Harry's Two Happes Boys Who Stayed Behind



            When 1.Georg Happes and his brother 2. Michael Happes departed for the new land in 1751, their two brothers living in (Alt)Neudorf in the Odenwald north of Heidelberg, Germany stayed behind.  They were I. (Joh.) Martin Happes born in July 1717 and II. Johannes Happes born about 1725.   This essay will provide information that my wife Riki and I have collected since 1971 about Martin Happes and Johannes Happes and their descendants.


As his father’s health deteriorated from tuberculosis, Martin Happes assumed the management of his father’s land in (Alt)Neudorf.  Both his older brother Georg and his next younger brother Michael were living near the neighboring town of Schoenau at this time.  On May 2, 1747, in a double ceremony performed by the Lutheran pastor in the town of Heiligkreuzsteinach (HXSach), Martin Happes married Catherina Seib from Brombach and his younger sister Anna Elizabeth Happes married her childhood boyfriend from Altneudorf, Johannes Breitenstein, an accomplished weaver.  These marriages are recorded in the Lutheran Churchbook Schriesheim, as follows:

Johannes Beitenstein, the deceased Tobias Breitenstein’s son, a master weaver from Altneudorf of Lutheran religion, and the young Anna Elisabeth Happes of Lutheran religion, daughter of the well-known Michael Happes, citizen and farmer from Altneudorf.

Martin Happes, single Lutheran son of Johann Michael Happes, citizen and farmer from Altneudorf, and the young Anna Katherina Seib, daughter of the citizen and farmer of Brombach, Lutheran religion.

 The exact birthdates of Georg, Martin, Michael, Anna Elisabeth and Johannes Happes are unknown because the Schriesheim churchbook in which they presumably were recorded was misplaced.  According to Dr. Hermann Brunn, an authority on this area of the Odenwald, this loss occurred prior to World War II.  In the Kirchenbuch des evangelisch-lutherischen Schriesheimischen Kirchspiels (Lutheran Churchbook Schriesheim), dated 1732 – 1752, there are entries that indicate that Georg was Michael Happes’ oldest son.  Additionally, the following information is provided: Anna Elisabetha Breitenstein (nee Happes) died October 29, 1769, age 46 years, 2 months, 13 days and Joh. Martin Happes died September 19, 1780, age 63 years, 2 months, 2 days.  Assuming that these entries are correct, Martin Happes would have been born July 17, 1717 and Anna Elisabeth on August 16, 1723.  Other data in the Lutheran Churchbook Schriesheim indicate that young Michael Happes was confirmed in 1734 at age 12 and his brother Johannes Happes in 1739 at age 14.   This would indicate that Michael Happes was born about 1722 and Johannes about 1725.  Assuming that Georg was born after his parents were married (that is, between his older sister Maria Elisabeth born November 6, 1712 and his brother Martin born July 17, 1717), a birth date of approximately 1715 for George Happes appears appropriate.

Martin Happes and his wife Anna Katherina Seib had five children: Eva Margaret, Anna Maria, Catherina Elisabeth, Johannes, and (Joh.) Adam.  Information about each is furnished below:

I.a  Eva Margaret Happes (26 February 1748 – 10 January 1814)

The Lutheran Churchbook Schriesheim records that on February 26, 1748, Martin Happes, citizen and farmer in Altneudorf and his wife Catharina, nee Seib, both Lutherans, had a baby girl Eva Margaretha, whom they had baptized two days later. The sponsor was Johannes Nicklaus Herbig, citizen and wagon master from Altneudorf, reformed religion. The Evangelisch-lutherischen Kirchenbuch Heddesbach (1767 – 1811) states that Eva Margarete Happes, was a witness to the baptism of Eva Margarete Weber on September 23, 1771.  She married Johannes Georg Weber on June 13, 1769 and died on January 10, 1814.

I.b  Anna Maria Happes (23 Oct 1751 - ?)

According to the Lutheran Churchbook Schriesheim, Martin Happes citizen of Neudorf and his wife, both of the Lutheran faith, had a baby girl, Anna Maria Habbes on October 23, 1751.  The sponsor was Anna Maria Seib, unmarried daughter of the deceased Johannes Seib from Brombach.   The Kirchenbuch der evangelisch-lutherischen Gemeinde Schoenau (1768 – 1821) contained an entry on August 19, 1782 that a daughter Elisabetha was born to Peter Marx, day laborer of the Reformed religion, and his wife Anna Maria Happes from Neudorf.  Unfortunately, the same source indicated that Anna Elisabetha Marx died on November 7, 1787, and was buried November 8, 1787. She was five years, two months, and 27 days old.   A third entry in the Lutheran churchbook from Schoenau, specified that Peter and Anna Maria Marx had become the parents of another baby girl they named Elisabetha and had her baptized August 23, 1791.

 I.c   Elisabeth Catherina Happes (2 Mar 1755 - ?)

The Kirchenprotocoll von Schriesheim und Heiligkreuzsteinach 1753 – 1770, referred to below as the Lutheran Churchbook HXSnach, documents that Martin Happes citizen of Altneudorf and his wife Catherina had a baby girl Elisabetha Catherina, who was born March 2, 1755 and baptized March 4, 1755.

I.1  Johannes Happes (17 Mar 1758 – 14 Sep 1765)

          The Lutheran Churchbook HXSach reveals that Johannes Happes was born on March 17, 1758 and was baptized two days later.  His parents Martin and Catherina Happes selected their brother-in-law Johannes Breitenstein as the child’s sponsor. The same source, however, indicates that Johannes Happes, the young son of Martin Happes citizen and farmer from Neudorf and his wife Catharina, nee Seib, died at home on September 14, 1765 from dysentery.  He was buried in Heiligkreuzsteinach on September 16, 1765 at the age of seven years, five months, three weeks, and four days.

I.2   (Joh.) Adam Happes (23 Feb 1762 – 1 Jan 1810)

 According to the Lutheran Churchbook HXSach, Martin Happes, citizen and farmer, and his wife, both of the Lutheran religion, had a son (Joh.) Adam Happes on February 23, 1762, who was baptized the following day.  The sponsor was Johann Adam Ketterer, living in Heddesbach, Catholic religion.  Adam Happes, his parents’ only son to reach adulthood, became a master tailor and left Altneudorf to establish his business in Dossenheim, a town on the western fringe of the Odenwald. Entries in the Lutheran Churchbook Dossenheim indicate that he married Maria Magdalena Duenger, daughter of (Joh.) Adam Duenger of Schwetzingen on September 9, 1785.  She was born February 4, 1760 and died August 14, 1828.  (Joh.) Adam Happes died on January 1, 1810, according to the Lutheran Churchbook Dossenheim by drinking himself to death.  He and his wife had the following five children: four boys, two of whom died in infancy, and one girl, who also died as an infant.

 I.2.1  Johannes Adam Happes (22 Feb 1787 – 28 July 1789)

 I.2.a  Maria Elisabeth Happes (9 May 1788 – 25 March 1789)

 I.2.2  Johann Georg Happes (4 August 1792 – 5 August 1792)

 I.2.3  Johannes Happes (15 December 1794 – ?)

 On October 13, 1822, Johannes Happes married Eva Elisabetha Lorbacher, who had been born on January 29, 1798.  While living in Dossenheim, they had three children:  Charlotta born June 25, 1824, Anna Barbara born May 10, 1828, and Johannes born March 19, 1830.  Seeking a better life, Johannes emigrated with his family to Poland, then part of Russia, in April 1833, and genealogical contact with him was lost.

I.2.4  Johann Adam Happes (4 February 1799 – 2 May 1882)

 The following data about the only remaining male descendant of Martin Happes still residing in the Odenwald north of Heidelberg after April 1833 was furnished by Wolfgang Roland Otto Happes, oldest son of Dieter and Ruth (Reim) Happes.

On January 26, 1826, Johann Adam Happes, citizen and stone quarryman from Dossenheim, married Catharina Elisabeth Doll, believed to have been born on February 26, 1799 and to have died September 5, 1880.   They had the following five children:

 I.2.4.a  Magdalena Happes (20 October 1826 – 1 May 1894)

 Her date of marriage is June 13, 1849, but the name of her husband is uncertain.

 I.2.4.1  Johann Adam Happes (15 March 1831 – 25 March 1833)

 I.2.4.2  Adam Happes (11 September 1834 – 5 August 1866)

I.2.4.b Elizabeth Happes (21 July 1843 – ?)

 She is believed to have married April 4, 1874 and then moved to Weinheim.

I.2.4.3  Johannes Happes (26 June 1837 – 4 May 1900)

 In May or July, 1865, Johannes Happes married Barbara Stephan, born June 22, 1839.  He was a citizen, farmer, and stone quarryman from Dossenheim.   Johannes and Barbara Happes had the following seven children, the first two apparently before their marriage:

I.  Gustav Jacob Happes (24 September 1862 – 2 August 1907)

He was a police officer who had three wives.  His first marriage was to Elizabeth Eberle (born November 18, 1860, died September 11, 1894) on May 27, 1886.  They had two children: Leonard Happes born May 24, 1887 and Jacob Happes born September 16, 1888.  His second wife Anna Margaretha died on September 15, 1895 after having a child who was born dead on September 11, 1895.  He then married for a third time to Karel Schmidt (born April 7, 1874) with whom he had eight children: Elise born March 31, 1897, Lina Susanne born May 20, 1898, Elsa Lina born February 24, 1900, Lydia born June 6, 1903, Adam Gustav Adolf born May 30, 1904, Gustav Adolf born December 17, 1904(?), and the twins Theresa Lina and Frida Susanna Happes born April 17, 1907.

   I.  Karl Adam Happes (27 March 1864 – 7 March 1870)

   I.  Johann Adam Happes (1 January 1866 – 16April 1923)

 He is believed to have married on January 1, 1891.

I.  Johannes Happes (21 January 1870 – 23 March 1870)

   I.  Wilhelm Happes (21 January 1870 – 28 February 1932)


The twin Wilhelm Happes became a stone quarryman in Dossenheim.  On May 29, 1894, he married Susanne Vester (born February 13, 1868 in Hassloch/Pfalz, died October 30, 1937 in Dossenheim).  They had seven children: Susanne born June 2, 1892, Adam Heinrich born October 12, 1894, Elisabetha (Elise) born February 5, 1897, Martin born May 23, 1901, Anna Barbara born January 1, 1903, Susanna Katharina born December 19, 1906, and a child who died on the day of birth, October 30, 1912.

I.  Georg Happes (2 November 1873 – 25 August 1934)

 Georg Happes married Maria Haltner (born April 16, 1894) on March 28, 1918.   They had five children: Lydia born February 8, 1918, Johann born March 4, 1920, Georg Michael (known as Peter) born July 19, 1922, Elisabetha born December 22, 1926, and Jacob born November 11, 1926(?).

I.2.4.3.a  Elisabetha Happes (12 September 1879 – 6 October 1900)

 She died within half a year of her marriage on May 15, 1900.

 With regard to Dieter Happes and his son Wolfgang Roland Otto Happes mentioned above, Dieter’s father was I. Adam Heinrich Happes born October 12, 1894.


II. JOHANNES HAPPES (ca. 1725 – 30 MARCH 1780)

            After his confirmation recorded in the Lutheran Churchbook Schriesheim, one of the first references to Johannes Happes, son of Michael Happes of Altneudorf, occurs in the Reformed Churchbook HXSach where he is listed as single and the sponsor of the baptism of (Joh.) Leonhard Reinhard on November 10, 1750.  He also is mentioned as living in Neudorf in an enumeration of male inhabitants taken in 1750 by the regional authorities in Heidelberg. In early 1751, Johannes Happes, who had received an exemption from having to perform military duty (perhaps because of some physical handicap), petitioned the Heidelberg authorities to become a full-fledged citizen of Altneudorf and for the privilege of marrying. The Lutheran Churchbook Schriesheim then records that on February 22, 1751, Johannes Happes, single, Lutheran, and the son of a citizen from Altneudorf married Maria Catharina Vogt, Reformed religion of Altneudorf.  Their first child Anna Margaretha was born less that four months later in June 1751.  Eventually, Johannes Happes and his wife had the seven children identified below.  He also was the sponsor of the baptism of Johannes Mueller, son of David Mueller and his wife Anna Elisabeth Zimmerman on November 23, 1752 according to the Lutheran Churchbook Schriesheim.   Johannes Happes resided in Altneudorf all his life, became a master weaver, and died on March 30, 1780. 

             II.a  Anna Margaretha Happes (18 June 1751 – 12 December 1830)

             The Reformed Churchbook HXSach (1729 – 1776) contains the notation on page 119 that Anna Margaretha Happes was born on June 18, 1751 and baptized two days later.  Her parents were listed as Johannes Habbes, beisasz (i.e., someone who does not yet have a household of his own), Lutheran, and residing in Neudorf, and his wife Maria Catherina.  The child’s sponsor was listed as Anna Margaretha Leyer, single, the daughter of Alexander Leyer, citizen of Neudorf.  Anna Margaretha, who may have married Johannes Ewald, died on December 12, 1830, according to a notation later added to her birth entry.

             II.1  (Joh.) Leonhart Happes (4 January 1756 – 24 March 1763)

             Entries in the Lutheran Churchbook Schriesheim 1753 – 1770 state that Johannes Leonhart Happes was born on January 4, 1756 and baptized two days later. The child’s sponsor was Leonhart Reichard of Altneudorf, single.  The same source indicates he died on March 24, 1763 at age eight and was buried the same day.

            II.2  (Joh.) Nicolaus Happes (8 May 1759 – 8 January 1843)


          The birth of Johann Nicolaus Happes on May 8, 1759 is recorded in the Lutheran Churchbook Schriesheim 1753 – 1770.  The baby boy’s sponsor was Johannes Nicolaus Vogt.  According to the Evangelisch-lutherischen Kirchenbuch Heddesbach (1767 – 1811), Nicolas Happes began his family while still single; this churchbook states that Anna Margareta Happes was born on March 20, 1781 to the unmarried Niklaus Happes from Neudorf and a maiden named Sauer.  The child’s sponsor was Eva Sauer.  Over three years later, the same church book relates that on September 4, 1784, Nikolaus Happes from Altneudorf and his beloved Anna Margaretha Sauer were properly married. The death register of the Lutheran Churchbook HXSach records that at 2 AM on February 14, 1823, Anna Margaretha Happes nee Sauer the wife of Nicolaus Happes, citizen and linen weaver, died at the age of 69 years, 7 months, and 2 days, and was buried three days later. A later death entry in the same churchbook reveals that on January 8, 1843, Johann Nikolaus Happes, citizen and linen weaver, died in Altneudorf at the age of 83 years and 8 months.  They had the following seven children, most of whom never got married:

             II.2.a  Anna Margareta Happes (20 March 1781 – ?)

             II.2.b  Eva Elisabetha Happes (18 August 1785 – ?)

            The Lutheran Churchbook HXSach, 1811 – 1821, contains the following enlightening passage: “In the year of Christ 1811, on March 21st at five AM, a baby girl was born in Altneudorf and on April 22 at 11 o’clock midday was baptized Eva Margaretha Happes by me.  The mother is Elisabetha Happes, the unmarried daughter of Nicolaus Happes, citizen and farmer from here.  The godparents are Christian Gaertner citizen and farmer from Wilhelmsfeld and his wife Eva Margaretha nee Daub, both of the Reformed religion.  Baptismal witnesses are Nicolaus Layer, beisasz and day laborer from here, 27 years old, and Nicolaus Happes, citizen and farmer from here, 50 years old.

Through his own admission to Colonel K. commander from Bartlin, the father of the child is Peter Gaertner, fusilier in the Count’s 2nd Infantry Regiment in Wilhelmsfeld.” The Lutheran Churchbook HXSach, 1811 – 1821 also reveals that Anna Margaretha Happes, the illegitimate daughter of Eva Elizabetha Happes, died on August 14, 1817 at the age of 6 years, 4 months, and 14 days. 

    II.2.c  Eva Katharina Happes (30 March 1787 – 20 August 1845)

 A little over a year after her sister Eva Elizabetha Happes had an illegitimate child, Eva Katharina also gave birth to a baby out of wedlock.  The Lutheran Churchbook HXSach, 1811 – 1821 noted that “In the year of Christ 1812, on May 29th at 10 AM in Altneudorf, a boy was born and baptized on May 31st at 3 PM named Christian Gottlieb Happes.  The mother is Anna Katharina Happes, the unmarried daughter of Nicolaus Happes, citizen and master linen weaver from here.  The baptismal witnesses were Christian Happes, citizen and master linen weaver, for whom the boy was named, and Joh. Nicolaus Layer, beisasz, both from here and of the Reformed confession.”  Eva Katharina Happes had several other illegitimate children.  According to the Lutheran Churchbook HXSach Death Register, 1843 – 1863, she died August 20, 1845, the unmarried daughter of Nikolaus Happes and Margaretha (Sauer) Happes.  A list of wills in the Baden State Archives in Karlsruhe, Germany indicates that she left all her worldly goods to her beloved Christian Scheuermann.

 Christian Gottlieb Happes married Eva Katherina Weiherich on November 30, 1834, after receiving permission from the authorities in Heidelberg. As a result, all their children were considered “legitimate” Happeses. Concerning the groom’s parents, the notation in the Reformed Churchbook Altneudorf 1812 – 1842 simply stated “the parents of the bridegroom are Katherina Happes, unmarried daughter of the deceased linen weaver Nicolaus Happes from Altneudorf.” The bride’s parents were specified as “Adam Weihrich, evangelical protestant school teacher in Altneudorf and his deceased wife Salomae, nee Kugel.”   Eva Katherina died on December 6, 1861 at the age of 53 years, 6 months, and 4 days and her husband Gottlieb died about 1868. They had a relatively large family consisting of the following eight children: Anna Marie Happes (20 February 1835 – 22 February 1835), Adam Happes (born April 3, 1836), Georg Happes (born October 7, 1838), Anna Margaretha Happes (born February 20, 1841), Jacob Happes (25 July 1843 – 1 February 1900), Elisabeth Happes (born March 22, 1846), Joh. Adam Happes (born June 19, 1848), and Katherina Happes (5 February 1851 – 16 February 1851).

    II.2.d  Eva Margaretha Happes (25 September 1788 – ?)

Unlike her older sisters, Eva Margaretha Happes decided to marry, apparently after her first child was born.  The Lutheran Churchbook HXSach, 1811 – 1821 contains the information that on November 6, 1814, the 22-year-old Leonard Herbig, citizen of Altneudorf, and son of the deceased Martin Herbig and his wife Anna Catherina nee Beckenbach, married Eva Margaretha Happes, the daughter of Nicolaus Happes, citizen and master linen weaver, and his wife Anna Margaretha nee Sauer.  Under births and baptisms, this churchbook contained the data that Leonhard Herbig and Margaretha nee Happes had a son Jacob Herbig on January 11, 1814.  Unfortunately, the birth entry was amended to indicate that Jacob died on February 7th, 1814.  This was the first of a series of heartbreaks for the young couple.  Other entries in this churchbook disclose that another son named Jacob was born on March 8, 1815 and died on March 14, 1815; that Anna Margaretha Herbig was born on October 30, 1816 and died November 3, 1816; that Eva Catherina Herbig was born on October 20, 1817 and died on November 6, 1817; and that Johann Nicolaus Herbig was born on April 18, 1819 but died on December 23, 1823.

    II.2.1  Christian Happes (31 March 1791 – ?)

Data concerning the oldest son of Nicolaus and Anna Margaretha (Sauer) Happes are sketchy, at best. On April 16, 1819, while still single, he was the sponsor and namesake of the illegitimate child of Anna Maria Ederle from Wilhemsfeld and his first cousin Adam Happes, son of Leonhart Happes.  Another churchbook entry indicates that he still was single on June 4, 1824, when he was the sponsor and namesake of the illegitimate son of his first cousin Anna Katharina Happes, daughter of Leonhart Happes.

    II.2.2  (Joh) Georg Happes (17 February 1793 – 5 November 1843)

The Buergerliche Standesbuecher der ev. prot. Gemeinde Altneudorf 1843 – 1863 contains the entry that on November 5, 1843 at the age of 50 years, 8 months, and 19 days Georg Happes, the unmarried son of the deceased Nicolaus Happes citizen and farmer and his deceased wife Anna Margaretha, nee Sauer, died in Altneudorf.

              II.2 e  Anna Margaretha Happes (8 September 1795 – ?)

                  II.3   (Joh.) Leonhart Happes (21 December 1761 – 25 February 1763)   

            The Lutheran Churchbook HXSnach states that on December 22, 1761, Johannes Happes and his wife Maria Catharina had a son Johann Leonhardt baptized.   The baptismal sponsor was Johannes Leonhardt Reinhardt, resident of Altneudorf.  Then on February 25, 1863, the same source contained an entry that Johannes Happes’ young son Johannes Leonhard was buried at the age of one year and three months.

                 II.4   (Joh.) Leonhart Happes (18 January 1764 – 11 February 1831)   

            The family of this Johann Leonhart Happes, although not as numerous as that of his older brother II.2 Nicolaus Happes, followed the same pattern of illegitimate births and high infant mortality.  

According to the Lutheran Churchbook HXSnach, Johannes Happes, citizen and weaver, and his wife had another son on January 18, 1764, whom they also baptized two days later with the name Johannes Leonhardt Happes.  Once again the sponsor was Johannes Leonhardt Reinhardt, single, of Neudorf. On November 17, 1793, Leonhart Happes married Anna Margaretha Laier, who died 15 years later in 1809. Leonhard Happes lived for over 20 years longer than his wife Anna Margaretha, and he may have had a second wife. The death register of the Reformed Churchbook Altneudorf 1812 – 1842 relates that the day laborer Leonhart Happes, widower of Eva Catherina, nee Engel, died on February 11, 1831 and was buried a 9 AM on February 13, 1831. 

Leonhart Happes and Anna Margaretha nee Laier had the following four children:

II.4.1 Joh. Adam Happes (22 November 1797 – 5 January 1824)

An entry in the Lutheran Churchbook HXSach, 1811 – 1821 dated April 16, 1819 indicates that Anna Maria Ederle of Wilhelmsfeld, Catholic religion, gave birth to an illegitimate child named Johann Christian. The boy’s father was listed as Adam Happes from Altneudorf, single.  Then six months later on September 20, 1819 the same source stated that Adam Happes, the 22-year-old, single, Lutheran son of Leonhart Happes citizen and farmer from Altneudorf and his deceased wife Margaretha nee Layer was married to Anna Maria Ederle, the 27-year-old, Catholic daughter of Georg Ederle from Wilhelmsfeld and his wife Eva Elisabeth, nee Mueller. The Reformed Churchbook Altneudorf 1812 – 1842 reports that Adam Happes, citizen and day laborer, the husband of Anna Maria nee Ederle died on January 5, 1824 at 27 years of age.  Their son Johann Christian died on July 4, 1845.

II.4.a  Anna Katharina Happes (ca. 1800 – 5 August 1827)

The Reformed Churchbook Altneudorf 1812 – 1842 contains the information that on June 11, 1824, Anna Katherine, daughter of Leonhardt Happes citizen and day laborer and his wife Anna Margaretha nee Leyer, gave birth to a baby boy she named Christian.  The Brombach Altes Familienbuch indicated that approximately two years later, on August 28, 1825, she married Johann Peter Seib and they had a son Peter Seib born on March 24, 1826.  After Anna Katharina Seib nee Happes died on August 5, 1827, her husband Peter Seib married Anna Maria Beissel on November 29, 1827.  What happened to Anna Katharina’s first son Christian is unknown, but her second son Peter became a blacksmith in the town of Darsberg.

II.4.2  Joh. Adam Happes (27 January 1805 – 2 March 1805)

  II.4.3  Christian Happes (2 August 1808 – 27 August 1808)

                  II.b  Anna Maria Happes (21 October 1766 –  4 March 1769) 

            The Reformed Churchbook HXSach (1729 – 1776), page 265, announces that Anna Maria Happes was born on October 21, 1766 and was baptized on October 26, 1766.  Her parents were listed as Johannes Happes, citizen and master weaver in Neudorf, and Maria Catharina nee Vogt, his Lutheran wife.  The child’s sponsor was Anna Maria Leyer, single, daughter of the deceased Joerg Adam Leyer of Neudorf.  According to the Reformed Churchbook HXSach (1729 – 1776), Anna Maria Happes died on March 4, 1769 at the age of 2 years, 5 months, and 10 days.

II.5   Christian Happes (27 April 1770 – 8 July 1846)

             The Lutheran Churchbook HXSnach indicates that on April 27, 1770 Christian Happes was born to Johannes Happes, citizen and linen weaver of Altneudorf, Lutheran religion, and his wife Maria Catherina, Reformed religion.  This continued their practice of having their boys baptized in the Lutheran Churchbook HXSnach and their girls in the Reformed Churchbook HXSach.  The infant was baptized on April 29, 1770, with the sponsor being Christian Leyer, citizen and miller in Neudorf.  According to the Lutheran Churchbook HXSach, 1811 – 1821 he served as witness to a local baptism on September 29, 1811. The Lutheran Churchbook HXSach Death Register, 1843 – 1863, records that Christian Happes, citizen and master weaver from Altneudorf died on July 8, 1846 at age 76 years and 2 months.  The same source specifies that his widow Eva Catherina Happes nee Laier died on November 18, 1852 at the age of 61 years, 10 months, and 22 days.  Unlike Christian’s older brothers who reached maturity, namely II.2 Nicolaus and II.4 Leonhart Happes, Christian’s line was characterized by fewer illegitimate births and greater longevity.

            The four children of Christian and Eva Catharina (Leyer) Happes were:

                  II.5.1  Nicolaus Happes (21 March 1814 – ?)

 Nicolaus Happes’ birth is recorded in the Reformed Churchbook Altneudorf 1812 – 1842 as March 21, 1814.  His parents are described as Christian Happes, citizen and linen weaver, and his legitimate wife Eva Catherina nee Leyer.  His baptismal sponsor was Christian’s brother, Nicolaus, citizen and linen weaver.

    II.5.2 Jacob Happes (18 November 1815 – after 1863)

The Reformed Churchbook Altneudorf 1812 – 1842 states that Jacob Happes was born on November 18, 1815 and was baptized two days later.  His father is given as Christian Happes, citizen and linen weaver and his mother as Eva Catherina, nee Leyer.  The child’s sponsor was Jacob Leyer, beisasz.  The same source proclaims that on April 20, 1840, with the approval of the regional authorities, Jacob Happes, provisional citizen, master weaver, and son of Christian Happes and Eva Katharina (Leyer) Happes married the single Maria Elisabetha Mayer of Steinklingen, school teacher and daughter of Adam Mayer and his wife Anna Katharina born Schmitt. The eight children of Jacob and Maria Elisabetha (Mayer) Happes were: Nicolaus born 20 April 1844; Jacob born 7 May 1845; Christian born 22 January 1849 and died 10 March 1900; Peter born 17 January 1851 and died 16 June 1906; Martin born 16 April 1854 and died 7 December 1855; Adam born 12 October 1856; Elisabetha born 24 September 1861; and Anna Catharina born 23 June 1863.

    II.5.a  Eva Catherina Happes (7 April 1819 – 12 December 1877)

 According to the Reformed Churchbook Altneudorf 1812 – 1842, Eva Catherina Happes was born April 7, 1819 to Christian Happes, citizen and linen weaver in Altneudorf and his wife, Eva Catherina nee Leyer.  Her sponsor was the unmarried Eva Catherina Leyer from Altneudorf.  At a later date, the churchbook entry for Eva Catherina Happes was amended to indicate that she died on December 12, 1877.  Another entry in the Altneudorf churchbook stated that on January 23, 1838, with regional approval Georg Michael Leyer, provisional citizen of Altneudorf, married Eva Catherina Happes.  His parents were identified as Joh. Michael Leyer and Maria Margaret Leyer, nee Bretseley.  Her parents were recorded as Christian Happes, weaver, and Eva Catherina, nee Leyer.

   II.5.3  son (born dead 19 May 1822)

             The death register portion of the Reformed Churchbook Altneudorf 1812 – 1842 discloses that on May 19, 1822 at 5 AM Eva Catherina Happes, wife of the citizen and master weaver Christian Happes of Altneudorf, had a baby boy who was born dead. 

            The lives of Martin and Johannes Happes (and their descendants) stand in sharp contrast to those of their brothers Georg and Michael who arrived in the New Land in 1751.  In the Odenwald, land was scarce, labor cheap, couples married later, families were relatively small, and mortality tragically high.  Yet, the descendants of Martin and Johannes not only survived these horrific conditions but two devastating Wars, as well.  Today there still are Happes families descended from both sons residing and prospering in Germany.  Most of those in the Odenwald trace their lineage to Johannes Happes, citizen and master weaver from Altneudorf.  Of the Odenwald families, the one most interested in genealogy is headed by Hans Happes from Mosbach, Germany.  Hans teaches English in the public schools there and has made numerous trips to the United States with his students.  In 1998, I had the once-in-a-lifetime pleasure of touring the Odenwald and the Toess, Switzerland environs with three distant cousins: Ed Hoppes of Springfield, Ohio representing Georg Happes’ line, Dieter Happes retired businessman representing Martin Happes’ lineage, and Hans Happes representing Johannes Happes’ descendants.  Because Michael Happes is my ancestor, descendants of all four Happes brothers celebrated our family history together.  A photograph taken near Dieter’s home is attached below.


FOUR LINES.jpg (50034 bytes)

                                    Ed Hoppes, Dieter Happes, Harry Hoppes and Hans Happes

By Harry Hoppes                      February 2002

Harry's Corner         Home