I am beginning to cross the Atlantic for the first time (in a genealogical sense) with the Schutz family. I received some very helpful e-mails from someone who was kind enough to explain much about tracing families back to Germany and the kingdoms that preceded it. Below are the contents of two of those e-mails.
To start, you have to be aware that like the U.S., Germany has always been made up of states. We’re talking here about the southern German state of Bavaria (in German: Bayern), the capital of which is the city of Munich. Bavaria covers an area about half that covered by the U.S. state of New York.
The religious denomination is just the information I needed. There are three Dettendorfs in the state of Bavaria, but two of them are Catholic towns, so you can cross those off your list. That leaves the one Lutheran Dettendorf, which is the Dettendorf August Schutz would have had to have come from.
August Schutz was from the village of Dettendorf located in the region of western Bavaria known as Middle Franconia (in German: Mittelfranken), the administrative seat of which is the city of Ansbach, and the largest city in which is Nuremberg. The nearest larger city is to Dettendorf is Neustadt an der Aisch (Neustadt on the Aisch). There was large-scale emigration from this area to America back in the 1800s.
It’s important for you to know that Dettendorf is no longer an independent village. Back in 1970s, Dettendorf was annexed by the nearby town of Diespeck. So today, Dettendorf is a section of Diespeck.
German churches in the United States tended to keep rather detailed records. So I would suggest as your next step requesting a copy of August’s church marriage record. I know the German churches in New York well, so if you could scan and send me the full city marriage record as an e-mail attachment, I’m sure I’ll be able to tell you what church he and his wife got married at.
The marriage certificate confirms something I had suspected. It has to do with your last name. In Germany, your last name is Schütz — written with two dots, called in German an “Umlaut”, over the “u”. Schütz is a very common name in Germany. The rule in German is that if the “Umlaut” is left off of a vowel where it should be, the “Umlaut” gets replaced with the letter “e”. Thus, Schütz should have become Schuetz in America. In your case, somebody — whether August himself or one or more of his children — apparently decided to simply drop the “Umlaut” here in America without replacing it with the letter “e”. So technically speaking, you spell your last name incorrectly.The “Umlaut” is very important in German. In German, Schütz or Schuetz is pronounced completely differently than “Schutz” would be pronounced. The “Umlaut” will completely change the meaning of a word as well. For example, “schön” or “schoen” is the German word for “beautiful”, whereas “schon” is the German word for “already”. And again, “schön” or “schoen” is pronounced completely differently than “schon” is pronounced.
I note from the marriage record that Louisa (in German: Luise) Kettner was from the town of Wildbad (pronounced: VILT-baht), located in what was until 1945 the southwestern German state of Württemberg — or if written without the “Umlaut” over the “u”, Wuerttemberg — the capital of which was the city of Stuttgart. Wuerttemberg covers an area about the same as that covered by the U.S. states of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. The people of Wuerttemberg are called Swabians (in German: Schwaben).
Wildbad is a spa located in the northern part of the famous Black Forest (in German: Schwarzwald), about 40 miles west of Stuttgart. Since 1991, Wildbad’s official name has been Bad Wildbad. “Bad” — pronounced: BAHT — is the German word for “bath”. All spas in Germany begin with “Bad”. The reason why this wasn’t the case with Wildbad until 1991 is simply because the name “Wildbad” already contains the word “Bad”.
Following World War II, the state of Baden (capital: Karlsruhe), the state of Wuerttemberg, and the very small Prussian province of Hohenzollern (capital: Sigmaringen) combined to form today’s postwar southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg (Baden-Wuerttemberg), with the city of Stuttgart as its capital. Today’s Baden-Wuerttemberg covers an area a little smaller than that covered by the U.S. states of Maryland and Delaware combined.
One historical note: Until 1918 and the abolition of the German monarchies following World War I, both Bavaria and Wuerttemberg were Kingdoms; that is, the reigning monarch of each was a King.
August and Louisa were married at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in the old village of Edgewater in Staten Island. (Staten Island, like Brooklyn and Queens, became part of New York City in 1898, at which time Staten Island’s towns and villages were of course abolished.) The pastor at the time was Charles Goehling. You could contact the church and request a copy of the church marriage record. The church marriage record might possibly include the maiden names of August and Louisa’s mothers, which the civil marriage record does not include. The church is now in the process of putting the old records online, but at this point, the marriage records available online go back only as far as 1882. Here is the contact information for the church:
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
309 St. Pauls Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10304
phone: (718) 447-0526
Just a word about August Schütz’s religious denomination: You said in your reply to me on the GenForum message board that it was your “educated guess” that he was a Protestant and not a Roman Catholic. Well, had he been a Catholic, I doubt very much that he would have gotten married in a Lutheran church, particularly not back in those days. So I think you can forget the “educated guess”. I think you can say very definitely that August was a Protestant and not a Catholic.