“To any Person Legally Authorized to Solemnize Marriage, Greeting: Marriage may be celebrated between Mr. Carl Herz of Chicago in the County of Cook and State of Illinois of the age of 36 years, and Miss Bertha Schwichtenberg of Chicago in the County of Cook and State of Illinois of the age of 26* years.”
“I, Augustus (Reinecke?), a Lutheran Pastor hereby certify that Mr. Carl Herz and Miss Bertha Schwichtenberg were united in Marriage by me at Chicago in the County of Cook and State of Illinois, on the 7th day of March 1883.”
Augustus (Reinecke?) **
Pastor of Luth. _____?
(Probably Lutheran Bethlehem)
* Although her marriage license says that she was 26 years old when they were married, many other sources say that she was born August 20, 1855. That would have made her 27 years old at the time of this license and their marriage (both on March 7, 1883).
** I was determined to figure out who the pastor was and where he was a pastor. After a lot of searching online I found quite a bit of information at a variety of locations and am fairly sure that his name was Augustus Reinecke.
I found that “First Bethlehem Lutheran Church” was founded by “August Reinke” in 1871 in Chicago. It was basically an American equivalent of the Prussian Union Church and “made a conscious effort to welcome the new immigrants”. This was about the time of the Fire of 1871 and the area was flooded with German immigrants many of whom came from Pomerania. Carl was born in Pommern, Germany and arrived in the United States in 1870 or 1871. Bertha arrived in 1881 or 1882 from Germany. Here are a couple of pictures of First Bethlehem Lutheran Church from about 1871-1940 and here is August Reinke’s portrait. He was also the first Lutheran pastor to preach in sign language!
I also found “Bethlehem Lutheran” was organized in Chicago in 1875, which was about eight years before Carl and Bertha were married. This shortened name matches the license better.
I then found out that in 1868 a “Pastor Reinecke” began holding services occasionally in Yellowhead Township, Kankakee County, Illinois. This is the exact township that Carl and Bertha lived in for multiple decades (along with several related family members). I cannot yet place them in Yellowhead Township before they were married, though.
Carl and Bertha were also buried next to and behind St. Paul Lutheran Church in Grant Park, Illinois. This is the exact same church established from the foundation that “Pastor Reinecke” began in 1868. Grant Park was also the location of the births of at least two of my ancestors (from two different generations) who descended from this couple.
I will continue to research all of this and more about this side of the family. This branch of my tree is the one that I refer to as my “official father’s” line. (You can read more about that in the 4th and 5th little paragraphs introducing this blog here.)
Due to the fact that at least three more generations in this direct line seemed to have lived most, if not all, of their lives in that same area of Kankakee County, Illinois, I plan to find out a lot more about this church and area. I enjoyed finding pictures of the church building here. I feel strongly that much of their lives likely revolved around this church that was originally established for German immigrants. I would LOVE to find out if I went there as a baby when we visited Grant Park, Illinois in 1968. That would be cool!
Where do Carl and Bertha fit into our family tree?
Carl HERZ and Bertha SCHWICHTENBERG were the parents of John Henry HERZ.
John Henry HERZ and Marie STOLZENBACH were the parents of Elsie Rose HERZ.
Irvin Henry SCHROEDER and Elsie Rose HERZ were the parents of Donald Irvin SCHROEDER.
Donald Irvin SCHROEDER was the father listed on my original birth certificate and married to my mom when I was born. I have since heard that he is not my biological father, but I am not sure. We definitely look very similar and nobody living seems to know who my biological father is… if he is not.
I absolutely love posts like this. I don’t have anything insightful to say, but keep on posting! 🙂
Thanks Matthew! Now that I have this blog I have found a venue for sharing how my mind works when it goes off on its tangents to discover more information…lol This post started out as just wanting to share this marriage license that I had found. In the process of blogging it, I felt driven to be able to fill in those pesky blank spaces…
That journey led me to find out all of this extra history about the area, the pastor that married them (and likely had interacted through the years with my ancestors), the mission of the church to reach out to the German immigrants in the area, and SO much more! What a ride!