The transcription from the diary entry said her parents were Johann Miller and Anna Barbara Muring. I was uncertain. The transcription could have errors, especially since the original writer used a slightly different alphabet and spoke a different language. I didn’t know where the original diary was or if it still existed, I just had the information copied in my grandma’s pretty cursive writing. It just seemed strange that Johanna Renk’s father would have the last name Miller.
The diary belonged to my grandma’s grandpa, Friedrick Andreas Eigenmann (Fred), who left little behind due to the tragic circumstance of the last part of his life. It’s not clear when the diary was written. It records the death dates and causes of death for Fred’s parents, children, and a couple siblings, as well as the births of his children. A couple of the dates happen after Fred went to the asylum around 1910. It also records Johanna’s parents as mentioned above.
Did Fred forget who his grandparents were? Was there an error in the transcription? Was Johanna raised by someone other than her biological father/parents?
I wasn’t certain how to proceed. Taking my research across the pond to Germany felt daunting. I don’t speak the language, the alphabet was different at the time, and I felt a little lost reading the FamilySearch wiki pages about the records.
In the long run, patience and persistence paid off. Through a series of happy research moments, I found that FamilySearch has indexed church records for the place Fred came from. This record set allowed me to trace the Eigenmanns back to about 1700.
I found the baptismal record for Fred, which confirmed his parents were Jacob Eigenmann and Johanna Renk, as well as the marriage record for Jacob and Johanna. Lucky for me, the records at this time include both sets of parents as well as the maiden names for the mothers. Johanna’s parents were recorded as Johann Georg Renk and Elizabeth Täuscher. Clearly not Johann Miller and Anna Barbara Muring.
So if they weren’t Johanna’s parents, why were they recorded in Fred’s diary?
I continued looking for records for the family. Among them, I found a marriage record for Fred’s first marriage to a woman named Barbara Müller, who was previously unknown to me. They married 14 August 1873 in Lipburg, Baden, Preußen. As with the previous marriage record, both sets of parents and the mothers’ maiden names were recorded. Barbara’s parents were Johann Müller and Anna Barbara Muring!
I’ll probably never know how or why Johann and Anna Müller were mistakenly recorded as Johanna Renk’s parents, but trusting the feeling that something doesn’t seem right in the research can lead to discoveries of the truth