther, 7 (who went by both Esther and Hester in the US)
  • Kaufman, 5
  • Minna, 3 (Amelia in the US, my nieces' 4th great grandmother)
Siblings Louis, Lina and Ida were born in Baltimore.
1860 United States Census; Baltimore, MD
In 1860, Moses and Mary (Merle and Marle in subsequent documentation) were living in Baltimore City, where Moses was a furniture dealer.  Moses, Merle, and the children through Louis were listed as being born in "H Cassel Germany," which is Hesse-Kassel.  Combining the Raboldshausen from the manifest with Hesse-Kassel pinpoints the Kaufman's original town as right in the center of modern-day Germany, northeast of Frankfurt and south of Hanover:
Raboldshausen, Germany
Enter the German SIG.  They have been indexing the Hessen Gatermann Index, and some of the records already completed and searchable online are from Raboldshausen!  They also link to original images of the records.

Among the records there were birth records for all of the children who immigrated to Baltimore!
Mink (later Amelia Schwerin) Kaufman Birth; February 7, 1849; Raboldshausen, Germany
Moses' profession is given as "merchant" in each of his children's birth records.  Also, in the far-right column of each record is a notation that the individual emigrated to America.  And each record mentions the mother Merle's maiden name, Wallach.  So who were Moses and Merle's parents?  There was no marriage record for Moses and Merle in the already-transcribed Raboldshausen records.  So I decided to check out graves and death certificates for parents' names.

The couple was buried in Baltimore Hebrew Congregation's old cemetery on Belair Road.  The graves were close to the entrance and easy to find.
Moses and Marle Kaufman Graves
There were no parents' names on either of the Kaufman parents' graves.  So how about their death certificates?
Moses Kaufman Death Certificate; Baltimore, Maryland; 1886
Merle Kaufman Death Certificate; Baltimore, Maryland; 1898
Unfortunately during the years that Moses and Merle died, there was no place on the certificates with asked for parents' names. So for now that's a brick wall.  I'd welcome any other ideas; I do have Moses' very extensive will, but there's no mention of his parents' names, and the cemetery didn't have any more information than what was posted on the grave.

Note:  I recently joined Twitter.  Feel free to follow me (@larasgenealogy).
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  1. Yahrzeit boards in their shul or in their children's shuls.

    1. Ah, good idea! I think I'll have to make another call to Baltimore Hebrew....

  2. Hi!
    My great-great grandfather, Julius Abraham Schwerin, was born in Kurnick, Prussia in 1812. I know he was married to Caroline Saures in Charleston SC on December 10, 1841 by Rev Mr Poznanski as compliled in Jewish Marriage notices of Charleston SC, 1917. I am trying to find info on when/where he entered US. I was excited to see "Schwerin" in your post.