Sepia Saturday 558. Tenth in a series on my maternal German ancestors, the Stoutners, of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.
The marriage of my German immigrant great-great grandparents Andrew and Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner got off to a difficult start with the tragic October 1868 death of 7-month-old baby Rose — their first child together.
The couple was already co-parenting William, 6, and Mary Elizabeth, 4 — Andrew’s children with his second wife Elizabeth, who died in 1865. Now, the blended Stoutner family had to begin a new period of mourning for a lost child/sibling.
Fortunately, Rose’s passing came at a time when mourning rituals were changing in the wake of the U.S. Civil War. Mourning periods grew shorter and there was more focus on looking to the future – with cemeteries designed like parks to encourage family visits.
Prospect Hill Cemetery in Gloversville, N.Y., where Rose is buried, was one of these garden cemeteries, with softly winding paths, trees and foliage – which must have been a healing balm to the Stoutners.
Baby John is born
Yet perhaps the surest sign that my great-great grandparents were looking forward was the October 1969 birth of their first son together – John Stoutner, who would survive into adulthood.
How relieved the family must have been to have a new addition to brighten the household and distract them from past losses.
When the census taker called on 7 July 1870, baby John was nine months old — enumerated for the first time, along with his step siblings and parents, as excerpted below.
|Andrew Stoutner Household in the 1870 U.S. census, Johnstown, Fulton County, N.Y. – Source: FamilySearch|
|20||Stoutner, Andrew||38||Prussia||Brick Maker; U.S. Citizen|
|21||Stoutner, Christina||26||Prussia||Keeping House; cannot read/write|
|22||Stoutner, Wm.||8||N.Y.||Attended School; Can’t write|
|23||Stoutner, Mary E.||6||N.Y.||Attended School; Can’t read or write|
|24||Stoutner, John H.||9/12||N.Y.||Month if born within one year: Oct.|
A gem of a census
Sometimes family history research turns up a gem of a census return, packed with helpful details and clues — and the 1870 enumeration of the Andrew Stoutner household is one such example.
Through this census, I learned that Andrew and Christina were from Prussia in northern Germany. And while Andrew, a brick maker, could read and write, Christina could not — at least not in English, although the census does not stipulate a specific language.
Birth, schooling, citizenship details
Because John was born during the previous year, the census return provides his birth month “Oct.” in column 13 — which is headed “If born within one year, state month (Jan, Feb, &c.).”
The 1870 census also reveals that Andrew was a U.S. citizen through a tick mark in column 19 — which is headed “Male Citizen of the U.S. 21 years of age and upwards.”
Even William and Mary’s enumerations offer telling details. William could read, but could not yet write — while his younger sister Mary, no doubt new to school, could not yet read or write.
In short, an informative 1870 snapshot of a family with shared experience of both sorrow and happiness moving into the future together.
Up next: Andrew Stoutner’s Brick Works. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.
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