Saturday, April 7, 2012

Picked Up the Trail of George!

Imagine my surprise when I was contacted by Joseph Winterhalter II, great great grandson of George Orth! Joe has provided a well-researched account (and photos!) of descendants of George Orth and Anna Maria Wilhelm, many of whom still live in the Pittsburgh area.

George Orth born: 1838, Retschwiller, Alsace; died 1880, Pittsburgh, PA

George's wife: Anna Maria Wilhelm Orth
and grand daughter, Ruth Margaret Merkel
George's wife: Anna Maria Wilhem Orth
b: 1847 Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany
d: 1931 Pittsburgh, PA
Interesting to both of us is the fact that George's descendants have known nothing about George's brother Jacob (my great grandfather) and his family, nor has my family known anything about George and his descendants. This is despite the fact that they and their immediate families lived around the corner from each other on the South Side of Pittsburgh for— three decades!!  Jacob's family lived at 2306 Carson Street for over 35 years. George's family lived at 2323 Sarah Street for even longer.

What family feud, unforgivable act, or deep betrayal could have taken place to make this happen?

One possibility: George Orth and Anna Maria Wilhelm were married 14, Jun 1868, at St. Michael's Church in Pittsburgh, PA.  The parish was founded in 1848 as the first Roman Catholic parish in Pittsburgh south of the Mon River. The current structure was finished in 1861. (Note: The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh closed St. Michael's in 1992.)  Recall that George and Jacob were raised as Lutherans, their father had been a Lutheran minister, and three years before George was married, Jacob was married by a fiery and conservative Lutheran pastor. Could George's turn to Catholicism have been the reason for the ruptured relationship?

St. Michael's Church, South Side, Pittsburgh


  1. Looking through my Google Reader items, and there among the SEO, PPC, and marketing news, up pops Picked up the Trail of George! A nice diversion.


Eglise Lutherienne

Eglise Lutherienne
Protestant Church in Soultz-Sous-Forets, near to Retschwiller. Johann Jacob Orth (b: 1803) is said to have been a pastor in this church. Johann Jacob was the father of Magdalena (b: 1829), Jacob (b: 1836), and Georg (b: 1838).