Previously, I wrote about John Wiseheart and not being able to figure out which John he is. As a result, one of my goals for 2016 is to resolve this issue. A few years ago, my grandpa told me about Henrich Wiseheart, who came over here on the Winter Galley in 1738. He said he believed that Henrich was our immigrant Wiseheart ancestor and John’s grandfather. He let me borrow the “Wiseheart” box, full of papers, to look through. There were several documents on Henrich and his children, which have left me scratching my head. These are, to the best of my ability to decipher since none of them are cited, passenger lists for the Winter Galley, two orphans court records, three probate records, and a letter from a relative. I started with the letter.
The letter was addressed to my grandpa and written by Velda Clark. In it, Velda tells of her sister-in-law finding some information about Hans Nicholas Wiseheart online. According to this information, Hans Nicholas is the son of Henrich Wiseheart and an unknown mother. Hans Nicholas married Barbara Lehr and had a son, Johann, with her. He then married Rachel. They had Nancy, Polly, Catherine, and John. The rest of the letter goes on about Polly.1
With this information in mind, I moved on to the orphans court records. The first one I looked at, dated May of 1763, is about Henry Wisehart, son of Henry Wisehart, whose guardian is Gotlieb Ziegler. Henry, the son, was born in June of 1744.2 As I had no way of knowing from this whether this was my Henry or not, I filed it away for later.
The next record, dated August of 1750, was for Casper Wiliert and Michael Koontz, guardians of the orphans of Henry Wiseheart. These children were Christopher (born circa 1741), Hans Nicholas (born circa 1744), and Gartrude (born March 1, 1748). Christopher was bound out to Godlib Liegler to be an apprentice carpenter. Hans Nicholas was bound out to Johannes Shultz to be an apprentice blacksmith. Gartrude was bound out to Casper Wiliert. No trade was mentioned.3 It seems to be that he is officially taking her in as his ward.
The interesting thing about these records is that Hans Nicholas and the aforementioned Henry, son of Henry, were born about the same time. I wondered if they might be twins. However, Henry is not mentioned at all in the orphans court records of August 1750, which names all the children of Henrich. Then, I noticed that Christpher was bound out to Godlib Liegler and Henry’s guardian is Gotlieb Ziegler. I believe Liegler was supposed to have been Ziegler. This made me wonder if Christopher and Henry were the same person, one of the names being his middle name, but there’s quite an age difference between the two records. The 1763 record says that Henry is eighteen years old. Christopher was bound until the age of twenty-one, which is how old he would have been in 1763. I decided to leave it alone for now since Hans Nicholas is my primary concern.
I moved on to the probate records. The first one, dated May of 1750, identifies Matthias and Elizabeth Culb, Daniel Dreighler, and Casper Wilyard as the administrators of Henry Wisehart’s estate. It goes on to say that Elizabeth Culb is the late widow of Henry Wisehart.4 I’ve seen this a lot while working on projects at work. One parent dies and the other remarries and the children are bound out, usually by their step-parent.
The second probate record, dated May of 1751, doesn’t provide any new information on Henrich or his children.4 The third probate record, dated December of 1752, states that Casper Wiliar is one of the bond men for Matthias and Elizabeth Culb.4
I looked at the passenger lists. There were three lists for the Winter Galley in 1738. Henrich was thirty years old. He was listed as Henrich Weyshart on the first list, which was made in Rotterdam, Netherlands. On the second list, from Deal, Kent, England, he was Henrich Weishart. On the third list, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was Henry Weishart. On September 5, 1738, Henrich took the Oath of Allegiance.5
This information is all fairly useful, but I really needed something to help me piece it together. I decided to look at some user-submitted family trees online, to see if anyone had done this research. I’m afraid all it did was confuse me more. One tree suggested that Hans Nicholas went by John, which is a thought I had also had. After all, Hans is traditionally a short form of Johann or Johannes. It also mentioned records for Hans Nicholas in Adams County, Pennsylvania and Rockingham County, Virginia.6 I’ll have to look into that.
Another tree suggested that Henrich’s name was actually John Heinrich Wiseheart.7 That made me stop to think that perhaps John, son of John, son of John and John, son of Hans Nicholas, son of Henrich might be the same person. I compared what I knew about the dates and spouses of both lines and this isn’t possible. Herein lies the problem with unsourced family trees. They can be helpful in providing clues to the next puzzle piece, but they can also have you doubting yourself. I haven’t found anything to suggest that Henrich’s name was John other than this one family tree, and that person doesn’t have a source for that information.
With this post, I have exhausted all of the ancestors about whom I know much of anything. Because of this, I’ve decided not to do the 52 Ancestors Challenge in 2016. Instead, my New Year’s Resolution is to research more on the handful of ancestors who have proved to be difficult: John Wiseheart, Heinrich Ludwig Wilhelm Schröder, Charlotte Poppa, Leason Gilliland (the entire Gilliland family, really), Ossian Salisbury, and Frank Springer. I also intend to go through all of the fruit boxes full of papers next year, to see what my grandparents have already found on these people. I will post updates on my progress.
- Clark, Velda. “RE: Hans Nicholas Wiseheart.” Letter to Sanford Wiseheart. 31 May 2006. MS. In My Possession, New Albany, Indiana.
- “Henry Wisehart.” Orphans Court Records. York County, Pennsylvania: n.p., 31 May 1763. N. pag. Microfilm.
- “Casper Wilert and Michael Koontz.” Orphans Court Records. York County, Pennsylvania: n.p., 4 Aug 1750. N. pag. Microfilm.
- “Estate of Henry Wisehart.” Probate Records. York County, Pennsylvania: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Microfilm.
- Strassburger, Ralph Beaver, and William John Hinke. “Winter Galley 1738.”Pennsylvania German Pioneers: A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808. Vol. 1. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1966. 198-203. Print.
- Yates-Potter, Dellamarie. “Information about Hans Nicholas Wiseheart.”Yates Family Tree. Genealogy.com, 24 Sept. 2004. Web. 26 Dec. 2015.
- “John Heinrich Wiseheart.” Ryner Family Tree. Ancestry.com, n.d. Web. 26 Dec. 2015.