January 14, 2011

Striking gold in Salt Lake City

I’m writing this from Utah, where I’m attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) this week. I’m learning a lot from the class that Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, is teaching on “American Records and Research,” and having fun talking genealogy with classmates and friends. But another great thing about being here is the chance to do research at the Family History Library. I’m spending virtually every spare minute there.

Yesterday, after cranking many rolls of microfilm, I loaded up #1514064 and made an exciting discovery: my great-great-grandparents’ marriage record. There it was, plain as day, in the record book of St. Peter’s German Evangelical Church in Cincinnati. Yes! Although the family has an oral tradition that John George Herrel and Wilhelmina Mueller were married here in the U.S. after emigrating separately from Germany, no one has seen a marriage document, and the date was unknown. They came too late for the 1880 census, so aren't found until 1900 in Cincinnati. Since the Hamilton County Courthouse was completely destroyed by fire in 1884, a church source like this may be the only surviving record.

Even though it is written in German, and I have no skill or experience in reading the language, it's not hard to decipher. Here’s what it looks like:

They’re number 12 on the page. The microfilm is a little streaked, but my (admittedly rough) translation is:

(married)   Johann Herrel with Mina Mueller
(marriage date)  25th January 1883
(license date)     25th January 1883

I think the last column is for the clergyman, but can’t make out his name. Any ideas?

I can’t wait to show this to my Herrel relatives at home. We had a big reunion last summer, so I know they’ll be interested. And as exciting as this strike was, I found some equally interesting nuggets on different family lines. But since there’s still a lot to do and only a little time left, those will be stories for another day…

Source: St. Peter’s German Evangelical Church (Cincinnati, Ohio), “Copulationen, Confirmanten, St. Peters Gemeinde, Angefangen 1874,” p. 152, no. 12, Johann Herrel and Mina Mueller (1883); Family History Library microfilm #1514064, citing original records at Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio).


  1. What a beautiful citation, Shelley, to go with your exciting find!

  2. Congratulations, Shelley!

    Christy Fillerup

  3. Shelley, the word in the last column appears to be "derselba" (perhaps an Americanized spelling of "derselbe") meaning "the same." The pastor's name from the previous record is Pohlmeyer (with what looks like a quickly drawn umlaut - over the "y" perhaps?). It may be more carefully written on previous pages. Congrats on finding the marriage record!

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Doug! I still hadn't figured that out, so your keen eyes and translation skills are much appreciated.


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