First, here's an article I just wrote with more specifics about the particular question of which Jacob Sommer descended from Freistett, Germany and lived in colonial Philadelphia - Jacob, the Judge, 1758-1827, or Jacob, the Carriage-Maker, 1749-1817?
So who's going to join me in putting together a research plan to solve this puzzle? How do we really know which Jacob Sommer lived in Moreland and was the judge, and which lived in Germantown and was the carriage-maker, and which one was from Freistett? What evidence would help us?
- a death record or probate record for Jacob the Carriage-Maker who died supposedly in 1817. This might mention his family relationships. Note that I have already located the will for Leonard Sommer and it does not mention Jacob or any carriage business.
- any record but especially a death record for the Johannes Sommer who lived in Germantown. We do know that Johannes Sommer who died in 1792 was not buried in Germantown, but at the St. Michael's Zion and Lutheran Church in PHL, and that record states he had come from Freistett. It also said that he was 68 years old, so the father of Jacob the Carriage-Maker would also need to have been born in 1724.
- any records that might establish relationships, specifically
- the parental relationship for either Jacob the Carriage-Maker or Jacob the Judge. This would go a long way to differentiating the two men.
- the brother relationship between Georg, John, and Martin Sommer. Freistett records establish men with these names had the same parents, and passenger list for the ship Brothers in 1752 had all three of these names, and the death records in America of two men with these names refer to Freistett. It would nevertheless be good to find more solid evidence of their relationship in America.
- any records that might suggest relationships, for example, baptismal records for children. The sponsors are sometimes, if not often, relatives. Unfortunately, I don't see much evidence in the baptismal records (that I can find so far) for the children of Georg and Johannes that they were sponsored by other Sommer family. However, there are several cases with Martin's children where both his supposed brothers participated as sponsors.
- a possible immigration record for a John or Jacob Sommer other than the ship Brothers in 1752. Whoever the “other” Jacob was, we don't know where he came from or when he came to PHL, of even if he came with parents. It's curious that several family trees list the birth date of Jacob Sommer the Carriage-Maker as April 29, 1749, and when I search family search I find:
Name: Johann Jacob Sommer
Event Date: 1750
Birth Date: 29 Apr 1750
Birth Year: 1750
Christening Date: 30 Apr 1750
Christening Place: Bönnigheim, Württemberg, Germany
Father's Name: Jacob Sommer
Mother's Name: Maria Catharina
System Origin: Germany-EASy GS Film Number: 1184904 Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C95430-4
Citing this Record: "Deutschland, Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NLST-GB3 : accessed 3 January 2015), Johann Jacob Sommer, 30 Apr 1750; citing ; FHL microfilm 1,184,904.
Notice this birth date is off by exactly one year, which seems slightly NOT coincidental. But also notice the father's name is not Johannes. But don't we also know this wouldn't be the first time we've discovered that the information handed gets somehow garbled along the way? So if this record DOES belong to Jacob the Carriage-Maker, when did he arrive in PHL, and did he arrive alone or with his parents?
Comments are welcome!