I broke through a brick wall this past week and did the Genealogy Happy Dance. I haven’t done that dance for some time and it was pretty exciting.
All this, thanks to Cousin Ken, my 4th cousin on the Schumm branch of my family. Ken contacted me recently and told me that he was looking through images of the church records from Ruppertshofen, where the Schumms attended church before immigrating in 1833. These records are available with Ancestry.com’s World Explorer Membership. I only had their U.S. Discovery Membership.
It didn’t take me long to decide to upgrade my Ancestry.com subscription so I could see these records for myself. I soon noticed that there are other German church records there as well. Churches that other branches of my family attended. The search was on…
I know very little German, just enough to read names and what the minister was recording, be it baptisms, marriages, deaths, or family registers. These old records are written in the old German Gothic script. I haven’t looked at anything written in Gothic script for some time and I am pretty rusty at translating these records. But, I got out some German reference books and, rusty or not, I was able to find some new information, not only about the Schumms, but about the Seckels and the Ruecks.
Today I am writing about my big Seckel Find. I’ll write about the Schumms and the Ruecks another time.
Maria Anna Seckel (1827-1910) was my great-great-grandmother. She married Louis Breuninger (1819-1890) in Wisconsin in 1851.
Maria Seckel was one of my brick walls because I did not know the names of her parents. I knew only that she was born in Germany in 1827 and that she had a brother Jacob Seckel, born in Germany in 1828, who died in Wisconsin in 1911. I have been looking for the names of their parents for some time.
Maria (Seckel) and Louis Breuninger lived in Green Bay for about 20 years before moving to the Schumm area. I always wondered why they moved here of all places. People usually moved and settled near where they had relatives and/or friend. Where they knew someone.
Plus, Maria’s Seckel surname was a major red flag for me. I have ancestors from the Schumm area with a Seckel connection. Was there a Seckel connection to Maria in Schumm?
I suspected, but could never prove, that Maria had relatives living near Schumm. Pflueger relatives. Let me explain.
Christian Pflueger (1781-1877) married Anna Barbara Seckel (1791-1846) in Germany in 1814 and they immigrated in 1832 with their six children. The Pfluegers lived in Holmes County, Ohio, the same time as immigrant John Georg Schumm and his five children. The Schumms and Pfluegers definitely knew each other. In fact, two of the Pflueger daughters married two Schumm brothers. Maria Pflueger married George Martin Schumm and Barbara Pflueger married Louis Schumm. Louis and Barbara (Pflueger) Schumm were my great-great-grandparents.
Those Pflueger children had Seckel maternal grandparents.
But why did Maria and Louis Breuninger move to Schumm? Was it just a coincidence that there was a Schumm-Pflueger-Seckel connection in Schumm when they moved?
It was not just a coincidence. My theory was correct and proved when I found the image of Maria Seckel’s baptism, recorded in the church records from an Der Heide u. Michelbach, now on Ancestry.com. I also found the baptism record of Maria’s six siblings, including her brother Jacob Seckel.
The Michelbach an Der Heide church records indicate that Maria’s parents were George Andreas Seckel and Anna Maria (Ruf) Seckel. What a find!
George Andreas Seckel (1798-1830) was already in my database. I knew who his parents were but I did not have any children for him. George Andreas Seckel was the son of Johann Michael Seckel (1752-1825) and his wife Elisabetha Maria Friederika (Hilpert) (1764-1814). Johann Michael Seckel and wife had at least four other children in addition to George Andreas. And guess who was one of their other children?
Anna Barbara Seckel (1791-1846) was their daughter and was George’s older sister. Anna Barbara (Seckel) married Christian Pflueger and their two daughters married the Schumm brothers in Holmes County.
Georg Andreas Seckel and Anna Barbara Seckel were siblings. Anna Barbara (Seckel) Pflueger was Maria (Seckel) Breuninger’s aunt. The Pflueger children were Maria (Seckel) Breuningers first cousins. Maria (Pflueger) Schumm and Barbara (Pflueger) Schumm were Maria (Seckel) Breuninger’s first cousins. That was the connection I was looking for.
For some reason Louis and Maria (Seckel) Breuninger left Green Bay, Wisconsin, in the late 1860s and moved to Schumm, where Maria had family. Her aunt Anna Barbara (Seckel) Pflueger had passed away by that time but some of Maria’s first cousins were still living: Maria and Barbara Schumm, George Michael Pflueger (1824-1903), Margaret (Pflueger) Reidenbach (1828-1901), and Elizabeth (Pflueger) Bienz (1835-1913).
Discovering the names of Maria’s parents was a big break-through and gave me an answer to my question about the Breuninger’s move to Schumm.
However, this information does show pedigree collapse (again), since Louis Schumm (1851-1938) and Sarah Breuninger (1861-1921) were second cousins. Interesting…
Stay tuned to see what else I learn from these old German church records.