Friday, September 16, 2016

Harshbarger post: Who was Mary M. or Maria Magdalena?

Since my excitement of finding John Whetstone, Catherine Whetstone's father, of course the next question is-who are his parents, and who is his wife?  The only real clue I have is that she is listed as Mary M. on Find a Grave.  Her headstone gives her as the wife of "J. Whetstone", and gives her date of death as January 10, 1852.  This is from St. Peters Cemetery in Stark County, Ohio. 

Since I know that John was from Berks, later Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, and I know Catherine was born in Berks County, it makes sense to comb Berks County for a Mary M or Maria Magdalena or some variation of those names, born in 1775 (per Find a Grave's headstone information saying she was 76 years 1 month and 28 days old when she died).  This would put her birth date as about November 12, 1775.  So I need to look for a christening date later than that.  It would not be at all unusual for Maria Magdalena to become Mary M.  John Whetstone was probably Johannes, and his father's last name is often given as Wetztein.  Names were evolving and not yet "Americanized."

I also have seen on line trees listing her name as Maria Magdalina Kettner or Kepner.  Aha!  I thought.  I have a Maria Magdalena Kepner in my database already.  Well, it's not that easy.  I haven't been able to prove that the one I have, a daughter of Bernard Kepler and Maria Elizabeth Lindemuth, is the correct person.  I haven't been able to disprove it, either.  The one in my database shows a birth date of 1776, which could be a christening date or could be an "about" date.  But so far, I haven't found a marriage record for John, or Maria Magdalena.  I'm not convinced yet.  The Keplers were in Brunswick Twp, later Schuylkill County, so the location fits. 

There also is a Maria Magdalene Ketner, born in 1776 (Northkill, Berks County, Pa) with no specific date and no additional information or documentation yet located.  She was the daughter of Johannes Henry Ketner and Justina Catarina Brossman.  From what I can tell from the maps, Northkill is pretty close to the location of the Whetstones, so it might be a possibility.  So far, I haven't found another prospective husband for her. 

I am just beginning this search, but I am posting speculations and thought processes here for several reasons.  One is that I am hoping a distant family member will recognize this person and say, "Oh, she (one of the two above possibilities, or one I haven't found yet) married John!  I have this record...".  The second reason is to show readers that most of the time, you can't just open up a book and read a family's history.  It has to be pulled and twisted out of very brief, disconnected pieces of information here and there.  And the third reason is that I am running out of Harshbarger posts! 

The line of descent is:

John Whetstone-Mary M.
Catherine Whetstone-Henry Cook
William Cook-Elizabeth Brown
Barbara Cook-William A Withers
William H Withers-Della Kemery
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants