26 July 2012

The siblings of Samuel Baumgarten

I like a challenge. Such as nobody knowing where Samuel Christian Frederick Baumgarten was born. The general consensus is that he was born in Germany around 1729, but was definitely in England by 1750, when he was admitted to the Royal Society of Musicians.

Nothing was known of his parents nor any siblings. Until yesterday. There were a few other Baumgartens in England at the same time as Samuel Baumgarten, including John Ernst Baumgarten, a book binder of some renown at the time. I don't believe that John Ernst Baumgarten was related, even though he also was believed to be German.

The National Archives has four wills for the surname of Baumgarten: Samuel Henry Baumgarten (for 1837) of Bognor, Sussex; Samuel Christopher Frederick otherwise Christian Baumgarten (for 1798 - my relative), Gentleman of Hampstead, Middlesex; John Ernst Baumgarten (for 1782), Book Guider (sic) of Saint Mary le Strand, Middlesex; and John Henry Baumgarten (for 1770), Gentleman of Holborn, Middlesex.

FindMyPast has a Probate and Wills Records Section which contained an extract of a will held by the Bank of England for John Henry Baumgarten. It contained a surprise: John Henry Baumgarten appointed his brother Samuel Baumgarten of Cursitor Street as his sole executor. The will also noted that John Henry Baumgarten was a Quartermaster for his Majesty's Horse Guards Blue.

So, I decided I didn't have much to lose by purchasing the will of John Henry Baumgarten from the National Archives. And it turned out that I gained quite a bit for my £3.50: along with Samuel his brother, John Henry Baumgarten left inheritances to six other siblings - Leopold Baumgarten, Frederick Baumgarten, Gertrud Schwein, Magdalen Schmied, Julia Haberkorn and Frances Baumgarten. The will noted Samuel was from Cursitor Street, but none of the other siblings had places of residence noted, and Samuel was directed to distribute their inheritances to them. It suggests to me that none of the other siblings were in England. And the overall impression I get from their names is one of German heritage.

So now I've got to see if I can find any of these siblings elsewhere, which might perhaps allow me to pinpoint a place of birth. Could take a while!


  1. Excellent discovery Prue, and those unusual-for-Britain names (assuming that's where they were), should prove useful. $10 well spent I'd say.

  2. I've been finding more things in the UK National Archives catalogue - it's been a very productive week!

    Plus, I've got a lead on the Baumgartens in Germany to follow up. : )