Tag Archives: Jacob

Wednesday’s Child – the Other Paul Hoffmann

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If I had been a boy, it’s likely I would have been named Paul, Mom tells me. I would have been one in a long line of Pauls (and Paulas) on the maternal side of my family. A quick search of my genealogy database tells me tells me the name appears 609 times (though some of these are on the paternal side as well).

However, there are only two individuals in my database named Paul Hoffmann (with the “nn” spelling).  One, of course, was my great-grandfather, who emigrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1883 at five years of age. The other was his first cousin, Paul Auguste Hoffmann, who would have been thirteen years his senior. This Paul was born 19 December 1864 in Marne, France, the eldest child of Jean Nicolas and Marie Louise Gérard Hoffmann.  Jean Nicolas was the next-eldest brother of Jacob Hoffmann, our Paul’s father. Some three years older than Jacob, he had first married Dorothée Sutter in 1855.  Our Paul had a tragic end but did live to adulthood; Jean Nicolas’s Paul did not. He died 9 March 1867 at two years of age.

Jean Nicolas and Marie Louise had three more children. Albert Athanase Hoffmann was born only a month after Paul’s death on 13 April 1867. A third son, Auguste Laurent, was born 7 August 1868 but died less than six weeks later. Finally, Auguste Ludgard Hoffmann was born 30 November 1871. It is to his grandson, Daniel, that I am indebted for all of this history.

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Sympathy Saturday – Annette Meyer Hoffmann

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Annette Meyer, my great-great-great-grandmother, was born December 13, 1827 in Grostenquin, France. According to her death record, it appears that her mother was named Barbe and was unmarried at the time of Annette’s birth. Annette was Jacob Hoffmann’s first wife and the mother of ten children: Lisa, Anna, John, Catherine Marie (my great-great-grandmother), Magdalena, Sophie, Eugenie B., Caroline E., Marie, and Joseph. Jacob and Annette’s children were born between 1853 and 1872. Two years after the birth of her last child, Annette died on June 26, 1874 in Renaucourt, France at age 46.

Additional details regarding Annette’s life can be found in the “green pamphlet,” which for years represented the totality of my knowledge of our Hoffmann ancestry prior to their arrival in America. This pamphlet was written by Annette’s youngest son, Joseph, in 1952. Joseph describes how his father joined the Apostolic Christian Church in 1855 at age 19, then two years later married Annette. It wasn’t until acquiring copies of the original death records that I learned Annette’s name was officially Anna (thanks again go out to Cousin Daniel!). Joseph further explains that the family lived in Romacourt (apparently “Remicourt“) until 1869, while Jacob worked as a farm hand. The family then moved farther south to Renaucourt, where Jacob intended to lease a farm of his own. As Joseph states in his history of the family, “In June of 1874 father had a very hard blow for mother passed away, leaving him with a large family of children.”

After Anna’s death Jacob remarried, but his plans to stay and farm were unsuccessful after the harsh winter of 1879-1880. Between the weather conditions and an epidemic among his stock, Jacob could no longer afford to stay, and the family decided they would move to America. As has been detailed here in other posts, the majority of the family arrived in Philadelphia on May 16, 1883 and left that same night for Fairbury, Illinois, where Jacob would eventually die and be buried, thousands of miles from his first wife’s resting place.