When I receive my initial dataset from Dana (my 1st cousin, once removed) I had information that my g-g-grandfather (John Brenner) was born in Adelshofen, Baden (Germany), 10 February, 1836. An obituary in the German-language Rundschau indicated that John arrived in New York City on 19 October, 1854, after a perilous 36 day Atlantic crossing. I was able to identify three ships that arrived in New York on that date, but John was not listed among the passengers of any of the three. Doing a broader search, my son discovered a Johannes Brenner, age 18, arriving on the William Tell, 23 October, 1854. The William Tell sailed fron LeHavre, France. We subsequently discovered that John’s older brother, Conrad, had previously sailed to the US from port LeHavre. One puzzle piece in place.
Dana had John’s parents listed as Frederich and Magdalena. I was suspicious of those names, especially Magdalena. There was A second John Brenner in Youngstown, Ohio. This other John Brenner, a jeweler, arrived from Germany some years after our John. This second John Brenner’s parents were Frederich and Magdalena. I wondered if Dana had somehow got the parent set mixed up. Dana’s records did indicate that a family Bible of a granddaughter of our John Brenner listed his father as “Frederick (?)” and no name was entered for his mother.
I was excited when a FamilySearch query for “Joh* Brenner” resulted in a record in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) for a christening of Johannes Brenner in the Evangelical Church in Adelshofen on 21 February, 1836 (just 11 days after his date of birth). The father was listed as Friederich Brenner; the mother, Johanna Venninger. Hooray! This seems to have put a second piece in the puzzle.
A recent spate of email contacts with Arlene, a descendant of John’s brother, Conrad, helped fill in the broader family picture. Arlene was able to find more IGI records. Because of her diligence, I decided to do a thorough search of the IGI through FamilySearch… I search for “Brenner” surname in Germany. Fortunately, all the Baden records come up first (3622 records for Brenners in Baden). I scanned through all 3622 records, looking for anything related to Adelshofen, Heildelberg, Baden. Here’s what Arlene and I found — listed in chronological order (not in the order they were discovered):
1) 09 November 1794 – Georg Friederich Brenner is Christened at the Evangelical Church in Stuttgart, Neckarkries, Wuerttemburg. Father: Richard Georg Brenner Mother: Christiana Benedikta Buehler. (If this is John’s father, we have added one more generation to the Brenner family tree.) Thanks, Arlene!
(Note: the following records are all from Adelshofen, Heidelberg, Baden. They are the only Brenner records from Adelshofen among the 3622 records listed in the FamilySearch query.)
2) 28 November 1815 – Margaretha Elisabetha Brennerin was married to Johann Wilhelm Echlenacter at the Evangelical Church in Adelshofen, Heidelberg, Baden. (Possibly a sister to Georg Friederich??? The “in” at the end of her surname is also present on Johanna Venninger’s name in the marriage record below. I don’t know the significance of that. Perhaps our Brenner family; maybe, not.)
3) 05 May 1822 – Georg Friederich Brenner is married to Johanna Catarina Venningerin at the Evangelical Church in Adelshofen, Heidelberg, Baden. (Unfortunately, I was unable to find any other records for Johanna Venninger/Venningerin. I did find the christening record for Georg Ludwig Venninger – born 18 February, 1809; christened 22 February 1809. His parents were Johannes Venninger and Elisabetha Fleckin. These are possibly Johanna’s parents; Georg Ludwig would be a younger brother. If true, than John Brenner would have been named for his maternal grandfather.)
4) 01 January 1825 – Christian Michael Brenner (born: 27 December 1824) is Christened at the Evangelical Church in Adelshofen, Heidelberg, Baden. Father: Georg Friederich Brenner Mother: Johanna Venninger (Conrad is John’s older brother. When John first arrived in Ohio, he stayed with Conrad in Columbiana County, just south of Youngstown.)
5) 17 September 1826 – Johanna Elisabetha Brenner (born 07 September 1826) is Christened at the Evangelical Church in Adelshofen, Heidelberg, Baden. Father: Georg Friederich Brenner Mother: Johanna Venninger (An older sister of John.)
6) 26 April 1829 – Rosina Catharina Brenner (born: 10 April 1829) was Christened at the Evangelical Church in Adelshofen, Heidelberg, Baden. Father: Georg Frederich Brenner Mother: Johanna Venninger (A second older sister for John.)
7) 21 February 1836 – Johannes Brenner was Christened at the Evangelical Church in Adelshofen, Heidelberg, Baden. Father: Friederich Brenner Mother: Johanna Venninger (John’s birthday – 10 February, 1836, was not given in this record. Note: John’s father is listed without “Georg.”)
8) 31 January 1850 – Elisabeth Brenner married Christian Franck at the Evangelical Church in Adelshofen, Heidelberg, Baden. (This is most likely Johanna Elisabetha Brenner in #5, above.)
So, Friederich and Johanna Brenner seem to have had at least 4 children – 2 sons; 2 daughters. Both sons emigrated to the United States. I have not found any records indicating that the parents or the daughters left Germany.
One of these days I will go to the local FHC and order the microfilm rolls that contain these records so I can see if there is any more information available. It looks as if my son and I are going to have to get serious about planning our genealogical expedition to Germany in the next couple of years. We now have some indicators to help shape our continuing research.