Gottfried’s 200th Birthday

I found one of those bicentennial birthdays today. Christian Gottfried Moeckel was born on September 23, 1820 in Germany. In the Jacob Family Book, it states that Gottfried was born in Kreis Ziegenrueck Regierungsbezirk Erfurt. A location known as Ziegenruck can be found on this map of present-day Germany. It is only about 20 miles from Kahla, where my Schmidt family originated.

Ziegenruck, Germany map

As near as I can tell, Gottfried Moeckel probably got married around 1842. His wife was Sophia Militzer, who was born on February 2, 1821 in Schwand, Germany. This couple’s firstborn child arrived in 1844. Three children were born to this couple before they made the voyage to America in 1852. We find this family in a passenger list for the ship, Neptune, that landed at New Orleans in June of 1852.

Moeckel names – Neptune passenger list – 1852

A few more children were born in Perry County before the 1860 census. They were baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri. Below is the Moeckel household in that census.

1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

When I saw that Sophia was a Militzer, I wondered if she was related to some other Militzer’s who we find in our German Family Tree. There is no connection in that document. However, when I looked in a Militzer family binder we have in our research library, I found evidence that Sophia was a sister of two other Militzer’s we have in the GFT, Christoph and Christian. Here are several images of what is described as the Third Generation of that family from that binder.

I found other immigration documentation that indicates the other two Militzer brothers arrived in America after the Moeckel’s got here in 1852. Some other posts have already been written about these Militzer and Moeckel families, but I didn’t know about this Moeckel/Militzer connection until now.

Gottfried Moeckel served some time in the military during the Civil War. Here is a record of his service.

Gottfried Moeckel – Civil War military record

We have several pages of Moeckel’s in our German Family Tree. That is because Gottfried and Sophia had mostly boys in their family. The last of their children was Julius, born in 1861. The 1870 census shows the Moeckel household.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

I was unable to find Gottfried and his family in the 1880 census. By the time of the 1880 census, one of the Moeckel sons, Robert, was living with his family in Fountain Bluff Township near Jacob, Illinois. Later, both Gottfried and Sophia, along with their son, Julius, also found their way across the river into Jackson County. A church record at Christ Lutheran Church in Jacob says these Moeckel’s became members of that congregation in 1889. Perhaps Gottfried and Sophia were living in Jackson County already in 1880, but I was unable to find them in those census records either.

In 1896, Sophia Moeckel died at the age of 74. The death record for her found in the Christ Lutheran Church books is one of the most thorough ones I have ever seen. It takes up almost a whole page. It includes a list of the Moeckel children and their spouses. It is shown below.

Sophia Moeckel death record – Christ, Jacob, IL

Gottfried Moeckel died in 1899 at the age of 78. We can view his death record from the books of Christ Lutheran in Jacob also. He died on the first day of 1899.

Gottfried Moeckel death record – Christ, Jacob, IL

I also have finally located what we call the Jacob Family Book. In it you will find this information about Gottfried and Sophia. This is where we find the locations of their births in Germany.

Gottfried and Sophia Moeckel information – Jacob Family Book

Gottfried and Sophia Moeckel are buried together in the Christ Lutheran Cemetery in Jacob. I wish every gravestone was as readable as this one.

Gottfried and Sophia Moeckel gravestone – Christ, Jacob, IL

In the case of Gottfried Moeckel, I was able to find many documents that were associated with the settlement of his estate. This includes his last will and testament. I will not go into details about who go what, but I did find it interesting who the witnesses were for this will. They were Martin and Gotthilf Weinhold, the two brothers from Frohna who ran the flour mill in that town.

Gottfried Moeckel will – witnesses

After skimming over several of these probate documents, I concluded that since the will looks to have been made in Missouri and Gottfried died in Illinois, some verification of signatures had to take place. In order to do that, a notary public in Perry County had to attest to some information. That notary public was my great grandfather, Gottwerth F. Schmidt.

Also, when public postings of notices concerning the settlement of his estate were placed near Jacob, Illinois, the document shown below indicates where those notices were posted. I think it gives a good description of some of the places in and around Jacob where people may have gathered to see such notices. I guess you could say that these were places where you could find a local bulletin board.

In the end, the research that went into this story has settled a few things in my mind about the Moeckel and Militzer families. Every day I write a story, I learn something new.


We have had quite a bit more activity this week at our construction site. I am going to include a few photos. WordPress had made some changes to their editing process, and I have yet to figure out how to make a gallery of clickable thumbnails like I have done in the past. So, I will use a little bit different style.

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