is there a project here for prussian royals? (not for me) lol

+4 votes
My husband's grandmother claimed her grandmother (Augusta Victoria Alexandria Schaumburg [Schaumburg-48]) came to the U.S. after having a major fight with her father, The Grand Duke, Frederick William, Elector of Hesse, and her mother, (I think) Gertrude Falkenstein. As a consequence she is no longer listed as one of their children.

She came here after being married and having 5 children (?) and married again, her first child with her second husband dying (broke the man's heart) before having a final baby that survived (obviously). She did come to the states with a lot of money apparently and they had a place in Boston and a lovely summer home in Marblehead Mass. Her husband painted as a hobby and did a wonderful watercolor of their summer home that David inherited. We also have sketches he did of an empty cradle...

We think its unlikely that his ancestor was Prussian royalty but the ancestor in question would have been the last crowned prince since the Holy Roman Empire dissolved. We did test our son's Y genes and have his Hapgroup number. I'm not entirely sure what to do with this for my husband. I did start a profile, but don't want to do anything with it until I know what to do? It'd be kinda cool I guess, but a little weird.
in Genealogy Help by Amanda Torrey G2G4 (4.7k points)
edited by Amanda Torrey

7 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer

I'd rather doubt that history. Friedrich Wilhelm I. von Hessen and Gertrude Falkenstein, later Gräfin von Schaumburg, Fürstin von Hanau und zu Hořowitz, had 9 children, among them 2 daughters named Augusta Marie Gertrude von Hanau called Augusta and Maria Auguste von Hanau und zu Hořowitz called Maria, both living until 1887 and 1917 respectively. Maria Auguste would have been born 12 months after this Augusta Victoria Alexandria. Neither Neue Deutsche Biographie, nor Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Adelslexikon, Band IV, Band 67 der Gesamtreihe, C. A. Starke Verlag, Limburg (Lahn) 1978, p. 416, nor Philipp Losch: Die Fürstin von Hanau und ihre Kinder. In: Hanauer Geschichtsblätter 13 (1939), pp. 28–38, nor Gothaisches Genealogisches Handbuch 1 (2015), pp. 558–563, nor Detlev Schwennicke: Europäische Stammtafeln. Stammtafeln zur Geschichte europäischer Staaten. NF Bd. 3, Tafel 250ff list a 10th child.

by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (529k points)
selected by Eddie King
Thank you for this piece of history Helmut Jungschaffer. As I said before, to put this matter completely to rest, I'd want to compare my son's Y-chromosomes against the Duke's. But, before I do that, finding these bits of  history help put together the pieces of reality together - whether or not David's a descendant of a real life Anastasia.

Family stories are fascinating. I just dug one out which might actually be plausible about a native american in our line. This woman's fantasies probably went down the family line. For another thing I think what our example can show us is the potency of fantasy and how it affects one's children.

I'm dispelling one in my own family of somebody somewhere way back when believing they came from the loins of Albrecht Durer. Though the famous one never had children, his father had something like 18 scattered everywhere. We do have an artistic streak, but that hardly makes us artistic masters. So I can't blame David. He's got a Grand Duke and I've got some mystical artist. pft. But reality doesn't stop us from getting all Indiana Jones and hunting down history -- that's where its fun.

But just for fun, let's put this "Augusta Victoria Alexandria Schaumburg" on the table and wait for a DNA sample to compare with Robert (our son). Until that happens, though lets see if the facts make sense.

Friedrich Wilhelm I. von Hessen and Gertrude Falkenstein, later Gräfin von Schaumburg, Fürstin von Hanau und zu Hořowitz, had 9 children, among them 2 daughters named Augusta Marie Gertrude von Hanau called Augusta and Maria Auguste von Hanau und zu Hořowitz called Maria, both living until 1887 and 1917 respectively. Maria Auguste would have been born 12 months after this Augusta Victoria Alexandria.

Although books can support facts, they aren't necessarily definitive. 12 months between births makes the event actually feasible. What's also interesting is how long it was when the baby before this Maria Augusta Alexandria was born. This is a couple who were having babies one right after the there is space in the middle of 9 babies for someone to have been born. So no, this factoid does not abrogate the possibility. Nor does the fact that her void would be so complete.

I think a more relevant question would be whether there was a way for a family to disown and erase the existence of someone if they so chose. It would be an exacting process, but if anybody could do it, the Prussians could.

We are not talking about the Middle Ages here but the 19th century. Given the situation of a morganatic marriage with a divorced woman not from a noble family and Friedrich Wilhelm's unpopularity due to his reactionary policies, his reign through the upheavals of the 1848 revolution, his siding with Austria in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and his subsequent capture and imprisonment by Prussia, it would be remarkable if such a feat, the erasure of the existence of a child of such a prominent and controversial ruler, were possible in the mid to late 19th century.

As for the genetic part of your problem, since the line of descent runs through a woman your son's Y-DNA would be of no help since it only traces paternal ancestry.
I am aware of Fredericks wonky politics. but saying something is unlikely doesn't make it definitive.  The thing is I need to definitively disprove it.

I think its a great story...and tracking such recent history should be easy.Or maybe since my son's raw data is uploaded into familytreedna, would testing his mitochondrial dna take us to where we need to go?
We all know you can't prove a negative, so the best you can do is say it is highly unlikely that she is the daughter of the elector.
I think you can prove something is just plain wrong. Medicine for example, always uses to test to ruleout  disease.The point is genealogy is a relatively reliable scientific and historic resource to unravel human puzzles. The puzzle can trancend being only about a specific person and more about using scientific and historic skills to make sense out of a bigger picture. Thus why wikitree is superior to other genealogical programs.

In this case, I'm new to genealogy and planned to put in our family over the summer and get on with life. But genetic testing changed everything. Results from Elizabeth's (my daughter) autosomal tests came back, and it was truly remarkable. Unfortunately David is not Elizabeth's father, but Robert is his biological son. We did his Y-chromosome test through National Geographic 10 years ago. I don't know a lot about this, but I understand that some combination of his dna could connect him with the answer to his father's familial mystery.

History is useful, but not definitive. I have personally seen when facts don't fill in all the holes. Wolfgang Pauli, for example, was a physicist that saw the plausibility of the nutrino when all his professors said it wasn't realistic. Pauli ended up with a nobel prize.

Some new invention overturns all sorts of conclusions as apparently science has proven out. If we wanted to be connected to royal, trust me, we'd pick somebody less foolish than Frederick. There's reasons he wasn't popular as Helmut has made clear.

I know Augusta isn't in any of the Frederick's genealogy. She says she was disowned. I know churches have burned down destroying important genealogical material, so to me its entirely possible to erase someone's birth records. She had a passport, but I'm not so sure 19th century passports were as reliable for establishing a nationality.

So now I know we need to test Robert's dna raw data for mitchondria or the female chromosomes and that'll be a good beginning to build historic information?
+3 votes
Elector of Hesse would be Hessian, rather than Prussian.  The Holy Roman Empire at that time was under the jurisdiction of the Hapsburgs.  The history seems a little muddle.  BUT you can have a great deal of fun trying to connect them.  They may have disowned her, but there would still be a record of her birth and/or baptism, esp, if she were nobility.

Also, did you check for her death or marriage record?
by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (236k points)
I did read a little about it in Wiki:,_Elector_of_Hesse.

ok, i'll be a little bolder and start looking for real information...i don't know...this is just a little heady for me. I just gotta laugh. If it turns out to be real, there'll be no living with him... shoot.
Yes, I added the link to the Wiki article when I was supposed to be teaching a class.  

Your history seemed like a fantasy--and it was.  Now the hard work of figuring out who she really was (and much more fun).
+3 votes
And as to your first question, there are two projects: (1) Euro Aristos and Germany projects would like help, I'm sure.
by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (236k points)
Excellent. I'm sure there would be those there that can deal with this quicker than I can. Where would I find them? Is there a link somewhere?
+4 votes
The Almanach de Gotha v. 112 1874, which is the only one I own, lists only 8 ch for Fred Wm and Gertrude; perhaps they drop infants who died.  There is room between William b. Dec 1836 and Marie, b. Aug 1839 for another birth.  This is the longest span between the births of this couple.  This is very difficult to use as it has no cross refs, but perhaps this woman came from a collateral line.  (No index either)
by Christine Henderson G2G6 Mach 1 (11.9k points)

i'll follow up. thank you :D
Actually Augusta claims she was born in that empty space. Her birthday fits and put her in there to see if I got wikiwarning about the dates not fitting right. But no, she fit like a glove. She is saying Frederick actually removed her and any trace of her from their family records.

Apparently, the feelings were mutual. Since family records are important to me I've been relegated to learn the ropes and uncover the truth of Augusta's whereabouts. The fact that her claims are so bold should make it easy...
Go to the nearest research library and search the Almanach de Gotha.  Augusta should be in that space as she grew up.   By 1874 two of those children had divorced, but they were still in the family.  The one reference in the section on this line of Hesse is to the 1831 edition, which might give a recap or something of the whole lineage, and might provide clues to the cousin lines.  Whatever Augusta did, it must have been a doozy.  This was a Protestant house; did she marry a Catholic?  Maybe elope?
According to her passport application in 1876, the birth date and place you are showing for her are wrong (unless she lied on the application).  She says she was born in Boston, Mass. on 28 September 1844 (not Germany 1838) and the application covers her children Laura M (age 19), MaryA. (17) Edward E. (14), and Addie P. (2), as well as "attending physician" Frederick W. Vogel.  She states she is native born.

Under description it says she is 35, which puts her birth in 1841.  You can see the the number was changed to 1844 from something else, so I would suggest 1841 should be her birth date.

More mysteries.

Now, where do you go to look up passport information (seriously you're my hero!!!)

Frederick Vogel was actually her 2nd husband. and yes he was a physician.
+3 votes
The best way to approach this - as with all genealogical questions, really - is to start from the known and work towards the unknown.  What do you know about this family once they were in the U.S.?  What was Augusta's first appearance in a contemporary record?

All the best,

by Kelsey Jackson Williams G2G6 Mach 1 (11.9k points)
I did exactly that (to the best of my ability).

I started with David, his father, his father's mother, Adelaide , her husband carl, their children, her mother, their children and then the "Grand Duchess" ;) [Schaumburg-48]

Whatever she was she swore this was her legacy and stepped off the boat at Boston right into Boston Society with money, German and everybody believed she was a Duchess. I just think they enjoyed feeling they were in the presence of royalty...but she pulled it off until the day she died. This was the story she told her daughter and this is what her daughter told David's grandmother.

I just did the profiles on Wilhelm and Gertrude to see how easily Augusta's profile slipped into the lineup and she fit without a glitch.

Here's what I'd like to do...

I'd love my husband to join me on these profiles as he knows German and has some investment in this history. Maybe he'll step up we can compare Robert's  DNA with theirs if we can use his mtdna. I'm thinking this will settle the score. It would only take cutting a link to take that whole line off of her. Then an appropriate person would at least have profiles started. It'll take them forever to develop them as much as they should be.

And I'll continue to search for another alternative reality for her.

In the meantime, these profiles should be in more skilled hands than mine...on all sorts of levels.
+3 votes

You can find Augusta's marriage to her first husband at:

Note that her surname is given as Leng!

All the best,


by Kelsey Jackson Williams G2G6 Mach 1 (11.9k points)

Are you sure this is her?  Schumer is not Schirmer (could be mistranscription, but . . .)

This is the marriage record I found: "Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915," database with images, FamilySearch (24 May 2018), Frederick W. Vogel and Augusta A. Schirmer, 2 May 1885; citing Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1,415,221.

This lists her parents as Frederick W and Anna M. Schaumberg. Here she says she was born in Germany. Did she lie on her passport application under oath saying she was born in Boston?

BTW her first marriage was supposed to be in New York City, where her eldest daughter(s) were born.

Well done, Kathy!  I'd missed the Vogel-Schirmer marriage, which would seem to be one of our best sources for her parentage.  In that case, perhaps the New York marriage isn't her after all (I'd thought that Schumer looked like a mistranscription and everything else seemed to fit, but perhaps not . . .).  I'll just tweak her profile accordingly . . . .
I've also added the parents and siblings of Friedrich Wilhelm Vogel - his father was a moderately prominent pathologist at Halle in the middle of the nineteenth century.

OK, you guys.Now I get it!!! I need to understand "" better. Thank you two sooo much! and thank you Kelsey for helping with her profiles and Kathy for your insight. You two are THE BEST!
You're welcome, Amanda!  Best of luck with your research.
+3 votes
Looking at all the evidence, I'd say that this is a woman who consistently lied about her age (not uncommon).  Looking at the passport application again.

If she were really born in 1844, she would be 31 when her eldest daughter is 19.  This would mean she was 11-12 when she got pregnant.  Impossible?  No, but highly unlikely in a sheltered noble family.

The age shown (which doesn't match the birth date given) would make her a more reasonable 35 with a child born when she was 16.

If she lied under oath about her year of birth, did she lie about her birthplace?  Maybe.  That should be checked by looking for passenger manifests from Bremerhaven (German birth) and Boston (American birth).  There should be evidence of one or the other, but it might take more work than searching online.
by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (236k points)
Kathy! as I said to Kelsey earlier, I want to thank you for what you did here for me. It was mostly helpful in giving me another much appreciated resource of familysearch! Thank you for your generosity in time and insight!

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