Thursday, August 04, 2005

Carl Kolm, Holländer

The marriage of Heinrich "Carl" Emanuel Kolm and Christine "Maria" Maack in 1829 was recorded in the Hagenow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin parish records. On that record, Carl Heinrich was described as a "Holländer". At first glance, this designation seems obvious: a Holländer is someone from Holland. That is the definition given by German-English dictionaries. Unfortunately, in this case, the translation is wrong.

Extract from the Hagenow Parish Records
Carl Kolm and Maria Maack marriage record

An important clue is the field in which the term is entered: Beruf. A Beruf is a "occupation". It is the field labeled "Wohnort" that shows were the person is living. In this case, Carl Kolm lived in Bakendorf, a village near Hagenow.

So what occupation is a Holländer? If you look up the term in German dictionaries, particularly those with more archaic terms, you learn that a Holländer is also a term to describe a particular type of dairyman.
"östlich von der Elbe der milchwirtschafter auf einem gute, meist pächter."(definition from the Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm)
In English, that means "east of the Elbe River, the dairyman (or "milk manager") on a farm, usually tenants".

The term appears to have originated in the 1600s, when emigrants came east from Holland, initially settling in the Dutchies of Schleswig and Holstein and the marshes of the Elbe river. These "Dutchmen" introduced new techniques for processing milk. They usually leased the cows on a "Gut", being responsible for milking and selling the dairy products. As the practice spread, the term "Holländer" became associated with the dairymen themselves.

In 19th century Mecklenburg-Schwerin, a "Gut" was a large piece of land owned by a rich landlord, and farmed by "Pächter" (tenants). The way I envision a "Gut", it is closer to an "estate" than what I think of as a farm.

Translation of the extract from the marriage register:
Year: 1829 Page: 39/40 Date: 10th February
Groom: Kolm, Heinrich Carl Emanuel; Profession: Holländer; residence: Bakendorf; status: single
Bride: Maack, Catharina Maria; residence: Hagenower Heide; status: single
Father of the groom: deceased Holländer Jürgen Heinrich Kolm of Melkof
Father of the bride: "tree caretaker" (forester?), Joachim Maack in Hagenower Heide

Was ist ein Holländer? (in German, Google English Translation)
GenWiki entry for Holländer (in German)
Mecklenburg Rural Life Museums from the Garling Mecklenburg genealogy page (see the FAQ).
Map of Mecklenburg showing Bakendorf

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Did the Lüneburg family come to America in 1852 on the ship George Canning?

We know that Maria Dorothea Caroline "Doris" Lüneburg (born September 2, 1842) came to America from Mecklenburg with her family some time before 1860. In that year, most of the Luneburg family was living in Middleton in Dane County, Wisconsin. Unfortunatelty, Different records list different years for the Luneburg immigration to America.

According to Doris's obituary, she came to America at "age 8" (about 1850 or 1851). The 1900 Census says 1853 and the 1920 Census says 1850. Records of her siblings suggest the family arrived in America in about 1851.

The newly released database of ship passenger lists from Castle Garden in New York includes one possible listing for the Lüneburg (or Luenburg) family:

The ship George Canning left from Hamburg, arriving at Castle Garden on July 30, 1852:

Name ______________ Occupation Age Sex
HANS ___ LUENNEBURG Unknown 44 M
ANNA ___ LUENNEBURG Unknown 46 F

This is a very close (but not exact) match to our Luneburg family:

- Carl Friedrich "Wilhelm" Luneburg (born Dec 1807) - age 44 in July 1852 (age matches, name does not)
- Anna Sophia Dorothea (Klauck) Luneburg (born Feb 1804) - age 48 (age close, name matches)
- George Luneburg (born about 1833) - about age 19 (age match, name close)
- Marie "Mary" Luneburg (born about 1834) - about age 18 (age match, name match)
- Friedrich "Fritz" Luneburg (born Feb 1838) - age 14 (age and name match)
- Heinrich "Henry" J. Luneburg (born Nov 1840 or 1841) - age 11 (age close, name match)
- Maria Dorothea Caroline "Doris" Luneburg (born Sept 1842) - age 9 (age close, name match)

It is possible that ages (and to a lesser extent names) were either written incorrectly in the passenger list, or transcribed incorrectly into this database. Hopefully further research will clarify whether this is our Luneburg family.


Description of the George Canning (with picture)
Passenger list of the George Canning from November 1852 (showing many passengers from Mecklenburg)

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Monday, August 01, 2005

When did Henry Kolm come to America?

According to a family story, when Carl Heinrich Christian "Henry" Kolm came to America, he first stopped in New York, then took a ship to New Orleans. After sailing up the Mississippi River, he got off the boat in Mendota - unfortunately it was Mendota, Illinois, rather than his goal, Mendota, Wisconsin. What we don't know is when Henry Kolm arrived in America. Some records indicate that he may have arrived in 1859.

Carl Heinrich Christian "Henry" Kolm married Maria Dorothea Caroline "Doris" Luneburg on June 23, 1862 in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin. At that time, Henry was living in Middleton, working as a carpenter. It is unclear how long Henry lived in Wisconsin prior to his marriage. According to the 1900 census, he arrived in America in 1859, but do we have any evidence of this?


If Henry Kolm arrived in America in 1859, he should be listed in the 1860 U.S. Census. Searches for "Henry Kolm" do not turn up any entries. However, the name "Kolm" is not very common, and census transcribers (and indexers) often spell it wrong. A common mistranscription is "Kohn", since a handwritten lm looks very much like a handwritten hn. Many other spellings are found as well (Kollm, Kelm, even Rolm, when "K" is mistaken for "R").

In the 1860 Census there IS a Henry "Kuehn" living in Madison, Wisconsin (page 456):

Levi S. Vilas _ 49 M __ farmer _____ Vermont
Ester --- ____ 40 F _______________ Vermont
William --- ___ 20 M __ Attorney ___ Vermont
Henry --- _____ 18 M _______________ Vermont
Levi --- ______ 16 M _______________ Vermont
Charles --- ___ 14 M _______________ Vermont
Edward ---- ___ 7 M _______________ Wisconsin
Henry Kuehn ___ 23 M ___ Laborer ___ Germany
Margret Malene _20 F ___ servant ___ Germany
Rebecka Merricin 20 F __ servant ___ Connecticut

Henry 1860?The handwriting on this entry is difficult to read, and Henry's last name could be Kuihn, Kuelm, or some other variant (it's indexed as Kucker).

Is this our Henry? Without additional information it's almost impossible to know.

Castle Garden Immigration Records.

Castle Garden, located at the tip of Manhattan, was the first official immigration center in America, and operated until the opening of Ellis Island in 1892. The Castle Garden database includes ship passenger lists from 1830-1913.

A search of the database turns up one Kolm entry from the late 1850s or early 1860s: W. and Dorothea Kolm, ages 32 and 30, who arrived from Germany on 6/21/1861 on the ship Electric. This is probably Henry's brother William and Dorothea (Wetger) Kolm, who settled in Two Rivers, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.

A search for likely spelling variants turns up a possible entry on the passenger list of the Ship Oder, that arrived in New York on June 15, 1859:

Christ. Kohn Carpenter 22 M Germany

Why is this a likely entry?

- Henry's full name was Carl Heinrich CHRISTIAN Kolm, so it is not unreasonable that he could be listed as Christian.

- "Christ. Kohn" was a carpenter, as was Henry Kolm

- Henry Kolm was born in August 1837, so he would almost have been 22 in June 1859.

- The ship Oder left from the Hamburg, which probably would have been the closest port to Henry's home in Warlow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin. (more about Mecklenburg emigration)

Further research (perhaps in the Mecklenburg-Schwerin permissions to emigrate) is required to determine whether the listings in the 1860 Census and on the ship Oder are our ancestor.

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