Birth & Baptismal Certificate for Levi Gantz (1829-1864)
Origin: America, Pennsylvania, York County
Primary Support: 12 5/16 x 15 1/2in. (31.3 x 39.4cm) and Framed: 14 3/4 x 17 7/8 x 13/16in.
Watercolor and ink on wove paper
Acc. No. 1999.305.1
A birth and baptismal certificate lettered in German and embellished with female figures, vines, birds and flowers. The text documents the birth and baptism of Levi Gantz. A figure of a woman appears at the bottom of each side, each standing upon a cloud-like blue mass. The figure on the left wears a yellow dress, that on the right a red. Each woman holds the end of a twining stem that curves upwards bearing foliage, flower blooms and, at the top to each side, a large bird. In the center of the top margin, birds perched on a floral spray provide decorative detailing. Two small birds in flight appear in the upper right corner.
The frame in which the piece was received in 1999 is a modern addition
Label:As illustrated here, figures of women occasionally embellish the colorful birth and baptismal certificates made by Daniel Peterman. (On some certificates, he took the whimsical step of giving the women first names.) Peterman was a school teacher. He is also known to have carved tombstones. He was relatively productive, and his works are among the latest freehand Taufscheine made in Pennsylvania.
This certificate was made for Levi Gantz, who was born in 1829 in Shrewsbury Township, York County, Pennsylvania. Levi's great-great-grandfather had immigrated to America from Luxemburg. The child's father was a tanner; Levi himself worked as a tinsmith in later life. He enlisted in the Union Army July 6, 1863, and served in Company I of the 9th Regiment of Maryland, dying of unknown causes in Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, on February 19, 1864.
Provenance:From the subject, Levi Gantz, to his daughter, Mrs. George N. W. Norris (nee Florence Litty Ann Gantz); to her daughter, Mrs. Wilton Willis Ashburn (nee Amy I. Norris) of Weems, Va.; to her daughter, Mrs. ___ Geer (nee Gwendolyn Norris Ashburn), who was CWF's source.
Inscription(s):See the transcription and translation made by Pastor Frederick S. Weiser, April 2007, in the file.
The main body of the German text reads: "Diesen beyden Ehe/Gatten als Samuel Gantz und seiner Frau Lydia/Eingeborne Klein Ist Ein Sohn zur Welt/geboren den 18 ten Tag Aprill im Jahr Christi 1829/er Ist geboren in Strasburg Taunschip York County/im Staat Pinnsylbanien und ist getauft worden den 15 ten/May A D 1829 von Hr. Pfarrer Ziecher/und erhielt den namen Levi Taufzeigen sind/die Eltern./Ich bin getauft auf deinen namen, Gott Vater Sohn und/Heiliger Geist. Ich bin gezädlt zu deinem saamen, zum volk/dass dir geheiligt heisst Halleluia Amen/Made by Daniel Peterman Shrewsbury township/Y. C. Pa."
The tranlation reads: "To these two married persons, namely Samuel Gantz and his wife, Lydia, nee Klein, a son was born into the world on the 18th day of April in the year of Christ 1829. He was born in Strasburg Township, York County, in the state of Pennsylvania and baptized on the 15th day of May 1829 by Pastor Ziecher and received the name Levi. Baptismal sponsors were the parents. I am baptized into your name, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I am counted among your seed in the people you call holy. Alleluia. Amen. Made by Daniel Peterman Shrewsbury Township Y[ork] C[ounty] Pa."
Note: Weiser advises that "Strasburg" was the Pennsylvania German name for Shrewsbury Township.