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This is the EIGHTY-FOURTH 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 2076 through 2100.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 84

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Nr. 2076:

The St. Mary's Lutheran Church building in London was destroyed during World War II.  It was the dream, after the war, that a new building could be obtained.  Increasing prices for land and building made this almost impossible.  By combining with the International Lutheran Student Centre, it became possible to have facilities which could be identified as belonging to St. Mary's.

This was the fifth Church building in the history of St. Mary's Church and it was consecrated in 1978, on the 284th anniversary of the congregation's foundation.  The congregation was solid, but the numbers were insufficient to insure a strong financial base.  In 1994, the church had about 93 members.  Sunday attendance, with a social gathering afterwards, was averaging about 21 people.

The trend since WWII has been for some stronger ecumenical ties.  In Germany, the Lutheran and Reformed Churches became the Evangelical (meaning Protestant) Church.  In England, the Lutheran Churches developed English branches.  Additionally, stronger ties were developed with the Church of England.

Throughout its history, St. Mary's received support from the Church of England.  The Lutheran, Reformed, and Free Churches in England were accepted as alternatives to the Church of England, even though in Virginia, during the Eighteenth Century, the Church of England was the official Church and the Free Churches were persecuted.

I found the history of St. Mary's reflected some limited observations about Churches here in modern America.  Many of the same problems occur despite a difference of language and time.

Of course, I am especially drawn to St. Mary's because many of my ancestors worshiped at St. Mary's during the time they were in London, especially in 1717.  A few of our Germanna ancestors are mentioned in the records of St. Mary's.

This mini-series was possible because Andreas Mielke brought the role of St. Mary's to the attention of Sandra Yelton.  When she was in London, she was able to obtain a copy of the history of the Church from 1694 to 1994.  (Fortunately, for me, there are two parts to the book, one in German and one in English.)  I hope that I was able to present the material in a way that was interesting to you.
(25 Mar 05)



Nr. 2077:

I concluded a 300-year history of St. Mary's Church in London in the last note.  Previous to that series, I had given some of the names of the 1717 emigrants in the records for St. Mary's.  To tie in the connection between the German Lutheran Churches in London and the 1717 emigrants, I will give the contents of a letter written by Johan Caspar Stoever, when he, Michael Hold, and Michael Schmid were in London on their fund-raising trip.  The letter was written to the Lutheran Clergy in London in December of 1734.  The original of this letter is entitled, "Brief von Johann Caspar Stoever an die Geistlichen der deutschen lutherischen Gemeinden in London".  The original is found in Francke-Nachlass der Staatbibliothek zu Berlin ≠ Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Microfilm No. 18, 363-365.  The letter was translated by Andreas Mielke and published in Beyond Germanna, vol. 15, n.1.  Andreas thanks Petra Stallboerger, Dipl. Bibl., for her assistance in finding this letter.  The letter reads:

"Highly Honorable, Highly Learned, in particular, Most Highly Honored, all Reverend Clergy and Pastors at the Protestant [evangelisch] Lutheran German Congregations in London.

"Seventeen years ago, a small group of Protestant Lutheran people ≠ from the high principality of Wuerttemberg, and Qualtzbach [unidentified] and the Electorate Palatinate ≠ arrived here in London, and had themselves transported to Virginia on their expenses.  Before their departure, however, they consulted with the Reverend Protestant-Lutheran German preachers then present here regarding the future care of their souls.  To this they added the most obedient request to be so inclined and assist them in this matter by sending a pastor and by organizing a Christian contribution toward a divine service, the construction of a church, and such.  To this, the above-mentioned Reverend Clergy also showed themselves not only to be inclined but, with the distribution of the Holy Communion, obliged them very sternly and according to duty to remain most constantly with the Protestant-Lutheran truth.  They assured them after the news had been received of their fortunate transfer they would grant them their petition.

"After arrival of these people in Virginia [and] as soon as it was possible after surviving the hard Servitude (to which most of whom who go there have to submit themselves because they are unable to pay their transport), they settled as feudal tenants on the then Governor Spotswood's land."

[to be continued]
(28 Mar 05)



Nr. 2078:

"They [the Colony of 1717] began with divine services by reading the divine word, singing and praying, in particular asking with tears and sighs for a pastor who could refresh and revive their starving and thirsting souls in this wilderness with the divine word and the holy sacraments as the most dearest nourishment of the soul; while at the same time reporting in letters to the above mentioned Reverend Preachers their hungry souls and desire for a preacher, but received no response due to incorrect delivery of the letters.

"The great desire and hope that God would send them help, inspired the Congregation eight years ago [1726], as hard as it came to them, to raise the expenses to send two deputies named Cyriax Fleischman and Johann Mutz [Motz] to London to the S[alvo] T[itulo] Reverend Clergy, and to petition the same to assist them in the misery of their souls.  They did so in particular because they had been promised by the aforementioned Governor Spotswood that, provided they find a parson within ten years, they would then be exempt forever from the contribution to the maintenance of the English Church, called Parish Taxes, and such period was nearly over.  But these deputies brought back only various books for the Congregation and a verbal consolation that someone would send, as soon as possible, a preacher after them and care for their needs.

"In such hope, the Congregation endeavored to take up their own lands, so that they could live together and all benefit from the divine service.  They moved 40 English miles farther into the wilderness to the foot of the high mountains on the River Rappehannak in Spotsilvania (because all land in between had been taken up by greater people, albeit not inhabited).  On this place they found, to be sure, their physical nourishment through God's blessing but because of the far distance from all commerce they could not turn anything to money.

"Also here, at this new place, they immediately built a meeting house in the midst among them, as well as they could, and again continued their service as mentioned on Sundays and Holidays and Apostle days, and also ordered each first Friday of every month to be a day of repentance and prayer, and seriously implored the Master Shepherd Jesus to give their souls' needs a divine hearing both in public and private, with tears and sighs, as this testimony can give them with truth."

[this translation by Andreas Mielke to be continued]
(29 Mar 05)



Nr. 2079:

[continuing with the Mielke translation]

"Now, after their lamentation from Psalm 47.9 [actually an extension from Psalm 74.9; "our signs we do not see, and no prophet preaches any longer and no teacher teaches any more"] lasted long and, indeed, they experienced for seventeen years what kind of misery it is when one wants bread for the soul and nobody is there who breaks it; it happened through the divine direction that I unworthy came to them one and half years ago; was asked and accepted to become their pastor under the promise of ordination and call.  Then according to the grace God gives, I administered my office by teaching and administering the sacraments, about which young and old attested a great joy in the Lord.

"Now, although the Congregation promised me an annual salary of 3,000 pounds tobacco, which makes about 12 [pounds] sterling or 66 Imperial Thaler in German money, even this little, although not sufficient for the maintenance of a preacher and his family (because everything one has to put on his body is very expensive and also no fringe benefits occur, nor can anything be sold from the household), cannot be paid by the Congregation because of poverty, since they all have to contribute just like the English themselves.  There is little hope to be freed from it, yea, even if such freeing could be achieved by a higher hand one would still have to worry that such would cause a great displeasure among the English nation with whom, however, we must live and feed ourselves.

"If then it has become clear from the present truthful circumstances, that the deep, blessed desire of this Congregation ≠ that has sat in the miserable, sad state of widowhood for so many years ≠ that the divine services begun with God have been established, and may be continued in future generations to the increase of the Kingdom of their King of Honors, Jesus, and to the comfort of them and their children [then] their poverty and incompetence to put such in words [has also become clear] in part, which in addition to the testimonials also attest.

"Therefore the same [Congregation] has asked me and the two co-signers, to undertake once more the dangerous and difficult journey across the ocean, and to ask submissively and obediently all Reverend Preachers and Clergy in the name of the entire Congregation that they, for the sake of God and his Honor, graciously take into consideration this pitiful condition and kindly assist with counsel and deed, so that through Christian minds and gracious contributions the Congregation may be helped in the maintenance of the present teacher and his successors and in the construction of a church and school and such, and help this needy Soul and the request of said Congregation.

[more remains]
(30 Mar 05)



Nr. 2080:

[Continuing the letter of Stoever, Hold, and Schmid to the London clergy written in 1734]

"In the hope that this salubrious final purpose to the continuation of the Kingdom of God be achieved in said Congregation, we constantly call God with heart and mouth, yea, praise and thank, as well as untiringly implore the same for temporal and eternal reward to them who help in such Christian mercy.

London, 13 Decemb: 1734

Your Highly Honorable, Highly Learned,
In particular Highly Honored,
all Reverend Protestant Lutheran Pastors and Preachers,
Michel Hold.
Michel Schmid.
Submissively most obedient
Johann Caspar Stoever,
called the Congregationís Pastor, unworthy."
***************
The response of the London clergy was a letter which read as follows:
"We undersigned Protestant-Lutheran Preachers here, certify herewith upon request, that we consider the previous presentation of the condition of the Congregation in Virginia as credible, the desired contribution as necessary, and the supplicants for their seriousness and zeal worthy not only of a common but of a right brotherly lover, and thus consider the maintenance of the light of the gospel among them particularly beneficial and useful to the kingdom of Christ, and as we recommended the collection for this reason to our Congregations, nor ourselves failed to add our mite as well, so we want also to have recommended best a generous contribution to our worthy brothers in faith in Germany and Holland and in particular to our dear brothers in office everywhere, and shall strive to return eagerly such love in the same case.

London in England, the 10th of June, 1735.

Friedr. Mich Ziegenhagen.
Henrich Alard Butjenter,
      Court Preachers at the German Court Chapel at St. James
Henrich Walther Gerdes, D.
Henrich Werner Palm,
      Pastor of the Protestant-Lutheran Church in the Savoy."
(31 Mar 05)



Nr. 2081:

I thought we might review the letter which Stoever, Hold, and Schmid wrote to the London Lutheran pastors.  Since Stoever was not present in 1717, the early history would have come from Holt and Smith (using English versions of their names).  They were members of the 1717 emigration and would have known the facts first hand.  They would have been plenty of time to discuss this history as the trio sailed eastward across the Atlantic.  So we should regard this letter as contemporary documentation.

We are puzzled when they say the party came from Wuerttemberg and the Palatinate and Qualtzbach.  The last name is completely unknown to us.  One possibility is that in 1717 the people used this name but it passed into oblivion with the passage of time.  There are two regions that it might have referred to, namely, Baden and the lands of the Bishops of Speyer, if we were to consider what is known about the origins of the people.  The village of Neuenbuerg sent about 20% of the people in 1717 and it was in the lands belonging to the Speyer Bishops.  Baden sent a lot of people, for it included Gemmingen, Wagenbach, and Sulzfeld.  Another possibility is that the Kraichgau region was not well organized politically, being under the control of several very minor princes.  Perhaps this is what was referred to as the Qualtzbach.

The Gemmingen Sexton was well aware that many immigrants were leaving from other villages besides Gemmingen.  Perhaps there was more organization than we realize, or there may have been more relationships among the people.  We are inclined to think that the individual village groups came together as they traveled down the Rhine River.  In London, St. Mary's Church may have been a focal point which helped to secure bonds.

We read recently that the members participated in Baptismal Services as parents and sponsors.  The letter seems to tell us that a special Communion Service was held for the group.  Certainly, the group left London believing that the London pastors would help them find a pastor when they were in a position to support one.

The letter has a statement that the transportation across the Atlantic was "on their expenses".  This would seem to say that they paid in advance.  In the second paragraph, there is a feeble attempt to explain why they became feudal tenants of Spotswood.  One interpretation is that they had not paid in advance and therefore the servitude was a means of paying for the transportation.  Another interpretation is that Spotswood had promised a fee to Capt. Tarbett and that Spotswood demanded a return in the form of labor.  In other places, Spotswood referred to these Germans as "free", but then he used their headrights to help pay for a tract.  So there are very mixed signals.
(01 Apr 05)



Nr. 2082:

In the history for the London Lutheran pastors, Smith and Hold said the group began (in Virginia) with divine services by reading the divine word, singing and praying, etc.  I have to interpret this as starting with their arrival and settlement in Virginia before they moved to the Robinson River Valley.

Eight years prior to 1734, namely 1726, the group raised the money to send Cyriacus Fleshman and John Motz to London to pursue the question of a pastor.  There had been an exchange of letters before this without any real communication taking place.  On both sides of the Atlantic, there was a claim that no letters had been received.  Initially, the group was going to send Fleshman and Cook (this is usually what is reported in the histories) but they changed their plans and sent Fleshman and Motz.  We know that Fleshman returned to Virginia, but it is not certain that Motz returned also.  Two things could have happened, he might have died on the return, or he might have returned to Germany.

The group thought that Spotswood had promised them that if they had a Minister within ten years that they would be exempt forever from the Anglican Church Parish Taxes.  This was probably a misunderstanding on their part.

The group wanted to obtain land which was clustered around a central location where they could build a Church.  This forced them to go to the mountains.  The land between Germanna and the mountains had largely been taken up by others such as Spotswood, Beverley, and Carter.  They could meet their physical nourishment in their new homes, but they were not able to trade with the Tidewater communities because of the distance.  Incidentally, they were in error about the distance from Germanna to the mountains.  Their claim of 40 English miles is excessive.

They immediately built a Meeting House in the midst of their new settlement.  It appears that they moved in 1725 so the Chapel dated from this year.  They appear to have held a generous number of Church services, but of course without a Pastor and the Sacraments.  Michael Cook was probably one of the principal readers, which may be the reason that he did not go to London.  As the history moves into the arrival of Stoever in the community, we would like to know how this came about.  Apparently, but we do not know, he was traveling through from North Carolina to Pennsylvania.  He may have been aware there was a German-speaking community here and decided that he would spend one of his nights here.  One thing led to another, especially when the elders in the community found that he had a reasonably good education.  The lack of ordination could be cured, it was hoped, by finding someone in Pennsylvania who could ordain him.  On this point he was moderately successful.  He was ordained, but may have felt that the credentials of the man ordaining him were weak.
(04 Apr 05)



Nr. 2083:

Rev.  Stoever (Sr.) was paid only 3,000 pounds of tobacco per year, or, as he says, about 12 pounds Sterling per year.  This was a ridiculously low amount, even though they did furnish him with a house and a farm.  The members of the congregation also had to pay for the support of the English Church in the form of a Parish Tax supported by the force of law.  This double load was more than the congregation felt they could afford, and this was the reason that they sent Stoever, Holt, and Smith to Europe.

Stoever noted that being relieved of support for the English Church would be a mixed blessing, as the nonmembers of the German Lutheran Church would be jealous, leading to bad feelings.

Before leaving, the trio of men obtained letters of recommendation from at least two English men, Rev. Patrick Henry and Gov. William Gooch.  The former was the uncle of the orator.  In addition to these known two letters (which are a matter of record and reproduced in Beyond Germanna 13, 1 (2001): 728-9) there may have been letters from some members of the congregation.  The trio set out in the summer or fall of 1734.  They spent quite a bit of time in Great Britain before moving over to the continent.  There is a hint that they may have gone to Scotland, for there is a note that money was obtained from Scotland.  The Clergy in London did not write their letter of recommendation until 10 June 1735, or about six months after the trio had written their letter of introduction to the London Clergy.  It is hard to explain this long period, except that the trio may have felt that it would not be a good policy to continue in the winter.  They may have waited for better weather.

On the continent, they went first to Holland, before starting a long trip across the north part of Germany, almost along the Baltic Sea.  Perhaps ships were the principal mode of travel.  In the extreme northeast, Rev. Stoever was feeling optimistic enough that he hired an Assistant Pastor.  This Rev. Klug started immediately for America, but stopped in London for about two years, apparently to learn the English language.

Toward the end of the collection trip, Rev. Stoever felt the need for more divinity studies and so enrolled in a course of study.  Michael Holt had already gone back to America.  Michael Smith probably went to Gemmingen from where he had emigrated.  When they returned they were accompanied by a man named Ebert, who possibly was a friend of Smith.

Through the trip, a collection book was maintained which still exists, except for a few pages at the beginning.  Each contributor signed along a possible greeting and the amount of his gift.  This book is in the possession of the Hebron Church today.  It would be a delight if it were translated.

On the return trip, Stoever died at sea.  Though his time in the Robinson River Valley was short, his legacy was tremendous.
(05 Apr 05)



Nr. 2084:

The German Lutheran congregation, which was formed around the group who came in 1717, was of the opinion that a Pastor would be sent to them when they informed the Pastors in London that they were ready.  They wrote to Rev. Georg Andreas Ruperti, Pastor at St. Mary's, and to Friedrich Michael Ziegenhagen, Court Chaplain at St. James Palace.  In the spring of 1724, two members of the congregation decided to travel to London to fetch the Pastor they apparently expected to be waiting there.

They made known their intentions 4 March 1724(NS), where it is recorded in the Spotsylvania Will Book A on page 65:

"Cyriacus Fleishman and Michael Coock put up their names to signifie their intentions for going to England this March Court."  There was a delay before anyone went to London; perhaps the delay was due to the lawsuits going on between Alexander Spotswood and several members of the Colony of 1717.

When the Germans petitioned in April of 1724 to the House of Burgesses for help in the lawsuits, they made the point:

"Wee design to go to England and from thence to Germany, to bring in a Minister for us high Germans who are here, do humbly ask if it proper to desire the governour to give us an attestation & passport to witness that we are the inhabitants here; the Burgesses from Spotsylvania know that we are by the rest of the Countrymen sent in that behalf.  We who are to go out our names are Michial Coock and Zerachus Flishman."

Eventually, two deputies did make the trip, arriving in the last week of summer in 1726.  They stayed several months.  On December 9, Rev. Ziegenhagen wrote a letter to Francke in Halle, confirming that the two deputies were still in town.  He wrote:

"The present Virginian deputies are waiting longingly for an answer if there is hope that they shall get a preacher.  I doubt not that your Honor received my last two letters I wrote concerning this matter.  Should it not be [possible?] now to find a subject for this purpose, it will be best that these deputies return home with the first departing ships and not cause further costs because of their maintenance.  I therefore ask Your Honor to let me know Your opinion through someone [...], London, the 9th December, 1726."
We learned in the history of the Congregation that the two deputies who went to London were actually Cyriacus Fleshman and John Motz.  We do not know why Motz was substituted for Michael Cook, though I did suggest that it may have been because Michael Cook was too valuable a person in Virginia.

The material in this note was taken from an article by Andreas Mielke in Beyond Germanna, vol. 14, n. 6, p. 835-6.
(06 Apr 05)



Nr. 2085:

I am approaching this history of the Colony of 1717 in the way that Sherlock Holmes accused Dr. Watson of writing the exploits of Holmes.  I am going about it backwards.  This Note returns to the trip to England by Fleshman and Motz in the effort to obtain a preacher.  The community had sent several letters before the departure of Fleshman and Motz, as the Rev. Friedrich Michael Ziegenhagen, the Lutheran Court Preacher at St. James Palace in London, acknowledged in a letter he wrote to Hermann Francke at Halle.  His letter [24 November 1724] reads in part:

"In particular I must inform your Honor, that some Lutheran families who live in America, that is in Spotsylvania, have written very moving letters here, in which they ask most pleadingly that one might want to send them a preacher, because for a long time they have not had any.  [...] they also mention that they live in very poor circumstances and would be able to give the preacher very little for his support; they could not bring up more than 30 pounds sterling for that.  I pity the poor people very much; if I only knew how to help them.  I considered Mr. Petzold who two years ago wanted to go there [to America], whether he could decide again to go and how he could establish himself with these people.  I donít know, however, at what place the Mr. Petzold presently resides.  I ask your Honor 's opinion about this matter.  With this I recommend myself to the Grace of God and offer to my colleagues my most obedient greeting, and to you worthy House my humble regards [. . . ]."
About two years later, the search for a pastor had not been successful, and a new development occurred.  Ziegenhagen wrote on 20 September 1726 to Francke:
"Last week 2 persons from Spotsylvania arrived here as deputies of the Lutheran congregation.  A few years ago they had requested a preacher, of which I had notified Your Honor already 1 and Ĺ years ago, and they came for this, to pick up the preacher.  The claim to have answered well about 4 times to the first letter of Rev. Ruperti, my colleague, in which he desired a certain declaration and determination regarding the sustenance of the preacher, but no letter has arrived here.  And since they learned from the 2nd letter of Mr. Ruperti, which they received this past Easter, that their previous replies did not get to [him?], the congregation resolved to [send] these two deputies.  These deputies, however, bring neither copies of the previous letters or the slightest of the common writings, as it was prudently demanded by You, because otherwise one has to be in uncertainty and worried about the preacherís salary.  They excuse this by saying: nobody presently among them can write [better?], and they had no paper or pen and ink which reasons, if true, excuse these people without doubt.  But one can judge the miserable condition of their external circumstances also, which is recognized enough by the torn and unclean clothing and great lack of money of the present."
[Taken from an article by Andreas Mielke in Beyond Germanna, Vol. 14, No. 5 (2002).]
[to be continued]
(07 Apr 05)



Nr. 2086:

[continuing in the middle of the letter from Ziegenhagen to Francke, written 20 September 1726]

"The oral explanation that these 2 people [Cyriacus Fleshman and John Motz] give, that is, as they say, in the name of all of the rest, consists in that they want to give him as much land [as is needed] to plant tobacco for 30 pounds sterling, which is certainly an unpleasant handiwork for a preacher.  Your Honor will thus be so good and give me information if the preacher who one year ago resolved to go to Virginia is still in Halle and of the sense, or if another is there, or to be found, who will decide upon this condition to go thither.  I shall not neglect to try that we annually may gain something at the collection in our court chapel for the support of such preacher, so that he will not need to bother himself with the tobacco trade.  Wherewith I recommend the divine Grace and remain Yours, [. . .] F. M. Ziegenhagen"
Apparently the deputies made an impression as paperless (undocumented) and penniless delegates.  One might wonder why they had not learned from their Reformed neighbors and Zollikoffer's impressive use of references.  They may have had little ink, pen and paper, and may not have been able to write well, to be sure, but they fibbed a little here because they claimed to have written four times to Ruperti ≠ a contradiction the benevolent court preacher Ziegenhagen overlooked.

Ziegenhagen wrote another letter on 4 November 1726 to Francke with more details about the two delegates:

"Your very Honored [letters] dated 13th October also 16th October I have correctly received but a little late because of the wind being contrary for 2 months.  In my last letter I reported a few points concerning our Virginia deputies that somewhat give our view of the matter.  To this date I have not doubted their honesty and that they were sent here by the congregation there.  The crown princess [Carolina of Anspach] has seen them and given them each 2 guineas, as has the king [George] given each 2 guineas, because they fed on the ship a strange animal that the Governor [Drysdale] there has sent to the king as a present.  Of man-eaters, according to these peoples' testimony, there are none in Virginia, at least not at their place.  Should it thus be possible for your Honor to get a Subject [preacher] for this lost congregation, you would prove a great benefit to them and I would wish that the earlier such a Subject could make himself ready for the journey the better.  The longer! they lie here in London the more money it costs them, which money is then not available for the congregation.  If one could make them work here until then [the arrival of the preacher] that would be a great relief to their living expenses, but until now it has not turned out that way."
[The translation of these letters was by Andreas Mielke.]
[to be continued.]
(08 Apr 05)



Nr. 2087:

The letters from Ziegenhagen to Francke are in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin-Preussischer Kulturbesitz.  Andrew Mielke obtained copies of these with the assistance of the staff there and translated them.  I have been using his translation from Beyond Germanna, pages 823-4, where he published his work.  I have been using a lot of his language.  He comments on the letters:

"We donít know what happened after that letter, except that the deputies left England without a minister, but perhaps not empty-handed.  William J. Huddle writes, 'in 1725 they sent two of their number to Germany' and also mentions speculatively 'German Lutheran Ministers in London.'  No evidence that they went to Germany is known.  Ziegenhagen's letter implies that they waited in London, poor but full of hope.  No help came from Halle, however, perhaps because old Francke had other problems.  He died the following year [as did King George].  Huddle likes to think that they 'secured' the pewter communion pieces inscribed as 'A gift from Thomas Giffin, London May 13, 1727' [still with the Lutheran Church in Madison County, Virginia] before they somehow returned to Spotsylvania.  They may have brought this gift along personally, but another gift is surely dated too late for that:  'A gift from Thomas Giffin, London Hall Street, London, October 21, 1729.' Maybe by finding information on or by Giffin, we might find answers to some of the questions presented above."

Nowhere in this last series of letters are the two deputies named, but one document identifies the two.  Earlier it had been thought they were Fleshman and Cook, but the history presented in a letter by Stoever, Hold, and Smith to the London pastors clearly says they were Fleshman and Motz.

One thing that remains unidentified is the animal that the two men fed on board the ship which was a present from Governor Drysdale to King George.  It was probably an animal that was not common in England.  One wonders if the two men obtained their transportation in exchange for caring for this animal.  The animal seems to have caused King George to ask if there were man-eaters in Germany.

I must admire the two men who were obviously very hard pressed but persisted in the endeavor even though their means was very limited.  They must have made a shilling go a long way.
(11 Apr 05)



Nr. 2088:

The Germanna Foundation-sponsored trip for this late spring will visit Neuenbuerg in the Kraichtal, which will be the first time that this series of trips has gone there.  This was the home of the Blankenbakers, Thomases, Fleshmans and the Scheibles (and perhaps others, now unknown).  This village is different from the other villages in some ways.

There is no Protestant (Evangelische) Church in the village of Neuenbuerg; there is only a Catholic Church.  In part, this came about because the village used to be on lands owned by the (Catholic) Bishops of Speyer, though about 1802 the lands were ceded to the state of Baden.  The Protestants who used to live in town walked about two miles to Oberoewisheim to go to church.  There, separate church books for the villages were maintained for a while and then the church books combined the two localities into one record.  There is an Oberoewisheim-Neuenbuerg Ortssippenbuch.

The Catholic Church is nice and worth a visit if one is in the village.  Going out to the cemetery for the village, there is a real surprise with about five Jewish stones.  One of these dates back to 5 May 1945 which is longer than usual for a burial to be maintained.  Though I had heard the general story of how this came about, a correspondent sent me more detailed facts.

Friday, April 13, 1945 had been a normal day until late afternoon.  Then a jeep arrived carrying French military officers and the village was ordered evacuated within 90 minutes.  Residents could take with them what they could carry.  Many family belongings had to be left behind and they were never seen again.

On the trek out of the village, a number of trucks with emancipated people in prison garb were to be seen.  They were the remaining inmates from a concentration camp who were to be quarantined for several weeks.  Several of these people died in the immediate weeks ahead and were buried in the local cemetery.  One man, who survived, wrote an account of his experiences.  Many of the people were Eastern Europeans and Jews.

The stones in the cemetery with the obvious Jewish letters have remained, perhaps as a reminder.

There are very few businesses in the village, almost none.  Even the mayor, who is responsible for several villages, has very limited hours in any one village.  By wandering over some of the roads to the fields one can gain some height and a better overview of the village.  Grapes are grown and sheep are to be seen in meadows.  Since 1717, the village has grown in size, as several new developments surround the old village.
(12 Apr 05)



Nr. 2089:

Two Notes ago, I wrote about Thomas Giffin of London, who gave communion pieces for the German Lutheran Church in Spotsylvania.  At the time, I reported that Andreas Mielke had said that a further search for Giffin might be fruitful.  He has just reported to that he did search some more, saying:

"I am happy to report that another connection has been found in the meantime.  Apparently, Thomas Giffin was a business partner of merchant Hans Jacob Zollickoffer, the man from St. Gall who collected for Germanna in Europe 1719/1720 and settled in the neighborhood afterwards."

The last issue of the German Life magazine has been out for a few weeks.  There is a one-page article by James M. Beidler, who submits material to the magazine on the general topic of genealogy.  He writes:

"Researchers with German roots generally try first to exhaust all American record sources about an immigrant family before trying to make the leap across the Atlantic Ocean to the Old World village.  And while these New World sources, naturalization records, passenger lists, tombstones, church records, etc., are frequently fruitful for finding the town of origin, there are still many more immigrants for whom no American records show the home village.

"In this case, finding the birthplace across the water can be a daunting experience, the proverbial needle in a haystack.  Methodologies for dealing with the situation involve making the needle larger or the haystack smaller."

Beidler mentions using the IGI of the Latter Day Saints and the Periodical Source Index known as PERSI; however, for German-language genealogy, readers need to know about "Der Schluessel", which literally means "the key" in German.  It gives summaries of nearly one hundred periodicals.  The summary indicates what surnames are mentioned in each article of each periodical.  "Der Schluessel" is indexed in three ways:  by subject, by surname, and by location.  The Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. each has nine volumes in book form that cover the years 1950 to 1986.  The nature of the index varies in the different volumes so one must be careful.

The Family History Library has other multi-volume periodical indices and compiled genealogies available.  The "Ahnenstammkartei" is a microfilmed card index of references to German surnames, organized by a phonetic code to account for surname spelling variants.  About six million names are found on these cards.
(13 Apr 05)



Nr. 2090:

We were talking about some source books in the German language for help in finding an ancestor in Germany.  We are trying to make the needle larger, or the haystack smaller.

The Deutsche Geschlechbuecher is a set of more than two hundred books, some of which are specific to a certain part of Germany.  The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has a CD-ROM that indexes the volumes and pages where each surname is found.

The Deutsche Familienarchiv is a collection, still growing, of compiled genealogies.  Currently there are more than a hundred volumes indexed in book form.

The Quellenschau fuer Familienforscher has three volumes and is an index to some two thousand German periodicals, records, and resources, and was compiled in 1938, thus predating Der Schuessel.

Familiengeschictliche Quellen is a compilation started by Oswald Spohr as a periodical index and as a bibliography of German genealogical publications.

About five hundred fifty periodicals have been indexed in Der Schuessel, Quellenschau fuer Familienforscher, and Familiengeschichtliche Quellen.  About three-quarters of these titles can be found in the Family History Library.

All of these resources are in German, but most follow a template that makes it relatively easy for a non-German speaking researcher to use.

Most of these collections are oriented toward people who stayed in Germany, so it is not overly likely that researchers with Eighteenth Century German immigrants to America will find their ancestors; however, these resources do point the researcher to villages in which their ancestor's surname was found.
(14 Apr 05)



Nr. 2091:

This is the time of the year when thoughts turn to travel.  Some of us will be lucky enough to be going to Germany on the Germanna Foundation-sponsored tour and it will be an experience that will not be forgotten soon.  Several people are repeats which shows how good the trip is.  Eleanor and I are not going; we shot our wad (i.e., dollars) in the years 2000 and 2002.  I thought I might highlight some of the events which have stayed in my memory, in particular, the finding of some remote and out of the way places.  Some of these were a real challenge and others were routine, i.e., just following a map.

In the late 1600's and early 1700's, Wagenbach was an estate farm with several Germanna citizens on it, including George Utz, Maria Sabina Folg, and Martin Walk (both of these latter two are Volck in German).  This farm is on the map, so it was a case of following the map.  Without an invitation to visit, we wondered what kind of reception we might have.  There was one thing to do and that was to knock on the door if I could find the right door.

Not far from Wagenbach is Unterbiegelhof, another estate farm.  This name appeared on our map but without any dot to pinpoint the location.  We did have some general information from the staff at the Hans Herr House because this is where Hans Herr lived.  By asking a couple of locations, we found that Unterbiegelhof was not exactly a household name.  It was suggested that we drive out a certain road.  Luckily that was correct and luckily we happened to see a small sign by the road which said Unterbiegelhof.  Down the small road at this point brought us to houses and barns.  Again we had no invitation but a dog announced our arrival.  This brought out the dogís master.

The third place was Plankenbichl outside Gresten, Austria.  We arrived in town (village) and went first to the police station where no one was home.  Then we went to the Rathaus (city hall) and asked a few questions in English but the clerk did not know English; however, he called over another man, Florian Berger, who was an insurance agent.  We explained our desire to see Plankenbichl and he said he would take us there after he concluded some work.  It turns out he was acquainted with this farm since his mother was born on the farm.

In 2002, I wanted to find the farm where an ancestor of Andreas Gaar had lived.  In the church record, it said the man (Hans Gaar) was from Kolnpach.  This is a nonexistent name in that no directory shows this exact spelling.  Even I could guess that perhaps what was meant was Kolmbach.  There is a city by this name, but it is not in the right location.  Consulting Ken McCrea's Directory of German localities (a CD), I found a mention of the place in southeast Bavaria (generally expected), but without giving an exact location.
[to be continued]
(15 Apr 05)



Nr. 2092:

On driving up to Wagenbach, it was clear that it is a large farm with many structures.  Our first problem was to find the house of the person in charge so that we might obtain permission to look around.  Barely had we parked the car, when another car drove up and parked very close to us.  Thinking that this might be the person I wanted, I went up to the man and found that he spoke good English.  Hardly had I made my request, then he informed me that he was only visiting also.

This man had flown in from the US that morning and landed at Frankfurt.  While we had been talking, another man came from one of the larger houses and there were warm greetings between the resident man and the visiting man.  This visitor had been expected.  We found out that his history was that he had been in the US Army and he had become acquainted with the German man.  Their friendship turned into being hunting buddies and the American came often to renew their friendship.  By now the wives were also present and there was a general invitation to come to the cellar and have some refreshments.  We were included in the general graciousness.

After we had drunk everyoneís health, we explained that an ancestor of mine had worked on the farm but left in 1717.  They thought this was interesting and they said we could walk around the farm and take any photographs that we wanted.

Today, the farm raises many pigs, starting with brood sows.  Their annual production might have been a thousand pigs (just a guess).  We found two buildings which looked as though they might have been there when George Utz lived there.  One sign was that the structure of the buildings showed that they were a combination of living quarters for people and animals.  Today the living quarters for the people have been modernized (with satellite antennas on the roof).  The animals have moved to new structures but the tell-tale large doors for wagons remained.  Modern housing has been provided for most of the workers today.  Probably the farm raised much of the food which the pigs consumed.  The actual raising of the pigs seemed to us to be mechanized so that little labor was required.

In the time of George Utz, there would have been few pigs.  Pigs and pork did not become popular in Germany until about the start of the Nineteenth Century, but since then, pork has been very popular.

Residents of Wagenbach in 1717 would have walked about two miles to Hueffenhardt to go to church.  I have been told by some of the Germanna visitors that the church thinks of itself as Catholic, but it does reject the authority of the Pope.  I believe though that it is classified as Evangelische, meaning that it is Protestant legally.
(18 Apr 05)



Nr. 2093:

On leaving Wagenbach, it was time for lunch.  The lunches were some of the best meals of the day, either if you do it yourself or go to a restaurant.  At this time, we wanted to make some inquiries about where Unterbiegelhof was located so we choose the restaurant.  (One of the things that surprised us was how common orange juice is available as a drink.  We drank quite a bit of it.)  In the restaurant, there was some uncertainty about Unterbiegelhof, and much discussion among the people.  The younger people seemed to know the least but they did speak English.  I showed them the map where Unterbiegelhof was indefinitely marked.  Finally we were given some general directions and we took our leave.  A few miles outside of town, we happened to see a small sign for Unterbiegelhof pointing off the road.  Following this for about a mile, we came to the farmstead.  Our interest in this farmstead was that it was the home of Hans Herr in 1709.  Our son-in-law is a descendant, and I do some work at the Hans Herr House.

At the farm, with many large buildings, we parked and walked toward the courtyard around which many of the buildings were arrayed.  A barking dog brought a man out to the courtyard.  I said hello and quickly found out that his English was much better than my German.  I showed him an article from the Hans Herr House newsletter which discussed Unterbiegelhof.  This letter named a few people and I repeated the names.  His response was of the form, "That is my sister," and "That is me."  We found out that he had lived in the States for a couple of years.

He invited us to come in the house, which was very new.  This was, for Germany, an unusual house in that it was a ranch house with only one floor.  These are very rare in Germany.  There was a large multi-story building which looked as though Hans Herr might have lived there.  It had been modernized though but it was probably too large to use today.  Strangely, our host was a Mennonite, the same as Hans Herr, but this was a pure coincidence.

He asked us what we would like to drink.  There could have been many possibilities but to play it safe we asked for orange juice which he had.  He asked us as though he could hardly believe it, "Is it true the Mennonites in America don't use alcohol?"  I couldnít speak for all of the Mennonites in America, but I told him that the official policy of the Church in America was against the use of alcohol.

Though in Hans Herr's day, there were probably many workers on the farm, today it is run almost entirely by the one man.  The principle product is chickens (eggs or meat?) and the operation is mechanized.  The farming consists of growing grain and sugar beets.  The grain could become chicken feed and the sugar beets might be a cash crop.
(to be continued) (19 Apr 05)



Nr. 2094:

In driving from Wagenbach to Unterbiegelhof, one traces out the curve of the letter "C" from one point to the other point.  Actually, the two farms are not far apart.  They perhaps even may have butted to each other on the back sides.  I make this point because later I will use this physical proximity to help analyze names on a list in London.

The host at Unterbiegelhof is very gracious.  I am told by others that no matter how large the crowd is that calls on him he will offer refreshments.  Sometimes tour busses even drop in.  One manager of a tour tried to sneak in without advance warning just so he would not have any stock of refreshments.  But he had advance word, or a large refrigerator, and he still offered refreshments.

In 2002, Beyond Germanna had carried a big article on the ancestry of the Gaar family (thanks to the research of the Theodore Walker family).  In this article, it made mention that Hans Gaar was from Kolnpach.  This was the earliest defined Gaar, so I took it as a challenge to find out what was intended by Kolnpach, which does not appear in any gazetteer.  I found a reference to Kolmbach in generally the right area, but the location was not sharply defined.  When we were visiting friends in southern Bavaria, our host was able to find the farm on an ordnance map (from a CD) and was able to print us a detailed map.  With this in hand we headed for the southeastern corner of Bavaria (and Germany).

About a mile from the destination we found a sign which pointed to Kolmbach.  This agreed with the map and so we were quickly led to the farm of the name Kolmbach.  Since very few of the other farms had their own names, it must have a very old site before there were many villages.  Possibly it was more imposing than it is today.  No one seemed to be home, but my persistent knocking finally brought an elderly woman to the door.  She said only, "Nicht fotographieren."  Even I got the drift of this.  She did not want any photographs made (she could see the camera around my neck).  Our conclusion was the house and out buildings were not actively used in farming.  Perhaps there was some farm land, but it was probably leased out.  The working generation probably was elsewhere and left grandmother at home alone to cope with strangers who were poking their nose in where they were not desired.  So we beat a retreat so as not to upset Grossmutter.

We did decide to continue down the road, and within a short distance we came to another house where we stopped and made some inquiries.  We told the lady there what we had been doing and why we had been doing it and asked if she would telephone Kolmbach after the working people came home and tell them what had happened because the story that Grossmutter told them would probably be garbled.  While we talking, the phone rang and the lady excused herself.  Eleanor told me that she bet it was Grossmutter warning the lady here that there were strangers in the neighborhood doing strange things.  Eleanor was right as the lady confirmed when she returned.
(20 Apr 05)



Nr. 2095:

In the years of 2000 and 2002, we went to Gresten, Austria.  In the first of these years, the trip had a note of uncertainty as to whether we would find anything.  Hallie Price Garner and her husband had visited about the year 1990 and brought back pictures of the old homestead where the Plankenbuehlers had lived, but she said that the house was going to be torn down.  So we were most uncertain in 2000 as to whether there would be anything to see.  In fact, because of the uncertainty, we had deferred the visit to Gresten to the end in case other events took more time than we had allowed.

A distinction must be made between Gresten and Gresten Land.  The former is the small town itself, and Gresten Land is separate from this, surrounding Gresten and having its own government.  At first we did not know this.  We started with Gresten as the focal point and we started at the police station.  I guess that things are so quiet in Gresten that we couldn't rouse anyone at the station.  Just across the street, was the Rathaus, or the city hall.

Already we had noticed that there were many puppets, as they called them, but which we would be more inclined to call manikins.  At any rate, they were exhibits which amused and informed the observers.  For example, on the balcony at the police station there was a life-sized policeman in uniform.  On the balcony of the Rathaus, a man was reading from a book, probably a law book.

Ducking into the Rathaus under the Lawgiver, we asked the clerk in the office if he spoke English.  He denied that he did (which is relatively rare), but pointed to another man and said that he would ask him.  The other man was Florian Berger, an insurance agent, who probably was checking a property title.  Florian's English was very good and he understood readily that we wanted to see the Plankenbichl farm.  He saw no objection and said that he would take us there in his own car if we would wait until he finished some work.

I believe that we asked him for a housing recommendation and we quickly secured accommodations there (a couple of blocks down the street).  On the way to the farm, about two miles, Florian told us that he was acquainted with the farm as his mother was born there.  He knew the present occupants.

To give some picture of the geography, north of Gresten the land levels out into the valley of the Danube River.  Coming into Gresten, the land becomes hillier.  Gresten itself is in a small valley which is surrounded by hills.  Most of the farms are now in the hills.  The plow is a rare tool and the agriculture is based on the meadow.  The grass is a pasture and a source of hay for cattle.
(21 Apr 05)



Nr. 2096:

While we are driving from Gresten to Plankenbichl, I will explain a confusing factor.  The farm name is technically Plankenbichl, but the people who lived on this farm in 1600 were the Plankenbuehlers.  The letters "bichl" are derived from the old Germanic word for "hill".  The letters "buehler" are derived from the more modern word for "hill".  The suggestion is that the farm had been in existence for some time before 1600, and that the family who lived there had taken their name from the farm.

Plankenbichl sits on a ridge, and the land around the farm house and attached barn fall to lower ground on three sides.  On the fourth side the ridge runs up to higher ground.  On our arrival in the late afternoon we found the couple who presently occupy the farm were home.  With the aid of Florian Berger, we carried on some conversation.  I had wanted to see the inside of the house but they owners never volunteered and I certainly would not impose on them.  The old house has been modernized to some extent.  (Florian could even show us that in 1930 the house had a thatch roof.)  There was one large structure, the old house, the barn, and a new set of apartments which were not totally finished yet.

This was in the month of May, and the first crop of hay was being harvested on the hillsides.  Most of the crops were being cut by a tractor propelled mowers, but the scythe was used to cut the grass in the corners and in other hard to reach places.  The activity was labor intensive and the family said that we could come the next day and take pictures, but that they would not have time to show us anything.

Florian then took us to Pletzenberg, another farm.  We could see it from Plankenbichl at a distance of about one-half mile a little higher in hills.  To get to it, we had to drive down from Plankenbichl and then up to Pletzenberg.  One branch of the Plankenbuehlers lived here in the mid-1600s.  (Whether Pletzenberg was taken from the original land for Plankenbichl is unknown.)  The physical situation at Pletzenberg is similar to Plankenbichl, as both sit on the points of ridges.  Both have a house and connecting barn along the top of the ridge.  The current owner of Pletzenberg, a bachelor, could speak some English.  He was remodeling the old house to create an apartment for rent.  He also said we could back the next day for picture taking.

As Florian took us back into town, he said that he would try to get the Mayor of Gresten Land to have breakfast with us.  Sure enough, the next morning Hans Karner and the high school teacher of English arrived at our Gasthaus and we had breakfast and a long conversation.  Hans was not surprised at all that I had German roots which led back to Austria.  He told us that 600 citizens of Gresten had emigrated to Germany at the end of The Thirty Years' War.
(22 Apr 05)



Nr. 2097:

Hans Karner, the mayor of Gresten Land, told us a lot of information and there were several main themes, which, to some degree, were unconnected.  In the mid 1500's, the majority of the citizens in Austria had become Lutherans.  About 1570 there occurred a counter-Reformation led by the combination of the Church and the State.  This last movement was not entirely successful.  Toward the close of the century, there was a peasant's revolt, in which several individuals from Gresten played a major role.  This was suppressed by the army.  About 1630, during the Thirty Years' War, the Catholics were able to reclaim the church building in Gresten.  A few years after the Thirty Years' War, about 1655, the Emperor declared that the Lutherans had a choice.  They could either convert to Catholicism, or they could emigrate.  So many opted to emigrate that the Emperor made the act of emigration hard and painful to discourage it.  Still, six hundred citizens from around Gresten left for Dietenhofen in Germany.

After the courtesies shown us by Hans Karner and Florian Berger, we invited them to a dinner that evening.  Hans came alone but Florian brought his wife Elisabeth.  The conversation ranged over many topics, but I asked Hans about the work that the Mayor did.  I asked him if he had any political opposition and Florian laughed and said, "I am the opposition."  (When I looked in on the web site for Gresten Land, I saw that Florian was the only member of the opposition.)  I was impressed that Florian and Hans would lay aside their differences and would work together to entertain a couple of Americans.  After a long dinner, when it was getting dusky outside, Hans insisted that the party adjoin to the main plaza where a map of the local area hung.  This marked out many of the farms, including Plankenbichl and Pletzenberg.  Hans commandeered a passer-by to take photos of all of us in front of the map.  He had a camera and I had one so each of us could have photos.

Hans gave us two mementoes of our visit, a commemorative plate, or plague, and a book of history for Gresten.  We spent another couple of days in and around Gresten.  We walked in the hills and drove over some of the roads which gave access to the farms.  At one point, we came across two ladies with about eight small children.  A conversation with them showed that it was a nursery school class from Vienna.  They came out on a train to Gresten and were staying at a guest house on a farm.

Around Gresten there are several castle ruins, which implied what life was like in earlier days.  Of course, most people did not live in the castle but were subservient to the occupants of it.
(25 Apr 05)



Nr. 2098:

We went to Gresten in both 2000 and 2002.  In 2002, we made a side journey to Vienna to see one street, namely Plankenbuechlergasse.  The "gasse" portion of this means a short street.  Short or long, I wanted to see the street that was named for a cousin who was a Mayor or District Mayor for Vienna.  This particular man threw in a "c" just before the "h" It was a challenge to get the name of the street on the signs.

In the year 2000, after being told of the mass migration of Austrians, from the area of Gresten, to Dietenhofen in Bavarian Germany, we noted that Dietenhofen was not out of our way in returning to Frankfort.  In addition, it would be a Sunday so we could go to the Lutheran Church.  We arrived at Dietenhofen early Saturday afternoon and we went to some of the nearby villages.  We had some interest in doing this as many of the Blankenbuehlers in Germany (there are about 15) live in this region.  One third of the German Blankenbuehlers live near the village of Lonnerstadt.

In the graveyard at Lonnerstadt I had a severe shock.  Yes, there were stones for Blankenbuehlers, but there were stones for Hieronymus, Lang, Marr, Motz, Thoma, and Wieland.  Some of these are fairly common names but to see this number of Germanna names in one cemetery was a shock.  In Gresten, I had begun to form the idea that it was also the earlier home of some of the Germanna families.  (The Germanna Hieronymus family claims an origin in Austria.)

When I was on the Pletzenberg farm outside Gresten, the owner was updating the electrical wiring.  I looked down at a card board box that some of the material had been shipped in.  The electrical contractor's name was Scheible (or something very close to this).  Not until we were home did I note that there was a Scheiblau farm about one-half mile from the Plankenbichl farm.  Since there were Scheibles in Neuenbuerg, Germany, with the Blankenbuehlers, and since George Scheible had his land patent in Virginia in the midst of the Blankenbuehlers and their clan, I felt that the presence of the Scheiblau farm next to the Plankenbichl farm in Austria was especially significant.

On Sunday, we did go to the Lutheran church in Dietenhofen.  The pastor and his wife both spoke excellent English so we could talk for a while.  He was well aware that 600 or so people had come from Gresten to Dietenhofen about 1655.  He claimed there were so many that the church had to raise the roof to put in a balcony.

Today there are bus trips between Dietenhofen and Gresten so that the Germans can see where they came from, and the Austrians can see where their relatives went.
(26 Apr 05)



Nr. 2099:

One of the delights of travel in Germany is meeting people.  I had corresponded with some of these before the trips, and some I met for the first time on a trip.  The web is one way of getting introduced.  This is how I met Jost Gudelius and his family.  Jost has a connection with the Nassau-Siegen area as one of his ancestors was the first pastor at Oberfischbach after the Thirty Years' War.  We became acquainted because I had mentioned a Gudelius in these notes which popped up in a Google search.  (This Gudelius was an ill-fated member on the ship Oliver in the year 1738.)  As Jost and I corresponded, we started trading information of a personal nature and I tried out some my fifty-year-old German, which was never very good.  But Jost was very kind and when he heard that we were going to Germany he suggested we visit them in southern (within sight of the border) Bavaria.  This was so much fun that we visited again in on the second trip.

In Austria, I have recounted how we met Florian Berger and his wife Elisabeth.

In Trupbach, on our first visit, we met Lars Bohn, who had been introduced to us by a friend.  He and Eleanor hit it off very well (as grandmothers and grandchildren tend to do).  On our second trip, Lars had some more information about his ancestry, and it turns out that he is my sixth cousin.  In addition, through Lars, we met some of the other residents of Trupbach who have visited Germanna since then.

We were able to make contact with the pastor of the church in Kettenbach from where Eleanor's Zerby ancestor left in 1709.  Our visit to Kettenbach included a church service and a violin concert, besides a look at the Church Record showing the Serbi surname entries.

After our first trip, I was more determined to contact people who might have more information about my Germanna ancestors.  On the first trip, I had knocked on the door of the pastor's house in Illenschwang.  He was away but his wife was home and she gave us a tour of the church.  She said that we were not the first; many visitors from the States visit Illenschwang.

Through the aid of a friend, we made contact with the Fritz Gaar family, who live in a village about two miles from Illenschwang.  At the time, in 2002, they had a fifteen-year-old daughter whose English was very good.  She acted as an interpreter so we had a long visit.  We took them to dinner and they went with us to Illenschwang to see the current pastor and the church.  I gave the church a large photo of Hebron and the History of Hebron by Huddle.  Then on Sunday morning we went to church.  Fritz (Friedrich) Gaar is descended from a brother of Andreas Gaar, who went to America (Fritz is my sixth cousin by one path).  The Fritz Gaar family is still Lutheran.
(27 Apr 05)



Nr. 2100:

I must mention one more friend/relative in Germany.  Richard Plankenbuehler is my tenth cousin, once removed.  I was introduced to him and his family by a friend here in the US and we corresponded with Richard at some length before we met in Germany.  I am especially grateful that he was able to tell me the positive link between Gresten, Austria, and Neuenbuerg, Germany.

Richard and his wife Gisela live in Nuremberg (Nuernberg in German) in Bavaria, not far from Dietenhofen to where so many of the Gresten people immigrated.  They have one son Roland, who also lives there with his family.  (Note: Neuenbuerg is not the same as Nuernberg or Nuremberg.)

The common ancestor that Richard and I have is Kilian Planckenbuehler, who lived on the Plankenbichl farm in 1600.  Kilian was married twice with two families.  Richard descends from one wife and I descend from the other, hence we are half cousins.

The history of the Blankenbakers that had been provided by Gary Zimmerman and Johni Cerny left open the connection between the Planckenbuehler family in Gresten and Neuenbuerg.  The story as they told it depended entirely on the unusual name which is not common.  It also the case that they had not constructed the family correctly in Gresten.

There are records at Schoss Stiebar in Gresten which were maintained by the Lord of the region who was responsible for the civil administration of the area.  These records are in private hands.  Pastor Kuhr of Mittelfranken in Bavaria copied these records at the Schloss (Castle) Stiebar.  The Plankenbuehlers, working with Pastor Kuhr, were able to reconstruct the family and to find the link between Gresten and Germany.

Also, the Plankenbuehlers were able to find one other record in archives at Linz in Austria.  This is incomplete in that it does not add any new genealogical information but does show their were earlier members of the family before Kilian and they were definitely involved in the turmoil in Austria.  At the time of the Counter Reformation, one of the local nobles in the Gresten area brought suit against Georg Treuer who had been serving as a pastor.  The court took evidence from seventy-five citizens who all supported Pastor Treuer.  The fourth and fifth witnesses were:

4. Erhart Planckenbuhler has no complaint.
5. Leonard Planckenbuhler has no complaint, on the contrary the Pastor was esteemed and valued.

These names are not signatures; they are the recorded court testimony written in the best handwriting that I have seen.  The relationship, if any, between these two men and Kilian P. is unknown.
(28 Apr 05)


(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 EIGHTY-FOURTH set of Notes, Nr. 2076 through Nr. 2100.)

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

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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 2076 through 2100.

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