On this day Johann David Hornef born

Image of Otterberg Germany with the Abbey Church center
The Otterberg Abbey Church (center) where the Hornefs were baptized and married. (image source)

On this day in 1754, my 5th great grandfather Johann David Hornef was born in Otterberg, Bayern (Bavaria), now of the Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany.

He was the son of Wendel Gottlieb Hornef and Maria Louis. He married Susanne Weber in Otterberg and they had at least seven children there.

His grandson, Jacob Hornef, emigrated to Philadelphia in 1846 with his wife Katherina (née Faber) and infant daughter Catherine who would later marry Elon Carman.

Family Memory

Last night over at Geneamusings, Randy Seaver had for his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun a game of ancestor roulette. The ancestor he landed on was his great-grandmother about whom he had this to say:

I called her “Nana” – as did my mother. She was the earliest born person that I remember being with.

She was born in 1868, so I was impressed by that. The earliest born person I remember is my Great-Uncle Milt who was born in 1900. I had some great-uncles born in the 1890’s whom I probably met but don’t remember. My Uncle Milt had no other family living besides us. He never had children and his only brother, my grandfather, had only my mother. So, Uncle Milt would join us for Thanksgiving and other holidays. When he passed away, I went with my mom to his house and it was like stepping into another time. I came away with a penny from 1919, an old fountain pen and three old 78 records. None of those things have survived to present day, I am sad to report.

Compared to 1868, 1900 is not that long ago. My grandmothers were born in 1904 and 1905 and I knew them better than Uncle Milt. Through the stories of my grandmother Naomi Carman Garrison especially, the early twentieth century was not so far removed.

What about my grandmother? Who was the oldest person she knew? My mind went immediately to her grandmother Catherine Hornef Carman. This was not likely the oldest person in her family my grandmother ever met, but she is the only one my grandmother told me about. It is not much, but this may be all that is ever “remembered” about my 2nd great-grandmother. My grandmother told me she remembered her grandmother as a large, happy German woman and remembered her cooking in the kitchen. My grandmother was only seven years old when her grandmother passed away, so one can forgive the vagueness.

Some things I have learned about Catherine Hornef Carman since:

  • She was born 1 July 1845 in Otterberg, Germany to Jacob Hornef and Katharina Faber.
  • She was christened at the Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche in Otterberg shortly thereafter.
  • They immigrated to Philadelphia when she was a baby and they left Germany “secretly.”
  • She had two sisters Eva Amelia who married Andrew Mahla and settled in Marcus Hook and Mary who has proven elusive.
  • Her sisters were both born in Pennsylvania.
  • She was married in 1862 to Elon Carman at the First Independent Christian Church in Philadelphia.
  • She died 9 April 1913 and is buried in Mt. Moriah cemetery in Philadelphia1

Catherine Carman obituary in Chester Times

This is how I discovered what became of Catherine Hornef’s sister Eva Amelia. I still don’t know what happened to her sister Mary.


Chester Times
Chester, PA
Saturday, April 12, 1913

Mrs. Catherine Carman, a former resident of Marcus Hook, died suddenly a day or two ago of apoplexy, at her home in Philadelphia. She was the sister of Mrs. Andrew Mahla 1 and is very well remembered by Hook folks. Mrs. Carman will be buried on Sunday and it is likely some of the borough townspeople will attend. Mrs. Mahla was notified at once by telephone and was greatly shocked at the news. She left immediately for the distressed home, at 150 East Wilt street. The internment will [sic] of Mrs. Carman will be in Mount Moriah Cemetery. She was a woman of many fine qualities and her death is deeply mourned.