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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Barbara Musselman Pontius

One of the things I love to do is uncover an unknown fact or untangle family lines that have been confused and misprinted in multiple genealogies. One of those fell into my lap this week. I regularly check Ebay for things like family records in Bibles, deeds, and fraktur. I found a few things over the years that were worthwhile, mostly in Bible records. Last year I found an unrecorded deed that filled in the blanks in a Good family. It's been enough to keep me watching.
This week I found an 1838 Taufschein (birth and baptism certificate) for Anna Pontius. The name meant nothing to me until I saw her mother's name, Barbara Musselman. The Muddy Creek Library has Barbara's Taufschein. She was born in 1785 to Mathias and Magdalena (Tschantz) Musselman of Brecknock Township. Barbara was baptized by Henry Martin in 1806 in the Mennonite church in Brecknock Township (now Bowmansville Mennonite). No one knew who Barbara married and she was lost in history.
Then this week her daughter Anna's Taufschein showed up on Ebay. Anna was born in 1821 and joined the Lutheran church in 1838. Her Taufschein identifies her parents as Johannes and Barbara (Musselman) Pontius of Brecknock Township.
With the name of Barbara's husband, I was able to find more information on them. John was bankrupt and sold his property in Brecknock to Barbara's brother, Christian Musselman. Barbara must have died before 1850 as by then John was living in East Lampeter Township with his daughter Anna. She was married to Benjamin Groff. By 1860, Benjamin and Anna had moved to Mifflin County and John was living with what I am assuming to  be another daughter in East Lampeter Township. He is not found in the 1870 census so he died sometime after 1860. I need to do some more research to try find burial records for John and Barbara.
It's amazing how one little piece can open a whole new field. I found a lot of family trees on Ancestry for Benjamin and Anna (Pontius) Groff but they say her parents were John and Elizabeth (Root) Pontius in Ohio. Completely wrong! No one anywhere knew anything about Barbara Musselman. But now you do!


Anonymous said...

That finding must have been so exciting! I can almost feel the excitement. However I do not have the expertise to put pieces together such as you do, after years of experience (I'm assuming) I like to dabble a bit in genealogy though, just for immediate family.

Mary Horst

Scribbler said...

Yes, it was exciting. Genealogy is one of those things that you learn by doing where to find things. This Pontius family is coming to light but they didn't leave a very big paper trail so it's slow going. I can't find any family trees for them online. It's basically an unknown family.