GERMANNA History Notes Page #069

(This Page Was Last Modified Wednesday, 06-Apr-2011 15:52:32 MDT.)

Search John's Notes, or This Entire Web Site.

This is the SIXTY-NINTH page of John BLANKENBAKER's series of Short Notes on GERMANNA History, which were originally posted to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Discussion List.  Each page contains 25 Notes.

(See bottom of this page for Links to all Notes pages.)
This Page Contains Notes 1701 through 1725.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 69
(If the text on this and other pages on this website isn't large enough, click here to see how to increase the size.)
(If you wish to print only part of this page, and not the entire page, click here for instructions.)

Nr. 1701:

Perhaps some of you have been wondering whether I have strayed from the purpose of these Notes by the choice of some of the recent subjects.  There is really only one purpose, and that is to keep subscribers "tuned in".  The most fun is when a discussion gets going about an early individual such as Nicholas Yager.  It is desirable to have as much input as possible, and one way to get it is to have as many readers as possible.  These notes are intended to put out something of interest so that there will be a reasonable group of readers who might contribute.  Actually, I have found that a variety helps.  No matter what I take for a subject, it is usually of interest to someone.

Right now, I would wish that some of the recent travelers to Germany would write comments on their experience.  I have been there and I have some opinions but I would like to hear what others think about the experience of visiting the old "home places".  The one universal opinion is probably a desire that the trip had been longer.

To any newcomers who may be reading this, the Germanna Colonies were the first permanent settlements of Germans in Virginia.  There were earlier Germans, even at Jamestown in the first days of it, but they did not live.  There were a larger number of Germans in the Shenandoah Valley, but they were not as early.  Perhaps I err a bit by not emphasizing this point.  I usually choose to say, "They lived east of the Blue Ridge Mountains."  This of course is true but it leaves out some of the significance of this early colonization.

Why Germans fell into these early roles in Virginia is debated and discussed.  If you used the word "accidentally", you would not be too far off the mark.  To say that the First Colony came because Alexander Spotswood had a source of iron ore and he wanted miners is false.  To say that the Second Colony wanted to go to Virginia is false, and it probably was not a storm that was responsible.  In short, there is a lot of history involved with the Germanna Colonies and much of it has been told incorrectly.  There is enough recorded information that we can put together a much more likely story.  We can also make a good stab at the early family histories.  Trying to complete the story is fun and a challenge.

Every reader should remember that this list is not an "Einbahn".  (Let's see if some of our travelers picked up the meaning of that word.)  Contributions from all, even if in the form of questions, are desirable.  If you have a question, probably someone else has a question also.

I really do hope that some of the travelers respond with their stories.  Take as much space as is necessary, Jim, Betty, Barb, and Thom.  (We might have to excuse Thom, as he is going to be a very busy man for a few weeks.)
(24 Jun 03)

Nr. 1702:

John Huffman/Hoffman was married twice.  At about the time of his second marriage he moved to the Robinson River Valley, which is where his second wife was living.  John kept a record of the baptisms of his children in his Bible (inherited from his father after 1731).  I am going to give only the second marriage information.

"On 13 July 1729 I was married to my second wife Maria Sabina, the daughter of the deceased John Michael Folg of Wagenbach.  She was born 29 March 1710."
[Of course, this was written in German.]

We now know from the German church records that Maria Sabina's last name was more properly Volck, which is an almost sound-alike of Folg.  She was baptized in the Lutheran church at Hueffenhardt, which is the nearest church to the Wagenbach farm.  Her father died and her mother married George Utz.  So the mother of Maria Sabina was Barbara Utz, nee Majer (Maier, perhaps Moyer).  George Utz and John Hoffman had adjoining land patents in the Robinson River Valley.

In almost every church denomination, anyone can baptize another person.  This view came about because some churches regard baptism as essential for entry into heaven and they did not want to deprive anyone of entrance just because a priest, pastor, or minister was not available.  (I know a mother who baptized her children just as soon as they were given to her.)  There are certain words to be said and anyone (well, presumably a believer) can say them.  Probably John Hoffman held a more formal service at which the witnesses were present, and probably he actually did the baptism.

These were the sponsors of the twelve children of Maria Sabina:
  1. NY, BB, MMW.  This son was named Nicholas.  [NY is Nicholas Yager.]
  2. NY, BB, MMW.  [BB is Balthasar Blankenbaker.]
  3. NY, BB, MMW.  [MMW is "the mother of my wife", who is never identified, but she was Barbara Utz.]
  4. NY, BB, MMW.  This son was named Baltz (Balthasar).
  5. NY, BB, MMW.
  6. NY, BB, MMW.
  7. NY, BB, MMW.  (This was in 1740.)
  8. NY, BB and his wife.  (This was in 1742.)
  9. NY, BB and his wife.
  10. NY and Susanna his wife, and Ann Margaret, the wife of BB. (This was in 1746.)
  11. BB and his wife, and the wife of NY.
  12. NY, Georgia his wife, (and) the wife of BB.  (This was in 1751, when Susanna was still living.)

This was published by John W. Wayland as "John Hoffman of Germanna and Some of His Descendants", in Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 63, n. 4, (1955) p. 454-460.  He claimed to have seen a first copy of the original, but no one knows where the original or the copy is.
(25 Jun 03)

Nr. 1703:

Looking at the sponsors for the children of John Hofmann and Maria Sabina Volck, there were always three, which is more typical of Lutherans than Reformed (as John was).  Maria Sabina was baptized as a Lutheran herself, and apparently her mother (Barbara Utz) was a Lutheran also.  At least, she married George Utz in a Lutheran church and he was a known Lutheran.  (A picture of this church is shown in the photos that Sgt. George maintains, see Hueffenhardt.)

For the first seven children, Barbara Utz was always a sponsor.  Perhaps she died before any of the following children were baptized starting in 1742.  Having a mother fulfills the usual requirement for a relative, either by blood or marriage.  Lutheran practice would usually prefer someone younger than a parent as a sponsor but it does allow it.

When Maria Sabina's mother was gone, the wife of Balthasar Blankenbaker (Anna Margaretha) was a sponsor instead of her Maria Sabina's mother.  One sort of gets the feeling that Anne Margaret was close to Maria Sabina.  A very likely thought is that Anne Margaret was a sister to the mother Anne Barbara.  After "my wife's mother" died, Anne Margaret served four of the five times.  (Incidentally, Balthasar Blankenbaker and George Utz had adjacent land patents.  Perhaps this was the result of their wives being sisters.)  Balthasar served ten times, and this may have been because he was an uncle by marriage of Maria Sabina.

A very striking aspect was the prominent role that Nicholas Yager played in these baptisms.  He missed only one.  Notice also that the very first son was named for Nicholas also.

The only way in which he could have been reasonably chosen was that his wife was a relative of Maria Sabina.  (John Hoffman seems to have no loose female relatives floating around, or did he?)  We know that Nicholas Yager came to Virginia with a wife named Mary, and that this was the name of the woman he married in Marienthal.  Their children were Adam and Mary, who were born in Germany.  So Mary, wife of Nicholas, could have died very soon after arrival in Virginia (or even before), and Nicholas could have married again.  Perhaps this was another sister of Barbara (Maier) Utz which would make Nicholas another uncle of Maria Sabina.

Does anyone know if there is any record of Mary Yager, wife of Nicholas, after their arrival in Virginia?  If he married another Mary, it would be masked in the records because that is the name we are expecting.  Even if he married a second time, I don't think it would upset any genealogy that we know, OR WOULD IT?

Could Nicholas Yager have been the father of two Adam Yagers?  That is just a wild thought.  One Adam was born in Germany in 1708.  The second might have been born in 1718, just to pick a year at random.  We do seem to have another wife for Nicholas Yager from the Hofmann baptisms.
(26 Jun 03)

Nr. 1704:

Baptismal records are important to family historians because they provide two or three essential pieces of information:

  1. The date a person's life began,
  2. the names of that person's parents,
  3. and the name that the male used throughout life.

Sometimes baptismal records will provide more or less than this.  The practice of keeping baptismal records began at the start of the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland, when Ulrich Zwingli urged the governing council (in Bern) in 1526 to start maintaining church records because many people (e.g., the Anabaptists) were not having their children baptized.  (Zwingli is often regarded as the founder of the Reformed churches.)  The practice of recording births generally spread, rather quickly, through the Protestant areas of Europe.  In 1538, Henry VIII stipulated that every parish priest was to maintain a record of all weddings, christenings, and burials.  A motivation in England was the desire that every citizen be a Protestant.  The Catholic Church initiated its record keeping in November of 1563, as a result of the Council of Trent.

The general rule is that a church which receives official recognition from the state will keep good records, while those who were denied recognition do not keep records.  Consider the Anabaptists in Switzerland who were persecuted severely.  If they kept records, these records might be seized and used by the state against them.  So they did not keep records.  In those areas of Europe where the Catholic Church gained recognition, the records are good.  In England, the Catholic Church was outlawed for periods of time.  There are no records for this church during such times.  In the Eighteenth Century, Catholic records in England and its colonies are sparse.  St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia has a plaque dating from 1733 noting that it was the only place in the English-speaking world where the celebration of Mass could be performed legally.  Still, St. Joseph's did not start to keep baptismal records until 1758, because until then the priests were English.

The history and place of origin determine whether a church kept records, and this is related to when the church was recognized and allowed.  The German Reformed Church achieved recognition in 1648 as a result of the Thirty Years' War.  While the Presbyterian Church was the recognized church in Scotland, it was classified as a dissenting or non-conforming church in England.  Presbyterian records prior to 1760 are hard to find in Pennsylvania.

The Anglican Church, or Church of England, was an apostolic church where the bishops claimed succession from the apostles and they claimed the only true church had to be apostolic.  The Presbyterian Church made no such claim and drew the wrath of the Church of England.  It was said that it was not a true church.  Under Queen Elizabeth I, the Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Baptist Churches did not meet the requirements for being a church.  The Moravian and Lutheran churches were considered apostolic and received a more lenient treatment.  At times the Quakers were not oppressed as severely because they did not recognize baptism or communion.
(27 Jun 03)

Nr. 1705:

[Please look on the following as a history of thought, not as theology.]  Baptism is a rite of initiation for entrance into the Christian Church, at least in those denominations which practice baptism.  The type of the ceremony and the meaning to be assigned to baptism have varied through the ages.  In the beginning of the Christian era it was generally much different than is usual now.

In the first three centuries, baptism was available only for adults who had studied the Christian church and come to accept it.  When a candidate was ready for entrance to the church, he was presented by a "witness", who would testify to the candidate's knowledge.  The candidate might be subjected to further tests and examinations by the church leaders.  If accepted, the candidate was baptized, generally by immersion in water.  The significance of this was that the baptism was a symbolic act of cleansing.  The word "baptism" comes from the Greek word meaning dipping or washing.  The New Testament says nothing about how baptism was to be performed except the those being baptized were to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  These last words became the key to whether a baptism had been performed.

Baptism was the means of entry into the church, and later into heaven.  It could only be performed once.   If one was not baptized, one was excluded from heaven.  This led to a concern about people who had not yet been baptized.  Infant baptism was the answer and about the Third Century, infants were baptized.  By the Sixth Century, it was rare to find an adult baptism.

To baptize infants, a revision to the procedures was necessary.  Someone had to act on behalf of the child, and this was usually a parent.  Immersion was gradually replaced by sprinkling.  With infant baptism fully the policy, it followed that it should be performed as soon as possible after the birth.  Then confirmation was added, in which instruction of the individual was performed.  The original practice had been instruction first and then baptism.  In some churches, the confirmation could be performed only by the bishops.  [In colonial Virginia, there were no bishops, so one had to go to England to be confirmed.  Or the Virginia way of doing things developed, which was to forget the confirmation process.]  It was not until the Twelfth Century that confirmation became one of the seven sacraments.  Confirmation, like baptism, could never be repeated.

As a part of the infant baptism, people were designated as sponsors.  The (leading) sponsor acted for the child during the baptism, and took the infant from the priest after the triple immersion had been performed.  The sponsor had the obligation to foster the child's religious and moral development.  The sponsor was required to be a Christian.  Early on, the infant had only one sponsor, who might be a parent.  We are now up to about the Ninth Century in the development of the baptismal rite.
(28 Jun 03)

Nr. 1706:

[For my material that I have been reporting here, I am using John T. Humphrey's book, "Understanding and Using Baptismal Records".]

Several significant changes took place in the practice of baptism in the Christian church starting about the Ninth Century.  The number of sponsors increased from one to three, two of the same sex as the child and one opposite.  The rite was changed to place greater emphasis on the role of the sponsors.  The sponsors, being responsible for the spiritual world, were sometimes called godparents or, in particular, godfathers and godmothers.  Parents could not be sponsors.

This created two families, a natural family and the spiritual family.  The two could not co-mingle.  A godfather was forbidden to marry a goddaughter.  This idea extended to confirmation, where a man could not marry a woman whose child he had led to confirmation.  In the Middle Ages it became very popular to choose socially prominent people as sponsors, in part, perhaps, because of the hope that the sponsors could give the child help when it grew up.  This was called a spiritual kinship, and the concept lasted until the Reformation.

The belief that baptism equals salvation meant that seriously ill infants, who had not been baptized, were lost souls.  A mechanism was needed to save the dying of all ages who were not baptized.  The answer was to allow anyone, even a heretic, to baptize another individual if the correct words were said.  The requirements were two:  The Trinitarian formula had to be used, and the baptism had to be performed with good intent.  This was called an emergency baptism, and no sponsors were required.  After an emergency baptism, no other baptism was required, and, in fact, it could not be allowed because one could be baptized only once.  Midwives and parents were instructed in what to do, namely, repeat the phrase, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."

Emergency baptism created a predicament for the church.  Normally rites of the church were performed by a priest, not by a lay person.  Yet, the church insisted that a baptism by a lay person was valid.  Some parents who had an emergency baptism performed for one of their children, and even the priesthood, would worry that the emergency baptism was valid.  Conditional baptism was the solution devised by the church.  The rite of baptism was modified by having the priest say the phrase, "If thou art not already baptized, I baptize . . . "

At the end of the Fifteenth Century, the practice of baptism generally followed the form that the father would assemble three sponsors, two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex.  These sponsors, with the father (but perhaps not the mother), and perhaps the older children, went to the church.  Often this baptism was on the day of birth or the next day.  The godmother or the midwife carried the infant to the church door where the priest met the party.
(30 Jun 03)

Nr. 1707:

We were with the baptismal party of the father (perhaps the mother also), the sponsors (usually three), and the baby outside the church door where the priest meets the group.  He asks the baby's sex and if it has been baptized before.  Some preliminary actions are performed in front of the church.  If possible, the priest takes the hand of the baby and leads him or her into the church as a symbolic move.  The baptismal font is inside the door and there the child is blessed.  The priest asks the name of the baby and then the child is baptized by the verbal formula and sprinkled with water.  Then the child is taken from the font and given to the principal sponsor, whose name the child receives.  From the font, the party moves to the altar for a profession of faith, with the sponsors answering for the infant.  The sponsors will teach the infant, in due course, the Lord's Prayer, the Ave Maria, and the Creed.

The sponsors could not be related by blood or marriage to the parents, so uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, etc., were not eligible.

What has been described is the position or attitude of the church late in the 1400's (end of the Fifteenth Century).  There was, in Western Europe, only one Christian church, which today we call the Roman Catholic Church.  The position of the Catholic Church has changed little in the years since then.  They are very adamant that baptism is required for entrance into heaven.  A priest is even authorized to baptize an unborn infant if necessary.

The parents need not be members of the Catholic Church.  If the child is in danger of death, it can be baptized without the consent of the parents.  If the child does not appear to be in danger, then the consent of at least one parent is sought.  [In early Pennsylvania when ministers were scarce, Catholic priests would baptize non-Catholic children.]

At the Council of Trent in 1563 for the Catholic faith, the presence of sponsors was affirmed, but the Council reduced the number from three to one (at the most two).  Again, the presence of a sponsor was not considered to be necessary.  Another decision of the Council was that the baptism should be recorded in a church book.  Prior to this, it was not considered necessary.  The prescribed information was the name of the infant, the father and mother, the dates of birth and baptism, the names of the sponsors, and the location where the baptism was performed.

By now, the Reformation was underway and alternatives to the Catholic practices were being used in the Protestant churches.  The Catholic position and views have changed little since the Council of Trent.
(01 Jul 03)

Nr. 1708:

What has been described so far, as pertains to baptism, could be called the base, or Catholic, position.  These views and practices have not been constant through the ages, but evolved through a series of stages until by the Sixteenth Century they were essentially determined as today's rites.

A group of Protestant churches can be lumped together as "first removed" in their views.  It is more of an accident than any deliberate action that they share a common outlook.  These churches are the Lutheran, the Moravian, the Church of England, and the Protestant Episcopal Church in America.  The first three broke with the Catholic Church quite early.  The Episcopal Church, through its shared heritage with the Church of England, would qualify also as a church which broke early with the Catholic Church.

Luther emphasized (and kept) the importance of baptism for salvation.  He regarded baptism as not a mechanical procedure but as only one step toward salvation.  He simplified the actual baptismal procedure and dispensed with many of the embellishments which had been added through the centuries.  In addition to baptism, it was necessary to have faith.  The role of sponsors was maintained.  It was the parents' responsibility to select sponsors who were to be decent, moral, earnest, and sober.  At the time of the split between the Catholics and the Lutherans, the Catholics were using three sponsors, so Luther inherited this as a starting point.  Luther did reject the concept of spiritual kinship.  Sponsors could be relatives, and certainly in many Lutheran churches the sponsors were almost exclusively chosen from relatives.  Luther accepted emergency baptism, but rejected conditional baptism.  The right to participate in communion came from baptism, not from confirmation.  Luther rejected confirmation as a sacrament and considered the instruction preparatory to confirmation as the really important part of it.

With the Lutherans, church membership was not a requirement.  The parents and sponsors might be church members of any kind.  Often, though, the ministers used these occasions to urge the parents and sponsors to become involved in the church.  In 1780, the Philadelphia Ministerium refused to impose a restriction against baptizing illegitimate children whose parents had not made a confession of their sins.

It was certainly the case in America that there was no standard for what was to be recorded at a baptism.  Generally, the Lutheran ministers recorded the name of the infant, the names of both parents, dates of birth and baptism, and the names of the sponsors.  Reading the early baptismal records shows that the infant was often a few days, weeks, months, or even years old before the baptism was performed.  Part of this arose because of the scarcity of ministers.  Parents simply had to wait until a minister was available.
(02 Jul 03)

Nr. 1709:

The Protestant Episcopal Church was perhaps more similar to the Catholic Church in their views on baptism than the Lutheran Church.  When one considers how the Episcopal Church was formed, namely from the Anglican Church in England, this is not surprising.  The Church of England was a political reform, not an ecclesiastical reform.  A second stage of reform in the Episcopal Church, again political, occurred at the time of the American Revolution.

In Pennsylvania, Rev. Henry Muhlenberg described the Anglicans as his nearest and best friends.  We know that in Virginia the Rev. Klug had no difficulty in cooperating closely with the Anglicans and, in fact, performed ministerial acts for them.  His son, Samuel, became an Anglican priest.

Both churches believed baptism provided salvation.  As the Anglican Book of Common Prayer notes, the necessity of Holy Baptism to salvation is so urgent, and the blessing conferred by it so great, infants should be brought to the font as soon as possible.  The Anglicans preferred public baptisms in which the whole congregation participated, but they would perform a private baptism.  After 1661, they would allow adult baptisms for those people who could answer for themselves.

For infants, sponsors were present.  Initially the Anglicans used the same three sponsors as the Catholics, with two of the same sex and one of the opposite sex.  After 1661, the number was reduced to two.  The Anglicans continued the Catholic practice of not accepting parents as sponsors until 1865.  Emergency baptism was acceptable and, if the child was in danger, the preliminary prayers were to be omitted and the Trinitarian formula was to be said at once.  If any minister refused to baptize a dying child, of any faith, the minister could be suspended from his duties.  Conditional baptism was retained by the Anglicans, but its use was to be minimized.  No one desiring baptism for himself or an infant was to be refused.

The Anglicans retained the idea that confirmation was a requirement for communion.  Because confirmation required a bishop and there were no Anglican bishops in America, generations of Anglican followers were in limbo.  Do not expect to find any confirmation records from before 1787 in America.

Baptismal information was prescribed by law.  According to a 1603 Act of Parliament, each parish priest was to have a parchment book wherein the day and year of every christening were to be written.  In addition to the dates, the names of the infants and the parents were to be recorded.  Few of these pre-Revolutionary records exist and the registers were victims of the war.  Most of the Anglican priests left America during the war and probably took their books with them.  These priests had a problem with their oath to support to the King of England.  The Protestant Episcopal Church in America was established in 1787 to be independent of the Church of England.
(03 Jul 03)

Nr. 1710:

The Moravian Church have a valid claim to being the oldest Protestant denomination.  They trace their formation to the year 1457, when followers of the martyred John Hus(s) organized.  They had grown to a membership of 200,000 by the time of Martin Luther.  By the end of the 1600s, they had almost been eliminated by the effects of the Counter-Reformation.  Through the aid of Count Zinzendorf (1700-1760), they were revived and became a major force in the religious life of the middle Atlantic colonies in North America (including the missionaries they sent out from there).  Though Zinzendorf was heavily influenced by the Lutheran Pietists, they introduced many new thoughts into religious life.

They regarded baptism as the initial entry into the church of God, but it alone did not guarantee entry into heaven.  Unbaptized infants were not regarded as doomed in line with the idea that they had not committed any sin.  Still, the Moravians often emphasized early baptism of infants.  At Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, if a baby was born in the middle of the night, they would awaken the whole (communal) congregation for a baptism service.  This view changed but baptism within a day or two was the norm.

Baptism was a very public activity and private baptisms were discouraged.  Usually the baptism was incorporated into a worship service.  Confirmation was a prerequisite for participation in a communion service.  Again, as with the Lutherans, the confirmation process was seen as an educational process.

The Moravians did include an element that we have not yet discussed.  This was the "lot".  As pertains to confirmation, a "random" draw of "confirmed", "not confirmed", or "blank" determined whether the confirmation was allowed.   If the blank response was drawn, the candidate could apply again at a later date.

The Moravians would baptize the children of non-Moravians.  But they placed restrictions on this.  If they had doubts about the child leading a Christian life, they would decline to baptize it.

The Moravians recorded the typical information pertaining to baptisms of other faiths but they did number the baptisms in the record book and they always entered the name of the minister performing the service.  In the mid-eighteenth century, they commonly added a feature which could be of immense value to genealogists.  They very often added the maiden names of the mother and of the married women sponsors.  Some of the time they had up to five sponsors who were of the same sex as the child.  Later, they reduced the number of sponsors and allowed opposite sex sponsors.  Beware that the terms "Brother" and "Sister" do not mean a blood relationship; they indicate a spiritual relationship.  In general, the Moravians wrote at least twice as much as any other denomination (on all subjects) including autobiographies.
(04 Jul 03)

Nr. 1711:

The previous notes are heavily, almost totally, indebted to John Humphreys, who, as I am, is interested in what can be done with the information in Baptismal Registers.  John, besides writing the book, "Understanding and Using Baptismal Records", has compiled several books of early Pennsylvania Baptismal Records from all faiths.  I have not finished reporting on the material in John's "Understanding" book.  For this note, I am going to comment on the Baptismal Records in the Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison, Virginia.

Here, the key is understanding that whenever it was possible, the sponsors, three or four in number, were relatives by blood or marriage of the parents.  As we have seen in the previous discussions, this was not always the case.  In the Catholic Church, for a period of time, it was actually forbidden.  Also, the Catholic Church went from three sponsors to one sponsor, or perhaps two sponsors.  This shows that there was no general rule which applied to all faiths, or, even, probably, to all churches within one faith.  So the discussion which we have been going through shows the range of possibilities, and even some of the reasons behind the differences.

Each church should be studied as an individual case, for not all churches in a given faith were the same.  Even within a given church, the rules could change with time.  They changed with the Hebron Lutheran Church as the pastors changed.  When Rev. Carpenter became the pastor of the church, he tended to allow parents as sponsors [I have never forgiven him] which violated several of the rules which had been in effect.  The rules in effect from 1750 to about 1790 were fairly consistent.  From a study of the sponsors, I had formulated the idea that the three or four sponsors would be of the same age and related to the parents.  When I asked, in the year 2000, the pastor of the Lutheran Church in Dietenhofen, Germany, if they had "rules" in choosing the sponsors, he quoted to me the exact rules which I had formulated for the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley in the last half of the Eighteenth Century.

But what rules would be used in the Hawksbill Church in the Shenandoah Valley?  I have no idea.

I first observed, when reading the baptisms in the Hebron Church about fifteen years ago, that a large percentage of the sponsors seemed to be related to the parents, since often the sponsors had the same surname as the father.  Then as I learned the maiden names of the mothers, I could see that many of the sponsors were related to the mother also.  Thus, was born my desire, still not completed, to state the relationship of every sponsor to the parents.  This has involved a study of the community and there are families about whom I have never learned the basic elements.  So the task of identifying the sponsors will probably never be completed.

Incidentally, as I studied the sponsors, one family was noteworthy because so few of them were present at either the baptisms or communions.  This probably meant that they were not Lutherans, but their absence does not mean they can be assigned to a specific religion.
(14 Jul 03)

Nr. 1712:

Thom Faircloth mentioned the case of the baptism of the children of Christopher Crigler and his wife Catherine Finks.  For the first ten children, Catherine was not present.  For the last one, the eleventh, she was present.  None of the first ten sets of sponsors include any Finks.  For the eleventh (William or Wilhelm), we get one individual with a Finks' connection, namely Elisabeth Christopher, who was the mother's sister's niece.

What is especially noteworthy about these baptisms is that Christopher Crigler's brother Nicholas never appeared for the first ten.  Only for Wilhelm does he appear, when the mother is listed as present.  I have interpreted this as a refusal on the part of Nicholas to be a sponsor when the mother was not present.  Christopher was faced with a real problem on the baptisms since his wife was not present, none of her relatives were present, and his only brother refused to serve; however, he found nieces, nephews, cousins, and cousins-in-law to serve.

I could expand with other cases, but this serves to illustrate the reluctance of the Finks to serve as baptismal sponsors at the church.  Later, they do serve a few times, but this was probably after the parents had both died.

Why would someone have objections to the baptism of children (babies) at the Lutheran church?  First, they might be opposed to the baptism of infants as the Anabaptists were.  This is almost tenet number one in their faith.  Their belief is that the person being baptized should make the decision to be baptized; however, the Anabaptists are also pacifists and they do not believe in war.  Mark Finks, Jr., was a captain in the militia at the time of the 1781 draft via the Culpeper Classes.  Probably, he was not an Anabaptist.

We have seen that John Huffman did not have his children baptized at the Lutheran Church.  Some Reformed people were willing to overlook their differences from the Lutherans, but others were strong-willed on the question.  Also, the feelings between the Catholics and Lutherans could be strong.  I am inclined to the view that Mark Finks, or his wife, was Catholic and just did not want to get involved with the "heretical" Lutherans.  In the eyes of many Catholics, the Lutherans were heretics.

As to whether the Finks were Jewish, the name Finks is also a Protestant name which is found in many Protestant church records in Germany.  There was a participation at the Lutheran church in the Robinson River family by the Finks, but in a limited way.  For example, Christopher Blankenbaker married Christina Finks, who was present for the baptism of all their children.  For the first seven, no Finks served as a sponsor.  For the eighth in 1775, and later ones, some Finks served.  For many parents, the Baptismal Records note if the parents are not Lutheran.  Never are the Finks noted as being anything besides Lutheran.  Perhaps they were Lutheran in name, but had negative feelings about attending or participating at the Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley.
(15 Jul 03)

Nr. 1713:

The Catholic church established the base position with regards to baptisms.  The first "remove" from this consisted of the churches of the Lutherans, Anglicans, and Moravians, even though they did not agree on the meaning of baptism.  The second remove from the Catholics was a group of churches of which three had the name Reformed.  The churches were the Swiss Reformed (the first), the German Reformed, and the Dutch Reformed, and they were joined by the Presbyterians.  The leaders in the initial movement were Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland, and John Calvin from France (later also John Knox from Scotland).  Calvin and Zwingli were more radical than Martin Luther and their ideas were more systematic toward changing the Church.  They organized around pastors, teachers, elders, and deacons.  Bishops were out.  They broke completely with the Catholics on the subject of baptism.

John Calvin held that Baptism was entrance into the church, but he also held that unbaptized infants could gain entrance into heaven.  Calvin also adopted the view that baptism did not guarantee salvation.  There was an element of predestination in Calvin's theology.  Whereas Luther had held that faith was essential for Baptism, Calvin said that it was the faith of the parents that were important.  Calvin totally rejected spiritual kinship and godparents.  The parents were the important element but the congregation was also involved.  Private baptisms were rare.  Because baptism was not absolutely required, the sense of urgency for an infant's baptism was not there.  Baptismal records have not been preserved as carefully as they have in some other churches.  In fact, the Pennsylvania synod had to caution Presbyterian churches in 1766 to keep records.  Still, there was a pattern of sloppy and incomplete record keeping.

The Reformed Churches used the thoughts of several men, including Zwingli, Calvin, Melanchthon, and Bullinger.  The single most important document for the Reformed Churches (after the Bible) was the Heidelberg Catechism.  This was written at the request of the Elector Frederick, III, the head of the Palatinate, and the first German ruler to accept the Reformed faith.  Baptism was to be limited to children who had at least one parent who was a member in good standing in the church.  The Reformed Churches were not rigid on the question of predestination.

The Reformed Church was liberal on the question of children of questionable birth.  A parent need only make a private confession before the minister, and, after the child was baptized, the minister would note that the child was illegitimate.  In 1747, four Reformed ministers and lay representatives formed a governing body for the Church in Pennsylvania.  It was not permitted that a person could partake of baptism and communion if this person was from another Reformed Church, except if they came by certificate from the previous church.
(16 Jul 03)

Nr. 1714:

In speaking of baptisms, the terms, Sponsors, Witnesses, Godfather or Godmother, are often used incorrectly.

In the Lutheran Church, the people present at the baptism besides the parents and the infant are the Sponsors.  They are responsible for seeing that the child is brought up in the church, especially if something should happen to the parents.  In some churches they speak for the infant.  The sponsors have a spiritual kinship to the infant, and it would not be too far afield to say that they are a Godparent, either Godfather or Godmother, though those terms are usually not used to describe sponsors.

Witnesses are just what the name implies.  If anyone asks, they could testify that they observed the infant baptized.  Other than that, they have no responsibility.  In the Reformed Churches, Witnesses are used.  Again, they may be called Godparents, but this would seem to be a misnomer, since a witness assumes no responsibility for the spiritual development of the infant.

In the Reformed Churches the witnesses were to be, "Chosen persons who have confessed the pure doctrine of the Gospel and whose lives are blameless."  They do not have to be of the Reformed faith.  The parents, or at least one of them, generally had to be members of the Reformed Church, since they were promising to raise or assume the responsibility for the spiritual development of the child.

When the children of John and Mary Sabina Huffman were baptized, they had three Witnesses or Sponsors.  This is more typical of the Lutherans than the Reformed Church members.  Since John was Reformed, and Mary was Lutheran, it is not clear whose rites were being used, though there is little difference in the heart of the rite, while there is a difference in the interpretation.  The Reformed leaders generally frowned on baptisms by lay people, whereas the Lutherans would allow it.

Reformed ministers generally recorded in the Church register the name of the infant, the names of both parents, the dates of birth and baptism, and the names of the witnesses.  Some Eighteenth Century ministers in America would embellish these records with the names of the German villages from which the parents came, but this was a personal matter of the minister.  Though the format of the written records for Lutheran and Reformed people were similar, the interpretation of the baptism was quite different.

Of all the Reformed Churches, the Dutch Reformed Church kept the best records and followed a prescribed pattern, which was dictated by the laws of Holland where the Reformed Church had became the State Church.  There is a special problem in using the Dutch records, but I have run out of space here.  (Perhaps you would like to comment on this problem, which I am sure several of you have encountered.)
(17 Jul 03)

Nr. 1715:

The Dutch (i.e., from Holland) Reformed Church was the first denomination of the larger Reformed tradition in America.  They were quite early, as the first Dutch Reformed pastor arrived in New York in 1628.  The early Dutch Reformed Church and the Presbyterian Church were quite similar in beliefs.  As the membership in the Dutch Reformed churches dwindled, the remaining members often associated with the Presbyterian churches.

Interpreting the Dutch Reformed baptismal records is sometimes a challenge.  Dates of birth are seldom recorded.  The biggest problem is the naming system, which is called "patronymic1".  A child took his father's first name as his second name.  Thus, in succeeding generations the last name of the child, by our standards, appears to change.  Gradually, the adoption of fixed surnames took place, but the genealogist must be aware that fixed and patronymic names may exist.

Within the patronymic naming system, in the Dutch Reformed culture at that time, women retained their birth surnames instead of adopting that of their husbands.  Consider this actual case for Arie Brinck.  Arie, a child of Lambart Brinck and Rachel van Garden, was baptized 25 April 1744.  The witnesses were Daniel Broadhead and Hester Luykese, his wife.  Women in the Dutch Reformed faith in New York and Pennsylvania retained their maiden names throughout their life.  (The system seems to be returning as both of my daughter-in-laws use their maiden name!)


We are now up to the third remove in baptismal traditions, but rather than start it in the middle of this Note I will merely mention that it includes the Anabaptist and the Baptist traditions.

There will be no Note on Saturday, as I will be at the Germanna Reunion and I do not carry a computer with me.  (One has to have a day of rest.)  I will be "working", though, as I am giving one of the talks on Saturday, namely "Col. Spotswood Writes to Col Harrison",  However, I tend to regard this sort of activity as fun and look forward to it, even though I sometimes get a little nervous at the podium.

I hope to see several of you there.  I am contributing a large, framed color photograph, Chinese Hibiscus, to the Saturday night auction for the benefit of the Germanna Foundation.  Thom wanted people to bring something from their local area.  The photo of the Chinese Hibiscus was taken at Longwood Gardens, which is about five miles down the road from here.
(18 Jul 03)

1(Note From GWD, WebPage Manager:  The "patronymic" naming system is not unique to the Dutch Reformed people.  Actually, before fixed surnames became the standard, just about all cultures in Europe used the "patronymic" system.  In most of these cultures, the patronymic surname was made up of the father's name, plus "son", or the word for "son" in the particular language.  Thus, in English, John, son of William, would have been known as John Williamson.  In Sweden, Sven, son of Johan, became Sven Johansen.  In Scotland, Ian, son of Donald, became Ian MacDonald.  In Ireland, Sean, son of Riley, became Sean O'Reiley.  In Russia, Ivan, son of Gregor, became Ivan Gregorovich. And so on.  When "permanent" surnames became the norm, many people kept the "patronymic" they were using at the time as their surname.)

Nr. 1716:

Early in the Reformation period, a group of people evolved a belief system that was radically different from the prior beliefs.  It became the basis for many faiths, including the Anabaptists (Mennonites, Amish, Brethren), Dunkards, Seventh-Day Adventists, and the Baptists and derivatives of these.  While there were many differences among these groups, the common element was "believer baptism".  That is, the person being baptized had reached his/her own decision to be baptized (as opposed to being baptized as an infant).  The technique of baptism varied widely from pouring to dunking (complete immersion).

Genealogists will usually experience difficulty in finding records of baptism in these faiths.  These groups suffered such severe persecutions that there was an enormous disincentive to making or keeping records.  This was especially true in Switzerland, where the Anabaptists suffered severely (i.e., death) for their beliefs.  Or, in England, in 1648, where Parliament passed a law to punish opponents of infant baptism with life imprisonment.  In Europe, the Dutch achieved the earliest tolerance of adult baptism in its Mennonite population, and the Mennonite Church there has the largest collection of baptismal records to be found.  In Germany, Mennonite records are nonexistent until the Nineteenth Century.

Since baptism occurred at an older age, it was no longer associated with birth, which weakens the genealogical significance of it.  It became more akin to membership.  Often, no record at all was made, except if the individual wanted to make his own record, perhaps by an entry into his personal Bible.  Since the earliest Mennonites in Pennsylvania came from Switzerland and Germany, they continued the tradition of not maintaining records.  The Amish have continued the practices set in place by Jacob Ammann (or Ammon) and his associates in 1700.

The normal age at which a believer elects to be baptized varies widely.  Some churches allow persons below the age of ten to make the decision.  Other churches will tolerate postponing the decision until just before marriage.

In the late Sixteenth Century, groups of separatists in England abandoned their attempt to reform or purify the established Church and sought separation.  These included the Puritans.  The first Baptist Church in England was founded in 1609.  The early Baptists in England adopted a set of beliefs very similar to the Anabaptists of Switzerland, who had preceded them by almost a century.  Some common tenants were:  separation of church and state, freedom of choice in religion, and a congregational form of church government.  The English Baptists did not subscribe to the pacifist beliefs of their Swiss brethren.
(22 Jul 03)

Nr. 1717:

The Religious Society of Friends, founded by George Fox (1624-1691), had a completely different outlook on baptism from most other Churches.  They believed more in an "inner baptism of the spirit", rather than an outward washing with water.  The Friends, or Quakers as they are popularly called, rejected also ordination, churches, and ministers.  The organizational structure of the Quakers differs radically also from other religious groups.  They organized around "Meetings" and records were kept of all Meetings.  At the lowest level, there were weekly Meetings at which worship services were held on the First Day (Sunday).  Entrance into the Society took place at this level.  Also, notices of intention to marry were made at those Meetings.

Monthly Meetings consisted of several Preparatory Meetings, and it was here that most business was conducted.  Several Monthly Meetings would meet for a Quarterly Meeting.  A Yearly Meeting would be held to include all of the Meetings in a wide geographical area.  All levels of Meetings included worship services.  Since 1656, it has been the practice that all births and deaths are to be recorded.  Three years later, marriages were added to the list of items to be recorded.  The recording was to start at the Preparatory Meetings and was to continue to the Monthly Meeting so that the events would be recorded in both places.  Practices varied between England and America, and in America only the Monthly Meetings made a permanent recording of the vital statistics.

Dates were recorded by using numerals, not the names of months and days.  (The names of months and days were regarded as pagan in origin.)

Children of Quaker-practicing parents became birthright members of the Friends.  The event was to be recorded with as many witnesses as possible to the birth, including the midwife.  Ceremonies and festivals were to be avoided.  In America, the typical recording lists the infant's name, date of birth, and the parents.  At the Monthly Meeting, this may be organized chronologically or by family.  Newly arrived Friends from abroad were urged to file a complete set of family records in America, and thus may duplicate the records in England.  The records may predate the actual formation of the Meeting.  Sometimes the actual recording at the Monthly Meeting was not done until the last child was born so the records lose some of the immediateness that might be implied.

Vital statistics for the Friends may be recorded in more than one place in contrast to the more conventional Churches.  The records at one location may give a false impression of a family group because they may not be complete.  Members left the Friends of their own volition and by disownment where the Meeting turned them out.
(23 Jul 03)

Nr. 1718:

I thought we might discuss some of the baptism records at the German Lutheran Church in Culpeper County.  Nearly all of these were made when the church was in Culpeper County, though it later fell into Madison County.  In time, its name also changed to Hebron.

Picking a baptism at random, one of the two on 25 Aug 1776 by Rev. Franck:

Johannes Rothoefer and his wife Maria _?_ brought David for baptism.  The sponsors were Nicholas Jager, Johannes Jager & his wife Maria (Willheit).

This is the only occurrence I know for the name Rothoefer in the Germanna area.  My introduction to the name was in the Shenandoah Valley when John Yager sold a lot in Woodstock to Jacob Good.  Witnesses to the deed were Jacob Yeager, John Rodeheifer, Joseph Rodeheifer, and John Rodeheifer, sadler.

If you think the baptism and the deed are referring to the same John Yager then you have not read Jan Creek's analysis of the Adam Yager who lived a good part of his life around Woodstock.  She showed that he was distinct from the Adam Yager in the Germanna area proper.  To keep them straight she called one Woodstock Adam.  Woodstock Adam had a son John and this John makes it clear that he was selling a lot that his father Adam had agreed to sell to Jacob Good.

Knowing that baptismal sponsors at the Culpeper Lutheran Church were usually related to the parents, we are left trying to explain the connection between the parents Rothoefer and witnesses Rodeheifer in Woodstock.  Perhaps they are the same (the spelling variation is not significant).  The John Yagers are different we believe, or are they different?

Notice that one of the sponsors was Nicholas Yager and the combination of Nicholas and John Yager suggests that we are indeed talking about sons of Adam Yeager, son of Nicholas, all residents in the Germanna area.

We do seem to have some connection between Woodstock John Yager and Germanna John Yager to judge by the baptism and the deed, where the common element is the Rodheifer name.  The genealogies, though, show no connection.

There are several anomalies in Yager baptisms and I will develop them.  I may have to repeat this one for newcomers to this situation.  Let me know.  All comments are welcome as I have had to put "?" in the Hebron Baptismal Register for the relationship of the sponsors to the parents on the Rodeheifer baptism cited above and that irritates me.
(24 Jul 03)

Nr. 1719:

No responses came in on the last Note pertaining to possible reasons that John and Mary Yager, whom I take to be Blind John and his wife Mary Willheit, would be associated with John Rodeheifer and his wife Mary as a baptismal sponsors for a child of the Rodeheifers.  Over in the Valley, the Rodeheifers seem to be associated with Woodstock Adam Yager and his son John Yager.  I have no answer, but the coincidence strikes me as notable.

There is another name that I associate with the Valley that pops up in the Germanna area.  This is the name B�hme, or Boehme, or Bohm, which became the name Beemon in the Germanna area.  Not only do I think of this as a Valley name but I think of it as a Mennonite or Brethren name, but perhaps I error there.

Darryl Diemer compiled a book of (English) Smiths who lived on the east side of the Blue Ridge, where many of them lived in the Germanna area and married Germanna people, including some Yagers.

One baptismal record at Hebron has John Yager as a sponsor for Anthony Smith and his wife Catherine.  Diemer could find no Anthony Smith in the English Smiths and I could not find an Anthony in the German Smiths.  Diemer concluded that Anthony was an inability to understand the name Downing.  Downing Smith is said, by the Garrs, to have married Catherine Boehme..

We do know that John Yager was a sponsor for Daniel Boehme and his wife Nancy on several occasions.  I have interpreted Nancy as a Chelf, the daughter of Philip Chelf, who married, as his second wife, Barbara Yager, the sister of John Yager.  If this were true, there would be a certain logic to the choice of John Yager, as Nancy would be a step-niece of John.

This still gives us no information about where the Boehme family came from, or even when, but it seems to be shortly before the Revolution that they appear in the Germanna area.  Since Barbara Yager married a Philip Chelf, this raises another question.  Where did the Chelfs come from?

One reason that I mention these people is the hope that Yager researchers in studying the branches might be able to shed some light on the Boehme, Chelf (Tself, Jelf), and Rodeheifer families.  One would want also to be alert to early interactions between the English Smith family and the Yagers.

Nearly all of these unusual cases revolve around John Yager, who if I have identified him correctly is Blind John, a stalwart at the Hebron church.  It may be that he would serve as a sponsor for all of the strays that wandered in without bringing any relatives to serve as sponsors at baptisms.
(25 Jul 03)

Nr. 1720:

In the last two notes, I discussed anomalies (?) in the usual patterns for choosing sponsors.  In this note I will discuss much more normal patterns in the selection of sponsors.  Still, the family to be discussed here had some problems in choosing their sponsors.

The father was Christopher Blankenbaker, and the mother was Christina Finks.  Part of the problem was that the Finks did not participate much at the Lutheran church.  Another part of the problem was that Christopher had only one brother, and no sisters.  This one brother seemed to have had an objection to the church, so he never appears.  This left Christopher without any siblings who would be sponsors.  He did have cousins and these were asked very frequently.  Eight baptisms were performed from 1754 to 1775, so that at least three different ministers were involved.

For the infant Maria, Adam Barler was a sponsor.  Adam had married Maria Schmidt, who was a cousin once removed to Christopher.  Adam was asked five times; Adam's wife was never asked.  It would appear that Christopher and Adam were friends above and beyond the relationship by marriage.

Seven times, Adam Weyland was a sponsor.  Adam had married Elisabetha Blankenbaker, a first cousin of Christopher.  Elisabetha and Anna Barbara, her sister, were daughters of Balthasar Blankenbaker, and lived next door to Christopher.  On seven occasions, Elisabetha was also a sponsor, usually when her husband Adam Weyland was a sponsor.

Christopher never asked Anna Barbara, who married Lewis Fischer, to be a sponsor.  Why Christopher was so much closer to Elisabetha than to Anna Barbara is not known.  It may have been a question of age.  Christopher had another cousin, Jacob Blankenbaker, the son of John Nicholas Blankenbaker, and Jacob was a sponsor seven times.  On the first two of these occasions, Jacob's wife, Barbara Thomas, was a sponsor.  Barbara was also a relative of Christopher, as she was his cousin once removed.

Toward the end of the children, a few new names were introduced.  One was Martin Christopher, who had married Elisabetha Weyland, the daughter of Adam Weyland and Elisabetha Blankenbaker.  In 1772, there was a sponsor who was the first and only sponsor not related by blood or marriage.  This was Margaretha Schwarbach, who was the minister's wife.  For the child in 1775, two new names appear, Hanna Fincks and Jemimah Barler.  Hanna was the unmarried sister of the mother, Christina Finks.  Jemimah was the young unmarried daughter of Adam Barler.  By the time one is baptizing the eighth child, the strict adherence to rules becomes less important.

I may have given credit to some people for being sponsors more times than they were, as the original document is so badly worn that it is not always possible to tell whether it is saying, "Adam Weyland's wife Elisabetha," or it is saying, "Adam Weyland & wife Elisabetha."
(26 Jul 03)

Nr. 1721:

I have been privileged to read a draft of Cathi Clore Frost's forthcoming book on the Clore family.  One of the daughters of Michael Clore, the immigrant, was Margaret who married Johann Paulus Lederer, also known as Paul Leather or Leathers.  Margaret and Paul had a daughter, Mary, who is mentioned in her father's will as Mary Yowell.  Cathi makes the statement that perhaps the John Yowell who witnessed her father's will was Mary's husband.  This would not be an unusual situation.

I was checking the Leathers in my recent book, "Hebron Baptismal Register", and I found the following baptism pertaining to a mother Mary Lederer Yowell:

The father was James Owl, and the mother was Maria.  The book also notes that Owl is probably Yowell (thanks to Andreas Mielke who shows a knack for finding English equivalents of German names).  So far nothing is proved by this baptismal statement about the parents because there is nothing that says this Maria is the Mary who is mentioned as Mary Yowell.

Looking at the sponsors, they were Nicholas Lederer, Marg Lederer, and Marg Klor.  Nicholas and Margaret are also children of Paul Lederer and Margaret Clore, so they would be siblings of Maria Yowell.  The Margaret Clores would be cousins (there were three possibilities by blood and marriage) of Maria Lederer Yowell.  As I result, I have no doubts that the Maria Lederer of Paul and Margaret married James Yowell, not John Yowell.

We were very lucky to find a James Yowell in the Baptismal Register.  In the whole register, the name Yowell never appears as such.  Once Elisabetha Yowell appears as the wife of Jacob Broyle but her maiden is not given.  In the baptism above, the name appears in the Register as Owl.  I do not know why the Yowell name is so rare at the Lutheran Church, but it appears to be even rarer than the Finks name.

Perhaps I should add, from the Baptismal Register, that the baby's name being baptized was Rhode, that she was born 13 Jan 1777, and that she was baptized 28 Feb 1777 by Rev. Jacob Franck.  Franck succeeded in getting many people to church who had never been to the church (to judge by the number of people who first appear in the Baptismal Register when he was the pastor).  It is no wonder that the congregation sorely missed him when he left after three years.
(28 Jul 03)

Nr. 1722:

Nancy Dodge is correct to question the Carpenter history.  We can't say there is anything wrong, but some things certainly do seem suspicious, or not correct.  I believe that the will of William Carpenter, the immigrant, can be given very simply:

"To my wife Elizabeth Carpenter all my estate as long as she liveth and at her death to return to Catherine Proctor, excepting two Negro boys.  I give to John Carpenter one and William Carpenter his younger brother one, and to Andrew Carpenter the half of the mill.  One young Negro to my brother John Carpenter."

The will was written very hurriedly as the court testimony shows that William Carpenter had been kicked by a horse and was not expected to live long.  John Carpenter, his brother, fetched Richard Burdyne and John Floyd to be witnesses to the will.  Richard Burdyne wrote and provided some help to William in the bequests.  Since John, William, and Andrew received a distribution from the estate of John Carpenter, the brother of William, they are said to be the nephews of William.  It has always bothered me that the fourth son of John Carpenter, Michael, received nothing from William's bequests.

The will was written 4 Oct 1745.  Michael Carpenter had his first child baptized on 20 Nov 1761, which is only sixteen years after William's will.  Therefore, it seems extremely probable that Michael was born before 1745.  Else, we have a case that a sixteen-year-old boy is married and bringing the first of several children for baptism.  If Michael were living, why was he not left a bequest along with his brothers?  Richard Burdyne testified that he reminded William to leave something to his brother John.  I would imagine that Richard Burdyne would have been aware that Michael was being left out.  This has always bothered me.  There are other points in the Carpenter history, but I will cover than later.  The will and the testimony it invoked are interesting.

For years I wondered who Catherine Procter was.  B. C. Holtzclaw wrote that she was obviously an undefined relative.  It turns out that she was not.  She was the mistress of William and appears to have lived in the same house with William and his wife Elizabeth.  Catherine seems to have been the boss in the house.

John Carpenter, the brother of William, contested the will saying that it had been improperly drawn.  The court took testimony from Richard Burdyne and from John Floyd, the two witnesses.  I never saw a decision from the court but the property fell to John Carpenter, not to Catherine Procter.  Miss Procter married Henry Tillery, and their son Joshua, as the heir of Catherine, gave a power of attorney to Thomas Dillon to recover the Carpenter estate.  Apparently, no recovery was made.
(29 Jul 03)

Nr. 1723:

The Baptismal Register of the German Lutheran Church (then in Culpeper) has some slave baptisms.  There is one that took place on 6 Nov 1777.  The general format of a slave baptism record mentions the mother, to whom she belongs, the baby's name, dates, and sponsors.  In this particular one, the mother is described as, "Belonging to 'Old John Carpenter's Estate' but she has died since the birth of the baby on 01 Nov 1777."  The child is Eva and the sponsors are Mary Carpenter, William's wife, and Mary Carpenter, Michael's wife.

Who is old John Carpenter?  I would normally think of him as the immigrant, the youth who came with William (that we just mentioned in the previous note).  But that particular John Carpenter is said to have died in 1782 in the histories.

What is the meaning of the phrase, "Old John Carpenter's Estate"? We normally think of an estate as being created when a man dies.  Technically, an estate exists when a man is still living; however, it seems unusual to use the word before a man dies.

The word "old" was necessary, in the same way that "Senior" is used, to distinguish a man from a younger man.  In this case, the history says that there were three generations of "Johns".  I have interpreted "old" as pertaining to the most senior one, who was getting old by the standards of the day (though he might very well be my age).

The Baptismal Report should have been written in the book by Rev. Franck.  He had been there for two years when it was written.  Since the Carpenters were among the most frequent attenders of church, he surely knew the family structure by then.

Usually, the slave baptisms have the owner, or the owner's wife, as one of the sponsors.  This one does not, as the sponsors were the wives of William and Michael, sons of "old John Carpenter".

In short, the record does not make sense.  Perhaps it is because there was an error made or because I do not understand the situation; however, in view of the problem in the will of William Carpenter in the last note, I do not trust the Carpenter history fully.
(30 Jul 03)

Nr. 1724:

One of the names found most often as a sponsor in the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley is Barbara Carpenter.  Many times I am forced to put a question mark after her name to explain why she was chosen as a sponsor.  At the most, I seem to be able to find only two Barbara Carpenters around the time of the Revolution.  One was born Barbara Carpenter in 1757, and she married Moses Broyles.  I suspect she is not the one who appears frequently in the lists of sponsors.

The other one is Barbara Weaver who married, first, George Clore.  After George died, she married Andrew Carpenter.

Let's look at a few of the baptisms where Barbara is a sponsor.

  • For Adam Delph and his wife Magdalena Aylor:  On 12 Nov 1775, John Yager, Rebecca Delph, and Barbara Carpenter are the sponsors.
  • For Christopher Barlow, Jun., and wife Barbara Mayer:  On 24 Mar 1776, Barbara Carpenter and three others are the sponsors.
  • For Jacob Franck and wife Barbara:  On 7 Oct 1776, Andrew and Barbara Carpenter plus two others are sponsors.
  • For Godfrey Yager and wife Maria Wayland:  On 9 Feb 1777, Barbara Carpenter and three others.
  • For John Yager, Sen., and wife Maria Willheit:  On 30 June 1777, Barbara Carpenter and two others.

One of these is easy to discuss and dismiss.  The Francks had no relatives in the church by blood or by marriage.  He came down from Philadelphia to be the minister.  I think they chose some senior members of the church to be sponsors.

This was hardly the case with John Yager, Sen., and his wife Maria Willheit.  There were plenty of Yagers and Willheits around.  Didn't these families believe in using relatives?  Or was Barbara a relative?  The same remarks could be made about Godfrey Yager and his wife Maria Wayland.  Were they not speaking to the other members of their families?

The Delphs and the Aylors were no strangers to the church.  Why did Adam and Magdalena choose John Yager and Barbara Carpenter?

The Barlows and the Mayers were not as frequent at church.  Still, two Mayers served as sponsors.  So why was it necessary to get Adam Crisler and Barbara Carpenter as sponsors?

Was Barbara Carpenter "compulsive" when it came to being a sponsor?  Was she a "professional sponsor"?  Or do relationships exist that we do not know about?
(31 Jul 03)

Nr. 1725:

One of the families that I am weak on is the Lipp family in the Robinson River Valley.  I received some outside input, but I added information from the marriages of Culpeper and Madison Counties, and then I used the baptismal and communion records from the German Lutheran Church.  This is my initial outline of the family:

The father was Henry Lipp who married Elizabeth   ?  .  The parents went to communion regularly from the beginning of those records in 1775 until he last appears in 1791.  Elizabeth appears at the church for a longer time.  In reading the communion records, I was struck by how often the names of their neighbors (in the church seating arrangement) were to be found in Neuenbuerg, or near to it.  Going back to the Ortsippenbuch for Oberoewisheim-Neuenbuerg, I did find the name Lipp there.  If I were trying to find the origins of the Lipps in Germany, I would certainly spend my initial efforts in the church records around Neuenbuerg and Eppingen.

Tentatively, I make the children to be:

  • Daniel, born about 1758;
  • Anna Maria, born about 1760;
  • Caroline, born about 1762;
  • Jacob, born about 1764;
  • Elizabeth, born about 1766; and a
  • Maria.

Daniel did marry, but no marriage licence was found.  He was confirmed in 1777, and always appears alone at church.  He had a daughter, Polly, who married William Batten.

Anna Maria was confirmed in 1777, and she appears as Anna Maria Lipp up to 1794.  Some say she married Christopher Zimmerman, but this does not jibe with the Zimmerman history.  Since she was still Anna Maria Lipp up to 1794, but does not appear in the Madison marriages, it seems doubtful that any marriage took place.

Caroline Lipp married Benjamin Huffman, the son of Jacob and Barbara Souther.  Several children are known for Caroline and Benjamin, including Dinah, Mary (Polly), Sally, Elizabeth, Jacob, and John Godfrey.

Jacob married Margaret Zimmerman in 1787 (the daughter of John, John, Christopher).

Elizabeth married Daniel Good, or Gut, in 1791.

Maria has no confirmation or known marriage.  She attended communion four times, once when her sister Anna Maria was also present.

Comment is welcomed.  I saw no evidence of a son Henry, or a son David, who have been suggested.
(01 Aug 03)

(To see John & Eleanor Blankenbaker's May, 2000, and May, 2002, Germany and Austria photos, click here.)

(To see maps of villages in Germany and Austria from which our Germanna ancestors immigrated, click here.)

(This page contains the SIXTY-NINTH set of Notes, Nr. 1701 through Nr. 1725.)

John and George would like very much to hear from readers of these Germanna History pages.  We welcome your criticisms, compliments, corrections, or other comments.  When you click on "click here" below, both of us will receive your message.  We would like to hear what you have to say about the content of the Notes, and about spelling, punctuation, format, etc.  Just click here to send us your message.  Thank You!

There is a Mailing List (also known as a Discussion List or Discussion Group), called GERMANNA_COLONIES, at RootsWeb.  This List is open to all subscribers for the broadcast of their messages.  John urges more of you to make it a research tool for answering your questions, or for summarizing your findings, on any subject concerning the Germanna Colonies of Virginia.  On this List, you may make inquiries of specific Germanna SURNAMES.  At present, there are about 700 subscribers and there are bound to be users here who can help you.  If you are interested in subscribing to this List,

(GERMANNA History Notes, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 John BLANKENBAKER.)
(GERMANNA History Web Pages, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 George W. DURMAN.)
This material has been compiled and placed on this web site by George W. Durman, with the permission of John BLANKENBAKER.  It is intended for personal use by genealogists and researchers, and is not to be disseminated further.

Index Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES and Genealogy Comments
INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES
Pg.001-Notes 0001-0025
Pg.002-Notes 0026-0050
Pg.003-Notes 0051-0075
Pg.004-Notes 0076-0100
Pg.005-Notes 0101-0125
Pg.006-Notes 0126-0150
Pg.007-Notes 0151-0175
Pg.008-Notes 0176-0200
Pg.009-Notes 0201-0225
Pg.010-Notes 0226-0250
Pg.011-Notes 0251-0275
Pg.012-Notes 0276-0300
Pg.013-Notes 0301-0325
Pg.014-Notes 0326-0350
Pg.015-Notes 0351-0375
Pg.016-Notes 0376-0400
Pg.017-Notes 0401-0425
Pg.018-Notes 0426-0450
Pg.019-Notes 0451-0475
Pg.020-Notes 0476-0500
Pg.021-Notes 0501-0525
Pg.022-Notes 0526-0550
Pg.023-Notes 0551-0575
Pg.024-Notes 0575-0600
Pg.025-Notes 0601-0625
Pg.026-Notes 0626-0650
Pg.027-Notes 0651-0675
Pg.028-Notes 0676-0700
Pg.029-Notes 0701-0725
Pg.030-Notes 0726-0750
Pg.031-Notes 0751-0775
Pg.032-Notes 0776-0800
Pg.033-Notes 0801-0825
Pg.034-Notes 0826-0850
Pg.035-Notes 0851-0875
Pg.036-Notes 0876-0900
Pg.037-Notes 0901-0925
Pg.038-Notes 0926-0950
Pg.039-Notes 0951-0975
Pg.040-Notes 0976-1000
Pg.041-Notes 1001-1025
Pg.042-Notes 1026-1050
Pg.043-Notes 1051-1075
Pg.044-Notes 1076-1100
Pg.045-Notes 1101-1125
Pg.046-Notes 1126-1150
Pg.047-Notes 1151-1175
Pg.048-Notes 1176-1200
Pg.049-Notes 1201-1225
Pg.050-Notes 1226-1250
Pg.051-Notes 1251-1275
Pg.052-Notes 1276-1300
Pg.053-Notes 1301-1325
Pg.054-Notes 1326-1350
Pg.055-Notes 1351-1375
Pg.056-Notes 1376-1400
Pg.057-Notes 1401-1425
Pg.058-Notes 1426-1450
Pg.059-Notes 1451-1475
Pg.060-Notes 1476-1500
Pg.061-Notes 1501-1525
Pg.062-Notes 1526-1550
Pg.063-Notes 1551-1575
Pg.064-Notes 1576-1600
Pg.065-Notes 1601-1625
Pg.066-Notes 1626-1650
Pg.067-Notes 1651-1675
Pg.068-Notes 1676-1700
Pg.069-Notes 1701-1725
Pg.070-Notes 1726-1750
Pg.071-Notes 1751-1775
Pg.072-Notes 1776-1800
Pg.073-Notes 1801-1825
Pg.074-Notes 1826-1850
Pg.075-Notes 1851-1875
Pg.076-Notes 1876-1900
Pg.077-Notes 1901-1925
Pg.078-Notes 1926-1950
Pg.079-Notes 1951-1975
Pg.080-Notes 1976-2000
Pg.081-Notes 2001-2025
Pg.082-Notes 2026-2050
Pg.083-Notes 2051-2075
Pg.084-Notes 2076-2100
Pg.085-Notes 2101-2125
Pg.086-Notes 2126-2150
Pg.087-Notes 2150-2175
Pg.088-Notes 2176-2200
Pg.089-Notes 2201-2225
Pg.090-Notes 2226-2250
Pg.091-Notes 2251-2275
Pg.092-Notes 2276-2300
Pg.093-Notes 2301-2325
Pg.094-Notes 2326-2350
Pg.095-Notes 2351-2375
Pg.096-Notes 2376-2400
Pg.097-Notes 2401-2425
Pg.098-Notes 2426-2450
Pg.099-Notes 2451-2475
Pg.100-Notes 2476-2500
Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025

INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GENEALOGY COMMENTS

(As of 12 April 2007, John published the last of his "Germanna Notes"; however, he is going to periodically post to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List in the form of "Genealogy Comments" on various subjects, not necessarily dealing with Germanna.  I'm starting the numbering system anew, starting with Comment Nr. 0001.)

Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025