In everyone’s family there seems to be a “birthday season” in which many family events fall in the same month. In my family, February is not one of those months. So I was rather surprised as I looked through some of my genealogical data that February had a huge significance in the life of one of my ancestral families, the Bergmeister family. I’m sure that after you “collect” hundreds of ancestors, there are bound to be a lot of common dates among the data. But the sheer preponderance of February dates is striking. I first noticed the coincidence just back in my grandmother’s generation, because both of my great-grandparents and one of their children had February dates. But the closer attention I paid to the family, the more February events turned up.
To start, we have to go way back – seven generations before my grandmother! I will call this Generation 0, and the sole February event is the death of Elisabeth Bergmeister, wife of Jakob, on 25 Feb 1725.
In Generation 1, the son of Jakob and Elisabeth, Martin, marries Ursula Pedenpöckh on 16 Feb 1716.
In Generation 2, Martin and Ursula’s son, Johann Paul, was born on 25 Feb 1721.
In Generation 3, J. Paul’s son, Joseph, was also born on 25 Feb in the year 1763, his father’s 42nd birthday.
In Generation 4, Joseph’s son, Jakob, married Anna Maria Daniel. Anna Maria Bergmeister died on 02 Feb 1871.
In Generation 5, Jakob and Anna Maria had two children born in February. The first was my great-great grandfather, Joseph, who was born on 09 Feb 1843. His brother, Castulus, was born on 25 Feb 1845, his grandfather’s birthday (except his grandfather was deceased by then).
In Generation 6, Joseph had a son, also named Joseph (my great-grandfather), who was born on 12 Feb 1873. Joseph the younger’s wife, Maria Echerer, also had a February birthday – she was born on 27 Feb 1875. She would also later die in February, on 05 Feb 1919. Joseph’s sister, Hilaurie Bergmeister Thuman, would also die in February on 06 Feb 1943.
In Generation 7, my grandmother’s older sister, Maria, was born on 27 Feb 1898, her mother’s 23rd birthday.
I haven’t looked more closely at the dates I’ve collected for my father’s cousins and their children to see if this trend continues. The February dates stopped in my immediate family, but I bet I have some cousins celebrating birthdays this month…after all, it’s a family tradition!