Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Saturday, January 26, 2002

I ordered Wayne County marriage records through the FHL to see if I could find a record for my GG Grandparents, Charles Schmitt and Daley Theola Hertel. I found something, but I don't know if it's them, and if it is, it's not as helpful as I would have hoped.

Grandma Miller (Evelyn Clara Schmitt, my Great Grandmother) had written out a sheet of paper with family details on it. That sheet says that her father was Charles Lean Schmitt and her mother Daley Theola Hertel, and that they were married at St. Luke's Lutheran, Detroit. There's something about 4840 R, but it's crossed out. Maybe that was part of the address. I'll have to look it up in city directories. I also have a copy of Grandma Miller's birth record. It says she was born on 12 Aug 1902, and that her parents were Charles Leon and Daley Theola.

I looked in the Wayne County index for that period, and only found one "Daily Hertle". So I ordered the records. The one that showed up was for a marriage between Daily Hertle and John Smith (<groan, not that name, every genealogist's worst nightmare....>) on 25 Feb 1902. John's parents were given as Albert and Anna Smith. Daily's father was John, and her mother listed as unknown.

I'm not sure this is them. I'm not sure it's not, either.

So I started searching the web for St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Detroit. No luck (or should that be "no Luke"?)

Then I remembered that the new issue of the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine that showed up in the mail the other day had something about a St. Luke's in it. So I looked through that and, sure enough, there was part 2 of a list of confirmations at St. Luke's German Evangelical Church in Detroit. The previous issue of the magazine, where the first part of the series was published, provided an explanation for why I didn't find St. Luke's: in 1970, the church merged with Old St. John's church in Detroit to form St. John's-St. Luke's United Church of Christ. The listing in the DSGR magazine was put together by Merle Scheibner, who is the church's archivist, according to the article.

So now I had something to look for. I found a lot of things. There's a message board devoted to Lutheran genealogy that had a thread talking about St. John's Church that mentioned that the records for St. John's are on microfilm and available at the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library. No indication of whether those records also contain the records for St. Luke's. I looked at the online catalog of the Detroit Public Library, and sure enough, there are two volumes of records, one published in 1994 and running from 1899 to 1914, and the second running from 1915 to 1969. Heck, my dad's baptism record might be in that collection. I checked the New York Public Library's site, but they don't appear to have a copy of the microfilm.

The pastor who married Daily Hertle and John Smith was Charles Haass. I found out that the Bentley Historical Collection at the University of Michigan, which I visited in 2000 when I had some time to kill, has the papers of Charles Haass, described as a "Lutheran clergyman".

Going to the Michigan United Church of Christ web site and searching for "Detroit" reveals that the combined St. John's-St. Luke church has only 77 members.

So now I'll go to the church records. The Burton Collection has the film, and the church's archivist is apparently sympathetic to genealogists, even submitting indexes to the DSGR. And on top of that, it appears that the Family History Library has copies of records, at least to 1926, on film 959146 for 1899-1926 and 959145 for 1888-1898. 959146 even has a history of the church on it, although it's probably in German.

Not bad for an evening; when I started writing this up, I wasn't hopeful of finding anything, now I know where to go to find some hopefully more accurate records (or at least to confirm the accuracy of the ones I have).


Posted at 7:40:41 PM