Much of our Hoffmann family history came originally from the “green pamphlet” written by my great-granduncle Joseph Hoffman regarding his father Jacob’s life in Europe and the family’s emigration to the U.S. in 1883. This pamphlet lists Joseph’s siblings and half-siblings: ten children Jacob had with his first wife Annette Meyer and the seven additional children Jacob had with his second wife Christine Schmidt. Joseph’s list would suggest that he was the youngest of the first set of children, but there is at least one child unaccounted for.
Anna or Annette (Meyer) Hoffmann, Jacob’s first wife, was born 13 December 1827 in Grostenquin, France, and died 26 June 1874 in Renaucourt, France, aged 46. I had previously seen a cropped photograph of just her death record, but when I found the website for the Departmental Archives of Haute-Saône and looked more closely, I noticed another record just above Annette’s.
Using my rusty high school French, I was able to determine that entry number 6 was for an “Enfant de Hoffmann Jacob présenté sans vie.” The “présenté sans vie” label was used to define those children who died before a birth registration could be drawn up. No name is given for the Hoffmann infant, but the record confirms he was de sexe masculin and was born 7 June 1874 at 9 p.m. Only 19 days later, Annette Meyer died as well; it seems likely her death resulted in some way from the birth of this last unnamed child.
I know nothing else about this baby who died too young, but at least finding his death record has given him a voice and has allowed me to give him his rightful place in the family tree.