Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Was Her Name?

My husband had to drive up to Buffalo, NY a few weeks ago to do some Super Secret Shopping for my birthday (that I wasn't supposed to know about. teehee.), so I asked him to stop by the library and get some obituaries and such for me. He brought back a nice surprise that I really wasn't expecting.

"I found Hertha's birth certificate," he said proudly as he handed the photocopied image to me. (Hertha Kirchberger is my great-grandmother. I've talked a bit about the family in this post over here.)

I looked at the image. Name of Father: Erhard Kirchberger. Born in Germany. Age 26. Yep, that's about right. Name of Mother: Sophia Beck. Age 21. Sounds good!

Name of Child: Rosa Hattie

Huh? "Oh, you mean you got her sister Rose's birth certificate?" I said aloud as my eyes wandered over to the date. 1883. Nope, that was definitely Hertha's birth date. Her sister Rose wasn't born until 1886.

From the letters of Hertha's I have, and the stories from family members, I know she usually went by the nickname Hattie, even though her "real" name was Hertha. But now I wonder, was it really? Is there a second certificate somewhere with a name change? Or did they just decide to call her something else? And why? And poor Rose, getting a "second-hand name" three years later!

At least now I have a proper source for her birth date... but now I have a new mystery regarding her name!