The Richter Family Tree

From: "Virginia DeMarce" <virginiademarce@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon Sep 23, 2002 5:40:17 PM US/Pacific
Subject: The Richter Family Tree

Here's a bit about the background of "Grandma Richter." It gives you the name of the parents of Gretchen, Hans, and Annalise, their full names, etc.

Virginia

Johann Stephan Richter was Grandma's late husband. He was born circa 1555 and spent his life as a printer; trained at Heidelberg in the Rheinland-Pfalz, he settled at Grafenwoehr in the Oberpfalz as an adult. Compared to his wife and father-in-law, his religious experiences were really quite tranquil: although baptized as a Catholic and a Lutheran from the ages of one to four years, his entire conscious adulthood was spent as a Calvinist (Reformed). He married in 1582 for the first time to Margaretha Oestreicherin, born 1558. This first wife was the mother of Johann Georg Richter, born 1583, father of Gretchen, Hans, and Annalise.

Margaretha Oestreicherin died in 1602 after the birth of several girls (survival rate and fate as yet undetermined and being held in reserve for possible future use).

Johann Stephan Richter remarried in 1603 to Veronica Schusterin, born 1574. As typical for the time, Veronica was also from a family of printers (this was one of those occupations where the marriage patterns extended professionally rather than geographically — it was more important for a man to find a wife who knew the business than for him to marry a neighbor). She was born and grew up in at Amberg in Pfalz-Neuburg; she moved to his home at Grafenwoehr in the Oberpfalz upon her marriage.

In the 16 years after Johann Stephan Richter and Veronica Schusterin married, the couple experienced the series of four miscarriages, two premature stillbirths, and four childhood deaths listed at the start of "Considerations on the Nature of Historical Causation," before his death circa 1618-1621 (probably associated with the plundering by Mansfeld's troops, I think).

NOTE: At the time the Richter family was plundered by Mansfeld's "Protestant" troops in support of the Calvinist Winter King, they were good little Oberpfalz Calvinists themselves. After they were turned Catholic by fiat of Maximillian of Bavaria in 1628, the second plundering was by Tilly's "Catholic" troops. Gretchen (b. 1611) and Heinrich (b. 1609) are just old enough to have been instructed and confirmed as Calvinists prior to the mandated religious switch. Hans (b. 1613) started the first year of cathechism/confirmation instruction as a Calvinist and finished the second year as a Catholic. Annalise (b. 1617) doesn't have a clear memory of being Calvinist and all her catechism/confirmation instruction was Catholic (which falls into the category of "what a difference a day makes" or, at least, five or six years in a child's life).

Veronica was baptized Calvinist in 1574, went to church as a Lutheran as a child (1576-1587); was instructed and confirmed as a Calvinist in 1588-1589; for the next 14 years was in service in the household of a Lutheran patrician family who were leaders in the Pfalz-Neuburg Estates' resistance to the ruler's religious policy and consequently attended services in their private chapel; married the first time as a Calvinist in 1603; then was turned into a Catholic at age 54.

Her father, Florian Schuster, born in 1540 had been baptized and confirmed Catholic; made the first switch to Lutheranism in Pfalz-Neuburg in 1543 when he was too young to remember; then 1547-48 back to Catholicism; then 1556 to Lutheranism once more; then in 1564 he moved to Amberg and accepted Calvinism when he did so; however, in 1576 it went temporarily back to Lutheranism before, in 1587, settling into Calvinism; thus he was a Calvinist when he died in 1604, the year after Veronica's marriage.

To quote Veronica's late husband Johann Stephan Richter, who calmly bid in the contracts for religious books and formularies for all of the region's ecclesiastical consistories in turn, the most important thing to remember about religion was "which answers the ecclesiastical visitors want to hear this year." He particularly enjoyed printing the 1584 "Mandatum de non calumniendo" directed from the ruler to the contending theologians.

After Johann Stephan Richter's death, Veronica, tough-minded woman that she was, as the phrase went at the time, "hardened in the estate of widowhood." That is, rather than remarrying and moving out, she claimed her life interest in the printery and continued to live in the household of her stepson and his family, involved in the running of the business.

In the meantime, Johann Georg Richter had also married dutifully, properly, very happily, and at a socially suitable age, in 1610, to Elisabetha Kellerin (both apparently killed in the winter of 1629-1630 by Tilly's troops—he was definitely killed per 1632 and she taken off by a group of mercenaries other than the ones who took Veronica and the three grandchildren) and became the father of:

Gretchen (Maria Margaretha), born 1611
Hans (Johann), born 1613
Annalise (Anna Elisabetha), born 1617

NOTE: that although she is a step-grandmother, Johann Stephan and Veronica had married years before Gretchen, Hans, and Annalise were born, so she's the only "Grandma" they have ever known.