Monday, June 17, 2013

Mystery Monday: Searching for Mary Ann, part 4

Mystery Monday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers encouraging bloggers to share mystery ancestors or mystery records – anything which is currently unsolved.  With any luck fellow genealogy bloggers will lend their eyes to what has been found so far and possibly help solve the mystery.

In my effort to find the family of my 3G-grandmother Mary Ann Armentrout Jollett, I concluded it would be useful to eliminate the various candidates.  However, traditional German naming patterns makes finding her father more complicated.  At baptism, the child’s first name was a spiritual name, and usually all children of the same gender in the family had the same first name.  In this family’s case, all the boys’ spiritual name was John, or “Johan.”  

But that didn’t mean the boys went by “John.”  They went by the middle name, their secular name.  The one exception was “Johannes.”  That spelling indicated he was intended to be called “John” and there was no separate secular name. 

Let me introduce the candidates:

Sons of Johannes
Johannes Emerich (1747 – 1831) is a NO.  The spelling of his name indicates he was known as John, but his daughter Anna Maria (easily Anglicized to become Mary Ann) was 20 years older than my 3G-grandmother.  Furthermore, Anna Maria was married to Jacob Hostetter. 

Johan Heinrich (1749 – 1827) is a NO.  Before 1800, he moved his family to Rockbridge County and then later to Botetourt County.  He had a daughter Mary, but she married Andrew Hayslett. 

Grandsons of Johannes
Johannes Emerich Jr. (1778 – 1825) is a NO.  He married twice and had a total of nine children, none of whom were named Mary Ann, a fact supported by his will.

John (1772 - ), son of Johan Heinrich, looks like a likely candidate because he had a daughter Mary Ann born in 1798, the same year that I believe MY Mary Ann was born.  However, he too is a NO.  He was a resident of Rockbridge County, but land left to Mary Ann and Fielding Jollett was in Rockingham.  However, the strongest argument against this John is that this Mary Ann married Andrew Miller and died in 1831, almost 40 years before the death of my 3G-grandmother.

Grandson of Johan Phillip
Johan Peter (1783 - ), son of Peter Ermentraudt, is a NO.  He and his wife Catherine Leonard married young.  In 1817, they left Virginia and moved to Fairfield County, Ohio, where he likely died although no record has been found.  His wife made her home with her daughter in Illinois. 

Son of Johan Friederich
John (1751 - ) is a mystery man, and therefore a likely candidate since there is nothing to eliminate him as the possible father for Mary Ann.  There was a son baptized at St. John’s Reformed Church in Pennsylvania in 1751, the same church where the other children of Friederich and Maria Catrina Hedrick Ermentraudt were baptized.  The child was unnamed in the record, but the sponsor was John Peter Lamm.  In some other record, Friederich listed his children in order, and John was second.  No other record has been found for this John. 

Son of Christopher
Johannes (1770 – 1810) is a NO.  He lived his entire short life in Hardy County, Virginia (now West Virginia), never in Rockingham.  He married, but none of his daughters were named Mary Ann. 

Grandson of Christopher
Johannes (1777 – 1851), son of the first Christopher born to the elder Christopher and his first wife Elizabeth Schmehl, is a NO (the elder Christopher had a second son named Christopher by his second wife).  This is an easy NO because the first son Christopher returned to Pennsylvania where he married and lived out his years.  Therefore, this Johannes (John) was a Pennsylvania resident all his life.  And even if I grant it’s possible he could have inherited land in Virginia without ever living there, the fact remains that his daughter Anna Marie lived less than a year (1801-1802).  To top it all off, this John died in 1851, but according to the burnt deed, Mary Ann’s father John was already dead by 1837.

Son of Johan Georg
Johannes Frederick (1764 – 1855) is an obvious NO, again because of the date of death being almost 20 years after the sale of land that Mary Ann inherited from her deceased father. 

So it appears there is only one good choice for Mary Ann’s father:  the son of Friederich.  However, now I am second-guessing everything.  The burnt deed that indicates Mary Ann’s father was “John” makes me wonder if he really was known as “John” or if the person drawing up the deed simply neglected to record both a spiritual and secular name.  I could easily spend time going back through the six Ermentraudt boys and assume each of their sons and grandsons was Johan Somebody.  But I’m going to just go with this son of Friederich for now because there is no conflicting information. 

Next time, I will start examining Friederich’s other children.  Surely a collateral search will offer some clues to help me find Mary Ann’s mother. 

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Eennie-Minnie-Miney-Mo...yes, go with Johan Frederich. Holy cow...what a naming nightmare. I guess every family has lots of John's and Mary's...sure glad we have unique names...well at least you do.

    Sue CollectInTexasGal~Today's Post~
    Black Sheep Sunday...They Called Him Blackie

    1. And everyone had a son John too. Calgon, take me away!

  2. I agree with Sue: that is quite the naming nightmare! I'm German, too, so I'm willing to bet I'll run into the same kinds of problems—but isn't that all a part of the fun? :)

    Have a great Monday.

    1. Fun? Yeah, yeah, that's what it is. Keep saying that to yourself.

  3. You have spent hours as a sleuth! And quite a good one at that...just reading what you had to find and deduce makes my mind groan!

    Happy Monday!

    1. Can you hear yourself groan over my groaning??????

  4. Makes my head spin! Good job! Hope those collateral lines give you the information you need.

  5. Oh Wendy! What a puzzle. But you've done great detective work. And as Kathy Morales said, hopefully the collateral lines will provide you with the answers you are seeking.

    1. I'm already confusing myself with it all. I'm eager to get to the library and start digging, but I know myself -- I'll get so distracted by something that I'll go down the bunny trail, as Jacqi says.