Monday, April 30, 2012

The Evidence at Hand

The Indiana Genealogical Society has a new lineage society that goes by the name of the “Territorial Guard Society of Indiana” which was formed in honor of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. To qualify you must be an Indiana Genealogical Society member who is a direct descendant of someone who lived within the boundaries of present-day Indiana on or before December 11, 1816 (the date of Indiana statehood).

In this previous post I stated that I have one possible ancestral candidate who could be considered - John Bray of Switzerland County - but the information I currently have that says he was here in 1816 is hearsay...

John Bray, my 4th Great-Grandfather, was born April 28, 1761 (251 years and 2 days ago - perhaps it is a “good omen” that I learned of the Territorial Guard Society on the 251st anniversary of his birth!). John Bray is a proven Revolutionary War Patriot who, thankfully, lived long enough to file for and receive a soldiers pension (filed June 20, 1818 in Switzerland County, Indiana). John enlisted in September 1777 in Romney, Hampshire County, Virginia as a Private in the company of Capt. William Voss - he was 16 years and 5 months old at the time of his enlistment. His pension application states that he participated in the battles of Brandywine (where he was wounded), Dela, Monmouth, in N. J. and in the taking of Stoney Point and in several small skirmishes. He was honorably discharged at York town in Pennsylvania in 1780 after having served three years, the length of his enlistment. John is buried at McKay Cemetery in Craig Township, Switzerland County, Indiana.

After the Revolutionary War, John Bray, along with his parents Henry & Cathryn Bray, and six of his adult siblings, some of whom had families of their own, left their home in Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia) and moved into the wilderness of western Virginia, to the area that would become Nelson County, Kentucky.

Henry Bray begins appearing in tax lists for the area in 1790 with a deed dated December 15, 1792 showing him purchasing 550 acres of land on Pottinger's Creek (south of Bardstown). However, John Bray and several of his brothers begin appearing on the tax lists in 1785 when John is taxed on 2 whites, 1 white tith. “Somewhere on the southern waters of Rolling and Beech Forks, westwardly of the waters of Hardings Creek." It is thought that John and several of his brothers entered the area first while his parents and other siblings followed later.

In fact, John may have been the first of his family to go into the area that would become Kentucky. In February 1781, a John Bray was one of five men examined and found to be qualified for the office of Deputy Surveyor for Lincoln County (Virginia) “whereupon they took the oath of allegiance and the oath of office.” I don't know for certain that this is my John Bray - he would have only been 19 years old at the time. He would turn 20 on April 28th. (Lincoln County was one of three counties created in 1780 from Kentucky County, Virginia. The other two were Jefferson and Fayette. On November 29, 1784 Nelson County was created from Jefferson.)

Tax lists from 1785 through 1796 show that John Bray resided in Nelson County. He was listed as having 50 acres of land in only one year, 1793. I have not (yet) done land record research on him. A John Bray appears in the Hardin County tax lists for 1799, 1800, and 1805. It could be the same man - Hardin County borders Nelson county on the west and was formed in 1792 from part of Nelson county. It has been a few years since doing this research so other tax lists as well as other resources may have become available, but John seems to have “disappeared” for a while. In 1807, John is mentioned in a deed record along with his brothers and sisters, all of whom are listed as being “of Nelson County” Kentucky. However, it is known for certain that several of those siblings were definitely not living in Nelson County at that time.

Nelson and Hardin counties in Kentucky are circled in red. The blue circle is where Switzerland County, Indiana is located.

So where was John Bray after 1797 (or 1805 if he was the John Bray in Hardin County) and until June 20, 1818 when his pension claim was filed in Switzerland County, Indiana? At this time all I can say for sure is “I don't know.”

A few years ago my cousin Caroline found an article written March 20, 1949 by Carrie Bray of Vevay, Switzerland County, Indiana. Carrie was a great-granddaughter of John Bray through his son Daniel. I don't know if this is the full article, it is what I was given.

“The first blacksmith was Nathan Morgan and son Willis. Nathan Morgan and Nancy Morgan Bray are brother and sister. The braytown Christian church was built in 1850. Our father David Bray, helped haul the brick on Ox carts.

“Great grandfather Bray, revolutionist, enlisted Sept. 1777 in Romney, Va. His wife Nancy Morgan Bray, who died before coming to Indiana, so grandfather and four sons and two daughters - Nancy, Betsy, John, James, and Samuel, and Daniel - my grandpa, his wife, Catherine Wallace Bray and their 2 children, Susan who married Meshac Lanchmen and Benjamin, never married. These are the ones Braytown was named for. The state was created 4 days after their arrival, March 5, 1816. Mr. George Craig was one of the first settlers. Mr. James Shaw named the Post Office Craig after him. The first mail carrier was in 1870.”
I have very little information on Nathan Morgan - he is on my to do list and I consider him to be one of the members of the John Bray FAN Club. Nathan may be Family, if he is indeed a brother of the wife of John Bray. (As far as I can determine, the above article is the only “documentation” available that John's wife was Nancy Morgan. Of course, her name has been posted in numerous online trees as well, sans sources.) Nathan could also be an Associate as well as a Neighbor. What I do know is that he applied for a pension based on his service during the Revolutionary War. When he filed his application on June 7, 1832 he was 80 years old and a resident of Switzerland County.

Nathan Morgan stated that he entered service in 1777 or 1778 as a volunteer and served as a private in the Virginia Militia under Captain William Love. He marched to North Carolina, and was stationed part of the time in Chirels [?] Head Mine in Montgomery County, Virginia. He did not receive discharge papers and no one that he knows of that is living can verify his service. Nathan was born in the state of Delaware on the 22nd of October 1752 and he has evidence of birth at home in his father's records. Nathan lived in Virginia prior to enlisting and resided in Virginia two years after service. He then removed to Georgia and lived there 8 years, then to South Carolina for 3 years. He lived in Kentucky about 27 years and has lived in Indiana 20 years. [Abstract from Switzerland County Probate Record Book A, page 326] If he had been a resident of Indiana for 20 years in 1832, that means he came here about 1812.

According to published cemetery transcriptions, Nathan Morgan is buried in McKay Cemetery, the same cemetery as John Bray. Also according to the published transcriptions, Find A Grave, and several online trees as well as information from another researcher (way back in 1999 and 2000), Nathan Morgan died on September 4, 1839. However, when I was in Salt Lake City last October, I happened across a record for Nathan in Switzerland County Probate Order Book 1 (page 328) dated the 17th day of October 1835 in which Lewis H. Morgan was named Administrator of the estate of Nathan Morgan based on the report of Robert McKay the 3d that “fifteen days had fully Elapsed Since the death of the Said Nathan Morgan.” An online tree shows that Nathan had a son born October 24, 1809 named Lewis Howell Morgan. That tree lists 15 children born to Nathan, from 1776-1813 by two wives, both named Elizabeth!

Administration of the Estate of Nathan Morgan, granted to Lewis H. Morgan. Switzerland County Probate Order Book 1 (page 328) dated the 17th day of October 1835.

I don't know if pursuing additional information on Nathan Morgan will provide any clues as to when John Bray arrived in Switzerland County but it may well help with the identification of his wife, reported in the above article by Carrie Bray to be Nancy Morgan, sister of Nathan.

Reviewing the article by Carrie Bray a little further, she names the children of John Bray at the time he came to Indiana as “Nancy, Betsy, John, James, and Samuel, and Daniel” but she left out one daughter, Jane. Named in his will (dated June 26, 1832) were sons John, Daniel, and Samuel and daughters Jane Ray, Elizabeth Cotton, and Nancy Culver. Also named were his second wife Elizabeth, whom he married in 1820, and their three children George, Amelia, and Sophia.

In her article, Carrie says “The state was created 4 days after their arrival, March 5, 1816.” This is either an error on her part or a transcription error on the part of my cousin. I'm hopeful, but skeptical, that the date of March 5, 1816 is actually the date John Bray and family arrived in Indiana, which was admitted on December 11, 1816 as the 19th state of these United States. Do you think the evaluation committee for the Territorial Guard Society would allow John Bray to be admitted based on Carrie's story? Not likely...

I have three versions of the pension application of John Bray! Portions of the file were printed from microfilm in the late 1990s at the Allen County Public Library (those are stuck away in storage). Twelve pages (all that were available at the time) were downloaded in 2006 from Heritage Quest. Then in 2007 I downloaded 78 pages from Footnote (now Fold3). A few pages have been transcribed but nothing that gives any clues as to when he came to Indiana. I'll be reviewing those documents as well as the few land records that were obtained at Salt Lake City in October of last year. Maybe I'll get lucky and find something of use in his pension file!

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Evidence at Hand," Kinexxions, posted April 30, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Sunday, April 29, 2012

'Twas a Day of Learning

Yesterday was a nice day spent in the company of pleasant people - a group of genealogists! The Indiana Genealogical Society Conference was held in Fort Wayne with a little over 100 folks in attendance. I went with my friend Cindy so didn't “hang out” with the other geneabloggers. I did meet Tina Lyons at check-in (we recognized each other right away) and caught up with her again during a break in sessions. Also saw Linda Herrick Swisher and introduced myself but it was just as a session was beginning and we didn't get to talk. Harold Henderson was there but when I finally saw him in one session, he was out the door so quickly when it ended that I missed him. Some other time, perhaps.

There were two “tracks” for sessions. I attended two sessions with Debra S. Mieszala: The first was “Lessons From A Snoop: Collaterals and Associates” in which she discussed the importance of researching not just your ancestors but everyone around them. I've done quite a bit with collateral relatives but very little with associates. They could be the key to cementing relationships and there are some that I know I should follow up on.

The second session that I attended with Debra was “Digging Through Documents Word By Word” where she emphasized that relationships as we know them today are not necessarily the same as they were back in the day. Sister, brother, cousin, Junior, Senior, aunt, uncle, etc. could and often do not mean the same thing to us that they did to our ancestors. I was aware of that from personal experience - My dad called any relative older than him aunt or uncle, when in fact they were some degree of cousin. The man we all called “Uncle Howard” was actually Dad's 1st cousin once removed. Given the fact that he was 40 years older than dad, it made sense to us to call him Uncle.

The third session for me was “Becoming Expert On Using Ancestry” with Melissa Shimkus, which reinforced that there is always something new to learn. The most important thing I took away from this session was a reminder that wild card searches can be used - something that I haven't taken advantage of so much - and that there are other options to obtain alternate spellings besides soundex.

Neither Cindy nor I were interested in the last session - one tract covered Patent records (those of the inventor kind, not land patents) and the other was on creating a book using Family Tree Maker and Microsoft Word. Neither of us uses either of those programs, so we skipped out for the day and headed home.

We did attend the “Annual Meeting and Awards” session. Two friends, Charlotte Blair and Judy Richter received certificates of merit based on their work as the Whitley County Genealogist and Noble County Genealogist, respectively. They were also recognized for their many contributions to their local societies as well as with the Indiana Genealogical Society.

Other awards given at the Annual Meeting were for inductees into the Society of Civil War Soldiers of Indiana and the newest society that was created in honor of the anniversary of the War of 1812 called the Territorial Guard Society of Indiana.

My ancestors Jacob Wise and William Brubaker were part of the “first” class of inductees into the Society of Civil War Soldiers of Indiana in 2007. I have one possible ancestral candidate for the Territorial Guard Society of Indiana - John Bray of Switzerland County. But the requirements are rather stringent - you must be a “direct descendant of any person who lived within the present boundaries of the State of Indiana on or before the day of statehood on December 11, 1816.” It's going to be tough to prove since the information I currently have that says he was here in 1816 is hearsay...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I've been Slacking Off...

Here it is, nearing the last week of April and it's hard to believe that I've only published three blog posts this month! You'd think with all the “extra” time I have now since I'm not traveling I'd get more accomplished. But that hasn't been the case. I have however, finally gotten to watch the entire Harry Potter series! I had never seen any of them. Now I understand why Elyse is all ga-ga over Mr. Potter! Last night I watched the first of the “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, which I had also never seen. The books were read many, many years ago but amazingly I remembered some of what took place. So you see, I have accomplished something these past few weeks...

I've had several interesting “conversations” the last few weeks with a couple of Hoffman researchers. Some tend to agree with my theory and others say no, there were two men named Michael Hoffman who married women named Maria. But no one can come up with any concrete documentation either way, not even me – yet! It is going to take “on site” research to uncover documents that aren't online to help resolve that issue. The truth is, we may never know for sure. But I haven't given up...

Last Wednesday (April 18th) I finally broke down and purchased a new laptop with Windows 7, a 750gb hard drive, and 6gb of memory. An amazing little machine that only weighs a little more than 4 pounds. Considerably heavier than the netbook I've been using but Oh, so much faster at everything! Yes, I am aware that Windows 8 will be coming out later this summer or early this fall, but the netbook was getting painful to use as a “full-time” computer. It's little hard drive was nearly full and it's 1gb of memory was terribly slow. It has served me well these last 2 ½ years and will most likely still be used on research trips - after everything except genealogy stuff is removed.

Of course, getting the new laptop ready for use has been a time-consuming process, as well as more than a little frustrating at times. But I have finally gotten the basic software that I use installed and updated to Windows 7 and they all seem to be functioning properly.

All of my data files have been transferred too. I was totally amazed by the speed at which that was done! Of course, there was an issue with the program used for the backups, which took more than four hours to resolve, but it's working and backups now take a fraction of the time they took with the netbook.

Everything considered, I am very happy with the new laptop. I just have to get used to using a larger keyboard again - some really strange looking sentences have been typed in the last few days!

Next Saturday I'll be attending the Indiana Genealogical Society Conference in Fort Wayne. I'm looking forward to meeting other Genea-bloggers who will be attending. And maybe learning a few new research tips and ideas as well.

For now... I'm back to reviewing and analyzing documents gathered during my recent visits to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It's been going slower than anticipated, partially held up by additional research on the Hoffman family but the time spent on that “project” was well worth it...


Friday, April 13, 2012

Baptism Records :: Four Children of Michael Hoffman

These Baptisms are a part of the record set Montgomery > New Hanover > New Hanover Evangelical Lutheran. As always, double-click on the images for a larger version.

Portion of Image 64. First page listing Hofman baptisms (the second page did not include any baptisms of children for Michael Hoffman). It should be noted that the transcription above has an error regarding the sponsors for Joh: Dietrich Hofmann - they were actually Dietrich Schädler and wife.

Of the five children underlined above, only Joh. Dietrich was mentioned in the estate records for Michael Hoffman who died on January 6, 1777. It is presumed that the four other children were deceased prior to Michael's estate entering probate and that they had no living children. The baptism record for Dietrich was posted yesterday, below are the other four.

Baptism record from the New Hanover Evangelical Lutheran congregation.
Portion of Image 303. Anno 1749 written at top of page.
parents: Michael Hofmann and Anna Maria
child: Johannes
born: 14 November [1748]
baptized: 21 May [1749]
sponsors: Joh: Conrad Lutz and wife

Johannes would be the son of Michael Hoffman and his [probable] first wife Anna Maria. No death record has yet been found for Anna Maria (the first wife) but my theory is that she could have died from complications resulting from the birth of Johannes. Baptism records for their first four known children have not been found yet either. They may have been living in a different area of what was then Philadelphia county. (The New Hanover area would not become a part of Montgomery County until 1784.) Michael purchased his land in what would become Alsace Township, Berks County in February 1748.

It is my presumption that Michael married a second wife, Anna Maria Engel Schedler on July 2, 1750. (See the post Questioning the Status Quo :: Oh, Maria!)

Baptism record from the New Hanover Evangelical Lutheran congregation.
Portion of Image 313. The year 1752 is written at the top of the page.
parents: Michael Hofmann and Anna Maria
child: Anna Maria
born: May 18
baptized: July 19
sponsors: Hans Jorg Schädler and wife

Baptism record from the New Hanover Evangelical Lutheran congregation.
Portion of Image 316. The year 1753 is written at the top of the page.
parents: Michael Hofmann and Maria Engel
child: Johann Michael
born: 23 May
baptized: 11 June 11
sponsors: Johann Michael Kurtz and wife

Baptism record from the New Hanover Evangelical Lutheran congregation.
Portion of Image 360. The year 1761 is written at the top of the page.
parents: Michael Hofman and Anna Maria
child: Hofman, Eva
born: 27 Sept
baptized: 22 Nov
sponsors: George Schaedler and wife

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Baptism Records :: Four Children of Michael Hoffman," Kinexxions, posted April 13, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Curiosity won - and So did I...

Quite often I get frustrated with using online trees, particularly those on but I continue to use them for clues. And sometimes you get lucky if there are sources attached, which doesn't happen all that much.

At the time I was checking these trees last week, I already had a record of Dietrich's baptism but decided to click through to see what the record was because it looked like a different source than what I had.

I was surprised to see an image. Other records of baptisms I'd seen on ancestry were like the above but without images. I was a bit disappointed because it appeared to be the same document in my files. But I clicked on through anyway.

The above is a portion of the page. The entry for Joh. Dietrich is 3rd from the bottom. Looking at it closely I noticed that his sponsors were different than the record I had. The copy I already had shows the sponsors to be Dietrich Schadler and wife while the sponsors for Johannes (just above Joh. Dietrich) were Joh. Schwenk and Regina! This is apparently another transcription of the records. But how could I know which is correct?

The other thing I noticed, which I've circled in red in the above screen shot, is the number of images for this record set. Curiosity got the better of me and I started “jumping” through the images a hundred at a time. Image 150 looked like a journal or diary as was image 250. But image 350 displayed baptism records written in German Script! I had landed on baptisms for the year 1758 so started going back 20 pages pages at a time. Image 310 was for August 1751 so back one more page and there in the lower right corner was the entry for Dietrich! How cool is that!!

Above is a portion of image number 309 with the year 1751 at the top of the page. The entry for Dietrich is on the second line. It shows that his parents (in the first column) are Michael Hofmann and Maria Engel. The second column shows Joh: Dietrich born 22 June baptized 21 July. In the third column are the sponsors Dietrich Schädler and wife. No, I don't read German but this was, luckily for me, quite legible. And of course, having the transcriptions helps.

If you have an ancestry account and are logged in you can click on this link to get to the full image. There are two pages per image and Dietrich's entry is at the bottom of the second page.

This is part of a larger collection of “Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, 1708-1985” which ancestry added and which Randy Seaver wrote about in January. Being a little more curious, today I took a look to see what all was in the Montgomery > New Hanover > New Hanover Evangelical Lutheran set. You have to have an account to view the images.

A List of Baptisms from 1740 to 1825 as they appear in the records of the congregation. New Hanover Lutheran” begins with Image 1.

A Diary or Journal begins with Image 141 which is dated 1865 Cheltanham, Montgomery Co. Pa. I didn't take the time to determine the writer. It begins in 1865 and goes through 1893. There were names written throughout. The first few lines of the first image: 6th mo 8 oh 1865. Our wedding day, were married at Germantown Meeting. A warm tho. pleasant day. A good many friends to dinner, more to tea, about 50 beside our family. Our bridesmaids and groomsmen all went home with us and spent the night. They were Enos Laikin and Mary Ann Imes, William Taylor and Mary A. Ogborn, Morris Ogborn & Susan Leattergood.

Miscellaneous Documents starting with Image 267: Permission to microfilm, then documents relating to the incorporation of the German Lutheran Congregation. Some documents in German Script, later ones in English.

Baptism Records in German Script begin with image 280. They start in 1744 and continue through 1878. Marriages begin with image 683 and go from 1809- 1882.

Deaths start with Image 721. The year 1886 is on the first image and 1884 on the last of 10 images so they aren't in any kind of order.

There's a bit of the history of the congregation, lists of Members and Communicants 1855-1919, Baptisms of Infants 1885-1912, Marriages 1887-1912, Burials 1886-1913 with a notation on the last page that there were “500 funerals at New Hanover to date”, more Communicants 1906-1921.

There are 20 images of German Script dated from 1744-1765 appearing to be congregation history and old records as well as several pages of signatures (in German) dated 1765-1790. And finally, Miscellaneous Records in German Script 1766-1796 (marriages, lists of trustees).

It's truly amazing the various types of records found in this data set. Most of them are of no use to me since my ancestors were gone from Pennsylvania by the late 1790s but what I found there (the baptism record of Dietrich Hoffman) is absolutely fantastic!

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "Curiosity won - and So did I," Kinexxions, posted April 12, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

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 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 ( : accessed [access date])