Anna Margaretha Thomas

On this day, 312 years ago, Anna Margaretha Thomas (my 8th great-grandmother) passed away.

Born in 1656 in Schifferstadt, a town in the Bishopric of Speyer (now Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany), Anna Margaretha’s parents are unknown.

Since absolutely nothing is known about Anna Margaretha’s childhood, here’s a little history about her hometown. Founded in the early Middle Ages, Schifferstadt was created by the Frankish royal court. Louis II was the first king of East Francia.

The town was recorded as Sciffestad in a document dated 25 May 868. Circa 977, the town was written as Skeferstat, while in 1035, it was known as Sciferstat. The German words schiff and stadt mean ship and city, respectively. Schifferstadt’s name originated from the rafting that took place on the Rehbach River, a tributary of the Rhine River.

During the Thirty Year’s War, which was waged from 23 May 1618 through 15 May 1648, the area 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 Anna Margaretha’s life, there were two bishops of Speyer: Lothar Friedrich von Metternich-Burscheid and Johann Hugo von Orsbeck.

Speaking of Anna Margaretha, let’s get back to her life. The next time she appears in records is in 1678, when she married Christian Thomas, son of Alexander Thomas.

In 1680, the couple welcomed daughter Cathrina Elisabetha Thomas into their lives.

Sadly, 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 approximately five miles from Schifferstadt.

On 10 January 1706, son Heinrich Thomas wed Maria Catherina Lill, daughter of Johannes Casper Lill and Maria Anna Kraus.

Then, sadness came to Anna Margaretha’s life when her 53-year-old husband, Christian Thomas, died on 24 February 1708.

The next year on 12 October 1709, Anna Margaretha Thomas died and was buried in the town where she was born. She too was only 53 years old.

Categories: Everyday People, On This Day, Taylor-Thomas Line | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Charles Stark

On this day, 22 July 1882, Charles Stark passed away. He was my 3rd great-grandfather.

Born on 10 December 1802, in Pendleton, Anderson County, South Carolina, Charles Stark was the son of James Benjamin Stark and Rebecca Geary.  Charles was the couple’s second child, joining older brother Thomas Geary Stark, who was born 13 May 1801.

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Categories: Everyday People, On This Day, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ABCs & Our Family Trees: Letters P and Q

I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the series of blog posts by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy. I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.


This is the fourteenth installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)

Well, since I already covered the N and O names, it’s time to mind our Ps and Qs:

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Categories: Surnames from A to Z | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Color-Coded Ancestry

Approximately five years ago, a family history blogger, J. Paul Hawthorne, a.k.a. the GeneaSpy, came up with a simple process of keeping track of his family’s birthplaces, using color-coded charts. He posted his idea on his blog, and that idea inspired others. What started as an easy way for him to trace his family places of origin quickly went viral, and amateur genealogists everywhere answered the call to color-code their charts.

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Categories: Miscellaneous Musings | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Book Review: Blue Desert

Like the surf undulating against the shore, the sands of the Sahara ebb and flow with the wind. Alice George watches the English waters, recalling the life she left behind years ago when she roamed the desert with the Tuareg, a tribe of nomadic warriors. Separated by decades and distance, it had been easy to keep these two lives far removed from one another, that is, until circumstances cause her past and present to collide and Alice’s carefully crafted existence to crumble.

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