In this post we’ll be taking a look a detailed look at the people Franz Julius Biltz was familiar with from his day to day dealings.
Due to deaths and remarriages in the previous generation, Franz Julius and his various siblings are part of four marriages. There is the first marriage of his father, Christian Friedrich Biltz, to Johanne Landgraf. Together they had eight children. Then there is Christian Friedrich’s second marriage to Franz Julius’ mother, Sophie Ebert. Sophie Ebert, on the other hand, was previously married to Christian Louis Völker, with whom she had two children. After Franz Juius’ father died in 1837, his mother remarried again, this time to Johann Gottfried Lindner. This union produced two further children.
Thus in total Franz Julius had 12 half siblings! That sounds like a lot of brothers and sisters. However, when you take a close look at the data you see that there was a high mortality rate, not only among the husbands and wives, but also among the children.
Of the eight children of Christian Friedrich’s first marriage, only one survived past his first year. This was Christian Friedrich Wilhelm Biltz, who at the time of Franz Julius’ escape to the United States in 1838 was 26 years old and his 13 year half-brother’s legal guardian.
When Sophie Völker nee Ebert married Christian Friedrich, she already had two children. One of them was Louise Völker, the half-sister that emigrated to Missouri with Franz Julius. There was apparently also a Wilhelm Völker, too, but I know nothing about him. He presumably died at an early age.
Sophie and her third husband Johann Lindner had two children, Reinhold and Emilie, both of whom lived to adulthood and as a matter of fact also emigrated to the US, although separately from Louise and Franz Julius, possibly even separately from each other.
Thus, Franz Julius actually only had four half-siblings. This can be seen in the chart on this page.
The blue color coding in the chart marks the Biltz relatives that either emigrated to or were born in the US. A reddish color coding also shows the relationships to each other of the Biltzes mentioned in my earlier post about the Biltz house in Mittelfrohna.
Similarly to the above families, Franz Julius himself and his wife Marie von Wurmb had a large number of children. A total of twelve children were their own and they adopted or were foster parents of two others. Here again, though, death took its toll of the children, taking five before they could celebrate their first birthdays. That left them with “only” seven children plus the two non-related girls.
The first two girls, Clara and Bertha, married into the Wyneken and the Walther families, respectively. Julius Friedrich Biltz and his wife Paulina Frerking are the ancestors of other American Biltz descendants that I have been in touch with. According to some reports Marie Biltz had the nickname “Mollie” and was the person who took care of her father in his later years. Bertha Winkler and Marie “Molly” Giesecke were part of the family, each of them was either adopted our was a foster daughter. I remember being confused for a long time whether there were one or two Bertha and Molly Biltzes. I believe to have found the answer in that there were two of each name in the family, one Biltz apiece and one apiece with different surnames.
The Biltz family also had three other sons who survived childhood but who do not appear in the chart. Theodor Julius was, like his father, a minister, but he died of pneumonia when he was only 26. Adolph Wilhelm was a druggist in Saint Louis, Missouri who remained unmarried and died in 1932 at the age of 74. There was another, younger brother, Gustav Heinrich, who died in 1890 at the young age of 24.
One penultimate comment concerning the chart. Please note that the possession of the house in Mittelfrohna changed hands between what at first sight looks like two different Biltz families.
I believe that the house must have been built or at least originally purchased or otherwise obtained by Franz Julius’ father, Christian Friedrich (1784-1827). It seems that his wife, Sophie nee Ebert, inherited it from her husband. After Sophie’s death the records show that Sophie’s daughter Louise Völker sold her share to Franz Julius’ half-brother, Christian Friedrich Wilhelm (1812-1848). This is the background for why the latter and his three daughters are marked in the chart as appearing in the records. The second Biltz family is that of Franz Julius’ cousin, Carl Wilhelm, and the latter’s daughter, Minna Flora.
A closer look however shows that the pivot between these two families is Hanna Theresia Engelmann, who married the two Biltz cousins. Thus all four of the Biltz girls in the right column of the chart who are mentioned in the house records have the same mother and are either sisters or half-sisters.
The final comment about this chart concerns Franz Julius’ grandfather, Gottlob Friedrich Biltz (1750-1820). The chart shows him having a first daughter, Johanna Dorothea Bayer, in 1775 when he was 25 years old. This girl’s baptism entry says that the mother was unmarried but that she named “Gottlob Biltz” as the father of the child.
The story behind this birth is that Johanna’s mother, Maria Dorothea Bayer, died shortly after childbirth. As a matter of fact so soon after Johanna was born that she and Gottlob Friedrich didn’t have time to marry. We can surmise that the two of them fell in love and had a child before they were able to make their relationship official.
The sources are not completely explicit about all the details but that seems to be a plausible explanation for how things happened. Additional evidence, for example, comes years later when the daughter marries. In the wedding entry she is listed as Gottlob Friedrich Biltz’ oldest daughter. In other records concerning Gottlob Friedrich’s other daughters they are numbered in a way that implies that his premarital daughter is being counted as his first daughter. In yet other records others of his children are listed as being from his “second” marriage, although as far as the records I have seen are concerned he was in reality only married once.
It looks like this part of Gottlob Friedrich’s personal history was accepted and acknowledged not only by his family and relatives but even by the clergy. I find that remarkable, but that’s what the evidence seems to suggest.
To be completely honest, this first extramarital daughter is somewhat conjectural but there are just so many hints that imply that things happened the way I depict them in the chart. It’s interesting to me how a girl that was initially entered in the church book as being illegitimate shows up in later church records as apparently being an acknowledged member of the father’s family.
The completely confusing conglomeration of Biltzes in this chart is typical of my experience with this family. It’s been an adventure trying to put the various pieces of this puzzle together throughout the years. But it’s especially satisfying now that it looks like that I have a pretty good handle on the family. I’m confident that the future will bring new questions and puzzles, however.
The picture at the top of this page shows the Biltz family grave at the Concordia Cemetery in Concordia, Missouri.
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