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This is the EIGHTEENTH page of John BLANKENBAKER's series of Short Notes on GERMANNA History, which were originally posted to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Discussion List.  Each page contains 25 Notes.


(See bottom of this page for Links to all Notes pages.)
This Page Contains Notes 426 through 450.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 18

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Nr. 426:

Theobald (David) Christler came to America as a nine-year-old in 1718.  The family lived for a while in Pennsylvania.  He moved to the Robinson River Valley at about the same time that the Garr family did.  There may have been a connection in these two event, as Theobald married Rosina Garr.  The name Christler or Crisler in America was Christele in Germany.

Frederick Baumgardner arrived at Philadelphia in 1732 and went to Virginia immediately where his uncle, Michael Willheit, lived.  He also knew other residents of Schwaigern who had emigrated to Virginia.  Baumgardner, or Baumgartner, or Bäumgardner, is a popular name in Germany and means tree-gardener or orchard-gardener.  It some cases it can also mean forester.

The John and Martin Deer families appear in the Hebron Church records as Hirsch, the German word for "deer."  In the civil records, the form is either Deer or Dear.  John and Martin were brothers.

The George Teter family of Virginia was another Schwaigern family that arrived in Philadelphia in 1727.  The family lived in Pennsylvania for a few years before settling in Virginia.  An association with the Henckel family began there and, I believe, there were eventually four marriages between the two families.  The German spelling of Teter was the sound-alike name of Dieter.

Three members of the Lutspike or Lotspeich family moved to Virginia in the later period of immigration, but even by then, spelling was still at the whim of the writer.  In Germany, the name occurred in multiple forms with the most common being Lotspeich.

The Scheible family left no male heir in Virginia, so there are no English spellings of the name.  The family came from the same small village as the Blankenbakers, Fleshmans, Schlucters, and the Thomases.  Margaret James Squires, a major researcher of the emigrants from this village, thought the Scheibles might be related to the other families, but she found no conclusive proof.  The Scheible family had five daughters, all of whom had the first name of Anna.  Three of them were given the name Anna Maria but the first two died.  Three daughters came to America in 1717 but the fate of only one, Anna Elisabetha, is known.  She married Michael Holt.


Nr. 427:

Two families, of the six that left Gemmingen in the summer of 1717 for Pennsylvania, were the Beckh and Mühleckher families.  Of the Beck family there is no further record.  The Mühleckher name appears on the importation list of Gov. Spotswood when he used 48 names to help pay for a tract of land.  Though the departing family consisted of the father, mother, her sister, and two young daughters of the parents, the mother's sister does not appear on Spotswood's list.

This is the last record of the Milcker family in Virginia.  It is possible that the father died and the remaining surviving members of the family, all females, married other members of the Second Colony.  There is another possible interpretation that I gave previously for the Wegman family, who appears also on the importation list but nowhere else in the Virginia records.  These families may have decided that it was fraud that brought them to Virginia and that they were not bound to fulfill their contract with Gov. Spotswood.

It does appear that Capt. Andrew Tarbett, the Master of the ship Scott, did contrive, in violation of his agreement with the passengers to take them to Pennsylvania, to take them to Virginia where he was abetted in his nefarious scheme by Spotswood.  Since the whole action was illegal, the Milckers and the Wegmans may have felt that they were not obligated to stay in Virginia.  They very well may have arranged their own transportation to Pennsylvania, perhaps under the cover of darkness.  One could hardly blame them.

The Smith brothers, Michael and Matthew, were also from Gemmingen where the name was spelled in some of the records as Schmidt. Sometimes the "d" or the "t" is omitted.

It has been stated that the Holt name could not be German.  From Germany to Virginia, the "d" and "t" letters were often interchanged.  This was the case with Michael Holt in Virginia whose name in Germany was Hold.  Some of his ancestry in Germany was traced out by Zimmerman and Cerny and reported in the "Before Germanna" monographs.  Jimmy Veal, a descendant, had a professional researcher in Germany repeat the research with the result that two names in the Michael Holt ancestry were misspelled.  Warren Holt Talley, another descendant, wanting to verify the Veal report, obtained the microfilm and, from his own reading and that of his German sister-in-law, supports the Veal finding.  The corrected names are Brückmann and Nägelin.


Nr. 428:

The last note discussed the Holt family, whose name in Germany was Hold.  Warren Holt Talley contributed to a clarification of the spelling of two names in the German ancestry.  This was after the work sponsored by Jimmy Veal to verify the original reported information.  Mr. Talley tells me also that there is a third verification of the spelling of the two names in question.  When Warren was arranging the baptism of his granddaughter a year ago August in the church at Stetten, the ancestral home, he requested information on the Hold family.  The pastor gave him two family group sheets with also showed the spelling of Brückmann and Nägelin so that this is a third source for the correct spelling of these names.

In another case, Steven Broyles worked with the microfilms to verify the Broyles history.  He found some differences from the earlier information which had been published.  Incidentally, both Steven and Warren had no prior experience with the German microfilms but they were able, with some serious effort, to do research.  The points to be made here are these:

  1. The published reports on the microfilms of the German church records should be taken as a pointer and should be verified.  The batting average on the correctness of the reported data is not perfect.  In two families I know of, where verification has been sought, there have been some improvements in the readings.

  2. People without prior training can do the work.  Some have become very expert; others have limited their research to specific cases and families.

Returning now to the German spelling of some of our names, I recently learned what appears to be the spelling of the Clemons, Clemmons, Clemans name.  The family came in the 1730's and settled in the northeast part of what became Madison County.  In the 1740's they sold their land there and moved to the Shenandoah Valley.  This name was spelled, apparently, as Kleman in German to judge by a signature.

Most of the German names of the First Colony people are known.  For example, the Holtzclaw or Holsclaw name in America was spelled as Holzklau in Germany.  The "z" sound in Germany comes close to a "tz" sound in America English.  The syllable "-klau" is rendered by the American spelling of "-claw", without changing the sound.  The Holzklau name in Germany today is very rare.

The Fischbachs became Fishbacks in America.  The change in the sound is minor and the name cannot be pronounced in German without suggesting the English words, fish and back.  The words "fisch" and "fish" mean the same thing but "bach", meaning brook, is not the same as "back."

The rather popular name of Richter in Germany (perhaps 90,000 appearances today) became Rector in America among the Germanna colonists.  Some other Richters in America have kept the spelling Richter.


Nr. 429:

Among the Germanna Colonists, the name Fischbach became Fishback universally.  Some other people may have adopted a different spelling and certainly the name is to be found in America as Fischbach.  The general rule is that these people came later, at a time when spelling did matter.  In the eighteenth century, exact spelling was not a requirement.  For example, an early eighteenth century land patent refers to a Fischbach or Fishback as Fishbey.

The -bach to -back transition was almost universal.  The Bach family of Freudenberg, with a bit of luck, became the Back family.  I say with a bit of luck because the family came on the ship Oliver in 1738 and the ship never quite made it to the dock in Virginia.  Of the eighteen family units recorded as leaving Freudenberg, only six made it to Virginia.  (Maria Bach in Germany married George Weidmann in 1659 and was the grandmother of another successful 1738 immigrant, George Wayman.)

The Brumback name in America shows, rather nicely, how names evolved.  In 1572, we have "Jost in der Braunbach."  Only a generation or two earlier, in lieu of a last name, individuals are referred to as the son of another individual.  Apparently, with the passage of time, the family members were identified by the name of the farm, Brombach or Brumbach, on which they lived.  (A similar process occurs with the Blankenbakers whose name in Austria seems to have been taken from the name of the farm on which they lived.)  It appears that some Brombachs who came to America adopted the spelling Brumbaugh.

A daughter of Melchior Brumback married John Jacob Neuschwanger.  The spelling of this last name certainly looks like a German spelling.  Several other spellings have been adopted in America such as Niswanger, Niswander, Niswonger,  Nieswanger, and probably even more.

The name Button in Fauquier County, Virginia, perhaps had sources in two countries, England and Germany.  Also, in the same area, the Spelman family may have had two nationalities.  Over in the Culpeper County area, the Smiths and Thomases had origins in the same two countries.  With intermarriage between the nationalities, unraveling the families becomes very confusing.

The late Benjamin F. Dake III gave a fascinating history of a possible connection between the Button and Jung families in Europe, but the story is too long for this note and it will have to be deferred.  The names were influenced by the spellings in several countries.


Nr. 430:

The notes have been discussing the German spellings of some of the Germanna names.  When discussing the Button family, I mentioned research by Frank Dake III.  Taking a little extra space to discuss that, I would mention that a prominent member of the Little Fork community was John Young, who was a reader in the church at Little Fork.  The Young name is spelled in Germany as Jung.  There was a possible connection between the Young and the Button families in Germany.

Wilhelm Jung and his wife, Anna Maria Dietz, had eleven children, one of whom, Maria Margarete, married as his second wife, Jacob Bouton (Jakob Boutton) of Hanau, son of the Huguenot David Bouton by his second wife, Rachel Haseur.  David was born in Metz, France and went as a young man to Hanau where he married and became a businessman.  One of Jacob's sons was Jean Daniel, baptized in the French Reformed Church in Hanau on 25 January 1691.  His German name was Johann Daniel and the Bouton surname was spelled occasionally as Boutton and Button in the Hanau records.  Jean passed through Holland, where his first given name would have been Jan, on his way to England and thence to Philadelphia.  He arrived on the ship Samuel in the summer of 1739 and took the oath of allegiance on 27 August 1739.  The ship's captain spelled Jean Daniel's surname as Buttong, which would be an approximate phonetic spelling of the nasal sounding name in French.  He, Daniel, wrote his name as Bouton.

Apparently he lived for a while in Philadelphia, as he was naturalized on 1 Feb 1746 with the name Johann Daniel Bouton.  It would have been natural that he was a city dweller to judge by his immediate ancestry.  His father, Jacob, was a beer-brewer in Hanau.  His grandfather, David Bouton, was a businessman in the Hanau suburbs, and his great-grandfather, Theodore Bouton, was a hatter in Metz.  On the Jung side, his grandfather and great-grandfather Jung were city dwellers as ministers.

That Johann Daniel Bouton of Philadelphia was the Daniel Buttons who was a taxpayer in the Elk Run District of Prince William County, Virginia, in 1751 is not proven.  The circumstantial evidence is in favor of this supposition.  Research has been hampered by the fact that there was a Button family of English descent and there has been a tendency to give the family in the Germanna community an English history.  However, Dake's research shows that why the family is not to be found in the Siegen area while they still had ties in Germany to members of the Germanna community.

Frank Dake died a few years ago while still a very productive man of unusual talents.  He was a member of four French genealogical and historical societies, as well as two Swiss genealogical societies, and a German genealogical society, as well as the German Huguenot Society.  He was able to correspond with all of these European centers in their native languages.  A note on the possible connection between the Button and Jung families was published by Frank in Beyond Germanna, vol. 7, no. 4, p. 394.


Nr. 431:

During the Thirty Years' War, the armies of Sweden were involved in the conflict.  For a period of time they were in control of the Siegen area.  This period has acquired a name in history called the "Schwedenzeit", or the time of the Swedish presence (ended in 1635).  During the Schwedenzeit, Christoph Jung of Siegen was the Reformed pastor at Gundersheim, about eighty miles to the south of Siegen.  Usually, to be identified as "of" meant to be born there.  Descendants of Christoph married Jacob Bouton.  How Christoph is involved in the Jung family of the Siegen area is not entirely clear.  The research that has been done on the Jung family has overlooked this branch, but the appearance of a member of the Jung (Young) family, known to be from the Siegen area, and a member of the Button family in Virginia suggests there may have been a relationship between the two.

The spelling of the Cuntze family name in both Germany and America has been varied.  The earliest records indicate a spelling as Cuntze which became Kuntze.  In Virginia, the use of both the "C" and the "K" was common.  Spellings of the name here gravitated toward Coons, while some branches of the family spelled the name as Koontz or Kuntz.  Uncertainties remain as to how closely the different branches are related.

The Grimm family name became Crim in Virginia.  Some branches, perhaps unrelated, used the names of Krim or Grim.

The Heimbachs were represented in the 1714 Colony by the maiden name of two of the wives.  Philip Fischbach had married Elizabeth Heimbach, and Harmon Utterbach had married another Elizabeth Heimbach.  Later, Jacob Heimbach settled in the Little Fork region and the name became Hanback.

The Hitt family in Virginia has been one of the most difficult families to trace in Germany.  The most common belief is that Peter Hitt should be identified as Peter Heite.  The Heite name is to be found in Siegen area today.

The Hoffman or Huffman name in Virginia is represented by several members.  The 1714 immigrant is John Hoffman.  His younger brother, Henry (Johannes Henrich), came in 1743 and both of these individuals lived among the Second Colony.  They also had another brother, Johann Wilhelm, who emigrated to Pennsylvania.  Yet another Henry Hoffman lived among the Little Fork group, but he appears to have no relationship to the other Hoffmans.  This Little Fork Hoffman had a brother who was a Moravian in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  As a consequence of the multiple Hoffmans and the many sons, sorting out the Hoffmans has not been easy.


Nr. 432:

The Kemper family name in Germany underwent a drastic change.  The male line descends from a Hans Smyt who was born before the time of Martin Luther.  The use of surnames was still a novelty and spelling was not important.  The name appeared as Schmyt, Schmit, and Schmith.  Johann Kemper, the superintendent of church property, was the son of Friedrich Schmidt of Muesen.  The Kempers and Campers of Virginia are descended from this man.

Within the Martin ancestry there is an illustration of the development of surnames.  The earliest ancestor was Mertin of Fernsdorf, i.e., Mertin had no surname but was identified by his place of residence.  Fernsdorf itself was spelled, on occasion, as Pherendorf.  The next in the line was Martins Heintz of Ferndorf, which is to be understood as Henry, son of Martin of Ferndorf.  That is, Henry was identified as the son of Martin and Martin was identified as being of Ferndorf.  As surnames were coming into use, brothers might not even have the same surname.  The son of Martins Heintz was Henrich Martin and a given name has now become a surname.  At the time of the 1714 emigration, the surname was being spelled as Merten and with a couple of vowel changes the name became Martin.

Johann Frederick Müller left Freudenberg in 1738 and traveled to Virginia on the ill-fated ship Oliver.  In Virginia, where he spent the balance of his life, he became John Frederick Miller.

The Nay name of Virginia underwent a change from its spelling as Nöh.  The German spelling is still to be found today, principally in the vicinity of Siegen.  The change in Nöh is similar to the change in Öhler which became Aylor.

The Richter surname is common in Germany.  The early Virginia Richters changed to the spelling to Rector.  Hans Jacob Richter, the 1714 Virginia immigrant, sold his house at Trupbach as Hans Jacob Fischbach and in doing so used his wife's maiden name.

Early Spielmanns were perhaps players of musical instruments, e.g.,  a fifer in the army.  The name was simplified slightly in Virginia to Spilman.  In Virginia, the name has become confused with similar English names.

The Otterbach family made two simple changes to the spelling and became Utterbacks.  Almost invariably in the eighteenth century, the German "-bach" became "-back".

Georg Caspar Weidmann of Freudenberg, another lucky survivor of the 1738 voyage and shipwreck of the ship Oliver, became George Wayman in Virginia.  The name George could be spelled in several ways in Germany, including Georg or Jorg.


Nr. 433:

The sources of information about our families in Germany are many.  In some cases, the immigrants brought information with them which was preserved in the family.  An excellent example of this was the Garr family.  In other cases, the information was skimpy but it was a starting point.  That Schwaigern was the starting point for a family was deduced from a misspelled name.  Margaret James Squires, while searching for another family, found the families of Utz and Volck, which she recognized as Germanna names.  Once a geographical area is known, it often pays to search in the general vicinity for other names.  The area around the town of Siegen was known to be the home of the First Germanna Colonies.  Information was to be found in the church records and in the archives.  One of the earliest reports on the German origins of the First Colony was published by William John Hinke in the "Virginia Magazine of History and Biography" in volumes 40 and 41 (1932 and 1933).

In discussing the Cuntze/Koontz family, I failed to mention that some branches of the family had a Germanna connection through the daughter of John Caspar Stöver, Sr.  The father was the first pastor of the Second Colony and is to be counted as a Germanna citizen.  The daughter, Anna Elisabetha Catherine Stöver, married Johannes Kuntz with the ceremony performed by her brother, John Caspar Stöver, Jr.

The Weissgerber family in Germany became the Whitescarver family in Virginia.  The conversion of the name is the result of taking the equivalent of Weiss which is White and of using some similar phonetic equivalents in the second part.  Other American spellings are also probable.

The Steinseifer name has many variations in America.  Ryan Stansifer had an article in the last issue of Beyond Germanna containing information found in the Siegen archive.  The information was a report of action taken in 1743 when John Henry Hoffman wrote to Johannes Steinseifer and asked him to bring along money to Virginia which was due to him.  The families were more closely involved with each other than this, as the wives of the two men were both Schusters (but they were not sisters).

One of the families who came to Virginia on the ill-fated ship Oliver was that of Hymenaeus Creutz (as the name was recorded by the pastor in Freudenberg).  Previously, it was not recognized that the man did come to Virginia, but Clovis Miller showed that the father, as Hyman Critz, did arrive in Virginia and was associated in southwest Virginia with the John Frederick Miller family. Up to now, this family has not been recognized as a Germanna family.  It is not clear how the name is spelled today but it would be very desirable to locate them and to add their history to the Germanna history.


Nr. 434:

Vic Kemper sent information about the sources of data in Germany.  He writes that the village of Ferndorf church has all the records of the Müsen people before 1642.  The records in Müsen actually start in 1649 (this was one year after the end of the Thirty Years' War).  Both Ferndorf and Müsen have a roomful of leather-bound books of their own records of births, marriages and deaths.  The Müsen records are more accessible than those of Ferndorf, in that their records before about 1750 have been transcribed, categorized and typed.  The old books are also readily available in each church by request, if you are good at reading the old German script.

What do the names Baker, Barlow, Carpenter, Cook, Deal, Deer, Early, Fisher, Garrett, Good, Holt, House, Miller, Price, Rouse, Slaughter, Snyder, Tanner, Thomas, and Weaver have in common?  They are all good German names spelled in an English way. Some of the rules in the conversion from German to English are:

  1. Keep the essential sound, and the meaning, but use the English spelling.  This is possible in many cases because English and Germany are from the same language family and many words are quite similar.  In the list of names above, Cook (Koch), Fisher (Fischer), Good (Gut), House (Hauss), Miller (Müller), Snyder (Schneider), and Weaver (Weber) are good examples.

  2. Use the English word that means the same.  Examples are Carpenter (Zimmermann), Deer (Hirsch), and Tanner (Gerber).

  3. Some Germans names have no particular meaning, but they are converted by using an English spelling:  Deal (Diehl), Early (Ehrle), Thomas (Thoma), Rouse (Rausch), and Holt (Hold) are examples.  Or Willheit in German becomes Willhite in English.

Always, there is a process which arises from the fact that English speakers will tend to hear a non-English name in terms of English words or names.  Thus names such as the German Parlur pronounced with the "B" sound for the "P" become the better known Barlow.  By the same process, Gerhard becomes Garrett, and Schlater becomes Slaughter.

If a German name has a distinctively German flavor, and, if there is no obvious English equivalent for it, then it is more apt to kept its German flavor.  Thus, Holzklau in the German kept its flavor but converted the "z" in the German to the English "tz" which catches the sound better.  the "klau" in German is more easily understood in English as "claw."  The sound is preserved and the spelling is adjusted to show this better.

One of the problems of German ancestry research is that any one appearance of a German name may appear in an unpredictable way.  The name Gerhard appears, once, in the Orange County (VA) records as Carehaut.  It takes a bit of imagination to recognize that the two names are the same.


Nr. 435:

If all goes well today, we propose to go the Snitz Fest at the Hans Herr House.  The day will center on the apple, a very important fruit in colonial life.  The Germans were not the only ones to appreciate the apple; its use and value were recognized widely.  Leases of land often required the lessee to plant one hundred, or two hundred apple trees.

At the Herr House demonstrators will be making apple butter.  In Germany, the ancestor of apple butter was made with damsel plums.  In America, the plum was not available or did not yield results which were considered good.  So, the apple was used in its place.  It is an outdoor activity, with an open fire under a large iron kettle (probably used at other times for laundry, making soap, rendering fat, etc.).  Cut up apples are cooked and stirred and stirred and stirred.  A very long handled implement is used for the stirring so that the stirrer does not roast himself on the fire.  Spices are added for flavoring.

The word "snitz" itself means "cut."  Except for eating one directly, almost all of the uses of the apple required it to be cut into pieces first.  A lot of apples were dried as a preservative means.  The cut pieces were spread in the sun.  Children were assigned the task of chasing away the animals.  Little could be done about the bees and wasps.  The dried fruit would last much longer than the fresh fruit.

Apples were cut up as the first step in making cider.  The cut pieces, which did not need to be cleaned of the seeds and skin, were put into a press and squeezed to force the juice out.  (Some presses were hand powered while others used horse power to grind and to press.)  This juice was the cider.  Cider does not keep a long period of time as soft cider.  After a bit it begins to get a bit of bite.  With a sufficient conversion of the sugars into alcohols, the beverage will keep.

With still more effort and equipment, the cider is distilled (separated) into a beverage of even higher alcoholic content.  Though Christian Herr, when he died in 1750, had two stills in his estate inventory, this facet of activity will probably not be demonstrated.  Though the eighteenth century, denizens, of all nationalities and faiths consumed alcoholic beverages, the practice is not approved by many today.

(Christian Herr, the son of Hans Herr,  was the owner and builder of what is known as the Hans Herr House today.  Like his father, Christian was a farmer, orchardist, distiller, and Anabaptist minister.)

Some other eighteenth century activities to be demonstrated are the bake oven, blacksmithing, wool spinning, fabric dyeing, and sausage smoking.

If you are in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, come to the Hans Herr House today from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

(I just have to interject a note here about John's descriptions of making apple butter, dried apples, and apple cider.  This is not the 1700's and I certainly didn't grow up during those years; but, I can remember my mother and grandmother making apple butter, dried apples, and apple cider.  My ancestors on my Mother's side of the family came, for the most part, from VA and the Germanna immigrants.  These immigrants were the families of BROYLES and WILHITE/WILHOIT, whose descendants migrated to what is now East Tennessee (at the time it was Western North Carolina).  Anyway, when growing up, we children were always "elected" to help out when it came time for making apple butter.  It was much the same as John describes, except making apple butter ALWAYS entailed a copper kettle, not an iron one.  An iron kettle was OK for making lard, washing clothing, etc., but no self-respecting farmer EVER made apple butter in one!  The reason for this was that once the apples have cooked down and start looking like apple butter, the mix becomes extremely vulnerable to over cooking and sticking to the sides of the kettle.  That was the reason for John's "stirring, stirring, and stirring".  Making apple butter in iron kettles was almost impossible since it almost always stuck to the sides of the kettle.  For some reason, apple butter made in a copper kettle almost never stuck to the sides.  We, too, used spices for the apple butter.  I can't remember anything being used other than Cinnamon, but there could have been other spices.  By the way, I believe that my brother still has the original copper kettle used in our family for near a hundred years.  The wooden paddle used to stir the apple butter HAD to be made of Sassafras wood.  I don't know why, but it has been that way for a couple hundred years.  (My brother may have the copper kettle, but I have the Sassafras paddle, which is older than I am!)

As to dried apples, I still do this every year, just to have a winter's supply of apples from which to make "fried apple pies".  We use the same techniques that our ancestors used, except that once the apples are dried, we sprinkle the pieces with a very small amount of sulphur before placing them in hand-sewn cloth bags to hang up in a dry place for winter use.

We had a fair sized apple orchard on the farm when I was growing up and had lots of apples from which to make all these things.  We didn't have a cider press, but my mother somehow managed to get the juice from the apples and put it into large jars for later consumption during the winter.  John is correct in that it doesn't keep long, having a tendency to turn first to "hard" cider, and, if kept long enough, to turn into apple vinegar.  One doesn't need to distill the "hard" cider in order to produce an alcoholic beverage.  If consumed before it turns into vinegar, the cider is a respectable alcoholic drink.  (GRIN)

I guess my point is that there are still many of us Germanna descendants around who not only remember how to do these "old" things, but still practice them.  John hasn't touched on other practices from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as making lard, curing meat, storing root vegetables in earthen underground storage, etc., but there are still a bunch of us here in East Tennessee, at least, who keep the old practices alive.  I'm not all that old either, will be 60 on October 11.  My siblings and I grew up on a farm and, after my having spent 22 years in the USAF and returning to Tennessee, the most enjoyable part about the homecoming was that I could once again join in these nostalgic enterprises.  There is ABSOLUTELY nothing like home-made apple butter, home-cured hams, fried apple pies, and "souse meat".)

(The above "add-on" to John's Notes is courtesy of George W. Durman, the curator of these BROYLES Family History web pages.)


Nr. 436:

(When Sgt. George filed note 435 on the web history page, he added a note about his own experiences in using apples.  I recommend that you read his comments.  It is clear that I erred in saying one used a cast iron kettle to make apple butter.  George makes the point that copper was necessary to keep the apple butter from sticking to the side.  The demonstrator at the Hans Herr House was using a copper kettle about the size of the old-fashioned wash tub.  He said that it took about four to five hours to cook the mixture down.  He started with sliced apples to which he added cider and cinnamon.  Toward the end, one had to work hard as the mixture got thicker and the danger of burning the apple butter increased.

I asked the people making the dried apples about their technique and they did not favor doing it in the sun.  They used the bake oven and turned the apples frequently.  They said it is faster and more reliable than depending on the sun.)

(I didn't mention the size of the kettle used to make Apple Butter, but it probably held about 20-25 gallons, which would have been just a little bit bigger than the common #10 wash tub, which held about 15 gallons.  As to making dried apples, John is speaking of the people who now demonstrate the old crafts and techniques of such endeavors.  I can assure you that the average family in those early days, and even in my early days in East Tennessee, didn't have bake ovens in which to dry and preserve fruit.  It was much simpler to lay the cut-up fruit on some surface, such as a tin roof, a rock surface, etc., and let the sun do its work.  Yes, a bake oven would have made it much easier and faster, but, from experience, I can say that the difference in the flavor and texture of fruit dried in the sun vs. fruit dried in some kind of oven, is such that one might just as well buy "store boughten" dried apples as to dry them with artificial heat.  I have watched my grandmother, and then my mother, dry fruit on a tin roof; I have done it myself.  I have dried the fruit in "dehydrators" and in ovens and can say that there is no way that one can get the same results as letting the sun do its work.  Besides, how can the children have any fun using "shoo fans" to keep the flies off the apples if they are dried in an over?!)  (Another "add-on" by the keeper of these web pages.)

It is always a pleasure to find new Germanna people, either ones who immigrated to the Germanna settlements, or descendants of these people.  Recently, we were discussing Hymenäus Creutz, who came in 1738 from Freudenberg.  He seemed to be a friend or relative of John Frederick Miller.  In Virginia, the name became something like Haman Critz or Crites.  These are two forms of the name in the Virginia records but they were probably more.

John Frederick Miller made an entry for land in the Patrick-Henry County area (then Lunenberg County) in the spring of 1747/8.  Immediately following Frederick Miller's entry is one for Haman Crites.  Miller's land was on the North Fork of the Mayo River, while Crites entry was on the South Fork of the Mayo River.  Another entry by Sherwood Walton refers to the "Dutch Camp."  So, probably Miller and Crites had been camping or living in temporary quarters while they looked for land.  It would also suggest they were newcomers to the area.

Miller and Crites had arrived in Virginia in 1738/39.   Where they lived for the first nine years is not clear.  One would tend to believe they settled in the area of the earlier arrivals from Nassau-Siegen, either at Germantown, or in the Little Fork area.  John Frederick Miller had a brother, Hermann Miller, who married Elizabeth Holtzclaw.  John lived in the Little Fork area, but since land was filling up around Germantown and the Little Fork area, John Frederick Miller and Haman Crites may have struck out for a more open region.

In the Halifax Co., VA Court Order (Plea) Book 1, p. 62, dated 1752, John Frederick Miller and Haman Critz were ordered to be added to the list of tithables.  In the same book, on page 177, John Frederick Miller and Haman Critz took the Oaths for their naturalization (1753).

The second son of John Frederick Miller was named Haman, which no doubt was after his friend Haman Critz.  (Just to confuse the record, he also had a son named Harman.)

The objective of this note is to establish there was a Germanna family named Crites, Critz, or similar spelling, and to give his early physical presence. More information on the family would be welcome.


Nr. 437:

The John Steinseifer, who lived next to Henry Hoffman in the Robinson River Valley, came to Virginia in 1749.  Whether he was closely  related to the Tillman Steinseif(f)er who started to make the trip in 1738 is doubtful.  Tillman Steinseifer was one of the unfortunate passengers on the ship Oliver who died during the crossing.  This Tillman was on the Freudenberg pastor's list of emigrants and he lived west of Siegen.  The John Steinseifer who came in 1749 was from Eisern, the home of the Hoffmanns, which is south of Siegen.

John Henry Hoffman and John Steinseifer both married women whose maiden names were Schuster, though they were not sisters; but, as a consequence of the relationship, John Steinseiffer and Henry Hoffman were in contact with each other and Hoffman knew that Steinseifer was coming to Virginia in 1749.  Henry asked John to collect some money that was due to him and to bring it with him to Virginia.  John was able to do this.  The monetary information is recorded in a document in the archive at Siegen.

By the time that he emigrated, Steinseifer's family was probably complete, though we cannot be sure.  (His first child had been born in 1724, and the last in 1748, when his wife was 43.)  Altogether there were nine children, one of whom is known to have died in Germany as an infant.  The eldest son in the family, John Henry, did not come with the family in 1749, but arrived later in 1753.  The children, in the sequence of their birth, were:

John Henry1,
Elisabeth (died in Germany),
John Henry2,
Elisabeth,
Agnes Catherina,
Henricus,
Maria Agnesa,
Johannes, and
Anna Margartha.

In the father's will (probated in 1757), the four sons are named as:

John the Elder (John Henry1),
John the Younger (John Henry2),
Henerecus (Henricus), and
Henry (Johannes).

(The daughters were not named.)

John Steinseifer had been born 6 July 1698 at Eiserfeld, the third son of Johann Steinseifer and Anna Gehla Grebe.  He married Elisabeth Schuster (born 1705) of Eisern, the daughter of Henry Schuster.

In modern Germany, the name is usually spelled as Steinseifer with only one "f".  The name is very much centered on the Siegen region.  In America, the spelling is varied.

The information in this note comes from Ryan Stansifer, a descendant.  He thanks Mary Doyle Johnson, Friedhelm Menk, and Margret Menn for assistance.  Ryan had an article in the last issue of Beyond Germanna which recaps the information.


Nr. 438:

It is always instructive to take lists of names that are rather complete for a community and to see if the list tells one anything new.  For example, the list of petition signers at the Hebron Church in 1776 was a summary of the membership of the church at that time.  Counting the number of occurrences of a particular name, as opposed to the expected number, can be informative.  The list shows three Michael Utzes, whereas the published histories would indicate there should be only two.  There were only three Utz families who could have had Michaels old enough to sign the petition.  Two of the families already had Michaels in them.  The family of George Utz (son of the immigrant George Utz) was not given a Michael Utz.  Digging around some more, the family of George was based on his estate distribution, which did not occur until about thirty years later.  It would not have been unusual for the unplaced Michael Utz to have died in the interval.

The Orange County (Virginia) tithe list of 1739 raised many questions and many of them are not answered.  First, do not let the word "tithe" confuse the issues.  The tithe list had nothing much to do with church matters, as it was a tax list first and foremost.  As such, it should have some accuracy and completeness.  (The taxes to be raised were for the support of the Church of England, the established church of the colony of Virginia.)  The list was prepared in much the same way that a census taker makes up his list.  The census is made by visiting each house in turn, usually moving from one to the next one.  So, there is a physical continuity in the list in the sense that two adjacent names on the list are often close neighbors.  It is possible to take a map of the property ownerships and to trace the paths of the list makers.

One of the problems in the Orange Co. 1739 tithables is that there are two Lewis Fishers, one who lives north of the Robinson River, and one who lives south of the Robinson River, but both still in the German community.  Histories say there should be only one Lewis Fisher.  What should we make of two Lewis Fishers?  One school of thought says the list makers (two were involved) made an error.  Another school of thought says the list makers knew what they were doing and for each of them to enter the name of Lewis Fisher there must have been good evidence.  Opinion has been divided.  In Beyond Germanna, material on both sides of this question has been published.  I personally have been of the mind that there were two Lewis Fishers, who were father and son, and both of whom were married to Anna Barbaras.  With the same name for the husband and wife, the distinction between the two could be hard, especially if the father left a minimum of records.  One of the pieces of evidence for the two Lewis Fishers theory was a baptismal record found for the Zimmerman family in Sulzfeld, Baden, by Margaret James Squires.  Sponsors at one of the baptisms were Ludwig Fischer and his wife Anna Barbara.  Thus, there was a Lewis Fisher in Germany associated with a Germanna family.  Probably it was this Lewis Fisher who immigrated with his son Lewis Fisher.  The younger Lewis is the better known one (he married Anna Barbara Blankenbaker).


Nr. 439:

The last note was examining the 1739 Orange Co., Virginia tithe list.  Two successive names in the list are Robert Tanner and George Tanner.  Robert is the name of the immigrant, but the name George Tanner is not to be found in the Tanner history.  Probably the two are related but living in separate households.  If George had been living with Robert, he would have been counted as a tithe in the Robert Tanner household without being named.

Nowhere in the list are Criglers to be found, but this is not a problem.  The father of Nicholas and Christopher Crigler was Jacob Crigler, who married Susanna (Clore) Weaver, a widow.  Jacob died and Susanna married Nicholas Yager.  Nicholas Yager has five tithes in his household, and two of these may be his Crigler stepsons.

In another instance of name duplication (see the previous note), there are two Theobald Christlers.  Both of them are south of the Robinson River, on the list prepared by James Pickett.  One is given as Daywall Cristler, and the other, only seven names away, is given as Daywat Cristler.  What are we to make of this pair of names?  Did James Pickett make an error and list one man twice?  Or were there two individuals of the same name?  Until we can give a reasonably sound answer to questions like this, we do not understand the community.

In this same area, northwest of the modern town of Madison, there was a tithe, Henry Crowder, of whom we know nothing.  The spelling as Crowder is what Pickett wrote, but the German name perhaps would be something like Krauter.  But, spelled in any similar way, the name is not one that is in the history books.  He is a complete mystery.  A very remote possibility is that the name was Sauder or Sowder.

There is a mystery involving the Broyles family.  Two sons of John Broyles are expected, Conrad and Jacob, and they are in the list.  But another name is found, Christley.  This is probably a nickname for Christian, a perfectly good German given name.  Broyles researchers are now inclined to believe that Christley is another son of John Broyles, but no further information is known for him.  Previously researchers had commented at length on how the names, Conrad and Christian, or their nicknames, could be merged into one set of names.  It appears from the tithe list that they should be distinguished as two individuals.  But one dreads the abbreviation, "nfi", for "no further information".  In 1739, Christley was the head of a household and probably married.  Did he leave any children?


Nr. 440:

The Orange Co., VA tithe list for 1739 follows closely to the sequence expected from the land ownership.  When the list comes to the land that should be John and Michael Thomas, these are not the names given.  John Thomas had other land by then, so his absence at this point is explained.  But, Michael Thomas should have been a tithable (sixteen and over) by 1739.

Possibly, he was born about 1720 (it could not have been much different from this).  He is not in the home of his stepfather, Michael Kaifer, who has only one tithe.  On what should be the Thomas land, there is a tithe, Conrat Pater, who is a total unknown.  If one were looking for the man in Germany, the village of the Thomases and the Blankenbakers would be the logical place.  For the moment he is an unexplained person.

The list continues in an orderly way to David Ouell, John Kynes, and Christopher Ouell.  The Ouell name is better known as Yowell.  The name of John Kynes here, and in other contexts, suggests that he was often found with Germans without being clearly labeled as a German.   His origins are not clear and the knowledge of the community as a whole will have a gap until his role is better understood.  I do not believe that I have encountered anyone who claimed him as an ancestor.

Two names after John Zimmerman is John Sutton.  In later land patents, by Zimmerman, he mentions the lands of John Sutton, but I have never been able to find a description of his land by patent or grant.

Over to the northeast, almost on the line of the future Culpeper and Madison Counties, settlement is beginning to occur with John Vaught, Christian Kleman, Jacob Manspiel.  John Paul Vaught (or Vogt) has to suffer another mangling of his name as John Full.  But there have been worse manglings of his name than this.  Once, it is given as Finkt.  What this points out is the danger of reading lists too quickly, or of using indices to find names.  Some names are really mangled, and it becomes necessary to depend on other clues to make sure that a positive identification has been made.

A.C. Goodwin sent me a note that she believes the name Crowder is really intended to be Sauder, or Sauter, or similar (see the previous note).  There should have been a Henry Sauder by 1739, since he is mentioned in earlier documents.  The location in the list is approximately correct.

Names not found in the 1739 list include Barlow.  Christopher Barlow was in the 1737 list as Parter, but not in the 1739 list.  The Aylor name is missing also from the 1739 list.  Matthew Kerchler proved his importation in Orange County in 1736.  Paul Lederer came in 1733, and was in Orange Co. by 1735.  Jacob Miller had a grant in 1733 adjoining Adam Yager.  Martin Walk came in 1728 and had a joint grant with Tobias Willheit in 1736, but neither shows in the 1739 list.  Some of these may be explained by their living outside the area covered by the surviving lists, which do not cover the entire county.


Nr. 441:

On 22 October 1776, the German Congregation of the County of Culpeper petitioned the President and Delegates of the Convention of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  One hundred and twenty-one male members of the congregation "signed" the petition.  There are a few problems for us in the names.

Two Benjamin Gaars signed.  I am unable to place one of these.  Perhaps Lorenz, the son of the immigrant Andrew, had a son Benjamin.  The "Garr Genealogy" does not give Andrew a son of this name though.

Previously I had mentioned there were three Michael Utzes.  This forced us to assign one of them to George Utz (son of the immigrant George Utz), whose family history was founded on incomplete documentation.

Two Jacob Broyles signed.  I believe it is impossible to assign the second Jacob in the standard histories.

A name that is a mystery is Jurt Tanner.  Is Jurt to be recognized as another proper name or as a nickname?  My Tanner history does not recognize a Jurt, but maybe I just don't recognize the name that I should be using.

A few of the names force us to pause.  Who was John Winegard?  Who was Adam Pander?  Should this last name be read as Bender?  The Lipp family is present in the person of Frederick.  I could wish that we knew more about this family.  The same is my wish for George Lehman and his family.

One unusual name is Rudolph Crecelius, but his history, as relates to Germanna, is being unfolded.  Other people that it would be desirable to learn more about include Jacob Henrexson and Daniel Dosser.

The great advantage of a list, such as this, which is probably relatively complete, is that it gives us a check list to see if we do understand the community.  It would be desirable if we did not need to ask, "Who is this?"

If you can help, it would be appreciated.  (Some of the problems I have mentioned might be caused by a misreading of the names.)


Nr. 442:

Founded in 1730, St. Mark's Parish covered the western part of Spotsylvania Co.  On 1 Jan 1735, Orange County was formed and St. Mark's became the parish for it.  At this time, Orange Co. included several of the present day counties, including an area in the Shenandoah Valley.  When Culpeper Co. was formed in mid-century, St. Mark's became the parish for what is today's Culpeper, Madison, and Rappahannock Counties.  In 1752, Bromfield Parish was split off.  St. Mark's included several pockets of Germans (Mt. Pony, Little Fork, and the Robinson River) at some time during its existence.  The following members of the Germanna community are mentioned in the Vestry minutes: Frederick Cobler, Michael Holt, Thomas Wayland's wife, Matthias Blankenbaker, Jacob Holtzclaw, Jacob Fishback, Frederick Zimmerman, Christopher Kabler, Conrad Cabler, John Cobler, and Woolfenbarger.

Woolfenbarger?  The mention of this man was the first time that I remember encountering the name ever.  And here he is in the Germanna area in 1780.  Just who was he?  Not a lot was to be found immediately but my antennae were tuned to the name should I encounter it again.  After a while I did pick up some information on the family.

The family originated in Switzerland, lived for a while in the Alsace, and emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1730.  The head of the family was John Wolfersberger and his wife was (Anna) Margaret Ensminger.  Seven children are known for the family:  John Peter; Ursula (died young); Jacob Frederick and John, Jr., who were born in the Alsace; and Mary Catherine, Anna Marie, and John Philip, who were born in Pennsylvania.

The family eventually dispersed with (George) Michael, the son of Peter, going to Culpeper Co., Virginia.  Other family members, of the third generation from the first generation John and Margaret, went to Shenandoah Co., VA, Greenbrier Co., (W)VA, Surry Co., NC, Ohio, and Tennessee.  One grandson, Benjamin, went to Wythe Co. in Virginia.

The Culpeper man, (George) Michael, was baptized 15 Mar 1747 and died in Sep 1789 in Culpeper Co.  He married, about 1771, Elizabeth Wenz and they had seven children: Elizabeth, who married ___ Hergebrode; Catherine, who married Jonas Troutman; Sarah, who married Michael Baker; George (died young); Hannah, who married Peter Spangler; John; and Margaret.

I have much more information on the Wolfersberger family in a 1987 note by Raymond Martin Bell.  Much is known about the ancestry of John and Margaret, the immigrant parents.; The Wolfersberger line has been traced to Jacob, who married, in 1575, Elsbeth Knecht in Ettenhausen, Switzerland.  Wolfersbergers were living in this village in 1467.

One reason that I interpret the meaning of Germanna broadly is to enhance the chance that I will learn something about the lesser known members of the community.  I still wish that I knew more about the Wolfersberger family in Culpeper County than I do presently.


Nr. 443:

There has been a discussion on the list of what the Jacob "Manspoil" patent said.  With five minutes of work, one can have a copy of the patent in hand by going to the Library of Virginia on the net and retrieving a copy.  It comes back as an image in a "tif" format.  The library offers a program for viewing the images, but I use the capability of my WordPerfect program.  (One may also use the shareware version of Paint Shop Pro to view these .TIF files and edit them.  George W. Durman, Webmaster.)

For locating it, one needs the patent book and page number.  The easiest way of finding this is to have the books in the "Cavaliers and Pioneers" series.  These show that the Manspoil patent is in Patent Book 15, starting on page 351.  If one does not have these books, the library provides a card index but using it adds quite a bit of time to the process.  Armed with the information that it is book 15, page 351, that one wants, a download of the page image will give a copy of the microfilm of the original page.  The quality of the final image is better printed than on the screen and a magnifying glass is often useful.  Some of the copies are extremely legible, while others simply cannot be read at all.

The eight headright names in "Cavaliers and Pioneers" are correct.  They are Jacob Bryell, Rose Paulitz, Susanna Hance, Peter Hance, Margaret Hance, Jacob Manspoil, Catherine Hance, and Adam Hance.  Reading the names involves the problems typical of colonial handwriting.  One starts by swearing that he/she has never seen letters like that before.  One of the problems centered on the "H", which the writer makes in his own distinctive way.  But, by searching around, in the metes and bounds, there is the known word, "Hundred."  The initial letter is identical to the start of Hance.  The "a" is clear but the writer makes the letters "n" and "u" in an identical way.  The "c" compares to the one in Jacob and the "e" compares to the ending of Rose and Catherine.  It seems mostly likely that the name is Hance and not Hauce.

Headrights never expire.  They are still good twenty years after the act which created them.  Rose Paulitz came with her family in 1717 (I believe).  So the appearance of a headright says almost nothing about when a person came.  Legally, a headright was to be used only once; however, I know of one man whose headright was used twice. As Dieterich Weber, it was used by Col. Spotswood, but it was used again by Peter Weaver, as Peter Weaver, in 1736.  Other headrights used by Peter Weaver in 1736 are Michael Wilhite, John Wilhite, Tobias Wilhite, Mathias Kerckler, and Conrad Amberger.  Several of these people came much earlier, at least one in 1717.

Grants in the Northern Neck are also available online from the Library of Virginia.  It never fails to impress me that one can be looking at a copy of the original document within five minutes.  For me, this is faster than finding one in my filing(?) system.  It sure beats going to Richmond or having someone else make a copy for you.


Nr. 444:

Lewis Fisher (Ludwig Fischer) married Anna Barbara Blankenbaker.  She was not on the list of headrights used by Col. Spotswood, so presumably she was not yet born in 1717, though her father, Bathalsar Blankenbaker, appeared to be married in 1717.  When one analyzes the children and grandchildren of Lewis and Anna Barbara, it appears that a very reasonable birth date for their eldest child, Stephen, was 1736 as the Garr Genealogy gives.

The origins of Lewis Fisher are obscure, meaning they are unknown.  It has been suggested that he was the son of Sebastian Fischer of Tulpehocken, Pennsylvania.  Sebastian was one of the "tar makers" who were settled along the Hudson River in 1710. There are several reasons that I do not believe this.

Sebastian had a son Lorentz but no son Ludwig.  To say that these two are the same is the same as saying that Lawrence is another name for Lewis.  Aside from starting with the same letter, the two names are quite distinct.

The last name, Fisher, is quite common.  Therefore, the claim that Lewis of Virginia is the son of Sebastian in Pennsylvania needs good evidence.  I have never seen any evidence that supports the idea.  Hank Jones says there were many other Fischers near Tulpehocken whose connection, if any, to Sebastian is unknown.  My citation of this is to establish that the name is not unusual.

The area in Germany from whence Sebastian came is known, and it is not near the the area from whence the members of the Second Germanna Colony came.  At Tulpehocken, PA, the Fisher family was living with people who came from the same German neighborhood as Sebastian.

In the church history of the Second Colony in Germany, there is a Lewis Fisher who was a baptismal sponsor for the Zimmerman family.  Though this individual was not the Lewis who married Anna Barbara Blankenbaker, it does establish that the name Ludwig Fischer does occur in Germany in connection with members of the Second Colony; however, this is in a different geographical area than where Sebastian lived.

At one time I was intrigued by the thought that Lewis' father was Sebastian.  This would have put some of my ancestors in the same locality (Tulpehocken, PA) as some of my wife's ancestors.  But the more I looked at this question, the more I became convinced that Sebastian was not the father of Lewis. This was before Jones' "The Palatine Families of New York 1710", and the research there only strengthened my beliefs.


Nr. 445:

Members of the Hebron Lutheran Church, now in Madison Co., VA, wrote a Constitution in May of 1776, to which the names of the male members were attached.  (This Constitution has now been published, thanks to a translation by Elke Hall, a contributor to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List.)  The members did not actually sign their names; one individual wrote the names for all.  Later, as new members joined the church, their names were also added.  As a consequence, there is no single date that can be assigned to the list, which reduces its effectiveness as a research document.  Still, it has its value.

Among the names are Friedrich Julius Schad and Georg Philip Schad.  I know nothing about them.  The name Carl Vrede was a mystery to me until his family researchers solved the essence of the case.  His descendants had known him as Charles Frady.  In a deed, his neighbors seemed to be Germans, which made them wonder whether he might not be also.  Finding the sound-alike name Vrede at the church confirmed the idea.  He is to be found in the lists of "Hessian" soldiers who chose to live here, not fight here.

The name George Schlater is not entirely unknown.  A man of this name had an early land patent among the Robinson River Germans.  His case has been made more difficult because the name is often given as Slaughter, the English name that sounds like Schlater.  As a consequence, he has been slighted because he has been taken as an Englishman.

Peter Benenger may be known for his origins in Germany.  The family is associated with the Zieglers.

There are many individuals, or families, whose subsequent history is much better known than their earlier history.  The origins of the Chelfs, Houses, Bungards, Lipps, Nunnemachers, Boehmes (Beemons), Delphs, Freys, Finks, and Rouses are questions to be answered.  One of my hopes in writing these notes is to evoke helpful responses from readers.

Tomorrow, I will be spending the day at the Pennsylvania Chapter of Palatines to America Fall Meeting in New Holland.  These meetings are very well attended, often sell outs, and the speakers are noteworthy.  Tomorrow, I especially want to hear Shirley Riemer who has done a lot for German research.  In the past year, several of my "Short Notes" have been based on her book, The German Research Companion.  New Holland is in the middle of the Pennsylvania Dutch country and the meeting draws from the full spectrum of German religions, including the long beards.


Nr. 446:

On Saturday, I heard four talks by Shirley Riemer, the author of the book, "The German Research Companion," from which excerpts were given here in past notes.  In one of her talks, she expressed her concerns about genealogy research in the middle of the twenty-first century.

First:  It is going to be much harder to identify the lineages between people.  In the past, we have relied on the practice that sons and daughters have the name of their father.  The hyphenated names, the continued use of a mother's maiden name, reversion to earlier names, adoption of children, and changes of names, will make identity much harder.  At the very extreme of this question, where will the experiments with DNA lead us?

Second:  Over the meadows and through the woods to grandmother's house does not mean what it use to.  Now, the elements of families are not to be found in the same neighborhood or even the same state.  (A personal note: our three children were born in three different states, New Jersey, New York, and California, and this is only a mild case.)

Third:  Technology has become a fad, especially in the sense of a temporary appearance.  Who has a turn table, a tape recorder, a computer that can read 5 ½ inch disks, or an operating system or programs that can allow old records to be read?  Technology becomes obsolete as fast as newer technologies are introduced.  Who will be able to read your 25,000 name GEDCOM?  Who will keep your records converted to the current fashion?

Fourth:  Are magnetic records really permanent?  Are color photos really permanent?  The solution with the best proven history is good acid free paper and black and white photos.  Even though with computers we generate more paper than ever before, who saves the paper?  But, is the record on which we rely really permanent?

German research is getting harder because of the lack of education in the German language.  Even in Germany, the ability to read the old script is being lost.  For fifty years now, we in the US have relied on native born Germans living here to help us with questions related to Germany.  But fewer of these people are opting to live in the US.  One implication is that our grandchildren will work on their non-German ancestors who are easier to understand.

Though the Internet has apparently made research easier, is it a boon or is it a Trojan horse?  Is it destroying quality while promoting conflicting quantity?  Have our standards been lowered?  Are we creating trash?

Ms. Riemer's recommendations are that we concentrate now on German research, and that we save our research in two principal forms, ink on acid-free paper, and as black and white photographs.


Nr. 447:

Shirley Riemer gave four talks at the Pennsylvania Chapter meeting of Palatines to America meeting.  One was on fifteen basic concepts to apply to German family history research:

  1. Spelling didn't count.  Never, was the question asked, "How do you spell your name?"

  2. Many travelers started out together (and arrived together).  Studying the immigrant in isolation doesn't make sense; study the community and neighbors also.

  3. Ms. Riemer makes the point that the Germans often lived in the same area of Germany for centuries.  In the Germanna colonies, this was true for the First Colony, but many of the immediate ancestors of the Second Colonists had moved from another area.  Much of this was related to the effects of the Thirty Years' War.  Still, many names do have a concentration within a small geographical area.

  4. Often there were many siblings, which means there are many individuals to research, each of which may yield a clue to understanding your ancestor.

  5. The Germans have been record keepers without par for centuries, and this is available to us.

  6. Germany research starts on this side of the Atlantic.  You will not find your ancestors by starting in Germany.

  7. Most often, a village name that can't be found is the result of misinterpretation here in America, not a name change in Germany.

  8. Surnames and Christening names changed.  There are many ways for an English speaker to write a German name, and just about every possible variant was used at one time or another.

  9. The parish church, where an individual's name was registered, was often not the village where the individual lived.  Very often a church served several small, close-by communities.

  10. There was no Germany before 1871.  There was a collection of major, medium, and small political entities.  Their boundaries often shifted and overlapped.

  11. Expect to communicate in German.  Yes, many Germans understand English, but your chances of a reply are better if correspondence is conducted in German.

  12. Graves in Germany disappear regularly.  Only the stones of the last half-century or so remain.

  13. Christening names and the names people used later were not always alike.  A person may have been christened as Johannes, but he could be married as Hans.  (Hans was a diminiutive, or nickname, for Johannes).

  14. Germans often gave the name of a larger political entity to identify their origin.  (My ancestor did not come from Neuenbürg but he came from the "lands of the Bishops of Speyer.")  Some states and cities have the same name.  Many names are duplicated, some very close together.

  15. Paper was expensive so abbreviations and symbols are common in records.

  16. (Bonus)  The chances are that your great-grandfather did not come to America as a stowaway on a ship.  There are a lot of situations fulfilling the Italian proverb, "It may not be true, but it makes a good story."


Nr. 448:

In the first decade of the 1700's, Christoph von Graffenried was in the colonization business.  He was attempting to provide people new homes in America.  He obtained a contract with the city fathers of Bern to export a number of Anabaptists out of Bern.  As such, the Anabaptists were political prisoners since they had no voice in the matter.  A number of Swiss also joined the party of their own volition.  In London, Graffenried found that the proprietors of North Carolina would provide transportation for the Swiss if he would go to North Carolina and also take a contingent of the Palatines who wanted to go to America.  Altogether there were at least two shiploads, probably more than that.  Graffenried sailed on the last ship with the Swiss and some Germans.  The Dutch had refused to allow Graffenried to bring his Anabaptists through Holland, because they were political prisoners, so the party was intercepted and the individual members interviewed.  Those that did not want to go to America were released.  A few chose to go on.

Graffenried's ship first stopped at Virginia, because there were no good harbors in North Carolina where a large ship could land.  The problem lay in negotiating the coastal waters of North Carolina, which were shallow and dangerous.  There was no ship wreck at this stage.  (Incidentally, this gave Graffenried an opportunity to meet Gov. Alexander Spotswood and to show him the letter he [Graffenried] had from the Queen, saying the Governor would allocate him land for the proposed silver seeking colony which was in the formation stages in Siegen.)

After the Indian attack on the colony in North Carolina, Graffenried consulted Spotswood to see if he could have land in Virginia, where he judged it was safer.  (In these early years, before the First Germanna Colony even existed, Spotswood saw the advantage of having Germans on the frontier as a barrier to the Indians.)  Back in North Carolina, Graffenried found a group of the colonists, who were willing to relocate to Virginia.  Unfortunately, the ship bringing them ran aground and sank.  The survivors returned to North Carolina.  This is said to be the last "official" attempt to resettle North Carolina colonists in Virginia.

As a historian of the Germanna Colonists, I have been concerned that some of the Germanna people were originally North Carolina colonists who decided to move to Virginia.  As such, I would welcome a list of the North Carolina colonists for comparison against the Germanna colonists.  I don't think that the two colonies should be studied separately from each other.  I would welcome any contribution on who the North Carolina people might have been.  These people could have been Swiss or German (Palatine or other).  Nearly all of the Germans in North Carolina would have met the description as High German since they came from southern Germany or Switzerland.

Again, one reason for keeping the notes here rather broad in their outlook is that the history of the Germanna people may not have been as narrow as some people think.  It may be that some of our Germanna people, who are being counted as later comers, might actually have come in 1710.


Nr. 449:

One of the statements that I have read more than once is that Peter Broyles married Elizabeth Blankenbaker.  This is an error.  Peter was the son of Jacob Broyles and Mary Catherine Fleshman.  The Elizabeth that he married was the daughter of the wife of Zacharias Blankenbaker.  The name of Elizabeth's mother and Zach's wife was Alcy and beyond that we know hardly anything about her.

Zacharias Blankenbaker married a widow with two daughters.  The widow's maiden name and even her given name are unknowns.  She was called Alcy, which is usually taken as a nickname for Elizabeth.  Her daughters by her first marriage were Elizabeth and Mary Magdalena.  Elizabeth married Peter Broyles, and Mary Magdalena married Henry Wayman.

One of the children of which Zacharias was the father was John.  If you study the baptisms in which this John Blankenbaker was involved, it is possible to discern that Henry Wayman was married twice.  The reasoning is very complex, but the conclusion is inescapable.  After I had reached this conclusion, some information from the book, "Some Martin, Jefferies, and Wayman Families and Connections of Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and Indiana," came to my attention.  It stated that Henry Wayman had two wives (confirming my conclusions based on the baptisms), and it gave the surname of one of his wives as Finks.

Tentatively, I have taken the name of Henry Wayman's first wife as Mary Magdalena Finks (his second wife was a Blankenbaker).  Thus, Alcy had been married to a Finks before she married Zacharias Blankenbaker.  Since the first child of Zacharias and Alcy was born in 1750, Alcy had been married in the 1740's, and had had two daughters from this first marriage.  Then her husband died.  Who are the Finks that could be her husband?  In the 1739 tithe list for Orange County, Virginia, Mark Finks has two tithes in his household.  This could be himself and a younger brother (he would not have had any sons old enough to be tithes by 1739).

When the Register of Baptisms at the Hebron Church was rewritten in 1775, the family of Zacharias was put on one of the last pages, not on one of the first pages, which generally start with the births of the early 1750's.  This was a puzzle to me for a long time, as Zacharias' first child was born in 1750.  As I studied the Register, I realized that no family was included except those whose first child was born in 1750, or after 1750.  Zacharias presented a challenge.  He had married a widow with children born before 1750.  At first, the family of Zacharias was not given a page in the Register because of this.  But these were not Zacharias' children.  Upon reflecting, and probably debating the issue, it was decided to include a page for Zacharias' natural children, but not his stepchildren.


Nr. 450:

Shirley Riemer produces "Der Blumenbaum", a quarterly journal, for the Sacramento German Genealogy Society.  In the number 1 issue of volume 12 (in 1994), an article appeared entitled "Just a Matter of Altitude".  In turn, it utilized the book, "Of German Ways", published in 1970.

The German language has two aspects.  The first encompasses standard German, which is spoken by announcers and actors, and by those who do not understand the dialects of people from areas other than their own.  Standard German is nearly universally understood.  The second aspect encompasses local dialects, spoken in the various geographical areas of Germany.

Although everyone writes "High German", the language understood by all, almost no one speaks it all the time.  At home and among friends, Germans speak their own local dialects.  This tradition reflects the reverence and devotion of the German to his local region, hometown, and territorial district.

In the United States, a person often attempts to put aside his local dialect in favor of a standard.  For example, my wife, who was raised in Maine, can speak in a pronounced dialect of the region.  But she has put it aside in favor of "standard" English.  I was born in Oklahoma and I remember that as a young boy in Oregon I was kidded about my way of speaking.  Today fewer people comment on my speech.

A German who attends a university will speak High German there.  On coming back to his hometown, he reverts to the local dialect.  If he does not, he is seen as an intolerable snob.  A campaigner for political office tries to endear himself to the voters in each geographical area by speaking the local dialect.

The terms, High German and Low German, should not be taken as a commentary on the quality of the German.  They merely express the idea that speakers of High German live in the south where the elevation is higher.  This is the country of the Alps where the Rhine and Danube Rivers originate.  Low German is spoken in the northerly regions, where the country is flatter and nearer sea level.

There are differences and graduations between the two.  This can be explained by the fact that the German language appears in a region that was the home of many different ancient tribes.  There are common elements throughout these regions and to the English language, but the German that developed in any one area is not superior or better than that in another area.  There are just differences.

Perhaps, some of the readers here, who are better informed than I am, will offer some additional comments.

 


(To see John & Eleanor Blankenbaker's May, 2000, and May, 2002, Germany and Austria photos, click here.)

(To see maps of villages in Germany and Austria from which our Germanna ancestors immigrated, click here.)


(This page contains the EIGHTEENTH set of Notes, Nr. 426 through Nr. 450.)


John and George would like very much to hear from readers of these Germanna History pages.  We welcome your criticisms, compliments, corrections, or other comments.  When you click on "click here" below, both of us will receive your message.  We would like to hear what you have to say about the content of the Notes, and about spelling, punctuation, format, etc.  Just click here to send us your message.  Thank You!


There is a Mailing List (also known as a Discussion List or Discussion Group), called GERMANNA_COLONIES, at RootsWeb.  This List is open to all subscribers for the broadcast of their messages.  John urges more of you to make it a research tool for answering your questions, or for summarizing your findings, on any subject concerning the Germanna Colonies of Virginia.  On this List, you may make inquiries of specific Germanna SURNAMES.  At present, there are about 1200 subscribers and there are bound to be users here who can help you.

If you are interested in subscribing to this List, click here.  You don't need to type anything, just click on "Send".  You will shortly receive a Welcome Message explaining the List.


(GERMANNA History Notes, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 John BLANKENBAKER.)

(GERMANNA History Web Pages, Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 George W. DURMAN.)

This material has been compiled and placed on this web site by George W. Durman, with the permission of John BLANKENBAKER.  It is intended for personal use by genealogists and researchers, and is not to be disseminated further.


Index Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES and Genealogy Comments

INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES
Pg.001-Notes 0001-0025
Pg.002-Notes 0026-0050
Pg.003-Notes 0051-0075
Pg.004-Notes 0076-0100
Pg.005-Notes 0101-0125
Pg.006-Notes 0126-0150
Pg.007-Notes 0151-0175
Pg.008-Notes 0176-0200
Pg.009-Notes 0201-0225
Pg.010-Notes 0226-0250
Pg.011-Notes 0251-0275
Pg.012-Notes 0276-0300
Pg.013-Notes 0301-0325
Pg.014-Notes 0326-0350
Pg.015-Notes 0351-0375
Pg.016-Notes 0376-0400
Pg.017-Notes 0401-0425
Pg.018-Notes 0426-0450
Pg.019-Notes 0451-0475
Pg.020-Notes 0476-0500
Pg.021-Notes 0501-0525
Pg.022-Notes 0526-0550
Pg.023-Notes 0551-0575
Pg.024-Notes 0575-0600
Pg.025-Notes 0601-0625
Pg.026-Notes 0626-0650
Pg.027-Notes 0651-0675
Pg.028-Notes 0676-0700
Pg.029-Notes 0701-0725
Pg.030-Notes 0726-0750
Pg.031-Notes 0751-0775
Pg.032-Notes 0776-0800
Pg.033-Notes 0801-0825
Pg.034-Notes 0826-0850
Pg.035-Notes 0851-0875
Pg.036-Notes 0876-0900
Pg.037-Notes 0901-0925
Pg.038-Notes 0926-0950
Pg.039-Notes 0951-0975
Pg.040-Notes 0976-1000
Pg.041-Notes 1001-1025
Pg.042-Notes 1026-1050
Pg.043-Notes 1051-1075
Pg.044-Notes 1076-1100
Pg.045-Notes 1101-1125
Pg.046-Notes 1126-1150
Pg.047-Notes 1151-1175
Pg.048-Notes 1176-1200
Pg.049-Notes 1201-1225
Pg.050-Notes 1226-1250
Pg.051-Notes 1251-1275
Pg.052-Notes 1276-1300
Pg.053-Notes 1301-1325
Pg.054-Notes 1326-1350
Pg.055-Notes 1351-1375
Pg.056-Notes 1376-1400
Pg.057-Notes 1401-1425
Pg.058-Notes 1426-1450
Pg.059-Notes 1451-1475
Pg.060-Notes 1476-1500
Pg.061-Notes 1501-1525
Pg.062-Notes 1526-1550
Pg.063-Notes 1551-1575
Pg.064-Notes 1576-1600
Pg.065-Notes 1601-1625
Pg.066-Notes 1626-1650
Pg.067-Notes 1651-1675
Pg.068-Notes 1676-1700
Pg.069-Notes 1701-1725
Pg.070-Notes 1726-1750
Pg.071-Notes 1751-1775
Pg.072-Notes 1776-1800
Pg.073-Notes 1801-1825
Pg.074-Notes 1826-1850
Pg.075-Notes 1851-1875
Pg.076-Notes 1876-1900
Pg.077-Notes 1901-1925
Pg.078-Notes 1926-1950
Pg.079-Notes 1951-1975
Pg.080-Notes 1976-2000
Pg.081-Notes 2001-2025
Pg.082-Notes 2026-2050
Pg.083-Notes 2051-2075
Pg.084-Notes 2076-2100
Pg.085-Notes 2101-2125
Pg.086-Notes 2126-2150
Pg.087-Notes 2150-2175
Pg.088-Notes 2176-2200
Pg.089-Notes 2201-2225
Pg.090-Notes 2226-2250
Pg.091-Notes 2251-2275
Pg.092-Notes 2276-2300
Pg.093-Notes 2301-2325
Pg.094-Notes 2326-2350
Pg.095-Notes 2351-2375
Pg.096-Notes 2376-2400
Pg.097-Notes 2401-2425
Pg.098-Notes 2426-2450
Pg.099-Notes 2451-2475
Pg.100-Notes 2476-2500
Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025


INDEX Links to All Pages of John's GENEALOGY COMMENTS

(As of 12 April 2007, John published the last of his "Germanna Notes"; however, he is going to periodically post to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List in the form of "Genealogy Comments" on various subjects, not necessarily dealing with Germanna.  I'm starting the numbering system anew, starting with Comment Nr. 0001.)

Pg.101-Comments 0001-0025

This Page Contains Notes 426 through 450.


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