Burga

On Easter Sunday in 1776, John Willheit and wife Burga attended the (“Hebron”) Lutheran Church in Culpeper County, Virginia, where their attendance was recorded as communicants. The names adjacent to John and Burga were George Utz, Sr. and wife Mary (Kaefer) and Henry Aylor and wife Anna Margaret (Thomas). Henry Aylor was born in 1718 and his wife was born at a similar time. The other two individuals are thought to have been born in the 1720s. Thus John Willheit was probably the son, born in 1713, of the immigrant Johann Michael Willheit since individuals who sat together were often of a similar age. Also the grandsons of Johann Michael Willheit who were named John had wives whose names do not suggest the name Burga. On Quasimodgeniti Sunday (the first Sunday after Easter) in 1778, the name, Burga Wilheit, was recorded another time in the church Register, so we are confident that the name did exist and that she was the wife of John Willheit, the son of Johann Michael Willheit. Though Burga’s husband is identified, it had been a problem to identify the birth family of Burga.

Germanna Record 13 says the wife of John (son of Johann Michael) Willheit was Margaret (Peggy)Weaver, the daughter of Peter and Mary (Huffman) Weaver, Jr. This account, perhaps as a token acknowledgment that there is a problem in this assignment, notes that she may have been a second wife.  The source for the claim that John Willheit’s wife was Margaret Weaver is the Garr Genealogy published in 1894. However, the Garr Genealogy does not claim that she was the daughter of Peter and Mary (Huffman) Weaver, Jr. This later claim was added after the Garrs did their work. The problem that is introduced by the later claim is that Margaret Weaver, as a daughter of Peter and Mary Weaver, Jr., would have been much too young. In fact, she would have been younger than some of her children.

The assignment of Margaret Weaver as the wife of John Willheit remained in place, though questioned, because there was no good evidence as to who she was. An analysis of the families that the children of John and Burga associated with at the church draws attention to the Carpenter and Weaver families. Within these families there seemed to be no individuals who might have been Burga. Except for two pieces of evidence, one from Germany and one from Virginia, the wife of John Willheit might have remained unidentified.

The first piece of evidence, written by the sexton in Gemmingen, Baden, on 12 July 1717, gives the members of one family who were leaving for Pennsylvania as
Joseph Weber, age 30
Susanna, age 25
Hans Dietrich, age 7
Sophia, age 4
Other recorded families who were leaving at the same time with the same destination include Matthaus Schmidt, Hans Michael Schmidt, Hans Michael Klaar and Hans Michael Mihlekher. The first three of the latter four families are well known as members of the Second Colony who were first settled near Germanna in Virginia by Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood.

Spotswood's list of fifty inported Germans  gives the Wever family as Joseph Wever, Susanna Wever, Hans Frederick Wever, Maria Sophia Wever, and Wabburie Wever. This same list also includes the two Smith families, the Clore family and the Milcker family so the identity to the Gemmingen list is certain. Either the pastor in Gemmingen forgot to list Wabburie in the emigration list or Wabburie was added to the family enroute. Most likely, she was "born at sea,” especially since the Spotswood list enumerates people within a family by age. Both Wabburie and Burga suggest they are familiar forms of the German names Waldburga or Walburga. Thus Burga Willheit was born Waldburga Weber (Wever or Weaver). She was a sister of Peter Weaver who has been described as a later immigrant but who was a 1717 immigrant as was Burga Weaver. The assignment of her to the Weaver family was correct. How the other details originated is unclear. Burga was related to many individuals in the Robinson River community. Her brother, Peter, has been mentioned. Her mother was born Susanna Klaar, the sister of Michael Clore. Susanna married Jacob Crigler after the death of her first husband, Joseph Weaver. By Jacob she had four children. After Jacob's death, she married Nicholas Yager.

We pluck a woman from the tomb of unknown mothers by identifying Burga. In this particular case, it took a bit of luck. Without Spotswood's importation list it would have been nearly impossible. The Gemmingen list of emigrants established the family. Luck was with us in that no other Waldburgas lived in the community. Other records, not cited here, trace the transformation of Dieterich to Peter (Dieterich > Dieter > Teter > Peter).

Finding the identity of Burga was first done by Johni Cerny and Gary Zimmerman.

The family of John Willheit and Burga Weaver included eleven children, nine of whom married into Germanna families. They were:
Mary *≈1737 ∞ John (blind) Yager
Nicholas *≈1739 ∞ Mary Margaret Fisher
Susanna *≈1740 ∞ Nicholas Yager
Eva *≈1742 ∞ Barnett Fisher
Daniel *≈1744 ∞ Mary Blankenbaker
John *≈1745 ∞ Mary Fishback
Elizabeth *≈1746 ∞ John Gant
Margaret *≈1748 ∞ John Garr
Christina *≈1750 ∞ Andrew Garr
Joseph *≈1752 (probably no marriage)
Rosanna *≈1754 ∞ John Wayland

where the symbols mean: * born;  ≈ circa;  ∞ married.

For further reading, see Before Germanna, vol. 4, pages 11 and 19f. See also Beyond Germanna, vol. 3, page 141, and vol. 6, page 321. Note the distinction in Before and Beyond in these two references.

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