As mentioned in the June 7, 2016 article “What’s In A Name?”, several generations in my immediate family have carried on the name Margaret. Most genealogists are mainly concerned with a direct male line which they research. However, female lines are just as important and actually can be more interesting as the surnames change from one generation to another. As in the case of this article, following the name of Margaret leads us to research the surnames of Sechler, Hagenbuch, Robb, Shuler, and Miller.
When my first cousin, Kathleen “Robb” Shuler reminded me that the name Margaret was a middle name for five generations, I expected this article would be entitled “Five Margarets” beginning with Kathleen and my grandmother Hannah Margaret “Sechler” Hagenbuch (b. 1889). But, continued research always gains more information and insight. Three relatives named Margaret genealogically precede our grandmother, Hannah, whom we thought was the first of the Margarets. Figuring that one of those earlier Margarets was a namesake for Grandma Hannah changed the title of this article to “Six Margarets”.
The Sechler family settled in and around the Danville, Pennsylvania area in the late 1700s. They are related to the Hagenbuchs through Samuel and Mary Sechler’s daughter, Hannah Margaret (b. 1889, d. 1967) who was married in 1914 to Clarence Charles Hagenbuch (b. 1889, d. 1967). Clarence’s line is: Andreas (b. 1711) > Michael (b. 1746) > Henry (b. 1772) > William (b. 1807) > Hiram, Sr. (b. 1847) > Clarence (b. 1889) > Homer (b. 1916) > Mark (b. 1953) > Andrew (b. 1981). (Mark and Andrew are the coauthors of this site.)
Three Margaret Sechlers appear in the early census records in the area around Danville: Margaret (b. c. 1805) married to John Sechler; Margaret (b. 1814) married to Lewis Sechler; and Margaret b. c. 1851, daughter of John Sechler (b. 1824). None of these Margarets can be linked in a direct line to Hannah Sechler’s father, Samuel, whose direct line is noted in a biographical resource as: Johannes Sechler (b. 1700 in Germany) > John Sechler, Jr. (b. 1739 in Germany) > John Sechler III (b. 1774 in Chester, Co., PA) > Thomas Sechler (b. 1817 in Montour Co., PA) > Samuel Sechler (b. 1855 in Montour Co., PA).
Samuel Sechler did have a sister, Annie Margaret (b. 1853, d. 1928), who was unmarried and an aunt of Hannah. Most likely Hannah Sechler was given the middle name Margaret after her Aunt Annie. Homer Hagenbuch and Harold Sechler both told the story that towards the end of her life, Aunt Annie was so deaf that folks would shoot a shotgun off beside her and, not hearing it, she wouldn’t budge!
Therefore, the first in the line of six Margarets was probably Annie Margaret Sechler (b. 1853). Her niece, Hannah, was given the middle name of Margaret to honor that aunt. Hannah Margaret “Sechler” and Clarence Charles Hagenbuch had a family of 8 children. Their eldest daughter was Florence Margaret Hagenbuch (b.1925, d. 2002, m. 1946 to John Richard Robb b. 1924, d. 2001). John and Florence Margaret “Hagenbuch” Robb had four children: June Marie, Joseph John, Kathleen Margaret, and Carol Jean.
June Marie Robb (b. 1947, d. 1978) married Harley Fry in 1969. They had three children: Harley Jr., Dee Ann, and Keith. Joseph John Robb (b. 1949) married Janice Edwards in 1973. They have two children: Jonathan and Joanne. Carol Jean Robb (b. 1957) married Peter Dunbar in 1992. They have a daughter, Leah, who was born in 1998.
John and Florence Margaret Robb’s third child is Kathleen Margaret Robb (b. 1952) who married Gerald “Butch” Shuler in 1971. They have two children: (1) Jeremy Scott (b. 1972) who married Amanda Houck in 1996. They have three children: Madeline (b. 1999) and twin daughters Colleen and Blake (b. 2004); and (2) Jennifer Margaret (b. 1977) who married Gregory Miller in 2000. They have two children: Lauren Margaret (b. 2005) and Brett (b. 2009).
To a genealogist who looks for unique stories, more than just names, dates, and places, the story of the six Margarets is an informative tidbit that personalizes one’s family heritage. The passing on of a family name through the female lineage also proves the importance of matriarchal genealogy. It is a special family link that Kathleen, her daughter Jennifer, and granddaughter Lauren are proud of. Six generations of Margarets: Annie Margaret Sechler (b. 1851) > her niece Hannah Margaret Sechler (b. 1889) > her daughter Florence Margaret Hagenbuch (b. 1925) > her daughter Kathleen Margaret Robb (b. 1952) > her daughter Jennifer Margaret Shuler (b. 1977) > her daughter Lauren Margaret Miller (b. 2005).
Thanks to my first cousin, Kathleen Margaret “Robb” Shuler, for helping with the information in this article. I asked her to make a statement about the “Margarets” and in doing so learned that the name Margaret touches more than just the Hagenbuch family.
Kathleen writes: “We gave Jennifer the middle name, Margaret, to carry on the tradition and to honor my mother and Grandma. Also, we honored Butch’s paternal grandmother, Margaret Shuler, who gave birth to ten healthy children: seven girls and three boys. I was very pleased when Jennifer and Greg decided to give Lauren Margaret her middle name to continue to honor the line of Margarets.”