Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Questioning the Status Quo :: Oh, Maria!

While most of the Genealogy World (and apparently many “ordinary folk” as well) here in the States were all excited about the release of the 1940 census last week, I was consumed with puzzling through some information that Nick, another Hoffman descendant, had sent me – in fact, I spent two full days at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne gathering more information!

Referring to the title of this post, “Status quo” literally means “the existing state of affairs” and from indications in nearly every online family tree that I have viewed (over 50 of them on ancestry.com alone), the wife of Michael Hoffman is Maria (or Mary) Engle (or Engel). But in this post I'm going to question that premise...

When I wrote the first post on Michael Hoffman I basically “went along” with all of the other researchers in stating that Michael's wife was Mary Engel. Even going so far as to say “I find it fascinating that, apparently, Mary's maiden name was usually included in records giving her name, at least that is the case with some of the baptism records and with Michael's estate.”

After all, her name was given as Maria (Engel) in the baptism records of two of their children in “Trinity Lutheran Church - Reading, Pennsylvania: An alphabetized compilation of baptisms, marriages, and deaths from 1751-1904” prepared by Jacqueline B. Nein & Gail H. Hesser, 1988. (As usual, double-click on the images to view a larger version.)


The baptismal record of Samuel Hoffman, son of Dietrich, suggested that perhaps Michael's widow had remarried after his death in 1777:

Church record of Zion's or Spiess's Reformed and Lutheran Church, Upper Alsace Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, 1774-1845. Copied by William J. Hinke, July 1921. Typed April 1944.
page 10: parents: Dietrich Hoffman, Susanna
child: Samuel b. Apr. 6, 1785 bapt. May 29, 1785
sponsor: Frederick Lies & wf. Maria Engel
And in “Berks County Pennsylvania Marriages 1730-1800 volume 1” by Frederic G. Paul and Jeffrey J. Howell (HP Publishing, 1986) I found evidence of that assumption, noting however that the record does not state that both parties were widowed:
v1 59 - 21 Dec 1784 - Friedrich Lies – Exeter, Maria Hofmann
The death of Frederick's first wife was found in Berks County Church Records of the 18th Century” by F. Edward Wright (Family Line Publications, 1993):
Deaths: 1784 – March 27 – Frederick Lies's wife, b. July 13, 1736. [v1 p187: Schwartzwald Reformed Church]
Investigating things a little further while looking for Engel and Hoffman marriages I came across several rather interesting records in “Marriages and Deaths of Montgomery County Pennsylvania 1685-1800” by Charlotte Meldrum (Willow Bend Books, 1999). {Note: My Hoffman contact, Nick, had sent me a scanned page of the marriage record for Joh: Michael Hoffman but the source was not identified, thus the trip to the Allen County Public Library. It should be noted that Berks County was formed in 1752 from parts of Chester, Lancaster, and Philadelphia counties and Montgomery County was created in 1784 from Philadelphia County. I think the area where Michael Hoffman lived was originally part of Philadelphia County.}
Angel, Philip and Schmiedin, Anna Maria, md. November 24, 1748, at New Hanover. [p84 Augustus Evangelical Lutheran Church, Trappe – 3rd entry in image below]
Hofman, Joh: Michael, widower, and Schedlerin, Engel, md. July 2, 1750, in New Hanover township. [p85 Augustus Evangelical Lutheran Church, Trappe - 2nd entry in image below]

At first glance, the names Schmiedin and Schedlerin looked very similar and I thought perhaps that Anna Maria Schmiedin Angel could have been widowed and married Michael Hofman as her second husband. But then, I found the record below and realized that if “Engel Schedlerin” had been a widow, it should have stated that fact in the record. It should also be noted that the “in” at the end of a German surname simply indicates the feminine form of the name, thus Schmiedin and Schedlerin are actually Schmied and Schedler and appear to be two distinct surnames.
Schmied, Walter, widower and Scheidin, Anna Maria, widow, md. August 12, 1750, in Coventry township. [p85 Augustus Evangelical Lutheran Church, Trappe]
Another entry on the same page (5th entry in above image) was interesting because of the Schädler surname, which could be the “real” spelling of Schedler. It should also be noted that, according to documents in his estate file, Michael Hoffman had a daughter “Dorothea Now the Wife of Henry Shedler”.
Schädler, Johan Jürg, widower and Bechtelin, Anna Maria, widow, Jürg, md. August 7, 1750. [p85 Augustus Evangelical Lutheran Church, Trappe]

Another source (shown above) was found for the marriage of Joh: Michael Hoffman and Engel Schedlerin. If possible, it would be rather nice to find the original record, if still available, but two transcriptions of the record seem to indicate that the names are probably correct.

Going back to that marriage record for Joh: Michael Hofman and Engel Schedlerin, I got to thinking that perhaps Engel was a misspelling of Angel and that Angel or Engel was one of Maria's given names. Below are all of the records found for Maria in “Berks County Church Records of the 18th Century” by F. Edward Wright (Family Line Publications, 1993) where she is listed as a parent or sponsor, and assuming that she also married Friederich Lies. Entries are listed by date, and yes, there are quite a few entries, which makes this post really long, but I think they are crucial to my theory regarding her name:
  • Maria Barbara Westlie, daughter of Salomon and Maria Elizabeth, b. January 3, 1753 bapt. - - . Sponsors Michael and Anna Maria Hoffman. [v1 p14 - St. Gabriel's Church]
  • Michael Close son of Peter and Elisabetha, born October - -, baptized April 11, 176-. Sponsors: Michael Hoffman and wife Maria. [v1. p227 - St. Paul's Church, Amityville, Pa]
  • Anna Barbara of Michael Hoffman and Maria Engel, b. October 22, 1765; bapt. November 27, 1765, Sponsors: Georg Schwarz and wife Anna Barbara. [v5 p52 - Trinity Lutheran Church Reading]
  • Jacob Fritz son of Joh. Martin and Sarah, born October 2, 1767, baptized February 21, 1768. Sponsors: Michael Hofman and wife Anna Maria. [v1. p229 - St. Paul's Church, Amityville, Pa]
  • John Barefoot son of Samuel and Jenny, born May 30, 1768, baptized October 16, 1768. Sponsors: Michael Hoffman and wife Anna Maria. [v1. p230 - St. Paul's Church, Amityville, Pa]
  • Johannes of Michael Hoffmann and Maria Engel, b. May 3, 1770; bapt. June 3, 1770. Sponsors: Johannes Koch and Eva. [v5 p71 - Trinity Lutheran Church Reading]
{rwNote: Michael Hoffman died January 6, 1777. Maria Hoffman married Frederick Lies on 21 Dec 1784.}
  • Johann Friederich Lies son of Peter and - - , b. Dec 4, 1785, bapt. March 20, 1786. Sponsors: Johann Friederich Lies and wife Maria Angel. [v1 p52- Schwartzwald Reformed Church] {rwNote: I think it is highly unlikely that her maiden name would have been used in a baptismal record, especially given the fact that she was married twice, assuming of course that she was married to both Michael Hoffman and Friederich Lies.}
  • Jacob Mueller son of Jacob and - - , b. 8 mos last Thursday, bapt. March 20, 1786. Sponsors: Johann Friederich Lies and wife Maria Angel. [v1 p53 - Schwartzwald Reformed Church]
  • Anna Maria Engle daughter of Elisabeth and ---, b. 8 wks old, bapt. June 29, 1787. Sponsor: Anna Maria Engel. [v1 p57 - Schwartzwald Reformed Church] {rwNote: am including this simply for reference because of her name.}
  • Anna Maria Schroeder daughter of Engel b. August 9, 1794 bapt. January 18, 1795. Sponsors: Henrich Lies and wife Anna Maria. [v1 p108 - Schwartzwald Reformed Church] {rwNote: is Engel a first name in this record?}
  • Maria Elisabeth Hoffman daughter of Christian and - - , b. October 5, 1785, bapt. November 20, - - . Sponsors: Jacob Koch and Maria Angelina Hoffman. [v4 p41 - Zion's or Spiess's Reformed and Lutheran Church] {rwNote: including this record for reference to the name Angelina. At this point, I don't know how or if Maria Angelina Hoffman is related to “my” Hoffman family.}
  • Daniel Ganser son of Andrew and - - , b. November 2, 1786, bapt. December 26, - - . Sponsors: Frederick Lies and Anna Maria. [v4 p42 - Zion's or Spiess's Reformed and Lutheran Church]
  • Maria Catharine Hoffman daughter of Henry and Susanna, b. July 26, 1790, bapt. July 10, 1791. Sponsors: Frederick Lies and wife Maria. [v4 p44 - Zion's or Spiess's Reformed and Lutheran Church]
  • Joh Heinrich Hoffman of Michael Hoffman and Elisabeth, born May 8, 1789, bapt. August 30. Sponsors: Friedfrich [sic] Lies and wife Maria. [v4 p173 – Christ Church on Bieber Creek (Mertz)]
Other than those for Maria, there were few entries for the Angel/Engel surname and even fewer for the Schädler (Schaedler, Schedler) surname. I'll be looking at those records as well as others and attempting to find out more information on the people mentioned.

Baptismal records in “The Lutheran Church in New Hanover (Falckner Swamp) Montgomery County, Penna. by Rev. J. J. Kline, which was published in v20 of The Pennsylvania-German Society Proceedings (Lancaster, Pa, 1911) page 261 provides additional clues to a possible Schädler connection:


{I've rearranged the records according to date of birth...}
  • Hofmann, Johannes... Nov. 14, 1748... May 22, 1749... Michael and Anna Maria... Joh. Conrad Lutz and wife {rwNote: This baptism is prior to Michael's marriage to Engel Schederlin, indicating that his first wife was also named Anna Maria. Good grief!}
  • Hofmann, Joh. Dietrich... June 22, 1751... July 22, 1751... Michael and Maria Engel... Dietrich Schädler and wife {rwNote: Dietrich Hoffman was the first child born to Michael and his second wife.}
  • Hofmann, Anna Maria... May 18, 1752... July 19, 1752... Michael and Anna Maria... Hans Jorg Schaedler and wife
  • Hofmann, Johann Michael... May 27, 1753... June 11, 1753... Michael and Maria Engel... Johann Michael Kurtz and wife
  • Hofman, Eva... Sept. 27, 1761... Nov. 22, 1762... Michael and Anna Maria... George Schaedler and wife

If you've made it this far, I congratulate you!

My premise or theory that questions the status quo regarding the wife of Michael Hoffman is that Maria was born “Anna Maria Engel Schedler” and that the “Engel” referred to in the baptismal records is simply recording her given name. It just does not make sense to me that her maiden name would be given in those "Lies" records, particularly if she was married twice. Of course, this theory hinges on the two marriage records noted near the beginning of this terribly long post and assuming that she is the same person in both records: Engel Schedler(in) marries Joh: Michael Hoffman and after his death marries Friederick Lies. Of course, there is always the chance that there was more than one Michael Hoffman in this area. I haven't done enough investigation yet to determine that possibility.

Oh, and if my theory pans out, I think it also confirms the misgivings mentioned in this post on the Heirs of Michael:
“Now, I don't know about you, but that's quite a span of years with the oldest child being 36 and the youngest being only 4 years old. Call me skeptical, but I'm thinking that Maria Engel may have been Michael's second wife. If she is the mother of all 13 children, she would likely be into her 50s when she had the last child. Possible, I suppose. But I don't have a date of birth or place of birth for Maria or Michael.”
What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts, dear readers, and especially anyone researching this Hoffman family (Michael or Dietrich or their children). Please leave a comment or send me an email at kinexxions “at” gmail “dot” com. At the very least, this information should give us all researching this family something to think about...

And one last little thing... my contact Nick also provided me with information about the possible parents of Michael Hoffman, so you haven't read the last about this family just yet! I can't thank him enough for sending me the information and copies of documents. Thanks, Nick!

For previous posts see the Hoffman-Huffman Family :: Index to Posts

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Questioning the Status Quo :: Oh, Maria!," Kinexxions, posted April 10, 2012 (http://kinexxions.blogspot.com/2012/04/questioning-status-quo-oh-maria.html : accessed [access date])

1 comment:

  1. These are interesting post as I am also researching HOFFMAN but in the Northern Liberties Ward of Philadelphia . I did not know that Berks County was formed from parts of Chester ,Lancaster, and Philadelphia counties and Montgomery County was created in 1784 from Philadelphia County so you opened an avenue of possible search locations for my Hoffmans.

    Did find my Sebastien Hoffman married to Cunegunda ___ in Old St. (Catholic) Joseph's in 1770's .

    One question I have is that one of my Philadelphia folks married in St. John's Evangelical Church in Philadelphia ( 1808 ) . If you come across those records in your research ,please let me know .They have some on Ancestry bt not all unless I am searching wrong , Thanks . Magda

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