By 1868: Christina Albeitz weds Andrew Stoutner

Sepia Saturday 556. Eighth in a series on my maternal German ancestors, the Stoutners, of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner (1844-1924). Scan by Molly Charboneau

After her 1865 arrival of in New York City from Germany, my maternal great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner appears to have headed upstate to the Gloversville-Johnstown area of Fulton County.

The natural beauty of the Mohawk Valley region south of the Adirondack mountains– with its many lakes, rivers and forests — may have reminded Christina of her former Prussian home.

https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:2v23vv86g
Bird’s-Eye View of Gloversville, N.Y. from Meyers Park (c. 1930-45). New York’s Mohawk Valley region south of the Adirondack mountains — with its lakes, rivers and forests — may have reminded Christina of her home in the  Prussian region of Germany. Image: Digitalcommonwealth.org

When did Christina wed Andrew Stoutner?

In these new surroundings, my great-great grandmother soon married the twice-widowed Andrew Stoutner, who had immigrated from Germany in the 1850s — and she became a stepmother to his two young children William and Mary.

As with much else about Christina, the exact date of her marriage to Andrew is still a mystery waiting to be solved — but there are nevertheless some preliminary clues. Sadly, one of them is the death of their first child together — Rose Stoutner, at age 7 months, on 18 Oct. 1868.

When did Christina Albeitz marry Andrew Stoutner of Johnstown/Gloversville, Fulton County, NY? Sources: FamilySearch (censuses); Find-a-Grave (stone inscription)
Year Source Details Marriage Year
1868 Tombstone inscription , Propect Hill Cem., Gloversville, NY Death of daughter Rose Stoutner (age 7 months)  – 10 Feb. 1868-18 Oct. 1868 By 1867 (estimated)
1870 US Census (taken 7 July 1870) Oldest son John is 9 mos. old (est. DOB Oct. 1869) By 1868 (estimated)
1900 US Census Married 25 years 1875 (estimated)
1910 US Census Married 45 years 1865 (estimated)
1920 US Census Christina was naturalized in 1866 1866 (estimated)

What do these sources tell us? 

The year of their infant Rose’s birth and death point to a marriage during or before 1867. This is supported by 1870 census details about their oldest surviving child, John, who was 9 months old at census time — thus born in 1869. His tombstone inscription also gives an 1869 birth year.

The 1900 federal census appears to be an anomaly. An 1875 marriage doesn’t fit the birth years of any of Christina and Andrew’s children — from Rose in 1868 and John in 1869 to the birth years, from other sources, of their other surviving children Gertrude (ca. 1871 ) and son Andrew  (ca. 1874).

Fast forward to the 1910 federal census, when Andrew and Christina were enumerated as married 45 years. This again fits with a marriage before 1867 — possibly as early as 1865, shortly after Christina’s arrival.

https://pixabay.com/photos/bouquet-roses-flowers-floral-691862/
Bridal bouquet. In 1855, a new U.S. law allowed immigrant women to become naturalized citizens upon marrying a U.S citizen. So if Christina’s year of naturalization was 1866, that was also likely the year when she wed Andrew Stoutner, a naturalized citizen. Image: Pixabay

A valuable citizenship clue

Yet perhaps the best clue is from the 1920 census, when Christina’s year of naturalization is given as 1866 — the year after her arrival.

In 1855, a new U.S. law allowed immigrant women to become naturalized citizens upon marrying a U.S citizen. According to an article by Marian L. Smith in Prologue Magazine:[1]Smith, Marian L. “‘Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married…’ Women and Naturalization ca. 1802-1940.” Prologue Magazine 30, 2  (Summer 1998). Electronic … Continue reading

The act of February 10, 1855, was designed to benefit immigrant women. Under that act, “[a]ny woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the United States, and who might herself be lawfully naturalized, shall be deemed a citizen.” Thus alien women generally became U.S. citizens by marriage to a U.S. citizen or through an alien husband’s naturalization.

Andrew Stoutner was a naturalized citizen when he and Christina married. So her naturalization — stated as 1866 on the 1920 US census — would likely date from when they wed.

Again, more research to do — but with valuable clues to help point the way.

Up next: The blended Stoutner family in Gloversville, New York. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

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References

References
1 Smith, Marian L. “‘Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married…’ Women and Naturalization ca. 1802-1940.” Prologue Magazine 30, 2  (Summer 1998). Electronic edition. National Archives https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1998/summer/women-and-naturalization-1.html : 2021.

17 thoughts on “By 1868: Christina Albeitz weds Andrew Stoutner”

  1. Molly, your reference to the rituals of death changing after the Civil War made me think of this really good book on that topic: Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.

    There is one stone in our family plots in the Burlington, Vermont, French cemetery that is so haunting: It is etched with the names of so many children who died while they were babies…I have a photo of it with my materials for the next book.

    Keep going, it’s wonderful to read.

    1. Christina likely arrived in 1865 at age 21. As far as I know she traveled to the U.S. alone, and by 1867 was married to Andrew Stoutner in Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y. So it appears her naturalization in 1866 probably came as a result of her marriage.

    1. I am, too! Quite a leap of faith, given the means of transportation back then and the unliklihood of returning to one’s homeland.

  2. I wonder when people began to turn cemeteries into archives of family history? As we know, gravestones are not always accurate, only permanent. Sometimes close family members are missing, as not all wives were buried with husbands. You’d think folks would leave a footnote asterisk in a marker for where to find more information.

    The 1855 immigrant citizenship law is interesting. If it was only for women, I wonder what problem it was supposed to solve. Since women couldn’t vote, citizenship wouldn’t have a political value. Perhaps there was a property/chattel issue with marriages that involved one non-citizen partner.

    1. There was a benefit for widowed women. My great-great grandmother Christina did own property after her husband Andrew’s death, as I have found records of her transferring property to her children. Sadly, because of this automatic citizenship upon marriage, Christina did not need to complete naturalization records — thus leaving fewer details of her early life.

  3. Hi molly .I had the new year brings you much happiness. It very interesting how our families have a lot in common. My older brothers worked on farm and went to high school in gloversville. My brother Chuck visited last week to see family he was very close to back in 40 and 50;s. I am going to mention the names to him maybe he knows some of the extended family. Sincerely your cousin. Don Buell

    1. Great to hear from you, Don. I, too, am surprised at how our respective family histories have overlapped — from Pennsylvania to upstate New York. Do let me know if your brother Chuck knew any of the Stoutners.

    1. New York is a notoriously hard state to research in — no vital records until 1880 — so we need to use workarounds to get at the facts.

  4. For us genealogists/family historians, the absence of birth control makes it easier to pinpoint dates and to note absence of potential children. HA!

  5. It would be nice if all sources were in agreement, but what would be the fun in that? I look forward to reading what other clues you find.

    1. So true 🙂 Particularly for census entries, when anyone — even a neighbor unfamiliar with family details — could be the informant.

  6. You seem to be right on track to discovering when Andrew and Christina were actually married. You’ve been building a definite string of clues leading to the answer which you may allow us to know by next week? 🙂

    1. Thanks! I still have church records to check, so I may eventually arrive at an actual date. But for now, a rough estimate will do.

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