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.
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)
|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.
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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