Names are Clues–Not Proof by Themselves

German immigrant Herman Eberhard Harms’ tombstone in Franklin County, Nebraska, indicated he was born in August of 1835. His parents names were unknown, but he was known to have born in Ostfriesland, where his wife was also from. Herman and his wife had several children, including one named Wubke Catherine–not the most common name and not one that was used in his wife’s family.

There is a birth for an Hermann Eberhard Harms in the church records of Eggelingen, Ostfriesland, Germany, in 1835–with a mother named Wubcke Catharina.

That’s not concrete proof it’s him, but it certainly suggests a connection. If it is the “reason” you think it is him, then that needs to be put in your notes on Hermann along with other reasons why you think it is him (like the fact that the date is consistent with his known age, tombstone date of birth, etc.).

Having the same first or middle names is suggestive of a relationship, sometimes highly suggestive. But look for additional records or clues to solidify that connection.

Births from Eggelingen, Ostfriesland, Germany (Evangelical church records), 1835; digital image from, 18 April 2017. Thanks to my Ufkes cousin Terri K. for locating this record and sending me a link.

This image appears in  “Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1519-1969” at

Genealogy Tip of the Day is proudly sponsored by GenealogyBank. Try their “GenealogyBank Search” and see what discoveries you make.


4 thoughts on “Names are Clues–Not Proof by Themselves

  1. Valerie

    I am trying to find my great grandfathers parents name. Fredrick holtfretter from Germany. I have no leads. He settled in Toledo Ohio he had 3 children Emily (grandmother). Alma. And Fredrick.
    Can anyone help me

  2. Pingback: Friday finds – Week 17 – 2017 | Norwegian Genealogy and then some

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *