Genealogical mystery: the death of Princess Hermine

People who know me, know that I love a genealogical mystery. Sometimes royals or nobles just disappear in history, without anybody knowing when or where they died.

One of these persons is Princess Hermine Caroline Wanda Ida Luise Feodora Viktoria Auguste zu Schoenaich-Carolath, born at Saabor Castle, Kreis Grünberg, Silesia, on 9 May 1910. She was a daughter of Prince Johann Georg zu Schoenaich-Carolath (1873-1920) and Princess Hermine Reuss (1887-1947), who in 1922 remarried to the Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. She made her social debut as a bridesmaid at the wedding of Countess Alexandra zu Castell-Rüdenhausen and Prince Friedrich Christian zu Schaumburg-Lippe in September 1927, according to US-newspapers at the time.

Carmo, as she often was called, on 22 May 1931 got engaged to Prince Heinrich XLV Reuss zu Schleiz. They however never married. Instead she married a commoner, Hugo Herbert Hartung (Sterkrade, Kreis Dinslaken, 3 July 1908-imprisoned by the Germans 31 December 1945), on 12 December 1936 in Saabor. He was a son of a prominent industrialist in Düsseldorf, Germany. A photo of the civil marriage in the register office in Berlin-Wilmersdorf can be found online. This civil marriage took place at Berlin-Wilmersdorf on 10 December 1936. He is listed as living in Berlin-Wilmersdorf, she lived at Unter den Linden 9, Berlin.

The last time the family was listed in the Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels was in 2004. Hermine was still listed as being alive, although no address was given. In the 1984 edition she is listed as living in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

Most genealogical sites have listed her as having died in Kentucky on 30 May 1959. However the death certificate of that person is at Ancestry, and says that Hermina Hartung, born 14 April 1910, died in Jefferson, Kentucky, on 30 May 1959 aged 49. She is mentioned to be a daughter of Leo Lueken and Mary Hickman. Here is her grave. Thus certainly not “our” Hermine.

The book “Adelige Frauen als Pionierinnen der Berufsbildung. Die ländliche Hauswirtschaft und der Reifensteiner Verband” by Ortrud Wörner-Heil (Kassel University Press 2010) claims she died in 1992, which could well be true. But unfortunately no source or evidence is given.

It is however quite certain that she must have died by now. I have gone through all the sources that I could think of, but thus far her date of death remains a mystery.

2 thoughts on “Genealogical mystery: the death of Princess Hermine

  1. The 1984 edition of Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels has Hermine living in Berlin but she is
    not listed in the 1991 edition.

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