Brickwall ancestors: We all have them—those predecessors who seem to appear out of nowhere, whose past we cannot trace, whose parents we cannot identify.
Today, I will present one of my dead-end ancestors and provide what little information that I have on him. Hopefully, someone, somewhere, will be able to help me discover the missing pieces of his life.
On this day, 25 January 1719, Peter Lang, my 8th great-grandfather, passed away.
He was born circa 1649, in Schifferstadt, a town located in the Bishopric of Speyer, Holy Roman Empire (now in the Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany).
Since no details about Peter Lang’s childhood are known, I will provide some history about his hometown instead. The town of Schifferstadt was founded in the early Middle Ages. Schifferstadt, under the control of the Bishopric of Speyer, was first mentioned in religious documents of the year 614. The Bishopric of Speyer began in the late 7th Century and belonged to the Upper Rhenish Circle of the Holy Roman Empire. The Bishopric of Speyer, one of the smallest principalities of the Holy Roman Empire, was made up of more than half a dozen separate enclaves totaling approximately 28 square miles on both banks of the Rhine River.
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. In 1035, it was known as Sciferstat. The German word schiff means ship, while stadt means city. Schifferstadt’s name is attributed to the rafting on nearby Rehbach River, a tributary of the Rhine River.
During the Thirty Year’s War, fought between 23 May 1618 and 15 May 1648, the area around Schifferstadt was ravaged and torched by both Spanish and Swedish invaders. Thankfully, an accord was achieved with the Peace of Westphalia, a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648, thereby ending the war between Catholics and Protestants. About a year after the Peace of Westphalia, Peter was born.
In 1690, when Peter was about 41 years of age, he married Anna Barbara Sturm (parents unknown).
Circa 1690, daughter Anna Veronica Lang, my 7th great-grandmother, was born in Schifferstadt.
About 13 years later, on 10 Jan 1713, Anna Veronica Lang wed Hans Michael Thomas, son of Christian Thomas and Anna Margaretha (surname unknown), in Schifferstadt.
Only six years after his daughter’s wedding, Peter Lang died in Schifferstadt on 25 January 1719.