52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Multiples

The theme this week is multiples. Within my Schwegler family, there are a few different kinds of multiples; multiple births and multiple names.

My mother, Bonnie Schwegler, was a multiple. She and her sister, Betty, were fraternal twins.

My great-great-grandfather was Josephus Antonius Aloisius Schwegler. During his lifetime he married three women named Anna. His first wife was Maria Aña Josepha Walburgis Bieri. She was the mother of my great-grandfather Julius. She went by Anna and died when Julius was a baby.

Joseph’s second wife was Anna Maria Elisabetha Brun. Anna and Joseph came to this county from Wolhusen, Lucern, Switzerland in 1863. Anna was the mother of Frank and Joseph. Anna died sometime between 1864 and 1866.  

Anna Fehner was the third wife of Joseph. She was the mother of Benjamin and Hann. Joseph died about 1870 leaving Anna to care for five boys, three of whom were not hers. Poor Anna, she didn’t do well with all of these boys. According to my great-grandfather Julius, she was abusive to him. He left home when he was fifteen.

Fortunately for us, Joseph stated his place of birth when he immigrated to this country. I was able to painstakingly reconstruct the baptismal dates of his immediate family, and the families of his grandfather and great-grandfather because of this. ¹

Joseph was the son of Petrus Josephus Antonius Schwágler and Barbara Mejer. His grandfather was Josephus Schwágler and Catharina Stalder. Josephus and Catharina had fifteen children that we know of.

In this family, we can see the 18th-century German naming customs at work. According to an article written by Charles F. Kerchner, Jr., “At baptism, if two given names were given to the child, the first given name was a spiritual, saint’s name. The second given name was the secular or call name, i.e., “rufnamen”, which is the name the person was known by, both within the family and to the rest of the world. The spiritual name, usually to honor a favorite saint, was used repeatedly and was usually given to all the children of that family of the same gender.²

The children of Josephus and Catharina were:

  • Joseph Joan Antoni Schwágler
  • Jañes Schwágler
  • Josephus Andreas Joanes Schwágler
  • Ana Maria Catharina Magdalena Schwágler
  • Josephus Paulus Andreas Schwágler
  • Leonardus Caspar Josephus Alojsius Schwágler
  • Andreas Schwágler
  • Catharina Schwágler
  • Josephus Schwágler
  • Josephus Melchior Antonius Schwágler
  • Petrus Josephus Antonius Schwágler
  • Josephus Antonius Aloisius Schwegler
  • Ana M. Catharina Barbara Schwágler
  • Josephus Joañes Aloysius Schwágler
  • Caspar Melchior Baltazar Schwágler
  • Josephus Antonius Aloysius Schwágler

You can see from the records that Josephus was a popular “rufnamen” within the family. My favorite name is Caspar Melchior Baltazar, named for the three Magi.

This was a challenging topic but once I go into it, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

¹ The baptismal records can be found on FamilySearch.org



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