Introducing Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner

Sepia Saturday 554. Sixth in a series on my maternal German ancestors, the Stoutners, of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

My maternal great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner — the third wife of Andrew Stoutner Sr.  —  is shown here in an undated studio photo wearing a stunning beaded outfit.

She was born in the mid 1800s in Germany — but as with many of my other immigrant ancestors, there is some mystery about the details.

Undated photo of Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner by Frey Photography of Syracuse, N.Y. My maternal great-great grandmother Christina was born in the mid 1800s in Germany, but as with many of my immigrant ancestors, there is some mystery about the details. Scan by Molly Charboneau

When was Christina born?

Sources below place her birth between 1842 and 1845. While most indicate Christina was born in Germany, the earliest source says she was born in Prussia — the portion of Germany located south of the Baltic Sea.

To find the most accurate birth date, the obvious solution is to locate Christina’s birth or baptismal registration in Germany/Prussia. Ah, if only it were so easy!

With so many family lines to research, I decided years ago that I would focus on tracing each immigrant ancestor from their arrival in the U.S. — so I have not yet researched Christina’s early life. Which leaves me with the sources shown here.

Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s Date of Birth – Sources: FamilySearch (census entries) and family records (death certificate and tombstone photo)
Source Location Name Age Born Birthplace
1870 US census Johnstown, Fulton Co., New York Christina Stoutner 26 1844 (estimated) Prussia
1875 NYS census Johnstown, New York Christina Stoutner 30 1845 (estimated) Germany
1880 US census Gloversville, Fulton Co., New York Cristine Stoutner 35 1845 (estimated) Germany
1900 US census Gloversville, New York Christina Stoutner 56 June 1843 (penned) Germany
1905 NYS census Gloversville, New York Christine Stoutner 61 1844 (estimated) Germany
1910 US census Gloversville, New York Christina Stoutner 65 1845 (estimated) Germany
1915 NYS census Gloversville, New York Christina Stoutner 71 1844 (estimated) Germany
1920 US census Gloversville, New York Christina Stoutner 75 1845 (estimated) Germany
1924 NYS Death Certif. Gloversville, New York Christina Stoutner 81 yrs, 9 mos, 17 days Aug. 1, 1842 (penned) Germany
Tombstone: Prospect Hill Cemetery Gloversville, New York Christina Stoutner, wife of Andrew Stoutner 80 (calculated from engraved date of death: May 17, 1924) Aug. 1, 1844 (engraved)

Estimated, penned and engraved dates

The census is an imprecise genealogical tool, since it was designed to collect demographic data rather than link us to our ancestors. Nevertheless, it does offer clues to point us in the right direction.

At census time, Christina (or a household member) gave her age to the census taker — and her year of birth was later estimated by indexers. As she appears to have a summer birthday (in either June or August) a different birth year — either 1844 or 1845 — might be estimated from her age depending on the month the census was taken.

The 1900 federal census is the only one with a specific month and year for Christina penned in by the census taker (June 1843) — and it varies from the other census returns.

I believe this is a census-taker error, because the same household enumeration in 1900 shows an inaccurate birth year (1863) for Andrew and Christina’s son Andrew Jr., 26. He was actually born in 1875.

Tombstone of Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner, Prospect Hill Cemetery, Gloversville, N.Y. (1992) My best guess is that Christina’s date of birth as engraved on her tombstone — Aug. 1, 1844 — is probably accurate. Photo: Molly Charboneau

Settling for a best guess

The details on Christina’s death certificate were supplied by a funeral director, rather than a family member, so that date-of-birth information is also suspect.

My best guess, until I find additional sources, is that Christina’s date of birth as engraved on her tombstone — Aug.1, 1844 — is probably more accurate. Her children likely supplied the information for the stone at the time of her death/burial — possibly from family records and/or their own knowledge.

Clearly, more research is needed on my great-great grandmother Christina’s birth and early years. For now, on to her life after immigration.

Up next: Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s mysterious U.S. arrival. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s  other Sepia Saturday participants here.

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8 thoughts on “Introducing Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner”

  1. I often find questionable dates when researching persons born before 1850. I suspect home births and delays in recording births and christening made many people unsure of their birth year, much less birthday. I tend to trust the census that was made when someone was age 10 to 25, as I think people have less reason to be mistaken.

    You asked me about finding the name of Old Bull’s ship. The reason his story is so much fun to tell is that as a celebrity his name was always in the newspapers. Whenever entertainers arrived or departed it was news to add to the gossip columns. So that’s how I found the ship searching for his name and “arrival.” Ancestry.com has ship manifests from the 1880s and 1890s but hardly any before the 1870s, and Old Bull’s name did not show up. I’m not sure when immigration records started in the US, but I suspect those older ship logs and customs records are not yet digitized

    1. Thanks for the ship info. I have searched online ships records, but with no success so far. Will keep at it as time allows — particularly since I have a narrow time window for Christina’s arrival to help narrow my search.

  2. Wow – your research is so organized and looks appealing in that list that you’ve created! There is so much to do when it comes to the ancestors, isn’t there?! I like your idea of focusing on “her life after immigration.”

    1. Thanks, Mary Alice. With more and more records being digitized, I am glad I put off researching my ancestors in their countries of origin. There is a better chance now that I might find something when/if I find the time to do that searching.

  3. She lived to be 80 years old – that’s a fairly long life for those times. I hope she was happy and lived it in good health? The dress she wore in the photograph was beautiful. I wonder what color it was? It’s too light to be black or even brown. Hair styles back then for women were so severe though. I often wonder what women in those days would have looked like in todays looser styles?

    1. Yes, Christina had long life filled with family — in her final years living with her oldest son John in Gloversville, N.Y. I have also wondered about her dress. Apparently German women married in a black dress with a white veil, so I wonder if it might have been her wedding outfit. In this photo. she appears older than 22 (her age when she married), but she may have kept the dress in good shape for special occasions — such as a studio photo.

  4. It always surprises me – I don’t know why – that so many people apparently had no knowledge of when they were born. I guess birthday celebrations were not a “thing” then.

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