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What do you know of your family history?


MrPotatoTed
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Curious to see what everyone knows about their own family history, and how far back they can trace it.

I can trace my direct male ancestors all the way back to 1628, with the birth of my Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather Ulrich, who moved from Switzerland to Germany.  A few generations later, my Great Great Great Great Great Great grandfather Heinrich emigrated to New York, which was still one of the British Colonies at the time.

His son, my Great Great Great Great Great grandfather Henry was the first of my family to be born in the Colonies.  Henry fought in the American Revolutionary War -- against those damned uppity rebels.  ;c)  Though he was on the losing side, he was rewarded for his loyalty to the crown, being granted acreage up in Canada -- where 80% of the people still alive with my surname remain today.  

My Great Great grandfather Willis was the one who left Canada in the late 1800's/early 1900's, ending up in Pittsburgh.  Most of the surviving Americans with my surname trace their lineage back to him.

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2 hours ago, MrPotatoTed said:

Curious to see what everyone knows about their own family history, and how far back they can trace it.

I can trace my direct male ancestors all the way back to 1628, with the birth of my Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather Ulrich, who moved from Switzerland to Germany.  A few generations later, my Great Great Great Great Great Great grandfather Heinrich emigrated to New York, which was still one of the British Colonies at the time.

His son, my Great Great Great Great Great grandfather Henry was the first of my family to be born in the Colonies.  Henry fought in the American Revolutionary War -- against those damned uppity rebels.  ;c)  Though he was on the losing side, he was rewarded for his loyalty to the crown, being granted acreage up in Canada -- where 80% of the people still alive with my surname remain today.  

My Great Great grandfather Willis was the one who left Canada in the late 1800's/early 1900's, ending up in Pittsburgh.  Most of the surviving Americans with my surname trace their lineage back to him.

You’re the only person with your surname I’ve ever heard of. 

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My surname’s earliest known ancestor was born c. 1710 in Saxony, then a German duchy. My people were a Slavic minority within Germany that still exist there today. My surname moved from there to Texas, arriving in Galveston in 1881. I was born in TX. 
 

75% of my patrilineal ancestors are also these rare Slavic Germans, most who arrived in Texas in 1853 or 1854. Three or four died of cholera in the same epidemic during the trip over. Their children fortunately survived or I wouldn’t be here. 
 

25% of my patrilineal ancestors are Germans. Half of these are from Wurttemberg and are known as Swabian Germans. They arrived in TX in 1860. The other half arrived from Oldenburg, Germany in 1851 and settled in TX. However, they were recent to Oldenburg, probably having moved to this duchy in western Germany c.1815. They were from eastern Germany, just north of Berlin. The surname of this part of my family is actually Prussian, so they had been even further east in what is now Northern Poland but was then at least 50% German, if not more. 

My mom’s side is a little more of a mix. Her maiden name is German, probably Palatine German. They arrived in Philadelphia in c. 1746. I also have Germans arriving there in c. 1690s. I also have English arriving in c. 1680s there. 

I have Czech and Moravian ancestors that arrived in TX in 1907, my most recent immigrant ancestors.

I have an English family that arrived in Canada in c. 1838 and then moved to the US in c. 1861 via Buffalo, NY.

About 25% of my ancestors on my mom’s side are English. They mostly arrived in Massachusetts between 1628 and 1640. Many of them are landed gentry families from England. About 11 of these families have proven Royal descent. 

I also have some German and English ancestors not accounted for in the above. I’m not sure exactly where and when they arrived. One group probably arrived in MD or DE or PA. Another probably arrived in NJ. 

100% of my dads side migrated to TX. For my mom’s side it was MA, CT, NH, ME, PA, NJ, MD, NY, Canada. Some eventually moved westward into OH (primarily), and to KS, WI, NE, IN, WV, MO, and then south to TX. 

My dad was born in TX like I was. My mom was born in OH but moved to Texas before she was 10. My last MA ancestor died in 1932. My last ancestor to never have lived in TX was my Czech-born great-grandmother in 1979, who was living in KS. 
 

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4 hours ago, vcczar said:

You’re the only person with your surname I’ve ever heard of. 

There are fewer than 90 of us in the US, to my knowledge.  There’s about 400 in Canada, a whopping 2 in Whales...and that’s it, as far as I know, with this spelling.

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12 hours ago, MrPotatoTed said:

There are fewer than 90 of us in the US, to my knowledge.  There’s about 400 in Canada, a whopping 2 in Whales...and that’s it, as far as I know, with this spelling.

My surname has fewer than 10 members in Germany, despite the surname originating there. Almost all the rest are in the US with some in Australia. Of those in the US, the surname is overwhelmingly in TX. 

However, a website says there are 11 in Germany, and about 100 in the US and 0 in Australia. 

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I have tons of interesting specific history that will give everything away, so that for another day lol (really local yet major stuff back home)

Something that is interesting is I know that the reason I have native American blood is because my Scottish immigrant great grandfather fell in love with a native American woman (great grandmother) the year he came to America. 

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On 6/5/2021 at 6:35 PM, Patine said:

 

I have two lineages on my mother's side, from my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother's father, which trace significantly back to Scotland - my mother has a photo she took of her great-grandfather's gravestone on a trip to Scotland, and my mother and one of my uncles has a tartan and coat-of-arms plague display for the clan of my paternal grandfather. There was big family reunion in Victoria of all the descendants of the aforementioned maternal grandmother's father in the '90's, and there were a LOT of people there. Both sides of my father's side definitely come from England, but much less seems to be known about them. My grandfather remembers that he was unable to find relations (although his liberty to do so due to his duties and restrictions were highly notable) when he was serving there as a belly gunner in a bomber for the RAF in WW2. These ancestors all seem to have arrived in Canada in the late 19th or early 20th Century, at varying points.

My wife (and therefore my daughter) are descendants of the Scottish King Robert the Bruce.  

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Most of my famous connections comes from my dad's mom's side of the family. That side is directly connected to the LaRue family (a very prominent one in the founding/settling of KY). Larue County is named after them. The Castleman Family is another prominent KY family from that side. They were the branch that was over-willingly pro-confederate. My dad's dad's side mostly traces back to Germany. My mom's dad's side likely goes back to France and the British Isles. Unsure about my mom's mom's side.

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3 hours ago, jvikings1 said:

Most of my famous connections comes from my dad's mom's side of the family. That side is directly connected to the LaRue family (a very prominent one in the founding/settling of KY). Larue County is named after them. The Castleman Family is another prominent KY family from that side. They were the branch that was over-willingly pro-confederate. My dad's dad's side mostly traces back to Germany. My mom's dad's side likely goes back to France and the British Isles. Unsure about my mom's mom's side.

Where in Germany

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12 hours ago, vcczar said:

Where in Germany

I wanted to ask the same. 

You @vcczar have mentioned your ancestors trace back to the city of Oldenburg. I find that highly interesting. What I have you already told about is that I am much more interested into places often overlooked or rarely mentioned. I dub this the ''Arkansas phenomenon'' for me because as already explained I am more interested into these more unknown places of the US like Arkansas or South Dakota than California for example.

In regards to Germany I have several towns I am more interested into compared to the big names like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich or Cologne. 

I'd say German towns I'd like to visit more than the big names are (in no particular order) Bielefeld, Osnabrück, Oldenburg, Duisburg, Bochum, Rostock, Cottbus, Halberstadt, Magdeburg. Somewhere in the second tier for me are cities like Dresden, Leipzig, Jena, Augsburg. I'd love to go to Münster, because one of my most favorite German TV series is filmed there and I'd like to visit the most famous places from it (a second hand book shop for example).

By the way my most favorite state of Germany is Saxony-Anhalt.

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15 minutes ago, ConservativeElector2 said:

I wanted to ask the same. 

You @vcczar have mentioned your ancestors trace back to the city of Oldenburg. I find that highly interesting. What I have you already told about is that I am much more interested into places often overlooked or rarely mentioned. I dub this the ''Arkansas phenomenon'' for me because as already explained I am more interested into these more unknown places of the US like Arkansas or South Dakota than California for example.

In regards to Germany I have several towns I am more interested into compared to the big names like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich or Cologne. 

I'd say German towns I'd like to visit more than the big names are (in no particular order) Bielefeld, Osnabrück, Oldenburg, Duisburg, Bochum, Rostock, Cottbus, Halberstadt, Magdeburg. Somewhere in the second tier for me are cities like Dresden, Leipzig, Jena, Augsburg. I'd love to go to Münster, because one of my most favorite German TV series is filmed there and I'd like to visit the most famous places from it (a second hand book shop for example).

By the way my most favorite state of Germany is Saxony-Anhalt.

Here are my ancestral German towns:

  • My surname is Slavic German (Sorbian). They came from the Bautzen-area in Saxony, which was/is predominately Slavic. 
  • My non-surname Slavic German ancestors come primarily from Klitten, Saxony and that area, which isn't too far from Bautzen. 
  • I have two German lines on my dad's side too. One is from the Ulm-area in Wurttemberg. I have an ancestor in almost all the small towns outside Ulm. 
  • The other German line on my dad's side is the one that lived in Oldenburg. I also have ancestors in the small towns outside Oldenburg. However, one of the Oldenburg ancestors moved there from Lychen, which is a beautiful town just north of Berlin. This ancestor's ancestors were actually Prussian and came from German communities in Northern Poland but I'm not sure of the exact location. 
  • My mom's side also has some Germans, all of which are probably Palatine Germans from either Baden, or along the Rhine, although there's a rumor one is from Hanover. One might actually be from somewhere very close to the Netherlands based on the name. For whatever reason, the exact location of the Germans on my mom's side are not known except for one from Wurttemberg near or in Heilbronn. 

I've told you about my Czech and Moravian ancestors. Also, have a lot of English ancestors from all the New England Puritans and some Welsh. Going way, way back, since I have royal ancestry (King Edward I is my most recent royal ancestor, although it's possible but unproven that I might link up to Edward III), I have ancestors in about every European location since marriage spanned across nations for the upper class. 

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15 hours ago, vcczar said:

Where in Germany

Baden-Wurttemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Macklenburg-Vorpommern are the 3 known locations. My dad's dad's dad's dad's side is unknown because he had a falling out with his parents and left home at an early age (leaving records very difficult to locate). But with a name of Frederick Joseph, it is easy to assume that his line is from somewhere in Germany.

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31 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Baden-Wurttemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Macklenburg-Vorpommern are the 3 known locations. My dad's dad's dad's dad's side is unknown because he had a falling out with his parents and left home at an early age (leaving records very difficult to locate). But with a name of Frederick Joseph, it is easy to assume that his line is from somewhere in Germany.

I have a lot of Baden-Wurttemberg (all Wurttemberg actually, and mostly near Ulm, but one is near Heilbronn). Do you know the specific locations? I have one ancestor that I know of born in Triepkendorf, which is in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. I probably have some from North Rhine-Westphalia as I have Palatine Germans, but I don't know their exact locations. 

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16 minutes ago, vcczar said:

I have a lot of Baden-Wurttemberg (all Wurttemberg actually, and mostly near Ulm, but one is near Heilbronn). Do you know the specific locations? I have one ancestor that I know of born in Triepkendorf, which is in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. I probably have some from North Rhine-Westphalia as I have Palatine Germans, but I don't know their exact locations. 

Ortenaukreis; specifically Lauf and Hohenlohe; specifically Bretzfeld

My ancestor from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was born in the Ludwigslust-Parchim district.

 

I also noticed that I do have one ancestor from Prussia as well (though nothing further is known about that line beyond this one person)

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2 hours ago, vcczar said:

Here are my ancestral German towns:

  • My surname is Slavic German (Sorbian). They came from the Bautzen-area in Saxony, which was/is predominately Slavic. 
  • My non-surname Slavic German ancestors come primarily from Klitten, Saxony and that area, which isn't too far from Bautzen. 
  • I have two German lines on my dad's side too. One is from the Ulm-area in Wurttemberg. I have an ancestor in almost all the small towns outside Ulm. 
  • The other German line on my dad's side is the one that lived in Oldenburg. I also have ancestors in the small towns outside Oldenburg. However, one of the Oldenburg ancestors moved there from Lychen, which is a beautiful town just north of Berlin. This ancestor's ancestors were actually Prussian and came from German communities in Northern Poland but I'm not sure of the exact location. 
  • My mom's side also has some Germans, all of which are probably Palatine Germans from either Baden, or along the Rhine, although there's a rumor one is from Hanover. One might actually be from somewhere very close to the Netherlands based on the name. For whatever reason, the exact location of the Germans on my mom's side are not known except for one from Wurttemberg near or in Heilbronn. 

I've told you about my Czech and Moravian ancestors. Also, have a lot of English ancestors from all the New England Puritans and some Welsh. Going way, way back, since I have royal ancestry (King Edward I is my most recent royal ancestor, although it's possible but unproven that I might link up to Edward III), I have ancestors in about every European location since marriage spanned across nations for the upper class. 

Thank you for this information. I've heard of all of these towns except for Klitten and Lychen.

Bautzen is pretty cool. Railway fans like me are probably fond of cities like Bautzen, Halberstadt and Görlitz because they used to have wagon building factories during the time of the German Democratic Republic. In my opinion they had some of the best models ever made, but sadly most of these wagons are out of order by now or have been sold to countries like Hungary or Bulgaria.

Hannover has also a chilling flair. I like Lower Saxony as a state especially because of it's northern maritime culture around the area of Friesland. Generally I think the northern German culture is pretty nice, because it can be viewed already as somewhat coastal or even Scandinavian (at the border to Denmark). That's a notion I like about non-German speaking areas like Shetland, the Faroe Islands or Iceland as well. And if I ever had to work on German literature professionally, I'd devote my time to work on northern German literature for sure. There you have got the best literature from Germany I think.

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2 hours ago, vcczar said:

Here are my ancestral German towns:

  • My surname is Slavic German (Sorbian). They came from the Bautzen-area in Saxony, which was/is predominately Slavic. 
  • My non-surname Slavic German ancestors come primarily from Klitten, Saxony and that area, which isn't too far from Bautzen. 
  • I have two German lines on my dad's side too. One is from the Ulm-area in Wurttemberg. I have an ancestor in almost all the small towns outside Ulm. 
  • The other German line on my dad's side is the one that lived in Oldenburg. I also have ancestors in the small towns outside Oldenburg. However, one of the Oldenburg ancestors moved there from Lychen, which is a beautiful town just north of Berlin. This ancestor's ancestors were actually Prussian and came from German communities in Northern Poland but I'm not sure of the exact location. 
  • My mom's side also has some Germans, all of which are probably Palatine Germans from either Baden, or along the Rhine, although there's a rumor one is from Hanover. One might actually be from somewhere very close to the Netherlands based on the name. For whatever reason, the exact location of the Germans on my mom's side are not known except for one from Wurttemberg near or in Heilbronn. 

I've told you about my Czech and Moravian ancestors. Also, have a lot of English ancestors from all the New England Puritans and some Welsh. Going way, way back, since I have royal ancestry (King Edward I is my most recent royal ancestor, although it's possible but unproven that I might link up to Edward III), I have ancestors in about every European location since marriage spanned across nations for the upper class. 

On my dad's mom's side (the one connected with the LaRue's), my Uncle has traced a line back to the Mayflower (and also some minor English royalty)

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25 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Ortenaukreis; specifically Lauf and Hohenlohe; specifically Bretzfeld

My ancestor from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was born in the Ludwigslust-Parchim district.

 

I also noticed that I do have one ancestor from Prussia as well (though nothing further is known about that line beyond this one person)

I have one Prussian family. What are the surnamed of your Massachusetts families I can let you know which link to royalty. I have a book. Also curious if we are related at any point. 

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26 minutes ago, ConservativeElector2 said:

Thank you for this information. I've heard of all of these towns except for Klitten and Lychen.

Bautzen is pretty cool. Railway fans like me are probably fond of cities like Bautzen, Halberstadt and Görlitz because they used to have wagon building factories during the time of the German Democratic Republic. In my opinion they had some of the best models ever made, but sadly most of these wagons are out of order by now or have been sold to countries like Hungary or Bulgaria.

Hannover has also a chilling flair. I like Lower Saxony as a state especially because of it's northern maritime culture around the area of Friesland. Generally I think the northern German culture is pretty nice, because it can be viewed already as somewhat coastal or even Scandinavian (at the border to Denmark). That's a notion I like about non-German speaking areas like Shetland, the Faroe Islands or Iceland as well. And if I ever had to work on German literature professionally, I'd devote my time to work on northern German literature for sure. There you have got the best literature from Germany I think.

If I go to Germany I’ll take day trips to Bautzen and Lychen. The earliest person with my surname lived technically in Bayreuth bei Bautzen. Apparently the homestead still has an H on the gate. 

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12 minutes ago, vcczar said:

I have one Prussian family. What are the surnamed of your Massachusetts families I can let you know which link to royalty. I have a book. Also curious if we are related at any point. 

Pennell, Durrell, Coy

I am currently working on deciphering all the information on Anacestory. Though my Uncle believes we have a line that goes back to William Brewster (the highest ranking member of the Seperatist Church on the ship).

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20 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Pennell, Durrell, Coy

I am currently working on deciphering all the information on Anacestory. Though my Uncle believes we have a line that goes back to William Brewster (the highest ranking member of the Seperatist Church on the ship).

Those three names don’t register. Yeah, Brewster would be a nice connection. Lots of faulty connections out there. I don’t recommend using other people’s family trees as proof unless they have solid records to back it up. 

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3 hours ago, vcczar said:

Those three names don’t register. Yeah, Brewster would be a nice connection. Lots of faulty connections out there. I don’t recommend using other people’s family trees as proof unless they have solid records to back it up. 

Absolutely correct about that. That's why I like ancestory.com because it gives you the records to look at yourself and analyze. I mostly only ever use other people's trees as references.

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@vcczar

I have been focusing on my mom's dad's side of the family over the last couple days and likely found a few more Mayflower connections: John Howland, Elizabeth Tilley, John Tilley, Joan Tilley (Hurst). There were a large number of people in this branch that settled the Massachusetts area and came from England (including Wales).

I am actually surprised how much English my grandpa has from his side. It is not something that had been noted before I started taking a look into the records.

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20 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

@vcczar

I have been focusing on my mom's dad's side of the family over the last couple days and likely found a few more Mayflower connections: John Howland, Elizabeth Tilley, John Tilley, Joan Tilley (Hurst). There were a large number of people in this branch that settled the Massachusetts area and came from England (including Wales).

I am actually surprised how much English my grandpa has from his side. It is not something that had been noted before I started taking a look into the records.

Howland and Tilley are known to me. They're well-known, genealogically speaking. I'm curious to see your tree at some point. You might like this link of famous descendants of John Howland: https://famouskin.com/famous-kin-menu.php?name=9216+john+howland

 

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3 hours ago, vcczar said:

Howland and Tilley are known to me. They're well-known, genealogically speaking. I'm curious to see your tree at some point. You might like this link of famous descendants of John Howland: https://famouskin.com/famous-kin-menu.php?name=9216+john+howland

 

Once I finish everything up, I might send you the link to look at. I did find another interesting connection on another line from my mom's dad. Apparently, I am a direct descendent of Sarah Boone (Daniel's oldest sister who was disowned for marrying a non-Quaker). That makes Daniel Boone my 7th great-uncle.

Again, not something I expected to find, but a welcome one for sure!

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