Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sommers at St. Michael's

Another place I visited on my recent research trip was the Lutheran Archives in Germantown, PA.  I went there in hopes of finding the original church records for any of "our" Lutheran churches, specifically the "Straw" church in Philipsburg, the Oldwick church, and St. John's and Christ Evangelical in Easton.  Sadly, it did not take long to determine that the archives does not hold any original records from any of these churches.  The librarian said that the churches themselves probably still hold the records, and in fact he said that the Oldwick church had recently contacted them asking for advice about how to store their records.  So, it was disappointing.

But I did notice while looking at their bookshelf that there were books pertaining to two St. Michael's churches in Philadelphia.  I am most familiar with St. Michael's Lutheran and Zion Church where we found a treasure trove of records pertaining mostly to the Menge family and to a lesser extent to our Sommer family (both our Freistett and Hoch-Weisel families).  But there was another church called St. Michael's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germantown.  I asked the librarian about it and he gave an excellent accounting of the two different churches, which I'm sorry to say I cannot recount in very much detail thanks to apparent memory overload.  But I did take a gander at and make copies from the book pertaining to the Germantown church.  What should I find but, among other things, the baptism record for Johannes Sommer, son of Johann Georg and Barbara Sommer, born 1759, sponsored by Jacob Brown and the mother.  How cool is that?!  We had been guessing that John Summers, Sr. might have been born in Germany or even enroute to America, but now it turns out that he was the baby of his family and born in America!  So the visit to the Lutheran Archives did meet with some success.

As a side note, this is not the first time we've seen the name of Jacob Brown. First, there was a passenger on the same ship Brothers that arrived in 1752 whose name was Jacob Braun.  And second, we located a baptism record for Johan Jurg, of Jacob Brown and wife Catharina, born 1755 in Philadelphia, sponsors Jurg and Anna Barbara Sommer.  The identity of Catharina has a couple of possibilities.  She could be the sister of Georg Sommer, born in 1726. OR she could be the sister of Anna Barbara Rub, given that another researcher located a Freistett marriage record between Jacob Braun and Catharina Rub in Freistett in 1751. Research is ongoing, but the Braun connection gives us another lead back to Germany - yeah!

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