Catching up with the Sturmwalds

Years ago I struggled with conflicting information about second great grandmother, Eliza Sturmwald Lustig, and the name of her mother.

On Eliza’s death certificate, her mother is listed as Charlotte Newmann. On her marriage certificate, the name of Eliza’s mother appears to be Janetta Shyck. After some time thinking about it, with no other information to confirm, I moved onto other areas of research. Here’s what I did know.

Note: I’ve made some major changes to this website in the past week. Following a hack on my server, I decided to completely revamp the site. It’s now known as “Cousinist,” and I’ve made major upgrades to the software and design. I hope you enjoy it.

  • Eliza was born in 1855 in New York City, and her father was David Sturmwald.
  • By 1860, David was listed in the census in New York with a family that included his daughter Eliza, and his wife, Rose.
  • In the 1900 census, David is listed as widowed, and Rosa (or Rose) is David’s wife.
  • Rosa Newman Sturmwald died in New York on 14 Feb 1898.

At some point later, though, I came across a death record on FamilySearch for Charlotte Sturmwald, who passed away on Long Island in 1857. The document was available on microfilm from the Family History Library, so I ordered it to be delivered to a local Family History Center. Unfortunately, the record didn’t provide much additional biographical information.

So there was a Charlotte Sturmwald in New York, and she could have been Eliza’s mother. The timing of her death would be before David and presumably Rosa gave birth to their first child together, Eliza’s (potentially half) brother, Samuel.

In the mean time, I worked with a researcher and professional genealogist in Germany — someone who was local to Bavaria (Bayern), the region in which the Sturmwald family lived during the 19th century, Dr. Ekkehard Hübschmann. I had posted a query in the “GerSig” email list for genealogical research in Germany. Dr. Hübschmann responded, answering some questions, and offering to handle on-site research.

He agreed to visit local archives to locate records pertaining to the Sturmwald family. The result was quite professional and informative, and it confirmed a connection between two Sturmwald branches I had not been able to connect on my own.

But further details on the Sturmwald family once they (at different times) emigrated out of Europe were outside his scope.

More recently, yet another FamilySearch discovery pointed me in the direction of closure. This is why it’s valuable to check back with resources. These services like FamilySearch and Ancestry.com continue to update their collections and indexes.

A new result came up for a misspelling of David Sturmwald, indicating that he and Jeanette Shener were married on 18 Nov 1855 in Manhattan. (Now FamilySearch even includes the images of the record online — but you have to access the website from within a Family History Center to see anything.

Thanks to a newly received marriage license for Joseph Landes and Eliza’s first daughter, Sadie (Sarah), I discovered that this wife’s middle name was Charlotte, and therefore she’s named after her grandmother.

Once I’ve collected a sufficiently long list of documents accessible only from a Family History Center, I’ll make a trip to the closest branch and collect more records, like the marriage certificate for David Sturmwald and Jeanette Shener.

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