On this day, 310 years ago, a man by the name of Christian Thomas passed away. He was my 8th great-grandfather.
Christian Thomas was born circa 1655, in Schifferstadt, a town in the Bishopric of Speyer (now Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany). His father was Alexander Thomas; his mother’s name is unknown.
Since absolutely nothing is known of Christian’s early life, here’s a little history of where he lived. Schifferstadt was founded in the early Middle Ages. The town was created by the Frankish royal court. Louis II, the first king of East Francia, recorded the town of Sciffestad in a document, dated 25 May 868. Circa 977, the town was recorded as Skeferstat, and in 1035, it was known as Sciferstat. The German word schiff means ship, while the German word stadt means city. Schifferstadt’s name originated from the rafting that took place the Rehbach River, a tributary of the Rhine River. During the Thirty Year’s War, which raged from 23 May 1618 through 15 May 1648, the around Schifferstadt was damaged and burned by Spanish and Swedish invaders. The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648, ending the European wars of religion.
These wars had been waged between Catholics and Protestants. Schifferstadt, under the control of the diocese of Speyer, was first mentioned in religious documents in 614. The Bishopric of Speyer began in the late 7th Century. The bishopric of Speyer belonged to the Upper Rhenish Circle of the Holy Roman Empire. One of the smallest principalities of the Holy Roman Empire, it consisted of more than half a dozen separate enclaves totaling about 28 square miles on both sides of the Rhine River. In Christian Thomas’ life, there were two bishops of Speyer: Lothar Friedrich von Metternich-Burscheid and Johann Hugo von Orsbeck.
Speaking of Christian Thomas, let’s get back to his life. The next time Christian Thomas appears in records is in 1678, when he married Anna Margaretha (surname unknown).
In 1679, Christian Thomas was mentioned in the records of Klein Schifferstadt, Bishopric of Speyer.
In 1680, the couple welcomed daughter Cathrina Elisabetha Thomas to their lives.
Sometime after Cathrina’s birth, an unnamed infant son was born and died.
Circa 1686, son Heinrich Thomas joined the family.
The final known child was Johannes (Hans) Michael Thomas, who was born on 3 October 1688. Hans Michael Thomas was my 7th great-grandfather.
On 23 November 1700, daughter Cathrina Elisabeth Thomas married Joseph Brunnen in the Evangelisch (Protestant Church) of Iggelheim, a town about five miles from Schifferstadt.
Then, on 24 February 1708, Christian Thomas died in the Klein Schifferstadt area of the Bishopric of Speyer (in the Schifferstadt/Iggelheim area).