Friday, December 9, 2011

Jurgen Goth - Short Biography

Jurgen Christian Goth, Mecklenburg Exodus

The underdeveloped and unenlightened principality of Mecklenburg saw large numbers of its population flee during the 19th Century. Some came to Dane County, Wisconsin including two sets of my Great-Great Grandparents. One was David Hermann and family and the other was Jurgen Goth and his wife, Maria Fredericka Grandt. It seems unlikely that the two families knew each other in Germany but two of David's children would marry two of Jurgen's children, creating a strong family connection in America.

Jurgen Goth and Marie Fredericka Grandt

Jurgen was born in 1812 in the small town of Picher which is located about 20 miles south of the Schwerin, the medieval capital of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany. Mecklenburg was a semi-independent Grand Duchy at the time of his birth. The state is discussed in greater detail in the article about David Hermann (see link at the end of this article). Jurgen was one of seven children of Jochim Heinrich Goth (b.1778, d.1846) and Marie Elisabeth Brumm (b.1778, d.1852). The Goth family can be traced back two more generations to the middle of the 18th century and the Brumm family can be traced back to the middle of the 17th century. Jurgen's father, Jochim had inherited a small eight acre farm from his father and as such, was better off then most in 19th century Mecklenburg. Jurgen was a middle child and had an older brother so he would not have been in line to inherit the farm when Jochim died. Like many of his contemporaries, Jurgen had limited opportunities in his native land.

Sometime around 1856 or 1857 Jurgen married Marie Fredericka Grandt. She was born in 1833 in Neu Lublow, Mecklenburg. Her parents were Johann Friedrich Christian Grandt (b.1786, d.1858) and Catharina Sophia Elisabeth Sabbahn (b.1805, d.?). The Grandt family has been traced back one more generation to about 1760. It is unclear if Jurgen and Marie were married in Mecklenburg or America. Family stories say that Jurgen came first and she followed and they were married here but that has not been proven and marriage records have not been found. If they married in Germany, it would have been right before they came over. The records of Jurgen and Marie's voyage to the United States have also not been found but census records indicate that their son Henry, was born in Wisconsin in 1859 and there was reportedly a daughter, Bertha, born about 1857 who did not survive. It would seem they where married by that time. Also of note, there is a listing for a Fredericke Grande (or Grandt), with the right age who was a passenger on the Ship Borussia, which sailed from Hamburg and arrived in New York in 1857. The handwriting on the passenger page is hard to make out but it could be Maria as she was noted to go by the name Rike, which is short for Fredericka.

They family would settle in the Town of Middleton, Wisconsin where Jurgen would farm 80 acres on Section 32. Later he would aquire another 100 acres one section east. Middleton and surrounding townships saw many immigrants from Germany, including a large number of people from Mecklenburg. It was not unusual for immigrants to come to America in groups or follow others that came before them and settle in the same areas. Coming to an area with familiar faces, people that spoke the same language and had the same customs helped to smooth the transition to the new world. At least three of Jurgen's cousins would also come to the Middleton area and settle.

The southwest 1/4 of the Town of Middleton from 1890 shows two
Jurgen Goth farms, one on Section 32 and one on Section 33.
Jurgen would be one of the founding members of the German Lutheran Church of Middleton. The building was built in 1852 and the current structured, a landmark was started in 1866. Jurgen and Maria had eight children. They included:
Herman Goth
  • Daughter Bertha was born in 1857 but did not survive.
  • Son Heinrich (Henry) (b.1859, d.1939) married Bertha Erfurth in 1887. She was born in Wisconsin of German immigrants. They farmed in the Town of Verona and had at least three children.
  • Son Herman (b.1860, d.1948) married Emma Hermann in 1893. She was the daughter of David Hermann and sister of Henry Hermann, who married Wilehmina Goth (see below). They had seven children and farmed in the Town of Verona.
  • Daughter Louisa (b.1861, d.1940) married Charles Winkelman in about 1892. He was born in Germany. They initially farmed in the Town of Verona but then lived in the Village of Middleton. She is listed as Loiuse and Eliza in census records. They had at least four children and after the death of Charles, Louisa lived with two of her daughters in Middleton.
  • Daughter Wilhemina (b.1863, d. 1927) married Henry Hermann in 1887. He was the son of David Hermann and brother of  Emma Hermann, who married Herman Goth (see above). They had seven children and took over the original Jurgen Goth farm on Section 32.
  • Daughter Augusta (b.1865, d.1933) married Herman Binger in 1888. He was born in Wisconsin of German immigrants. They farmed in the Town of Middleton and later lived on East Washington Avenue in Madison. Augusta and Herman had at least two children.
  • Son Charles (Carl) (b.1870, d.1947) never married and farmed in the Town of Middleton probably on one of his father’s farms. After Jurgen’s death, Maria lived with him on the farm. By 1930, he was living in Madison with his sister Augusta.
  • Son William (Willie) (b.1871, d.1952) married Wilhelmina Steve in 1895. They farmed in the Town of Middleton and raised at least five children. The farms of William Goth, Charles Goth and Henry Hermann were all very close to each other and their families are often found on the same census page.
Jurgen Goth died in 1899 at the age of 87. As stated above, after Jurgen's death, Marie Fredericka would live with her son, Charles, who never married. He would farm one of Jurgen's parcels (on Section 33) and would be neighbors with his brother, William and family who farmed just to the south. Jurgen and Maria are buried at the German Lutheran Church cemetery in Middleton.

Additional Information: Read about David Hermann and Family here.

Research Notes: Much of the information for this report was found in a family publication entitled: The Ancestors of Clarence William Goth, published in 1994 by Gary Goth. Additional information was obtained from the United States Census, other vital records and other on-line sources.

This is one of a series of short biographies of individual ancestors. These are undertaken, from time-to-time, when enough information becomes available about an individual.


  1. Update,

    I recently stumbled upon some information online that has given new clues to the Goth family’s passage to America. According to this source, Jurgen bought his land in Middleton in 1855. Two years later, Maria Grandt came to America with Jurgen’s nephew Carl (Charles) Goth. Their journey was financed by Jurgen’s brother who was described as a “well-to-do” farmer in Mecklenburg. Maria would marry Jurgen shortly after arriving. In 1867, Joachim (Carl’s brother) came over with his wife, son and mother (Jurgen’s sister Hanne Sophia). Thus it seems that Jurgen and Maria were married in America and also that Carl and Joachim were not cousins of Jurgen (as reported in this article) but instead nephews. It is not entirely clear who the “well-to-do farmer” was but a good guess would be Jochim Christian Goth, Jurgen’s older brother and the oldest son in the family. It is likely that he inherited the small farm that their father owned. There was also one other younger brother, Johan Jochim Friedrich Goth. Both brothers live into their 80’s and died in Mecklenburg.

  2. Bruce, I am excited to find this information about Jurgen Goth. I am on the board of trustees of First Lutheran Church in Middleton & would love to connect with you. Please get in touch! You can reach me at:

    Our website:

    Our FB page:

    Hope to hear from you!

    1. Diana,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I will be in-touch