the grumpy genealogist

Arriving home Sunday night, after a fun day of Easter Egg hunting and wiffle ball games, I had an interesting email waiting for me. A woman found my family tree in an online search, and contacted me about a possible family relation.

She had a letter written in German by my wife's great-great-great aunt to a possible daughter in Alabama. I was not aware of this daughter, but knew the aunt was head of a blended family, and that she moved from Texas to Ohio before 1860.

Here is our correspondence, and how we reunited distant cousins:

Sunday, 8 April 2012 

My name is Dorothy Elizabeth

We have found no proof of this, but it is an assumption our great-grandmother was Caroline Kuchenbuch and was the daughter of Theresa and sister of Charles. We have letters written from both of them to Caroline in 1868.

We have Caroline's birth date as Jan 1834, died Feb 1872. She married John Nolte in Galveston, Texas in April 1855. I have an 1860 Census report on them as living in Alabama. She and John had 8 children, Mary, their 7th, was my grandmother.

There is no mention of Caroline in your family tree.

Thank you, Dorothy Elizabeth


Sunday, 8 April 2012

Hi Dorothy,

John Kuchenbuch and Theresa Rust did not marry until 1842, but John had a first wife who died in Germany. So it is possible that your great-grandmother, Caroline Kuchenbuch, was the step-daughter of Theresa and a half-sister to Charles.

My main research has been on Theresa and the Rust family, but here are some people researching the Kuchenbuch family -

Jim  <email>

Edith  <email>

I am copying this email to them. In the mean time, can you send me scans of Caroline's letters? I'd love to see them.

Good luck, and let me know if anything turns up.



Monday, 9 April 2012

Thanks for your reply. I had wondered if Caroline belonged to someone else or had been born before marriage.

Wow, does this searching never end, About the time you feel like you have it pretty much sewed up, wham, here comes something else.

I will send the letters this PM. Do you want the German and translations or are you able to read the old German Script?

Thanks again, have a good day.

Betty (my alias)


Monday, 9 April 2012

Nice to meet you, Betty

I'd like both versions, as my German is only so-so.

Yes, there are many twists and turns in this search, and it's easy to be thrown off track. The researchers I mentioned earlier are descendants of Charles. They found a half-brother, Henry, who remained in Texas and changed his last name to "Cookenboo." Henry Cookenboo was a seaman by trade, and joined the Confederate Navy during the Civil War.

I don't know if they've run across Caroline before, but I'm sure they will be interested in her story.




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