You have no idea how much it pains me to write a – dare I say the ugly word – retraction. Ugh☹
However, when I’ve reached an incorrect conclusion, no matter what the reason, I feel morally obligated to set the record straight. In addition to this article, I’m also posting links to this article in the previous Irene Charitas articles, along with the articles about Conrad Schlosser and his wife, Anna Ursula. Those articles can be found here, here, here and here.
Why am I doing that instead of removing the articles? Simple enough. That erroneous information about Schlosser existed “in the wild” before I came along. My articles haven’t been out long, but they made that situation at least somewhat worse, AND, if I don’t leave the original articles, when new researchers come across the same information themselves, they’ll fall into the very same tar pits that I fell into.
So, I guess you could say I’m leaving them in place as a skull and crossbones warning, or more charitably (to me), to use as a learning experience. Yes, I’m really irritated with myself.
Remember what your Mom used to say: “Well, at least “they” can serve as a bad example!”
Well, this time, “they” is me.
You know, if you can’t laugh at yourself, after you get done crying over the spilt milk, then you’ve missed a great deal of life’s available humor!
And so it goes…
The Bad Example
In a nutshell, here’s what happened:
Tom and I determined months ago that Irene Charitas is a very rare name. Not only is Irene rare individually, but so is Charitas. Combine Irene and Charitas into one name together and its chicken’s teeth rare.
Using the Family Search “Search Records” function from 1550-1800, we find exactly one listed.
There are Anna Charitas, Maria Charitas, Joanna Charitas and plain Charitas, but no other Irene Charitas, at least not that have been indexed to date.
Based on that information, and knowing the Johann Michael Mueller and his wife, Irene Charitas <some surname> began having children in Steinwenden, Germany in 1685, it made sense when we discovered the confirmation records of Conrad Schlosser’s two daughters, Irene Charitas and Anna Ursula in the same small town that we would put 2 and 2 together and come up with 4. We concluded that Irene Charitas Schlosser is the wife of Johann Michael Mueller.
Except we were wrong. And by the way, I’m taking full credit for the wrongness. I would be entirely lost without Tom then and now the dynamic duo of Tom and Chris together.
Three Heads are Better than One or Two
Sometimes two heads are better than one and three are better yet.
Remember my German friend Chris? He is newer to research about this family than either Tom or me who have been working with these records for years.
Chris and Tom make a great pair. Tom has years of experience with German records and script, and Chris is a Native German speaker and sniffs out the most wonderful rabbits in obtuse rabbit holes.
That’s an amazing attribute, because recently Chris e-mailed and asked how we had determined that Irene Charitas was a Schlosser.
I pointed Chris to the article about Irene Charitas wherein I was ecstatic to identify her as the daughter of Conrad Schlosser through a 1689 christening records for Conrad Schlosser’s two daughters, Irene Charitas and Anna Ursula.
Bingo, we had it! We had found Johann Michael Muller’s wife who was named Irene Charitas.
Except we hadn’t.
What Went Wrong?
One thing bugged me, but sometimes old records are “weird” for a variety of reasons.
The thing that bothered me was that Irene Charitas, wife of Johann Michael Muller, was married and having children by 1685. This 1689 Schlosser confirmation record, 4 years later, doesn’t’ say anything about Muller.
In fact, Irene Charitas’ age is the reason we originally thought that Irene was simply standing up with her sister, Anna Ursula Schlosser, not being confirmed herself. An adult confirmation would be highly unusual. However, given that records are often incomplete, and that many of the settlers were Swiss and could have been on the road or otherwise displaced when Irene should have been confirmed – this adult confirmation didn’t seem so unusual after all. We took it at face value.
Given the rarity of the combined names of Irene with Charitas, the chances of finding another Irene Charitas in the same small village was miniscule. I mean, the chances of lightning striking twice or winning the lottery are much better.
I should have bought a lottery ticket!
As it turns out, based on further information from Chris about the typical German confirmation at about age 13 or 14, Irene Charitas Schlosser who actually WAS being confirmed would have been born about 1676, far too young to have been married and having a child by 1685. We now know that Conrad Schlosser was living in close proximity by 1660, so there is no possibility that Irene’s confirmation was delayed because they were in transit at the time. However, we didn’t yet know that at the time.
Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion available with the additional information is that Irene Charitas Schlosser was not married in the 1689 confirmation record and was far too young.
Meaning that the Irene Charitas married to Johann Michael Muller by sometime in 1684 when she conceived a child had to be someone else!
Oh, Come On!!!
I can hear you saying out loud to yourself, “Right, Roberta, you’re going to try to convince me that there were two Irene Charitas’ in a population of 6 households and 25 people?”
No, I’m not actually.
I’m going to tell you that there were 3.
How on earth can that be?
Let me explain.
Enter Samuel Hoffman
A few years earlier, Samuel Hoffman, probably the first minister of the church in Steinwenden, had a wife named Irene Charitas Buether.
According to a Geneanet site by R. K. Morgenthaler, Samuel Hofmann, husband of Irene Charitas born Beuther, was a priest in Weilersbach, close to Steinwenden, from 1657 onwards. We also know that Samuel Hofmann and Irene Charitas Beuther married in 1657 in Weilersbach, since this is stated in the 1684 burial record of Irene Charitas Buether Hofmann.
In addition, we have the 1684 Steinwenden tax list that includes Samuel Hofmann residing in Steinwenden as well. In conclusion, we may assume that Samuel Hofmann was a minister in Steinwenden in at least 1683-1684, and perhaps earlier. He may thus have been the first minister in Steinwenden after the war.
Furthermore, Irene Charitas Beuther was important in her own right.
Irene Charitas Hoffmann born Beuther had a father who was not just anybody. Her father Dr. theol. Michael Philipp Beuther was superintendent of Palatinate-Zweibrücken, that is, he was responsible for the church of the entire district. In this function, he was an important person in the so-called “second Zweibrücken reformation,” which was the change from Lutheran to Calvinist belief.
Irene Charitas Beuther Hoffman died in of July 1684, as recorded in the church book. Given her husband’s position in the church, she probably stood up as a godparent for a lot of babies that were baptized. As it turns out, it appears that at least two of those children were named for her.
Irene Charitas Schlosser and Irene Heitz, also called Irene Charitas in later records were probably both named for Irene Charitas Beuther – making a total of at least 3.
Yea, I know. What are the chances? Now multiple Irene Charitas’ make sense.
The New Record
Chris, through his meticulously detailed research, threw a grenade into my nice neat story.
Chris happened across this Muller-Familien site in German by Dr. Hermann Muller, and followed a reference to the unindexed church records in nearby Miesau which began in 1681, 4 years before the Steinwenden church records began.
This is the website that drew Chris to the Muller-Heitz marriage. A hearty thank you to Dr. Hermann Muller for the records and Chris for finding this important item.
Two things stand out as important about these records.
First, apparently Miesau is the church where people living in Steinwenden before 1684 attended, because that’s where Chris found the records for Bernhardt/Gerhardt Schlosser, believed to be either the father or brother of Conrad Schlosser.
Secondly, the Miseau records are not yet indexed, which is why we don’t find them at Family Search or elsewhere, nor have they been transcribed and translated. You have to read through the book page by page.
I use the term “read” quietly loosely here, because ”reading” German script is much more of a pattern matching exercize than reading in the context that we read today, and exponentially more difficult.
However, Chris found the following record for Johann Michael Mueller of Steinwenden marrying an Irene in 1684.
Michael Muller, widower, son of Heinsmann Muller, resident in “Schwartz Matt in the Bern area” (Switzerland), married 17 April 1684 in Steinwenden to Irene Liesabetha Heitz, daughter of Conrad Heitz.”
This is the record that rocked the Irene Charitas Schlosser boat – badly. You might say that Schlosser boat hit an iceberg, capsized and sunk like the Titanic.
Thrilled or Mortified?
I was utterly shocked, and I didn’t know whether to be thrilled or mortified.
I was in disbelief for a few days, as was Tom, and it took Tom a bit of “proving” to convince himself, and therefore me, that indeed there is enough evidence that Irene Liesabetha Heitz is indeed the same person who married Johann Michael Muller and was later referred to as Irene Charitas.
Was it possible that there were two Johann Michael Mullers in the small village?
Ok, two different Irenes married to two different Michael Mullers from Switzerland in a village with a population of 6 families and 25 people?
Sorry, but I’m just not believing that.
Nope, nada, not going to happen.
But what additional evidence do we have?
Remember the FAN club. Friends and neighbors. People didn’t live in a vacuum.
Another thing about Irene Charitas and Johann Michael Muller is that the Schlosser family does not appear with them in any records in the church. This is highly unusual, especially with so few families to choose from.
Looking through the records, we find the following additional pieces of evidence.
It sure seems to me, looking at the church records, like there were more people in Steinwenden than the 6 families consisting of 25 people recorded on the tax records.
I voiced my frustration and the seeming inconsistencies, and Chris found answers to that too.
It seems that in order to entice people to immigrate from Switzerland and settle in depopulated Germany after the 30 Years War, the Germans, consummately realistic, promised the Swiss land and made them tax exempt.
Roberta, you wondered why the families Müller, Stutzmann and so on of Swiss origin are not listed in the tax lists of 1684. I think it does not necessarily mean they had not been there yet and it is not the only possible explanation that Michael Müller stayed in with somebody else in Steinwenden. My assumption is that the Swiss immigrants were exempted from the tax during their first years in Germany.
I own the book “Schweizer im Odenwald” from 2017 and therein lies the source of my assumption:
The Odenwald region is located in the South of Hesse in Germany. Since my ancestors come mainly from Hesse including the Odenwald and I have some Swiss immigrants among them as well, I was interested in the topic. Of course, I know that Hesse is not the region we are searching for here. But nonetheless, the book contains some interesting general chapters on Swiss immigration to Germany after the 30 Years War, including about the Palatinate region next to the Odenwald.
On page 25 of the book, there is the following translated note:
“Elector Karl Ludwig of Palatinate (1617-1689), the son of “Winterkönig” Friedrich V., who had returned to Heidelberg, after the 30 Years War invited with a call people from the protestant countries spared by the war, to come to his devastated land. These people were assured land and tax exemption.”
Therefore, the only people listed on the early tax lists were non-Swiss immigrants. That is EXTREMELY useful information to know. We would not expect to find the Swiss settlers on the tax lists, but we would expect them to be found in the church records.
Therefore, if you extracted and translated all of the 1684 and 1685 records and compared them with the tax lists, I’d wager the list of families and surnames would be at least double what shows on the tax lists.
This explains an awful lot.
Conrad Heitz was missing from the 1684/1685 tax list, so this suggests that he was indeed Swiss.
But What About Irene?
The emergence of this new information held in a never-before-found record is exciting and unexpected, but it’s also very frustrating because it adds to the list of confusing items about Irene, the wife of Johann Michael Muller.
For example, her actual name is elusive too. What?
Given what I just told you, I know you’re left wondering if I’ve evaluated too much DNA and I’ve gone off my rocker entirely.
Turns out, I haven’t. The following records detail all of the occurrences of Irene in the Steinwenden area records beginning with Irene’s marriage and then the baptisms of Irene’s children. If Irene occurred in other records as a godmother, we’d have to translate all of the records for everyone to find those records. Turns out, Tom did just that. The following compilation is what was found:
- Michael MÜLLER, widower, son of Heinsmann MÜLLER, resident in “Schwartz Matt in the Bern area” (Switzerland), married 17 April 1684 in Steinwenden to Irene Liesabetha Heitz, daughter of Conrad Heitz.”
Followed by the baptisms of their children:
- June 5, 1685 – Johann Nicholas, parents: “Michael Müller, Irene from Steinwenden”, Godparents: Hanns Georg Scheimocher; Nickel Stahl; Hans Georg ?, wife.
- July 9, 1686 – Johann Abraham, parents: “Michael Müller, Irene from Steinwenden”, Godparents: Abraham Wochner, tailor; Hans Bergter from Krotelbach; Mar. Magd., H.
- April 30, 1687 – Samuel Müller, parents: “Michael Müller, Irene from Steinwenden”, H Samuel Hoffman and his wife. (Irene Charitas Hoffman died in 1684.)
- June 7, 1688 – Catharina Barbara, parents: “Michael Müller, Irene Charitas from Steinwenden”, Godparents: Maria Catharina, wife of Jonas Schror ………..Samuel Lo.., the tailor
- April 24, 1691 – Eva Catharina, parents: “Michael Müller, Irene Charitas from Steinwenden”, Godparents: Eva, wife of Hans Ulrich? Berny, Catharina, wife of Hans Georg Dreysinger; Kilian ?, Michael Frey.
- October 5, 1692 – Johann Michael, parents: “Michael Müller, Irene from Steinwenden”, Godparents: Johann Michael Schumacher; Balthasar Jolage; Christina, wife of Hans Bergter (Bergtol) from Krodelbach (Krottelbach).
The next record is not Irene’s child, but Irene was a godparent.
- On January 25, 1690, the child Irene Elisabeth born to Tobias Scholl & Catharina from Miersbach was baptized in Steinwenden. Godparents: Irene Charitas, wife of Michael Muller; ? from Miersbach
At this point, the records become somewhat “odd” again, but extremely important.
There is no death record for Irene any time after the birth of Johann Michael in 1692. There are also no missing sections or pages of death records from the church books. Tom checked specifically. We don’t need any more surprises. One retraction is bad enough.
Johann Michael Muller died in January of 1695.
- Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche Steinwenden, Bavaria Church records: 31 January 1695: From Steinwenden buried Michael Muller, born in Switzerland, his age 40 years.
In November of 1696, a year and 10 months later, Hanss Jacob Stutzman married Johann Michael Muller’s widow.
- In Konken, the couple being from Krotelbach, Hanss Jacob Stützman, surviving son of Jacob Stützman from Switzerland with Loysa Regina, surviving widow of Michael Müller from Stenweil (Steinwenden)…. Married on the 29th of November 1696 in Ohmbach.
Michael Muller’s widow of course would be Irene Charitas. Right?
You’d think so. So where did Loysa Regina come from?
Therefore, one must conclude that Irene had died and Michael had remarried sometime between October 1692 and January 1695 to Loysa Regina, at which point, Michael died.
Except, where is Irene’s death and where is Michael’s second marriage to Regina?
Ok, somehow two pieces of vital information didn’t get recorded – and they both had to do with the same family.
Getting stranger and stranger.
The next records that involve Jacob Stutzman’s wife, the former widow of Michael Muller, are as follows:
- February 3,1697, Irene Elisabeth baptized, Parents: H. Samuel Hoffmann, Maria Magdalena from Steinwenden, Godparents: Irene, Jacob Stutzman’s wife from Krodelbach (Krottelbach); Elisabetha, Balthasar Jolage wife and Dominicus Stutzman, unmarried.
Three months after they are married, Jacob Stutzman’s wife is called Irene, not Regina Loysa, AND she is for the third time paired with Samuel Hoffman in some way.
Note that this couple has moved by this time to Krottelbach, so a different minister is recording events. Is Regina Loysa Muller Stutzman really Irene Elizabetha Heitz?
Let’s look at the evidence.
- October 22, 1697, Hanss Peter baptized, Parents Hanss Jacob Stutzman & Regina Loysa, his lawfully wed wife from Crottelbach. Godparents were: Pet. Mellinger, censor, Hans Pfauer, a Swiss, and Anna Elisabetha, surviving legitimate daughter of Jacob Stutzman of Switzerland.
Again, she is called Regina Loysa, the reverse of Loysa Regina earlier. The next records are found in 1699, in Kallstadt.
- Page 136 Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria: Tuesday, the 21st of November, Hanss Jacob Sturtzmann, farm administrator (steward) for the most gracious Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) in Weilach and his legitimately wed wife, Regina Elisabetha, a young daughter came into the world and on the following 25th Sunday after Trinity, the 26th of November (1699) received Holy Baptism. The Godparents were Maria Catharina, wife of Peter Clonstt??, co-farm administrator for the Manor in Weilach; Maria Eva, wife of Johannes Rauscher?, citizen in Turckh(eim) (Bad Dürkheim);Hanss Jacob Bernhard, citizen of Asselheim. The child received the name: Maria Catharina.
- Baptism: page 146 Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria: Monday, the 12th of June (1702), Hanss Jacob Stotzmann, farm administrator (steward) at Weilach and Regina Elisabetha, his lawfully wed wife, was born to them a young son who was baptized on the 1st Sunday post Trinity, the 18th of June (1702). The godparents were: Joh. Michael Be…(margin), citizen from Asselheim, Samuel H..(Heitz?)(margin) from Stenweiler (Steinwenden) im Westrich; Elisabeth, wife of Hanss Michael Schum..(margin) from Ramsen. The Christian name of Johann Samuel was given.
- Baptism: page 150 Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria: Thursday evening, the 31st of January 1704, Hanss Jacob Stotzmannen, farm administrator (steward) for the most gracious Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) and his lawfully wed wife, Regina Elisabetha, a young son was born and was baptized on Sunday Estomihi (Quinquagesima Sunday), the 3rd of February 1704 at Weilach. Godparents were: Johann Christian Stotzmann and Matthaeus Krauss from Ungstein and Joh. Daniel Schumacher, citizen from Ungstein and wife, Anna Margretha. The Christian name given was Johann Matthaeus.
- Baptism: page 156 of the Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria: Friday, the 1st of January in the year 1706 of the new year, Johann Jacob Stotzmannen, farm administrator (steward) of the most gracious Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) at Weylach and his lawfully wed wife, Regina Elisabetha, a young son was born which on Tuesday, the 5th of January 1706 was baptized. The godparents were: Johann Jacob Schick; son of the honorable master, Johann Georg Schicken, butcher and citizen in Durckheim; Anna Elisabeth Beerin, legitimate daughter of the late Johann Martin Beer. The Christian name given was Johannes Jacobus.
- Anna Regina Stutzmann. Christened, 27 Feb 1706/7, in Asselheim, Grunstadt. Godparents of Anna: Anna Catharina, wife of Johann Nicolaus Trommer; Regina, wife of Johann Jacob Stutzmann, “Hofmann at Weylach”; Zacharias Stein, inhabitant in Albsheim, “married since 1702 to Margaretha Jacobea Bernhardt,”
- Baptism: page 189; Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria: Friday morning the 17th of January 1716, Nicolaus Schumacher, cow herder at the Weilach Farm and from his lawfully wed wife, Catharina, a young daughter was born which on the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, the 19th of January was baptized at Weilach. The godparents were: Regina Elisabetha, legitimate wife of the farm administrator (steward) of the most esteemed Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor), Jacob Stozmann; Susanna, wife of Hans Michael Muller, the farm administrator (steward) (refers to Jacob Stozmann above mentioned), son in Weilach; the master Johann Daniel ?, citizen and tailor in Callstadt (Kallstadt). The Christian name of Susanna Elisabetha was given.
- Baptism: page 190; 26 May 1716; Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria: On Wednesday, the 20th of May 1716 was born a young son to Johann Michael M(uller), the co-steward at Weilach and his legitimate wife, Susanna. The son was baptized on Exaudi Sunday (24th May) at Weilach. Godparents: Johann Ja(cob) Stotzmann, steward for the gracious Lord of the Manor at Weilach, the child’s grandfather; Nicolaus Leist from Wachenheim an der Hardt; Catharina, legitimate wife of Andreas Neuer.burger? from Callstadt (Kallstadt). The child was named: Johann Jacob.
This may be important, because in this record, Jacob Stutzman is referred to as the grandfather of the child. Clearly, that’s his social position, but technically, there is absolutely no question that he is not the biological grandfather, he is the step-grandfather.
- Baptism: page 198 of the Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria: Monday, the 24th of April 1719, Michal Muller, farm administrator (steward) for the most gracious Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) in Weilach and his lawfully wed wife, Susanna Agnesa, a son was born and baptized on the 27th of April. The Godparents were: Regina (margin), legitimate wife of Jacob Stotzmann, Sr., the old steward and the fathers mother(!); Johannes Schumacher, cow herder; Anna Eva, legitimate wife of Daniel ?, smith in Callstadt (Kallstadt); and Johannes (Christian) Stotzmann from Asselheim. The child was given the Christian name of Johannes Michael.
In this record, Regina is referred to as the father’s mother, meaning the father is Michael Muller (the second). If Irene Charitas had actually died between 1692 and 1695 and for some reason, Jacob Stutzman and his wife took the child in 1696 to raise, this would make some level of sense. However, if Jacob married Michael’s mother, then this would maker perfect since. Michael Muller’s mother is actually his biological mother and his step-father, Jacob Stutzman, who raised him from the age of about 4 is the only father he ever knew.
- Baptism: page 204 of the Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria: Saturday, the 5th of April 1721, Johann Michal Muller, farm administrator (steward) for the most esteemed Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) in Weilach and his lawfully wed wife, Susanna Agnesa, a young son was born and on the following Thursday, the 10th of April 1721 was baptized. Godparents: Johann Samuel Stozmann, legitimate son of Johann Jacob Stozmann, farm administrator (steward) for the most esteemed Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) at Weilach; Ludwich Stozmann, legitimate son of Philip Stozmann, farm administrator (steward) on the Kohlhoffin, Nassau; Eva Catharina, legitimate daughter of Samuel Heitzen, citizen in Stannweiler. The child was given the name: Johann Ludwig.
Heitzen is another form of Heitz. Chris mentions that the adding of en on the end of a name is very common, and this record connects the Heitz family with the Muller family once again.
- Baptism: page 206; Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria:Thursday evening, the 15th of January 1722, J(ohann) Schumacher, cow herder for the Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) estate in W(eilach) and from his legitimately married wife, Anna Catharina, a young son was born and which on the 20th of January at Weilach was baptized. The godparents were: Hans Michael Muller, b(….) at Lam(b)sheim, son of Joh(ann) Jac(ob) Stozmann, Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) farm administrator (steward) at Weilach; Justina Margreth, legitimately wed wife of Master Joh(ann) Ja(cob) Schmiddt, citizen and shoemaker from here; Eva Barbara, legitimate daughter of Joh(ann) Conr(ad) Brül, laborer, and the local ziegelscheder? here, a Catholic. The child was given the name: Johann Mich(ael).
Again, Jacob Stutzman is referred to as the father of Johann Michael Muller who has now moved to Lambsheim.
Anna Regina’s Death
- Laetare Sunday, the 27th of March 1729 died in Weilach as a result of consumption, Anna Regina, lawfully wed wife of Johann Jacob Stotzmann, farm administrator (steward) of the esteemed Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor). Aged 75 years and was buried at Callstadt (Kallstadt) with the ringing of (church bells); hymns and a funeral sermon.
I just love these details, “with the ringing of church bells.” I can almost hear them, chiming so that all in the village could hear their somber musical message. Of course, most of those people would have been in the church attending Irene/Regina’s funeral anyway, because everyone knew everyone and was probably related in one way or another, either by blood, marriage or by heart.
Those bells – filled with sadness for her passing, but also celebrating her life. Her heart filled with sorrow as she buried her first 5 children, then with trepidation as she delivered Johann Michael Muller (the second.) Would he live, or would he lay as the sixth grave in that cemetery row? Baby Michael lived, but death would follow just a few months later, snatching not the baby, but Irene’s husband instead.
Her one surviving child, my ancestor, Johann Michael Muller (the second) must have been her only source of joy during that horrifically dark time. After Irene, or Regina, or whatever her name really was, remarried to Jacob Stutzman, it would appear from what few hints we have that her life might have become somewhat easier as the wife of the farm administrator. And of course, her she bore children that lived long enough to hear those church bells themselves, adding grandchildren as sources of joy for the woman born as Irene and buried as Anna Regina.
This does cause me to wonder, though, how she felt when Johann Michael Muller (the second) and his wife left in 1727 for America. Did she encourage him to go, knowing full well that would be the last time that she ever set eyes on him – her eldest’s and only surviving child of her first 6 pregnancies and her first marriage? Or was she devastated. Torn perhaps, between the two?
In July 1730, Jacob remarried to a Louysa and lived for several more years.
What was Irene/Regina’s Name?
In these records, in order, we have Irene’s name or identification shown as:
The only time that Irene Liesabetha was used was in the Miesau church records. In Steinwenden it was always Irene or Irene Charitas. However, I’m often inclined to give more weight to the earliest records, especially if the parents are present as well as others who knew the person. Due to illiteracy, however, it’s impossible to know if what the priest or minister heard was what was meant to be conveyed. If the person was married in the same church where they were baptized, the person recording the marriage could check with earlier records. However, the Miesau records, today, don’t extend back that far, nor do we know where Irene Liesabetha was born or baptized.
We do know that there is a consistent link to Heitz and Hoffman family members through all records, across her life.
I notice that her name changed from Irene or Irene Charitas to Loysa Regina, Regina Elisabetha or simply Regina when the family moved to Krottelbach. However, there was one Irene record after she married Stutzman, and it was in the Steinwenden church records, not the Krottelbach/Konken church records. So, it would certainly appear that Irene and Regina are the same person, given that they are married at the same time to Johann Jacob Stutzman.
This name change is what threw me, and every other researcher in this line before Chris and Tom. It’s unlikely that a name would “change” entirely, but in this case, the evidence is very convincing when combined in total that indeed, Irene Liesabetha is Irene Charitas is Regina Loysa, Loysa Regina, Regina Elisabetha and finally, Anna Regina.
Was Charitas only a “pet name” used about the time that the Elder Irene Charitas Hofmann born Beuther passed away? Was Irene Charitas Schlosser named after Irene Charitas Hofmann born Beuther as well?
If you thought you were confused before, you’re probably even more so now. I was, until we looked at every single record and weighed evidence including when the names changes, with moves, when and where she stood up as a godmother – and the fact that she was still called Irene in her home church of Steinwende as Jacob Stutzman’s wife after “Regina,” identified as Michael Muller’s widow had married Jacob Stutzman. And then, of course, she is identified in the margin, no less, as the mother of Johann Michael Muller the second, “the father’s mother” many years later when Michael’s child was baptized.
Of course, Jacob Stutzman is also referred to Johann Michael Muller’s father, and he wasn’t. Jacob was Michael’s step-father, but the only father he had ever known.
So many twists and turns in this labyrinth.
I’ve given up entirely identifying Michael’s mother’s “actual” name, but I’m satisfied that I’ve determined that this woman of many names is actually the same person.
Will the Real Irene Charitas or Regina Loysa or Whomever, Please Stand Up?
How can the same woman’s name vacillate back and forth so much?
And just when I had come to the conclusion (which I’ve changed my mind about umpteen times now) that Irene, the mother of Johann Michael Mueller (the second) had clearly died between 1692 and 1696 – Jacob Stutzman’s wife is referred to as the MOTHER of Johann Michael Muller in 1719.
The one thing we do know beyond any doubt is who Michael’s mother actually is – and she’s Irene as recorded his 1692 birth record.
So, if the woman in 1719 was Michael’s mother, then she had to have been Irene and none other.
So, why is Irene’s name changing, in some cases, entirely?
My only possible explanation for this might be that Irene’s name was actually heavily concatenated. Something like Irene Charitas Elisabetha Regina Loysa with Anna thrown in there someplace too. Yes, that’s bizarre, but no more bizarre than any other explanation.
Furthermore, if she had several sponsors at her baptism, including Samuel Hoffman’s wife, Irene Charitas, and other important patrons, the family may simply have included all names. In that case, the subsequent minister selected the name or names that he wanted to use.
One other possibility is that “Irena,” if said that way, and “Regina” sounded somewhat similar.
Chris suggests that there was some kind of mis-hearing involved here.
“Peasants were often illiterate at that time and more so, women. I would assume Irene Liesabetha was, too. So the minister at her new parish in Konken asked her for her name, which she could not write. Hence, the minister could only refer to what he heard from her. The sound of “Irene” and “Regina” is not too far from each other – especially if you have not ever heard the name “Irene” many times before. Along similar lines “Liesabetha” à “Loysa” could be explained. Yes, it is a vague hypothesis. But I think one that could be added here.”
Having looked at the order of these records, I think the most probable explanation for her name change is that it occurred when she changed churches. I now believe that Irene is really Regina and that she did live as first Michael Muller’s and then Jacob Stutzman’s wife until her death in 1729.
One last sanity check is related to her age in her death record – 75. This would give us an approximate birth year of 1654 if she had already had her birthday in March when she died. If not, then she would have been born in 1653.
That means she would have been age 52 when she gave birth to Johann Jacob Stutzman (the second) in 1706. Not impossible, but also not terribly likely. Ages were often fluid in death records, unless a very specific age is recorded, like 75 years, 11 months and 2 days. That tells us that the family actually knew a birth date.
Irene Lisabetha married in 1684 to Michael Muller. He was born about 1655, so it’s conceivable that she was about the same age, although 30 would have been older than normal for a female to marry at that time. If she were 20 instead of 30 when she married, that would put her last child born at age 42 instead of 52, and would fit much more reasonably.
Regardless of which year she was actually born, her birth was right after the end of the 30 years war when much of Europe, and in particular Germany, was ravaged and abandoned. Her parents would have lived through at last part of this horrible event. I have to wonder at the circumstances surrounding Irene/Regina’s early life. Was her family burned out of their home? Where did they live? Did they have to move multiple times? Were they essentially vagabonds, subsisting? And where?
Did she have siblings? The only hint we find to answer that question is her continued interaction with Samuel Heitz who was married to Catharina Appollonia and lived in Steinwenden. Records show at least one child, Eva Catharina born in 1721 to this couple. If Irene had additional siblings, which she surely did, the records stand stubbornly mute.
Questions that we will never likely have answers to.
Now that we know that Regina is Michael Muller’s mother, not his step-mother as originally thought, her mitochondrial DNA becomes important in Michael Muller’s genealogy. She contributed her mitochondrial DNA to her son, but since mitochondrial DNA is only passed on by females, Michael would not have passed this to his children. Therefore, to find Irene or Regina’s mitochondrial DNA, we have to find someone living today that descends through all females from one of her daughters.
We know that all of her children by Michael Muller (the first) died, but she did have one daughter by Jacob Stutzman; Anna Catharina born in 1699 and who married Johann Adam Schmidt in Konken in 1721.
We know that Maria Catharina Stutzman and Johann Adam Schmidt had a daughter, Johanna Regina, probably not long after their marriage, although the year is obscured in the Kallstadt church book. My “educated guess” would be in 1722 or so. Our Regina was her godmother.
I find no additional records for this family, but if Maria Catharina lived, it’s certainly likely that she had more children, and hopefully, more daughters.
If you descend from Maria Catharina Stutzman Schmidt through all females, I have a mitochondrial DNA testing scholarship for you. Just leave a comment on the blog or drop me an e-mail. Your mitochondrial DNA could provide us with even more insight into the ancestors of Regina that we can obtain in no other way!
We finally (I think) have proper parents for Irene Charitas, or at least her father – Conrad Heitz. Her mother is entirely unknown.
I’m so eternally grateful to Chris for finding that record and raising these difficult questions, even if they did cost me and Tom several nights sleep. Working with those two is literally a dream team!
And while this article has been anything BUT fun to write, keep in mind that it was the fact that the record for Bernhardt Schlosser was first found on the tax list, then in the church in Miesau. Had it not been for the combination of events, meaning the tax list with the Schlosser record, the Miller family site and that pointer to Miesau, Chris might never have hunted for, and found, the marriage records for Irene Heitz and Johann Michael Muller. Indeed, this has been a trail of very convoluted bread crumbs! And the birds ate a few along the way.
So, in essence, further digging in the incorrect records (in the same geography) for the wrong family led us to the right family. Genealogical synchronicity, a meaningful or meant to be coincidence? Sometimes, I think the ancestors “help us” as much as they can from the other side. Other times, I think they have a wicked sense of humor and torture us!
I don’t have any regrets about publishing either, even though I was wrong. (Small caveat – there had been A LOT of original work done AND the name had changed, so I didn’t publish rumors.) If I hadn’t published, Chris would never have asked those difficult questions and we would not have found the puzzle pieces we didn’t even know were missing.
Besides that, if you wait until absolutely every rock has been turned, you’ll suffer from analysis paralysis and do nothing. Of course, I’m not advocating the copy/paste type of genealogy – but I am advocating for reasonable research, documentation of the research path, sources and stating why you came to the conclusions you did. That way, there are breadcrumbs for someone in the future, or God forbid, if you have to backtrack on your own work.
Yes, I’m trying to make lemonade out of lemons – but sometimes, other than serving as a learning experience, that’s all there is left to do!
Enjoy some lemonade…on me😊
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