The Family of Johann Jacob Thanisch and Catharine Meyer

The First Tharnish Immigrants

Family Listing

Listing for the Thanisch Family
St. Cecilia's Family Register
Recorded about 1849

Johann Jacob Thanisch and Catharine Meyer are the immigrant ancestors of the Tharnish family.  They came to America separately; Johann Jacob from Whelen, a small village on the Mosel River near Bernkastel-Kues, and Catharine from Mettnich in Saarland.  They were married in Buffalo shortly after settling in Sheldon, New York.

Second Generation

i. Peter Tharnish Peter was born on July 7, 18411, and he died on June 1, 19124.  Peter married Mary Anna Arendt.
ii. John Tharnish John was born on February 15, 18431, and he died on April 26, 19144.  John married Mary Gaebel.
iii. Peter Joseph Tharnish Joseph was born on August 2, 18451, and he died on November 5, 18994.  Joseph married Elizabeth Gaebel.
iv. Stephan Tharnish Stephan was born about 18461, and he died young1.
v. Michael Tharnish Michael was born on March 29, 18481, and he died on August 6, 191615.  Michael married Clara Hembert.
vi. Magdalena Tharnish Magdalena was born on March 7, 18501, and she died on Jun 9, 192516.  Magdalena married (1) Martin Winch, and (2) Nicholas Keem.
vii. Catherine Tharnish Catherine was born 18515, and she died on June 6, 18936.  Catherine married Orville J. Waterman.
viii. Elizabeth Tharnish Elizabeth was born in June 18547, and she died on November 22, 191416.  Elizabeth married Joseph Fischer.
ix. Mary Tharnish Mary was born in February 18561, and she died on July 26, 193616.  Mary married Peter Simons.
x. Martin Tharnish Martin was born on November 3, 18571, and he died on May 31, 191416.  Martin married Alice E. Perry.
xi. Margaret Tharnish Margaret was born on February 21, 18601, and she died on February 11, 193416.  Margaret married Frank A. Almeter.

Johann Jacob Thanisch:

Baptism Record
Baptism Record of Johann Jacob Thanisch

Johann Jacob Thanisch was born on January 7, 1819, at Wehlen, Rheinprovinz, Prussia, the son of Johann Jacob Thanisch and Lucia Ketter2.  Whelen is a village on the Mosel River, a few kilometers north of Bernkastel-Kues.  The Mosel valley is a well known wine producing area and members of the Thanisch family are still producing quality wines today.  Johann Jacob spent his youth in this area and likely was involved in the growing of grapes or wine making.  The original family name is Thanisch, and Johann Jacob continued to use this name.  In a short time, however, his children where known as Tharnish, probably an adaption to a more English-like pronunciation.

Passenger List
Iowa Passenger List

In 1840, shortly after the death of his father, Johann Jacob and his mother left Whelen and emigrated to America.  They sailed from Le Havre, France, aboard the Ship Iowa and arrived in New York City on September 1, 1840 9.  At this early date, arriving passengers disembarked directly on the pier, and were left to fend for themselves to find temporary lodging, food and transportation to their final destination.  Only in 1855, was Castle Garden, located in what is now Battery Park on the tip of lower Manhattan, converted to a reception center for immigrants.  Castle Garden was replaced by Ellis Island in 1892.

From New York City, Johann Jacob and his mother probably traveled by steam ship to Albany, where they could take a train across New York as far as Batavia.  The last leg of their journey would have been by wagon to Sheldon.  It is interesting to consider what led Johann Jacob and his mother to settle in Sheldon.  While it is possible they had heard of Sheldon prior to leaving Prussia, there is another quite likely alternative.  The passenger list of the Iowa records the families of Peter Meyer and Peter Hahn9, both of whom settled in Sheldon.  They undoubtedly had heard of Sheldon from others who had preceded them, and Johann might have learned of Sheldon from them.  The key clue, however, is Catharine Meyer, daughter of Peter.  It turns out that Johann Thanisch and Catharine were married slightly more than a month after their arrival in America.  Thus, a shipboard romance appears to have lured Johann and his mother to Sheldon.

Marriage Record
Marriage Record of
Johann Jacob Thanisch and Catharine Meyer

On October 5, 1840, Johann Jacob married Catharine Meyer at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, New York10.  Catharine was born on April 2, 1820, at Mettnich, Rheinprovinz, Prussia, the daughter of Peter Meyer and Anna Maria Dorsheid.  As mentioned, Catharine and her family arrived in America on the Ship Iowa on September 1, 1840, the same ship which carried her new husband 9.

Johann and Catharine initially settled in Sheldon, where he was living in July of 185011.  In July of 1842, Johann Jacob purchased 20 acres of farm land in the northern part of Sheldon, near its border with Bennington13, and, in 1847, he purchased an additional 20 acres adjacent to his first purchase13.  In July of 1850, Martina and Alice sold their land in Sheldon and used the proceeds as part of their payment for a 98 acre farm in Bennington, adjacent to its border with Sheldon13.  This farm served as the family residence for the remainder of his Martin's life.

Johann Jacob died on October 16, 18788.  Catharine continued to live on the farm with her daughter, Mary, and son-in-law12.  Catharine died on February 16, 18918.

Top   |   To Tharnish Surname Index   |   To Site Main Page  

These pages are our initial attempt to capture the history and genealogy of the Tharnish family.  If you have comments or additional information which would add to this story, please contact us at the following address:


The pages for the Tharnish Family were last modified 9/11/2018