The Bischoff Sisters
Including Ziegler and Saltzgeber

Genealogy tends to be male-oriented.  To some extent this is unavoidable, because of the custom of women changing their names at marriage.  It is simply easier to follow the males,  who keep the same name all their lives.  Nevertheless I think it is often the women who keep the families in touch and the family stories passed on.  I want to dedicate this page to three eighteenth century sisters from the village of Adersbach, near Sinsheim,who all came separately to America.

The sisters, all daughters of Georg Philipp Bischoff, were Maria Barbara 1695-1756,  Anna Margaretha 1709-ca 1770, and Anna Maria Kunigunda 1718-1804.  They married, respectively, a Ziegler, a Saltzgeber, and a Frank.  At one time they were living in Lancaster, York County, and Philadelphia, respectively, but they seem to have kept in touch.   The genealogical details can be found on the charts; here I want to tell something  of their stories, but to make it  a little clearer:

Known children of Georg Philipp Bischoff b 1667:
with First Wife Catharina ?? 1670 - 1707/08

Georg Adam Bischoff 1692 - Unknown
Maria Barbara Bischoff 1694/95 - 1756
  mar Johann Wilhelm Ziegler 1694 - 1749/50
Johann Michael Bischoff 1697 - Unknown
Maria Margaretha Bischoff 1698 - Unknown
Maria Christina Bischoff 1700/01 - Unknown
Maria Catharina Bischoff 1707/08 - Unknown
with Second Wife Barbara Wezel 1670 - Unknown

Anna Margaretha Bischoff 1709 - 1763
  mar 1st: Johann Dietrich Saltzgeber 1704/05-1762
  mar 2nd Johann Heinrich Herring 1720 - 1779
Anna Christina Bischoff 1711 - Unknown
Bernhard Andreas Bischoff 1714 - Unknown
Anna Maria Kunigunda Bischoff 1718 - 1804
mar Johann Jacob Franck 1714 - 1787

The eldest sister, Maria Barbara Bischoff Ziegler (she was actually the half-sister of the other two; she had a different mother) was the first to come to America, presumably with her husband Johann Wilhelm  Ziegler on the ship "Dragon" in 1732 (women were not usually listed on the ships' lists of the time, so we can't be absolutely sure of this).  We don't know much about her life; she and her husband settled in Lancaster, PA.  They apparently had only one child, a daughter whose name we do not know, who died in 1749, at about fourteen.  Wilhelm Ziegler died in 1750, leaving Maria Barbara a widow.

Meanwhile, the second sister, Anna Margaretha Bischoff Saltzgeber, had arrived with her husband Dietrich Saltzgeber and the first four of their eleven known children, probably in April 1738.    This was a very bad year for the immigrant ships and many people who tried to come in that year did not arrive at all.  For those who did, the records are incomplete.  The Saltzgebers cannot be found on any ship list but there is other evidence that they came that year.  They settled in York County, PA.

Finally, the third sister, my 5th greatgrandmother, Anna Maria Kunigunda Bischoff,  also came to America, probably on the "Friendship" in 1739.  This was the same ship that her future husband Jacob Frank was on.    It is tempting to construct a romantic story about how they met on the ship, but this is unlikely.   He was from Sinsheim, a town only a few miles from Adersbach, and it is probable that they knew each other before the voyage.  In any case, they were married the following year, outside of Philadelphia.  They lived in Philadelphia for about 16 years; most of their children were born there.

In 1756, Maria Barbara Bischoff Ziegler died.   Since both her husband and her only child had died earlier, she had no obvious heirs.  In her will she left her property in Lancaster (a house and lot among other things) to her brother-in-law Jacob Frank, my 5th great grandfather.   Now at first this struck me as odd; why would she leave it to him, and not his wife, her sister?  Or for that matter, why not her other brother-in-law, Dietrich Saltzgeber?  She did remember her sister Anna Margaretha Saltzgeber in her will.  Although I have not proved it, I suspect that I know why.  Jacob Frank's mother, back in Sinsheim, was a Ziegler.  I suspect that in addition to being Maria Barbara's brother-in-law, Jacob was her late husband's nephew or something like that.  So it would make sense to leave to him what had presumably been her late husband's property.  This needs more research.

Naturally, of the three sisters, I know the most about Anna Maria Kunigunda, since she was my 5th greatgrandmother.  I am often asked about the name Kunigunda, and I got curious enough to look into it a little.   It seems that Kunigunda was an old German saint, the wife of Heinrich, the last king of the royal house of Saxony (he's a saint too).  She lived around the year 1000.  I have also been told by Germans that the name is much older than that, pre-Christian, like Brunhilde, Sieglinde, the German-opera sorts of names.  I have no reason to doubt this, but none of it explains why the name enjoyed something of a vogue among late 17th and early 18th century Germans.   It did:  although not one of the common ones among them, it is not unique; I have encountered a number of others.  I suspect that it may have appeared in a popular book at the time or something like that, but I have not been able to verify this.

As for my own 5th greatgrandmother, she seems to have dispensed with Kunigunda fairly early in life.  It was used at her christening in Adersbach in 1718, and at her marriage in Philadelphia in 1740.  At the christenings of her children in the 1740s and 1750s, she is referred to as Anna Maria.   Her husband's will, written in 1778, refers to her as 'my beloved wife Maria'.  By the time she came to write her own will, in 1802, after 60-odd years in America, she just calls herself Mary Frank.

She lived to be 86, long enough to know at least one greatgranddaughter, and confuse me by mentioning her in her will - she called her her 'grand-daughter' and I did not understand who she was.  I do now, and that is explained in the notes to her will.

Her will, incidentally is long and interesting, much more interesting than that of her husband, who just basically left everything to her.  When she died the estate was going to have to actually be distributed.  I have included it on the Frank documents page for those who are interested.  Her son Daniel Frank, cut off without another cent because he has already gotten his share as a 'loan', was my 4th greatgrandfather.  Link to her will: 

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