Dorothea Schaefer

January 29, 2015 | Comments Off

Dorothea Schaefer and Johannes Steigerwald
My great, great, great, grandparents
They arrived in Baltimore, from Germany, around 1839.
Dorothea was born on March 25, 1818 in Schollkrippen, Aschaffenburg, Bavaria, Germany. Johannes (John) was either from Schollkrippen or nearby Sommerkahl. His birth date is unknown.

She and husband John were living in Baltimore with daughters Theresa Sarah (1842), Mary (1843) and son John Francis (1851).
Joannes died sometime after 1851 and before 1860. He disappeared from the Baltimore City directory after 1851. Scanning the church records at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, I was able to identify Dorothea’s parents as Michael Schaefer and Eva Schlet.
Daughter Mary married Charles King (previously Koenig) of Baltimore just prior to 1860 and daughter Theresa later married John Conrad Scherer (Hessen-Darmstadt). King was a boat builder and Scherer a Ship’s carpenter.
Theresa was married at St. Michaels on Wolfe Street.
In 1860 Dorothea was working as a shopkeeper on South Wolfe Street.
By 1870 she was living with her daughter Mary’s family.
In 1873 John married Anna Suesse. These are my great, great, grandparents. Anna’s father, Charles was from Saxony-Weimar and mother Augusta (nee John) from Prussia.
Dorothea continued to live with Mary’s family that now consisted of four children, Mamie, Elizabeth, George and Elmira. George died at 5 years of age. Dorothea made some money teaching music.

John and Anna had Elmer William (my great grandfather), Harry August, John Fransis Jr, Dora E., Charles, Sarah Theresa, and Ida. Charles died as an infant.

Theresa and John Conrad Scherer had children Mary E., Joseph William, John and Anne.

By the time of her death in 1895 Dorothea was living with her son John’s family on Gough Street. She is buried in Holy Redeemer Cemetery section K. Died of old age and widow of John.

The cool thing about this was I attended St. Michaels during my youth and my mother’s family attended St. Alphonsus (after it changed from a German to Lithuanian Church). Small world than as it is now.

Dating old documents

September 25, 2014 | Comments Off

Many of us family genealogists often get confused by the differences in dates when examining old documents and trying to reconcile them to known historical dates. Birth dates are a good example.

I first noticed differences in birth, marriage and death dates when I received some research documents from Lithuania. The original birth records showed my Great Grandmother’s birthdate as November 4, 1888 (Old Style or Julian) and the date she celebrated as her birthday November 16, 1888 (New Style or Gregorian). The Lithuanian Archives, thankfully, provided me with both dates.

Here is how it worked. Both systems used 12 month years. The Julian year began on March 25. We are used to our new year beginning on January 1. The Julian calendar was set up to coincide with the spring equinox. At the time, it was thought the earth year was 365.25 days. The year is actually, 365.2425 days. It seems like a small difference but causes you to gain a day every hundred years. This was fixed by the Gregorian calendar that every year divisible by 4 was a leap year except when the century (18 of 1800) was not divisible by 4.

A good example of this change was George Washington. George Washington was born during the time when the Julian Calendar was in use. His original birth date is February 11, 1731. In 1750 the English Parliment passed a law to change calendars beginning in 1752. George’s birth date was then adjusted to February 22, 1732.
To get George’s birth date correct 11 days were added and since he was born before March 25 (the old New Year) a year was subtracted.

When the change took place on September 2, 1752 the next day on the calendar was September 14, 1752. Eleven days were removed (9/3 thru 9/13) that year. A good trivia question. The eleven days when there were no births in the British Empire.

Here are some countries and dates when the conversion occurred.
Lithuania 1915
Spain, Poland, Portugal – Oct 4, 1582 followed by Oct 15, 1582
United States – Eastern US 1752, Mississippi Valley 1582, Spanish colonies (states) 1582, Alaska 1867
Germany – Catholic states – during the years 1583 thru 1585
Germany – Protestant States – Feb 18, 1700 followed by March 1, 1700
Germany – Prussia – Aug 22, 1610 followed by Sep 2, 1610
Russia – 1918

Catholic teaching begins at a young age. This is the website of the classes I took as a child.
A few Excerpts of Lessons from the Baltimore Catechism:

188. Besides believing what God has revealed, what else must we do to be saved?
Answer: Besides believing what God has revealed, we must keep His law.”If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

189. Which are the two great commandments that contain the whole law of God?
Answer: The two great commandments that contain the whole law of God are:
A. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;
B. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, “Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.’ This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:35-40)

190. What must we do to love God, our neighbor, and ourselves?
Answer: To love God, our neighbor, and ourselves we must keep the commandments of God and of the Church, and perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
My dear children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:18)

191. Which are the chief corporal works of mercy?
Answer: The chief corporal works of mercy are seven:

To feed the hungry.
To give drink to the thirsty.
To clothe the naked.
To visit the imprisoned.
To shelter the homeless.
To visit the sick.
To bury the dead.

192. Which are the chief spiritual works of mercy?
Answer: The chief spiritual works of mercy are seven:
To admonish the sinner.
To instruct the ignorant.
To counsel the doubtful.
To comfort the sorrowful.
To bear wrongs patiently.
To forgive all injuries.
To pray for the living and the dead.

193. Is everyone obliged to perform the works of mercy?
Answer: Everyone is obliged to perform the works of mercy, according to his own ability and the need of his neighbor.
For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me; sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me. (Matthew 25:35-36)

194. Are all the ordinary deeds done every day to relieve the corporal or spiritual needs of others true works of mercy?
Answer: All the ordinary deeds done every day to relieve the corporal or spiritual needs of others are true works of mercy, if done in the name of Christ.
For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ’s, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. (Mark 9:40)

There is so much more.

This subject has been presented to me on separate occasions by several Protestant Ministers.

The way I look at it is, it is much, much easier to be a Christian if you only have to do one thing to receive Salvation. We as Catholics know it takes much more to receive Salvation. There are no shortcuts to Eternal Life.

For those of you who believe that all you have to do to be a Christian and receive Salvation is to be “Saved”, please read the following:
The website provides a complete list of Scripture with regard to Salvation. At the end of the page is a list of Scripture many Protestants use to say “Once Saved, Always Saved”.

Belief in Christ as your personal Savior is and always will be a personal decision. Weigh all of the information you can before making this decision. Being a Christian is a life long endeavor. Serve the Lord and don’t do it halfway.

Another big sticking point between Catholics and non-Catholics is our division of sin into two separate and distinct categories. Those categories are Mortal Sin and Venial Sin. Non-Catholics say there is no Scriptural basis for this division.

1 John 5:16-17
King James Version (KJV)
16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.


1 John 5:16-17
New International Version (NIV)

16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

What is Mortal Sin?
Mortal means Death. Mortal sin is serious enough that it kills the life of grace within us. Venial sin is not deadly by itself, but it’s still quite dangerous. It offends God, hinders our ability to receive grace, damages our soul, and wounds our ability to live as a Christian.
There are three conditions that make an act a mortal sin:
1. An act of grave matter that is…
2. Committed with full knowledge and…
3. Deliberate consent.
If one of these is absent then the sin is a Venial sin.

Just Sayin’

The word Exegesis means “to draw the meaning out of” a given text. Exegesis may be contrasted with Eisegesis, which means to read one’s own interpretation into a given text. In general, exegesis presumes an attempt to view the text objectively, while Eisegesis implies more subjectivity.

The Catholic Church uses Exegesis to interpret the Holy Scripture. This methodology is also used by Jews, and the Episcopal Church. When interpreting Scripture or other ancient writings the following questions are asked.
1. Who wrote the text, and who is the intended readership?
2. What is the context of the text, i.e. how does it fit in the author’s larger thought process, purpose, or argument in the chapter and book where it resides?
3. Is the choice of words, wording, or word order significant in this particular passage?
4. Why was the text written (e.g. to correct, encourage, or explain, etc.)?
5. When was the text written?

On the other hand the method used by many Protestant Churches is Eisegesis.
Eisegesis is the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that it introduces one’s own presuppositions, agendas, and/or biases into and onto the text. The act is often used to “prove” a pre-held point of concern to the reader and to provide him/her with confirmation bias in accordance with his or her pre-held agenda.

The distinction between the two methods is very important. You must determine which suits your needs best.

The answer is no. Too many movies and bad books.
Lucifer is only mentioned once in the New Testament. It is found in Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Did the word Lucifer always exist? NO! In the Hebrew language, the word Lucifer is derived from the Hebrew word הילל (Hêlēl). In fact, the term Lucifer didn’t even exist in the Biblical ages! Put thought to it; Lucifer is a Latin word. (Lux = light/fire Ferre = to bear/to bring). The Old Testament was written primarily in Hebrew, so the word Lucifer could not have been in their language.

So, then if the word were not amongst them at that time, then who gave us that word?

In 382 AD, Pope Damasus I commissioned St. Jerome to write a revision of the old Latin translation of the Bible. This task was completed sometime during the 5th century AD, and eventually it was considered the official and definite Latin version of the Bible according to the Roman Catholic church. By the 13th century it was considered the versio vulgate – the common translation.

The irony for those who believe that “Lucifer” refers to Satan is that the same title (‘morning star’ or ‘light-bearer’) is used to refer to Jesus, in 2 Peter 1:19, where the Greek text has exactly the same term: ‘phos-phoros’ ‘light-bearer.’ This is also the term used for Jesus in Revelation 22:16.

America is the “Great Melting Pot”. Many years ago during the great period of European immigration to the U.S. People of all foreign cultures came to America for her streets paved in gold. In doing so everyone learned to speak the language and mesh into the fabric of American life. Everyone wanted to be American. But not just an American, a successful American.

What a great time it was. The country was booming. There was the Industrial Age, the opening of new lands for settlement, businesses being started on street corners, people free to practice their religion and raise their families free of any government involvement. When people needed help they turned to family and Church. People had the freedom they wanted and deserved. They learned the language they melted into the American Culture. Those were the Great Americans!

But what has happened to this once powerful united country since the great depression? Government, political parties and other powerful self interest groups have pulled at the fabric of America and have tried their best to unravel it or at least to tear off a piece. Instead of being just Americans, the government has elected to define us based upon our race, nation of origin, religion and even our language.

We once fought a war to stop the nation from becoming divided. Now the government, political parties and special interest groups have decided it is best for us to be divided. Why? It is easier to control smaller groups through special laws and entitlements. Control of these groups brings their allegiance. Their allegiance brings more power to the federal government and in turn more control. Everyone wants their piece. Have you seen that? I have.

As a united citizenry the government is to do our bidding as the Constitution says it should. As a divided citizenry we will be defeated over and over again until we become the empty faces of socialism without the power of the people, without a Constitution, without laws being enforced, with people killing people, and with government rules and regulations run amok. We are getting there. Just read the news.

We are one culture. We are one people. We are one America. The America we love may be tattered and torn but I still love it. It is broken! We must fix it! We must unite it! We must defend it! I pray, while I am permitted, that it is not too late.

Well, there is no royal blood in my family. I’m happy to note that. I just can’t say the same for my wife. Dawn has for years believed she lived back in the Days of Henry the VIII. She watches all those old series, movies and specials on that period. We would you know it, but I’ve been able to trace her family back into England and France.. It turns out Dawn’s 23rd great grandmother is Mary Boleyn. Mary is the sister of Anne Boleyn who was married to King Henry VIII. Oh yeah, and a Protestant. LOL.
The Genealogy string goes through the Hatfield’s to the Sellman’s to the West’s (founders of West Point, Va) to the Knollys’ to the Carey’s to the Boleyn’s. Pretty interesting. Then of course there are the Howard’s who were influential in founding southern Maryland (near Annapolis)we will discuss them at a later date.
My family? I’m glad we were peasants, carpenters and mariners.

This is the home page of Bill Steigerwald. This is a place to post the Family Genealogy and some of the interesting facts we unearthed. I will also post link to all Places and Websites of Steigerwald’s around the world. And of course, info on my beloved Baltimore Ravens.