There are a lot of Roth’s living in East Perry County, and most of them can trace their roots back to the man who will be discussed in this post today. I will call him today’s birthday boy, but there is a bit of a debate about his date of birth. I will display evidence that Johann George Roth was either born on January 5, 1806, or on January 6, 1806. That means either today or yesterday marks the day of his 217th birthday.
Johann Georg Roth was the son of Conrad and Anna (Steinfels) Roth. I am able to display his actual baptism record. Johann George was baptized at the church in Winden, Germany. This record says he was born on January 5th and baptized on January 9th.
I am also going to display a description found on Ancestry that gives some of the main facts in this document in English. This is where we find his father’s name and the maiden name for his mother.
Since his later gravestone calls him G. Roth, I will call him George for the remainder of this post. I also will use the more common spelling for that name, not the one that has no “e” at the end. When George was 23 years old, he got married. Let’s take some time to look at his bride. Her name was Margaretha Burkhardt who was born on March 30, 1808. I found several suggested names for Margaretha’s parents on different family trees on Ancestry, so I am not going to speculate here what their names were.
Johann Georg Roth married Margaretha Burkhardt on November 29, 1829. They were married at the Winden parish, and we are able to view that church’s record of their marriage.
George and Margaretha brought their young family to America in 1836. They made the voyage aboard the ship, Romulus, which landed in New York City on November 24, 1836. Their names on the passenger list for that ship are pictured here. It lists 3 children that were born in Germany, two boys and a girl.
While the Roth’s were in New York City, another child, Christian Roth, was born. There is a baptism record for Christian in a collection of such records called “U.S., Dutch Reformed Church Records in Selected States”. This document presents another debate. It says Christian was born on September 30th, but other records listed in our German Family Tree give a different date of birth. I will not go into details about that today.
This Roth family became part of the New York Group that made the decision to join the Stephanite immigration that was taking place in 1839. The New York Group left New York in April of 1839 and arrived in Perry County in May. They arrived in the midst of the Rev. Stephan scandal which resulted in the immigration’s leader being ousted from their community and transported to Illinois with instructions to never return. That scandal, along with the hardships experienced by the immigrants in those early years, resulted in many members of the New York Group not remaining in Perry County for very long. However, the Roth’s were one of the families that decided to stay in this area.
The 1850 census shows the Roth family living in the Brazeau Township where George was a farmer. Several other children had been born in Missouri. I had to display this entry in two images.
Next, we find the Roth family in the 1860 census. Their household had gotten somewhat smaller because some of their children had gotten married. This entry has a young child who is called a male named B. Greenwell living with the Roth’s. Based on the next census, this must have been Bertha Gruenwald and mistakenly called a male in this entry. Bertha’s parents had both died.
The 1870 census lists a Roth family that includes just George and Margaretha, one child, August Roth, and Bertha Gruenwald, who is called a 16 year-old domestic servant.
We have to look in the long-lost 1880 Union Township pages to locate the last census entry in which we find George and Margaretha because each of them died before 1900. These two had an empty nest in this entry, and both of them were in their 70’s.
George Roth died in 1881 at the age of 75. I am going to display his death record from the Concordia, Frohna books. I want you to notice that this death record does not include a date of birth, but it does give his age in years, months, and days at the time of his death. Perhaps this is the information used to calculate a January 6th birthday for George. Our German Family Tree gives only January 6th as George’s birthday, but this death record and a cemetery record are the only ones that give that date of birth.
Margaretha Roth died in 1895 at the age of 87. We can also look at her death record. Although there was a different pastor who recorded this death, he was still using the method of describing how old someone was when they died, and no date of birth was given.
George Roth is noted as being I-32, and Margaretha was I-33. I am wondering if Concordia, Frohna had a way of identifying members of their congregation using this kind of notation in their books.
George and Margaretha Roth are buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna. George has a standard gravestone, but Margaretha has a metal grave marker that was likely placed in this cemetery at a later date to acknowledge people who were buried there, but were not otherwise marked with a gravestone. After looking at an enlarged image of George’s gravestone, I know that it is definitely engraved with a birthday of January 6th.
You can choose what day of birth for George is the correct one, but in my mind, I think it is more likely that his birthday was January 5th, based on his German baptism record. Having said that, maybe I should have written this post yesterday.