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Index and Table of Contents to The Brobst Chronicles
Title Page
Chapter One - The Early Swiss/German Probsts
Chapter Two - The History Of The German Immigration To America
Chapter Three - The Struggles of the Settlers
Chapter Four - The Early American Pennsylvania Brobsts
Chapter Five - Children of Philipp Jacob Probst
Chapter Six - The Other Children of Philipp Jacob Probst
Chapter Seven: The Other Children of Christophel Probst
Chapter Eight: Other Interesting Brobstology Intermarriages


Obadiah? Obadiah Brobst? Yes, there really was an Obadiah Brobst. He lived in the 1800s in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin. He was my great-great-grandfather. Whenever I asked one of the Brobst genealogists if they knew anything about him, they all smiled knowingly but sadly. They said they'd heard of him, but had no information about him. When I started this project, all I wanted to know was who his parents were. I had heard that he was born in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s, but little more.

I started making notes to document what I found. It began as a simple record search, instigated by my sister, Margaret Brobst Roth. Obadiah turned out to be an elusive character, and still remains somewhat so, but I sure know a lot more about Obadiah and the Brobst ancestors than I had ever thought I would know or care! It's much more than I originally wanted to know, but it took that to find what I was searching for. I searched the roots of my family so much that I got lost in its branches!

I finally positively identified one of Obadiah's parents, Johannes, Jr, and found his family Bible, but the search goes on to fill in the details. It took a lot of detective work to even learn the names of his paternal grandparents, Johannes (1750) and Anna Barbara (nee Stambach) Brobst.

But, in the course of my search of Obadiah's roots, I found myself immersed and engrossed in a part of America's history that was a most exciting and fascinating story of persecution, hardship, survival, and victory. After spending several years mining the Historical Veins of Pennsylvania for Dead Brobsts, putting together bits and pieces of information from dozens and dozens of books and genealogical reports, I realized that the story needed to be recorded in the Brobst archives. This is that story, 20,000 words long. And by telling this story, I feel like I am calling them back to life!

My report is part genealogy, part history, part mystery. It covers religious persecution, Indian attacks, real estate fraud, survival, and family flight. It's a story about Daniel Boone and William Penn, about Martin Luther and King Louis XIV, and about others who had such a direct influence on the fate of the beleagured and bedraggled German immigrants.

It's not a genealogical report in the strict sense. It's not full of "proofs". Most of those proofs rest in the hands of the many individual Brobst family researcher. The report has a lot of genealogical information, but it was written primarily as a history of my Brobst ancestors. It's much more readable than typical genealogies; the additional historical and geographical information is helpful in putting names and dates into the context of a real world. (A genealogist I'm not; a writer I am!)

I wanted my children to have some idea of where they came from, so I've written separate sections of the report on their British heritage as well -- Irish, Scottish, English, and even a touch of French Huegenot. But, to save all my Brobst readers the boredom of the Brits and the minutia of Obadiah and his descendants, that's all in a separate document just for my family!

This report represents hundreds of hours of my research and hundreds of miles of travel, digging into the records of a dozen Pennsylvania counties and several Ohio ones as well. I visited State and County historical and genealogical societies, public libraries, county courthouses, cemeteries, and churches. I visited Kandel and Minfeld in the German Palatinate, and Oberseebach in France's Alsace. I wrote to and talked with dozens of Brobst genealogists, trying to sort out the plethora of data as well as numerous conflicts I found in many of the records and reports, old and new.

One thing that jumped out at me quickly in doing this research is the degree of gender discrimination (that's "sexism"). The entire genealogical emphasis is on the male side of the family. The women are mentioned for a generation or two, but are then pretty much ignored after that. It's obviously more the name than the blood! Even the census reports listed the men and boys separately, and lumped all the females together just before the listing for slaves and Indians!

That bias was in full swing in the 1700s. In most of the wills I read, the husband always provided for his wife -- for example, a house, maybe a barn, three milk cows, four pigs, a side of beef each year, a share of the profits of the sale of corn and wheat, two gallons of maple syrup, etc., for as long as she lived. But woe unto her if she remarried! The husband often stated in the will that if she did remarry, she'd forfeit all of what he left her! Talk about keeping them in bondage even after death!! It seems that the primary purpose of the women in those days were to serve as baby machines, housekeepers, seamstresses, laundresses, and nurturers! Boys and girls could marry anytime after they turned 21, so they stayed home to help with farming chores until then. Girls could marry after 16 provided they had their father's permission! Somehow, though, I have a feeling that those women really had a lot more influence in their families' lives than is evident on the surface.

Just about all of my American Brobst ancestors, 200 years of them, were farmers. That chain is broken with my generation. My siblings and I had a taste of it as children, and want no more of it. Our children have a similar lack of interest in farming!

In my report, I often refer to people by their first names only, and often follow their names with the year of their birth, e.g., Johannes F. (1750). That's to relieve some of confusion that results from so many of the Brobsts having the same first names. There are currently a dozen Martins, a hundred Johns, twenty Michaels, fifty Catharines, etc., in the Registry�s data bank, many of whom are discussed in this report. I wanted to avoid a complex generational numbering system, like the Ahnentafel mode, and so using the birth year seemed to serve my purpose. No Ahnentafel numbers!

There are some appendices that are related to the entire question of Brobst genealogy, though. They're quite interesting. Like the story of Valentine. Where the name "Brobst" came from. Why the similarities in first names. The history of the Brobst's Jerusalem (Red) Church in Berks County. Problems in determining accuracy of informa tion. The American Propsts. Sorting out the Pennsylvania counties. History of Wangen, Alsace, and the German Palatinate. Transportation in the Pennsylvania wilderness.

If the information in this report whets your appetite for more, just let me know by phone or mail. And, of course, if you see errors or know of additions you think I should know about, please tell me. I'd be delighted to increase the accuracy of the information. And why not try to attend one of the almost-annual Brobst Family Reunions, held in various locations around the country? I've just recently learned about some Brobst reunions back around the turn of the century in Ohio, and a couple in the mid-1930s in Pennsylvania.

If you aren't sure which of these old ancestors your Brobst branches come down from, contact the Curator, Brobst Family Historical Registry, for the connection. There are over 5000 Brobsts and 1200 Probsts in the Registry�s data base. Or look for it yourself on the Brobst family webpage:

You'll probably find your great-grandfather (and all his ancestors) listed there! Please let me know your Brobst ancestry, so I can fill in some later-day blanks on the ancestor tree. Copies of this report may be ordered from the author for the price of copying and postage, which is $18.00, postage paid. (Hey, it's a long report!)

�Try genealogy. You can't get fired and you can't quit!�


My special thanks to my family: my sister, Peg Roth, who contributed so much to this report (she's the one who kept many of the family records, and then sicced me onto the chase when she tired of it -- I may never forgive her!); my sister, Polly Scott; and to the many others who helped me immensely in finding genealogical information and family history -- especially Paula Brobst Pennington (Editor of the "Brobst Genealogy News"), Donna Kilroy (our first Brobst webmistress), Kay Schaney (our present Brobst webmistress), and the nice folks at the various county historical societies.

Many individual Brobst genealogists provided me with invaluable information that allowed me to piece together this crazy puzzle: Richard Angstadt, Alice-Ann Askew, Sue Bell, Jan Binkley, Mary & Vern Brobst, Schuyler Brossman (dec�d), Dean Cunfer, Christine Ence, Walter Eye, Paul Gann, Lil Geiger, Sally Gordon, Frances Hackworth, Sandy Hart, Diane Howard, Dora Kamalu, Ruth Kunze, Mac McLaughlin, Mary Lou Mariner, Marilyn Mosson, Earl Peitz, Carolyn Price, Bill Rutledge (dec�d), Elaine Schwar, LuAnn Staheli, Claire Talbert, Charles & Peggy Taylor, Sue Zumchak, and many other Brobsts who have done so much searching and who have written such voluminous reports on file with the BCGS in Kutztown and elsewhere. And, of course, you all certainly subscribe to the Brobst Genealogy News, published by Paula Brobst Pennington, 30437 Fairfax Ave, Southfield , MI 48076 E-Mail: [email protected]. You can also read her newsletters on a new and interesting Brobst Family Historical Registry website:

There are many other websites of interest to Brobst genealogists as well, and you may contact the author for details on those.

One final and very special acknowledgment to the Berks County Genealogical Society in Reading, Pennsylvania. Their staff and library provided the initial basis for my research and effort to nail down the nomadic Brobsts. Thank you, BCGS!

Bless you all!

Comments and corrections are encouraged!!

Call collect, or send your E-Mail to: [email protected].

Bill Brobst
October, 1998

"Grandparents: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they're sure you're not raising them right."


10. You introduce your daughter as your descendant.

9. You've never met any of the people you send E-mail to, even though you're related.

8. You can recite your lineage back eight generations, but can't remember your nephew's name.

7. You have more photographs of dead people than living ones.

6. You've ever taken a tape recorder and/or notebook to a family reunion.

5. You've not only read the latest GEDCOM standard, but also you understand it.

4. The local genealogy society borrows books from you.

3. The only film you've seen in the last year was the 1880 census index.

2. More than half of your CD collection is made up of marriage records or pedigrees.

1. Your elusive ancestor has been spotted in more different places than Elvis!

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