Unusual Names—We’ve Got ‘Em

Johann Pankratius Schinnerer 1829-1857

Look carefully at this tombstone photo. I’m sure you noticed right away that two names are misspelled. Pankratius Schinnerer is such a common name! Who could possibly misspell it?

Yes, some of my ancestors have very unusual names. Most of these uncommon names are in my German lines and are collateral ancestors, not my direct line. My direct ancestors did not seem to venture into the realm of obscure names but instead chose the more common German names, such as Jacob, Louis, and Friedrich for the boys, and Elizabeth, Maria, and Christina for the girls. No, my direct ancestors did not seem to be very adventurous. Or maybe they just knew what they were doing.

For one, if you chose an unusual name for your child you run the risk of having that name misspelled over and over. Johann “Pankratius” Schinnerer was my second great granduncle. Pankratius emigrated from Bavaria in 1852 with his brother Martin and both settled in Van Wert County near their other brother, Friedrich. Friedrich was my second great grandfather. Although the name sounds like a medical term, according to WorldLingo the origin of Pankratius is Greek and it means “all defeating.” Pankratius was a Roman martyr in the early Christian Church, mentioned in 354 AD. The Roman Catholic anniversary of this martyr is May 12th. Regardless of the meaning, nearly everyone seemed to have a difficult time spelling his name correctly. The passenger list of the ship Amelia recorded his name as Pangraz. His probate record spelled his name Bronaratius. His estate papers show him as Bumcratuez and his estate sale notice listed him simply as John B. Schinnerer. Church records were the most consistent at spelling his name correctly. Unfortunately, his name was misspelled on his tombstone, misspelled forever at his final resting place.

My Schinnerer ancestors seemed to enjoy christening their children with unusual names. Also in this line is Kunigunda Margaretha Schinnerer, born in 1756 in Ipsheim, Bavaria. Her name is derived from Kuni (clan) and gund (war).  Yet another Schinnerer was given the name Aegidus, a male name derived from the Greek and Latin word for a young goat or kid. Other names in the Schinnerer clan include Wolfgang, Balthasar, Agneta, Valentinius, and Appollonia. I have a Valentin and Theobald in my Mueller tree, a Sebastian and an Eberhardt among the Breuningers and two Hallot Bryans.  My grandfather’s name was Cornelius. In the Bible, Cornelius was a Roman centurion who was baptized by Peter.

Unusual names are not limited to my family. My husband’s family tree also has some interesting names. Most of his ancestors were in this country long before mine were and he does not have nearly as many German ancestors as I do. Joe’s fourth great grandmother was Silence Platt. What a nice quiet, peaceful name. Silence was married to Samuel Bennett. Their grandson, Joe’s second great grandfather, was named Landon Bennett. Landon named one of his sons Henry Brandenburg Bennett. Henry was probably named after Henry Brandenburg, a storekeeper near Paddy’s Run in Morgan Township, Butler County, Ohio. Before they moved to Mercer County, Landon and his wife Elizabeth also lived near Paddy’s Run and the two families more than likely knew each other. Henry Brandenburg Bennett and his wife Sarah Milligan named their seven children after US states or territories. Their children were named Nevada, Dakota, Minnesota, Goldsby Alaska, Arizona Landon, Delaware, and Vermont. Vermont was Joe’s grandfather.  Henry Brandenburg Bennett must have loved the United States.

Standing: Vermont, Goldsby Alaska, Dakota, Arizona, Delaware; Seated: Nevada, Henry Brandenburg Bennett, Sarah (Milligan) Bennett, Minnesota

A tribute to the subject of the tombstone photo: Johann Pankratius Schinnerer was born 25 March 1829 in Ipsheim, Kingdom of Bavaria, the son of Georg Michael and Anna Barbara (Zeller) Schinnerer. He married Rosina Hoffman 25 November 1853 in Van Wert County, Ohio. He died 8 July 1857 after a 7 week illness of the liver and is buried at Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Ohio. He was only 28 years old. He and Rosina had four children, but only one lived to maturity, Johann Martin Schinnerer. Johann Martin never married.  May you rest in peace, Johann Pankratius Schinnerer.

AKA William Wilbur

William W. Reid, c1898

I have spent a lot of time working with lineage applications. I have successfully completed quite a few for myself and for others. I was chair of the Ohio Genealogical Society’s First Families of Ohio for 5 years and during that time I reviewed nearly 100 applications each year. I am the Registrar for the Lima Chapter NSDAR and have successfully completed DAR applications for a number of their members. I have even given lectures about preparing a lineage application. Yes, I have had a lot of practice in this area of genealogy.

Lineage applications often require a higher standard of proof than the average family research project. For a lineage application you have to show proof of every name, date, and place that you write on the application and you have to prove that each generation is linked to the next. I have always felt that you will quickly discover what areas you still need to research and prove when you prepare a lineage application.

A couple years ago, when I submitted a supplemental application to Settlers and Builders of Ohio, I was a little surprised when the SBO chair asked me for proof of my gr-great-grandfather William Reid’s middle name. The family historians in our family had always referred him as William Wilbur Reid and, without double checking all of my proof documents, that was the name I wrote on the application. I looked through my proof documents again and discovered that I could find no real proof that his middle name was Wilbur. The documents I have only give his name as William Reid. His tombstone is inscribed with William W. Reid, but the W. could stand for any number of names beginning with the letter W. His middle name probably is Wilbur, but without solid proof, I cannot say for certain that it is.

The same holds true with my grandmother Gertrude’s middle name. Family tradition says her middle name was Emma, but I have no documents that actually show the name Emma. She has no known birth record. Her marriage record, her church records, and other records simply have her listed as Gertrude Brewster. Deed records and her obituary give E as her middle initial. There are other middle names in my family tree that are questionable as well: Philip H. Brewster is known for sure, tradition says the H stands for Henry; Pearl Reid is on the documents, tradition says Pearl Salina Reid. Then there are those that never claimed to have a middle name: Daniel Brewster, Jackson Brewster, and others.

I have no problem indentifying the middle names of the German ancestors in my family. For centuries the Germans gave their children at least two names at baptism, sometimes christening them with three or four names. The first name was usually a religious name, often a saint’s name, and all the males in the family would have the same first name. The middle name was their secular name, the name by which people called and knew them, and the name they used on legal documents. Johann was a favorite first, or spiritual, name in my German ancestry. That name was Hans in some of the earliest German church records I have looked at. Most of the males in my German families had the first name of Johann. They were baptized as Johann Jacob, Johann Georg, Johann Ludwig, Johann Friedrich, and so on. But they were known as Jacob, Georg, Ludwig, and Friedrich. This naming pattern was the same for the females in the family.

One of the best sources for middle names is church records. They usually record baptisms and the child’s full name was recorded at that event. Children were often given their secular name in honor of a relative or friend who was the child’s sponsor at baptism. Today the trend of giving children family names continues. Females are sometimes given a family surname for a middle name, often a surname from the maternal side.

I still search for that document that may contain the compete name William Wilbur or Gertrude Emma. If any of my relatives come across such a document, please let me know.

Karen’s 2011 Genealogy Goals

It may seem a little odd to be writing about my 2011 genealogical goals in February, but you have to believe me, I wrote these goals early in January.  You see, at the time I wrote my goals I did not have this blog on which to post them.

Karen’s 2011 Genealogy Goals:

  • Digitize photos
  • Digitize old home movies
  • Digitize documents I now have in binders
  • Create family/genealogy slide shows
  • Keep a genealogy diary
  • Join Sons & Daughters of WWII Veterans
  • Backup data every month
  • Start a web page and blog
  • Review collected information in family binders & write conclusions
  • Go to a national genealogical conference
  • Discover when Isaac Huey died and where he is buried

These are some lofty goals, but one goal is already completed: to start a web page and blog. Thanks to Jeff, this has become a reality—and in less than one week! He works fast.

Most of my goals have to do with digitizing and writing. In other words, I want to get family information and stories written down and put them into a lasting format that will be easy to share. So relatives, keep telling your stories. I love to hear the stories about grandma and grandpa and the good old days when you grew up. And of course I love those old photos, too!

I am doing well with some of my other goals, too. I have joined “52 Weeks of Sharing Memories: A Genealogy Journal”, hosted by one of my Facebook Friends, Lorine Massey. She also writes the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Each week she prompts us by giving us a topic to write about. I can say that I am up-to-date in that writing. As for digitizing photos, I have been busy doing that with my new toy, which I will discuss in another blog. I have also been faithful to back up my computer data with my new external hard drives. Yes, I have two 320GB hard drives plus my old 80GB external drive. I sure don’t want to lose any data or photos! I do my back up the first of every month, as suggested by another blogger Dick Eastman. I plan to go with Miriam to the FGS Conference in Springfield, Illinois, in September. Then there is that new lineage society, the Sons & Daughters of WWII Veterans, that I plan to join this year and become a charter member.

Some of the other goals will be a little more challenging. I have collected a lot of information over the years and much of that information was just placed into binders when I got home from research trips. I need to look at those documents, review them and write summaries and conclusions, much like a research report. Yes! A research report for myself. Who knows what I have buried in all those binders. Perhaps some of that information will reveal what happened to Isaac Huey.

Bluetooth Blues

I really like my Bluetooth, that shiny black thing that I wear in my right ear when I drive. It was a Christmas gift from our son a couple years ago. It helps keep me safe when I drive because I can keep both hands on the steering wheel while I talk on my cell phone. That is pretty important on days like today when the roads are icy. It also keeps my right arm from going numb from holding the phone to my ear during the long conversations with my folks as I drive home from work each day.

My Bluetooth worked perfectly with my old flip phone. It was voice activated and I all I had to do was press it and say “call Joe” or “call Miller” and a nice lady (or at least a nice lady’s voice) would ask “did you say call Joe?” and I would reply “yes” and Joe would answer within a few moments. All I had to do was to say their contact name and Bluetooth would dial their number. I could also reply “no” and the call would be canceled. You would think that as technology improves this Bluetooth calling feature would also improve. Not so!

Last July I got a Droid phone. The helpful Verizon salesperson said that my Bluetooth would work with my Droid but that I would have to dial the number physically. How primitive! I was used to just speaking a contact name and then having my call answered. Joe and I decided that there had to be a way to get the Droid/Bluetooth combination to recognize my voice commands. After much searching we did find a way, but it has never worked as good as the Flip phone/Bluetooth pairing.

The problem is that I when I command Bluetooth to call one of my contacts by name, I never know who will answer. I commanded it to “call Joe” one morning at 7:00 on my way to work. The pleasant lady replied “calling —–“.  I could not understand who she said but I do know that the name was not Joe. I held my breath as the phone rang and I waited to see who would answer.  Luckily it was a co-worker who had already left for work, too. I got to talk to her answering machine that morning. The “call” command has never called the intended person with the Droid/Bluetooth combination. I usually try to disconnect the call, hopefully before it ever rings on their end. There is one of my contacts that Bluetooth likes to route the calls to the most—Janet H. I will say “call Miller” and the lady will reply “calling Janet H.” This has happened numerous times as I tried to call various contacts. I quit trying to use this feature some time ago.

However, I discovered that if I say the command “DIAL 555-555-5555” (say the actual number I want to reach, not really all those 5s…) it will usually dial the number I want. The nice lady’s voice always repeats the number back, even though she does not allow me to respond yes or no. There is no going back with these calls. Occasionally, if I talk too fast, she will say the incorrect number and I try to disconnect the call immediately. It is also very difficult to remember the phone numbers of all my contacts.

But today, on my way home from work, there was yet another development in my Bluetooth calling. I commanded “dial (my parents’ number)” and the lady said “calling Janet H.” I tried to hang up immediately, but I heard her phone ringing!  I’m so sorry Janet!

I apologize in advance to any of my contacts who receive a call from me at an unexpected hour and a big apology to Janet H for all the past calls.

What I’m Reading Now

I am currently reading Black Magic Sanction, book #8 in The Hallows series by Kim Harrison. This is a series of fantasy books about a witch and many other supernatural creatures. The author’s imagination seems to be boundless and I really enjoy this series. I would never have thought that I would enjoy reading fantasy books, but after reading the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris, I am hooked. I am enjoying The Hallows series every bit as much as the Southern Vampire series. Black Magic Sanction was released in 2010 and her next book, Pale Demon, will be released 22 Feb 2011. Yes, I have pre-ordered it and it will arrive on my Kindle with no effort on my part! I will have to find another read to pick up the slack when I finish Pale Demon and hopefully Kim will continue the series.

Books in The Hallows series are:
1.
Dead Witch Walking
2.
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
3.
Every Which Way But Dead
4.
A Fistful of Charms
5.
For a Few Demon More
6.
The Outlaw Demon Wails
7.
White Witch, Black Curse
8.
Black Magic Sanction