The Otterberg Horneffs

I came across Katharina Horneff’s obituary by accident. I wasn’t expecting to find it. Horneff1 is one of the few unique surnames I have and I search it on any new database I find. In this case it was in GenealogyBank which has the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1834-1922. In my results was an obituary for Katharina Horneff from 1911. It stated that the funeral would be at her grandson, Jacob Carman’s house. Seems cut and dry, but I still had to check to make sure it was my Jacob Carman since there were two of the same age in Philadelphia at the time. It took me awhile to be convinced, too, despite the unique name and the grandson being named. The truth was I thought I would never find Katharina Horneff. Indeed, I didn’t even know that was her name.

My grandmother’s grandmother was Catherine2 Horneff Carman and she passed away in 1913. I had no luck in finding her on the Census records3 before she married and only her father was listed on her death certificate. I thought her mother had therefore passed away long before and Catherine’s family had either not met her or had forgotten her name. Not only had they known her, she had passed away only two years before her daughter!

Another new genealogy site, FamilySearch’s Record Search Pilot, brought me more on Katharina Horneff. I found her death certificate which listed her birth date and her parents’ names (Leonhard Faber & Eva Huber). And then, I hit a gold mine. The family I thought I would never get anywhere with, led me straight back to Europe for the first time in my genealogical research.

Record Search has indexed church records from Otterberg, Germany and like a clichéd plot device, that is exactly where my Horneffs happened to be from. I found the Marriage record for Jacob and Katharina Faber Horneff which listed both of their parents. I found Katharina’s christening record with the same birth date as on her death certificate. I found Catherine Horneff’s christening record listing her parents Jacob and Katharina, as well as her full birth date. I had had only the month and year before. I was certain that these were my ancestors.

The Fabers were a bit of a dead end, but the Horneffs were all over the place. I found Jacob’s parents (Georg Peter Horneff and Catherine Cherdron) and grandparents (David Horneff & Susanne Weber and Johann Philipp Cherdron & Margarethe Port). And I found siblings of them all as well.

After doing some googling, I found a book called 300 Jahre Auswanderung aus Otterberg which I was able to get through Interlibrary Loan and which informed me rather mysteriously that Jacob Horneff and his wife and daughter, and later Eva Faber and her son Carl, had emigrated “secretly” from Otterberg in 1846 and 1850 respectively.

This gives me some hope my other dead ends as well: Nicholas & Catharine (Emmering/Emmerling?) Conrad, Joseph & Frances Funston, Charles & Caroline (Brill) Carman, Samuel & Lydia (Burch) Garrison, and more. There will always be dead ends. May they all be temporary.

  1. Horneff was also found as Hornef
  2. Mother and daughter, Katharina and Catherine, were found as Katharina, Katherina, Kathrina, Katherine, Catherine, etc. I settled on Katharina and Catherine to help keep them straight.
  3. I have since found the Horneffs on all the applicable censuses.


Elon Carman Pension File Abstracts

Civil War Pension file: Elon Carman, Private, Co. K, 5th Reg’t, Penna. Cav.
Abstracted and Transcribed from photocopies obtained from National Archives and Records Administration

From Declaration for Pension
(Act of Feb. 6, 1907)
State of Penna.
County of Philada.
On this 24 Day of September, A.D. one thousand nine hundred and ten (1910) personally appeared before me, a Notary Public within and for the county and State aforesaid, Elon Carman who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that he is 70 years of age, and a resident of Philada. county of Philada., State of Penna.; and that he is the identical person who was enrolled at Philada., Penna. under the name of Elon Carman, on the 19th day of September 1864 as a Private, in Co. K, 5th Reg’t Penna. Cavly Vols. (Full service has been stated) in the service of the United States in the Civil war and was honorably discharged at Richmond, Va., on the 19th day of May 1865.
…That his personal description was as follows: Height 5 feet 4 inches; complexion Light; color of eyes, Blue; color of hair, Brown; that his occupation was Bricklayer; that he was born on the 20 day of September, 1840 at Philadelphia, State of Pennsylvania.

From form 3-389 Dept. of
the Interior, Bureau of Pensions.
Sir: Please answer, at your earliest convenience, the questions enumerated below.

No. 1. Date and place of birth?
Philadelphia September 20, 1840.
The name of organizations in which you served?
Bricklayers Union No 1, Phila.
No. 2. What was your post office at enlistment?
Kensington post office
No. 3. State your wife’s full name and her maiden name.
Catherine Carman ne Horneff [second f crossed out]
Bo. 4. When, where and by whom were you married?
Philadelphia, Twenty-first day of October 1862 by Minister John Wilson.
No. 5. Is there any official or church record of your marriage?
don’t know

No. 8. Are you now living with your wife, or has there been a separation?
death, dead
No. 9. State the names and dates of birth of all your children, living or dead.
Jacob Carman born May 26, 1863 Phila. living
Joseph Elon Carman born April 6, 1872 Phila living
Carolina Carman born August 26, 1869 Phila. dead.

March 31, 1915
(signature) X Elon Carman

From Application for Reimbursement
State of Pennsylvania
County of Philadelphia
On this 13th day of Oct, A.D. one thousand nine hundred and nineteen (1919) personally appeared before me a Notary Public within and for the County and State aforesaid, Mary J. Hoy, aged 77 years, a resident of Phila., County of Philadelphia, State of Pennsylvania, who being duly sworn according to law, makes the following declaration in order to obtain reimbursement from the accrued pension for expenses paid (or obligation incurred) in the last sickness and burial of Elon Carman, who was a pensioner of the United States by certificate No. 1083859 on account of the service of Elon Carman in Private Co. K 5th Reg
Penna. Calvary.

6. Were any sick or death benefits paid on pensioner’s account?
Bricklayers Union #300.
[Schuyler] Post G.A.R. #30

19. What was your relation to the deceased pensioner?
20. Are you married?

24. Give the name and post-office address of each physician who attended the
pensioner during last sickness.
Howard M. [Shriner] Cumberland St. near Jasper St.

28. When did the pensioner die?
Sept. 8, 1919.
29. Where was the pensioner buried?
Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Phila. Pa.

Also appeared Anna Doyle and Rose Henry.
…We knew pensioner 21 years.

Give name of each person who rendered service as nurse, and who has made or will make a charge for such service.
Sister Mrs. Mary J. Hoy 338 E. Somerset St.
Nephew John P. Hoy 338 E. Somerset St.