Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Harshbarger line: A temporary wrap up

I thought for this post I'd write a general post about this family.  As with all generalizations, it will be not be 100% correct, but this should help us get a feel for the Harshbargers and all their many inter-connected lines.  Many of the Harshbarger families, and their wives' families, came from Switzerland via what is now Germany or from one of the German principalities themselves. Some were Anabaptist of one sort or another, while others were of the Lutheran, or the Reformed faith.  I've not found any ancestors who appeared to be Roman Catholic, but that may be because we can trace few lines back beyond 1700 or so, in the "Old Country". 

I've found nothing that makes me think these families were ever connected to nobility or royalty.  These people were the salt of the earth folks who farmed or/and had a very small business that needed to support, generally,a very large family.  Restrictions in how land could be acquired and passed down forced many of these large families to come to America, where hard work would be rewarded.  Many of these men owned 100 acres or more within a few years of their arrival here.  Usually the men, or their widows, left the largest part of their estate to the oldest son, but sometimes they were able to provide for all their children equally.  Daughters were not given land, although occasionally a son-in-law would receive land, perhaps because he had helped care for his father in law in his old age.  Daughters were more typically given household goods or money, and sometimes a cow or other animal.

Most of the German lines were in Pennsylvania by 1755, and many of them, or their sons, were in the militia during the French and Indian War, and fought or at least supported the Revolutionary War, as well.  Once the West began opening up (whatever "West" meant at the time), large parts of these families moved to western Pennsylvania and then (or directly) to Stark and Summit County, Ohio, where some fought in the War of 1812.  From there, the families moved to Whitley County, Indiana. 

There were exceptions to the German lines, of course, and some German families ended up in Licking County, Ohio, via West Virginia, before there was a West Virginia, and before coming to Whitley County..  At some point, the Germans began marrying outside their faith and outside their language.  Irish, English, and even French ancestors are known to exist.  These people would have had different cultural backgrounds but they, too, seem to have come to America to work and better themselves, and give their children a chance at a better life.

There are English lines that go back to the very early days of Virginia, more than 100 years before the Germans started arriving in Pennsylvania.  I have visions in my mind of how these people lived, and worked, and neighbored, and worshipped, and I hope by now you have some sense of this, too.  At some point, records cease to exist or are not readily available, and my research comes to a temporary stopping place.  I may find more information about particular ancestors as I continue to research, or I may find nothing at all worth noting on this blog. 

If I have nothing new to write about anyone in the Harshbarger line, my every-other-week blog post will be about something else, not a particular ancestor but perhaps about a book I've read, a research site I've visited, or perhaps some of my own memories about my own experiences, which are in no way memorable but still, they are part of the story of who we think we are.  Thanks for sharing this journey through time and space with me!  Stay tuned for more stories about the Allen, Holbrook, and Beeks ancestors, as I learn more of their stories.