Category Archives: Germany

Johannes Holtz & Anna Christina Schafer, Barbelroth, Germany 1600s

Johannes Holtz and Anna Christina Schaffer were the grandparents of at least three immigrants to Frederick County, Maryland c1755. Johannes and Anna Christina are two of my husband’s 8X great grandparents.

Although there are a number of Holtz family members who died in Barbelroth in the early 1700s who were in their 60s and 70s, I have not found Holtz baptismal records there dating before the 1670s. This is in spite of the fact that the Barbelroth records extend back into the 1500s. The family may have come from a neighboring town and settled in Barbelroth.

Johannes Holtz was born c1665, likely in today’s Germany, but apparently not in Barbelroth. He married Anna Christina Schafer on 25 July 1691 in Barbelroth. Anna Christina was born c1670, assuming she was about 21 when she married.

Johannes died on 19 August 1738 in Barbelroth. It isn’t known when Anna Christina died.

Johannes and Anna Christina (Schafer) Holtz were the parents of only two known children:

  1. Johannes Michael, baptized 30 December 1691; died 19 April 1754; married Anna Elisabeth Scheer, 31 December 1715, all in Barbelroth.
  2. Susanna, baptized 24 February 1697; no further record.

Johannes Michael and Anna Elisabeth (Scheer) Holtz were the parents of five known children:

  1. Maria Elisabetha, baptized 7 October 1716, Barbelroth, Germany; died June 1794, Frederick County, Maryland; married Johannes Wittmer (later Whitmer), 2 February 1740, Barbelroth, Germany. Johannes was baptized on 28 December  1710 in  Barbelroth and died after 22 May 1764, Frederick County, Maryland. Johannes and Maria Elisabetha have thousands of descendants today through their son, Johannes (John), born in 1755, about the time they left Germany forever.
  2. Juliana Margaretha, baptized 20 November 1718, Barbelroth, Germany; married Johannes Englehard Nuss, 19 January 1740, Barbelroth, Germany; no further record.
  3. Johannes, baptized 20 July 1721, Barbelroth, Germany; married Anna Maria Wittmer, 12 April 1746, Barbelroth, Germany. This family remained in Barbelroth as their friends and family emigrated to Maryland.
  4. Johan Jacob, baptized 25 August 1723, Barbelroth, Germany; died 16 December 1803, Frederick County, Maryland; married Catherine Ledermann, 2 June 1750, Barbelroth, Germany. Johan Jacob served on a Committee of Observation during the American Revolution and his son served as a soldier.
  5. Anna Catharina, baptized 20 July 1730, Barbelroth, Germany; married Conrad Dick, possibly in Frederick County, Maryland. Conrad Dick was born c1725 and in Frederick County by 15 August 1755 when he had 100 acres of land entered there. Although no marriage record has been found for this couple, Johannes Whitmer and Maria Elisabetha Holtz were sponsors at the baptism of Maria Catharina, daughter of Conrad and Anna Catharina Dick on 28 March 1758 in Frederick County, Maryland. It is assumed that this is Maria Elisabeth Holtz Whitmer’s sister, as almost every record created by events in the Whitmers’ lives involved close relatives. Conrad Dick reportedly died in North Carolina, but dates range from 1774-1795. There is no Conrad Dick found in any 1790 census, so he may have died before then.

The next generations:

Maria Elisabeth Holtz who married Johannes Wittmer migrated with their only surviving child, Johannes, to Maryland sometime between Johannes’s baptism on 24 June 1751 in Barbelroth and the baptism of their son Elias on 20 February 1757 in Frederick County, Maryland. As I mentioned this couple has thousands of descendants today.

Johannes Holtz who married Anna Maria Wittmer remained in Barbelroth, where the baptisms of their five children were recorded: Johannes, 30 October 1750, Juliana, 15 November 1754, Rosina, 4 December 1756, Johannes again, 23 March 1761 and Maria Barbara, 29 December 1765.

Johann Jacob Holtz who married Catherine Ledermann also left Germany for Maryland. They were the parents of at least three children: Johan Jacob, baptized 30 November 1753, Eleanora, baptized 7 November 1756 and Johan Nicholas, baptized 1 August 1762, all in Frederick County, Maryland. Both Johan Jacob Sr. and Jr. are recognized by Daughters of the American Revolution as a patriot and soldier, respectively.


German Ancestry? Using Meyers Gazetteer

Meyers Gazetteer

About 50 million Americans have German ancestral lines, including my husband. I’ve struggled through the years trying to find small European villages that have been renamed two, three and even four times. Those villages weren’t in Germany! If they had been, I would have been right here using Meyers Gazetteer, a free online tool to located towns that were once part of the German Empire.

The instructions are easy to follow – they are in English and explain how to enter a search for non-English letters and symbols.

If you click on the blue link at the bottom right, a new screen with more detailed information appears:

Introduction to the Help Guide

Here is how it works. I entered Langenlonsheim, home of the Stoppelbeins before they left for America in 1740.

Clicking on the town link opened this page:

All About Langenlonsheim, Germany

The text (very top left) in German Gothic script gives the historical information about the village of Langenlonsheim.

If I click on the map at the top left, it enlarges to show a historical map.

I can even zoom in further to see streets:

The detail list explains all the abbreviations found next to the map. Langenlonsheim is a village with its larger governmental bodies, such as the kingdom or state, province, etc.

If I were looking for church records, but was unsure whether the family was Protestant or Catholic, I’d have to search both sets of records as there is one Protestant and one Catholic parish, in addition to having one Jewish synagogue.

The Civil Registration Office for this village is located right in Langenlonsheim.

Meyers Gazetteer couldn’t be any easier to use. If you know the name of a German town where your family lived, This is a website you’ll want to bookmark.




German Genealogy Research Online

With the exception of a few Ancestry records and those found in FamilySearch, there haven’t been many online resources for those researching family in Germany.

There are two up-and-coming, growing websites of which you should be aware if you have German ancestors.

The first is Genealogynet wiki, which describes itself as the German genealogy internet portal:

Choose: German or English Language Text

Notice first that there is an option at the top of the home page to view in English or German, so reading won’t be an issue if you don’t speak German.

Clicking on the link to the home page brings you to the GenWiki:


As you can see, there are a variety of options, including a place to log-in.

Website Options

A log-in account is free, but is only needed if you want to add your own genealogical information in their database.

I’m always drawn to the databases to see why type of information can be found:

Portal Databases

The first choice is Ancestors Database. The second choice is Metasearch, which I decided to try first.

Metasearch Page

The database names are all in German, but there is a spot at the top to enter both a surname and a place name. I entered “Stoppelbein,” which is know is the original version of “Stufflebean” and it is an uncommon surname even today in Germany.

A good sized list appeared:


There are plenty of Stoppelbeins for me to look into.

One downside to this website is that it appears not all of its pages have a translate button. I tried Regional Research, but text only appeared in German. Google Translate should help get around this issue. Be sure to take some time to delve more deeply into the resources on this website.

GenealogyNet wiki looks like a great resource for anyone with German roots.

The second website is Archion, a subscription site based in Germany:

Archion Prices by Month or Longer

I’m not quite sure what “natural persons” means in terms of subscribing, but there is a separate pricing schedule for professional researchers. I guess a natural person would be someone researching their own family lines.

Like Genealogy dot net, there is a tab to switch from German to English. It’s located in the top right corner of the home screen and says DE, (Deutsch, or German). Clicking gives the option to switch to English.

Archion is a collaborative effort among Protestant churches (only Protestant) to digitize their church books. It is an on-going project and NOT ALL TOWNS have records online yet.

Archion Collection

I have one straggling collateral ancestor who lived in Dusseldorf, but I don’t see the city listed in any of the collections. I don’t have a subscription, so haven’t been able to check for indexed records. I assume they are similar to Swedish records – page images available, but not yet indexed.

Check BROWSE to see if your town of interest is included:

Check for your towns before subscribing!

German genealogical records are finally entering the digital world! I think I might be able to make some headway on a few of my husband’s German lines that have had me stymied for a while!