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Catharina Himpin md. Johannes Dilli --> some thoughts on her identity
Posted by: Courtney Shinaberry (ID *****3224) Date: October 14, 2006 at 09:52:49
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My grandmother was a Dilley, and I have for years been on the trail of my Dilley ancestors, who are of the clan numerous and well-known in the Pocahontas Co, WV area. This line has been traced back to Johannes Dilli, also called Johannes Dilly and John Dilley, Sr, who migrated from Germany to Maryland in 1762. With regard to John Dilley, Sr.'s wife, she is usually listed as either Catharina or Catherine Himpin, sometimes also as Catharine Anna Herrin, or some combination of the above names. Some have advanced the notion that names Himpin and Herrin are the result of a transcription error, but I wonder why it seems that nobody has considered that they refer to two different women. An examination of some extant records would seem to illustrate this beyond doubt.

From the records of Zion Reformed and Lutheran Church in Manchester, Carroll Co, MD we can read the baptismal record of John Dilley Sr.'s first child, a daughter Anna Maria:

"Anna Maria of Johannes Dilly and Anna Maria, nee Heerin, born May 8, 1764; baptized May 22, 1764. Spon: Friedrich Wohlfarth and wife Anna Maria. Zion Church Records."

I believe that Anna Maria Heerin/Herrin was John Dilley Sr.'s first wife, and that she was the daughter of Philip/Phillipus Heer/Heir/Herr of Carroll Co, MD. One thing to keep in mind about German records is that females were often listed with the suffix "-in" appended to their surname which was the German way of indicating that person was female. Thus Anna Maria Heerin/Herrin was actually Anna Maria Heer/Herr. Apparently Philip Herr's will, dated 1772, mentions all of his children except Anna Maria, which leads one to believe she was at that time deceased.

I believe that Anna Maria Heerin/Herrin Dilley died sometime after the birth of their child, and that John Dilley Sr. remarried, to Catherina Himpin, which again, if we remove the feminine suffix, gives us Catherina Himp. Again from the Zion church records:

"DILLY, Joh: and wife Catharina (nee HIMPIN), had a son named Christian, born 8 Dec 1768, baptised 8 Jan 1769. Sponsors were Christoph Himp and Catharina Elisabeta Ritterin, both single."

So it would seem that John Dilley Sr. remarried at some point between the birth of his daughter Anna Maria Dilley in 1764 and the birth of son Christian in 1768.

I'm amazed that it seems no researcher has been forthcoming about Catherina having been a Himp and not a Himpin. Knowing what I know about German names in records, it seems that to be looking for a "HImpin" family will send us barking up the wrong tree.

It is very interesting that when John Dilley Sr. moved his family down into the Shenandoah Valley, they appear next in church records for St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Strasburg, VA. The birth of a daughter Catharina is registered there:

"To Johannes Dilly and wife Catharina, a child Catharina, born 25 March baptized 15 Sept. 1776; witnesses Heinrich Walter and wife Catharina"

Also among the congregation at St. Pauls in Strasburg were Hemps, and I believe it is here we should look for the identity of Catharina Himp Dilley's family. I believe (and with not much other than a hunch to back it up at this point) that Christopher Hemp found in records in Shenandoah County, VA and later Augusta Co, VA (the same migratory path as the Dilleys) might be Catharina's brother, and that he is the same person that appears in the birth record for Christian Dilley in MD. Christopher married Margaretha Beard, a name that will also be familiar to those researching families in Pocahontas County, WV.

Again, based on hunch, I am wondering if Christopher Hemp might be the brother of an Elizabeth Hemp who married Martin Beard about 1788 in Shenandoah Co, VA and Sarah Hemp who married Michael Beard. Both were supposedly daughters of German immigrant Caspar Hemp and his wife Sarah. The Beards and Hemps appear in records together at both St. Paul's Lutheran where the Dilleys were and also in records in Shenandoah and Augusta Counties, VA. Given the propensity of families to migrate together, I am thinking perhaps the Dilleys, Hemps, and Beards left the Carroll Co, MD area together and were part of the heavy wave of Germans that settled the Strasburg and Front Royal areas of VA.

Anyhow, these are just some thoughts and some avenues that I think merit further exploration with regard to finding the family of Catharina Himp/in Dilley.


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