Updated December 2020
See John C. Stamm
WOLFF WILHELM and ANNA MARGARETH GERING
Wolff Wilhelm Gering lived in Marnheim, Germany, during the late 1600s. (1)
Married Anna Margareth Benss on Nov. 24, 1663, in Marnheim. She was the daughter of Hanss Benss. About 1695, Wolf Wilhelm married a woman named Susanna. (2)
Children of Anna Margareth: (3)
Hanss Caspar Gering, baptized Dec. 16, 1664. Died Aug. 14, 1672.
Anna Margredt Gering, baptized May 17, 1666.
Anna Christina Gering, baptized Aug. 11, 1667. Married Jeremias Weigel.
Hanss Jacob Gering, baptized Nov. 21, 1669.
Catharina Gering, baptized Jan. 7, 1672. Married Jakob Frantz.
Anna Barbel Gering, baptized Feb. 22, 1674. Married Johannes Staats. She is listed as Anna Barbara in later records.
Balthasar Gering, baptized Nov. 29, 1677.
Johannes Gering, baptized June 15, 1679.
Maria Margareth Gering, baptized Feb. 6, 1681.
Johann Valentinus Gering, baptized Oct. 21, 1683.
Children of Susanna:
Johann Adam Goering, baptized Sept. 9, 1696.
Sophia Sybilla Goering, baptized Dec. 28, 1699.
In 1911, John M. Goehring of Pittsburgh, compiled a family history titled “Record of the Goehring Family Descended from Wolfgang William Goehring, Born About 1638 in Albisheim, Germany.” According to the book’s introduction, “The Goehring family originally came from the small village of Ablisheim, near the Rhine … The first mention in the church records of the Goehring name recites that one Wolfgang William Goehring, on November 24th 1663, married Marie Margaretta Beroz. For this reason we start Wolfgang William Goehring as of the first generation.” The book then lists his children: John Jacob, Balthaser, Hans Valentine and Gerhardt Engel. Unfortunately, when compared to the original German records, this information is woefully incomplete and some of it is inaccurate. Following is an account based on the records of the Lutheran church in the village of Marnheim that are available online through Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. (4)
The man identified as Wolfgang William Goehring in the 1911 genealogy is usually referred to as Wolff Wilhelm Gering in the church records of Marnheim, where he spent most of his life. The village is about 3 miles southwest of Albisheim, which is identified as his birthplace in the genealogy. Unfortunately, no proof of his birthplace or birth year has turned up in the available records.
Wolff Wilhelm’s father is unknown at this point, but his mother can be identified as a woman named Ottilia. (5) Her first husband apparently died when Wolff Wilhelm was young, and she married again. About 1654, Ottilia married Wendel Scheuer, who was a shopkeeper and a member of the local court, or “Gericht,” a position of prominence among the villagers. It’s likely that Ottilia’s deceased husband also had some degree of status since Germany was a stratified society where people generally sought associates and mates of their own social standing. Wendel and Ottilia had two children: Balthasar, born Jan. 14, 1655, and Anna Barbel, born Nov. 29, 1657. Both of these later served as baptismal sponsors for children of Wolff Wilhelm.
When Wolff Wilhelm married in 1663, the church record identified him as Wendel Scheuer’s stepson. The record seems to indicate that his new wife also was an orphan. It says that Margaretha was the surviving (“hinterlassene”) daughter of Hans Benss of Bielefeld in Westfalen. Since her father was from Bielefeld, it seems likely that Margaretha also originated in that town in northwestern Germany. (6) Margaretha is sometimes listed as Gredt, an apparent nickname, in the church records.
At least three of the Gerings’ children died young. Their first son, Hans Caspar, died when he was 7 years old in 1672. In 1677, Margaretha gave birth to twins sons and both died soon after birth.
Even though his stepfather was a village official, Wolff Wilhelm does not appear to have held any special status during his early years. For two decades, no position or occupation is mentioned in the church records, usually an indication that someone is simply a peasant farmer. However, sometime between Maria Margareth’s baptism in 1681 and Johann Valentin’s in 1683, Wolff Wilhelm appears to have become an “Inwohner,” or official resident of Marnheim. (7)
A more substantial change in status occurred between 1683 and 1786, when Anna Christina married Jeremias Weigel. Her father is listed as “Wolfgang Wilhelm Gering Inwohner und Hoffmann alheir zur Marenheim.” This indicates that Wolff Wilhelm was not only an official resident of the village but also was employed as a “Hoffmann.” A Hofmann was generally the manager of a larger farm. It’s possible his agricultural skills were noticed by a local noble or landowner – or he simply made the right social connections – and he was hired to manage an estate. It also should be noted that this is the first record that refers to him as Wolfgang Wilhelm. Perhaps this was seen as a more respectable name for a Hofmann than Wolff. At this point, it cannot be established which farm Wolff Wilhelm managed. A few years later, his son Hanss Jacob served as Hofmann for the Heyerhof, which is about a mile northeast of Marnheim.
In 1688, two year’s after Maria Margareth’s wedding, Marnheim appears to have gotten caught up in world events. In that year, France’s King Louis XIV invaded the Rhineland and his forces quickly captured many of the region’s major cities, including Worms, which was only about 15 miles east of Marnheim. When Germany’s nobility rallied their forces to push the French back, Louis’ armies embarked on a scorched-earth campaign, devastating cities and villages throughout the Rhineland. One of the French targets was Bolanden Castle, which is possibly where villagers from Marnheim would take refuge in times of trouble. (8) With the destruction of the local castle, it’s likely that the villagers scattered until the French moved on.
Marnheim’s church records provide witness to the strife. The marriage records abruptly halt after an entry for June 1687. That is followed by a note written in Latin that states war had prevented the entry of new names. When the records resume at the bottom of the page, they are dated 1705 and recorded in a new hand. The village’s death records contain a similar gap from 1688 to 1714 and again from 1718 to 1728, but don’t provide an explanation. While the baptismal records make a brief pause in the fall of 1687, they pick up again in January 1688 after a note in Latin indicating a new pastor had taken responsibility.
Amid the turmoil, Marnheim’s Lutheran baptismal records reveal that Wolff Wilhelm’s status continued to change. His daughter Catharina served as the sponsor at the baptism of Catharina Hack, daughter of Joh. Philip Hack, on May 17, 1689. The entry identified Catharina as the daughter of “Woffgang Wilhelm Goering gemeindeman zu Marnheim.” A Gemaindemann was a village citizen with more rights than a common resident. Interestingly, the entry doesn’t mention that he was a Hofmann. It’s possible that his “Hof” had been destroyed in the war or his son Hanss Jacob had stepped in to fill his position, even though he would have been rather young to be granted such responsibility.
Unfortunately, the gaps in Marheim’s death and marriage records cover a time span that brought dramatic change for the Goering family. At some point between 1687 and 1695, Wolff Wilhelm’s wife Gredt died and he married a woman named Susanna. This is evident from the baptismal records. On Sept. 9, 1696, Johann Adam Göring, the son of Wolff Wilhelm Göring and Susanna, was baptized. Based on that date, it seems likely that the parents married in late 1695. Gredt obviously died before that, but the timeframe is unknown.
The couple also had a daughter named Sophia Sybilla in 1699. The baptismal records for both of their children are silent about Wolff Wilhelm’s occupation and status. However, it is evident that he remained a Gemeindemann because another 1699 baptismal record. The March 7 entry for Maria Elisabeth Zundel, daughter of Hans Nickel Zundel, mentions Balthasar, son of “Woffgang Wilhelm Goering gemeindeman.”
The next family event to appear in the records was the wedding of Anna Barbara to Johannes Staats in 1709. Her father is identified as “Woffgang Wilhelm Göring, Gemeinds Mann zu Marnheim.”
The last entries made during Wolff Wilhelm’s lifetime concern the marriage of his daughter Anna Barbara Göring to Jacob Frantz in May 1719 and a baptismal record that lists Sophia Sybilla as a sponsor. No special status or occupation was noted in either record. It seems likely that he was in his late 70s or early 80s based on the fact that he was first married 56 years earlier.
Wolff Wilhelm appears to have died in 1720 in Marnheim. (9)
(1) Wolff Wilhelm appears in the records of Marnheim, which are in the Ancestry.com database “Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971,” which contains images of the original church book pages. Another helpful source is a collection of note cards recording information from the Marnheim church books, which is in “Kirchenbuchkartei, A-J, ca. 1648-1800,” available at FamilySearch.org. Wolff Wilhelm is also the progenitor of the family covered in “Record of the Goehring Family Descended from Wolfgang William Goehring, Born About 1638 in Albisheim, Germany,” by John M. Goehring, Pittsburgh, 1911. Checking records from Pennsylvania, Keskastel in France and Albisheim and Marnheim in Germany confirms much of the general information in the book, but there are problems with many of the details. (2) The wedding details and father of Anna Margareth are listed in “Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials.” It should be noted that the 1911 genealogy says Wolff Wilhelm’s wife was named Marie Margaretta Beroz. This might come from a misreading of the archaic German script, or it might be an indication that Mr. Goehring consulted records other than the Marheim church books. Susanna is known from the baptismal records of her children, Johann Adam and Sophia Sybilla. (3) The children’s baptisms – and the deaths of Caspar and the twins – are recorded in the church records of Marnheim in “Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971.” However, there are numerous transcription errors in the database, which makes some records difficult to locate with a typical name search. The names of the daughters’ husbands appear on the note cards available at FamilySearch.org. It should be noted that, in many cases, several cards cover the same information in slightly different formats and slightly different transcriptions. (4) Albisheim is about 15 miles west of Worms in what is now the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. Both the Ancestry.com database and the 1911 genealogy locate the town in Bavaria, which was correct at one time. However, the area fell within Rheinland-Pfalz after World War II. (5) The death records from Manheim’s church books, which are available at Ancestry.com, start at 1653. Since the death of Ottilia’s husband isn’t listed in the church books, it’s possible that he died before 1653. In addition to the church records available at “Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971,” information on Wendel Scheuer, Ottilia and Wolff Wilhelm is contained on the note cards that are based on the Marnheim church books. (6) The handwriting in Hans Benss’ entry has led to a wide variety of transcriptions. The most common version is “Benß,” or its equivalent “Benss.” However, some render it “Bentz” and the 1911 genealogy listed it as “Beroz.” (7) Becoming an “Inwohner” was not exactly a big increase in status, but it appears to have been real. In records before 1683, others on the same page are identified as “Inwohners” or by their occupations, but nothing appears next to Wolff Wilhelm’s name. In addition, the handwriting matches in the 1681 and 1683 records, so the change cannot be blamed on a new pastor who would recorded entries differently. (8) A German history of the area is contained in “Geschichte der herrschaft Kirchheim-Boladen und Stauf,” by Adolph Koellner, Weisbaden, 1854. (9) Wolff Wilhelm’s death occurred during the gap in the Marnheim death records. However, one of the note cards that was created from the church books has a notation that says, “+ 1720.” The plus/cross symbol usually indicates a death date.
HANSS JACOB and MARIA MARGARET GOERING
Hanss Jacob Goering was born Sept. 19, 1669, to Wolff Wilhelm Gering and his wife Ann Margareth Benss in Marnheim, Germany. (1)
Married at least three times: to Anna Catharina in 1695, apparently in Gauersheim; to Maria Barbara Ercken on Nov. 11, 1708, in Albisheim; and to Maria Margretha Dihlmann, daughgter of Johannes Dihlmann, on July 23, 1709, in Albisheim. (2)
Children of Anna Catharina: (3)
Johann Philip Goering, probably born about 1695. Died June 24, 1708.
Anna Catharina Goering, baptized March 16, 1698. Married Johann Diederich Franck.
Georg Michael Goehring, born Feb. 1, 1700.
Anna Margaretha Goering, born Nov. 22, 1702. Died Jan. 28, 1704.
Anna Margaretha Goering, born Dec. 18, 1704.
Children of Maria Margaretha Dihlmann:
Juliana Catharina Goering, born July 10, 1710. Married Johann Adam Grill. Listed as Maria Juliana in later records.
Sebastian Goering, born April 2, 1712.
Christina Goering, baptized Aug. 19, 1713. Married Johann Georg.
Johann Balthasar Goering, born Sept. 8, 1716.
Johann Friederich Goering, born June 22, 1719. Died March 28, 1725.
Gerhardt Goering, born Feb. 19, 1723.
Hanss Jacob Goering was born and raised in the village of Marnheim, in what is now the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. His name is usually written as Hanß Jacob Göring in contemporary German records, but the alternate rendering of Hanss Jacob Goering is more common in English-language sources so it will be used here.
Hanss Jacob came of age amid the chaos of the French invasion of the Rhineland in 1688. In that year, France’s King Louis XIV swept into the region and captured many of its major cities, including Worms, which was only about 15 miles east of Marnheim. As Germany’s princes prepared to counterattack in 1789, the French armies devastated the occupied territory, leaving many cities and villages in ruins. (4)
In the years following the destruction, Hanss Jacob married and started raising a family. Hanss Jacob appears to have married his first wife, Anna Catharina, in the nearby town of Gauersheim, on the fourth Sunday after Trinity in 1695, which would have fallen in the summer. (5) The couple then had a son named Johann Philip, though his date and place of birth is unknown.
At some point during the 1690s, the family settled in Marnheim and Hanss Jacob was placed in charge of a large farm known today as Heyerhof. The 1698 baptismal entry for Anna Catharina in the Lutheran records of Marnheim identifies her father as “Hanss Jacob Goering, Hoffmann auf dem Harre Hoff.” A Hofmann managed a farm for a landowner, often a local nobleman. Hanss Jacob’s father is described as a Hofmann in 1686, so it’s possible that Wolff Wilhelm’s influence helped his son gain this position.
A 1854 history of the Kirchheim-Bolanden area mentions the “Hawen Hof” among the properties appearing on a 1639 list of estates in the Albisheim area. In that era, the estate belonged to a branch of the noble family of Nassau and was responsible for providing grain, peas, lentils and hay to landlords and to the community of Albisheim. The farm was to hold no more than 12 cattle and 25 sheep. In 1868, the farm – more of a hamlet by this time – had 33 residents and 10 buildings. (6) In the 21st century, Heyerhof lies about a mile northeast of Marnheim and has about 20 residents.
About two years after Catharina’s birth, the Goerings moved to Albisheim, which is about 3 miles northeast of Marnheim. (7) George Michel’s birth in 1700 was the family’s first entry in the church books of their new home. (8) That was followed by Anna Margaretha’s birth in 1702. Sadly, Anna Margaretha died when she was a little more than a year old. As was common among German families, the Goerings gave their next daughter the same name when she was born 11 months later.
The years 1708 and 1709 must have been traumatic for the family. On June 15, 1708, Hanss Jacob’s wife Catharina died. She was buried on June 19, and only five days later, Philip died – probably about 13 years old. It seems likely that they fell victim to an outbreak of disease. (9)
With three surviving children, Hanss Jacob didn’t wait long to marry again. Five months after Catharina’s death, Hanss Jacob wed Maria Barbara Ercken on Nov. 11, 1708. She was the daughter of Hanss Peter Ercken.
However, less than four months after the wedding, Maria Barbara died on March 4, 1709. (10)
Once again, Hanss Jacob married quickly. Four months after Maria Barbara’ death, he married Maria Margretha Dihlmann on July 23, 1709. She was the daughter of Johannes Dihlmann. (11)
Maria Margretha gave birth to six children over the following 14 years. Only Johann Friederich, who was born in 1716, appears to have died young. He passed on March 28, 1725.
Hanss Jacob Goering died Jan. 27, 1739, in Albisheim and was buried two days later. He was 69 years old. (12)
(1) Hanss Jacob Goering appears in the records of Marnheim and Albisheim, which are now in the Rheinland-Pfalz. The Marnheim records are in the Ancestry.com database “Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971,” which contains images of the original church book pages. Another helpful source is a collection of note cards recording information from the Marnheim church books, which is in “Kirchenbuchkartei, A-J, ca. 1648-1800,” available at FamilySearch.org. The Albisheim records appear in “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marraiges, and Burials, 1553-1973,” available at Ancestry.com. He also appears – as John Jacob Goehring – in “Record of the Goehring Family Descended from Wolfgang William Goehring, Born About 1638 in Albisheim, Germany,” by John M. Goehring, Pittsburgh, 1911. This genealogy says John Jacob Goehring married Maria Margaret Kuchler and had the following children: John Philip, born in 1695 and died in 1708; George Michael, born in 1700; Sebastian, born in 1712; John Balthaser, born in 1718; John Frederick, born in 1719 and died in 1723; and Gerhardt, born in 1723. Church records show that this man had many more children – and at least two more wives. (2) Hanss Jacob was married at least three times. Sources and information concerning these marriages will appear in the appropriate places in the narrative. The 1911 Goehring genealogy says “John Jacob” married Maria Margaret Kuchler. However, that marriage doesn’t seem to appear in the German records. (3) Most of the baptisms, marriages and deaths of Hanss Jacob’s children are listed in “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burial, 1556-1973,” available at Ancestry.com. Exceptions follow. The birth of Johann Philip does not appear in the records of Marnheim or Albisheim. The 1911 Goehring genealogy says this children was born in 1695. If that is the case, it seems likely his birth would be found in the records of nearby Gauersheim, along with Hans Jacob’s first marriage. Christina and Gerhardt’s dates appear in “Germany, Select Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898,” available at Ancestry.com. (4) A German history of the area is contained in “Geschichte der herrschaft Kirchheim-Boladen und Stauf,” by Adolph Koellner, Weisbaden, 1854. (5) The date, location and bride’s name appear on note cards covering events mentioned in the Marnheim church books. The wedding occurred during a gap in the Marnheim marriage records caused by the French invasion. It seems likely that the card was based on records from Gauersheim, but these are not currently available online. (6) “Geschichte der herrschaft Kirchheim-Boladen und Stauf,” by Adolph Koellner, Weisbaden, 1854, page 234. The census date is from “Bavaria: Landes- un Volkskunde des Koenigreich Bayern,” Munich, 1868. (7) At this point, I cannot say how long Hanss Jacob served as Hofmann of this estate. Two years after the entry in the Marnheim baptismal registry, the family begins appearing in the records of neighboring Albisheim. Unfortunately, the quality of the information available online declines dramatically after this move. For Marnheim, images of original church book pages at Ancestry.com provide a bounty of information, Albisheim’s records are available only in databases containing transcribed data. These don’t list occupations, status, baptismal sponsors and relationships, which are vital to providing a thorough overview of an ancestor’s life. They also contain many errors, which makes searching difficult. (8) It should be noted that the 1700 baptismal record of Georg Michael Goehring seems to indicate yet another wife for Hanss Jacob. It says that Georg Michael was the son of Hanss Jacob Goering and Anna Maria. However, the reference to Anna Maria instead of Anna Catharine was probably an error by either the record keeper or the transcriber. Otherwise, an incredible five wives within a decade would be needed to account for all of the names in the birth records – the first Catharine, Anna Maria, another Catharine, Maria Barbara Ercken and Maria Margaretha Dihlmann. No deaths for another Catharine or an Anna Maria appear in the databases. (9) Some of this information is actually a bit problematic. Both deaths appear in “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1556-1973.” However, in the transcription of Catharina Goering’s death record, her father is identified as Hanss Jacob Goering. This seems very unlikely. First, the Catharina Goering who was born in 1698 was undoubtedly the same Catharina – daughter of Hanss Jacob Goering – who married Johann Diederich Franck in 1716. The church records don’t list any other daughters named Catharina for Hanss Goering. Second, the elder Catharina definitely died between the birth of the second Anna Margaretha in 1704 and Hanss Jacob’s marriage to Maria Barbara Ercken in 1709. No other death of a Catharina Goering appears in the database during this span of time. It seems virtually certain that images of the church book pages would confirm an error was a made. (10) Once again, the transcribed church records provide us with a problem. “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1556-1973,” lists the deceased Maria Barbara Goering as the newborn daughter of Hanns Jacob Goering. This seems incredibly unlikely. No birth of a Maria Barbara Goering is listed in the Albisheim records. Also, this death occurred less than four months after the marriage of Hanss Jacob and Maria Barbara and less than nine months after the death of Hans Jacob’s previous wife, Catharina. That makes it extremely unlikely that the child belonged to Hanss Jacob and Maria Barbara. In theory, Catharina could have given birth to a child named Maria Barbara just before she died and then Hanss Jacob married a woman with the same name, but that seems like too big a coincidence. Finally, this is the only death of a Maria Barbara Goering recorded in Albisheim between Hanss Jacob’s 1708 marriage and his next marriage in July 1709. (11) This seems to be the woman identified as Maria Margaret Kuchler in the 1911 Goehring genealogy. (12) Johan Jacob’s death is listed in “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1556-1973.”
GEORG MICHAEL and CATHERINE GOEHRING
Georg Michael Goering was born Feb. 1, 1700, to Johann Jacob Goering in Albisheim, in what is now Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. (1)
Married Maria Catharina Maurers on Feb. 15, 1724, in Albisheim. She was the daughter of Maerden Maurer. (2)
Barbara Goering, born June 3, 1724.
Johann Engelberth Goering, born July 20, 1725.
Christina Margaretha Goering, born June 28, 1729. Married Johannes Schauss.
Anne Margarethe Goehring, born Aug. 24, 1732.
Georg Michael was born in Albisheim and appears to have spent his entire life there. Unlike his father and grandfather, his occupation is unknown. However, German society was very structured at this time and there was relatively little social mobility. As a result, it seems likely that he was a member of the village’s small middle class.
Georg Michael died Aug. 31, 1767, in Albisheim and was buried Sept. 1, 1767. He was 67 years old. (4)
(1) Georg Michael’s birth is listed at “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1556-1973,” available on Ancestry.com. This record lists him mother as Anna Maria. However, other church records point toward his mother as being a woman named Anna Catharina. His mother is listed as Maria Margaret Kuchler in “Record of the Goehring Family Descended from Wolfgang William Goehring, Born About 1638 in Albisheim, Germany,” compiled by John M. Goehring in 1911. However, if have found no evidence that indicates Hanss Jacob Goering every married a woman with that name. (2) The wedding appears in “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burial, 1556-1973.” (3) The children’s baptisms are recorded in “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burial, 1556-1973.” The 1911 Goehring genealogy lists only one child, Johann Engelberth. (4) “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1556-1973,” available at Ancestry.com.
JOHANN ENGEL and ANNA MARGARETHE GOEHRING
Johann Engelberth Goehring was born July 20, 1725, to Georg Michael Goehring and Maria Catharina Maurer in Albisheim, in what is now Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. (1)
Married Anna Margretha Weylen on Aug. 1, 1753, in Albisheim. She was the daughter of Gottfried Weyel and Anna Margretha Seybert. She was baptized Jan. 6, 1721, in Albisheim. (2).
Henrich Wilhelm Weylin, later listed as Goehring, born Oct. 2, 1750.
Philippine Gertraud Goehring, born Feb. 22, 1754.
Johann Baltzer Gohring, born Sept. 5, 1755.
Anne Margrethe Goehring, born Oct. 21, 1758.
Anna Maria Goehring, born Feb. 1, 1761. Died Dec. 9, 1770.
Johannes Goehring, born Aug. 1, 1763.
Marie Barbara Goehring, born Feb. 1, 1766.
Maria Elisabetha Gohring, born April 30, 1769. Died Jan. 20, 1771.
Johann Jacob Goehring, born Dec. 18, 1771.
Although he is listed as Johann Engelberth in his baptismal record, later church records almost always refer to him as simply Johann Engel. Also, Goehring – actually Göhring in the German spelling – became the dominant form of the surname in church records during this generation.
The first child of Johann Engel and Anna Margaretha was born three years before their wedding in 1753. As a result, the child is listed as Henrich Wilhelm Weylin – using his mother’s maiden name – even though the church record identifies his father as Johann Engel Goehring. In subsequent records, his surname is always listed as Goehring.
It seems likely that Johann Engel was born into Albisheim’s small middle class. His grandfather and great-grandfather had been managers of large farms and his son Henrich Wilhelm became a school master. The full copies of the church records that could reveal more about Johann Engel’s occupation and status aren’t available online.
After they finally got married, Johann Engel and Anna Margretha had eight more children. Two of them died in childhood – Anna Maria in 1770 at age 9 and Maria Elisabetha in 1771 at age 1.
At least three of the family’s sons immigrated to America. Heinrich Wilhelm first moved to Keskastel in Alsace, France, about 1771. He then immigrated to America about 1801. His brother Johannes immigrated to America in 1818 and settled on land beside his brother. (4) Johannes later moved to New Sewickley Township, Beaver County, Pa. Johann Jacob also immigrated at some point and is listed near his brother Johannes in the 1840 Census of New Sewickley Township. (5) It seems likely that Henry William – as he was known in America –wrote letters home to Europe encouraging his family to follow in his footsteps.
The 1911 Goehring genealogy describes this migration. “Henry William Goehring, John Goehring and John Jacob Goehring, came to America, with their families between the years of 1818 and 1821. They landed at Baltimore, some members of the families remaining there, others came on to Lancaster, Penna., and from there some came later to Beaver County, and others settled at Robbstown, now West Newton, Westmoreland County, Penna.”
Johann Engel remained in Albisheim, where died April 23, 1814. He was 88 years old. (6)
(1) His parents and birth date are listed in “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burial, 1556-1973,” available at Ancestry.com. (2) The marriage information appears in “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burial, 1556-1973.” The bride is identified as Anna Margaret Werl in “Record of the Goehring Family Descended from Wolfgang William Goehring, Born About 1638 in Albisheim, Germany,” compiled by John M. Goehring in 1911. “Werl” is probably a misreading of the spellings used in the German records – Weylin, Weÿlen, Weilin and other variants. (3) The children’s baptisms are listed in “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burial, 1556-1973.” Only four children are listed in the 1911 genealogy: Henry William, John Balthasar, John and John Jacob. (4) Information on Johannes’ immigration comes from his death notice in the records of St. John’s Burry’s Church outside of Rochester, Beaver County, Pa. A copy of the record is available at Ancestry.com. Johannes married Marie Margarethe Schlosser, on Jan. 21, 1801, in Albisheim. (5) Johann Jacob’s wife was Elisabethe Poseinerin, according to baptismal records in “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1556-1973.” (6) “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1556-1973.”
HENRY WILLIAM and CATHARINE GOEHRING
Heinrich Wilhelm Goehring was born Oct. 2, 1750, to Johann Engel Goehring and Anna Margaretha Weylen in Albisheim, in what is now Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. (1)
Married Anna Catharine Baehr, probably about 1769. Catharine was born April 2, 1747. (2)
Sophia Catharina Goehring, born April 25, 1770. Died May 20, 1784. (4)
Wilhelm Henrich Goehring, born June 4, 1772. Died July 2, 1786.
Johann Adam Goehring, born Jan. 28, 1776.
Anna Barbara Goehring, born Nov. 23, 1777.
Friederica Dorothea Goehring, born Oct. 7, 1779. Married Christian Buhl.
Karl Peter Goehring, born Sept. 1, 1781. Later known as Charles.
Catharina Goehring, born Oct. 3, 1784. Married John Stamm.
Maria Magdalena Goehring, born Dec. 22, 1786. Married Jacob Wurster.
Eva Charlotta Goehring, born March 18, 1790. Married Francis Burkhart. (5)
William Goehring, born after 1786, probably after 1790. (6)
Sophia Goehring, probably born after 1790. Married Theobald Reeb. (7)
Rebecca Goehring, probably born after 1790. Married John Rosebach. (8)
Christian Goehring, born about 1794. (9)
The early settler of Butler County, Pa., known as Henry William Goehring was born in the village of Albisheim, in Germany’s Rhineland, about 15 miles west of the city of Worms. His birth was illegitimate, coming roughly three years before his parents married. As a result, he was christened Henrich Wilhelm Weylin, using his mother’s maiden name rather than his father’s surname. However, the record keeper at Albisheim’s Lutheran parish didn’t neglect to mention the father’s name: Johann Engel Goehring.
No records have materialized concerning details of Heinrich Wilhelm’s first 20 years, but the very first record available from his adulthood reveals much had transpired during that time. By 1772, he had gotten married, obtained enough education to become a schoolmaster and moved to France.
It is uncertain where or when Heinrich Wilhelm met and married Anna Catharine Baehr. Judging from the birth date of their first child – Sophia Catharina, born April 25, 1770 – it seems likely that they got married about 1769, when he was 19 and she was 22, possibly while he was still studying.
The fact that Heinrich Wilhelm received a thorough education is an indication that his family was relatively prosperous or that he had impressed someone who had money and influence. Education was rare among German farmers and it appears that Heinrich Wilhelm’s descendants were proud of his accomplishment. In 1895 – 65 years after his death – a profile in “History of Butler County, Pennsylvania,” alludes to this, saying, “Before immigrating to this country, he was a teacher in the public schools of Germany, and was a man of very good education.” (10)
At some point before 1772, the family moved to the French town of Keskastel. In June of that year, the schoolmaster Henrich Wilhelm Goehring and his wife, Anna Catharina, born Baehrin, were in the Protestant church in Keskastel to have their son Wilhelm Henrich baptized.
The family’s new home was only about 80 miles to the southeast of Albisheim, and was situated northwest of Strasbourg France. Today, it falls within the Bas-Rhin department of Alsace. The region had been German during the Middle Ages but was conquered by France during the 17th century. Despite this development, the French permitted the German language to be used in administration and allowed Protestant churches to continue functioning, even after Protestantism was suppressed in other parts of France. This might explain why a school teacher was brought from Germany to Keskastel. (11)
Over the next 18 years, the schoolmaster and his wife had seven more children in Keskastel. The last child to appear in the baptismal records of town’s Protestant church was Eva Charlotta, who was born in 1790. During this time, the couple also lost two children. Sophia Catharina died in 1784 at age 14 and Wilhelm Heinrich died two years later at age 14.
Meanwhile, society was changing dramatically around the family. The French Revolution erupted in 1789 and devolved into the Reign of Terror by 1793 and 1794. In those tumultuous years, the revolution seems to have had an impact on the family.
Since 1772, Heinrich Wilhelm had been identified as a schoolmaster – Schulmeister – in the church records. However, in 1793, he apparently was given additional responsibility in the parish – perhaps because the pastor had fled the anti-clerical purges or had been removed. “Henrich Wilhelm Goehring Officiant” appears at the bottom of many baptismal and marriage records in Keskastel in 1793 – or Year One of the new revolutionary calendar. It seems that the schoolmaster was now responsible for functions typically performed by the pastor. As the months passed, Heinrich Wilhelm’s signature changed to “Goerhing” or “H.W. Goehring,” always with a large flourish beneath.
However, in early 1794, his name was replaced by others at the bottom of the records. It seems likely that Heinrich Wilhelm had left the area. Possible evidence of a departure in that year is the fact that Christian Goehring’s birth was not entered into the Keskastel records even though he was born about 1794, according to his tombstone.
It’s possible that the family returned to the Rhineland. The death record of Maria Magdalene Wurster says that she was born in “Kess Kastel” but that she had immigrated with her parents from Bavaria.
The family’s date of immigration to the United States is uncertain. The 1895 “History of Butler County” says he “was one of the early settlers of Butler county, Pennsylvania, where he located about 1801.” Heinrich Wilhelm’s death record at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Zelienople, Pa., says he “arrived in Cranberry Township in 1801.” However, the death records of his daughters Anna Catharine Stamm and Maria Magdalena Wurster each say that the deceased woman immigrated with her parents in 1803. (12)
It appears that the family landed in Baltimore, Md., after sailing across the Atlantic. The 1911 Goehring genealogy states this but there also seems to be a reference to it in Heinrich Wilhelm’s will. In recounting gifts that he had given to his children over the years, he states, “My daughter Sophia received in Baltimore Eighty dollars from me.”
After immigration, English-language records usually refer to Heinrich Wilhelm as Henry William, though Henry, William and William Henry occasionally pop up. His surname also appears in a variety of spellings, though the most common form is Goehring – the English spelling of Göhring.
On June 18, 1806, Henry Goehring purchased 216 acres in Butler County for $325.45. The land was known as “fruitful Manor.” The deed says he was “of the County of Butler,” which indicates that the family was already living in the county. (13)
The 1810 Census lists W. Geering in Cranberry Township. His household contained one male age 10-15; one male 16-25; one male 45 and older; two females 10-15; two females 16-25; and one female 45 and older.
At least two of Heinrich Wilhelm’s brothers followed him to Western Pennsylvania. Johannes immigrated to America in 1818 and settled on land beside his brother. (14) Johannes later moved to New Sewickley Township in neighboring Beaver County. Johann Jacob also immigrated at some point and is listed near his brother Johannes in the 1840 Census of New Sewickley Township. (15) It seems likely that the eldest brother wrote letters home to Europe encouraging his family to follow in his footsteps. (16)
In 1820, the census lists Wm. H. Göhring in Cranberry Township. The household consisted of one male age 16-25; one male 45 and older; one female under 10; and one female 16-25. Two people were engaged in agriculture. (None of the females seems to correspond with Catharine. It’s likely a mark was made in the wrong age column since Catharine was still alive at this point.) The household is listed next to those of his sons Adam and Charles and his brother John.
In 1821, Heinrich Wilhelm was among the founding members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Zelienople. A profile of the church in the 1883 “History of Butler County Pennsylvania,” provides information about its early days. “This congregation was formed in 1821 by Rev. Schweitzerbarth, who continued to be its pastor for thirty years. Upon the church records we find that the church council in 1821 was as follows: Trustees, H.W. Goehring, C.O. Mueller, P.L. Passavant; Elders, Jacob Gross, Francis Pfeffer, Daniel Fiedler, Jacob Herberling; Deacons, Christian Buhl, John Lambert, Adam Goehring, George Hertzel. At first the meetings were held in the town hall, the schoolhouse, the old church in Harmony and elsewhere. The stone church, which this congregation has occupied for over fifty-six years, was erected in 1826.” The church’s first confirmation class, which graduated 3 1821, was packed with Henry William’s grandchildren. (17)
Catharine died March 12, 1821. Her death is the first entered in St. Paul’s records. (18)
On Oct. 6, 1829, “Henry William Goehring of Cranberry township” wrote his will. He gave his real estate to his unmarried daughters Barbara and Charlotte – who received 60 acres each – and to Christian, who received the remainder. After that, Henry William took great pains to ensure that most of his children received equal shares of his personal property. However, he singled out William to receive less than the other, stating, “My son William hath at different times received from me money and other things, therefore he shall get nothing more of my estate.” The estate papers also show that Henry William owned at the time of his death two horses, a bull, four cows, eight sheep and 11 bee hives.
Henry William died Sept. 9, 1830. (19)
The Goehrings are buried in the Zelienople Borough cemetery. Henry William’s tombstone has crumbled over time and been replaced by a modern plague. Catharine’s original store is still in place.
(1) Henry William Goehring’s baptism is recorded in the records of Albisheim, Germany, which are available at “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1556-1973,” available at Ancestry.com. However, some explanation is needed. He was baptized on Oct. 4, 1750, as Henrich Wilhelm Weylin, using his mother’s surname since his parents were not yet married. The baptismal record identifies his father as Johann Engel Goerhing. The baptismal record lists his date of birth as Oct. 2, but it should be noted that other records indicate different dates. It is listed as Oct. 1, in his death record in “St. Paul’s German Lutheran and Reformed Church, Zelienople, Butler County, Pennsylvania,” transcribed by Gertrude Mohlin Ziegler, page 150. In addition, a receipted for his tombstone says the inscription was to say that he died Sept. 9, 1830, at age 79 years, 11 months and 10 days, which gives a birth date of Oct. 20. The tombstone is badly worn and can no longer be read. The receipt is available in the Butler County wills in “Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993,” at Ancestry.com. It should be noted that the connection to Albisheim was originally established in “Record of the Goehring Family Descended from Wolfgang William Goehring, Born About 1638 in Albisheim, Germany,” compiled by John M. Goehring in 1911. While this can be a valuable resource, it contains quite a few errors in specific details. (2) Catharine is identified as Henry William’s wife in church records of Keskastel. Her birth date comes from St. Paul’s death record, page 147. The church records of Keskastel, which are written in German, refer to her as Anna Catharina Baehrin. American sources usually spell her name “Baer,” probably based on Henry William’s death record on page 150 of St. Paul’s records. The American record drops the “h,” which would have been silent, as well as final “in,” which was added to the surnames of women in most German records to indicate femininity. (3) Most of the children’s births and baptisms – as well as some deaths – appear in the records of the Protestant church of Keskastel, Bas-Rhin, France, which are available in the regional archive’s website, archives.bas-rhin.fr. Information about William, Sophia, Rebecca and Christian could not be found in the Keskastel records, which have some gaps during the period of the French Revolution. William, Sophia and Christian are named among the sons and daughters in Henry William’s estate papers in Butler County, Pa., estate file G25 and Will Book A, page 190. These papers also list the names of the husbands of most of the daughters. For information on Rebecca, see the note below. (4) Sophia Catharina’s birth is not recorded in the Keskastel, but her death is. Her birth date is calculated based on her age at death. The Goehrings named another daughter Catharine just a few months after the death of this child in May 1784. They also named a subsequent daughter Sophia, which causes some confusion in the 1911 genealogy, which uses a 1772 birth date for the younger daughter. (5) The husband of Charlotte, who was single when her father wrote his will, is listed in “History of Butler County.” Charlotte’s tombstone identifies her husband as Franz Burckhart. See Scharlotta Goring at Findagrave.com. Most American records list him as Francis. (6) A son named William appears in Henry William’s will but it has been difficult to locate information that is indisputably about this man. The 1911 Goehring genealogy and many subsequent researchers have mistakenly identified this William as the Heinrich Wilhelm who was born in Keskastel in 1772. However, Keskastel records list the death of Wilhelm Heinrich Goehring, son of H.W. Goehring the schoolmaster, on July 2, 1786, at the age of 14 years, 28 days. This indisputably proves that the William who appears in Henry William’s will was not born in 1772. In addition, the first William died in July 1786 and Magdalene was born that December making it certain that the second William could not have been born before 1787 – 15 years later. (7) Sophia is another child whose birth date was confused by the 1911 genealogy. See the note for Sophia Catharina above for details. The 1911 genealogy says that she married a man named Rape. This was Theobald Reeb who signed a receipt in the estate papers and appears in the records of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Zelienople. (8) Rebecca is not mentioned by name in the estate papers, but her husband John Rosebach is listed in the estate papers among the children and their spouses who received a legacy. Rebecca is listed among Henry William’s children and “John Roseboro” is identified as her husband in “History of Butler County, Pennsylvania,” published in 1895 by R. C. Brown & Company. The 1911 Goehring genealogy says Rebecca married a man named Ross. Rebecca’s husband signed his own name Rosebach in a receipt included in the estate papers. The 1830 Census for Connoquenessing Township, Butler County, Pa., indicates that the household of John Rosebaugh contained women who were ages 30-39 and 40-49, so Rebecca’s age cannot be estimated. However, it seems most likely that she was born after 1794, when the Goehrings left Keskastel. (9) Christian’s approximate birth date comes from his tombstone, which says he was 40 when he died in 1834. If he was born in 1794, but would correspond with the disappearance of Henry William from the Keskastel records. For Christian’s tombstone information, see page 1 of the Zelienople Borough cemetery listing in “Butler County Cemetery Inventory, Vol. 4,” by the Butler County Historical Society. (10) The profile – listing its subject as William Henry Goehring – appears in “History of Butler County, Pennsylvania,” published by R. C. Brown & Company in 1895, page 1167. (11) American accounts of the Goehring family might appear to be confused about their European origins but this is a reflection of changing borders. Today’s maps show Albisheim in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, and Keskastel near the city of Strasburg in Alsace, France. However, in Heinrich Wilhelm’s day, continuing through World War II, Albisheim was part of Bavaria, which is reflected in the 1911 Goehring genealogy. And a 1895 profile of his son Charles, mentions he “was born near the city of Strasburg, Germany, in 1782.” Though German during the Middle Ages, Strasburg and Alsace were actually French territory in the 1700s. But the area was recaptured by Germany in the 1871 Franco-Prussian War and remained German territory until the close of World War I, which makes the 1895 account correct for its time period. (12) Heinrich Wilhelm’s death record is in “St. Paul’s German Lutheran and Reformed Church, Zelienople, Butler County, Pennsylvania,” transcribed by Gertrude Mohlin Ziegler, page 150. Maria Magdalene Wurster’s death notice appears in the records of St. John’s Burry’s Church, outside of Rochester, Beaver County, Pa. An image of it is posted on Ancestry.com. Anna Catharine’s is in “St. Peter’s German Evangelical Protestant United Church, Zelienople, Butler County, Pennsylvania,” transcribed by Gertrude Mohlin Ziegler, page 114. (13) The 1806 deed appears in Butler County Deed Book B, page 171. (14) Information on Johannes’ immigration comes from his death notice in the records of St. John’s Burry’s Church outside of Rochester, Beaver County, Pa. A copy of the record is available at Ancestry.com. Johannes married Marie Margarethe Schlosser, on Jan. 21, 1801, in Albisheim, according to the record at “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1556-1973.” Heinrich Wilhelm’s will mentions that his land adjoined that of Johannes Goehring. (15) Johann Jacob’s wife was Elisabethe Poseinerin, according to their children’s baptismal records in “Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1556-1973.” (16) The 1911 Goehring genealogy notes the arrival of the three brothers, though the information seems to refer primarily to John (Johannes) and John Jacob: “Henry William Goehring, John Goehring and John Jacob Goehring, came to America, with their families between the years of 1818 and 1821. They landed at Baltimore, some members of the families remaining there, others came on to Lancaster, Penna., and from there some came later to Beaver County, and others settled at Robbstown, now West Newton, Westmoreland County, Penna.” (17) “History of Butler County, Pennsylvania,” by Waterman, Watkins & Co., of 1883, page 211. Trustee position also listed in St. Paul’s records, pages viii and 1. The St. Paul’s website says the church was organized Sept. 12, 1821. (18) Burial is listed in “Butler County Cemetery Inventory, Vol. 4,” page 1. (19) In Henry William’s estate papers, there’s a receipt for a tombstone with the following inscription: “In Memory of Henry William Goehring. Died September 9th 1830 aged 79 years 11 months and 10 days.” The papers can be found in Butler County, Pa., Probate File G25, available at “Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records,” on Ancestry.com