My immigrant ancestors, August and Christine (Walter) Beine came to the US in 1880 with 7 of their children. August Beine was originally from a small German village called Grosseneder and Christine Walter came from another village called Siddinghausen. I have already researched their family lines in each of the villages, but I was not able to find their marriage record in either place. But I have a photocopy of a family document that gives the birth and baptismal dates of their German born children from the St. Nikolaus Catholic Parish in Stoppenberg, Germany. Stoppenberg was then a suburb and is now a neighborhood of the city of Essen. I always assumed the couple was married in Stoppenberg and recently I decided to pursue obtaining a copy of their marriage record.
The LDS Family History Library does not have microfilmed records for the St. Nikolaus Parish. So I needed to determine where the church's records, if available, were located. Essen is a Catholic diocese ("Bistum" in German), and using Google, I found the Essen diocese has a website: http://www.bistum-essen.de. From the website's contact link I sent an email asking where the St. Nikolaus parish records were today. I received a response saying the records were still at the St. Nikolaus church and was given an email address for the parish priest.
|St. Nikolaus Catholic Church in Essen-Stoppenberg|
I emailed the parish priest, asking if I could obtain the marriage record of August Beine and Christine Walter, and the baptismal record of their son, also named August, who is my great grandfather. Three weeks later I received a response saying he had found the records I wanted and was sending copies. A few days later the photocopies arrived in the mail.
I had inquired about a fee in my email to the church, and the response was: "We don't get a fee for this service, but it would be nice if you can give a donation to a project of the Roman-Catholic parish in your town." So I made a donation to a local parish.
I have a family document that gave me the name of the town and parish in Germany. But you may not have something like this. Here's a list of other places where you might find the name of your ancestral village in Germany:
Tips for Finding Your German Immigrant Ancestor's Hometown in Germany
This article may help if you already know the name of the village or town:
Tips for Finding German Genealogy Records for your German-American Ancestor
The above photograph of the St. Nikolaus Catholic Church in Essen-Stoppenberg by Joe Beine, February, 2018
This article was updated on 8 March 2018