Ferdinand Carl Heuer was born in Borntin, Kreis Greifenberg, Pommern,
Prussia (now Borzecin, Poland) on 10 October 1839. This birth date was
recorded in the Goerke Evangelische Church serving Borntin, on the
birth/baptismal record of Ferdinand. All subsequent records in the United
States show his birth date as 9 October 1839. He was baptized in the Goerke
church on 20 October 1839. His sponsors were Frau Schuster, nee Raetz, from
the village of Fioker, Peter Schumacher
from Zirkvitz, and August Bohlmann from Borntin.
Ferdinand was the third child and second son of Johann Friedrich and Catharina Sophia Heuer. He was the first child born in Borntin after the family moved there from Kahlen. He lived in Borntin with his parents, his older half-brother, Carl Friedrich Wilhelm, (Johann Friedrich’s son from his first marriage), his older sister, Wilhelmine, and his older brother, August. The family increased over the years when his brother, Johann Friedrich, was born in 1842, his sister, Ernestine
Caroline Friedericke in 1845, and his sister, Bertha Friedericke Sophie in 1849.
Ferdinand’s maternal grandfather, Christian Ruhnke, lived with the Heuer family in Borntin. His paternal grandparents,
Martin and Louise Heuer, had been living in nearby Parpart, but sometime after 1836 – the exact date is unknown – they
moved to Borntin to live with, or be near, their oldest son and his family.
Grandfather Martin Heuer died on 3 April 1847, and Grandmother Louise Brockhuss Heuer died the following year on
24 August 1848. Maternal Grandfather Christian Ruhnke died on 7 July 1850. All three were buried in the Goerke church cemetery, the church serving Borntin.
On 20 December 1850, when Ferdinand was eleven years old Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Heuer, his older half-brother and first cousin, died suddenly at the age of twenty-one from a fatal heart attack. He was buried on 23 December in the Goerke church cemetery near his grandparents. Ferdinand was confirmed in the Goerke Evangelische Church in October 1853 with six other confirmants, some of whom may have been his cousins. Their names were Heinrich Frederich Wilhelm Hoppe, Friedrick Wilhelm Broockos [sic] (Brockhuss), Martin August Ebert, Hanna Ernestine Henriette Kocscka, and Ernestine Caroline Charlotte Busch, all from Goerke. The only one from Borntin in Ferdinand’s class was Johanne Louise Augustine Kasten. His youngest sister and the last child born to the family, Augusta Marie Elizabeth, was born on 7 January 1855.
Ferdinand continued to live with his family and work in the Borntin area. When he was eighteen years old, he left his friends, relatives, and some personal possessions when he emigrated with his parents and six siblings to America in early April 1857. Wilhelmine, by now twenty-four and married to Peter Bergin, traveled to America separately. Although this arduous journey has already been described, one can imagine the sense of adventure growing for this teenager, who certainly must have experienced each new event with excitement and interest. It is certain he and his older brother, August, provided immeasurable assistance to their younger brother, Johann Friedrich, and their young sisters,
Ernestine, Bertha, and Augusta, during the forty-five-day voyage.