I was Google searching the other night for information about the hometown of my 3rd Great-Grandfather Franz Xaver Schillinger. I had a notation that he was born in Urloffen, Germany, a small village in the Grand Duchy of Baden, near the French border. There is not much on the internet about the village of Urloffen. It’s a small village with only about 4500 people who live there today, and since 1975 has been incorporated as part of a larger town of Appenweier.
While hunting for information about Urloffen, I came across a family history website for the Oatney family. On that website, they have a page with links to German archives for the Baden region, including Landesarchiv. And while I don’t speak or read a lick of German, I was able to navigate the site, by utilizing the in browser translation option in Chrome. Once Chrome translated the page elements to English, I located record set L10, Nr. 3728, “Urloffen, Appenweier OG; Catholic Church: births 1827-1847”.
I had information that Xaver was born in August 1836, so I started to browse through the records trying to locate his. There are 344 document images in the record set. Since 1836 is approximately halfway through the time period for the records, I jumped to about midway through the image files. Image 160 turned out to be the index page for the year 1836, and part way down the lists, I found an entry I thought might be for Xaver Schillinger. Old German script is really hard to read, so I was unsure if it actually said Schillinger, but I was willing to find out!
I scrolled back a few images, until I found page 173, and located item 55 on the page. Based on what little I could see in the image, my hoped increased that I had found the right record.
I had previously joined a group on Facebook called “Genealogy Translations“, but had not used it up to this point. I decided this record was the perfect choice for my first translation request. The group is run by two admins: Nick Gombash and Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz, and they offer a free and fabulous service for those of us doing research in the archives of ancestral homelands. There are a few simple rules for posting in the group, but primarily it’s about asking for help without taking advantage of the kind people who voluntarily translate these documents. I posted the image with my translation request yesterday at 9:26am. Within 10 minutes, Johann Kargl had transcribed the image, and based on the German transcription, I was able to confirm that indeed this was the birth record for my 3rd Great-Grandfather Xaver Schillinger. Johann then translated the record for me! Here it is:
German Birth Record for Xaver Schillinger, Image 153
In German, it says:
Im Jahre eintausendachthundert und sechsunddreißig, den zehnten August, Nachmittag um vier Uhr, wurde gebohren, und den eilften August, Nachmittag um ein Uhr getauft: Franz Xaver – des Franz Xaver Schillinger, hiesigen Bürgers und Strumpfstrickermeisters, und der Franziska, geb. Stöckel – ehelicher Sohn. Pathen sind: Franz Joseph Stöckel, hiesigen Bürger und Schustermeister, und Petronilla Schillinger, Ehefrau des Felix Schmid, hiesigen Bürgers und Zimmermeisters. Zeugen sind: der obige Franz Joseph Stöckel, alt 51 Jahre, und Franz Xavers Lenz, hiesiger Bürger und Webermeister, alt 54 Jahre; welche dem Act zugegen waren. Hug? Pfarrer
In 1836, on 10 August, at 4 pm, was born and baptized on 11 August at 1 pm: Franz Xaver – legitimate son of Franz Xaver Schillinger, citizen and master hosiery knitter from here, and of Franziska, nee Stöckel. Godparents: Franz Joseph Stöckel, citizen and master shoemaker here, and Petronilla Schillinger, wife of Felix Schmid, citizen here and master carpenter. Witnesses: the above mentioned Franz Joseph Stöckel, 51 years old, and Franz Xaver Lenz, citizen and master weaver here, 54 years old, who were present at this act. Hug? Parish Priest
This confirms that Xaver Schillinger was born in Urloffen, and now I know that his birth date was 10 August 1836. It confirms his mother’s name, and provides the names of witnesses, who were likely close family members and friends. It also points to a legacy for an occupation in clothing. Xaver was a tailor as an adult, and it appears he likely learned the trade from his father, who is listed as a hosiery knitter.