Clue to Birth Place of Johannes Holtz Who Married in Barbelroth, Germany in 1691?

Part of the Stufflebean family tree extends back to Johannes Holtz who married Anna Christina Schafer in Barbelroth, Germany on 25 July 1691. The Holtz family eventually married into the Whitmer family, also from Barbelroth, and the extended family group immigrated to Frederick County, Maryland about 1755.

I have estimated the birth year of Johannes Holtz to be about 1670, assuming he married at the age of 21. While I’ve found that New England couples in this time period typically marry at age 25 for grooms and 21 for brides, I’ve also discovered that Germans and Scandinavians often married anywhere between the ages of 21 and 30+ for a first marriage. It’s possible that Johannes Holtz, then, was older than 21 when he married.

However, Johannes Holtz was not born/baptized in the little village of Barbelroth, as those church records survive back into the 1590s. There is no mention of his family in the time frame in which he was likely born.

MyHeritage has a very interesting record in its collection:

There is a baptism for one Johannes Holtz on 19 March 1669 at Kirche Christi in Heidelberg, Germany.

First, Heidelberg is about 50 miles from Barbelroth, so not an impossible distance to move.

Second, it is a proven fact that another Barbelroth family who married into the Holtz clan, the Estermanns, migrated from the Heidelberg area to Barbelroth, making it possible that they knew each other in their former homes.

Third, Germans often followed a specific naming pattern for their children. The first son was named for the father’s father and the second son for the mother’s father. The first daughter was named for the mother’s mother, the second daughter for the father’s mother.

Johannes Holtz and Anna Christina Schafer have but three known children:

1. Johannes Michael, baptized 30 December 1691
2. Anna Elisabeth, baptized 25 December 1693
3. Susanna, baptized 24 February 1696/7

Notice that there is a gap of four years between the births of Anna Elisabeth and Susanna. They might have lost a child.

However, the MyHeritage baptismal record for Johannes Holtz in Heidelberg notes his parents as Hans Michael and Anna Cathrina. Hans is a nickname for Johannes.

Notice the name of Johannes’ first child – Johannes Michael. Note, too, that Johannes born in Heidelberg would have been 22 years old if he is the same person who married Anna Christina Schafer. That’s very close to the estimated birth year of my Johannes Holtz.

The source of the MyHeritage record is GS Film #1189252. I checked the film number in the Family History Library catalog and it corresponds to church records in the Heidelberg area in the correct time period.

FamilySearch brought up a record for one Anna Catharina Schaffer, baptized on 21 August 1670, in Heidelberg. Parents were Hans Adam and Anna Catherina Schaffer. The record source is the same film number as the record for Johannes Holtz on MyHeritage.

The church is named as Kirche Christi. However, online it appears that church was built in 1904. It is certainly possible that the 1904 building replaced one or more earlier churches of the same name. That will take some digging.

Further digging brought up four children for Hans Adam Schaffer and wife Anna Cathrina (MNU):

  1. Rosina, baptized 23 April 1665
  2. Hans Jacob, baptized 28 August 1667
  3. Anna Catharina, baptized 21 August 1670
  4. Anthony, baptized 26 January 1673

Could Anna Christina Schaffer who married Johannes Holtz been a child of Hans Adam and Anna Cathrina (MNU) Schaffer? Since I have no other information on Hans Adam and Anna Cathrina, but they were having children in the correct time frame, perhaps Anna Christina was their daughter and both families removed to Barbelroth.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find any marriage records for the Schaffer children in Barbelroth. However, I didn’t find any that conclusively fit any one of them anywhere else, either.

I think I may be on to something here! More to come later. 🙂



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