On this day, 29 October 1692, Johannes Achenbach passed away. He was my 9th great-grandfather.
Johannes Achenbach was born on born in early July 1637, to parents Johannes Achenbach and Anna Catharina Lotsheidt in the town of Anstoß, Prussia (then part of the Holy Roman Empire but now in the modern-day state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany). He was christened on 19 July 1637, at the Protestant church (Evangelische Kirche) of Freudenberg.
Little is known of young Johannes’ life. Unfortunately, the first decade of his life was marred by the Thirty Years War, a religious conflict that remains one of the longest and most brutal wars in human history. More than eight million people perished; famine and disease were rampant. In Germany alone, approximately 20 percent of the total population died with losses up to 50 percent in the area between the Black Forest and Pomerania.
The Thirty Years War began in 1618 between the Catholic and Protestant states that formed the Holy Roman Empire. However, as the war evolved, it became less about religion and more about power. Cessation of the conflict came with the Peace of Westphalia, a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648.
Although records of Johannes Achenbach’s childhood are difficult to locate, he again was recorded in parish records when he was nearly 24 years old. In May 1661, Johannes Achenbach married Anna Catharina Wirth, daughter of Lorentz and Elsa, at the Evangelische Kirche Freudenberg.
Together, Johannes and Anna Catharina had several children. On 24 February 1663, their first known child, a daughter named Elizabeth, was born in Anstoß. About two weeks later, on 8 March 1663, Elizabeth Achenbach was christened at the Evangelische Kirche Freudenberg.
Son Tillman Achenbach was welcomed to the family’s Anstoß home on 16 September 1666. One week later, on 23 September 1666, baby Tillman was christened at the Evangelische Kirche Freudenberg.
Daughter Ann Magdalena Achenbach arrived on 19 March 1668 in Anstoß. She was christened ten days later on 29 March 1668, at the Evangelische Kirche Freudenberg.
Anna Maria Achenbach (my 8th great-grandmother), was born on 1 January 1673. Eleven days later, on 12 January 1673, little Anna Maria was christened at the Evangelische Kirche Freudenberg.
Nearly two decades passed with no reference to Johannes Achenbach in local records. The next time he appeared in parish records was on 4 March 1691, when his daughter Ann Magdalena Achenbach married Alexander Becker, the son of Heinrich Becker, in the Protestant Church of nearby Siegen.
A little over a year later, on 29 October 1692, Johannes Achenbach died in Anstoß. He was only 55 years old.