piątek, 21 kwietnia 2017

The Tolkien Family Tree on Ancestry.co.uk
Why I think John B. Tolkien was born in Gdańsk

I dedicate this note to J.R.R. Tolkien's biographers: John Garth, Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond. I hope it can be of interest to you ☺

The first time I have found the information about the Gdańsk/Danzig ancestry of the Tolkien family's branch to which belonged J.R.R. Tolkien was when I joined the paid services of the Ancestry.co.uk There I found the Tolkien Family Tree made by Linda Winifred Tolkien from Brisbane, Australia. Mrs Tolkien knows that the Tolkiens came from Gdańsk/Danzig, she treats Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien and John Benjamin Tolkien as brothers. But she doesn't know that their parents were Christian and Euphrosina Tolkien from Gdańsk. I have tried to contact Mrs Tolkien...

I would like to show you the fragments of that Tolkien Family Tree which shows the Gdańsk/Danzig roots of J.R.R. Tolkien's great-great-grandfather, Johann (John) Benjamin Tolkien:

John Benjamin Tolkien as younger brother of Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien
Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien and John Benjamin Tolkien as brothers!
John Benjamin Tolkien b. 1753 and his older brother Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien b. 1747 in Gdańsk/Danzig
I would like to show you the proofs that Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien and John Benjamin Tolkien were brothers (there are still the skeptics who demand the proofs). 

John Benjamin Tolkien (father of George Tolkien, grandfather of John Benjamin, great-granfather of Arthur Reuel and great-great-grandfather of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien) was probably born in Gdańsk (German Danzig) in 1753 and he was a younger brother of Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien from Gdańsk (we have his 1794 Act of Naturalization where his birthplace is "Dantzig").

1794, The Act of Naturalization of Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien, son of Christian and Euphrosina
Both brothers were probably also brothers of Christian Tolkien, a Gdańsk antiquarian and Prussian official, who died in 1821 (he changed the family name to Tollkühn after 1812) and is buried in Gdańsk St Mary Cathedral (read about the proofs that Christian Tolkien's parents were Christian and Euphrosina Tolkien).

We have more and more proofs that J.R.R. Tolkien's great great grandfather was born in Gdańsk, Poland (in 1753 Gdańsk was the most important Baltic town in Poland during the Poland-Saxony union). Let me ennumerate them:

(1) the first Tolkiens ever found in England are Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien and John Benjamin Tolkien. Both lived in London from at least 1777 (act of marriage of John Benjamin Tolkien and Mary Warner, see here).
The first Tolkien document in London - J. B. Tolkien act of wedding. See Tolkien's signature:
Johann Benjamin Tolkien (German form Johann)
(2) Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien was a furrier in London. John Benjamin's son, George Tolkien was an apprentice of Daniel G. Tolkien in 1799 (see here).

3) John Benjamin Tolkien was Lutheran and he spelled his first name Johann (see no. 1)

4) Ann Austin, wife of Daniel Gottfried Tolkien was a witness during John Benjamin Tolkien's wedding with Mary Wall (in 1781):

5) John Benjamin Tolkien is buried close to Daniel Gottfried Tolkien; both on the Methodist graveyards in London by the City Road (see here).

Of course I am still looking for the acts of births of Daniel Gottfried Tolkien and John Benjamin Tolkien in Gdańsk (at the moment I suppose their baptisms took place in St Cathrine church in Gdańsk/Danzig)...

To be continued...

3 komentarze:

  1. This is very interesting, thank you!

    Of these, no. 2 – that George became apprenticed to Daniel – is a good indication.

    The rest are at best vague indications, and no. 4 is circular reasoning: the only reason to assume that the Ann Austin that was a witness for John Benjamin Tolkien's wedding was the same Ann Austin that had married Daniel Tolkien is the assumption that the two were brothers – without that assumption, the link becomes very tenuous.

    But in cases such as this, all we can do is to collect tenuous evidence. Though the individual fibre may be very weak, together they can nonetheless form a strong rope, and in a similar manner, we can hope to gather enough such tenuous evidence that it, taken together, becomes compelling.

    Finding the apprenticeship is a large step in that direction, and it definitely puts it beyond doubt that Daniel Gotlieb and John Benjamin Tolkien knew each other in London, but as evidence of a family relation, the evidence is still far from conclusive.

  2. Thank you, Troels. The voice like yours is important in research like mine. Thanks to you I am more careful and slowler to make brave assumptions. At the moment I am simply looking for the baptism acts of Daniel and Johann.

    And what do you think on (3)? We can see that John Benjamin in the beginning spells his own name in the German way. And he belongs to the German Lutheran parish in London. What about such a proof?

    Do you have other competing theory concerning Johann Benjamin Tolkien. How do you think where could he come to London from?

  3. For me an interesting proof is also this that a member of the Tolkien family (Mrs Linda W. Tolkien is the wife of Mr Tolkien who is a descendant of George Tolkien, son of John Benjamin) treats J. B. Tolkien as brother of Daniel. Isn't it a strong argument?