Friday, June 24, 2016

Harshbarger line: Georg Lindemuth 1709-1772

Here's another Harshbarger line ancestor, an immigrant, about whom very little is known.  We know he was born about June 12, 1709 in Bodigheim, Baden, Germany to Georg Lindemuth and Anna Catharina Bauermann or Baueman.  I have been unable to locate information about the town online but it appears that it must be small, and was probably even smaller 300 years ago.  Interestingly, there is a Jewish cemetery here which apparently dates back to early times, but the Lindemuth family seems to have not been of that faith.  Georg was one of at least five children born to the couple.  The family probably lived a typical small village German life, meaning it was highly structured and difficult to rise economically.

Georg married Maria Anna  Drach, daughter of Johann Georg Drach, in 1733.  She was three years older than he, widowed with two young children, and the couple would have at least 7 children together, some in Germany and some in their new home.  They emigrated in 1749 on the ship Patience, arriving September 19 of that year.  They would have had little time to prepare for their first winter, so perhaps they stayed in Germantown for their first months or years.

The trail goes cold after that, or at least, I haven't found it yet.  Maria Anna died in 1755 and it is believed that Georg married again, to Barbara Keller, although some say that she was his first wife and died in Germany.  Since Georg was just 24 when he married Maria Anna, I don't think it's likely that he had married earlier, given the norms of the time.  I'd love to find documentation for the second marriage, whenever it was.

Georg died in 1772 in Berks County, Pa.  I've not found a will for him but there were many German wills that were not transcribed so it's possible there is or was a will.  It's also possible I just haven't found it yet. 

I'd love to know more about this man.  What church did he attend?  Where did he settle in Berks County?  What lead several of the children to go to the Buck Hill area of Frederick County in about 1752?  What was his occupation?  He likely farmed, but was there something else?  How did the French and Indian War impact his life?  There's much to be learned about this man and his family!

The line of descent is:

Georg Lindemuth-Maria Anna Drach
Maria Elizabeth Lindemuth-Bernard Kepler
Andreas Kepler-Anna Maria Kramer
Mary E Kepler-George Harshbarger
Lewis Harshbarger-Catherine Mentzer
Emmanuel Harshbarger-Clara Ellen Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Beeks line: Johan Wilhelm Altomus 1675-after 1719 Immigrant, or not?

First, I take absolutely no credit for the information in this post.  It was mostly taken from the Altemose Family Genealogy site at RootsWeb, authored by Dale Berger.  He has tons of information there so head on over after you've read this very much condensed version.  It is wonderful that people like Dale have been able to devote so much time, effort, and money to teasing out the story of our ancesgtors, and they deserve all the credit for it.

We don't know a lot about Wilhelm, not even his birthday.  His father was possibly Becht Altemuss of Kaulbauch, who was baptized on September 18,1648 and buried on May 29,1713, and Becht's father was likely Hans Altemuss and Maria.  Hans was a cowherd and Becht became a linen weaver and beadle.  A few words of explanation: Kahlbach is more or less in the center of Germany, running north to south and a bit to the west of the center of Germany running east to west.  It seems that it must have been a small town back in the 1600's.  it was likely affected by the Thirty Years War but I haven't determined to what extent.  Since Becht didn't follow his father's profession, he was likely apprenticed to someone else in town, and this would have been a highly regulated situation.  It's likely that Hans had to grease some palms in order to get him into an apprenticeship program, even if he was placed with a relative.  Becht became not just a linen-weaver, but a beadle, which is a minor judge, dealing with petty criminals.  So he must have been respected in the town. 

Wilhelm was likely Becht's son, although Berger is careful to say there is no proof of that yet.  They were in the same area and many of the family were linen weavers.  (If a man was a linen weaver, it often meant that his wife and children did most if not all of the work of raising the family's food and caring for the family's farm animals.)  Sometimes, but not always, linen weaver's had a physical challenge of some kind that kept them from more vigorous work, and sometimes they were just good linen-weavers. 

Johan Wilhelm Altomus married Anna Caecilia Reinmuller on January 16,1700 and the two had at least six children together..  Their last known daughter was Maria Catharina Altomus, who was born July 29,1719 in Offenbach, Hundheim, Germany.  She was the youngest of their children, and she is the one who married Johann Philip Servass.  The Altomus family was apparently of Lutheran belief so it's not know when the Servassor Serfass family became influenced by the Moravians. 

Evidence has not yet been found for the death of Wilhelm, although it seems likely that he died in Germany. At least three of his children emigrated to America in 1739 and 1740, so perhaps his estate helped finance the move.  Or perhaps he came to America with one or another of the families, and died either at sea or shortly after arrival.  At this point, we don't know whether or not he was an immigrant, or whether he intended to be one.  We suspect that he at least gave his family a dream, to come to America, and they followed that dream. 

I've written before of the life of Philip Servass, one of poverty, hard work and dedication to the Lord, interrupted by terrible Indian raids on his land.  Wilhelm did well to have such a son in law, and daughter, who were given values in Germany that helped them cope with their new home.

The line of descent is:

Johan Wilhelm Altomus-Anna Caecilia Reinmuller
Maria Catherina Altomus-Johan Philip Servass
Frederick Serfass-Sabina
George Philip Serfass-possibly Eva
Mary Serfass-Andrew Wise
David Wise-Matilda Martin
Elizabeth Wise-John Beeks
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants


Friday, June 17, 2016

Libraries, a genealogy gold mine and a reader's rant

This is the best of times and the worst of times for book readers, especially for those of us who love history and hope to find out more about our ancestors and the lives they lived. 

It's the worst of times because so many public and even university libraries have decided to purge their shelves on a regular basis.  I'm not sure of the criteria they use, but the age of the book and it's popularity, judged by how many times it's been checked out, seem to be two of the criteria.  If a book is old and unloved, out it goes.  Never mind that it contains valuable information that is not readily available.  Never mind that a family historian may come in tomorrow needing the information that is otherwise available only 300 or 600 miles away.  Space is needed for the new novel that is also available on an ebook.  Unfortunately, many of these books are not yet digitized, or at least not freely available, because their copyright dates are less than 72 years ago.  This recycling of books is not good for the public, but it's wonderful for researchers.

So, I am trying to participate, on a limited basis, in the "best of times" part of this process.  It means that if we know what we want, it may be available inexpensively on line, through one or more of the many on line book sellers.  As long as we don't mind having a copy of a book that is stamped with a library name from three states away, or a college or university stamp, we can build our personal libraries.  Books we know we need for research purposes, or books we loved ten or thirty years ago, or books we have somehow missed reading may well be "out there" now. 

In my house, the value of this gold mine is limited due to space and budget restrictions, so I am not able to buy all that I would like to.  However, I've found used books on line about the Civil War unit my great grandfather served in, about the lives my Kansan ancestors lived, about different aspects of life in colonial Berks County, Pennsylvania,and about early colonial justice in Western Massachusetts.  I've also found copies of The Anglo Saxon Chronicles and The Domesday Book on line. 

This is also the best of times because sometimes books can be ordered on line that are reprints of books from far, far in the past.  For instance, I've ordered and read Twelve Months in Andersonville, which was written by a veteran of that prison camp who lived in Andrews, Indiana, my hometown.    I've also purchased, but have yet to read, a History of New London and Recollections of the Pioneers of Lee County.  These books were all written before 1900 and are probably available as e-books, but for various reasons I wanted to have these on my shelves.

I guess the purpose of this rant is to alert any readers or family historians who were not aware of the purging of the libraries to take whatever action you can, to rescue books you need or want.  Many libraries have book sales and then sell the "leftovers" to jobbers, so it's worthwhile to follow these sales and buy them locally before you have to pay shipping costs on them.  If you find a book in a large genealogy library that would be valuable to you, check on line to see if one is available at a price you are willing to pay.  And smile, because you've just participated in the best of times!  


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

300 posts and " Only in Andrews"

I'm taking a break this week from regular ancestor blogging.  Today's post may be news to one or two of my readers.  Besides working on genealogy and reading history to better understand the lives of our ancestors, I've been researching and writing a book for the past two and a half years.  Saturday, it went live on Amazon.com and great was the rejoicing in this household.

The book is Only in Andrews and here is the link.https://www.amazon.com/Only-Andrews-Janice-Harshbarger/dp/1530732859/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465820638&sr=8-1&keywords=Only+in+Andrews.  It's the story of the early years of the town I've lived in for about 46 years of my life.  Husband has lived here his entire life, except for time in the military way back when, and his parents, grandparents, and one set of great grandparents lived here also. 

Andrews is a fascinating little town of about 1100 people in northern Indiana.  At one time, it was the site of a village of Miami Indians.   The Wabash canal was located a mile or so north of what became "town", and later the Wabash railroad came through.  That's when a town was platted and growth began.  The railroad made the town their "division point" and for a time the town had a boom.  Population grew from 450 in 1870 to something around 2500 in 1883.  The railroad gradually pulled out, and the town went into a bit of a recession, but after several years the traction line came through, again north of town, and a fair sized factory was put into operation. 

Over the next years, the town suffered a bank failure (actually caused by the founder's frauds and forgeries), major fires, common crimes, political fights, the bankruptcy of the factory, and other injuries, but the town pulled itself together, attracted new families, and by 1916, when the book ends, Andrews was in good shape to continue as a small but vital part of Indiana. 

I've told some stories in the book that are similar to those on some of the gossip TV shows today.  There was a pastor who caused a terrible scandal, there were gambling dens and houses of ill-fame, there was a blind tiger during an early experiment with Prohibition.  The town elections of 1913 were as divisive as the Presidential election is this year.  Angry newsmakers attacked the editor of the local paper with fisticuffs and even stones.  Two juveniles got in a fight and one didn't survive. 

But there are also good stories, such as the faith healer who had a large practice from her home in Andrews, the Civil War veterans who were the backbone of the town for years, the many fund raisers and socials that gave the townspeople something to look forward to, and the influence of churches, lodges, and the school. 

All in all, I fell in love with the people of the town.  I came to love their successes and moan over their failures and tragedies, and I'm glad I took the time to learn some of their stories.  I hope some of my readers will enjoy the stories from the early years of the town, too. 

I never dreamed when I started this blog that I'd ever get to 300 posts, and I certainly never dreamed that I'd have a book published at the same time.  I'm still having fun, and there are still stories to write and ancestors to find, so I hope to be able to continue both blogging and possibly researching for another book.  Who knows what will come next?

Thanks to my faithful followers and readers, and here's to the next 100 posts, Lord willing. 


Friday, June 10, 2016

Holbrook line: William Tubbs abt 1611-1688 Immigrant, Shoemaker, and Wronged Husband

I can't believe I haven't written about William Tubbs in the almost three years I've been doing these blog posts.  He is really an interesting ancestor, and there's a lot of information about him.  There's a great write up in Robert Charles Anderson's The Great Migration, and also other information primarily authored by Louis McCartney, which are worth looking at if this just whets your curiosity.

Once again, the sources disagree on when and where William was born.  McCartney thinks about 1617 but Mr. Anderson thinks about 1611.  If it was 1611, there is a William Tubbes who was christened September 1, 1611, in Sutton, Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire, England.  The father's name was William Tubbes.  Many family historians are accepting this as his birthplace and father.  Anderson doesn't go that far, but accepts a birthdate of about 1611 due to William's marriage date.

William Tubbs was a shoemaker and a planter, but it's possible that he started out in the New World as a servant or indentured servant.  He was illiterate and as either a servant or a tradesman, would have had a lower social status than some of our other ancestors from this time period.  As a shoemaker, William was probably kept as busy as he wanted to be.  This was not a bad job, as far as trades go.  He could work inside in the winter and outside, if he wished, in the warmer months because his only equipment was his shoemaker's bench, which usually also included a box for his tools.  It was also a good time to be a shoemaker, because it was only necessary to make one pattern or last for each person.  Left and right shoes were still 150 years in the future.

Various dates are given for William's arrival in Plymouth but we know he was there in January of 37/38, when he was admitted a freeman.  This likely meant he had been in the colony for a while.  He volunteered in June of 1637 to serve in the Pequot War. This was a particularly nasty war with the Puritans murdering hundreds of Indians in their village, along with assorted battles.  It did, however, help take the pressure off of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies so the English could continue to expand and start more towns and villages.

As the war wound down, William found love, or we like to think that's what happened.  He married Mercy Sprague, daughter of Francis Sprague who had arrived in Plymouth in 1623.  The couple had  three children together, Bethiah, Samuel, and William.   William referred to his two youngest children, Benjamin and Joseph, in his will.  These were his children with his second wife, Dorothy.

William and Mercy moved to Duxbury in 1638 or 1639, one of the first towns that Plymouth Colony established.  Some of the inhabitants of Duxbury moved there because they found Plymouth to be too strict and they hoped Duxbury would be a little freer.  Others moved to Duxbury because they were promised land there.  The family may have moved for both of these reasons, or it may have been that it looked like Duxbury would grow and business would be good there. He was granted various pieces of land at Duxbury, and by 1653 sold some of his property, including his "now dwelling house and orchard with housing and whatever appurtenances thereunto..." so apparently he had been busy during the 15 years he had been there.  He acquired more property in 1655,1659, and 1662, and in 1658 had to have "Goodwife Thomas, a Welsh woman" removed from his land through court proceedings.

During this same time period, William Tubbs' marriage was coming apart.  We don't know the ins and outs or who did what when, but this situation seems to have come right out of the tabloids.  Mercy may have been a free spirit, one who was not suited to matrimony in a Puritan culture.  She was admonished in 1651/52 against mixed dancing, or which she was cleared but admonished.  Ten years later there were charges involving Josepth Rogers, that he had been "lying under a blanket" with Mercy Tubbs.  About this time, William started asking for a divorce.  In fact, he tried to divorce Mercy in the Old Testament fashion, by giving her a written divorce signed by witnesses.  Of course, this was not legally binding, and there were other reports of the misbehavior or Mercy and Josepth.  Finally, in 1668, William was able to obtain his divorce from the courts.  "Marcye" is referred to"being a woman of ill fame and light behavior apparently manifest, hath for the space of four years and upwards absented and withdrawn herself from the husband into another colony, pretending she is at liberty..."  Apparently Mercy regarded the "Old Testament" decree as being good enough for her. 

William stayed single for about three years, and then married Dorothy widow Soanes, who had two children.  William tried to be careful in this marriage, giving a kind of pre-nuptial agreement so Dorothy would have the use of a house and land that was to return to his heirs upon Dorothy's death. 
William and Dorothy got themselves in trouble and were sued for 15 pounds in one case and 100 pounds in another case, for slander and defamation of character.  One case was withdrawn, the second was found for the defendant (Tubbs).  Dorothy was fined  for breaking the King's peace in October of 1674. 

William died March 2, 1688, leaving an estate of only 14 pounds, with no real estate included.  Some he had already given or sold to a son, but we don't no what became of the rest of his land.  He was an interesting character, showing up in court records and in land records, and not much else.  It must have been difficult for him to hold his head up high, when his wife was causing such dishonor that a divorce was necessary.  We can hope he found some degree of happiness with Dorothy.

The line of descent is:

William Tubbs-Mercy Sprague
Samuel Tubbs-Mary Willey
Mercy Tubbs-John Crocker
Rachel Crocker-Kingland Comstock
Rachel Comstock-John Eames
John Eames-Elizabeth Longbottom
Hannah Eames-James Lamphire
Susan Lamphire-Joseph Eddy
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
 















Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Allen line: Field trip

I spend most of my genealogy time on line and in libraries because most of what I need to find in courthouses is a good distance away.  (There are some that are closer that I need to re-visit, because I didn't really know what I was doing in those first courthouse visits.)  Two weeks ago, I visited my sister in her new home and dragged her along with me while we did some sleuthing.  Actually, she might have enjoyed it, just a little.

Mt. Vernon, Illinois is more than seven hours from my home, so I don't expect to get there often.  And I need to go back, because we missed some important stuff while we were there, but what we found was awesome.

The first few places we looked (library at the historical museum, downtown library, some of the courthouse offices) turned out to be dead ends.  But when we started looking for land records, we struck gold.  Actually, Sue was the one who spotted the first clue, in an index.  I was so intent on finding Thomas J Knott that I didn't hear, or it didn't register, when she said, "John W. Knott."  I finally came to and said "We'd better look at that". 

Sure enough, it was a deed in which John W Knott bought land, 80 acres, in Shiloh Township, Jefferson County, Illinois.  His wife's name, Harriet, was also on the deed and their residence(s) made it quite clear that this was our great-grandfather.  We also found a deed in which Margaret A. Knott made a purchase of an adjoining 119 acres at the same time.  "Margaret A. Knott" didn't mean anything to me at the time but I later learned that she was the wife of Albert Adams Knott, one of John Wilson Knott's brothers.  We must have missed a deed in the time period between 1877 and 1883, when John W is again buying the land, this time from Thomas J and Albert Knott.  So somewhere, title must have passed to Thomas and Albert.  We need to go back and find that!  At any rate, John W in 1883 is buying the land again but still owes money to both Thomas and Albert.  (I don't know when Margaret transferred the land either, or for that matter, why she was buying land in her own name in the first place, or how Albert's name came into the picture.) 

The final deed we found was one transferring the deed when John W Knott, apparently as executor for Thomas's estate, sold the land in 1893, for about half of what was originally paid for it.  John W was at that time living in Phelps County, Nebraska and that is where the deed was originally recorded. 

Thanks to the wonderful people in the assessor's office, we were able to drive out to "the farm," which is now mostly grass and trees, and actually walk on a bit of the land that our great great grandfather and great grandfather had owned.  Thomas died in 1887, and it's believed that he is buried somewhere on his original eighty acres, but no one seems to know where the grave is.  We found no death record or obituary for him on this trip, which was a disappointment. 

Still, we now understand a little more about our family and about the family dynamics, although I still haven't figured out how my poor Presbyterian minister great grandfather had the money to purchase the land in the first place.  I don't know how Thomas then (probably) purchased the land, or why John W seems to have purchased it back.  Thomas owned a flouring mill and then a stone quarry, so perhaps he earned enough money to buy it from John and then as he aged needed cash again, so sold it back.  We need to find that missing deed to figure it out, I guess. 

I thoroughly enjoyed our sleuthing trip and am so grateful that we were able to actually find the land in question.  I always enjoy visiting my sister, but this trip was extra special.  It was also a good reminder to me to get back to the courthouses!

As usual, I'd love to hear from descendants, descendants of neighbors, or anyone else who knows more about this family.  I'm sure there is more to the story of Thomas Knott's final years. 

The line of descent is:

Thomas Knott-Hannah Bell
John W Knott-Harriet Starr
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Friday, June 3, 2016

Harshbarger line: Peter van Gundy 1713-1757

First, this is a condensed version of information found on the Van Gundy Family Tree website, with a couple of my own observations thrown in.  Knowing that some in our family are not likely to read the great amount of information, and speculation, there, I want to at least give the bare outline of this ancestor. 

Peter is believed to have come from the village of Gunten, on the Lake of Thun, Berne Canton, Switzerland.  He was born about 1713.  His father's name is variously given as Jacob or as Hans, so the jury is still out on that. 

Many Mennonite families either fled from Switzerland or were expelled, because they weren't allowed to practice their Anabaptist beliefs there.  Either you belonged to the state church and had your children baptized there, or you were not welcome.  These Mennonite families sometimes settled in what is now Germany, but their ultimate goal was usually Holland, where wealthier Mennonite families did much to help these people, who arrived with not much except the clothes they were wearing.  It's recorded that Peter spoke only Dutch, not German, so I believe his family likely arrived in Holland when he was just a young boy. 

We don't know anything about his childhood or young adulthood, and there seems to be no record of his arrival in Pennsylvania.  In general, Mennonites arrived fairly early in Pennsylvania history, many being there by 1740.  We know that Peter was there by 1738 because he had built a mill on Muddy Creek in Ephrata township by that date.  He must have learned that trade somewhere, either in Holland or perhaps as an apprentice or servant in Pennsylvania.  At any rate, being a miller meant some degree of economic stability, because it was an income in addition to whatever farming was done.

It was in this same general time frame, probably about 1739, that Peter married Fronica (Veronica) Farny or Forney.  They had at least seven children together, six boys and a girl. 

Peter purchased land in Earl Township, Lancaster County in 1749 and had it surveyed in 1750. In 1750 he is on the tax list in Cocalico Township and apparently in 1751 and 1754 also.  He must have acquired additional land because in 1755 he and wife "Fronich" sold 200 acres in Earl Township for 100 pounds.  In 1757, Peter was on the tax roll for the final time, and his widow is shown up until 1763. 

There is at least one story that says Peter was killed by native Americans in the early part of the French and Indian war, but there is no proof.  He is reported to have died on July 4, 1757.  Some sources say it was 1758 but since his widow is listed on the 1758 tax rolls, 1757 may be correct.  At any rate, he died without a will and his estate wasn't settled until 1772, when the farm (apparently in Cocalico Twp) was sold for 1200 pounds sterling, with the proceeds divided among the children. 

There are other stories about Peter's early life, some saying his family fled to France before going to Holland.  It's possible, but the language Peter spoke was Dutch so they wouldn't have been there long.  There is also a story that the family in Switzerland had possessed great wealth but this has generally been disproven.  The wealth of this family was in their faith, their family, and their farm.

The line of descent is:
 
Peter van Gundy-Fronica Farny
Magdalena van Gundy-Christian Harshbarger
John (Johannes) Harshbarger-Christina Elizabeth Fehler
George Harshbarger-Mary Kepler
Lewis Harshbarger-Catherine Mentzer
Emmanuel Harshbarger-Clara Ellen Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants