My ancestors came to America between 1830 and 1880 from Baden and Rheinland in Germany, and from Luxembourg. They were mostly farmers and settled in the rolling hills of western New York state, near my birthplace of Springville, New York. Much of my research has been focused on the group of German Catholic families who came from Wiesental, Baden and settled in Western New York and the thumb of Michigan during the second half of the 1800s. These included the Amann, Bremiller, Gentner, Heft, Mahl, Reuter, Sälzler, Scharf, Schuhmacher, Schweickert, and Seider families. If you are interested, see the list of emigrants from Wiesental to the Springville area. I have also recently completed a book on the genealogy of these families, titled The Wiesental-Springville Connection.
My wife Judiths family is more diverse and probably of more general interest. She is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of American Indians. We have traced one branch of her family back to Chief Joseph Lafromboise (about 1798-1867), one of the first settlers in Chicago. Chief Joseph was the son of François La Framboise, a French fur trader, and an Indian woman, Shaw-we-no-quah. François ancestors go back to Bertrand Fafard (about 1620-1660) and Marie Sédillot (about 1628-1689), who were among the early settlers in the Trois-Riviéres area of Québec.
If you are new to this site, please read about the conventions that I use in the descriptions.
Many people enjoy finding themselves and their relatives on the Internet. However, some people are sensitive about having personal information about themselves publicly available. Therefore, I have decided not to list any living people or people born before 1910 on this site unless they (or their parents, in the case of children) specifically give me permission. Even when people give permission, I list only very limited information for living people. For more details, please see my privacy page.
This site has genealogical and historical information about a number of related families, based on my own research and the generous help of many other people. Some of this material is summarized in a set of ancestor charts. If you are interested in the Alff, Amann, Boardway, Brooks, Gentner, Jones, Mahl, Rider, Salzler, Scharf, Schumacher, Schweickert, Seider, Smith, Stewart, or Winter families, check out the ancestor charts.
This site includes descriptions of everyone in my family tree who was born before 1910 and is dead, as well as some living people who have asked to be listed. Ive included all the known people who emigrated from Wiesental to Western New York and their ancestors ( Amann, Bremiller, Heft, Mahl, Reuter (Rider), Sälzler, Scharf, Schuhmacher (Schumacher), Schweickert, and Seider families).
With a lot of help from others, Ive been able to trace the European roots of some of our other ancestors. They were mostly German and French Catholics and all related in one way or another. This site lists ancestors of these immigrants to the New World:
This makes a total of about 8500 people with full descriptions on this Web site, out of about 15,000 in my family tree. Many additional people are mentioned in these listings, but not fully described. Check the Name Search page or see the Surname Index for a complete listing of surnames on this site.
If you are not familiar with this web site you might take a look at the Conventions page, which explains the name conventions and structure used in these listings. If you are searching for a particular name, try the Name Search page. There is a Surname Index that lists everyone in the site, sorted alphabetically by their last names, with an index specifically for the surname Gentner. Or you can plunge into the family trees, starting with the list of the ancestor charts. There is also a discussion of privacy issues and sources for further information.
Prepared by Don Gentner - 24 Jun 2002