Showing posts with label Hoffmann. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hoffmann. Show all posts

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Hans Jakob Hoffmann (1704-1758)

Prolific Father of 15 Children

Joining in on Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) on Sunday, Father’s Day, I looked at the Hoffman family and found one father far surpassing all others in the number of his children.

Hans Jakob Hoffmann, a citizen of the gemeinde (community) of Oberglatt in Canton Zürich, Switzerland, was baptized there on 26 October 1704. His parents were Hans Hoffmann and Barbara Albrecht. He was the last generation in our line to remain in Oberglatt. On 13 January 1728 he married Anna Margareth Meier, daughter of Anthony Meier and Euphrosina Bünninger. This Meier family had citizenship in the village of Seeb in nearby Bülach.

With Anna Margareth he fathered twelve children, the second of whom was our progenitor Hans Kaspar Hoffmann baptized 4 September 1729. He would marry Rosina Vetter and settle in Burg across the Rhine River from Stein am Rhein. Anna Margareth died 19 September 1748 in Oberglatt. Widower Hans Jakob married a second time to Elsbeth Rösch, apparently from Kloten, another nearby community. Elsbeth presented Hans Jakob with three children the first of whom, also named Elsbeth, was baptized 25 January 1750. The last of the fifteen children was named Felix and he was born 28 November 1756. The patriarch of the family died on 3 August 1758.

I have followed very few of the other children in this family mostly because many of them died very young. The first one after our Hans Kaspar to survive and marry was the eighth child, Jakob, born in 1740. The youngest two children, another Jakob and Felix, born in 1752 and 1756, also survived and married. With so few children surviving, this huge family suddenly appears much smaller and their hard lives illustrated.


All the documentation came from Oberglatt parish records on microfilm at the Family History Library. In addition to church registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths, there are household registers (haushaltungsrodel) and population registers or census (bevölkerungsverzeichnisse, 1633-1767) of Reformed Parishes in the Synod of Zürich, Switzerland.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

(Not so) Wordless Wednesday - Henry H. Hoffman Wedding Day 1905

Henry H. Hoffman was born 25 December 1865 and baptised as Joh[annes] Heinrich Hoffmann on 7 January 1866 in Bussnang, Canton Thurgau, Switzerland. His parents were Kaspar Hoffmann, whose citizenship was in Oberglatt, Canton Zurich, and Louise (geb. Schmid.)1 Henry traveled with his parents, older sister Susette, grandmother Barbara Schmid, probable uncle Heinrich Schmid and aunt Margaretta Hoffmann to Antwerp, Belgium. They sailed from Antwerp on the SS Medway arriving in the port of New York on 2 May 1867. Henry was recorded as Heinrich Hoffmann age eleven months.2 Their names altered slightly when they settled in northwestern Illinois.

Caspar Hoffman's children were orphaned at his death in 1877 leaving an estate in debt. Henry lived with and worked for his uncle John Hoffman at his hotel in Hanover, Illinois, in 1880. Eventually Henry, his older sister Susie and their younger siblings, Albert and Louise went west to San Francisco. There Henry met and married Alice Houlton. They were photographed in the elegant auto in 1905. They had one daughter and a number of grandchildren.

1 Kirchenbuch, 1600-1920 (Oberglatt, Zürich); FHL microfilm no. 0,996,482 from Zurich Staatsarchiv, Book 4, p. 40, 1865.
2 Manifest, S. S. Medway, 2 May 1867, p. 4 for Hoffmann and Schmid family; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 24 April 2005); from National Archives microfilm M237 (New York Passenger Lists, 1851-1891), roll 278, list 356.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Hoffman Family Timeline

Randy Seaver in his post Genea-Musings: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - a Family Timeline got me interested in creating a similar timeline for the immigrant generation of the Hoffman family. I've included the parents Johannes and Elisabeth (Homberger) Hoffmann though he died in Switzerland and only she came to Illinois. All of their children and their spouses fill the rest of the chart which is sorted by birthdate. That seems to have excluded Regula's husband John Hagie for whom I do not show a birthdate. Interesting that the younger people seem to have lived longer to some extent. Click on the chart to see full size!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In the Year 1609

Tonight we watched a PBS Nova special that spent a lot of time discussing telescopes. It reminded me of the piece I wrote for the newsletter on 1609. Following is a reprint of the article from the Henry Hoffman Family News of January/February 2001.

In the Year 1609: The moon was first drawn using a telescope, Heini Hoffmann was born in Oberglatt.

    For Christmas [2000] I gave Dick Galileo's Daughter, a book by Dava Sobel, just because it looked fascinating. It was a fortunate choice; he enjoyed it enough to encourage me to read it too. It is a very readable account of the life of Galileo (1564–1642) in Pisa, Padua and Rome, enlightened by letters from his elder daughter, a cloistered nun.
     Fueled with interest in the 17th century I read Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier's novel based on a painting by Dutch artist Vermeer in the 1650s. The plot was a disappointment, but the book brought to life that time in Delft. I learned that details were mined from the excellent Vermeer and His Milieu, a Web of Social History by John Michael Montias who looked at all sorts of documents of the painter, his friends and three generations of family. The last required genealogical assistance to weave together the names, places and dates to create historical biography. I wish I had access to and could read similar documents in Zürich!
     Galileo's intellectual and aristocratic world is informative for all of Europe, but daily life in conservative, mostly Protestant, Delft was surely closer to that in Zürich. Not having the Catholic faith's need to hurry, probably the same custom was followed in Zürich as in Delft to baptize a child one or two weeks after birth at a service following the Sunday sermon. Creating a 1609 calendar shows the March 5th date of Heini Hoffman's baptism was on a Sunday.
     Bibliographies led me to other books. Interesting is Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery which has entries for each year like Grun's The Timetables of History, but only covers a few events, but in some detail. In ArtBook Vermeer I was surprised to learn that the map on the wall in one of his paintings had west, not north, at the top, supposedly common at the time. It looks strange.
     I was especially taken with the pages from Galileo's notebook with the first illustrations of the moon's surface as seen with a telescope in 1609. The telescope was accidentally invented in Holland the previous year but kept secret as a military advantage, but rumors quickly ran through Europe and Galileo easily built his own. He is the first known to have turned it to the sky where he could distinguish the stars of the Milky Way and the mountains and “seas” of the moon.

     Galileo's inventions include a pendulum clock, but that didn't come until the end of his life in 1641. He was blind by then and the model built for him by his son. Try to imagine life in 1609 with no clocks as we know them. He died in January of 1642; Isaac Newton was born Christmas of that year, one of my favorite men of science.
    Exploration was big in 1609 when Henry Hudson, searching for a Northwest passage, reached New York Bay (Manhattan, located by Verrazano in 1531) and sailed his ship Half Moon up the river that would be named for him all the way to the site of Albany. One of Vermeer's ancestors had dealings that year with founders of the East India Company.
     In Oberglatt, the baptism register was begun in 1600. Men named Hoffman first appear as witnesses, Claus in 1602 and Hans in 1605. Soon their own children appear. For some reason the name Hoffman is underlined in these records though others are not. This continues for some years, then another name is underlined. Sadly, around 1609 many baptisms do not list the mother. The given names in this record are diminutives which at this time are very common in the records. These are probably for Heinrich, Jacob, perhaps Gertrude. Heini was always so named. In 1654 his son Hans was born who would become the Ehegaumer.

     I also brought home from the library books on The Thirty Year's War (1618-1648—Switzerland just managed to stay out of this one, but the ending of it had important results for its autonomy and neutrality) and The Black Death or plague which was still a scourge of the 17th century. It was a time of great invention and discovery, but was still very primitive in health and education.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hoffman Immigrant Family

Here is a chart of the immigrant family with the parents on the left and the children and their spouses on the right. At the top is Jacob, the oldest; it continues in chronological order. Remember to click on the image to see it full size!