The best known of Pennsylvania Dutch Fraktur are the Taufscheins. It is the Lutherans, Reformed, and Moravians who believed in infant baptism, and who popularized the use of birth and baptismal certificates in America. These documents not only trace human heritage, but divine lineage as well for they almost always contain spiritual inscriptions such as verses from the Bible, hymnal, or religious poetry to focus one on God. The origins of the quoted passages can be as valuable as the genealogical data, and help us trace geographical, historical, and literary footprints. If we study them carefully, we can sense the mindset of the Pennsylvania Dutch, and admire their rare combination of commonsense and celestial awe.
The following three manuscripts belong to the Goschenhoppen Historians. The first two are Taufscheins and are representative of the pragmatic recordkeeping of life’s events, as well as its spiritual aspirations. The third is a Scherenschnitt or cut-out. Although it lacks physical genealogical information, it abounds in artistic revery, heavenly imagination, and childlike wisdom.
Isaac Rommig (1809 – 1895) Taufschein
Materials: Wove Paper; watercolor; ink
Dimensions 13 1/8” H x 15 7/8” W
This Taufschein was made sometime after 2 August1809 when Isaac Romig (1809-1895) was born to Johannes and Margretha Rommig in Beaver Dam Township, then in Union County, PA. The anonymous artist-scrivener not only included birth and baptismal details, but also a German translation by W. H. Seel for Psalm 118:19-20, found in a psalter printed by permission of the House of Orange-Nassau in1786. Seel’s Psalm translations were a more modern alternative to those of the sixteenth century translator Ambrosius Lobwasser, whose versions had long been sung by German-speaking pietiests, especially by Reformed believers.
Isaac Romig is listed in the 1860 U. S. census as living in Beaver Springs, PA with his wife Lydia, age 50; John Romig, age 25; Elizabeth Romig, age 18; Elizabeth Romig, age 14; Isaac Romig, age 2; Jane Dry, age 50; and Frederick Raught, age 15. He died October 12, 1895, and is buried in Beaver Springs, Snyder County, PA at the Adamsburg Cemetery.
Diese beÿden Ehgatten als Johannes Rommig und seine Ehelichen hausfrau | Margretha ist Ein Sohn zur Welt gebohren wie weitters folget: | Isaac Rommig ist zur Welt gebohren Im Jahr 18 um [___] tag | [___] Jahr unsers Herrn Jesu 1809 den 2 ten tag | Augustus im [___] zwischen [___] de [____] ist nach der leiblichen | geistlichen Wiedergeburt der heiligen Tauf befördert | und Von Conrath Walter Parre geTauft und genennet | worden Wie aber gemeldt Tauf zeugen Matheis Freÿ | und sein frau Wilhelmina aber gemeldter Isaac ist | gebohren und getauft worden in America in der | proVintz Pennsÿlvania in union Caunty in | büber Däm Taunschip.
Die thore der gerechtigkeit th[[u] auf. Ich geh hinein | den man seÿ lob und Danck ge weitt thu auf | thu auf Ich geh hinein – – – -die thore der gerechtig keit wer wer geth da |
hin ein Der man Von Reiner frömmigkeit | Der ists der geth hin ein
A son was born into the world to this married couple Johannes Rommig and his espoused wife Margretha as follows: Isaac Rommig was born into the world in the year 18 at [___] day [___] in the year of our Lord Jesus 1809 on the second day of August in [____] between [_____] [and] was christened and named according to the physical and spiritual rebirth of baptism by Pastor Conrath Walter. Sponsors were Matheis Frey and his wife Wilhelmina. Isaac was born and baptized in America, in the Province of Pennsylvania, Union County, Beaver Dam Township.
Open the gates of righteousness. I wish to enter. To Him be given praise and thanks. Open up! Open up! I wish to enter the gates of righteousness. Who? Who shall go within? The man of spotless piety shall enter in.
W. H. Seel, trans., Neues Gesangbuch, zum Gebrauch bey dem öffentlichen Gottesdienst und der häuslichen Erbauung. Mit fürstl. Oran. Nassauischem gnädigsten Privilegio (Herborn: Johann Ewald Brückner, 1786), Psalm 118: 12-13, Mel. 7, 99. https://books.google.com/books?id=ZXZWAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=der+Gerechtigkeit++Ich+geh+hinein&source=bl&ots=QuUgLNzxKf&sig=C5lnLipzl_B_bN2i6XCVH60Nm18&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAGoVChMI4YKroPv2yAIVxfAmCh1GNASp#v=onepage&q=der%20Gerechtigkeit%20%20Ich%20geh%20hinein&f=false (accessed 4 November 2015).
1860 U.S. Census, Population Schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
Johannes Heinrich Eichert (1777-1859)
Taufschein & Church Credentials
Materials: Laid Paper; ink
Dimensions: [Folded leaf] 13 ½” H x 8 ½ ” W; [Whole leaf] 13 ½” H x 17″ W
Johannes Heinrich Eichert (1777-1859) immigrated to America in 1805 on the Ship Verney (Capt. Elisha King). He grew up in Haigerseelbach, a rural village on the western edge of the Westerwald belonging to the Princely Counts of the House of Orange-Nassau. His Pastor H. F. Schmidt furnished him with this Taufschein and church credentials as proof of his origins and reliability. Little is known about him. However, this document continued to be his curriculum vitae for another hand noted on it that Johannes Heinrich Eichert “died in the year 1859 on January 8th around 11:00 o’clock.” He was married to Elizabeth Heckler and is buried in Hetzels Cemetery at the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, PA.
[Aussenseite des Mss]
Taufschein und Kirchenzeug= \niß für Johannes Hen= \ rich Eichert zu Haigerseel=bach.
Nach dem hiesigen Taufprotokoll wurde Jo= \ hannes Henrich Eichert, Sohn des Jost Hen= \rich Eichert und dessen Ehefrau Maria Chri= \ stina zu Haigerseelbach in dem Jahr 1777. \ den 6ten Julius gebohren und und den 13ten = \ getauft. Gevattern waren Johann Henrich Hel= \ genhöfer und Elisabeth Margretha, Christian \ Müllen Ehefrau daselbst.
Da der genannte Johannes Henrich Eichert zu Hai= \ gerseelbach eine Reise nach America zu unterneh= \ men entschlossen ist, so wird ihm auf sein Verlan= \ gen nicht allein dieser Taufschein mitgetheilt, son= \ dern ihm auch das Zeugniß gegeben, daß er we= \ gen seines bisherigen ehrbaren Betragens, als \ ein Glied der reformirten Gemeine, auch an an= \ dern Orten aufgenommen und zum heiligen Abend= \ mal gegelassen werden kann. Haiger, in dem Oranien-Nassau-Dillenburgischen, d. 15ten \ Mai, 1805.
[in einer anderen Hand]
Gestorben im jahr — 1859 – 1 – 8 Jan so um 11 Uhr
Geboren im jahr — 1777 – 7 – 6 July
Alt 81 – 6 – 2
[Outside of Mss]
Baptismal Certificate and Church Credentials for Johannes Henrich Eichert of Haigerseelbach.
As per the local baptismal procedure, please be informed that Johannes Henrich Eichert, son of Jost Henrich Eichert and his spouse Maria Christina, was born at Haigerseelbach on July 6, 1777, and baptized on the 13th [July]. His sponsors were Johann Henrich Helgenhöfer and Elisabeth Margretha, wife of Christian Müllen.
Since the aforementioned Johannes Henrich Eichert of Haigerseelbach is determined to undertake a trip to America, he requests that not only this baptismal certificate, but also church credentials be included with this document. This is to certify that he has comported himself honestly, and as a member of the local reformed church, should be received elsewhere and also be admitted to Holy Communion.
Haiger, in the Principality of Orange—Nassau—Dillenburg, May 15, 1805.
[In another hand]
Died in the year 1859 on January 8th around 11:00 o’clock.
Born in the year 1777 on July 6th.
Age 81 years, 6 months, 2 weeks.
William H. Egle, M.D., Editor: Names of Foreigners who took the Oath of Allegiance to the Province and State of Pennsylvania 1727-1775, With the Foreign Arrivals, 1786—1808 (Harrisburg, Pa: E.K. Meyers State Printer, Pennsylvania Archives Second Series, 1892), vol. XVII, pp. 637, 639.
Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=107349243&ref=acom (accessed 4 November 2015)
Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church Records. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 507.
Elisa Beth Hachman . Scherenschnitt, 182
Materials: Wove Paper; watercolor; ink
Dimensions 12 ¾ ″ H x 16 ″ W
A Scherenschnitt or cut-out created in 1824 most likely by Elisa Beth Hachman yields very little earthly genealogical information. We know that if it gets lost, we’ll see her name and know where to return it! However, it is an amazing creative design of flower-faces, floral hearts, birds, and cartouches that must be turned every which way to read not only Elisa Beth’s name, but also the spiritually-oriented inscriptions meant to keep her focused on God and her divine lineage.
Transcription: Dieses Bild Gehöret Mir | Elisa Beth Hachman sein Bild | soll Er verlohren Gehren kan Mann | so den name sehen
Translation: This picture belongs to me. Elisa Beth Hachman owns this picture. If it gets lost, one can see my name.
[Right Heart – Blue]
Transcription: Das Herze | Lein soll | werde | n
Translation: My little heart will become
[Left Heart – Red]
Transcription: Dir Allein | Geschrieben | Jahr | 1824
Translation: yours alone. Written in the Year 1824
[N. B. Cartouche Horizontal]
Transcription: Der name des Herrn Unsers | Gottes Sey Gelobet Und Gebendeyet | von nun An Bis in Ewigkeit Amen
Translation: The name of the Lord Our God be blessed and praised from now until all eternity. Amen.
[Right Heart – Green]
Transcription: Gedenke an | deinen | Schöpff | er
Translation: Stay focused on Your Creator
[Left Heart – Blue]
Transcription: In deiner | JuGend
Translation: during your youth
Many thanks to the Goschenhoppen HIstorians and Bob Wood.
© 2015 by Del-Louise Moyer