A few weeks ago, I learned of the new price increase for the microfilm rentals through FamilySearch. Nudged by this recent hike in prices, I thought it'd be a good idea to order some records for my own family, which I have been neglecting for a very long time. So, I went and ordered six microfilms for myself (a total splurge.. I know.. haha) before the new prices were installed. And I'm so glad that I did. I have been putting off further research into my European family for quite a while now; the main reason being work. When I'm at my local FHC, i'm working on research for clients and not my own. My FHC is open only a limited amount of hours a week, so it doesn't leave much time for my own personal research.
I've had a week of being able to perform research on my OWN family in microfilm for the first time in a long while, since I'm waiting on a huge box-full of microfilms to arrive, for clientele research. I've found a wealth of information on parts of my German and Polish lines so far this week, including a whole new generation on my direct maternal line.. the line that contains my MT-DNA! Thanks to a good friend of mine, I was able to have my Y-DNA and MT-DNA tested recently. When the results came in for my MT-DNA, I became more and more curious about my direct maternal line ancestors; I knew there was more to find and records to go through, but I had been too busy to research into it farther. Until now!
What I knew before I started my research this week was pretty vague: My 6th-great-grandmother on my direct maternal line was Catharina Beilharz, born 16 Jan 1761 in Hohenweg, to Johann Jacob Beilharz, a day-laborer in Hohenweg, and Barbara Winkler. That's all I knew.
A little bit of information about Hohenweg before we go further. Up until 1908, Hohenweg had belonged to the Evangelical parish of Hornberg. It now belongs to Gutach, where Catharina Beilharz was married to Christian Brohammer, in 1787. And where all of their descendants were born, married and died up until the late 19th century when mass emigration was affecting the world.
Okay, back to Catharina Beilharz. From her marriage record to Christian Brohammer, I knew her date and place of birth and her parent's names. I had previously not known about Hohenweg belonging to the Hornberg parish, so I was stumped. I had noticed some Winkler's within the Gutach records, but I didn't give it much note considering I couldn't find Catharina's baptism. So I ordered the Hornberg records, since I knew that Hohenweg was near the border between the two towns, and low-and-behold.. there was Catharina's baptism record!
The second record I searched for, was the marriage record of her parents: Johann Jacob Beilharz and Barbara Winkler. They were married on 04 Sept 1759 in Hornberg. Johann Jacob was listed as a "viduus" (a widow) and Barbara, as the daughter of Conrad Winkler. No towns were mentioned, so you assume they were from the Hornberg parish.
So who was this deceased wife of Johann Jacob, and what was her name? I found her death recorded on 07 May 1758. She was listed as Lucia, the wife of Johann Jacob "Beylhartz", a day-laborer "auf der Hohenweg", aged 44 years old. I'm now able to guesstimate (I love that word!) approximate birth years for Lucia, as well as Johann Jacob (roughly). I have since found a small handful of children born to Johann Jacob and Lucia, as well as Johann Jacob and Barbara. Most of the children share the same godparents.
While searching for the death of Johann Jacob's first wife Lucia, I stumbled upon a death record on 10 Dec 1758, for a two month old child named Barbara. She was an illegitimate daughter of a Barbara "Winckler". This peaked my interest, as the child was born nine months prior to my Johann Jacob Beilharz and Barbara Winkler getting married. Illegitimate children were common prior to marriages. So off I went, looking for this child's baptism record; she was born 11 Sept 1758. Her mother is listed as Barbara "Winckler", a day-laborer's daughter from Gutach! Those Winkler's I had noticed in the Gutach records years ago, really were MY Winkler's! The godparents of this child helped verify that the mother, Barbara Winkler, was MY Barbara Winkler. Interestingly enough, the birth entry actually listed the biological father.. who must have recognized the child as his own. He was Johann Blum of Gutach. A very common surname in that town, of which I descend from FIVE times! And you thought the deep south of America was incestuous. Ha!
Now knowing that Barbara Winkler was from Gutach all along, I went out searching for her baptism record. And found it easily enough, on 20 Mar 1736. Barbara was the youngest of five children, all born in Gutach. She was the daughter of Conrad Winkler (which we knew from her marriage record) and Catharina. Catharina! The name of my 8th-great-grandmother on my direct maternal line! Yippee! Not being content knowing just her first name, I went looking for Conrad and Catharina's marriage record. They were married on 04 May 1724 in Gutach. Conrad was the son of Hans Winkler and Catharina was the daughter of Georg Aberle, both fathers being day-laborers. Catharina and her father Georg Aberle were from a town that I'm not familiar with, and honestly had a very hard time reading. Which is very uncommon with me and these Gutach records.. I mean, I've been researching in them since 2004! I know these records like the back of my hand!
I was able to find the baptism for Conrad Winkler easily enough, on 08 Mar 1704, in Gutach. He was listed as the son of Hans and Barbara Winkler, day-laborers in Sulzbach, a community within Gutach. Finding baptisms for siblings of Conrad, I noticed that Hans and Barbara Winkler moved around quite a bit within the Gutach parish, moving from community to community between the birth of every child. Work must have been hard to come by, being day-laborers at that time. What I wasn't able to find, was a baptism for Catharina Aberle, Conrad Winkler's wife. It was no-where to be found, nor any baptisms for any children of a Georg Aberle within the Gutach parish at all. But therein lies a clue with her daughter Barbara Winkler's baptism record in 1736. Her first two godparents (there were usually three; two men and one woman) were a Jacob Blum and a Conrad Aberle. Jacob Blum was a day-laborer in Offenbach, a community within Hornberg. Conrad Aberle, whom I'm assuming is a blood-connection to Barbara's mother (Catharina Aberle), was a miller "in Hornberg".
I strongly believe that I'll find Catharina Aberle's baptism within the Hornberg parish.. and the name of my 9th-great-grandmother! The Hornberg parish records begin in the 1630's, nearly 100 years prior to Catharina Aberle's marriage in Gutach, so if I'm lucky I may find two.. or even three.. more generations! Hopefully more to come on Tuesday; cross your fingers, folks!