Seeking the birth place of John J. Zimmermann (1821 - 1907)

+1 vote
John J. Zimmerman is my second great grand father.  He was allegedly born in Masmuenster, Alsace, France (today Masevaux, Thann, Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France).  Masmuenster was cited as his birth city on his death certificate.  The problem is that none of the civil records for Masevaux show John (or Johann or Jean) born on that date.

John came to the US in 1843 and his parents followed two years later.  While I know little of his parents, his mother's maiden name could be Zimunk.

John was born 20 Jul 1821 and died 4 Jun 1907 near Mascoutah, Illinois.  In the US he married Marie Pierre who was born in Berthelming, Sarrebourg, Lorraine, France.

The civil records of the adjacent villages of Masmeunster/Masevaux were searched to no avail.

While the civil records were searched, the religious records were not since they are spread out over many LDS films making it cost prohibitive.

Does anyone have any ideas where to search next?
in Genealogy Help by

5 Answers

+1 vote
Best answer
I found this on

Born: 7/20/1821 in Masmuenster, Thann, Haut-Rhin, FR

Died: 6/4/1907 in Engelman Twnsp, St. Clair, Illinois

Father:  Zimmerman, born abt 1796.  died abt 1847 in St. Louis, MO

Mother:  Unknown


Mary Melinda ZImmerman b: 1852

John T. Zimmerman b. 1853 d. 1918

Joseph A. Zimmerman b. 1860 d. 1930

Spouse of John J. Zimmerman:

Marie Pierre b. 9/20/1831 in Alsace, Lorraine, FR

d.  1/19/1903 Engelman Twnsp.  St. Clair, Illinois

No parents listed.  

John J. and Marie possibly married 3/19/1851  - No location listed except maybe USA

According to the profile she is shown in the 1880 and 1900 Federal Census.  I looked at the census, both Marie and John J. are listed. It shows he is a farmer and at the time of the 1880 census their son, Joseph A, age 20 is still residing with them and also a farmer.  Census states both parents born in France.  I downloaded a copy of the 1880 census if you would like me to upload it for you?  I also downloaded the 1900 census which shows them, John J. and Marie (Mary) to be living with at least one of their children, the spouse of that child and grandchildren.  Just holler at me.  I can upload whereever possible if you would like to see them.  John J. rec'd U.S. citizenship in 1843, Marie in 1845.  Hope this helps!
by Betty Tindle G2G6 Mach 8 (80.9k points)
selected by Keith Baker

Nice work, Betty!    yes


Thanks, Keith! :)  Hope you are having great day? :)

Thank you soooo much for the work you put into your response to my original question.  That was very kind of you and I appreciate it.

The information you compiled from was originally posted by Ralph Grimmer about 11 years ago,  It is mostly accurate but was updated by Ralph prior to his death 9 years ago.  Unfortunately he didn't post the updates on

My goal is to both post the updates to and to carry the John J. Zimmermann line back one or more generations.  I imagine will eventually pick up the updates.

Critical to going back another generation is knowing where John J. Zimmermann was born.  His death certificate indicates Masmuenster but there is no indication in the Masmuenster (now Masevaux) civil records that he was born there.  That's why I am stuck hoping some genealogist in the Zimmermann family has a clue where in the Haut-Rhin area he might have been born.

That's the problem.

Bummer, you already knew this stuff. :(  Was hoping to find something new for you.  I tried looking in the French information on, unfortunately one thing hinders my comprehension of the search; I don't speak French. :)  Some things I did get, names and dates are pretty forthright.  I did not see him either, and also tried Jean with no results. I wish I could have found more information for you.
Betty - - Thanks for all you did.  I really do appreciate it.

My pleasure! :)
+3 votes

Hi: I see that you have hit a brick wall as the saying goes:)

My only suggestion is that you try to find a library that would have the history of

Zimmerman family of Alsace France or the family  name of Zimmerman in the 


Good luck in your research.  Marie.

Try  this web site  Type in family name.

by Marie Chantigny G2G6 Mach 2 (26.4k points)

Thanks for your suggestions.  Would you know of a library that has any histories of Zimmermann families from Alsace?

Also, would you know how to get my thread to appear on the Zimmerman page of this site?


Hi ED: To reply to your question regarding the library.

The web site of  just put your mouse pointer on it  here and click

it  will take you to the site.  For your thread to appear on the Zimmerman page

when you ask a question.... on the form you will see a place to type in the family

name it is towards the bottom of the form. It will ask you if this question is regarding

a family name...this is where you would  type in the name of Zimmerman.

I hope that I have explained this so you can understand it. If not, please

let me know..... Marie 



Thanks for telling me how to make this thread a Zimmerman thread.  I'll attempt to follow your instructions later today.  That's when I'll try also.

I appreciate you taking your time to fill me in or this.

Maria, did not help me but it is really an interesting site.  Who knew you could look at old versions of web sites like that.  That's kind of neat.

I think the Zimmerman tag is associated with this thread so all is good.

Thank you

+1 vote
Also found a marker on Findagrave, link below:

On the marker there is a link to his spouse's marker, it seems to have her maiden name and birthday along with a marker for her father!  Appears her parents came over also!  There is an additional child, Catherine, listed also.  Hope this is the right family! :)
by Betty Tindle G2G6 Mach 8 (80.9k points)

Your reference to the Findagrave site was very interesting.  Please note that while Masmuenster was listed as the John J Zimmermann birth city, a few lines above it listed Dessenheim as the birth city.  That was the first clue I've ever received that Masmuenster may not be his birth city.

So I checked the Dessenheim civil records and could not find John born in 1821, plus or minus a few years.  Also, I did not find John's brother Joseph born in 1823, plus or minus a few years.  Within a ten year span I couldn't find any Zimmermans so that may be a clue that I'm still on the wrong city.

But I was pretty excited there for a bit, as you might imagine.  I thought you had made my day.

Ironically, I drove passed that catholic cemetery yesterday.

I'm going to try to contact the poster on the cemetery posting later today to find out where he got the two cities he listed.  Perhaps there is a clue in thrtr somewhere.

Thanks again for your efforts.  I really do appreciate it.

Hi Ed, I did notice the reference to Dessenheim but being unfamiliar with area I had no clue.  Thought it better to post it tho in case it led you down the right path.  I can't believe you drove right by the cemetery! :)  Murphy's Law at work, and it rules my life too.  I hope you find out something when you call the cemetery, that would be fantastic. I would imagine a birth place would be required on the death certificate, they were when my parents passed, but who knows the requirements so long ago.  Please let me know what you find out, I would be interested in knowing.  Were the parents of his spouse any help for her side?  I hope so, hope it is the right marker.  Let me know and while I hope you have happy hunting I hope you get a catch! :)


Betty - - I contacted Cal Bear on Findagrave to ask him if he/she has any other towns listed in his source besides the two he listed.  I'm also goiing to check the Mascoutah Herald and the Belleville New Democrat newspaper to see what was listed on his obit.  It's a challenge.

Thanks for aiming me a Findagrave. I didn't think of that.  I'll let you know if I find the town.

Thanks again.

Ohhhh I hope you get some good news!  That would be terrific, and I am sure, welcome!  How exciting.  Love a good mystery. :)  Please do let me know.
Great cooperation, collaboration and sharing on this by both of you, Ed and Betty.

Thanks for your interest and additions to the WikiTree!

Thank you very much Keith!  It is fun to see what I can find that might be helpful.  :)
0 votes
Hello - are you sure you are looking at the correct Masmeunster?  Masevaux was only called that in the late 19th century after Germany took Haut Rhin from France.  During the year your Zimmerman was born - and when he immigrated, all the records call it Masevaux.  I was looking through the birth records in the 1820s and glanced through the years and there were no Zimmerman's born within 5 years of 1820.  I also looked at all July 20th and there were no Jean's or other names born on that day.  

Have you glanced through the civil records yourself or did you have someone do it for you?  Here is a link to the Masevaux records in case you were unaware of how to access them:

(you may have to cut and paste for that link to work).  Let me know if you have any further questions or comments.  Thanks.

Based on your question of whether I'm looking at the correct Masmuenster, I contacted a French resident in the area and he graciously searched similarly named villages. He looked at the official on-line records of a village called Marmoutier (Marmunster or Maurmunster in German), this time in Département  Bas-Rhin, also Alsace:  No Jean Zimmermann was found.

He also looked In Département Moselle where there are two villages named VALMUNSTER and MUNSTER. He again verified on-line that there are no Zimmermanns!

So I think we can conclude that we've looked at all name variations for Masmuenster.  Thank you for your thoughts on the subject.

0 votes
I am now coming across a pretty decent sized zimmerman family - let me look a little more tomorrow in the decade books and see if I can trip upon his parents...

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