German Emigration Notices

German government-sponsored newspapers often carried notices of intention to emigrate. These notices include the name of the emigrant, his or her place of residency, and occupation or status. Sometimes they contain additional information on the emigrant’s family. More and more German newspapers are being digitized and placed online.

1845_emigration_Intelligenzblatt
1845 German newspaper emigration notices of several of the original settlers of Frankenmuth, Michigan.[1] Their town of origin as well as occupations or statuses are given.
This notice from 1845 contains the names and additional information on several of the original settlers of Frankenmuth, Michigan who came from Roßtall, Bavaria. It lists Martin Haspel, master weaver, with his wife and one child; Johann List, single journeyman carpenter; Johann Leonhard Bernthal (my second great-grandfather), single journeyman weaver; Johann Bierlein, single tenant farmer’s son; Kunigunda Bernthal, single wagon-maker’s daughter; and Anna Margaretha Walther, single ropemaker’s daughter.

Stern_1847_emigration_notice
1847 German newspaper emigration notice including the Johann Michael and Anna Sophia (Stern) Stern family of Brombach, Mittelfranken, Bavaria.[2] This notice provides the maiden names of the women emigrating with their husbands.
Another notice from 1847 includes the family of Johann Michael Stern (my third great-grandfather). It provides his residency as Brombach. It also provides the full name of his wife, including her maiden name. It states that Johann Michael was a Gütler, or smallholder/farmer, and that he was emigrating with his wife and four children.

Gugel_1859_emigration
1859 German newspaper emigration notice for the Georg Gugel family.[3] This notice provides full names and the birthdates of Georg’s children.
This notice for the Georg Gugel family who immigrated to Frankenmuth in 1859 is particularly valuable as it lists the full names of all of his children who are emigrating, as well as their birthdates.

Several websites include some of these newspapers where the emigration notices can be found including Google Books, Internet Archive, and Bavarica for papers specifically from Bavaria, Germany. These government-sponsored newspapers are usually titled “Intelligenzblatt” or “Amtsblatt.” Searching for one of these titles plus a locality (such as “Mittelfranken”) will return several results. Searching with the surname of interest may or may not return results; optical character recognition (OCR) is not perfect, and in my experience, even less-so with the Fraktur font used in these publications.

A helpful and amazing finding-aid for emigration notices published in newspapers in Mittelfranken, or Central Franconia, Bavaria from 1837-1874 was produced by the City of Gunzenhausen, Germany. Staff of the Frankenmuth Historical Association translated and compiled the information they provided. The finding-aid is published on the Saginaw (Michigan) Genealogy Society, Inc.’s website. This index includes not only immigrants to Frankenmuth and the surrounding Franconian colonies but throughout North America. Included in the index are the emigrant’s name, status and/or occupation, place of residency in Bavaria, North American destination when known, possible additional information on the emigrant’s birth or family, and, importantly, a reference to the newspaper where the notice can be found.

German newspapers are a great source of information on one’s ancestor’s immigration to North America, particularly when ships’ manifests can not be located or are extant. Emigration notices may hold the key to the ancestor’s village or town of origin, as well.

Reference Notes:

1. Königlich Bayerisches Intelligenzblatt für Mittelfranken: 1845 (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1845), 26 February 1845, cols. 361 & 62, item no. 8; digital images, Google Books (https://books.google.com : accessed 13 February 2016).

2. Königlich Bayerisches Intelligenzblatt für Mittelfranken (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1847), 24 February 1847, cols. 331 & 32, item no. 8; digital images, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Bavarica (http://bavarica.digitale-sammlungen.de : accessed 13 February 2016).

3. Königlich Bayerisches Kreis-Amtsblatte von Mittelfranken 1859 (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1859), no. 4, 15 January 1859, cols. 60 & 61, item no. 5; digital images, Bayerische StattsBibliothek, Bavarica (http://bavarica.digitale-sammlungen.de : accessed 17 February 2016).

A Living Father’s Day Memory

My father (stitting) and grandpa planting a spruce tree, Frankenmuth Township, Michigan; Father's Day, 1975.
My father (stitting) and grandpa planting a spruce tree in my grandparents’ front yard, Frankenmuth Township, Michigan; Father’s Day, 1975.

Three years ago or so, shortly after my interest in genealogy began, I found this photograph among others my father had saved. On the back my Grandma Bernthal recorded “Dad & Roy planting spruce for fathers day 1975.” Forty years later the spruce tree still grows in the front yard of what was my grandparents’ retirement house. Now when I pass by it, I think of my dad and grandpa planting the seedling together.

Forty-year-old spruce tree; Frankenmuth Township, Michigan; 2015.
Forty-year-old spruce tree; Frankenmuth Township, Michigan; 2015.

Memorial Day 2015 : Honoring Our Veteran Ancestors

My niece and nephew at the Frankenmuth Veterans Memorial Wall of Honor; Memorial Day, 2015.
My niece and nephew at the Frankenmuth Veterans Memorial honor wall; Memorial Day, 2015.

Today our family celebrated Memorial Day by attending Frankenmuth’s annual Memorial Day parade. Before the parade, my niece and nephew searched the Frankenmuth Veterans Memorial honor wall looking for bricks with the names of their grand-uncles who served our country. Above, they examine the brick of their grand-uncle Willard A. Bernthal who died (non-combat) in 1954 while serving in the United States Army.

Thank you, Veterans, for your service. You are our heroes.

[Mappy Monday] : The Second Barn Built in Frankenmuth

Detail, Section 28, Frankenmuth Township 1877 plat. [1]
Detail, Section 28, Frankenmuth Township 1877 plat. [1]
Check out the upper left hand corner of this detail from an 1877 plat map of Frankenmuth Township. It notes the “Second Barn Built in Town” which lies on the north side of Tuscola Road on the Georg Conrad Bernthal property. It’s not often I’ve seen extraneous notes like this on plats, but the mapmaker thought it significant enough to mention. Georg Conrad Bernthal took over the Bernthal homestead from his father Georg Martin Bernthal. The property still bears the Bernthal name today. Pictures of a contemporary barn on the farm were featured in a previous post here.

Reference Notes:

[1] F. W. Beers, Atlas of Saginaw Co. Michigan, From Recent and Actual Surveys and Records Under the Superintendence of F. W. Beers (New York: F. W. Beers & Co., 1877), 81; digital images, Michigan County Histories and Atlases (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty/ : accessed 25 February 2014).

Military Monday : 29th Michigan Infantry. Rally, Boys!

29th Michigan Infantry recruitment poster; 1864.
29th Michigan Infantry recruitment broadside; 1864.[1]
This past November Johann Georg Leonhardt Weber (a.k.a. John G. Weber) was featured in a Tombstone Tuesday post on FrankenGen. Through my research, I believe that John G. is the only direct Bernthal descendant to serve in the United States Civil War. The Civil War fascinates me in general, and family involvement interests me particularly. For this reason, I have been scoping out material on John G. Weber’s company and regiment. John G. Weber enlisted in company D, 29th Michigan Infantry on 17 August 1864, two weeks after the date printed on the broadside shown above.[2] Perhaps he answered the call to serve after viewing a similar advertisement.

Reference Notes:

[1] Civil War broadside advertising for enlistment in Michigan’s Twenty-ninth Infantry, with the text “Rally, Boys, Rally for the Flag! And Avoid the Draft,” dated 3 August 1864, Marshall, Michigan; digital image, The Archives of Michigan, Seeking Michigan (http://www.seekingmichigan.org : accessed 8 February 2015).

[2] Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 46 vols. (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Ihling Bros. & Everard, 1903[?]), 29: 68; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 November 2014).

Surname Saturday : Geogen Surname Mapping in Germany

Geogen Surname Mapping is a website created by Christoph Stöpel that graphically displays the current geographical distribution of surnames in Germany based on telephone book data. This tool may help in identifying the origins of a particular surname or in locating living relations in the old country.

I entered a few of my German surnames to see if there were still individuals living in Germany with those names. “Bernthal” and its German forms of “Bärenthal” and “Baerenthal” did not produce any hits. “Berenthal,” perhaps another variant form, did return ten entries; however, none were located near our family’s origins in Bärenthal, Tuttlingen, Baden-Württemberg and Roßtal, Fürth, Bavaria.

“Veitengruber,” another family surname, was more successful returning 92 entries. The largest concentration was in Landkreis Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen, Bavaria with twenty-two phonebook listings. Interestingly, this is the area from where my second great-grandmother and her family originated.

"Veitengruber" surname distribution map. Source: Geogen Surname Mapping; 2014.
“Veitengruber” surname distribution map. Source: Geogen Surname Mapping; 2014.

 

The Geogen website can be visited here: Geogen Surname Mapping.

Tombstone Tuesday : Johann Georg Leonhardt & Anna Abalonia (Heinlein) Weber

Johann G. L. & Anna A. (Heinlein) Weber grave marker, St. Michael's Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan; 2012.
Johann G. L. & Anna A. (Heinlein) Weber grave marker, St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery, Richville, Michigan; 2012.

In honor of Veterans Day it is fitting to remember Johann Georg Leonhardt Weber (25 April 1847-21 May 1910).[1] Johann, or John, was born in Frankenmuth, the oldest child of two of Frankenmuth’s original founding settlers, Johann Conrad Weber and Kunigunde Barbara (Bernthal). John Weber fought in the American Civil War. At age seventeen he enlisted in the United States Army on 17 August 1864 in Company D, 29th Michigan Infantry.[2] The regiment participated in battles in Decatur, Alabama and Overall Creek, Winsted Church, Shelbyville Pike, and Nolansville, Tennessee.[3]

On 20 April 1876 John was married in Richville, Michigan to Anna Abalonia Heinlein (7 October 1852-19 January 1931).[4][5] The couple was married by the groom’s uncle, Rev. George Bernthal. They lived in Denmark Township, Tuscola County where John farmed.[6]

John and his wife both died in Denmark Township.[7] They are buried in St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery, Richville. Three children who died early are also inscribed on their grave marker.[8]

Reference Notes:

[1]Elaine Huber, translator, “St. Lorenz Lutheran Church (Frankenmuth, Michigan, Book I: (1847-1857),” (typescript, 1990, St. Lorenz Lutheran Church Offices, Frankenmuth), unpaginated, no. 4.

Tuscola County, Michigan, death certificate no. 9, John G. Weber, 21 May 1910; digital image, “Michigan, Death Records, 1897-1920,” The Archives of Michigan, Seeking Michigan (http://www.seekingmichigan.org : accessed 16 August 2012).

[2]Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 46 vols. (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Ihling Bros. & Everard, 1903[?]), 29: 68; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 November 2014).

[3]Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 29: 1 & 2.

[4]Tuscola County, Michigan, Marriage Registers [vol. ?], fo. 239, J. George Weber-Anna A. Heinlein, 30 April 1876; digital images, FamilySearch, ”Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925” (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NQS8-BQX : accessed 10 November 2014).

[5]Tuscola County, Michigan, “Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KF7N-P8X : accessed 10 November 2014), entry for Anna Abalonia Weber, 19 January 1931.

[6]1900 U.S. census, Tuscola County, Michigan, population schedule, Denmark Township, enumeration district 109, sheet no. 5 A, dwelling 96, family 97, John G. and Abelonia [sic] Weber; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 November 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 744.

[7]Tuscola County, Michigan, death certificate no. 9, John G. Weber, 21 May 1910.

Tuscola County, Michigan, “Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952,” database entry for Anna Abalonia Weber, 19 January 1931.

[8]St. Michael’s Lutheran Cemetery (Richville, Michigan), Johann G. L. & Anna A. Weber marker; personally read, 2012.