We can start by recalling what we already know. According to her marriage record she was the daughter of Pastor Diaconus Joseph Lemm, who, we may suppose, was quite probably the husband of the pastor’s wife Marie von Lemm who stood godmother to Emmy’s daughter Bertha (see the previous posts in this series). We can also return to a seemingly unimportant piece of information in the Personalbuch entry for her and her husband’s family:
A quick search of the Personalbuch for the Ritter- und Domkirche in this period rewards our suspicions:
From there, it’s the work of a moment to turn to the birth registers for Hapsal in search of Joseph Lemm’s birth record, but what should be a routine search proves to be unexpectedly problematic: the Hapsal birth registers were searched from June 1840 through the end of 1841 but no Joseph Lemm is to be found. What to do? One possible avenue of research would be to examine the revision lists for Hapsal during this period, but unfortunately no family of Lemms can be discovered (revision lists and their uses will be returned to in a future post). Another possibility, however, lies in the very name of the family: Lemm or von Lemm? Use of the nobiliary particle in Baltic-German culture could mean several things. It might mean membership in the Ritterschaft of one of the Baltic territories, the aristocratic governing castes who exerted decisive political power in the Baltic from the middle ages to 1918. But it also might mean that the family in question had been granted nobility by a foreign power but had never been matriculated into a Ritterschaft, been ennobled in Russia as service nobility, or were not noble at all, but were instead members of the urban mercantile patriciates in Reval, Riga, and elsewhere. A number of published resources of varying levels of detail and reliability cover these various classes of nobility.
The first ports of call when investigating a Baltic-German noble family are the eight volumes of the Genealogisches Handbuch der Baltischen Ritterschaft, divided into subdivisions covering Estland, Livland, Kurland, and Ösel:
Have these essays been useful to you? Did they help you study a Baltic-German family? If so do get in touch -- I’d love to hear about it.
Copyright © 2013 Kelsey Jackson Williams