I am trying to wrap my head around a tricky wedding party from a marriage record in Northern Alsace, 1796. The bride's name is Dorothea Neufarth, her parents are given as Georg Neufarth and Anna Maria Zwolle, and they are accompanied by two witnesses, a Peter Altermatt, and a Valentin Hart. So far, so good. However, the record then goes on to say that the bride was born out of wedlock, that Peter Altermatt is her brother, and Valentin Hart is her guardian. (Huh?) I wonder about the brother's last name, and am curious if there is any secondary information I might glean from this record.

The record is pretty long and I cannot download it properly, so I only provide a link for anyone who might want to look for themselves: http://archives.bas-rhin.fr/detail-document/ETAT-CIVIL-C42-P1-R47835#visio/page:ETAT-CIVIL-C42-P1-R47835-2923914

1 Answer 1


Based on the information you've provided from the marriage record (I can't read the original), my guess is that Peter Altermatt carries the surname of his father, who I would guess was Anna Maria Zwolle's husband. You'd need to find birth/baptism and marriage records to confirm.

As for the guardian, was Dorothea old enough to enter a marriage contract without special consent from a parent/guardian? Is there any indication that her father was still alive? In certain parts of the US in the early 1800's, when a child's father died, they were legally considered orphans. If the child inherited from the father, then a guardian was appointed to manage the estate until the child came of age.

In other marriage records, was the relationship of each witness to the bride noted? I might research if witnesses needed to have some type of vested interest in the well-being of the bride.

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