So Many Johanns and Johannes

We are in the midst of our International Immigration Conference at the Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum, so I do not have much time to devote to blog writing.  This will be a quick one which will not contain a lot of visual material.

One of the presentations at this year’s conference highlighted the life of Johanne Christiane Theilig, who also became Johanne Christiane Richter and Johanne Christiane Wunderlich and Johanne Christiane Mueller.  She also happens to be my great great grandmother (through the Mueller connection).  And by the way, today is her birthday.  She was born on October 28, 1818.

When Johanne Christiane came to the United States, she traveled aboard the Johann Georg.  She was part of the Gruber group that arrived in Perry County in December of 1839.

Johann Georg passenger list – 1839

Before 1850 had even ended, Johanne Christiane had married three times.  The first two husbands died not long after marrying her.  Here is a list of her three marriages:

  • July 12, 1840                  Husband:  Johann Christian Richter
  • August 2, 1848              Husband:  Johann Carl Christian Wunderlich
  • February 6, 1850           Husband:  Johann Gottlob Mueller

As if that’s not enough Johanns, let’s look at a few other Johannes.

  • Johann Christian Richter’s first wife was Johanne Sophie Hille.
  • Johann Gottlob Mueller’s first wife was Johanne Christiane Friedricke Helwig
  • Johann Carl Wunderlich was previously married too, but at least her name was different:  Maria Elizabeth

As I have researched the old names which can be found in the early years of East Perry County, I now can make a few generalizations.  First of all, the most common first name for boys was Johann, and one of the most common first name for girls was Johanne.  Secondly, people were mostly called by a name that was NOT their first name.  So even though all these folks had the name Johann or Johannes, their friends and family did not likely use those names when they talked to them.


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