Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Mysterious Marcus Timm

My 2nd great grandfather was named Marcus Timm, and he was born in Hamburg, Germany (then part of Prussia) around 1824.  He was a sea captain who eventually settled in Portland Maine with his new wife, Nova Scotian Sarah Jane Brownrigg, in 1852.  It's unclear to me which year he officially migrated to the USA, but he doesn't show up on the 1850 Census, so I might be inclined to believe he migrated just prior to his marriage to Sarah.  Marcus' migration was one of several German Timm families migrating to the USA in the mid 19th Century.

The below painting shows a bustling Portland around the time of Marcus' arrival.  One of those ships could've belonged to him!

"Portland" by WS Hatton, 1854


The 1860 Census has Marcus listed as "William Brown", a Landlord on the East End in Portland, and his whole family carrying the surname "Brown".  Since he was named this way, I am guessing that (a) he adopted a portion of his wife's maiden name (Brownrigg), and that (b) one of his Christian names would be Wilhelm (German for William).  An 1891 tax deed describes Marcus' land in Scarborough (more on this below) as having been owned by "William Temm", so I'm quite certain that Wilhelm was one of his Christian names.

 

But how was he a Portland landlord?  I did a deed search and learned that in September of 1866 a William and Sarah Brown sold a property on the East End with an address of 17 Atlantic Street, to Adeline Hutchinson for $3,400 (today's value $51,500).  They had acquired this property in 1854 from John Weeks (Book 255/Page 308, Cumb. Co. Deed Registry).  This would match with the 1860 Census record, and would somewhat coincide with their purchase of the Scarborough property two years prior.  I wonder if at that point in time one had to show identification proving your name?  His name wasn't legally William Brown.  The Deed references that William is a merchant, and that Ms. Hutchinson was wife of John Hutchinson, Master Mariner.  This is another clue that lines up with Marcus' known profession of being a seaman.  (Book 347/Page 165 - Cumb. Co. Deed Registry).

17 ATLANTIC STREET
(1924)
POSSIBLY OWNED BY MARCUS TEMM (AKA WILLIAM BROWN) FROM 1854-1866

17 ATLANTIC STREET
(2011)


On the death record of his son, John Henry Temm, Marcus was listed as a Sea Captain born in Hamburg.  Just a few years prior to Marcus' death in 1868, his wife Sarah and her children moved to Scarborough, Maine (they also changed their names from Brown to Temm), and in 1864 purchased a great deal of property on the east side of Beech Ridge Road, which stayed in the Temm family until the 1920's.  Marcus and Sarah's property lay across the road from property which was purchased  in 1935 by Marcus' grandson William Temm, all of which is still in the Temm family today.  Where the money came from for Marcus and Sarah's $700 purchase of land, I'm not entirely sure.  In today's world, that would equal about $9,925.  It appears that Marcus had some success as a merchant mariner in Portland prior to the Civil War, and that Sarah's brother-in-law, who owned merchant marine flophouses, must have also done well enough to provide for his sister's family to some extent.

Marcus died 23 Nov 1868 of dropsy (edema).  His kids were ages 3 to 15 at the time, so they largely grew up without their father.  Marcus is believed to be buried in Forest City Cemetery, South Portland...since his brother-in-law Robert Brownrig had purchased that lot just a few weeks after Marcus' death.  Since Robert was a landowner at the time, I'm inclined to believe that the money Sarah Jane used for buying the land in Scarborough came from her brother.

That is the extent of what is known and proven regarding this ancestor.  Below is a thorough account of all stories, research, assumptions, and some questions regarding him, and the research continues.

My wonderful Great Aunt, Isabelle Temm, who passed away in 2011 just before her 90th birthday, was a passionate Temm genealogist.  In addition to all the information she had compiled about Marcus' many descendants, which information she had gracefully let me copy, she also shared with me the following family legend surrounding Marcus, which was carried through to her from her husband Edwin Temm (Marcus' grandson):
Marcus was a sea captain from Germany. He and his two younger brothers (names unknown so far) were all born in Hamburg, and during the Restoration of Germany they stowed away on a boat to the New World, in the 1840's, as they didn't want to get drafted into the Prussian wars at the time. They made it to North America intact (possibly Nova Scotia)...but the three brothers split up, and never spoke to each other again, sometime after arriving in the USA, presumably to escape authorities.
We believe one or more of the Temm brothers moved to Missouri, and had many descendants, since we have seen a large presence of Temms there.
Around 1990, Aunt Isabelle tried, in vain, to correspond with some Missouri Temms whom she had found in various directories.  They never wrote back.  A bit of research on the Temms found in Ancestry.com shows that many Temms do in fact live in Missouri, and also Wisconsin, and have lived there since the 1850s.

I do know from some professional genealogist friends of mine that the story above is VERY commonly told by many families.  The ship, the three brothers stowing away, the immediate separation upon arrival in America, it's all the same story.  So, one must take this with a grain of salt, as they say.  Additionally, how the name changed from Timm to Temm is an open question.  It could've stemmed from a simple typo, but it also could've been a deliberate name change.

I've also discovered a naturalization card from the Marine Court of NYC, dated 1842, for a Prussian named Wilhilm Temme.  If this was Marcus, he would've been only 16 or so, so I kind of doubt it.  But it's interesting that this person's naturalization hearing took place in a Marine Court. 

Mark Rabideau, a German genealogist online, informed me that if my ancestor's middle name was indeed Marcus, and not Mark...that would indicate that he was Catholic, and not Protestant. If so, the bulk of German Catholics lived in Bavaria. Some research in Bavaria might be worthwhile.  However, I learned while visiting Hamburg that there were very few Catholics living in Hamburg at that time.  It's more likely that Marcus was evangelical Protestant.

I've made contact with two Missouri Temms. Their common ancestor is Herman H. Temm, a druggist born 1833 in Westphalia Germany. We are wondering if Herman is one of Marcus' two younger brothers, as the timing seems right.

I've also found a tree on Ancestry that shows a large Timm family in Mecklenburg Germany (near Hamburg), with a Wilhelm as the eldest (born 1829), and the entire family eventually moving to Wisconsin and Nebraska at the end of the 1800's.  The parents in that tree (Christoph & Maria) died at sea with one of the children, while attempting to reach the USA.  I've sent an email to the tree owner to see if perhaps there is a link, but correspondence with these folks has yet to reveal a definitive link.

I went to Hamburg in May of 2012 to do some research.  While nothing definite came up, I learned a great deal about Hamburg archives, and narrowed the search, with the help of Dr. Wolfgang Grams, pictured below:


Here is a summary of what we determined, after over a dozen hours of digging through old books in the Hamburg Staatsarchiv:
  1. The name "Temm" and "Temme" appear in almost NO records in Hamburg.  The common spellings of this name at the time of Marcus' birth (1824) were:  Timm(e), Tim, Thiemm(e), and Timman.  It's safe to conclude that "Timm" was most likely the true surname of research, given that it bears the highest frequency.
  2. The name Timm has many dozens of instances in Hamburg from 1820 onward, but there are dramatically fewer instances just prior to that year.
  3. Germans back then were usually born with three first names.  So there could've been an additional name that went with "Wilhelm" and "Marcus".
  4. There were almost no Timms in Hamburg who were Catholic.
  5. There was ONE Timm family during that period who went to the Reform Protestant Church of Hamburg.  This family patriarch was Herman Heinrich Daniel Timm born 1805, and it's possible that Herman was an uncle to Marcus.
  6. There were very many Timm families during that time living in Hamburg who were registered with the Evangelical Protestant churches of Hamburg.  Many of them were in the districts of Altona, Pinneberg and Central Hamburg.  I was unable to extend this research to those districts due to timing, but I plan to do so remotely as best as I can.  If I cannot locate the actual 1842 birth record for Marcus, then there's no way of knowing which of these many Timm families could be related to him.
  7. There were some Timme families living in Celle, Hanover, and Cloppenburg.
  8. There were a few Temme families living in Paderborn, Osnabrück, Bielefeld, and Höxter.
  9. I found two instances of a Marcus Timm in marriage indices from 1743 and 1752.  Either of these might be grandparents to my Marcus, given the rarity of the name Marcus in general.   Picture from the index found can be seen below, and pictures from the marriage records themselves can be found below that.
  10. In looking at the many volumes of vital and church records, I was on the lookout for ANY instances of someone carrying a first name of Marcus.  I found nothing other than the point listed above at #9.  What I did find, however, were many instances of the first name "Marx".  I suppose that Marcus Timm could've been previously named Marx Timm, and there may have been another name change upon his migration to the USA.
Sources Searched in the Hamburg Staatsarchiv and a brief summary of results:
  • General Geburts Register of Hamburg (1816-1836) - many Timm families, most of them registered with St. Michaelis of Altona, St. Catherine, and St. Jacobi, and just a few in St. Georg and St. Pauli, all Evangelical Protestant - Lutheran - churches)
  • General Trau Register of Hamburg (1813-1831) - many Timm families, most of them registered with St. Michaels of Altona, St. Catherine, and St. Jacobi, and just a few in St. Georg and St. Pauli, all Evangelical Protestant - Lutheran - churches)
  • German Reform Church Records (1816-1852) - one Timm family (Herman Temm - see point #5)
  • Erd-und Glockeng Dom (1753-1803) - some Timm/Timmen
  • St. Petri Reg Braüte (1652-1815) - Timms going back to 1652
  • St. Petri Register (1603-1719) - Timme/Timman going back to 1603, with a few Temm individuals from 1679-1697
  • St. Petri Register (1720-1815) - many Timm families
  • St. Petri Register (1816-1849) - many Timm families
  • St. Nikolai Register (1798-1815) - very few Timms
  • St. Michael Register (1801-1815) - many Timm families
  • St. Pauli Register (1800-1815) - some Timm families
  • Heirats General Reg der Stadt (1831-1865 - many Timm families
  • Verzeichnis der Braute aus dem Hachzeitenbeich den Wedde (1708-1810) - many Timm women
  • Braütigame der Wedde (1708-1810) - many Timm men
  • Landhschft. der Geestlande (1827-1874) - many Timm families, one Temme woman, Catharine Johanne Henriette Temme in 1846
  • General Leichen Reg (1816-1819) - many Timm families after 1817
  • General Leichen Reg (1820-1836) - many Timm families
  • Erd-und Glockengeid St. Marien-Magdalenen (1710-1711) - very few Timms
  • Erd-und Glockengeid St. Marien-Magdalenen (1733-1798) - very few Timms
TWO MARCUSES FOUND!

see Point 9
Here are the two marriage announcements in the church registers from 1743-1752.  I'm seeking help translating them.


Partial Transcription:
"Marcus Joachim Tim, [married] to Margaretha Elisabeth Rossland, leg. daughter."


Partial Transcription:
"Marcus Tim, citizen and bookkeeper, [married] to the virgin, Anne Elisabeth Thormöhlen, daughter of Johann Ludolf Thormöhlen."

If both of these marriage records are from the 1743-1752 period, then their relationship to each other  cannot be a father and son, or brothers.  So, only one of these Marcuses could be a direct ancestor to the mysterious Marcus Timm, if at all.

Online I recently discovered Hamburg City Directories from 1848.  There were quite a few Timms there, and any one of them could be siblings or parents to my Marcus:



Regarding Point 6 above, I recently found online, in the 1880 Altona Registers, a great many Timms listed.  See example below:




HAMBURG ARCHIVES

HAMBURG ARCHIVES

1 comment:

  1. very cool. Great job and I'll bet fun to look into it

    as we talked about earlier, we found a Temm listed as arrested by the NKVD near Berlin in 1947 and "disappeared" into the camps. That was info found in the Stasi records on display at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin Germany.

    I've seen headstones at the Stone's River National Park in Tennessee from the battle in 1862 that listed several Missouri Federals with the last name Timm.

    Its a bit confusing to say the least

    ReplyDelete