Telling my family's stories
As I mentioned in the last post, the Berlandi family left no record in their new country that I have been able to find. Sometimes you get lucky – one of your great-grandfather’s brothers wrote his city of birth on his marriage certificate, or your great-great-grandmother’s obituary lists her city of residence. Weird things, like passport applications, or employment records, will have that elusive piece of information.
But the Berlandis and the Rosches are not an easy case. The censuses list “Prussia”, which was an extremely large and changing empire in the 19th century (see ca. 1800 and 1815 and 1871 and 1920 ). There are literally thousands of parishes, both Catholic and Prostestant, so you have to narrow it down.
Enter familysearch.org. This is an especially useful place to go when you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, and when you’ve already put together as much information as you can. With the Berlandis and Rosches, I had the names and approximate birth dates of several Rosche siblings, as well as Phillip Berlandi’s birth. Also, I had two families who had, at least at some point, met up in the old world, since Bernard and Anna Maria had married over there.
At any rate, the needle in a haystack became the work of a few minutes when I found a baptismal record for a Johannes Christophor Rosche, on 21 Jun 1783, in the Catholic parish of Dörrebach, in the Rheinland (just west of Frankfurt), along with another baptismal record for a Christophor Rosche on 4 Jul 1822, s/o Christophor and Anna Maria (Schwickert) Rosche. Although the name is relatively common, the fact that there are two names with dates that match what I already had made it much more likely that I was on the right track. A search for people with the surname Rosche in Dörrebach was the jackpot:
Children of Christopher and Anna Maria (Schwickert) Rosche:
Daughter of Christopher and Elisabetha (Kemmerle) Rosche
9. Maria Josephina, bap. 28 Jun 1830 *
Son of Christopher and Anna Maria (Planz) Rosche
10. Carl Rosche, bap. 27 Feb 1835, *
The children marked with asterisks all correspond to children with the right names and ages on board the Frederick when the Rosches immigrated – these would be the four youngest children, except Gertrude. Anna Maria – the one who married Bernard Berlandi, is missing, as are any other children between 1813 and 1822. There are 3 different women as mothers, so if this is indeed the same Christopher, we would need death and marriage dates.
But wait, there’s more. Searching for Berlandis in Dörrebach, we find a marriage:
And a few months later:
Son of Bernard Barlandy and Anna Maria Rosche
Ah, success!! Now of course I ordered the microfilm to look at the parish records myself. The transcriptions are lovely – but they are just a transcription, and a lot of information gets lost or is incomplete.
The parish records have some lovely things. For example, next to the Berlandi-Rosche marriage and the baptism of Philip is written a note about emigration:
Also notice that on the baptismal record, Philip is the name of the witness to the baptism. This turns out to be the normal practice in the parish, so looking at the original records allows one to find all the namesakes (who were, very often of course, also family members).
The lack of information about children born between 1813 and 1822 is because those records were kept in a different book – and are thus on a different microfilm, which I have yet to see.
And finally, we can construct the following tree:
If you’re connected to this family – let me know, as I have images of most of these records!