Bill Jewel on Jan. 27, 2003
age 70

The GRAEFF Family of PA


This is a preliminary report on discoveries I have made about my GGGG-Grandparents,Johannes Peter and (Anna) Maria Catharina GRAEFF, who were Palatinate emigrants to England’s American colonies in 1767/1768. Part of the report is rediscovery of known history, part of it synthesizes disparate information into a common theme, and part of it reveals new facts about the Graeffs. I have also tried to correct earlier hypotheses that have proven to be false. But, most of all, this report is a ‘journey of discovery’ of my first attempts to develop family history, showing the complicated and uneven way in which historical information reveals itself, and the unexpected and generous help I have received during this quest.

When I started family history research in 1999, the line of Catherine (‘Kate’) May WHILT SYLVESTER, my mother’s mother, was mostly unknown to me, as she rarely talked about her childhood in Minnesota. About all I knew was that she was the first white woman born in Maywood Township, Benton County MNin 1869,and that the descendants of her two sisters and three brothers now lived primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to the Internet, I have been able to re-establish connections with my 2cd and 3rd cousins and to begin to reconstruct the western Whilt family tree and history, which is a fascinating saga in itself.

From them, I learned that Kate’s parents were Joseph Henry WHILT, a Civil War veteran from Bedford County PA, and Rebecca Belle GROVE, from Somerset County PA. Except for some family tales about how they met and married just after the Civil War, and speculation about why they had left Pennsylvania almost immediately for the Minnesota frontier, almost nothing else was known about their earlier years and their ancestors. Digging out the history of the Whilt and Grove families has been a fascinating pursuit over the past two years, and is still incomplete even now. Along the way I have been fortunate in meeting many distant relations and in making new friends with common interests. Many interesting facts and stories have been uncovered, and I believe I have corrected some earlier genealogical errors without introducing too many of my own.

Pennsylvania Information and Hypotheses

U. S. Census microfilms for 1850 and 1860 provided the information that Rebecca’s parents were John and Catherine GROVE, who lived in Stonycreekand Shade Townships in Somerset County, and some basic facts about her two brothers and two sisters. Censuses before that time give only the name of the head of the household, and so are of little value in tracing ancestors, although, of course they provide confirmation on the existence and size of a household. My first breakthrough came through the Internet, when I established contact with descendants of Rebecca’s oldest sister, Susanna GROVE, who married Henry DUPPSTADT and had nineteen children! I now have contacts and detailed information about Rebecca’s other siblings. These leads contained information from the Somerset Historical and Genealogical Society library showing that: Catherine’s maiden name was LINDEMAN; that John’s parents were George Michael GRAFF/GROFF and Susanna AUGUSTINE, who lived in StonycreekTownship; and that George Michael’s parents were Johann Peter and Maria Catharina GRAFF, from Brothers Valley Township. From other sources I uncovered the names of John’s and George Michael’s siblings and was able to find new ‘E-cousins’ who are active in Somerset County genealogy.

Another break occurred when I contacted GROFF family members who turned out not to be related to my line. However, they pointed me to a book by Jane E. Best, “The GROFF Book, Volume 2”, (1997), which covers almost 50 GRAFF-GRAEFF-GROFF-GROVE-etc. families in early Pennsylvania. To find such a detailed summary of so many people with similar, mutable names, but not directly related to each other, was a humbling experience. More to the point, there, on page 199 of GROFF-2, was ‘my’ GRAFF family, with lots of apparently valid supporting information. This detail was extremely useful at building up the GROVE family tree and discovering related families, but some of the ‘information’ later turned out to be a mixed blessing.

By the time I visited Somerset County in Spring, 2000, I had a good idea of where to go and what I might find, as well as the names of first contacts. At the Historical and Genealogical Society, I found a folder marked “GRAFF”, with the notes of two local genealogists, whose investigations were in the 1960s and 1970s. At that point, the general consensus among all sources was that the members of this first family who emigratedto Brother’s Valley were:

Johannes Peter GRAFF, b. (ca) 1730, d. 1800;

   m. 22 Aug 1748, Anna Maria YOST, b. 20 Feb 1729, d. 1809;

                             (3) Anna Gertrude GRAFF, b. 21 Apr 1752, sponsor Anna Gertraud ???,

               m. ‘Franz’ HOEH (Francis HAY) in PA;

               (5) Anna Elizabeth GRAFF, b. 21 Jan 1757, sponsor Elizabeth Yost, ,d. 1789,

                                firstwife of ClemenENGLE, b. 1747, d. 1812;

                                (7) George Michael GRAFF/GROFF, b. 20 Nov 1760, sponsor George Tilman,

                                m. ca. 1781, Susanna AUGUSTINE;

                                (9) Anna Barbara GRAFF, b. ‘‘in America11 Nov 1767, sponsorChristina Yost,

…m. Conrad BRAN(D)T.

Five other children were mentioned, but only their birth dates and sponsors were given. Already, there were minor discrepancies in the different accounts; for example, the book GROFF-2 has the dates above as baptismal dates, in contrast to birth dates in the original materials. I found out that the HAY, ENGLE, and BRAN(D)T families have been extensively researched since the 60’s, and was able to contact representatives of all of these female lines, or to examine their Web sites. Only George Michael’s line was incomplete. Every source seemed to be certain that Maria’s maiden name was YOST, and, especially in GROFF-2, that they came from the littlevillage of Wynigen, Canton Bern, Switzerland. As we shall see, these hypotheses were found to be false.

At the Berlin Area Historical Society in Brothersvalley Township, I obtained an English transcription of the German baptismal records of the Reformed and Lutheran Congregations of Berlin; these helped to confirm the early presence of the Graff and allied families and provide some births in the third generation. These church records and the early tax lists show that the spelling of the family name varied substantially. Since there was a steady decrease in the number of German speakers in the region after 1800, the progression from Graff to Groff to Grove seemed quite reasonable. In the English translation of his 1791 Will, which I obtained at the Somerset County courthouse, the signature is Johann Peter Graff, so Groff seems to have been only used in the next generation or two. But even George Michael is called Graff in the early baptismal records.


The GraeffinBible

Practically the only original source mentioned in the Somerset material was ‘‘The GraeffinBible”, which apparently was a Bible kept by (Anna) Maria Catharina in which she had inscribed family data. The early genealogists had examined the Bible, and left behind a description of it with a note that it was in the possession of Brant descendants. But by 2000, no photocopy or transcription of the inscriptions seemed to be available, and, for a while, even the whereabouts of the Bible was unknown! Instead, I found from various sources four or five ‘annotated’ versions of the inscriptions, all of which differed from the others! Clearly I would have to find and examine the Bible itself to see what Maria actually wrote!

With the help of Bill Burattyof the Berlin Area Historical Society, I was able to contact members of the Brant family and then eventually to examine the Bible. It is a handsome, very large LutherianBible, printed (in fraktur) in Basel, Switzerland in 1736, with a beautifully engraved  titlepage and frostipiece in red and black. Unfortunately the binding and the inscribed pages are beginning to deteriorate. We made a quick photocopy of Maria Catharina’swords, which were in firm, clear 18th century gothic script, which of course I could not read. After a crash course in gothic, I was able to decipher some of the words and was astounded to learn that no place names werementioned, and no children’s names were given, only those of the baptismal sponsors! (Of course Maria Catharina knew all this and didn’t need to write it down). In the Somerset records I saw speculation that the children were named after their sponsors, which was a reasonable guess. Nevertheless, how had the early Somerset historians been so sure that the family was from Wynigen, Switzerland? It now became imperative to find earlier family records in Europe.

For those unfamiliar with the German language, I should point out that graf or graffmeans count, and so the family name of a Graff wife would be written in the feminine form, gräffin or graeffin, which of course also means countess. This explains why Maria writes her name as Maria Catharina Graeffin, and why the Bible has this name. Unfortunately, I found a few family references stating that this implies Maria was in fact a real Countess, when nothing could be further from the truth!


Searches in Switzerland

I discovered that a reasonable amount of searching of Swiss ancestry can be done via the Internet, using databases of the LDS Church at ,and postings of the Swiss Genealogy Net. For example, I found that both Jost/Yost and Graff were family names in the region around Wynigen. However, I was unable to  findno baptismal, marriage, or emigration permissions for a couple with both names. Then, in Fall2000 I had an opportunity to pass through Switzerland and so decided to spend four days in Canton Bern. Wynigen is a charming rural village east of the City of Bern, and our jaunts through the countryside, coupled with local gastronomy, were most enjoyable.

I spent two days in the Kanton Bern Archives, which had the originals of most of the materials I had found on the Internet, plus more detailed records that would require a specialist to completely investigate. The most interesting were, of course, in Gothic Swiss-German script! Luckily, at the Archives I met a local high school teacher specializing in genealogical archival research, and he was kind enough to give me some advice as we discussed my ‘Graff-Jost’ problem over lunch. After I returned to the US, I hired him to continue investigations in Bern and other Swiss Cantons on my behalf. In a wide-ranging search, he found several pockets of Graffs who had emigrated to America, and several areas with Josts, but never any evidence of my family. By January 2001, we were discouraged by the lack of results, and this forced us to re-examine the hypotheses behind my search.


Re-evaluation, Serendipity, and New Searches

Firstly, the only evidence I ever found for assuming that Maria Catharina’smaiden name was JOST was a Bible inscription referring to a baptismal sponsor as ‘‘my brother, Johan Jost”. This is likely how the early historians made this association. However, a simpler meaning to this statement is that Maria’s brother had the (very common) ‘saint’s name’ of Johann and the ‘call name’ of Jost(in latin, Justus), with the family name elided, since it is Maria’s family name. Since many of the other sponsors’ names are also written in double first name form, but no obvious family name, the second interpretation became more and more appealing. I reluctantly concluded that Jostwas not a family name, and that Maria’s maiden name was unknown. This complicated matters considerably.

For my second conclusion, I should explain that, when Maria Catharina wrote Graeffinin the Bible, it was in ‘umlauted’ form, which in handwriting is an overbar, rather than the dieresis (two dots) used in print. But the overbar is easy to miss, unless you are looking for it. By this time, I had found a ‘‘Johann Peter Graff” listed in the immigrant report (actually a list of arrivals pledging allegiance to the English Crown) for the ship Minerva that arrived Philadelphia in October 1768. Serendipitously, a contact at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society (where the Groff-2 resource collection is stored) sent me a photocopy of the original Allegiance List, and I was amazed to see that Johann Peter signed his name with an overbar, thus making him a GRAEFF! There had been a few references to Graeff in some Somerset material, but I had assumed it was a false back-formation from Graeffin. Of course, Graeffinis also the feminine form of Graeff!  Still, more corroboration was needed.

Once again, serendipity stepped in when an Engle E-cousin told me about another Engle relative who had made extensive unpublished investigations into the Graffs during the 1970s, and who now lived somewhere in California. With a little effort, I found that Mel McBeth lived just 15 miles away from me, and would be happy to share his findings. Among his many treasures was a good, clear photocopy of the Graeffin Bible inscriptions, plus a professional translation that Mel commissioned of Maria’s words. I have attached this translation to the end of this report, so that you can see how relatively little information is actually in the Bible, and how much of the Somerset ‘information’ was conjecture. There are some other curious features of the inscriptions that I will describe in a future report.

This clearer copy shows plainly that Maria Catharina writes her husband’s name as Johannes Peter Graeff (with an overbar), so that later references to Graff were probably the result of indifferent English translations. Recently, I have obtained the German original of Johann Peter’s Will, and it is also signed with an overbar, in a signature that is arguably the same as that on the ship’s list, 30 years earlier. I suspect that, if the German originals of the Berlin Church Records were examined, most of the entries would have overbars, if the name were spelled correctly. But there is no question that most people in those times were indifferent spellers, and the ‘Dutch’ were resigned to seeing different names ‘in English’. Only in the 1800 Census do we find that that Maria, as a widow, has finally gotten the correct spelling, ‘‘Mary Graeff”!

So, I now had to look for a GRAEFF family, not in Switzerland, but somewhere along the Rhine, not knowing Maria’s maiden name! My first searches were in the LDS IGI database, where there are many transcriptions of Germanic church records. Even knowing that I was probably looking for an Evangelical (Protestant) family, I soon found hundreds of Johann Graffs and Graeffs, with the numbers increasing the farther north I went up the Rhine. But no marriages to an Anna Maria or Maria Catharina in 1748.

I posted detailed notices on the Alsace and Pfalz (Palatinate) genealogy lists, and sent out inquiries whenever I could find a Graeff family listing. In this regard, Web search engines are a surprising help!.A few leads turned up, but nothing seemed to match. For instance, I found a large group of Gref(f)s, formerly Graeffs, in the small town of Forbach, Moselle, France, next to the Pfalz; but they were all Catholic, at least since the revocation of the Edict of Nantes! Then I found a large group of Brother’s Valley pioneers who had emigrated together from an area near Gerhardsbrunn, Pfalz – but no Graeffs! But I could think of no good reason to venture farther north into the many duchies and principalities of what is now Germany. I had reached what in genealogical circles is referred to as ‘the brick wall’.



Then, in October, the kindness of strangers intervened again. I received an E-mail from a unknown member of the Ship Transcriber’s Guild, saying that he had read one of my queries, had entered ‘‘Anna Gertrud Graeff ‘’(the first daughter above) into the IGI database, and had obtained a match with the EvangelischeKirche records from Siegen, Westfalen, Preussen! I was dumbfounded at the news, since Siegen is a little-known medieval town in the hills east of Bonn, much farther north than anyone had expected. A quick check of the IGI records on my own revealed several more Graeff children. Why hadn’t I thought to search for the children myself?

Extensive microfilm copies of the records of EvangelischeKircheSiegen are available from the LDSChurch in Salt Lake City for use at their many Family History Centers throughout the US. After waiting what seemed a long time, I was finally able to view the one Ehebuch(Marriage Registry) and two Taufbücher (Baptismal Registries) that I had ordered. Words cannot describe how I felt when I was finally able to decipher the images enough to realize that I had found: (1) the marriage of Johann Peter and (Anna) Maria Catharina, and (2) the baptisms of seven of their eight children born in Europe! What a moment!

After looking at these scribbled, almost undecipherable, images, I realized how important it was to learn to read early Gothic script and become conversant with German church vocabulary and abbreviations. Since I am still learning, what follows is only a first approximation of what the records say. I hope to get expert assistance in producing a final version.


The Marriage Record

The Ehebuchshows the (church calendar) Sunday on which banns were published, together with a marginal note indicating when the marriage took place. It took a little while for me to find the Graeff marriage, but here it is, in very rough translation, together with the corresponding information from the Bible:


“In the year 1748, August 22, I was joined in marriage to Johannes Peter Gräff.”

EHEBUCH  1737-1795

LDS  0802313

page211   1748

Dom.  VI  Trin.   (1748)

Joh.  Peter  Graeb,  Johan  Peter  Graeb

von  Niederschelt  [ehel. ?]  [nachgel. ?]  Sohn,

und  Anna  Maria,  Jacob  Schneider

[daselbst ?]  [ehel. ?]  Tochter

cop.  d.  22te  Augusti

Sunday:  6th  Sunday  after  Trinity   (1748)

Joh:  Peter  Graeb,  legitimate  surviving son  of

Johan  Peter  Graeb  of  Niederschelt,

and  Anna  Maria,  Jacob  Schneider’s

own  legitimate  daughter

unitedthe 22cd of August

Several things are immediately apparent:

(1) The reason I could not find the marriage in the IGI computer database was that the family was listed under GRAEB, not GRAEFF!

(2) Johan (or maybe, Johannes) Peter’s Graeb’sfather was also Johan Peter Graeb, but had passed away by the time of the marriage;

(3) His wife’s formal name is Anna Maria, and she is the daughter of Jacob Schneider!

(4) The Graebs, at least, come from a village named Niederschelt.

The implications of all of this have barely been investigated, but on (1), for example, I have found several families named Graeband Graeff in the church records of the Siegen area. Graebmay be an earlier form of Graeff, or perhaps the deacon or scribe who entered the records made an error. Through serendipity again, I have found a most helpful Siegerland E-mail contact who says that both ‘graeb’ and ‘graef’ meant something like ‘village spokesman’ or ‘minor court official’ in the old dialect. The Graeffs seem to have immigrated to Siegen relatively recently, as there are no early civil records of the family.

In (3) we finally learn Maria’s family name is SCHNEIDER (earlier, SCHNŸDER). This is a very common name in Siegerland (the modern name of what was formerly the Principality of Siegen), so sorting them out will be difficult; all the families seemed to recycle the same first names. However, knowing that Maria’s maiden name was Schneider strengthens some of the Bible interpretations (see below). From my contact I learned that the original meaning of the family name was probably not ‘schneider’ in the modern sense of ‘tailor’, but ‘brett-schneider’ meaning ‘sawyer’.


The Baptismal Record

There is not enough space to show the seven baptismal records in full from the Siegen Taufbuch. However, the birth dates, where shown in the margin, are identical with those in the Bible. Here is a summary of the names of the children, together with information about the baptismal sponsors from both the Bible Inscriptions (BI) and the Taufbuch (TB).

1. BI  “a little son whose baptismal sponsor was my brother Johann Jost”
   TB  “GobatterJohan JostSchneider, calls the child Johan Jost”

2. BI  “a little son whose baptismal sponsor was my brother-in-law Johann Jacob”
   TB  “GobatterJohan Jacob [Nies?] [from placename ?], calls the child Johan Jacob”

3. BI  “a little daughter whose baptismal sponsor was Anna Gertraut Schneiderterin”
   TB  “GobatterinAnna Gertroud, Peter Schneider’s own wife, calls the child Anna Gertroud”

4. BI  “a little daughter whose baptismal sponsor was EliessaGertraut Schneiderterin”
   TB  “Gobatterin Elisabeth Gertroud, Johan Jost Schneider’s own wife, calls the child Elisabeth Gertroud”

5. BI  “a little daughter whose baptismal sponsor was my sister Elisabeth”
   TB  “Gobatterin Elisabetha Guting[herself ?], calls the child Elisabeth”

6. BI  “a little daughter whose baptismal sponsor was my sister Anna Cattarina”
   TB  “GobatterinAnna Catharina, Johan JostDietzin’s wife, calls the child Anna Catharina”

7. BI  “a little son whose sponsor was Gerhard Just Tilmann”
   TB  “GobatterGerhard Tilman, the child [is called ?] Gerhard”

I have not beable to find a baptismal record for:

8. BI  “1763 September 14, God blessed us with a son whose baptismal sponsors were MatheusBarn
             (Zorn?) and his wife”

And then, after Maria arrives in America, we have:

9. BI “1767 October 11, God blessed us with a little daughter in America, whose baptismal sponsor was my
           brother JorgAdam's wife”

Now, we see how the two original sources fit together. Firstly, the hypothesis that the children were given the first names of their sponsors seems justified. One problem is that (5) is called Anna Elisabeth in Somerset County; she is the one who will marry Clement Engle; this may be simply an error by the church scribe, or perhaps there was a later overzealous extension of her sisters’ saint’s name, Anna, to her. More problematic is the fact that (7), called Gerhard, is the only surviving son we call George Michael! One can argue that the church scribe was wrong, or that he changed his own name after arrival in America. We will probably never know for certain. (8) probably died before they emigrated. (9) weknow from Somerset records was named Anna Barbara; she is the daughter who will marry Conrad Brandt.

There is also interesting information about Maria’s siblings. It appears as if she has at least:

a.        A brother, Johan Jost, who is married to an Elisabeth Gertroud;

b.       A brother, Peter, who is married to an Anna Gertraut;

c.        A brother, JorgAdam, who is married to an Anna Barbara;

d.       A sister who is married to Johan Jacob [Nies ?];

e.        A sister, Elisabeth, who married a Gu(e)ting, now apparently a widow;

f.         A sister, Anna Catharina, who is married to Johann JostDietz.

We also now know that her parents were Johann Jacob Schniederand Anna Catharina [also Schneider?], married in 1726. It is curious that none of Johann Peter’s family were sponsors. The family name Tilman(n) is in Niederscheltrecords, but the name Barn/Zorn is unknown.

I have just started examining the Siegen Todtenbuch records, and have found that (1) died Februrary13, 1751 (born June 6, 1749). I think it is likely that (2), (4), and (8) will also pass away before 1767/1768, although (8) may not be in the Death Registry.


Unsolved Problems

Probably the greatest conflict is when Peter and Maria arrived in America. The ship “Minerva”, arriving Philadelphia in October, 1768, has Oath of Allegiance signatories Johann Peter GRÄFF and, next on the list, a Johann BalthasarGRÄFF, who is presumably a relation, but about whom we can find nothing.On the other hand, Maria states clearly that Anna Barbara was “born in America” in October, 1767. Of course, Maria might have made a mistake. But my tentative hypothesis is that Maria might have come ahead in 1767 with relatives so her child could be born in America, and that there was something that held Peter (and Balthasar ?) back in Siegen for another year. Indeed, we find at least three Schneiderswho arrive in Philadelphia in 1767. Currently, I am trying to link these Schneider immigrants with Maria’s extended family in Siegen.

Another question --- where did the Graeffs live from 1767/1768 until they migrated to Brother’s Valley sometime in 1773-1776? There is a story that George Michael claimed he came from Berks County, near Reading and Daniel Boone’s birthplace, but I have found no supporting evidence for this claim.

I do not view the variations in the Graeff’s first names as a problem. ‘Johannes’ is the latin form of Johan(n), and  appears (perhaps) in their marriage record and in Maria’s Bible and five of the baptisms. In the other baptisms he is Johan, and in America he is Johan or Johan Peter, later John Peter or Peter. Maria is called Anna Maria in her baptism and marriage and sometimes in Brother’s Valley. But she refers to herself as Maria Catharina, as do all the baptisms. She is also called Maria or Maria Catherine in Brother’s Valley, and in the 1800 Census, when a widow, Mary GRAEFF. Possibly she was baptized Anna Maria, but later added Catharina to distinguish herself from the scores of other Anna Maria Schneidersin Siegen.


Allied Families

Perhaps some of these questions can be answered by looking at allied families. It has often been said that only rarely did isolated families emigrateto America. Mostly they came in familial or neighborhood groups, perhaps motivated by relatives and friends who had traveled earlier and wrote glowing letters home about the prospects in America (free land!). This is especially true of the later arrivals, such as the Graeffs, who must have seen many letters sent back to Siegen by those who left in the early 1700s. Moreover, these allied families tended to migrate and settle in America in similar groupings.

I believe I have uncovered evidence of such a group migration from Siegen to Philadelphia. Firstly, there are several Schneider families in the Berlin Church records, who are witnesses of births to Graffs, Hays, Brandts (and/or vice versa). Again, through chance, I have discovered that Johann JostDietz and Maria’s younger sister, Anna Catharina, (f) above, emigratedto America in 1763 (just after the American ports opened again after the hiatus caused by the Seven Year’s War blockade). And they or their children show up in Brother’s Valley, too!

It is too early to describe everything that has been learned about relationships back in Niederscheltand Siegen. But, with the help of my contact, we have found that Johan Peter’s father died in 1727, “aged 36”, and that his mother, Elisabeth Gibeler, remarried in 1727 a man from the neighboring village of Eiserfeld, Johan Ebert Gueding(see (e) above). So Peter likely had half-brothers and sisters named Gueting, and cousins named Gibeler. Both names show up in later Brother’s Valley records and elsewhere! And so on… It can be truly besaid that family history is a never-ending story!

Finally, I should note that all the records from Siegen have the family name written GRAEB or GRAEFF. Apparently the umlaut (overbar) over the A in place of AE was barely coming into use in the 18th century. So I suggest that we use GRAEFF, the spelling that Johann Peter and Maria Catharina used, before it migrated into GRAFF, GROFF, or GROVE.


Siegen and Niederschelden

Siegen is a very interesting medieval town about 50 kilometers up the Siege River, east of Bonn, Germany. It was originally a small principality, noted for its religious tolerance and very early open-pit iron mines and smelters. Most of our family names seem to have come from Niederschelt, now Niederschelden and part of outer Siegen city. In the early days, it was the last hamlet before the border into Sauerland, and so was the location of the tollhouse. The principality of Siegen, now referred to as Siegerland, was first united (after the Graeffs left) with ‘grafschaft’ Wittgenstein, to the east, and then they both became a ‘kreis’ in the new district of Westphalia, created after Napoleon’s defeat and the Prussian expansion. This is why, when you use the LDS library, it is listed under “Siegen, Westfalen, Preussen”. You can see a good map at any detail through  I found lots of other information by searching with and would be happy to share URLs upon request.



As far as I know, everything in this draft report has been reasonably well ‘proven’ by the usual genealogical standards. However, I cannot guarantee that all the facts are correct, and the conclusions are certainly my own. If you have corrections or suggestions for improvement, please write to me.

I have no objections if you forward this report in its entirety to interested family members, along with proper attribution and the understanding that it is only a preliminary progress report, not for publication. If you maintain a website, you may certainly change the spelling to Graeff, and reference Siegen as their true homeland.

William S. Jewell

Orinda, California

January 7, 2002




Translation of a Bible record found in a Bible published in Basel in 1736


“Description of my life – Maria Catharina Gräffin”


               In the year 1727, February 20, I was born.  In the year 1748, August 22, I was joined in marriage to Johannes Peter Gräff.  1749 June 6, God blessed us with a little son whose baptismal sponsor was my brother Johann Jost.  1750 June (July?) 20, God blessed us with a little son whose baptismal sponsor was my brother in law Johann Jacob.  1752 April 21, blessed us with a little daughter whose baptismal sponsor was Anna Gertraut Schneiderterin.  1753 October 15, God blessed us with a little daughter whose baptismal sponsor was EliessaGertraut Schneiderterin.  1757 the 21st January, God blessed us with a little daughter whose baptismal sponsor was my sister Elisabeth.  1759, July 8, God blessed us with a little daughter whose baptismal sponsor was my sister Anna Cattarina.  1760 November 19, God blessed us with a little son whose sponsor was Gerhard Just Tilmann (?).

                1767 October 11, God blessed us with a little daughter in America, whose baptismal sponsor was my brother JorgAdam’s wife.


               1763 the 14th September -----


               In the year 1726 in the month of February -----



               In the year 1732, the 27th of February, son Johan Jostborn to the world at 2 a.m.


               In the year 1737, the 17th of August, my daughter Anna Cadarina born to the world


               1763 September 14, God blessed us with a son whose baptismal sponsors were MatheusBarn (Zorn?) and his wife.


Translation by Pastor Frederick S. Weiser, Hannover, PA, November 8, 1973.
Commissioned by Mel F. McBeth.

Transcribed by William S. Jewell, April 1, 2001.