From John Vanko
Samuel Finger is the earliest Finger recorded in Bottendorf. Bottendorf's kirchebuch began in 1665. But there are older records that mention various inhabitants. It is believed that Samuel was not born in Bottendorf, but rather Müenden, to the north. Here is what Dr. Ulrich Stöhr has concluded from his research. (His doctorate is from the University of Marburg in German Language and History.) Although Dr. Stöhr’s English is infinitely better than my German, bear in mind that it is not his first language.
In a letter dated Feb. 17, 1987, from Dr. Ulrich Stöhr:
"If I haven't done it before - I don't think so - here is the name of Jost Finger's (very) probable father: Samuel Finger, mentioned in 1609 and 1630 among the inhabitants of Bottendorf (There is nearly no doubt that he is Your "oldest" forefather, born abt. 1570/80)."
From a letter dated January 27th, 1997, by Dr. Ulrich Stöhr:
"Had I told You that the first Finger in Bottendorf, Samuel Finger, came from a place named Müenden? So far it was not quite sure which town "Müenden" was meant because there are several places of this name in our region. Dr. Cornelius is always proud of honrable ancestors of urban origin and so he preffered the city Hannoversch-Müenden (M. in the former kingdom Hannover, now part of Lower Saxony) the place where the rivers Fulda and Werra join themselves shaping thus the Weser stream flowing to the North Sea. I myself had good reason to believe that the small village Müenden in the south-western part of the former county Waldeck was home of the Fingers. This place was owned by vassals of the counts of Waldeck. These vassals were the noblemen of Dalwigk who dominated a tiny territory within the greater county of Waldeck. The ancestral seat of the Dalwigk family, the castle of Lichtenfels, is situated about 12 kilometres distant from Bottendorf in exactly northern direction."
"The key for the solution of the problem was a short summary of the conditions on which Samuel Finger entered on the task of a trout- and bird-catcher under landgrave Ludwig IV of Hessia-Marburg in 1599. Whereas in the official certificates of appointment he is called "Samuell Finger vonn Mindenn" in the summary he is more precisely described as "Samuell Finger von Minden under den von Dhalwig" (that means: S. Finger from M. under those of D.). The original certificate is kept in the Hessian State archive in Marburg still showing the hand-writing of Samuel Finger himself. Although in 1599 it’s not explicitly said that Samuel Finger lived in Bottendorf there’s hardly any doubt that he is identical with the first Finger in Bottendorf of the same christian name. There’s just the small problem to integrate his son Thomas into the pedigree. Thomas is mentioned in 1599 as an assistant of his father. So he must have been at least confirmated and thus not younger than about 12 years. That means further that Samuel should be born not later than 1567. Thomas might have been his oldest child, maybe out of a first wedlock. Jost Finger thence could have been a child by a second wife, born years later. At last in old accounts of Bottendorf’s ecclesiastical money-chest preserved also in the State Archive mentioned above and become known to me some years ago there’s a further member of the Finger family named about the year 1630. Christoph Finger then payed a trifling tribute to the ‘chest’ - as successor of Samuel and predecessor of Jost Finger. Is this Christoph Finger member of a generation to be inserted between Samuel and Jost - or is he just a brother of Jost - maybe a brother who died in younger years? You see: it has come movement into the elder Finger genealogy - and perhaps we’ll get to some new results in the future."
In a letter 26 Sept 1999, from Dr. Ulrich Stöhr:
"Concerning the Fingers in recent years I was able to collect a row of additional details of the history of this wide-spread family. I guess I have told You about the origin of this kindred from the village Müenden in the former dominion Lichtenfels north of Frankenberg. And there is something new about Your ancestress Anna Maria wife resp. widow of Jost Finger, who was buried in Bottendorf October 6th 1685. You may remember that You have photographed that entry during Your first legendary visit. I was not little astonished when some months ago while checking one of the eldest Frankebergian church-registers I found the marriage entry of Nov. 15th 1675. Bridegroom was overman ("Bergsteiger") Hermann Lier in Frankenberg (he worked in the mine there), bride was "Anna Maria, weiland Jost Fingers selig hinterlassene Wittib von Bottendorf" that means: A. M., widow of the deceased and late J. F. posthumous! The former wife of that Hermann Lier, Agnes, had been buried in Frankenberg July 2nd 1675. So Maria, when she died in 1685, was not only widow of Jost Finger, but also wife resp. widow of Hermann Lier. Until 1681 I have not found a burial entry of Lier. Maybe he has died between 1682 and 1693. The death-registers of Frankenberg’s Lutheran church kept during these 12 years are lost. It’s not clear whether Anna Maria and her second husband have dwelt in Frankenberg or in Bottendorf. I assume that they have resided in the town until perhaps short after 1681 Hermann died and his widow returned to Bottendorf, where when she died that short episode in Frankenberg was neglected so that in the church-register she was noted down as widow of that man who was known very well in Bottendorf, namely Jost Finger."
You can see that the oldest records are sometimes unclear about who was related to whom.
Finally, many Fingers can be found at www.ellisislandrecords.org. Search only for Finger. You will discover about 355 Fingers from all over Europe.
Please note that all typographical and logical errors above are mine.
- John Vanko