One of the most common difficulties in researching your family is the common, repetitive use of given names in families. This can not only make it difficult to correctly identify men of the same name and generation, but also to distinguish between father and son.
I’ve run into that situation in my Landis family. Molly Landis was the daughter of Henry Landis and Catharine Baum. According to my Reunion file, Henry was the son of Henry Landis Sr. and Catharine Baum.
At best this would be unusual. It strikes me as suspicious for two reasons: one, I have absolutely no idea where I got this information. None at all. And, two, I’ve repeatedly seen information for Henry Landis Sr. and Henry Landis Jr. conflated into one person.
Henry Landis Jr. was born 10 May 1764 in Lancaster County.1 He died 27 March 1824 in Swatara Township, Dauphin County.2 He wrote his last will and testament on 23 October 1823 and added a codicil on 1 March 1824.3 It was recorded on 14 April 1824. In it he mentions his children, but no wife, meaning she predeceased him. His children included: Jacob, Barbara wife of John Walter, Molly wife of George Hocker, Henry, John, Elizabeth, Adam, Samuel, Sarah Ann, and Joseph. According to Henry’s 1824 codicil, Sarah Ann and Joseph were to be supported out of the funds from the estate until they reach the age of 15 years-old.4
Prior to his death, Henry had stated in a 29 June 1821 Orphan’s Court record that his wife Catharine, a daughter of Barbara Baum of Lancaster County, died before her mother, leaving several children under the age of 14.5 He asked to be appointed as their guardian. They were Henry, John, Adam, Samuel, and Elizabeth.
On 26 April 1785, Henry Landis of Derry Township wrote his last will and testament, naming his wife Anna, and his sons Felix and Henry, and brother John.6 On 4 October 1791, John Kaufman and Abraham Derr were appointed guardians for Elizabeth, Ann, and Jacob Landis, “children of Henry Landis deceased during their minority’s the said children being severally under the age of fourteen years.”7 Henry’s son John Landis, being over 14 years, chose John Kaufman as his guardian.8
His widow Anna wrote her last will and testament on 25 September 1807 and it was proven on 30 March 1818.9 She named her husband Henry Landis and children Elizabeth Reesor, Anne, Christopher (aka Stophel), Peter, and John.
There are several facts that I can deduce from these documents.
- Molly’s father Henry Landis died in 1824.
- Molly’s mother Catharine Baum died before 1821.
- Henry Landis Jr. had children who were born after Catharine Baum died—Sarah Ann and Joseph.10
- Henry Landis Jr.’s second wife died before 23 October 1823 as she is not mentioned in his will.
- Henry’s father Henry Landis died in 1785.
- Henry Sr. was married to Anna when he died.
- Henry Sr.’s two eldest sons were Henry and Felix.
- Anna named her children as being: Elizabeth, Anne, Christopher, Peter, and John.
- Henry Sr.’s youngest children—minors when he died—were John, Elizabeth, Anne and Jacob.
Based on these documents it is not possible to determine if Henry Jr.’s mother could have been a woman named Catharine Baum. Anna did not name Felix or Henry in her will, so they could have been born to an unknown first wife. They were the only living children not named in Anna’s will.
I have not found documentation to show that Henry Sr. had a wife prior to Anna. I have not found a marriage record and/or date for his marriage to Anna that would show whether or not she married him prior to Felix or Henry Jr.’s births. At this point I have no way of knowing whether or not Anna was Henry Jr.’s mother.
Can DNA Help?
Could my AncestryDNA matches shed some light on this question?
I have several matches to known children of Henry Landis Sr. and Anna Poorman (aka Böhrman). Presumably, this could be through DNA that we’ve inherited from Henry. Or it could be DNA inherited from Anna, since I also have a number of matches with no known recent common ancestor, whose ancestral surnames include Poorman. Or it could be from both of them. Triangulation of the segments with Landis or Poorman matches from outside this specific family would be the only way to determine where the matching DNA came from.
I also have a match who is descended from Johann Georg Böhrman. Anna (Poorman) Landis was George’s granddaughter. The match is through one of Anna’s uncles. Assuming that Henry Jr. is the son of Anna, that would make us seventh cousins twice removed.
However, just when I started to get excited, I saw that Ancestry predicts our possible relationship to be fourth-to-sixth cousins. We share 24.3 centimorgans of DNA on two segments. That’s about three times the average amount for seventh cousins. Furthermore, our shared matches do not include any of the other Henry Landis Sr. descendants. So, most likely our shared DNA is not from the Böhrman/Poorman line.11
I’m inclined to believe that I made an error in entering Catharine Baum as Henry Jr.’s mother. Outside of Anna’s will, I’ve found no reason to believe that Henry Sr. had more than one wife in the documentary record. There is no break in the children’s birth years that would indicate a death and remarriage. Anna’s birth in 1745 would make her only 15 years-old in 1760 when Felix was reportedly born, but either of those dates could be incorrect.
So, based on these assumptions (until proven otherwise), I have the following:
Henry and Anna (Poorman) Landis had the following children:
- Felix Landis (1760–bef 30 Apr 1810), married Christina (___)
- Henry Landis (10 May 1764–27 Mar 1824), married Catharina Baum:
- Barbara Landis (1796–ca 1824) married John Walter (1792–1854)
- Jacob F. Landis (1797–1863) married Hanna Emma Fishburn (1798-1838)
- Mary Magdalena “Molly” Landis (1800–1825) married George Hocker (1794–1873)
- Rev. Henry Landis (1804–1875) married Christina Hocker (1808–1865)
- John B. Landis (1805–1857)
- Elizabeth Landis (1807–aft Mar 1824)
- Adam Landis (1808–aft 1821)
- Samuel Landis (20 May 1810–aft 1821)
Henry Landis married Unknown:
- Sarah Ann Landis (1812–?)
- Joseph Landis (ca 1809-1814–?)
- Anna Landis (30 Jun 1767–8 Jul 1767)
- Christopher Landis (27 Aug 1770–13 Jul 1830)
- Peter Landis (ca 1773–?) married Eva Lauman
- John B. Landis (7 Aug 1775–bef Sep 1829) married Elizabeth Rutt (bef 1785–1823-29)
- Anna B. Landis (aft 4 Oct 1777-23 May 1818) married John Reesor
- Elizabeth Landis (1778-1846) married Christian Reesor
- Jacob B. Landis (9 Apr 1781-3 Feb 1806)
This post is part of a blogging challenge entitled 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, created by Amy Crow of No Story Too Small in 2014. Participants were to write about one ancestor every week. I’m revisiting this challenge for 2017. This is my sixteenth 52 Ancestors post.
- Ancestry, “Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Mennonite Vital Records, 1750-2014” (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 May 2017), database, Henry Landis Sr. card, Henry Landis Jr. entry; citing Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, “Genealogical Card File,” Lancaster; The card states he was born 10 May 1764 and died 30 April 1824; However, this would be after his will was proven, so would be incorrect. ↩
- Find A Grave, database (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 14 May 2017), memorial #22999244, Heinrich Landis; citing Landis Cemetery, Hummelstown, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania; record by Dick Quenzer, entered 20 Nov 2007; This entry merges father and son, including the father’s birth date, the son’s date of death, and links to the father’s wife. ↩
- Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Will Book D:399, Henry Landis will, 14 Apr 1824; online, FamilySearch, “Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994” (https://familysearch.org : accessed 11 Mar 2013), citing Register of Wills, Harrisburg. ↩
- Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Will Book D:399, Henry Landis will, 14 Apr 1824. ↩
- Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Orphans Court Book E:222, Henry Landis guardian of minors, 29 Jun 1821; online, FamilySearch, “Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994” (https://familysearch.org : accessed 30 Jan 2016), citing Register of Wills, Harrisburg. ↩
- Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Will Book A:34, Henry Landis will (translation), 29 Nov 1785; online, FamilySearch, “Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994” (https://familysearch.org : accessed 11 Mar 2013), citing Register of Wills, Harrisburg. ↩
- Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Orphans Court Book A:337, Guardians appointed, 4 Oct 1791; online, FamilySearch, “Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994” (https://familysearch.org : accessed 12 May 2015), citing Register of Wills, Harrisburg. ↩
- Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Orphans Court Book A:338, Guardian appointed, 4 Oct 1791; online, FamilySearch, “Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994” (https://familysearch.org : accessed 12 May 2015), citing Register of Wills, Harrisburg. ↩
- Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Will Book D:161, Anna Landis’s will, 30 Mar 1818; online, FamilySearch, “Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994” (https://familysearch.org : accessed 10 Mar 2013), citing Register of Wills, Harrisburg. ↩
- Sarah Ann and Joseph were under the age of 15 in 1824, but were not mentioned as minor children of Catharine in the 1821 guardianship request pertaining to Barbara Baum’s estate. Only children who were of age and therefore not requiring a guardian would have not been named. Because we know they were underage three years later, we can infer that they were not children of Catharine (Baum) Landis. ↩
- A little sleuthing shows that my match’s Poormans moved to central Pennsylvania and married into a family line that can be traced back to William Solt and Elizabeth “Fannie” Mayes. While I haven’t tied Elizabeth into my Mayes family line, given surname, age and location, it’s likely that she’s a member of the family and the source of the common DNA segments. ↩