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I am trying to track down an individual named Michel/Michael Gassmann/Gaßmann in Birlenbach, Alsace (Departement Bas-Rhin), France. Here is what I know about him:

  1. Between 1668 and 1684 he is named as godparent ("Gevatter"/"Tauffzeug") no fewer than ten times. Up until 1674 he is identified as the son of the late Ulrich Gassmann. The first of these records is here.

  2. In 1682 his little boy ("Söhnlein") is buried. (There is no birth record of the child, even though the records seem pretty complete otherwise.)

  3. Between 1683 and 1697 he has four other children with his wife Margaretha. (Marriage records in this time are incomplete, and I could not find his.) Here is a link to one of these four birth records.

  4. On September 9, 1711, a sixth child, Hanns Michael Gassmann, is getting married. I could not find his birth record, either. Here is the marriage record.

The main question is: Can all these records belong to the same person? For that, it seems he would have had to have been named as a godparent while still in his teens. And then there is the sheer number of godparenthoods, and the last names on these records do not repeat. It it almost looks as though he may have just happened to be in church and handy at the time. This strikes me as rather unusual, but perhaps that was a common occurrence in those days? (These records are from Alsace, so I am not sure whether I should apply German or French norms, even if I knew what they were.)

What makes this one so puzzling and frustrating is not that there are no records, but rather that there are so many of them, with just two or three crucial ones missing. What other internet resources might there be to nail things down?

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  • @pnuts I don't see these as 5 questions, but a compound one asking if the information so far has been correctly interpreted and what else might be found to illuminate the situation.
    – user104
    Apr 18 '18 at 5:51
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    This question could be much improved, not only by choosing an answerable research question for the title, but also by refining the timeline to show which of the linked sources supplied the information in the timeline. The question about his role as godparent might be a good candidate for breaking out into a separate question. With 10 mentions as godparent, there is a big opportunity here for research about his family.
    – Jan Murphy
    Apr 18 '18 at 19:56
  • In my own research, I have often encountered the case where the son wore the same firstname as the father. I even have one case where the son, the father and grandfather are all called Jean.
    – wotter
    Jan 13 '20 at 23:01
  • If you want to get more info about the local traditions get in touch with the "CERCLE GENEALOGIQUE D'ALSACE"
    – wotter
    Jan 13 '20 at 23:07

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