Using Moravian Church Records to Create a Timeline of the Krieger Brothers’ Lives

Let’s face it. Not all church records are created equal, neither in terms of completeness nor accessibility.

However, there are two religious bodies known for their excellent record keeping – the Quakers and the Moravians. My husband has a few ancestors who belonged to these churches and some of the bits of information I’ve found have been true treasures.

Today, I’d like to share a timeline of the lives of the children of Nicholas Krieger and Catharina Maria (Borger), who settled in Rowan County, North Carolina by 1768, based on entries found in the Bethania Diary of the Records of the Moravians in North Carolina series, which has been digitized into about a dozen volumes (each with an index) and available to be searched on Internet Archive.

The area in which they lived first became Surry County, then Stokes County and, finally, Forsyth County.

While Nicholas and Catharina Krieger were Lutherans, four of their children opted to join the Moravian Church. Their daughter Rosina, only appears once, when her 1831 death is noted. However, the three sons – Henry, Jacob and George – appear in several volumes of the church records, which give life details that can’t be found elsewhere.

A second custom of the Moravians – to mark the grave of a deceased member with a flat stone noting name and dates of birth/death – add to the ability to form a picture of an ancestor’s life.

The remainder of this post will be in timeline format, given the number of entries found about this family.

1775 to 1783 – Residents in Wachovia: Heinrich Krieger (Kruger) born 1753 & Jacob Krieger (Kruger) born 1755

1778, August 17Henry Krieger enters 300 acres of land in Surry county, sides of Ruff Fork, joining Philip Shouse

1778, October 24 – Our two neighbors, Philipp Schaus and [Nicholas] Criiger came with a request that I publish the Banns for Jacob Cruger and Susanna Schaus. I raised some objections because they do not belong to our parish, but when they insisted, I promised to do it.

1781, April 14[Henry] Kruger brought deer skins which he had gotten from the tanner Doub

1782, March 19 – Received into the congregation the married Heinrich Krieger by Br. Graff

1783, May 18 – Krieger Sr. asks marriage banns be posted for son Johan George & Catharina Ludwig, daughter of Philip

1787, October 13 – We reached George Krieger’s, finding only the wife and her sister. They were unusually glad to see us and after we talked with them a while, she took her baby on her arm and went with us to Friedrich Schaus; they had recently come here to Heinrich Krieger‘s old place for a few days. After staying there a short time, Mrs. Krieger went with us to the point where the path turns to Hannah Hauser’s. . .she told my wife that she never missed coming to preaching when she could help it, that the services were a blessing to her and that she was grateful to the Brethren for baptizing her children.

1787, October 23 – Then we went to Heinrich Krieger’s, which we also enjoyed; they are industrious people, well fixed and their house looked clean and in good order. She accompanied us to Hilsebeck’s where we were welcome with love and heartiness, but Nielson was there tailoring so it was not exactly pleasant to stay long. Hilsebeck and Krieger went with us to Shaus’s, where we stayed more than three hours and talked of many things. On the way back, we stopped at Jacob Krieger‘s, and reached home at twilight.

1788, May 15 – Heinrich Krieger came to take me to the home of Philip Schaus, to hold the funeral of his son whose body was found in the Yadkin yesterday.

1788, June 6 – A locksmith working at the house of Friedrich Schaus was given ten lashes. . . recently, he returned, went to the house of Jacob Krieger, and as Krieger was in the woods he annoyed the women until some of the neighbors came. . .

1788, October 29 – We visited the Jacob Kriegers, Hilsebecks, and the elder Schauses. On our return we meant to call on Heinrich Krieger and Benjamin Leinbach, but accidentally turned into the Richmond road. . .

1792, November 9Br. and Sr. Jacob Krieger had cause to thank God for the escape of their youngest child, Susanna, who fell into the creek near their house and nearly drowned.

1795 – Our Br. Jacob Krieger . . nearly lost this life in taking down an old shed but escaped with an injury to his head.

1797, about September 21 – During this month our Br[other] Heinrich Krieger fell from a mulberry tree and badly injured one leg.

1804, August 26 – Br. Pfohl and his wife went to the home of our widowed Br. Heinrich Kreiger, and there performed the marriage ceremony for Br. Kreiger and the widowed Society Sr. Regina Elisabeth Miller.

1810, October 23 – Our Brn. . . . Joh. Heinrich, Joh. George and Johannes Krieger left together with their teams for Cross Creek.

1810, November 3 – The Brethren returned late at night from Cross Creek.

1813, September 26 – Br. J.H. took his single daughter M.E.H. to Br. and Sr. Johann Heinrich Krieger, who out of pity had agreed to receive her. Her gross sin made it necessary for her to leave the village.

1813, December 26 – On the farm of our Br. Johann Heinrich Krieger, Br. Pfohl baptized the infant son of the single M.E.H.

1814, July 17Johann George Krieger, son of Johann George married on the 14th to a woman “who does not belong to us.”

1822, January 12 – For the members living out of town. . . Suitable places for such meetings would be in the house of Br. Peter Pfaff, in Pfafftown, and in the house of Br. Jacob Krieger.

1822, January 26 – Br. Wolle went to the home of Br. Jacob Krieger, and held the first service there; it will be repeated every four weeks.

1823, February 1822 – Br. Wolle held the four-weekly meeting at the home of Br. and Sr. Johann Jacob Krieger.

1824, March 13 – We drove to J.J. Kriegers, where I preached and then baptized a son of Jacob Schuass with the name John Tryphonius. When Jacob Schauss was a year and a half old his mother died, and he was brought up by Jacob Krieger. His father married again, and lives in the western country. After dinner we visited Henry Krieger.

1824, May 8 – I preached at J.J. Krieger‘s and baptized the third child of Jacob Hilsebeck, who received the name Susanna Rebecca.

1824, August 17 – I rode. . .and on the way back stopped to see the widow Mary Krieger . . .

1824, August 27 – I rode to Jacob Krieger’s. . .

1824, September 7 – Br. V. V. rode to the home of Henry Krieger and John Miller (the latter has fever). both families live in the same house. Then he went to Jacob Schor, and from there to the widowed Mary Krieger (six miles from Bethania) and to John Hilsebeck.

1824, September 30 – The same evening I heard that the family of Johann Jacob Krieger wanted me to come next morning as he was critically ill. On the way thither on Oct. 1, I heard that he had passed away at half past seven on the preceding evening. But I rode on, visited the families in Stauber Town, and Jacob Krieger’s sorrowing widow and household.

1824, October 2 – At the funeral of our departed Br. J. J. Krieger, the sermon text was: Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.

1827, August 7 – I rode with Dr. Kuhln to Henry Krieger‘s house. He is better.

1828, June 4 – In the afternoon there was the funeral of the departed Br. Johann Henry Krieger. Br. Pfohl held the service in German. The congregation was very large; the day oppressively hot.

c1940 – Moravian Church Archivist wrote a two-page letter providing information about the family of Johan George Krieger Sr.

Not only did I learn about daily events in the Kriegers’ lives, but this is the only resource for particular details, such as Wachovia residents at the start of the American Revolution, some marriage information and death dates.

When all this data is added to wills and probate file, North Carolina marriage records and church cemetery stones, there is a long list of factual details about the Kriegers’ lives.

If your ancestors lived in or near Bethania, North Carolina, take a look at the Moravian Church records. Although most of the diaries  discuss Brethren, as you can see, there are some notations of non-church members.

These volumes truly are gold for genealogists!

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