The Weinsheim Brothers in America


29. Januar 2023


There are two important sources for our investigation:

1) The “Records of John Casper Stoever, Baptismal and Marriage, 1730-1779” printed in   1896. This book is available in the Open Library (

2) The ship lists published in “Pennsylvania German Pioneers” by Ralph Beaver Strassburger in 1934. The three volumes are online available in the Internet Archive. Their internet addresses are

        Volume 1:

        Volume 2:

        Volume 3:


A. The Stoever Book

The Stoever book contains the following entries relevant for us:


the marriage on December 3, 1734 in Skippach where Nicolaus Coerper marries Margaretha Marsteller (page 54 in the book)

The facsimile reads “Nicolaus Cörper und Margaretha Marstallerin, Shiebach”.


the baptism of the couple’s son Johann Andreas where an “Andreas Coerper” functions as a “sponsor” for the child (May 4, 1746; page 33 in the book)

As all umlauts in the book are dissolved the spelling with “oe” is irrelevant. It is very probable that the original spelling in the church book contained the German “ö” (o-umlaut).

I think that there is no doubt that this Nicolaus Cörper is identical with the man on the ship lists 19A, 19B and 19C from August 11, 1732.

Most interesting for us is the godparenthood of “Andreas Coerper”. Who was this man?

Regarding godparents it was usual to assign near relatives for this task. Therefore, it is likely that Andreas was a near relative of Nicolaus, probably his brother.

This discovery was the starting-point for me to think about connecting Nicolaus with the Cörper family in Weinsheim. I showed in an earlier text that in this family there was both a Nicolaus and an Andreas. Andreas’s wife had died in 1743 and now another Andreas emerges in Pennsylvania in 1746 in connection with a Nicolaus. I knew from my investigations in German church books that Andreas was a rare name in these families. In the beginning it was just a feeling that the two men were members of the family in Weinsheim.

In all the years since then I did not find another Andreas who could have been the godfather in 1746.

Little by little, a story formed in my mind. There was another brother whose later whereabouts I was unable to detect: Johann Philipp, born in 1720, a half-brother of the two men. Was it possible that he also went to America? This question was unanswered until I read the “Carpers of Carpers Valley” (see the text about the printed genealogies). It gave me additional information that helped me complete my story.

The godfatherhood of Andreas sets a time frame for his travel across the Atlantic. He must have done it between August 12, 1743 (when his wife was buried in Gensingen) and May 4, 1746 (when he took over the godfatherhood).

My narrative includes the assumption that he did not travel alone but accompanied by his half-brother Johann Philipp.


B. The Ship Lists

The ship lists were published in three volumes under the title “Pennsylvania German Pioneers”.

The editor uses A for the “captain’s list”, B for the list containing the “oaths of allegiance” and C for the “oaths of abjuration”. In volume 2, only the B and C lists are shown as facsimiles because only these lists were written by the immigrants themselves by writing down their names in it.

The A lists are different. They were written by some official person and the information contained in them was retrieved from some kind of document and, as I assume, not asked from the immigrants. They are important for us because they give the person’s age.

What do these lists tell us about “our” immigrants?

The passengers on the ship Samuel are stated in the lists 19A, 19B and 19C. Volume 1 gives these lists in printed letters whereas volume 2 shows facsimiles of the lists 19B and 19C.

The printed lists give the man’s name as “Nicholas Cörber, 22” (A), “Niklas Körper” (B), “Niklas Kerper” (C).

Let us first examine the facsimiles. I will come back to list 19A at the end of this text.

In both cases the given name is “Niklas”. In both cases the immigrant wrote his surname with a capital K. The following vowel seems to be “ö” on list 19B and “e” on list 19C. Thus, the immigrant gave two versions of his surname: “Körper” and “Kerper”.

These spellings are exactly the same as in the lists B and C of the printed version.

If Niklas really came from Weinsheim “Körper” or “Kerper” contradict the way his father had written his surname (“Cörper”). It seems that Niklas did not pay much attention to this. Obviously, he tended to spell the name as he pronounced it. Since he had left Weinsheim six years had gone by. The bonds to the old tradition had loosened.

The question how “Kerper” changed to “Carper” has still to be dealt with. As it seems all his descendants bear the surname Carper.


On January 27, 2023 I got access to the facsimiles of the ship lists for the first time.

My first goal was to verify what I already knew about Nicolaus Körper. But on the following day, I wanted to check whether I could also find something about Andreas and his half-brother Johann Philipp. From my occupation with the Gensingen church books and from the Stoever book I had predicted that Andreas had come to America between August 12, 1743 and May 4, 1746.

So, I scoured all ship lists in this period. More or less by chance I found an entry in the list 106C that struck me by its similarity with “Andreas Cörper”. However, the surname was written in such a way that it could be easily read “Sörger”. Was it “Sörger” (as it is transcribed in the printed version) or “Cörper”? It is difficult to tell. The first letter looks like a miswritten capital C. The consonant in the middle seems to be a small g. When I later compared it with the name Abraham Körper had written in list 52 I found that “g” and “p” in the old handwriting looked nearly the same. Meanwhile I am more and more sure to have found the list with Andreas on it.

He had arrived at Philadelphia on the ship Phoenix. The lists were written on October 20, 1744. This means he had come to America about a year after his wife had died in Gensingen.


My narrative includes, however, also the prediction that Andreas had taken his half-brother Johann Philipp with him. Is he also on the list? One would expect to find him just below his brother. But this is not the case. Instead, I found him a few lines further down. I found an immigrant whose name seems to be “Johan Pillib Kercher”. Or is it “Fillib” instead of “Pillib”?

The way the names are written reveals that the man was little practiced in handwriting. He had little education. Either he wrote his given name with a capital F or with a P forgetting the h behind it. He did not even know that it is written with a P at the end.

The surname can only be read as “Kercher”. Here emerges the same problem as with Andreas’s surname. The small p can be confused with a small g or with a ch dependent on the way the writer has learned to write it. Johann Philipp had learned to write the small p in a way that it looks like ch when written clumsily. This is my theory. Of course, I cannot prove it.

If you look again at the facsimile of the marriage entry you can see that the “p” in “Cörper” is also written in a way that it could be taken for “ch”.

Unfortunately, volume 2 shows only the list 106C. So, we do not have another list (106B) for a comparison.

Again we have reached a point in my line of argumentation where certainty lacks. Where I hoped to find proofs for my version of the story, I found nothing but additional grounds for doubts. Do I interpret something into the document that I want to find? Similar points of uncertainty giving rise to doubts are part of my narrative. I cannot but state it.

If my theory is right the immigrant in question had tried to note down in the list “Johann Philipp Kerper” but had failed in a way that the result was “Johan Pillib/Fillib Kercher”.

I tend to believe that he really is the half-brother of Andreas in my narrative. He would have been the founder of the Carper group in Carpers Valley.


Finally, we have to throw a glance at the entry in list 19A.

It reads “Nicholas Cörber, 22”. I do not know where this information comes from, but I have an assumption.

It is due to the receipt (“Loskaufschein”) issued to “Niklas Körper”, as he calls himself in list 19B, when leaving Weinsheim. The name on this receipt read “Niklas Cörber” or “Nicolaus Cörber”. The surname was misspelled in the same way as in the man’s grandfather’s burial entry from 1717 in the church book of Boos.

Whether his given name in the document was “Niklas” or “Nicolaus” is not to decide. As we saw with Johann Philipp the editor of the printed lists replaced the written forms of the given names sometimes with their English equivalents. It is likely that the handwritten list A says “Niklas” or “Nicolaus” and not “Nicholas”.

If it is true that the list was written by copying information from a document, the given age, 22 years, can only be the man’s age when the document was issued. It enables us to guess when he left his home village. He left it in 1726 when he was 22 years old.