Today’s Anniversary ~ Third Great Grandparents Louisa Gerbing and Johann Schuttler ~

1853 Chicago – Source: Wikimedia

On today’s date in 1853, my immigrant third great grandparents Louisa Gerbing and Johann Schuttler married in St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church in Chicago.   They were my first American ancestors.

Marriage record that was saved from the Chicago Fire of 1871 by Reverend Wunder

At the time of their marriage, combined, they had both been in the United States less than 5 years.

Louisa Gerbing was born in 1836 in Vieselbach, Sachsen-Weimar (current-day Thuringia, Germany), and not in 1835 as it says on her marriage record, to Martha Nicolai and Johann Friedrich Gerbing.  Her father was a mason.

According to the other data transcribed on the marriage record, Johann Schuttler was born in 1829 in Wachenheim, Hessen-Darmstadt (current-day Rheinpfalz, Germany.)  Sadly, I do not know the names of  Johann’s parents, for he and his mother-in-law Martha Nicolai are the only immigrant ancestors whose parents I have been unable to locate.  Maybe someday, and hopefully soon, records for Wachenheim, Alzey-Worms, Rheinpfalz will be available online for oversea researchers. 

Johann and Louisa had the following children:

Christine Catharina (Katy) Schuttler (my ancestress), 1854-1915 m. immigrant Frederick “Fritz” Eckebrecht.

Karl Wilhelm (Charles) Schuttler, 1856-1896 m. Delia Bolton

Elisabetha (Louise) Maria Schuttler, 1858-1922 m. Edward Fuller

Loretta Schuttler, 1863-1864

In September 1864, my third great grandmother Louisa passed in the cholera epidemic in Chicago that also took her 1 year old daughter Loretta.

In early 1865, Johann re-married another German immigrant in St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church named Caroline Lehman.  She was already expecting a child who was born in early April 1865, named W. Frank Schuttler.  Johann had another daughter with his second wife.  She was also named Caroline (Lena).The same birthdate and birthplace was transcribed on that marriage record for Johann.

Johann passed away in Chicago as a retired wagon-maker from Peter Schuttler Wagon Company in 1906.  Johann and Louisa are both buried in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago.  Their children have many descendants living world-wide today.


1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900 Federal Censuses

Chicago City Directories (Records of St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church of Chicago)

Schuttler Family File, Graceland Cemetery, Chicago

Chicago Voter Registration records

Uncle John







Today’s Anniversary ~ Third Great Grandparents Massimo Nicola Marcella and Maria Carolina Colangeli ~


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Farindola – On today’s date in 1840, my third great grandparents Massimo Nicola Marcella and Maria Carolina Colangeli were married in San Nicola di Bari, Farindola.  They were the grandparents of my immigrant great grandfather Cesidio Marcella.

Maria Carolina Colangeli was born in Farindola in 1817 to Berardino Colangelo/i and Anna Giuseppa Antonacci.  They were contadini.  During this time period, her surname fluctuated between Colangeli and Colangelo in the Farindola records.  Her mother Anna Giuseppa Antonacci was born in nearby Montebello di Bertona, Pescara in 1791.

The records of Pescara on Antenati suggest that the Colangelis were from nearby Penne, Pescara, although at the time of Maria Carolina’s birth, a branch of them were living in Farindola, for Maria Carolina’s father was born in Farindola, but his midwife mother was born in Penne.  Also, the other Colangelis in my Abruzzese tree in a separate branch were from Penne and owned property there.

Maria Carolina’s tree was heavy with midwives, and though she was listed as a spinner on several civil records on Antenati, I suspect she too was a midwife.  Her aunt, grandmother, great grandmother, and her own daughter Maria Giuseppa were all midwives.   Maria Giuseppa was there for the delivery of Cesidio.

Massimo Nicola Marcella was born in 1814 in Farindola to Giuseppe Antonio Marcella* and Maria Domenica Sciarra. They too were contadini. Maria Domenica’s parents were born in Fara San Martino, Chieti and the occupations of her father and brothers were written as lanari (wool workers/merchants) in the civil records on Antenati.

Massimo Nicola’s paternal ancestors had been living in Farindola at least as far back as a man named Donato Marcella and a lady possibly named Domenica Cervo both alive in the early 1700s in the Farindola area.  This is the farthest back I have been able to trace his surname using church death records in the marriage processetti on Antenati.  Oh to have the church records in the Diocese of Penne available to research! 

My third great grandparents had 10 children, 4 of which were two sets of female twins.  They were:

Twins Maria Domenica and Maria Giustina (twins), born in 1841.  Maria Giustina lived less than a month.  Maria Domenica lived ten years.  They were born 9 months after their parents married.

Maria Giustina, born in 1843 in Contrada da Valloni – died in 1912 in Contrada Casebruciate, married foundling Panfilo Zenone

Filippo, born in 1844 in Contrada Trosciano – died in 1916 at #137 in Contrada Trosciano, married Maria Antonia Lacchetta and Elisabetta Rossi (my ancestress)

Maria Giuseppa (midwife in Contrada Casebruciate), born in 1846 in Contrada Trosciano – died in 1918 in Contrada Casebruciate, married Giovanni Costantini

Antonio, born in Contrada Trosciano in 1847 and died in 1851

Domenico, born in 1849 in Contrada Trosciano – died in 1908 in Casebruciate, married Maria Carmina Basilavecchia

Nicolantonio, born in 1851 in Contrada Casebruciate, married Maria Giuseppa Della Valle.  They had no children.  However, a man with his name appears to have had a child in 1901 to an un-named woman who was not his wife.  The child was named Vittoria Marcella.

Twins Serafina and Maria Domenica born in 1854 in Contrada Trosciano.  Maria Domenica married Vincenzo Di Silvestri.  Serafina married Antonio Di Francesco, who was the son of Anna Emidia Lucerini and Luigi di Francesco.  My third great grandparents on a different line!

Massimo Nicola Marcella died in 1884 in Contrada Casebruciate.  His widow Maria Carolina Colangeli died a few months shy of the birth of her grandson Cesidio in October 1894, at #65 Contrada Casebruciate, Farindola.

*I do not know how or if Giuseppe Antonio was related to the briganti with the same surname that were active in the countryside near Farindola during the Napoleonic occupation of Italy.  One of the main leaders was named Massimo.  He was jailed before the civil records start on Antenati.  (See Storia di Farindola, dalli origini ai giorni nostri by Antonio Procacci via


Antenati San Beniculturali:

(Record #13, 1840)

(Record #13 Processetti, 1840)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Italian Heritage Month: Today’s Anniversary ~ Third Great Grandparents Rosa Antonia Pompili and Costantino Massei ~

On today’s date in 1856, my third great grandparents Rosa Antonia Pompili and Costantino Massei were married in San Nicola di Bari, Farindola.

They were the grandparents of my great grandmother, Maria Luigia Massei.

Rosa Antonia Pompili was born in 1825 in Farindola to Giuseppe Antonio Pompili and Anna Domenica Puccella.  They were both contadini and were related to a local politician.  When Rosa was born in 1825, her father’s uncle recorded her birth.  Notably, he was the Sindaco (mayor) of the Comune di Farindola at the time.

mayor Her 1825 Civil birth record

Or in a close up you can see:


My 5th great grand uncle was the Sindaco.

Rosa’s groom, Costantino Massei, was seven years younger than she was.  He was born in 1832 in Farindola to Sabatino Massei and Francesca Paola Innocenza Carusi.  They were both contadini.  Costantino’s mother was the daughter of a local politician and wealthy landowner, for  Francesca’s father was Nicola Carusi, Cancelliere di Comune di Farindola 1809-1817.*

In 1864, Rosa and Costantino welcomed twin sons into the world.  The second twin son recorded in the civil records was named Antonio and he was my second great grandfather.

Costantino passed away in 1901 in Contrada Macchie, Farindola, where Rosa passed away in 1909.

*I have updated information on this branch of the Carusi family from Farindola.  Feel free to email me (


Antenati San Beniculturali


Italian Heritage Month: My Great Grandparents’ Brothers from Farindola ~ Deported Antonio Merlenghi and Immigrants 44 through 46 (Vincenzo Merlenghi, Paolo Massei, and Zopito Di Francesco)

October is Italian Heritage Month in the United States and I am continuing concentrating on the Italians in my tree.

My great grandparents’ had brothers that came to the United States as farm laborers before the Immigration Quota Law of 1924.   After the Immigration Quota Law of 1924 was passed, which limited immigration from non-northern European nations, a brother went to Canada through Nova Scotia, to Winnipeg, Manitoba, before eventually settling near St. Catharines, Ontario in Lincoln.

Vincenzo Merlenghi

Vincenzo Merlenghi was Serafina Merlenghi’s second oldest brother.  He was born in 1890 at Contrada Macchie in Farindola to Cesidio and Maria Michela Cirone.  According to American censuses the year of his marriage to his wife, Maria Giuseppa Pompili, daughter of Antonio and Maria Vincenza Di Gregorio, was 23.

Vincenzo nati
Vincenzo’s atto di nascita from 1890 via Antenati

In 1914 he came to the United States through Ellis Island as a laborer on the S.S. Taormina.  He was coming to live with his cousin Francesco Baccanale in Mason City, Iowa.  I found him in 1920 on the S.S. Duca D’Aosta passenger list returning to the United States as an Italian military reservist, with an occupation of laborer, and having his passage paid for by the Italian government.  Notes above his name said he was a returning United States resident and had been here previously from 1914-1917.  It also stated he was going to Philadelphia and his closest living relative was his wife Maria (Maria Giuseppa) living in Farindola.

Additional information on this manifest was the information that he was going to stay with his friend Giuseppe Sciarra at 22 Street in Philadelphia.  If he was a Sciarra from Farindola, he possibly is our relation.  This is something to research in the future.

A physical description of Vincenzo gave his height of 5′ 5″, said that he was brown haired, brown eyed, possessed a natural colored complexion (tanned), and also stated he was born in Farindola.  My great grandmother was brown-eyed as well.

The entire ship that day was filled with Italian military reservists, and a handful of their wives, all having their passage paid by the Italian government.

In 1921, Vincenzo sent for his wife, Maria Giuseppa Pompili, to come to the United States. She sailed to the Port of Philadelphia, with their baby daughter, Vincenza Elisabetta.  The manifest reflected that her passage was paid by her husband and that she was going to meet him at 240 W. Green Street, Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania.

On the 1930 Census, Vincenzo was going by James and was naturalized.  He and his wife had four children.  James was working at a steel mill.  On later American records, they used the surname Morengo.  His son Romeo was a navy veteran of World War II.  They both passed in 1968 and Maria Giuseppa Pompili passed in 1974.  This is the link to Find-a-Grave where you can see their headstone.  It is Merlenghi.

Antonio Merlenghi

Antonio Merlenghi was my great grandmother Serafina’s oldest brother and was born in 1887 at Contrada Macchie, Farindola.  In 1910 he married Antonia Lombardi, daughter of Raffaele and Massimina Ferri.  He came to Ellis Island on the S.S. Taormina in 1914 with his brother Vincenzo with the intention of also going to Mason City, Iowa to meet their cousin Giuseppe Cirone.  His nearest living relative was stated as Antonia, his wife, living in Italy.

The ship was half-full of men from Penne, Farindola, and Montebello with familiar surnames of Colantonio, Falconetti, Colangeli, Antonacci, Marcucci, Buccella, and so on…all coming as farm laborers.

For reasons I cannot discover on the passenger manifest, nor in the batch of documents detailing the dispositions of the detained passengers held at Ellis Island that week in 1914, Antonio was deported back to Italy on the ship he arrived on, and also made to pay for the meals he ate while he was detained at Ellis Island.

Antonio Merlenghi became a Corporal in the 281st Reggimento Fanteria and died on October 27, 1918 from the wounds he received in Grave di Papadopoli at the Battle of Vittorio-Veneto in the Great War.

Medaglia dargento.PNG
Image taken from Caduti Grande

He was awarded the Medaglia D’Argento posthumously.  So imagine had Antonio not been deported, what would have happened?  How sad.

I did not include him in my count of immigrants.  Should I?

Paolo Massei

Paolo birth
Paolo’s 1896 birth from Farindola via Antenati

Paolo Massei was born in 1896 to Antonio and Angela Maria Di Massimo at Contrada Macchie in Farindola.  He was my great grandmother Luigia’s second oldest brother.  Paolo came to the United States for the first time in 1920, sailing to Ellis Island from Bordeaux, France on the S.S. Caroline.  His occupation was listed as laborer, said he was able to write, and that he was going to meet family at the home of Domenico Avellos in White Haven, Pennsylvania.  I have never heard of Domenico and his surname is intriguing.  Was Domenico Avellos his family?

According to a later census, Paolo said he married his wife Maria Nicoletta Iezzi, daughter of Domenico Iezzi and Giuseppa Carusi, in 1924.  If my Farindola research is correct, Paolo and Maria were third cousins.  Giuseppa Carusi was a landowner’s daughter.*  In 1927, Maria came to the United States with their 1 year old son Antonio aboard the S.S. Guilio which had sailed from Naples to Ellis Island.  The passenger manifest does not reflect that Antonio is a citizen of the United States, so Paolo had not yet naturalized.  They were going to meet Paolo at 32 Arbury Street in Trenton, New Jersey.

In 1930, Paolo was working at the city sewer works in Trenton.  He and Maria had a daughter already and a 6 month old son named Anthony.  I traced Anthony and all American records point to a birth date in 1929 in New Jersey.  I can find no record of the child named Antonio that sailed to America with Maria in 1927.  Paolo and Maria’s son Paul later founded his own construction company named MGM Construction.  He also was a building inspector and zoning officer in New Jersey.

Paolo passed away in 1909 while Maria passed away in 1984.  Paolo came to the United States when Lady Liberty’s beacon shined brightly.

Zopito Di Francesco

Zopito Di Francesco was born at #84 Contrada Trosciano, Farindola in 1904 to Biagio and Marianna Di Pendima.  He was a younger brother to my great grandfather Paolo.

Zopito Nati.PNG
Zopito’s 1904 birth (part 1) from Farindola via Antenati

Due to the Immigration Quota Act of 1924, in 1927, Zopito sailed from Bourdeaux, France on the ship La Bourdonnais to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He was the only traveler from Farindola on the ship and for all research I am able to present at this moment, he was the first of the Di Francesco surname from Farindola to come to North America.

His intended destination, from what I can make out on the manifest was a place called Perth (sp?) Italy Farmers Colony in Winnipeg, Manitoba to a man with the surname Mangietti.  I learned that there was a Little Italy in Winnipeg at that time.  The manifest stated that his nearest living relative was his mother in Farindola, Marianna Di Pendima.

Eventually, Zopito settled near St. Catharines, Ontario and bought his own farmland.  It is my understanding that some of that land is still in the family today.

*Please see this very old blog post regarding the Carusi of Farindola: Paolo Carusi, Writer and Landowner, Brother to a Conte  Also: Nicola Carusi, Cancelliere di Comune di Farindola 1809-1817.  By the way, both of the above posts are old and I have found new information on these two of my ancestors pre-1810.  Email me…



Family Search

New York Passenger Lists

Canada Passenger Lists

Canada Voting Lists

Caduti Grande

U.S. Obituary Collection

United States City Directories

United States Federal Census

United States Navy Enlistment Records

United States Veterans’ Burial Records









Italian Heritage Month: Immigrant 43 ~ Great Grandmother Serafina Merlenghi (Marcella) ~

My great grandmother Serafina Merlenghi was born in 1896 at Contrada Macchie, Farindola in 1896.  In 1948, she arrived at Ellis Island with her youngest child, Alberino, who was a citizen of the United States.  They were going to meet my great grandfather, Cesidio Marcella in Philadelphia.

Serafina had a daughter named Maria in 1916 with my great grandfather.  In 1919, they married and had two more children:  Zia L. and Biagio Filippo.

In 1930, their son Alberino was born.

After decades of living apart while my great grandfather worked in the United States and sent money home, she came to the United States in 1948 with their 18 year old son Alberino.  Because my great grandfather was a United States citizen when Alberino was born, Alberino was automatically a citizen.  Her daughters Maria (m. Iezzi) and Zia L. (m. Generosi) had families of their own in Italy when she left.

Serafina arrived while Lady Liberty’s beacon still shined brightly.

My great grandmother returned to Italy to visit several times before she returned for good after my great grandfather passed in 1980.  She resided in the village of her birth the rest of her life and is buried there.

I loved her name so much, it was my confirmation name.  A cousin shared a story of her in which she described her as knowledgeable in the ways of medicinal plants.  I thank you for the stories.

For more in honor of Italian Heritage Month, please find more on Serafina, her family, and her ancestry in this 2016 blog post that was written for the anniversary of her birth.



The Unbreakable One: My 10th Great Grandfather Martin Heinzen – Witchcraft Trial Survivor

On today’s date in 1629, the witchcraft trial of my 10th great grandfather Martin Heinzen started at Freigericht Ganter, near Glis, Valais, Switzerland because someone in the local populace had sick livestock and other executed witches had implicated him as their accomplice.  Martin ended up being tortured for nearly a week in hopes of extracting confessions of sorcery.

Mayor Kaspar Stockaler was the man responsible for routing out witches in the local population.  Thirty witnesses had sworn statements against my 10th great grandfather.

Because Ganter didn’t have a torture device, they borrowed one from nearby Brig.

Through his long torture, Martin confessed every sin, and in an article in French on the subject of witchcraft trials in Valais, he confessed every “pecadillo” BUT sorcery.  On the 12th of October 1629, friends and relatives of Martin demanded his release.   So he was released and ordered to pay one third of the costs of his trial!

When I found this sensational fact about my ancestor, I discovered that the witch trial madness had actually started in Valais, Switzerland in 1428 before it spread to the rest of Europe.  You can find headings about this sad phenomena under such headings as “Valais witch trials” and “Swiss werewolf witch trials.”  I am still searching for a book in English on the subject.

I also found this web article simply titled “No One Tortured Witches Like the Swiss.”

Martin went on to marry and have my 9th great grandfather Kaspar Heinzen.  Of note is the fact that Martin’s wife and Kaspar’s mother – Barbara Andamatten, shared a surname with one of Ganter’s witchcraft judges.

Martin Heinzen’s tale appears in “Das Freigerecht Ganter” and “Notes sur les procès d’hérésie et de sorcellerie en Valais” because he was an accused sorcerer that walked away from one of these terrible trials with his life.

I suspect Martin may be my 10th great grandfather two times over.  I need to do some more digging.  Martin is the ancestor of my immigrant second great grandmother Anne Marie Aloisia Heinzen.

Do you have Swiss ancestors accused of sorcery? Have you found European ancestors accused of witchcraft?


Dionys Imesch, “Das Freigericht Ganter”, dans Blätter aus der Walliser Geschichte, Bd 3, 1902-1906, S. 70-100, surtout p. 82-83 (

Kirchegemeinde Glis

“Hexerei im Oberwallis” um 1600 von Hans Steffen

Jules-Bernard Bertrand, “Notes sur les procès d’hérésie et de sorcellerie en Valais”, dans Annales valaisannes, 1921, vol. 3, n° 2-3, p. 151-194, surtout p. 189-191 (en ligne:

Thank you to the great people in Genealogie Familienforschung Ahnenforschung Schweiz and Genealogy Translations…

Anniversary ~ Third Great Grandparents Johann Adam Layes (Leies) and Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeifer ~

On September 8, 1838, my third great grandparents Johann Adam Layes and Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeifer were married in Nuenschweiler, Germany.  They were the parents of my immigrant second great grandfather Johann Leies.

Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeiffer was born in Thaleischweiler in 1816 to Johann Pfeifer and Maria Eva Bauer.  They were farmers and were also born in Thaleischweiler, a little town closer to the French border than Nuenschweiler.  For a time after her mother’s death around 1833, Elisabetha Margaretha and her two young siblings were living with their relative Peter Bauer, in Thaleischweiler, while their father Johann Pfeifer was living in another little nearby hamlet called Reiffenberg.


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Why would Johann leave his children in the care of another and live in Reiffenberg?  That is a great question.

I found out about these living arrangements after using surnames and Thaleischweiler to search on Google Books.  Another relative had brought suit for the property that Peter Bauer and the minor children were living on in 1834.  Also mentioned in the suit was the fact that Elisabeth Margaretha’s mother, Maria Eva Bauer, had been a widow to her first husband, Joseph Matheis, also of Thaleischweiler.

I was able to trace the ancestry of Elisabetha Margaretha’s family to the early 1700s and late 1600s in most of her mother’s lines, and to the middle 1500s in one part of her maternal pedigree to a couple of foresters of the Palatine forest near Contwig.

Of note in her father’s ancestry is a lady born in the late 1600s – a 7th great grandmother named Anna Apollonia Moraux.  Where does Moraux sound like it came from?  France.  Perhaps she is another in the Leies ancestry of French descent.*

Johann Adam Layes was born on a farm called Huber Hof near Nuenschweiler in 1815 to Heinrich Layes and Gertruda Conrad.  Heinrich was deceased and had been a farmer.  Johann Adam was also a farmer.

Johann Adam and Elisabetha Margaretha had at least four children:

Margaretha Leis

Maria Leyes

Joseph Lays

Johann Leies (my ancestor)

They were all born at Huber Hof.

The Layes/Leyies-Trauden ancestry also traces back to Contwig.  More research needs to be performed on Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeifer’s ancestry, which I think may include intermarriage between these two families about 100 years before this 1838 union.

I used numerous spellings for Leies in this post.  I tried to stay true to the spelling of Leies in the church records of this area of the Palatinate when I located the records.  The ancestry of both parents of Johann Leies is peppered with Catholics, Protestants, and ancestors that seemed to decide on both during their lifetimes.

*Don’t forget the French ancestry of Second Great Grandmother Emilia Anna Bold Leies also from Nuenschweiler.


  • Uncle John
  • Nuenschweiler, Germany Catholic Church Records
  • Thaleischweiler, Germany Reformed and Catholic Church Records
  • Massweiler, Germany Reformed Catholic Church Records
  • Martinshohe, Germany Catholic Church Records
  • Contwig, Germany Reformed and Catholic Church Records
  • Amts- und Intelligenzblatt des Königlich Bayerischen Rheinkreises: 1834 via Google Books
  • Chicago, Illinois death records








Immigrants #41 – 42 ~ Martha Nicolai and Johann Friedrich Gerbing, a Mason and descendant of a Prussian Army Soldier ~

On May 1, 1852, my immigrant fourth great grandparents Martha Nicolai and Johann Friedrich Gerbing sailed from Hamburg, Germany for Quebec City, Quebec with their 5 children on a journey that would have taken approximately three months.  Their city of origin was Vieselbach, Germany (outside of Erfurt).  By the early fall of 1853, they were residing in Chicago, Illinois.

Up until a few months ago, my fourth great grandmother Martha Nicolai was just a shadow on my family tree.  I was not even sure her first name was Martha.  But when a small amount of church records from Vieselbach were mixed in with the Erfurt church records and put on, she became nameless no more.  Wonderfully, the baptisms of her children even contained her town of origin.

Dorothea Gerbing’s was the first baptismal record I found.  I knew I had the right person when the birthdate matched the birthdate we had in America for Dorothea Gerbing.


The first column is Dorothea’s birthday.

The second is her baptismal date.

The third is her full baptismal name: Dorothea Elisabetha Mathilde.

The fourth is the father: Johann Friedrich Gorbing.  Did you notice it is Gorbing?  In Vieselbach it fluctuated between Gorbing and Gerbing in the records.

The last column above is the mutter: Martha geb. Nicolai aus Niederzimmern!

My fourth great grandmother Martha Nicolai was from Niederzimmern!  It is about one mile from Vieselbach.  Sadly, I do not know the names of her parents.


Johann Friedrich Gerbing was born in 1807, according to the Graceland Cemetery record of his burial.  There is a possibility he was born in Vieselbach.  But, Peter Heckert’s website in Germany contains “Zur Chronik der Kirchgemeinde Vieselbach” detailing the church records of Vieselbach.  It specifically contains the surnames listed in the book before 1800.  There are no Gerbings or Gorbings.

On the 1836 baptismal record of my third great grandmother Louisa Gerbing, Friedrich’s occupation was journeyman bricklayer/mason of Vieselbach.  The occupation of bricklayer was also on the Hamburg ship manifest.  See this post: On This Day in 1852…

I suspect Johann Friedrich’s parents were Johann Christoph Gerbing and Anna Martha Engelbrecht.  Johann Christoph was a daylaborer.

According to “Zur Chronik der Kirchgemeinde Vieselbach,” there are many Engelbrecht’s living in Vieselbach before and after 1800.  It also recorded that Anna Martha Engelbrecht left Vieselbach’s Lutheran school in 1796 and received a hymnal.  Engel means angel in German…

A wonderful genealogy angel retrieved Anna Martha’s baptism from the Vieselbach records available at Family Search to members of the LDS.  Her parents were Johann Andreas Engelbrecht and her mother was from Obernissa and named Barbara Magdalena Korner.

Without the retrieval of that record for me, I’d likely still be stuck at Johann Friedrich and I would not have located an incredibly interesting church record in the Vieselbach records available on  The Lutheran marriage record of Anna Martha’s parents Johann Andreas and Barbara Magdalena from 1780, stated that, Anna Martha’s grandfather Heinrich Wilhelm Korner (my 7th great grandfather), was a Corporal in the Prussian Army, in the service of the Prince-Electorate of Mainz.  This meant he served in the powerful army of King Frederick the Great of PrussiaPlease note the surname Korner contains an umlaut over the o.  The Prince-Electorate of Mainz was a Catholic Bishop and in 1780 was Friedrich Karl Joseph von Erthal.  Anna Martha’s parents were marrying in the Lutheran Church.



Friedrich and Martha in the United States

Little is known of Friedrich once he was in the United States.  The spouse of a descendant of Martha and Friedrich’s son Christian Gerbing shared the Family Burial Card from a Graceland Cemetery file on  It shows that Fred Gerbing (Friederich) was deceased on March 11, 1858 and was buried in Christian’s plot on July 20, 1865.  Thank you KStockmar46!  

Why the delay in years of placing Friedrich in the plot?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Apparently though, Friedrich was moved into the plot the same day as an infant child named Christian Gerbing, deceased in 1857, and an infant child named George Joseph? Lincoln Gerbing.  Immigrants Christian Gerbing and wife Anna Bauer, named their infant after the assassinated President of the United States, who was shot and killed in April of that year.  Perhaps Patriotism was also on their minds when they also named him George.

Sadly, nothing else is known about my immigrant 4th great grandfather Friedrich Gerbing in America right now!  

Likewise, little is known about Martha in the United States beyond the fact that she was widowed and living with her youngest daughter Maria (Mary) in 1860.  The census taker wrote their surname down as “Garvin.” Wow that’s a new one.  The records of Graceland cemetery (where the Schuttlers of my family are also buried) list that she was deceased on August 2, 1869.  That makes two records in America that mention my immigrant fourth great grandmother Martha Nicolai.

The following children of Martha and Friedrich came with them to the United States (with their full baptismal names):

Franz Heironimus Emil, emigrated at age 20 (Frank) m. Elizabeth Schuettler

Christian Georg Istoph Edward, emigrated at age 18 (Christian) m. Anna Bauer

Louisa Anna Elisabetha, emigrated at age 15 (Louisa) m. Johann Schuttler – my ancestors

Dorothea Elisabetha Mathilde, emigrated at age 13 (Dorothea) m. John Schieferstein

Maria Ernestina, emigrated at age 6 (Maria) m. Louis Weick

Martha and Friedrich had a son in 1843 named Karl Wilhelm.  He only lived 7 days and was buried in Vieselbach.

I have been slowly tracing the lives of their children and trying to place the numerous descendants of all of Friedrich’s and Martha’s children so the siblings of my ancestress Louisa Gerbing can be memorialized here in the future.  I think Franz is my favorite so far.  There is no other person in my family tree mentioned in that many newspaper articles in Chicago.  He was a police sergeant and his grandson sat on the Colorado Supreme Court.  


Hamburg Passenger Lists

Vieselbach, Erfurt, Thuringia Lutheran Church Records at

“Zur Chronik der Kirchgemeinde Vieselbach” via Peter Heckert


1860 United States Federal Census

Records of St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church from Chicago via Newberry Public Library and Family Search

Johann Schuttler’s Graceland Cemetery File

KStockmar46 at (Christian Gerbing’s Graceland Cemetery File)

A Ravelry Knitting Genealogist (the genealogy angel)








Today’s Anniversary ~ 3rd Great Grandparents Nicola Antonia Giansante and Carlo Di Pentima ~

Penne – July 19, 1862 – On today’s date in 1862, my third great grandparents Nicola Antonia Giansante and Carlo Di Pentima were married in Penne, Italy.


Nicola Antonia Giansante was born in 1828 in Rione San Giovanni in Penne, Pescara to Giosaffatte Giansante and Maria Trignani.

Carlo Di Pentima was born in 1814 at Via Piana, Pianella, Pescara to Felice Di Pentima and Palma D’Agostino.

Nicola Antonia and Carlo were both widowed.  My third great grandmother’s first husband was Nicola Delle Monache.  He died in 1855.  They had one child.  Stefano.

My third great grandfather’s first wife was Anna Rosaria Marcella.  They lived at contrada Cupoli, Farindola.  She passed away on May 12, 1862.  She was the daughter of Nicolangelo Marcella and Anna Di Luca.*  They had four children.  Vincenzo, Filomena, Serafina, and Anna.  Only Filomena survived until adulthood.

Giansante – Di Pentima marriage documents via Antenati

A little more than two months after the death of Anna Rosaria, Carlo married my third great grandmother.  They had at least three children:  Anna, Vincenzo, and Marianna (m. Biagio Di Francesco.)  At least two of their grandchildren perished in World War II:  Giovanni Di Pendima died at Monte Santo at the 11th battle of the Isonzo in 1917, and Alfonso Di Francesco died in 1915 at Monte Cappuccio at the 2nd Battle of the Isonzo.  The surname was spelled Di Pendima in Farindola.

I have previously explained some of Carlo’s Pianella and Nicola Antonia’s Penne and Carpineto ancestry in this previous post: Today’s Wedding Anniversary: Biagio Di Francesco and Marianna Di Pendima

*I cannot connect Nicolangelo to the other Marcella ancestors at this time.

Sources: Antenati, Caduti nella Grande Guerra, Wikipedia (for information on WWI battles)






Immigrant Heritage Month and the ABCs of My Genealogy


Is it possible to believe this is Immigrant Heritage Month?

In 2014, the first Immigrant Heritage Month was celebrated in the United States.  In 2016 President Obama officially declared June as Immigrant Heritage Month citing that “one of the remarkable things about America is that nearly all of our families originally came from someplace else…It’s a source of our strength and something we all can take pride in. And this month – Immigrant Heritage Month – is a chance to share our American stories.”

Italian American and German American Heritage Months overlap.  I have not found the official month for Swiss Heritage month but it appears that some communities in America celebrate it in May.

There are many other heritage months that relate to our origins and every month is Immigrant Heritage Month on this blog.

Today, not everyone wants to remember that a lot of us are here because of immigrants.

In March, for Women’s History Month, I made an alphabetical list of female ancestors in my tree.  It was especially important to make a list for Immigrant Heritage Month while the world watches the unimaginable humanitarian crisis that is being allowed to continue at our southern border.

It is not the first time the United State Government separated families.

I don’t live far from a cemetery for Native American children that died at an industrial school for Indian children.  The United States Government wanted to “kill the Indian and save the child” out of those children.  A couple of years ago, the United States Army finally agreed to disinter the remains back to their tribes and is trying to identify the remains in 4 graves just this week with data and records being preserved by Dickinson College.

Did you know some of the graves were moved twice?   Once because they weren’t allowed to be buried in the town’s “white cemetery.”  Twice because it was in the way of a road they were expanding.  Now graves are marked by the wrong headstone or contain more than one child.

You can read about the first unsuccessful disinternment here.

Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center

What about the remains of this child?

You can Google more about the plans to disinter the remains in the cemetery and be horrified about United States Industrial School history and I hope you are.

Check out Carlisle Indian School Cemetery Find a Grave to see images of the headstones  tribe of each Native American buried there.

Some of the Native American children died a few months after coming to live at the school, not having the same immunities.  Some children had the “Indian” beaten out of them.  There are stories of the Native American children who stayed in the area after their stay ended at the school.  One young man took his life on the local street corner.  But it was all okay because some were great athletes and made the town look good.

There are stories of the ghosts of sexually abused Native American girls haunting the old dorm building now on the Army Barracks.

The local schools stopped using the “Indians” name for their sports teams in the early 1990s.

But I am not Native American.  This is not the point.  This is what happened the last time children were separated from their families by the United States Government.

I can’t imagine the refugee and immigrant children in my tree, as they came here to a country that doesn’t speak their language, being separated from their families like this.  And in 100 years there will be digital resource center like the above link from Dickinson College used for the nearly 2,400+ displaced children at the Southern border.  The people accessing the records will wonder how this was possible.   

Maybe by the time you are reading this the number of displaced children will be 10,000+

Does Immigrant Heritage Month exist in this country right now?!  

The following list is the ABCs of some of the immigrants and their origins in my family tree:

A – Angelo Ferraro, my great great grandfather, Kingdom of Italy to Brooklyn

B – Emilia Bold, my great great grandmother, Prussia to Ohio

C – Cesidio Marcella, my great grandfather, Kingdom of Italy to Philadelphia

D – Dorothea Elisabetha Mathilde Gerbing, my 3rd great grandmother’s younger sister, Prussia to Chicago

E – Elisabetha Scheid Bold, my 3rd great grandmother, Prussia to Brooklyn

F – Filomena Napolitano, my great great grandmother, Kingdom of Italy to Brooklyn

G – Johann Friedrich Gerbing, my 4th great grandfather, Prussia to Chicago

H – Anne Marie Aloisia (Anna) Heinzen Kirsch, my great great grandmother, Switzerland to Chicago

I – Italy, the birthplace of my immigrant parent

J – Johann Leies, my great great grandfather, Prussia to Wooster, Ohio

K – Ludwig Fritz (Louis) Kirsch, my great great grandfather, Prussia to United States to Switzerland to Chicago

L – Louisa Anna Elisabetha Gerbing, my 3rd great grandmother, Prussia to Chicago

M – Marie Louise Koppel, my 3rd great grandmother, Prussia to Chicago

N – Nuenschweiler, the birthplace of my immigrant second great grandparents Emilia Bold and Johann Leies

O – Ocean, every immigrant in my tree had to cross an ocean

P – Paolo Massei, my great grandmother’s brother, Kingdom of Italy to Mercer, New Jersey

Q – Quirinus Eckebrecht, my 3rd great grandfather, Prussia to Chicago

R – Rodalben, Germany, the birthplace of my immigrant 3rd great grandmother Elisabetha Scheid Bold

S – Serafina Merlenghi, my great grandmother, Italy to Philadelphia

T – Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled massed yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.*

U – Unthinkable in 2018.  It is unthinkable in 2018 that those defending the separation of immigrant children from their parents sound like the slaveholders of the 1840s and 1850s.

V – Vincenzo Merlenghi, brother of my great grandmother, Kingdom of Italy to Philadelphia

W – Wachenheim, Hesse-Darmstadt, birthplace of my immigrant 3rd great grandfather Johann Schuttler

X – July IV MDCCLXXVI, etched on the tablet that Lady Liberty is holding

Y – New York Harbor, 80% of the immigrants in my tree arrived at New York Harbor


Z – Zopito Di Francesco, brother of my great grandfather who went to Canada because of the United States Immigration Quota Laws.  He came from the Kingdom of Italy and landed in Nova Scotia.

I cringed using Lady Liberty in a blog post this month.  My ancestors that cheered when they approached her symbolic refuge would be turned away because of their origins and I would not be American.  *Lady Liberty’s beacon has been turned off.