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This is the FIFTY-THIRD 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 1301 through 1325.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 53

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Nr. 1301:

At the half-century marks, I devote the note to some discussion of what the notes are all about.  For my text today, I will use an email that I just received.  It commented that the notes ran to "old letters" and "mining" which were interesting but the writer asked why didn't I write about families.

I do write about many of the families, to the extent that I know something new to say.  I do not like to duplicate what is available in other places.  When I learn something new about a family, or a corrective item, I do like to write about the family.  Also, I tend not to come down too far in time because the audience that is interested in an event in the later times numbers only a few people.

In the end, I write more about general history, which pertains to a lot of people.  A surprising amount of this history remains unknown and is yet to be uncovered.  Or, the known history is lacking in accuracy.

As an example, here are some questions that are often asked.  These questions require discussion of general history, rather than history of specific surnames/families.

Why did the people from Siegen end up in Virginia?  It was NOT because they were hired or recruited to mine iron for Lt. Gov. Spotswood.  Though this story is told far and wide, it is simply not true.  I would think that descendants, or even students of history in general, would be interested in the real reasons.

Why did the Second Colony end up in Virginia?  It was NOT because their ship was blown off course.  To be blunt, they were hijacked.

Was there a third colony?  You would have to stretch the definition of "colony" to answer this question in the affirmative.

You can see in part why I chose the things that I write about.  Remember though that this "list" or "network" exists for all to use.  You do not have to make an assertion; you can ask questions.  You can let other people on the list know that you exist.  Humor and oddities are not to be ignored.  You can question what I say.  If I can't reasonably defend what I say, then I should retract it.  Friends Craig and Andreas pull me up short sometimes, but that is good.  And we are still friends.

We have a rich history, a very rich history both in general, and in the family details.  We do have a few kinks that need ironing out, and some holes that need patching, but that is one reason this list exists.  So do your bit.  Get out your needle and thread.
(09 Nov 01)



Nr. 1302:

Peter Weaver used to be described as a later arrival because he seemed to be younger than many of the people who were known to have arrived in 1717.  But in recent years more information has been found and it is now known that he came in 1717.  It is true that he was younger than many of the adults who came in 1717.

The two pieces of information which helped to clarify his relationship came from the church register in Gemmingen and from Alexander Spotswood's list of head rights.  The church records tell us that he was the son of Philipp Joseph Weber who had married Susanna Klaar (Clore).  The pastor in Gemmingen recorded that the family which left there in 1717 consisted of Joseph Weber, age 30, Susanna, age 25, Hans Dietrich, age 7, and Sophia, age 4.  When they landed, all of these names were recorded (i.e, Joseph Wever, Susanna Wever, Hans Fredich Wever, and Maria Sophia Wever), plus Wabburie Wever.  The head right names are recorded in Virginia Patent Book 14, page 378ff.  The Gemmingen records were uncovered by Gary Zimmerman and Johni Cerny.

Joseph Weaver died soon his arrival in Virginia though it is possible that he was the father of more children, especially daughters, before he died.

Susanna Weaver married secondly Jacob Crigler and apparently had two sons in this family, Nicholas and Christopher.  Later in life she married Nicholas Yager, but there were no children in this last marriage.  Susanna was the sister of Michael Clore.

Maria Sophia Weaver became the wife of Peter Fleshman, who became acquainted with her on board the ship as they crossed the Atlantic Ocean.  Of course, they were both children then, and they probably had no thought that they would someday marry.  That Maria Sophia Weaver was the wife of Peter Fleshman was discovered by myself only a few months ago when I examined the Hebron communion lists.

Wabburie Weaver's formal name was probably Waldburga but she was called Wabburie as an infant, and as Burga when she was an adult.  She became the wife of John Willheit.  (There is no evidence that any part of her name was Margaret.)  The wife of Peter Weaver was Elizabeth, but we have never found any clues as to her maiden name.

As to how Peter Weaver came to be called Peter is traced by Zimmerman and Cerny.  It may be that a possible influence was the fact that Peter Fleshman was a brother-in-law of the "future" Peter Weaver.
(19 Nov 01)



Nr. 1303:

How did Peter Weaver get his name?  He was baptized at Gemmingen as Hans Dieterich Weber.  The transformation of Weber to Weaver is understandable.  When the family left for Pennsylvania, the minister gave his name as Hans Dietrich, age 7.  He had been christened on 8 Nov 1710, so technically he was not yet 7 when he left in the summer of 1717 (assuming that he was christened soon after birth).

On Spotswood's head right list, he was Hans Fredrich Wever.  His first recorded act in Virginia was the purchase of land in 1734 from William Rush when he (Peter) was about 24.  He proved his importation in 1735.  In the next year he received a 400 acre land grant in the Robinson River area.  He was named as Peter Weaver in this document.  He used six head rights in obtaining this land:  Peter Weaver, Michael Willhite, John Willhite, Tobias Willhite, Mathias Kerckler, and Conrade Amberger.  Peter's sister, Burga, who was about 19, was perhaps already married to John Willhite, so this might account for the three Willhite head rights.  Notice that Peter Weaver used his own name which had already been used by Spotswood.  But on Spotswood's list he was Hans Fredrich so the duplication was probably not noticed.

In 1742, Peter Weaver, with Christian Clement and Andrew Vought, was ordered to lay off a road from Deep Run to the main road (Bloodworth's Road).  Witnesses to the will of Frederick Bumgardner in 1745 were Dieterick (T) Weaver, Tobias Wilhoit, and John Wilhoit.  In the document itself he is named as Teter Weaver which would be in accordance with the mark which he used.  Titer Weaver and John Willheit presented the will to the court.  Teter Weaver and John Willheit were securities for Catherine Bumgardner who was appointed the administrator of the estate.

Peter Weaver acquired land from George Moyer in 1746.  A road order in 1747 names him as Peter Weaver.  He was appointed guardian (as Peter Weaver) for Michael Clore in 1751.  Then in 1762, Peter Weave sold land to each of three sons and signs with the mark "T" in the deeds.

Peter Weaver had relatives in the Robinson River Valley.  He did have two sisters, one of whom married a Willheit and one of whom married a Fleshman.  The Clores were his cousins.  The Criglers were half-siblings.  The Yeagers were step-siblings.  These are all on the basis of his relatives and we do not even know his wife's maiden name.  And it is also possible that he had unnamed sisters, but there is little evidence for this.

The search for his wife's family has been frustrating and no clues have emerged.  The knowledge that he served as security for Catherine Bumgardner is not very helpful since John Wilhoit, the other security, was related to Catherine (by marriage) and John was a brother-in-law of Peter Weaver.
(20 Nov 01)



Nr. 1304:

We used the name "Germanna", which comes in part from the name of our Gracious Sovereign Queen Anne.  By the time Germanna was named in 1710, Queen Anne had had a full life.  She had given birth to seventeen potential heirs, but none of them outlived her.

On the first of August, 1714, Queen Anne died in her sleep at Kensington Palace.  The news reached Williamsburg on October 18.  [Ten weeks was about the time it took a ship to cross the ocean.]  Lt. Governor Spotswood instructed the Virginia clergy to conduct memorial services with sermons on the "justice, piety and other Royal virtues of our late excellent Queen".  He then proclaimed the new sovereign, His Majesty, King George.  [As the first George, no numeral was necessary to distinguish him.]  George was the son of a granddaughter of James I, and he was a Protestant.  He spoke no English, only German.  His knowledge of his new far-flung dominions was nonexistent.

In Virginia, his accession was marked by the booming of cannons, the trooping of colors, and the drinking of toasts in public and private houses.  On the day after the news of the new monarch reached Virginia, Spotswood gathered the principal gentlemen and their ladies around him.  They drank health to the king and watched fireworks arch over Market Square, while the cannons fired salvo after salvo.  The phrase "The Queen is dead, long live the King" was uttered by all.  It was after midnight before the ball was over.

Of Queen Anne's children, the longest life of any of the seventeen was given to the Duke of Gloucester, who gave his name to the major thoroughfare in Williamsburg.  A year later, he was dead at the age of ten years.

Spotswood's efforts to obtain a division of the output of gold and silver mines were set back by the death of Queen Anne.  Orkney had made a plea to her on behalf of Spotswood for a division of the gold and silver.  With her death, the appeal would have to be reinitiated with the new king.  However, George was new to the job and had many other things on his mind.  Spotswood did suggest to Col. Blakiston that he try the argument that the king would be helping his fellow countrymen if he reached a decision on the gold and silver mines.  Then the miners at Germanna could go to work.

The decision on the silver and gold mines was never made.  Before long, probably in the fall of 1716, when Fontaine and Spotswood were at Germanna, it was decided that the silver mine had no silver.  Not long thereafter, the miners were on a more general search, especially for iron.  Spotswood said that this search began in February of 1718 (new style), but probably the Germans had been exploring before this time with some positive results.
(21 Nov 01)



Nr. 1305:

The last note prompted me to examine Queen Anne's life in a little more detail.  The problem is that her life was very complex and there were many factors at work with a lot of people who tried to influence her.  She was born in 1665 to James, Duke of York and, afterwards, James II.  Some people wanted her to be a Catholic and others wanted her to be a Protestant.  It could be said about Anne that she did have a mind of her own and she was determined to be a Protestant.

When she was 18 years of age, she married George, Prince of Denmark.  George's brother was king of Denmark, and instead of the marriage of Anne and George producing good feelings between England and Denmark, many people in England noted that the French had a strong influence in Denmark.  Therefore, anything that came out of Denmark was bad.  This was the temper of the times.  Every government seemed to be busy interfering in other governments.

The marriage of Anne and George was happy and both of them liked the quiet fireside rather than the raucous crowd.  She took her duties as Queen seriously and often attended the debates in the House of Lords.  The sad note was Anne's inability to produce healthy children.

George was a Lutheran and he was not about to give this up for the Anglican church.  He held a job in the admiralty and his later duties as the Queen's husband required him to participate in the Anglican church services.  This did not bother George but it did bother some of the clerics.  George merely found clerics who were not bothered by his ecumenical outlook.  The Lutheran clerics which he imported set the pattern in London for a German Lutheran presence which lasted for decades.

Even though Anne was deeply committed to the Anglican church, she did have a kind regard for the German Protestants.  In the Palatinate, a Catholic ruler had replaced a Protestant ruler.  Though no particular oppression seemed to have resulted from this change, the English, under Queen Anne, did expression their concern for the Protestants.

It was while Queen Anne was on the throne that the great wave of German immigration to America started.  How much she was behind this movement is debatable.  Some of the literature which was circulating in Germany did have her picture on the cover.  Though the feeling in Germany was that the Queen would help anyone who got to England, the exodus was probably launched spontaneously.  Queen Anne did lend her immense power to trying to relieve the plight of the Germans who did make it to England.  The groundwork was laid in her reign for the migrations of which we became a part.

[Perhaps others could improve upon this note; I invite them to send their thoughts along.]
(22 Nov 01)



Nr. 1306:

In the early eighteenth century in Virginia, one of the principal seats of power was the Council, which was composed of twelve men.  To be designated "Honourable of the Council" was a highly sought position.

The Council members had three areas of responsibilities:  Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.

Taking the Legislative first, as the easiest to understand, the Council was the Upper House of the Legislature.  They did not originate legislation.  After the Lower House, called the House of Burgesses, and elected by the "citizens", had proposed legislation, it was forward to the Council, who debated it.  They could reject it, or ask that certain amendments be made to it.  When the Upper and Lower House had reached a concurrence, the bill was submitted to the Governor for his approval.  Even after legislation had reached this point, it was still only tentative.  A copy of the legislation was forwarded to London, where the Board of Trade and Plantations reviewed it, and often called in a variety of people to obtain their opinions.  The Board would send their recommendations to the monarch for his approval.

The Executive duties of the Council consisted of advising the Governor, and, in the absence of the Governor, of fulfilling his role.  [When Cyriacus Fleshman and George Utz petitioned the House of Burgesses for help in the lawsuits which had been brought by Alexander Spotswood, it was the Council which ordered that the King's attorney for Spotsylvania County be appointed as their counsel.]  If there were no designated Governor at any time, the most senior member of the Council became the acting Governor.  For this reason, Council members were very jealous of their seniority ranking.  In the four years prior to the arrival of Spotswood in 1710, there had been no Governor in Virginia, and the Council had fulfilled that role.  They were not entirely happy to see Spotswood arrive.

The Judicial duties of the Council were that they were the "Supreme Court" of Virginia.  All serious cases from within Virginia were referred to them.  For example, all murder charges against a white person had to be tried in Williamsburg by them.

Several of the conflicts between Spotswood and the Council arose because each of them claimed rights which the other disputed.  The rights had never been clearly specified, and had developed over the course of time.  Generally, the Council was claiming rights for the citizens of Virginia, as opposed to the rights of the Crown which the Governor was espousing.  But the rights for the citizens of Virginia generally meant rights for the Councillors.

Members of the Council were appointed by the Crown upon the recommendations of several people, but mostly the Governor.  Appointments were at the pleasure of the Crown, but generally a Councillor kept his job for a lifetime.  At one time, the Board of Trade was tired of the bickering between the Governor and the Council, and told them both that, if they did not stop their arguing, the Board would replace all of them.
(24 Nov 01)



Nr. 1307:

Saturday I went to a special Christmas exhibition at Winterthur (the old country estate of Henry Francis DuPont, now a museum of decorative arts).  As a part of the exhibition, they traced the development of Christmas as we know it today.

Christmas was primarily a religious occasion in the eighteenth century.  We find at the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley (Hebron) that they held a communion service on Christmas.  (At least Rev. Franck did.)  This service was not necessarily on a Sunday.  Imagery such as a manager scene was considered idol worship, and was strongly opposed by many.  The service was probably the usual communion, but perhaps marked by more singing than usual.  And, after the service, the dinners were more fanciful.

The Moravians (German communities in Pennsylvania and North Carolina) introduced the idea of greenery into the Christmas celebration.  Using evergreens, they built little huts or pyramids which they decorated with candles and small presents for the children.  The presents were very modest, on the order of some handwritten Biblical verses.  And the Moravians would have celebrated with music, a favorite activity with them.  The adult Moravians had a ceremonial dinner with sweet cakes.

Before the Christmas tree came into use, the Germans used holly with red berries as a decorative element.  This would have been approaching 1800 in time.  (For two years now my wife, Eleanor, and I have used holly in lieu of a tree, and we did not realize that we were harking back to an old German tradition.)  The use of trees would have been rare in Germany, because the typical German did not own any wood lots, nor could he spare ground to grow evergreen trees.  With holly, one bush could serve as a continuous supply of greenery.

As the greenery grew more elaborate, the decorations on the tree grew more elaborate.  Germany led in developing an industry of ornaments to hang on trees.  In the 1800's the use of evergreen trees became more common.  At first, the idea was that the parents would decorate the tree in secret and the children would, or could not, see it until Christmas.  This idea has changed, and now decorating the tree is an event for all of the family.

Santa Claus is a late invention, drawing on a myriad of lores.  As we know St. Nick, he is a young fellow conceptually.  Though we think of our childhood Christmases as having always existed, in reality they are new, even younger than our nation.  We inherited a large part of our traditions, especially from Germany.
(26 Nov 01)



Nr. 1308:

Some time ago, the question was asked on this list as to how life for the average German in Germany was similar to, and different from, the average Pennsylvanian in the 1720's.  I would take it that the person asking the question had in mind the average German in Pennsylvania.

First, in 1720, there were not many Germans in Pennsylvania.  The first group of Germans, outside of those who lived at Germantown outside Philadelphia, came in 1710 and were a small group of Anabaptists.  Many of their co-religionists followed immediately, but the Lutheran and Reformed people were coming also by 1720.  In 1717, probably a thousand Germans departed the Fatherland for Pennsylvania, though some of them were sidetracked to Virginia.  Besides the direct transport from Germany, some Germans were moving from New York and New Jersey to Pennsylvania.  Many of these had come in 1710.  Still, the Germans were scattered very thinly, and they were often isolated on the frontier.  At the time of settlement, it was typical not to have roads.  The first Anabaptists, in what was to become Lancaster County, got to their homes by following Indian trails.  The first settlers in the Tulpehocken region used waterways to move their goods.

The people who left were motivated to find something better than what they had known.  It can be said that the early Germans in Pennsylvania were more motivated than those who stayed behind.

In Germany, the typical family lived in a village, and went out to their fields, which might be scattered.  Due to inheritance, land had become subdivided into very small parcels.  (In some cases, laws were enacted that unless a tract of ground were of a certain size it could not be subdivided.)  In America, the farming Germans lived in the midst of the fields they owned, not in a central village.  This isolation created problems.  Visiting the neighbors was a major undertaking.  One did not run next door.  Second, even though a man might own 200 acres of land, perhaps only 30 acres of it was cleared.  The rest was in its natural state, namely forest.  Forested land was depressing to many people who were more used to the open spaces.  In the 1720's, the forest had many animals living in it, such as wolves and snakes, which were not regarded as friendly animals.

Churches and ministers tended to be very scarce.  Many people took these for granted, and the omission was a burden for some.  In Germany, church attendance was often compulsory.  In Pennsylvania, finding a church was impossible in many cases.

Germans in Pennsylvania tended to own more land and more animals.  Taxes were lower and military service was less common.  That hunting could be done at one's pleasure was a novelty, as was unrestricted wood gathering.

In the early days, on both sides of the Atlantic, the artifacts of life were minimal.  Furniture and clothing were often scarce.
(27 Nov 01)



Nr. 1309:

John T. Humphrey wrote a note in Beyond Germanna on rural life in Pennsylvania for eighteenth century German immigrants.  I will use a few comments from it.

Land was the big lure drawing people to Pennsylvania.  Most of the immigrants were farmers who had little land in Germany, and often that was subject to the whims of the landowner.  Even those Germans who had a trade often wanted land for the freedom and permanency that it gave them.  There was little hope in Germany of acquiring more land, as all of the land was occupied.  In buying land in America, a major factor in the cost was whether there were improvements on the land.  These often cost more than the land itself.  Thus many Germans settled on forest land which required lots of work to turn it into a productive asset.  In Germany, seldom did a farmer ever deal with virgin land.  In America, seldom did an immigrant farmer have an improved farm.

The standard scene in the early eighteenth century settlements was a forest.  The Lutheran divine, Muhlenberg, noted that when one travels on the roads, one is constantly in bush or forest.  Houses were seldom seen from the road.  These roads were not usually improved, and rivers and streams had to be forded.  The sounds of the forest unnerved people who were not use to the howl of a wolf or the flushing of a grouse.  The lack of the sun was depressing to many people.  An Anglican minister reported to England, "The whole country is one continuous woods."  He complained that he could not send a proper report for he had no idea how many parishioners he had there in the forest.  Whenever he went out to find them, he generally got lost.

The land in America tended to be very productive and might yield 40 to 50 bushels of wheat per acre.  This level of yields was unheard of in Germany.  The advantage in America was due to the accumulation of centuries of humus in the soil.  Clearing land in America, which was a requirement, was not necessary in Germany as the land had already been cleared.  Generally the Germans cut the trees down, burning most of the wood, and then followed up with the uprooting the stumps.  This left a clear field for plowing.

Some of the prime concerns of the new farmers, who were often on the frontier, were the Indians and the lack of tools, equipment, horses, and cattle.  Salt and gunpowder were necessary, but seldom were they cheap.

By the middle of the eighteenth century, the average land holding in Pennsylvania was about 130 acres.  This would be about one-half mile by one-half mile.  If one lived in the middle of the tract, then it would be a quarter mile to the edge of the land and another quarter mile to the neighbor's house.  If the husband was away on business, the wife was left to tend the family and the livestock.  If help was needed, it was not easy to obtain.  There was a feeling of isolation, which was not typical of Germany, where the rural people lived in villages.
(28 Nov 01)



Nr. 1310:

In general, among the early Germans in Pennsylvania, poverty was the rule.  It was noted that, when visitors arrived at a farm, the children were sometimes hidden because they did not have adequate clothing.  Bare feet were the norm.  Sometimes the parents kept the children from church because the parents felt the children did not have suitable clothing.  One mother did not prepare for twins, and when faced with two babies found she did not have enough clothing.  Poverty should not be taken negatively.  Getting established in America was a difficult task and most families could point to steady improvements in their living conditions.  And they could expect to leave a good estate to their children.

The livestock on the farm included horses, cows, sheep, fowl, and hogs.  Horses were more common in Pennsylvania than in neighboring colonies.  In any case, the horses were more common in America than in Germany where the beasts of burden were usually cattle.  On a typical 125 acre farm, about 26 acres were devoted to raising grain for man, beast, and cash.  About nine acres were used for flax, vegetables, and fruits.  The meadow, for pasturage and hay, contained about 14 acres.  Thus, about fifty acres was needed to maintain the family and its animals.  This was also about as much as one family could farm.  At the start when the farm was first settled, it was a challenge to have enough land to meet the needs.  But only about three acres could be cleared per year.

The German-speaking people raised more churches than the English-speaking people in Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, only a small fraction of these churches had ministers in the pulpits.  When the Moravian missionaries appeared in the remote regions, they found a joyful welcome.  A service might be called in a barn or, weather permitted, outdoors.  The word spread fast of an upcoming service and it could be expected to be well attended.  Muhlenberg noted that the congregation was often cold, wet, and thinly dressed.  Without ministers, services in the home were used.  Barbara Leinbach wrote, "We lived very retired and cut off from the world.  My father held devotions with us children and trained us in singing and prayer."

The motivation for attending church was not entirely spiritual.  Church was a social occasion when one could meet neighbors.  Living in a very isolated condition during the week, a Sunday service was an occasion to get news and to find out how others were doing.

Life in the homes was very crowded.  The Christian Muffley family of ten people (in 1798) lived in a house measuring 24 by 30 feet.  There may have been some sleeping space in the loft.  Typically a house was not crowded by a lot of furniture.  John Dietrich, ten years after his marriage, and with five children under ten, had three chests, six chairs, and one table.  There was a total of three beds.  In the kitchen, there were two iron pots, two iron kettles, a tea kettle, a coffeepot, and a frying pan.  There was no mention of lamps, lanterns, earthenware plates, pewter, wooden bowls, knifes, spoons, or forks.
(29 Nov 01)



Nr. 1311:

(This note has little to do with the Germanna Colonies, but I found the material interesting.) Question:  Who was the only German to win the heavy weight boxing title?  Some of the younger people may have a hard time remembering this answer.

The man won this title in 1930 at Yankee Stadium.  The opponent was Jack Sharkey, who lost on a foul.  This was not too pleasing to the winner who would have preferred an “honest” win.  Our champion defended the title against Young Stribling in 1931.  In a rematch with Sharkey a year later, our German lost to Sharkey on a controversial split decision.  Our German friend had to start over at the bottom of the ladder.  Eventually he worked his way up to fight with Joe Louis at Yankee Stadium in 1936.  Our German won against Louis who had never been beaten.  Then he won by default over Jimmy Braddock and qualified for another match against Joe Louis in 1938 who was by then the heavy weight champion.

In that fight, Joe Louis so mauled Max Schmeling in the first two minutes that Schmeling’s trainer threw in the towel.

The surprising thing is that Louis and Schmeling were personal friends and remained so for many years.  The government in Germany had tried to make propaganda from Schmeling’s first victory over Joe Louis but Joe Louis knew that this was not Schmeling himself talking.  On the contrary, Schmeling became an embarrassment to the Germany government and they ended up drafting him into the paratroopers.

Schmeling retired from boxing in 1948, and four years later became the Coca-Cola representative in the area of Hamburg.  He succeeded at this very well.  Schmeling celebrated his 96th birthday last September 28.

****

Perhaps this story was of special interest to me because I remember the 1938 rematch.  At the time we lived in a very forested area which I had to walk through in the darkness to go to school.  But being a good German, I did not let the forest scare me (since I was eight at the time, that was not really true).

Our family was so deep into the woods that we did not have electricity, so when the Louis ­ Schmeling match came up in 1938, the men folks (and the boys) walked over the hill to a neighbor’s house.  When we got there, our host could say, “You missed it.  It is over.”
(30 Nov 01)



Nr. 1312:

The study of DNA from all peoples of the world indicates that all humans are descended from one woman who lived some 2,000 generations ago.  If true, this means that she fills quite a few of the slots on your chart, about "1" followed by so many zeroes that it would be hard to even count the zeroes.  The number of times she appears on your charts would be impossible to count.  This conclusion is based on the genetic result that there is a DNA marker that is passed on by only the mother.  We all have this marker.  The diversity that exists in DNA among people today is less than one-tenth of one percent.  That is, all humans are alike to the extent that 99.9 percent of their genes are the same.  That the Common Mother lived about 40,000 years ago is indicated by the degree of diversity that exists today.  DNA changes very slowly, and it is thought that it would take about 2,000 generations to develop the 0.1% difference that does exist.

There is a tribe of Africans, as dark as any tribe in Africa, that has claimed they descend from the Jews.  They have even preserved some of the Jewish history and practices in their tribe.  For a long time, no one believed the story, but DNA studies show that this African tribe does indeed possess a specific DNA marker that is only found among the Jews.  This particular DNA trait is passed from father to son and has been found among a high percentage of the Jewish persons having the surnames Levy, Levine, Levi, Cohen, or Cantor, which are names derived from the ancient priesthood of Israel.  Other populations in Asia claim descent from ancient Israel, and they too share the DNA trait.  Thus we gain some insight into the migrations in the world, while appreciating that racial changes can occur and blur identities.

A mummified corpse found near the Cheddar Cliffs in England was found to be 4,000 years old.  DNA taken from the mummy was compared with current residents of the area.  A local man was discovered to be a direct descendant of the mummified remains.  This shows that some populations were static and not moving.  Other groups moved over the face of the earth.

The Common Mother is believed to have lived in Africa.  Since some people have difficulty in accepting such an origin, arguments about the Common Mother are heated.  The opponents have put forth an alternative hypothesis to explain the current DNA distribution.

In this century, perhaps not in my lifetime though, the genetic studies should shed light on our origins.  It has already been ventured that Europe was initially populated by a group no larger than fifty people in number.  In the future, it may be possible to determine whether one is descended from the people which are claimed as ancestors.  Perhaps we should start saving some of our DNA so later generations can verify whether we are their ancestors.

This information comes from the Mock Family Historian for Fall 2001.  Some of the Mock branches have Germanna ancestors including Harnsbergers, Fishers, and Blankenbakers.
(01 Dec 01)



Nr. 1313:

Bob Lotspeich sent me information on the Earnest family, whose involvement with the Germanna family is not that clear.  What is known is that members of the Earnest family did marry members of the Lotspeich family, which is a Germanna family.  But, first, let it be known that the Earnest family is holding a family reunion in Chucky, Greene Co., Tennessee, next summer.  At that time, they will be donating many files and pictures to the Greene Co. Historical Society.

There are Earnest family members at the German Lutheran Church, now known as Hebron, in Madison Co., VA.  Two of the earliest mentions were Jacob and Christina, apparently not a husband and wife, who communed in 1796.  In 1805, Anna Maria and Elisabeth were confirmed, and they appeared for a few times up to 1809.

I do not vouch that the following information relates to these Hebron appearances, or even that the evidence here is internally consistent, or possible.  Hans Ernst married Verena Krebser in Switzerland in 1642.  Their eldest son, Felix, was born 1705.  This does not look possible, and most likely a generation has been lost.  Felix married Elsbeth Weidmann, in 1729.  This couple left for America in 1742, and both of them died on the trip.  Their children, Heinrich and Anna, landed at Norfolk, Virginia, and were bound out.  [That they landed at Norfolk would need some good evidence, and it is not a probable disembarkment point in 1742.]  Heinrich was about 12, and Anna was about 10, when they were bound out.  After this time, Heinrich and Anna never saw each other again.

Heinrich, now Henry Earnest, served in the French and Indian War.  He married Mary Stephens, daughter of Lawrence Stephens.  They moved to Greene County, Tennessee, then a part of Washington County, North Carolina.  They settled on the south bank of the Nolichucky River, near the mouth of Big Limestone Creek, about a mile from Earnest's Bridge.  Henry and Mary are known to be the parents of two children, Felix and Mary.

This last Felix married Sarah Oliphant in 1808.  She was the daughter of John Oliphant.

I will not give any more of the information on the Earnest family in Tennessee, which is extensive.  We do know that some members of an Earnest family lived in the Hebron community as noted above.  They are unplaced as to their origins, and may have nothing to do with the Tennessee Earnests.  What I have presented here is done in the hope that it might evoke responses which would help identify the Hebron family further.

[Gene Wagner has changed his web page.  The new URL is http://genelea.hypermart.net/gerhist/index.htm.]
(03 Dec 01)



Nr. 1314:

[Some of the recent notes ranged outside the strict definition of Germanna Colonies topics; however, they seem to have elicited their share of interest.  Coupled with my extreme time pressures just now, I will continue with another of this same ilk.]

As education became more universal, general books became more popular.  As the 1800's turned into the 1900's, cook books were extremely popular, and some of these covered more than cooking.  One of the sections which one book included was a farmer's department, which in turn had a note on how to build roads.  The justification was that farmers needed better roads, and this cook book told them how to do.

The particular book I am quoting from is "Mrs. Owen's Cook Book and Useful Household Hints".  Let's look at some of the useful hints:

  1. To remove warts, apply oil of cinnamon to the wart for three successive days, and it will disappear very shortly, and

  2. To cure warts, get from a homoeopathic pharmacy a small vial of causticum.  Give half a dozen pellets three times a day for three weeks and the warts will disappear.  (The editor of the book added a note that he would not have included this recommendation except that he tried it on one of his kids and it affected a cure in less than a month.)

  3. To remove moles, apply nitric acid with a pointed quill toothpick.  When it dries, pick it off, and apply again until the mole is entirely removed.  It leaves a slight white spot which grows dimmer with age.

  4. Olive oil applied to bee stings, or to ivy poison, will bring instant relief.

  5. To cure baldness, take one pound of hemlock bark.  Break in pieces and put into a 3-quart tin pail.  Pour it 2 quarts boiling soft water, and simmer slowly.  When reduced to 3 pints set it aside to cool and pour off the clear liquid for use.  Wet the whole scalp thoroughly four or five times a day, rubbing gently with the fingertips.  When the scalp gets healthier and stronger, use more friction.  One package will generally be all that is required to tone up the scalp.  It will not only prevent the hair from falling out, but will bring a new growth of hair if there are any hair bulbs at all.

  6. To cure sleeplessness, take a half pound of fresh hops and put into a small pillow case and use for a pillow.  In one case, it caused a man to sleep for six or eight months [that is what the book said].  If necessary to use hops on a sick person, make two bags and fill them with hops and heat over a steamer.  Keep one bag heating while applying the other one.

  7. To stop a tooth cavity from bleeding, fill the cavity with Plaster of Paris made into a soft putty.

  8. Good soft soap may be made by mixing 10 pounds of potash (ashes from the stove may be used) in ten gallons warm soft water over night.  In the morning boil it, adding 6 pounds of grease.  Put all into a barrel and add 15 gallons of soft water.  [This is approximately how we made soap down on the farm, but we used lye also.]

I disclaim any responsibility for any harm which may befall a person who tries these remedies.
(05 Dec 01)



Nr. 1315:

It was a comforting thought to have instructions as to what to do when a problem arose, both in the past and today.  In the same vein, proverbs served a similar purpose.  They helped to explain the world around one.  Here are a few Pennsylvania German proverbs in English words:

Every day has its burden.
Tomorrow is a new day.
Days become weeks and months and years.
You can’t make a catch every day, you’ve got to hunt some times.

Gratitude is rare.
So lean his bones rattle.
As lean as a sawhorse (Holzblock).

Between the devil and the deep sea.  (A variation is “Dead Sea”.)
When you look into the mirror at night, the devil looks out.
The devil gets the turnips and you get the tops.
Don’t complain about the devil to his grandmother; don’t expect help from a crook’s pal.
You need not call the devil, he’ll come without calling.
(or) Chase the devil out and he’ll come back anyhow.
The devil was handsome too when young.
Even the devil does not know it all.
Now I must do something that the devil never did ­ leave you.
There is a devil in every berry of the grape.

When the cover is short, you must pull up your legs.
Think ten times, talk once.
Think thrice ere you speak.
Think what you please but not too loud.
He doesn’t think farther than his nose is long.
The little thief is in prison and the big one goes free.

What’s the use of a pretty table if there is nothing on it?
He that would the daughter win must with the mother first begin.

Everybody must believe in death once.
None can escape death.
Death cannot be bribed.
Death will find you wherever you are.
Nothing is as certain as death and nothing so uncertain as the hour.

(06 Dec 01)



Nr. 1316:

[The last note was received with a warning that it might inflame readers ;>)  So I will change from Proverbs of the Pennsylvania Germans to Beliefs and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans.  Both books are compilations by Edwin Fogel, Ph.D.]

  • Cattle talk between eleven and twelve on Christmas night.

  • To prevent fevers you should put three kinds of food on the sill outside of the window on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas morning you should eat some of each kind of food.

  • If homespun is to wear well, there should be no spinning between Christmas and New Year and the spools should be empty before Christmas.

  • None of your cattle will die throughout the year if on Christmas morning you feed them hay which was put out of doors the night before to collect the Christmas night dews.

  • Plants will not bloom unless you wish them a happy New Year.

  • The designs formed on water which is set out on Christmas night to freeze are omens of the future.  (A variation of this notes that the designs will indicate the occupation of a future husband.)

  • If your wash hangs out on New Years, you will have to wash daily all year.

  • On Christmas night water in wells is changed into wine for three minutes.

  • Your cattle may not thrive if you clean the stables between Christmas and New Year.  (A variation notes that if you do this, you will have trouble with witches.)

  • Between Christmas and New Year you must not thresh or dung the stables.

  • You ought not to take a bath or wash your clothing between Christmas and New Year, for you will have no luck.

  • If you change underwear between Christmas and New Year, you will be full of boils.  [Or] Never put on a clean shirt on New Year's for fear of having boils.

  • Eating apples or nuts on New Year's causes boils.

  • Eat bread frozen on Christmas day to prevent fever.

  • The Christmas plant (Helleborus viridis) will bloom on Christmas night between eleven and twelve, when cattle talk, regardless of the weather.

(07 Dec 01)



Nr. 1317:

Candlelight tours in the Christmas season are popular in this area.  Tonight (also last night), the Hans Herr House will hold a Candlelight tour.  I will be "working" at the one tonight.  Usually, the arriving visitors are greeted at the office door with live music.  After this they receive about five minutes of information about Anabaptist thought, and/or the emigration of the Hans Herr party to America in 1710.  (This is my role.) Then a wagon pulled by oxen takes people to the Hans Herr House which is only a short ride away, but how many people can say they have ridden in a wagon pulled by oxen for any distance?

After a tour of the house, visitors can proceed to the bonfire outside, where they can sip free cider and sing carols.  If you need more food, there is usually some available.  The evening can be quite delightful with only the cold air and crowds to mar the fun.  But then the bonfire will warm you and the many people only serve to reinforce the sounds of singing.

How did I, a non-Anabaptist, get the job of explaining Anabaptist thought?  I guess there is a little bit of the preacher in me, or at least I like to talk.  I do appreciate the Anabaptists for a couple of reasons.  First, they were reformers who had a strong influence on the future of religious thought.  Secondly, had there not been Anabaptists I would not be here today.  Or more strongly and pertinent to these notes, had there not been Anabaptists, there would not have been any Germanna Colonies.

When Franz Ludwig Michel went to America in 1702, he went to find a place to which Switzerland could ship the Anabaptists whom they wanting to expel.  Michel spent many years in America, and he liked what he saw.  While he did not forget his primary purpose of colonization, he did allow himself to become sidetracked in a pursuit of minerals, especially silver.

This led to a decision to recruit miners in Germany to work the silver mines that Michel thought he had found.  And, so, the first Germanna Colony was born.  Like many infants, the resulting child did not turn out to be what was expected.  After a start to America with the objective of mining silver, the miners were diverted to another employer, though they maintained the original purpose of mining silver.  A few years later, the silver was forgotten and iron replaced it.  In this search, they were more successful.

The Germans had been very successful in keeping the peace on the frontier, and Lt. Gov. Spotswood wanted more Germans.  After advertising among the captains of ships that he wanted a whole shipload, he succeeded in getting one captain to divert his load of passengers, whose intended destination was Pennsylvania, to Virginia.

Come on out to the Hans Herr House in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, from 5:30 to about 8:00.  I don't think it will be quite as cold this year.
(08 Dec 01)



Nr. 1318:

There was some discussion about the relative value of different currencies and how those currencies compare to present day values.  I would prefer to approach this in a slightly different way using some recorded values in connection with the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley.  When Johann Casper Stöver became minister in 1733, there was a fund-raising effort.  Monies were collected and spent.  Andrew Kerker was treasurer and kept the books.  The account was largely dormant while the fund-raising trip in Germany was underway by Stöver, Holt, and Smith.  During this time, Kerker died and John Carpenter, his son-in-law, was executor.  Carpenter, to show that the account of the church had been properly kept, filed the church account with the estate records of Kerker.  And so we have a little bit of insight into the community.

First, let’s establish how much a skilled artisan made for a day’s work.  It is recorded that John Huffman was paid one pound, two shillings, and six pence for nine days of carpentry work in building a house for the minister.  One pound is equal to twenty shillings so the total of twenty-two shillings and six pence (one half of a shilling) shows that Huffman was paid at the rate of two shillings and six pence per day.  If a man worked at this rate for 300 days per year, the standard for the times, he would earn thirty-seven and a half pounds.  It would be very difficult to find work for this many days per year.

Compare what some things cost then compared to these wages.  “Blankenbuchler” was repaid three shillings and four pence for the cost of mailing a letter.  Thus, a letter cost one and a half days of wages.  Part of this expense might have been the cost of paper itself, which was expensive.  The church purchased ten quires of paper for use in the church, and they paid twelve and a half shillings for this.  According to my unabridged dictionary, quire has two meanings, either four sheets of paper, obtained by folding one large sheet twice, or twenty-five pieces of paper.  I suspect that it was the smaller amount, so that the church obtained 40 pieces of paper each of which might approximate an 8.5 by 11 inch piece that we know today; however, since they paid 250 pence for this paper, perhaps they did buy 250 pieces.  Let’s allow the larger quantity.  So one day’s wages would buy 250 pieces of paper.

One other thing for which there is good cost data is the wine and brandy they used.  For the communion at Easter, they bought one quart of wine for one shilling and 10 pence.  John Huffman would have worked a little more than half a day to purchase a quart of wine.  One the occasion of “raising the Minister’s house”, two quarts of brandy cost two shillings and six pence, a lower price than the wine.

(to be continued)
(10 Dec 01)



Nr. 1319:

To have a place for the Rev. Stöver to live, the German Lutheran church purchased a farm from William Carpenter for twenty pounds.  It appears there was no house on the farm, since one was later built for Stöver.  This was the house for which the church paid John Huffman nine days of carpentry labor.  Nine days does not seem like a long time to build a house, but it probably only consisted of the major framing.

The farm purchased from William Carpenter was 193 acres.  When he took his original patent, he paid five shillings for every fifty acres, or about one pound in total.  He also had to pay the surveyor and filing fees.  Land could appreciate quite nicely in price, especially if some of the land had been cleared.  The cost of original land was modest and was a good buy in comparison to some other things that were purchased.

When George Scheible went to Pennsylvania for Stöver’s ordination, he was paid 17 shillings in expense money.  Considering that the one-way trip was about 200 miles, perhaps a bit more, it seems like economical travel, being about seven days wages for a carpenter.  Stöver perhaps ate a bit better than Scheible, for his expenses were 29 shillings.  Rev. Schultz in Pennsylvania received 23 shillings for performing the ordination.

One of the customs was that a sale was sealed with drinks.  When a church was buying the land, it appears that every member had to have a drink.  William Carpenter’s wife was paid eighteen shillings and six pence for drink to close the deal.

The church paid two pounds and fifteen shillings to have a “kitchen and henn house” built on the Minister’s plantation.  This seems like a good bargain.  Perhaps Michael Cook was being kind, but he received only two shillings and six pence for a table for the minister’s home.  In general, for things which members of the congregation could make, the price seems low.  In this category were items of wood and the wine and brandy.  Things purchased from the outside were more expensive, such as paper and postage.  A gift of linen to the minister was valued at nineteen shillings but we are not told how big the piece was.

The sawing of the planks for the minister’s house cost six pounds and five shillings.  This may have represented quite a bit of labor, and was probably done by a pit saw; it is not clear just how much lumber was sawn.  Four pounds were paid out for moving the minister’s goods (apparently this was from North Carolina).

It is clear that wages were low and it was difficult to save money if one were buying items.  There was a need to do as much as possible for one's self to provide for the necessities of living if one were to build a good estate.
(11 Dec 01)



Nr. 1320:

The Hebron Church account does not mention the pastor’s salary, which is usually a major expense.  Rev. Stöver did write that his salary was 3,000 pounds of tobacco, which was the working currency in Virginia.  In 1738, a typical price of Rappahannock tobacco was 14 shillings per hundred weight.  In 1734, from the account itself, tobacco was entered (in 1734) as slightly more than 15 shillings per hundred weight.  Thus, Rev. Stöver’s annual salary was approximately equal to £22 (22 pounds) in Virginia currency.  A carpenter, if he could have had full time work, would have done better than this.

Three people made cash contributions to the church in the first couple of years.  John Huffman is down for a five-shilling contribution.  John’s wife was a Lutheran, though John himself was Reformed, and not about to change from that.  Richard Bordine (Burdyne) made a contribution of two shillings and six pence, as did a John Willers.  This John Willers is otherwise unknown to me but I would not be surprised if he had married one of the Germanna ladies.  Any ideas as to his identity would be welcome.

In the first year of the records, 1733, the total amount collected was a little more than £56 (56 pounds).  A major expense was the purchase of the land and the building of a house.  A few men were used as collectors or solicitors (fund raisers), and they were paid 20 percent of what they collected.  At the first communion, an offering was taken, which netted £1 (1 pound) and ten shillings.

The legal business of the church was time consuming and a significant expense.  People went to Williamsburg on church business and to the local court.  Fees had to be paid at the court for the filings and recordings.

One thing that the document seems to tell us is that John Huffman was a carpenter.  We know that his brother Henry seems to have achieved the rank of master carpenter.  John probably had not reached that status when he came to America.

This also raises a question.  Who in the First Colony was a miner?  I have never seen any record which clearly states that any individual in the First Colony was a miner.  At least two of the men had skills which might have been useful at the mines, but that hardly makes them a miner.  John Huffman as a carpenter, and Jacob Rector as a toolsmith, might have done some useful work for the miners.  I have asked this question before, but no answer has been forthcoming.  It is true that Lt. Gov. Spotswood writes that they were “generally miners”, but that is a very weak specification.  Even beyond this, I have never seen any remarks that any of the men knew how to build or operate an iron furnace, yet they are described in many places as miners and furnace builders.
(12 Dec 01)



Nr. 1321:

The extant records for the Evangelical German Lutheran Church in Madison County, VA, commence with records in 1750.  Since Pastor Klug was active from 1738 until his death in 1764, it would seem that records were kept prior to 1750.  We are not sure though.

The extant baptismal records were first written in 1775, even though the earliest baptism they mention is in 1750.  In this rewriting of the baptismal records, the data was organized by families.  No family was included who had children born before 1750.  If a family is included in the register, it is safe to bet that the family had no children before 1750.

My view is that the decision was made, not to include a family if they could not provide complete data for the family.  I believe, in this view, that no records had been kept before 1750, which led to the decision to include only those families whose first child was born in, or after, 1750.

In the rewrite of the information, the compilers of the data were working with written records, except in the cases of Henry and George Miller, who moved from Pennsylvania.  And in these cases the lack of good records is obvious.

In the rewrite, the compilers omitted families who had moved away.  This is understandable in light of the purpose of the compiled information.  It was to inform the new pastor, Jacob Franck, who came in 1775, what the family situation was in the congregation.  There were lots of repeated family names.

Since there were many families who were active in the congregation and who had children born before 1750, one might ask why they were not included.  One of the overriding rules seems to be that no family would be included if the information for the family was incomplete.  Again, this leads me to the conclusion that no baptismal records were made before 1750.

One interesting case came up with Zacharias Blankenbaker, who married a widow, Els, about 1749.  She had two daughters, born before 1750, by her first husband.  Were the children of Zacharias and Els to be included in the rewrite?  The extended family would include her two daughters born before 1750.  Would this prevent the children of Zach and Els from being included?  The question was a hard one to solve by the committee.  Since the first child of Zach and Els was born in 1750, the family should have had one of the earliest pages.  Instead, they were relegated to page 22, while the debate over the inclusion of the family went on.  In the end they were included (without her earlier daughters), but much out of place, chronologically.

There were no marriage records, per se, but is possible to infer the names of many wives.  Using the communion lists, I found the wife of Peter Fleshman, Sr.  There are no explicit death records either, except that a person might appear in the communion lists as widow or widower, indicating the spouse had died.
(13 Dec 01)



Nr. 1322:

The following was copied from RootsWeb Review for 13 Dec 2001, and I apologize that it repeats other notes here, but there were a few points that need correcting.  Ruth Dunlap sent the original message [the errors are not hers], and the comments by John Blankenbaker are in square brackets such as [ ]:

The comment in RootsWeb Review, 5 Dec. 2001 regarding JOHN HOOFMAN'S WILL (21 Nov. 2001) that the mention in the will to his "two Great Bibles" identifies them as an English Bible published in the 1500s, etc., and valuable in 1772 as 200 year-old antiques is, at least in this case, an erroneous assumption and possibly misleading to others.  John HOOFMAN is more usually spelled John HOFFMAN or HUFFMAN.  He was among a group of 12 men and their families brought from Germany to Virginia in 1714 by Governor Alexander Spotswood to work iron ore deposits."

[This is a slight inaccuracy.  The transportation of the Germans was paid in part by Spotswood from London.  Spotswood had nothing to do with their transfer from Siegen to London.  Spotswood, wanted to put the Germans to work at silver mining when he could gain title to the silver that might be found.  In 1714, Spotswood had no iron mine, nor plans for an iron works.]

They formed the colony called Germanna.  John HOFFMAN probably spoke (and read and wrote) only German all his life.  The Bibles were surely written in the German language.  In one of John's Bibles was written (in German):

"This Bible was sold to me as part of my paternal inheritance, which I received from Eysern [Eisern today, the home village of the Hofmanns] in Nassau-Siegenschon.  My brother Wilhelm HOFFMAN bought it in for me, and I paid him the same amount, namely, 10 Thaler of the Realm from my Inheritance."
(Genealogies of Virginia Families v. IV, from Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1981, p. 61.)
[This William also came to America, but he lived in Pennsylvania.]

The chapter in the above reference on John HOFFMAN was written by one of his descendants, Dr. John W. WAYLAND, one of Virginia's most productive historians.  Four pages including the above paragraph and Bible entries of family births, deaths, and marriages were copied from one of the Bibles by an intermediate descendant, and Dr. WAYLAND had it translated from the German.

The recorded will [of John Huffman] says: "I Give my two Great Bibles amongst my nine Sons as I have by my last Wife Mary . . ."  In this context, it is quite likely that "Great Bibles" referred to their size, as in "large Bibles".

John HOFFMAN did marry twice, as was surmised.  One son and one daughter from his first marriage [actually two daughters], and all 12 children (9 sons followed by 3 daughters) of his second marriage, were all alive and in the area when John HOFFMAN wrote his will.  His 10 sons were listed by name (and each inherited several hundred acres) [more exactly about 350 acres], but, as mentioned, the will later says the Bibles were to rotate among his "nine" sons.  Why he did not include his oldest son (by his first wife) is unknown, and it is safer not to speculate.

(14 Dec 01)



Nr. 1323:

I just received my December issue of Der Kurier, the quarterly publication of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society.  This past fall, John T. Humphrey was elected president.  He is well known in genealogy circles for his publications and for his support of organizations.  The mid-Atlantic region covered by MAGS is said to consist of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.  The Germanna Colonies would fall within the geographical area that they cover.

John Humphrey writes in the last issue of Der Kurier about “Change and Genealogy”.  Those of you who have been active for a number of years will recognize that changes have taken place.  Some of them are good, and some of them are bad.

As John points out, and we are generally aware, information is more readily available now than it was a few years ago.  Not only can we access files that were undreamed of twenty years ago, we have almost instantaneous access, and often at a minimal cost.  Communication with fellow researchers is more extensive and faster.

There has been a negative impact on genealogical societies, or the ethnic, local, and regional organizations which had been in the mainstream for providing research channels and information.  At the same time, the number of people who are actively pursuing their “roots” has risen dramatically.  Some of these newcomers, in a few evenings work, have compiled impressive ancestries.

Should we be impressed with the quantities of names that people compile?  No, we should not!  I believe the more important question is, “What is the quality of the data?”  I also believe that the quality of the data has gone down.

People are not asking "what are the sources" of statements that they read.  People are not verifying the information.  In the past year, I have corrected facts that I had helped correct years ago.  These failures are not to be blamed entirely on the electronic distribution methods that we use today.  In a just-published book, I have read that the dates for Hans Thomas Blanckenbuhler were abt. 1646­1763.  (I could wish that my ancestors had the genes to live so long.) This type of reporting is just sloppy work.

As we go into the New Year, maybe we should make it our resolve to improve the quality of what we do.  Please remember that the notes that I write here are meant for entertainment, and for pointing you in a direction that might be helpful.  When I read a citation of one of these notes, I cringe just a bit as I ask myself how carefully were the facts researched.  Just because they came from me does not make them true, though I would hope that is the case.
(02 Jan 02)



Nr. 1324:

The last note closed with a plea for more quality in the reporting of information.  Let me give an example which lacks quality.  In Germanna Record 7, John Wayland quotes John Fontaine's diary extensively, with respect to Fontaine's first visit to Germanna.  I have the book, The Journal of John Fontaine, as edited by Edward Porter Alexander.  This edition of the book was published by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, copyrighted in 1972.  Wayland follows the text of Fontaine (from an earlier edition), except for one sentence which he omits.  This sentence says, "The Germans live very miserably."

By omitting this sentence, an incorrect view of life at Germanna is presented.  In many stories, the Germans are presented as favorites of Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood.  Or the phrase "under the patronage of Gov. Spotswood" is used.  This latter description might be interpreted as having his support and favor.  The omitted sentence would make one doubt whether it is appropriate to use the word patronage.

There is an act of Spotswood that also makes one question how much support he gave the Germans.  He had an act passed, not long after the Germans were settled in Fort Germanna, which forbid anyone else from hunting game within five miles of Fort Germanna.  The Germans were to have exclusive hunting rights in this region.

This might be interpreted in two ways.  First, it might be considered as support for them by Spotswood (using the power of the colony).  Or it might be interpreted as his abandoning the Germans to fend for themselves.  "I supported them.  I gave them exclusive hunting rights."

Another act of the Governor might be viewed in two ways.  He had the Parish of (Old) St. George established, where the residents were excused from paying tithes to the Church of England.  Was this an act of kindness on his part?  Perhaps he was thinking more of his own pocketbook.  Since he had paid the transportation, in part, of the Germans, they might be considered as his servants.  Normally the master paid the tithes for the servants.  Thus, was he being kind to the Germans, or was he protecting his own interests?

The omission of the one sentence with five words changes the picture of what life at Fort Germanna was like.  It was very hard, probably devoid of many small pleasantries that they might have enjoyed at home in Germany.  They were on the frontier, beyond the usual bounds of civilization, and isolated in primitive conditions.  They had to work hard to clear land to grow some food.  Their first attempts may not have been all that successful.

When I observed the omission of this quoted sentence in an "official" publication of the German Foundation, I resolved to be very suspicious of anything they wrote.  They (John Wayland in particular) were trying to "doctor" history to make it conform to what they wanted it to be.
(03 Jan 02)



Nr. 1325:

There was some discussion a few weeks ago about Maidstone.  Willis Kemper thought that Maidstone was where the First Germanna Colony had spent some time, in particular the winter of 1713­1714.  Maidstone is a city about 25 miles southeast of London.

John Rector in Virginia first named a town that he laid out as “Maidstone”.  Kemper thought this might be evidence that Maidstone may have been a place in England where the colony lived, and, in particular, he thought that John Rector was born in Maidstone in England.  We now know that John Rector was born at Trupbach outside Siegen in 1711.  So, the evidence that Kemper thought he had (it originated with a statement made by a descendant in the Rector family) did not support his argument.

Had Kemper put together the evidence that was available, scanty as it was, he would have seen that it was inconsistent with the conclusion that the colony had lived for any length of time at any place outside London.  The First Germanna Colony probably left their home in the summer of 1713.  I believe there were some exit visas which helped to provide a time of departure.  The trip to London would have taken a month to six weeks.  Their arrival in London may be taken as late summer or early fall.  Certainly they were there before Graffenried arrived from New York.

We know that Graffenried left Virginia just after Easter in 1713.  He rode a horse back to New York City, where he found a ship to England.  This ship did not go to London, but stopped at one of the northern English ports.  Graffenried says he rested two weeks there.  Then he went down to London.  Again, his arrival in London might be taken as summer to early fall.  He says that when he arrived there, he found the Germans were there.

It seems that he arrived back in Switzerland in early December of 1713.  On more than one occasion he mentioned his desire to be home in Switzerland before winter set in.  He could have left London in early November and been home a month later.  We do not know how long he was in London, but he says that he was going from person to person to find transportation and work for the Germans.  If we gave him a month for this activity, then he arrived in early fall.  The Germans were probably there for several weeks before this.

Graffenried says that the Germans left London in January of 1714 (NS) which is a date that is very consistent with their arrival in early spring in Virginia, since ocean voyages often took ten weeks in the west-bound direction.  After Graffenried left the Germans, about the first of November, they probably stayed close to London in anticipation of leaving.  Before Graffenried arrived, the Germans probably stayed close to London to intercept Graffenried.  I do not see there was any chance for them to absent themselves from London.  I would doubt that they stayed in any other city in England besides London.

Any contrary views would be welcomed.
(04 Jan 02)


(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 FIFTY-THIRD set of Notes, Nr. 1301 through Nr. 1325.)

(John stopped publishing his "Germanna Notes" and "Germanna Comments" in January 2008.)

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 1301 through 1325.

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