The Unknown First Husband

My aunt Wilhelmina (Trautvetter) Kraft died in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, in the latter part of the 19th century. She was born in 1808 in Dorf Allendorf, Germany. She died without enough of an estate to warrant a probate, had no obituary, or other record in the area where she died suggesting that she had children. The name of her Kraft husband was known and it was assumed that they had been married at least twenty years when she died.

Turned out she had a husband before she emigrated from Germany to the United States. They were married at least twelve years and had five children who survived to adulthood. She and Mr. Kraft were married for twenty years, but all her children were with her first husband who died in Germany before she emigrated. Her children were grown before she moved to Illinois. She is not listed with any of them in any census record.

Until I found the first husband all those children were hiding under his name. Don’t assume that the long-term spouse someone has at death is the only spouse they had.