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Taufschein of Anna M. R. Beierle

Merklein, Heinrich (attributed)
Place Made:
Frederick County Maryland United States of America
Date Made:
ink and watercolor on laid paper
HOA: 12 1/2; WOA: 14 3/4 (actual)
Accession Number:
Printed taufschein on laid paper with birth and baptismal information and watercolor embellishment added by hand. All texts are in German. The handwritten text is in neatly executed gothic lettering. The central text is flanked by the mirror images of two angels facing forward, each holding a wreath in the outside hand and the interior hand pointing to the inscription. The angels’ robes are lightly filled in yellow and orange watercolor and the bodies filled with a light flesh tone. Each angel stands on a hand-painted blue cloud. Above the text are two cherubs holding branches flanking a central sprig of leaves and flowers. Below the text is a stem with flowers flanked by a cut of a watermelon on the left and a cut of grapes, apples and a pear on the right. Below the birth and baptismal information, the printed text includes five popular baptism verses.

Inscription: Geburt und Tauf-Schein / Diesen beyden Ehegatten, als: Johannes / Wilhelm Beierle und seiner ehelichen Hausfrau / Charlotte Beierle geborne Maierin ist / ein tochter zur Welt gebohren, im Jahre unseres / Heylandes 1814 den 30ten Tag December. / Diese tochter is gebohren in Friedrich Coun- / ty, in dem Staate Maryland in Nord-Amerika; / und ist getauft worden und erhielt den Namen Anna / Margaret Rosina den 26ten Tag Märtz im / Jahr unsers HERRN JESU 1816 von Hrn / Jonathan Helfenstein / Die Tauf-Zeugen waren: Anna Margaret Welsheimer

Translation: Birth and Baptism Certificate / To this married couple: Johannes Wilhelm Beierly and his honorable wife Charlotte Beierle nee Maier was a daughter born to the world in the year of our Lord 1814 on the 30th day of December. This daughter was born in Frederick County in the state of Maryland in North America; she was baptized and given the name Anna Margaret Rosina on the 26th day of March in the year of our Lord Jesus 1816 by Pastor Jonathan Helfenstein. The sponsors were: Anna Margaret Welsheimer.

Ich bin getauft, ich steh’ im Bunde, Durch meine Tauf mit meinem GOTT!
So sprech ich stets mit frohem Munde, in Kreuz, in Trübsal, Angst und Noth.
Ich bin getauft, deß freu’ ich mich, Die Freude bleibt ewiglich.
Ich bin getauft, ob ich gleich sterbe, Was schadet mir das kühle Grab?
Ich weiß mein Vaterland und Erbe, Das ich bey GOTT im Himmel hab:
Nach meinem Tod ist mir bereit Des Himmels Freud und Feyer=Kleid.
Ich bin getauft in deinem Namen, GOTT Vater, Sohn und heil’ger Geist;
Ich bin gezählt zu Deinem Saamen, Zum Volk, das Dir geheiligt heißt;
O! welch ein Glück, ward dadurch mein; Herr, laß mich deßen würdig seyn.
I am baptized, I stand united with my God through my baptism.
I therefore always speak joyfully in hardship, sadness, fear and need.
I am baptized, that’s a joy for me. The joy lasts eternally.
I am baptized, and when I die, how can the cool grave hurt me?
I know my fatherland and legacy that I will have with God in Heaven.
After death, Heaven’s garment of joy and celebration is prepared for me.
I am baptized in your name, God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
I am counted as one of your seeds, to a people that you blessed.
O! What fortune for me! Lord, let me be worthy of it!

Lower left verse:
Wann wir kaum gebohren werden / Ist vom ersten Lebenstritt
Bis ans kühle Grab der Erden, / Nur ein Kurtz gemeßner Schritt.
Ach, mit jedem Augenblick, / Weichet unsere Kraft zurück;
Und wir sind mit jedem Jahre, / Allzureif zur Todtenbahre.
Scarcely born into the world, it is only a short measured pace
from the first step to the cool grave in the earth.
O with every moment! Our strength diminishes,
and with every year we grow more ripe for the bier.

Lower right verse:
Und wer weiß in welcher Stunde, \ Uns die letzte Stimme weckt. \
Denn Gott hats mit seinem Munde \ Keinem Menschen noch entdeckt. \
Wer sein Haus nun wohl bestellt, \ Geht mit Freuden aus der Welt; \
Da die Sicherheit hingegen \ Ewigs Sterben kann erregen.
And who knows in what hour the final voice will awaken us,
because God has not revealed this to anybody yet.
Who tends to his house will depart from the world with joy.
Because surety, in contrast, can provoke eternal death.

Stopp, Klaus. The Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates of the German Americans. Vol. II, pp. 42-47. Mainz, Germany and East Berlin, PA, 1997.
William, Thomas John Chew and Folger McKinney. History of Frederick County, Maryland. Vol 1. Frederick, Maryland, 1910. Reprinted: Regional Publishing Company, Baltimore, MD, 1967.

Related work: Taufschein for Scharlotte Meier. ACC 2801

The printed taufschein first appeared in America in the 1780s, at the time when the popularity of illuminated birth and baptismal certificates had grown to the point that the creators of these certificates would welcome the convenience of a pre-printed form that could be completed by hand. By the first quarter of the 19th century, the printed forms were being produced in large numbers in Pennsylvania and by a few printers in Ohio, Maryland, Virginia and other states. This example was printed in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and then inscribed for Anna Beierle in Frederick County, Maryland. MESDA also owns a taufschein made for Anna’s mother, Scharlotte (Meier) Beierle (ACC 2801). The attribution to the printer Heinrich Merklein of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, is based on the details of the angels flanking the inscription. Jonathan Helfenstein was the pastor of the German Reformed Church in Frederick, Maryland from 1811 to 1828. During his pastorate the use of the English language was introduced into the worship of the Frederick congregation and the church also erected its first brick building in 1818-1819. Helfenstein’s charge also included congregations of Middletown, Glade, Zion, Manor, Remsburg’s schoolhouse, and Lovettsville, Virginia.

The attribution of the printed work to Heinrich Merklein of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, is based on the mirror images of the angels flanking the inscription. See Klaus Stopp. The Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates of the German Americans. Vol. II, pp. 42-47. Mainz, Germany and East Berlin, PA, 1997.

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. Robert C. Vaughn, Jr.