Anna Barbara Hagenbuch: Rethinking Andreas’s Children
Anna Barbara Hagenbuch was Andreas Hagenbuch’s eldest child—or so we thought.
A few weeks ago, while researching Andreas’s birthdate, I needed to review the birth order of his children. The standard family tree for Andreas notes that his first child, Anna Barbara Hagenbuch, was born circa 1734. Because no birth or death record exists for her, this date is an estimate.
However, Anna Barbara’s birth in 1734 would mean that Andreas Hagenbuch was only around 18 when he and his first wife, Catherine, were married. This seems unlikely for the reasons discussed in the article “Andreas Hagenbuch’s Debatable Birthdate.”
Little is known about Anna Barbara Hagenbuch, and what evidence does exist comes from Andreas’s last will and testament written in 1785. In the document, Andreas expresses his postmortem wishes through twelve numbered paragraphs, the first of which is as follows:
Firstly, because I have already well prepared my well beloved wife, Maria Margaretha, with a sufficient yearly exception, to maintain her during the whole time of her natural life, I give her yet all my remaining estate (which I have not herein bequeathed to my children and in terms ordered to be paid to them in their hands, to make use thereof after their own pleasure) when and how she is wanting as long as she lives and when she shall see, that something more ought to be given to my daughter Anna Barbara, as I have herein bequeathed to her because she is unhealthy, then my said wife and my herein mentioned executors shall be herein allowed & they shall have the power to give my said daughter something more, out of the estate which I herein have given to my said wife in her hands, so as my said wife after her pleasure shall find it for good.
In the above passage, Andreas Hagenbuch provides for his wife, Maria Margaretha, and grants her permission to give an extra share of the estate to Anna Barbara “because she is unhealthy.” Since Anna Barbara is mentioned in the same paragraph as Maria Margaretha, she is the first child referenced in the will.
Research has shown that, more often than not, parents listed their children in birth order when writing legal documents such as wills. Even today, if you ask parents to name their children, they will nearly always begin with the eldest and end with the youngest. Based upon these facts, genealogists have long believed Anna Barbara to be Andreas Hagenbuch’s first born child.
Yet, this assumption contains one notable flaw, namely that Anna Barbara is mentioned first only because her name is included in Andreas’s provisions for his wife, Maria Margaretha. Indeed, near the end of his will Andreas dictated a paragraph specifically for Anna Barbara. This which reads as follows:
Tenthly, I give and bequeath to my above mentioned daughter, Anna Barbara, the sum of 140 pounds good gold or silver money which my executors shall pay to her or her heirs as follows: namely 60 pounds on the 27th day of November in the year of our Lord 1788 and 80 pounds on the 27th day of November in the year of our Lord 1791, so that she or her heirs receives 140 pounds and she shall likewise have one good bed, my kitchen furniture, my chests, 1 cow and 1 heifer, with that what my beloved wife, Maria Margaretha, shall further give her, as she finds good, because she is in want of it.
To summarize, if Andreas Hagenbuch ordered the paragraphs in his will to reflect the ages of his children from oldest to youngest, their birth order would be as listed below. Known birthdates from gravestones or birth records have been added to the list. Also, Michael and Christian have been inserted, since they did not have paragraphs in the will because they were sold the homestead property in 1783.
- Henry (b. 1737)
- Michael (b. 1746)
- Christian (b. 1747)
- Anna Elizabeth (b. 1754)
- Christina (b. 1759)
- Anna Margaretha
- John (b. 1763)
- Anna Barbara
What the above evidence suggests is that Anna Barbara was the youngest of the nine children living in 1785. As a result, her birthdate would likely have been in 1764 or 1765, since John was born in 1763.
The implications of revising the birth order of Andreas Hagenbuch’s children goes beyond just Anna Barbara. It also suggests Maria was actually born before Magdalena and Christina was born before Anna Margaretha. Additional research is ongoing and needed to further support these findings with more evidence.
Genealogy, like any other study, requires one to pursue facts and doggedly question what is thought to be known. While some might consider this a frustrating endeavor, it is exactly this process that makes genealogy so interesting to me. Here, a slight revision to Andreas’s birthdate has forced my father and I to reconsider not only his age, but also where his child, Anna Barbara, should be placed on the Hagenbuch family tree.
In Feburary 2022, this article was updated to show that Henry Hagenbuch’s birthdate is now believed to be in 1737 per this article.
I have found a discrepency in her date of death and the birth of her son Johann Jacob Stebelton. If she passed in 1740 how did she give birth to him in 1741/1748 (have found both dates for him as well)?
Hi Shelba. Thanks for your message. There isn’t any reliable evidence showing the Anna Barbara Stapleton was a Hagenbuch. However, as you pointed out, there is a lot of evidence showing that she likely wasn’t. The above article posits, based upon Andreas Hagenbuch’s will, that Anna Barbara Hagenbuch was actually born until 1764 or 1765. You can view her record in Beechroots here: https://beechroots.com/person/273/anna-barbara-barbara-hagenbuch
Hi Mark, Andrew…
Anna Barbara is listed on a ship manifest as Andreas’ child. The list is dated 1737. Is it possible that this Anna Barbara was his sister, not a child, and that there was a 2nd Anna Barbara born at a later date? You can find the immigration info on Ancestry. I THINK it was this first Barbara Hagenbuch that married a Stebleton….
Hi Michelle. Can you provide a link to this source showing Anna Barbara on the list of the Charming Nancy’s passengers? Alternatively, feel free to email this or send an image of it to us. I have only ever seen Andreas and his second wife, Maria Magdalena, on the list. A previous article on this site (https://www.hagenbuch.org/andreas-sails-aboard-charming-nancy/) listed Anna Barbara as on the ship. However, no primary source that I have seen has shown her. In fact, Henry isn’t on there either. However, noting his birth date from his death record, we know he must have been on the ship.
I also have that ship manifest. Here is a copy…
Anna Barbara Hagenbuch
Arrival Place Pennsylvania
Primary Immigrant Hagenbuch, Andreas
Child Anna Barbara;
Source Publication Code3570.2AnnotationDate of arrival with port or place of settlement, a few are date and place of first mention of residence in New World. Listings of mostly Mennonite German immigrants, the majority were from Baden-Durlach in the Palatinate.Source BibliographyJOHNSON, MRS. ARTA F., editor. “Immigrant Ancestors.” In The Palatine Immigrant. Vol. 6:1 (Summer 1980), pp. 44-47; vol. 6:2 (Fall 1980), pp. 87-93; vol. 6:3 (Winter 1981), pp. 138-143; vol. 6:4 (Spring 1981), pp. 189-191.Household Members
NameAndreas HagenbuchAgeNameAnna Barbara HagenbuchAgeNameHenry HagenbuchAge
Hi Christina. Thanks for referencing this! I haven’t read this source publication, which seems to be a derivative work. I have looked at the transcribed manifest upon arrival in Philadelphia of the Charming Nancy, 1737. There is only mention of Andreas and his wife. My suspicion is that this line “Date of arrival with port or place of settlement, a few are date and place of first mention of residence in New World” eludes to some extrapolation happening. In other words, the editor combined research about Andreas’ arrival with what was known of the children at the time. For example, Henry’s grave marks his birthdate as 1736, so if this is correct, he must have arrived in 1737 with the parents. However, as you see above, we now have doubts about Anna Barbara being the first born.
It’s certainly confusing!
Thanks again for the input!
Hi Christina. I pulled the print source based upon your citation. This is the entry in the journal referenced: https://www.hagenbuch.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/immigrant-ancestors-1980.jpg The Palatine Immigrant explains that these are submitted by their members, so there isn’t any explanation for where this information came from. As you know, this Immigrant Ancestors entry is often cited, but it doesn’t appear to include evidence to support its claims.