Wohlgemuths of Prussia

Earlier blog posts identified Stargard as possible Wohlgemuth town

Review what was written here about the Wohlgemuths in April 2012. 



The second post concerns a West Prussian citizenship law of 1812 that affected the lives of area Jews in important ways. The law made some Jews eligible for Prussian citizenship, giving them legal status and protection from persecution. Among the requirements to qualify, Jewish families were required to take on Western-style surnames instead of the patrilineal naming style that Jews had practiced for centuries. Before the coming of surnames, Jewish men were known by the combination their own name and their father's name. 

In 2012, I had discovered 10 instances of Wohlgemuths on the 1812 citizenship list. I found they were clustered in towns to the southwest of Danzig and even made a map to show the distribution of towns. Two of the Wohlgemuths on the list, Moses Solomon Wohlgemuth and Herz Moses Wohlgemuth, were from the town of Stargard Gdanski, a sizable town 40 miles south and west of Danzig. 

Since we have now learned from his marriage certificate that our ancestor Isaak Wohlgemuth was born in Preuss Stargard (in 1865), it seems logical to assume that Isaak and his father Leopold must descend from one of the Wohlgemuths from Stargard on the 1812 list. 

Berlin Landesarchiv collected the new family records

Why did the Wohlgemuth-Katz records recently become available? For two wonderful reasons. 

First, a 2009 amendment to civil status law designated the Berlin Landesarchiv as the agency to centralize disparate historical records and make them available to the public. Second, a Landesarchiv project begun in 2014 to put many records online via a partnership with the German office of Ancestry.com. 

So all the info I found yesterday was made available on Ancestry beginning sometime in 2015. The same information is also available on a German genealogy site, probably also recently published.

The Landesarchiv has reading rooms open to the public at their building in a former munitions factory in Borsigwalde in North Berlin near the Eichborndamm S-Bahn stop. This is also the place where the German liquidated-business database project was conducted. I don't think there is any reason for Jo to go there on her last day. Probably I would spend time in these archives if I visit next year.

Wohlgemuth-Katz family names and towns

Here's a summary of the new Wohlgemuth-Katz information. 

Elly Ringel's father was Isaak Wohlgemuth, born 1865 in Stargard near Danzig. His parents were Leopold Wohlgemuth (dates unknown) and Friederike Paechter (1938-1910, died in Danzig). Isaak had a sister Rosa (or Roza). 

Elly's mother was Betty Katz, born 1875 in Kolberg, West Prussia, about 150 miles west of Danzig on the Baltic coast. Betty's parents were Kolberg merchant Louis Levin Katz (b. 1839) and Henriette Müllerheim (b. 1849). Betty had a sister Klara born a year later and then Henriette died the year after that at age 28. Louis remarried and the children were raised by the second wife Paula Perl Lewy. Paula also died when Betty was 18 and Louis took a third wife, Bertha. 

Betty and Isaak were married in Kolberg in April 1898. By now, he was living in Elbing near to Danzig, and that is where they began married life together. Their first child was Elly Wohlgemuth, born July 3, 1901 in Elbing. A second daughter Hilda Wohlgemuth was born Jan. 20, 1906 in Danzig. 

Betty's sister Klara married Siegfried Jacobson in 1904, but there is no record of children. 

We had heard information that Isaak was in business in Königsberg, 100 miles to the east, and that the family lived there. That is possible, but pending some evidence about Königsberg I'm inclined to believe the family stayed in either Elbing or Danzig until they later moved to Berlin when Elly was of marriageable age. 

Isaak died in 1929 and is buried at Wiessensee. I am pretty sure his sister Rosa is buried near to him. 

Yad Vashem has a centralized database of Shoah victims that includes all or most of those deported on more than 60 transports from Berlin to the east between October 1941 and early 1945. I can't find our Betty Katz Wohlgemuth in the database. 

Found! Wohlgemuth-Katz marriage certificate

Following up on Joanne's question about Bette Wohlgemuth, I just found the March 28 1898 marriage certificate for Isaak Wohlgemuth and Betty Katz. Wow! It has names of both of their parents. The marriage took place in Kolberg in West Pomerania, Prussia, today Kolobrzeg in Poland. There is also a new town, Stargard, for the Wohlgemuth family.

The image is attached in a large size so you can make out the names and places. None of this was available when I have looked previously. Some new collection must have recently been added (hat tip to Ancestry). 

Here is the vital info. Look at those new ancestor names! I'll put this in context in an upcoming post.

Isaak Wohlgemuth
Gender: männlich (Male)
Marriage Age: 32
Event Type: Heirat (Marriage)
Birth Date: 29 Okt 1865 (29 Oct 1865)
Marriage Date: 28 Mrz 1898 (28 Mar 1898)
Marriage Place: Kolberg, Preußen (Germany) [Polen (Poland)] 
Civil Registration Office: Kolberg, Krs Kolberg-Körlin
Father: Leopold Wohlgemuth
Mother: Friederike Paechter
Spouse: Bettÿ Katz
Certificate Number:    23

Name: Bettÿ Katz
Gender: weiblich (Female)
Marriage Age: 23
Event Type: Heirat (Marriage)
Birth Date: 1 Jan 1875
Marriage Date: 28 Mrz 1898 (28 Mar 1898)
Marriage Place: Kolberg, Preußen (Germany) [Polen (Poland)] 
Civil Registration Office: Kolberg, Krs Kolberg-Körlin
Father: Louis Katz
Mother: Henriette Müllerheim
Spouse: Isaak Wohlgemuth
Certificate Number:    23


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