GERMANNA History Notes Page #092

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This is the NINETY-SECOND 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.

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This Page Contains Notes 2276 through 2300.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 92

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Nr. 2276:

I am amazed, or perhaps amused, with people who consider a marriage license or a marriage record as proof of motherhood.  Their typical question is, "Is there a marriage license?  Do you have proof of the marriage?"  They consider this as black and white evidence that is solid.

Consider Johann Friedrich Mueller who married Anna Maria Arnd in Freudenberg (a documented fact in the church records).  They came in 1738 on the ship Oliver.  John Frederick Miller�s will, he being the same man, named his wife Mary.  So we have a case that the marriage record says Anna Maria and the will says Mary.  Of course, Mary is the Anglicized version of Maria.  And we know that the Germans often used the second given name as their calling name.  So was Anna Maria Arnd the mother of John Frederick�s children?  Perhaps she was, but the marriage license and the will do not prove the case.

The case just cited is fairly clear.  There seems to be a paper trail of documentation and most people would put Anna Maria Arnd on their charts without any hesitation.  Are they making a mistake?  Of the passengers on the ship Oliver, about two out of three died on the trip.  Mary is a rather common name.  Maybe Anna Maria Arnd died on the voyage and John Frederick married again.  The odds that Anna Maria Arnd is the mother of the children is only about two out of three or something in this range.  And this is for a case where the paper documentation seems to be good.

If you have a similar situation, do you put it down as a certainty or do you indicate there a probability that is well below the certainty?

Now consider the case of the parents, in the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley, who bring a child for baptism.  In at least one case the male adult is not the father, the father having died before the child was born.  But in the general case, ignoring these rare exceptions, the sponsors tell us a lot about the maiden name of the mother.

For example, Michael Schwindel and his wife Elisabetha brought Hanna for baptism (in 1776).  The sponsors were Georg Utz, Jun., Rebecca Freh, and Margaret Breil.  George Utz, Jun., had a sister Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had a sister Margaret, who married John Broyles.  That Michael had a sister Rebecca completes the pattern of naming siblings as sponsors.  There is no question in my mind that Elizabeth Schwindel�s maiden name was Utz.

To me this is better evidence than is given by a marriage license or other legal documentation.  Yet my conclusion is based on implied evidence and not on an explicit statement.  Some people have difficulty accepting that implied evidence may be better than explicit evidence.
(24 Mar 06)

Nr. 2277:

One of the articles in Beyond Germanna that most pleased me was written by Sally T. Baughn about Eve Baumgardner Boughan.  This was almost fifteen years ago, in the July 1991 issue, on page 151.  I will use many of her words in this and following notes.

"My husband and I have just made a connection that gave us the surname of his great-great-great-great-grandfather�s wife, a name that family members have been seeking for at least sixty years, perhaps longer.  It happened this way:

"A few months ago, my husband and I went to our local library to see what they had added to their genealogy room since our last trip there.  One of the previously unseen items was a subscription to Beyond Germanna which I began to look through.  During my page turning, I notice the surname �Deer� which had arisen during some previous research on the Baughn family.  Upon stopping to look more closely, I read, �Eve Baumgardner m. (prob.) Ambrose Bohannon.�

"Imagine my curiosity!  In all our research through publications and papers from Culpeper County, VA, there had been only one Eve and she was the wife of Mordecai Boughan.  Now not only was someone named Eve, but she had a brother named Joel, a half-brother Moses, and half-sisters Catherine and Susanna.  Of her ten children, our Eve named two sons Joel and Moses, and two daughters Catherine and Susanna.  Additionally, a Jeremiah and a Simeon Deer had lived at the same time in Culpeper County, and Eve had two sons named Jeremiah and Simeon.

"Reading on, my excitement grew upon finding that John Deer had left an inheritance to Eve �Bohan�, who was presumed to be the wife of Ambrose Bohannon, coexecutor of John Deer�s will.  In my heart of heart, I knew it had to be our Eve and �Bohan� was simply another version of a phonetic spelling of Boughan.  Now to prove it!

"A phone conversation with the author of the article, Ardys V. Hurt, left us still wondering, as she did not know a great deal about Eve, but she promised to do what she could.  It took a bit of time, during which we were still running into some stone walls in Virginia, but Mrs. Hurt came through.  When we were beginning to lose hope, the mailman delivered a letter which read, in part, �Eve Baugh was definitely the daughter of Frederick and Catherine Baumgartner.�  The proof would be forthcoming as soon as copies were made.  Three days later, the proof came, in the form of a copy of a deposition made by Eve Vaughan/Baughan in March 1828, wherein Eve stated she was the sister of Joel Bumgarner and Dolly Fleshman."

(to be continued)
(27 Mar 06)

Nr. 2278:

(Continuing with Sally Baughn�s account of Eve Baumgardner Boughan:)

"At any rate, with the new knowledge and many thanks to Ardys Hurt, here is a new look at Eve�s family:

"Eve Baumgardner married Mordecai Boughan (perhaps in 1771 or 1772) as their first child was born in October of 1772.  Mordecai Boughan died before 1792 and Eve did not remarry, but continued to own and improve his estate.  Eve�s will was written in 1829 and proved in May 1835, but the estate was not settled until November 1838.  The children of Mordecai and Eve, as named in both their wills, were:

1. Henry Boughan, b. 4 Oct 1772, m. Elizabeth Wall,
2. Sarah Boughan, b. ca 1773-75, m. Michael Aylor,
3. Susanna Boughan, b. ca 1775, m. Robert Jones,
4. Lystra Boughan, b. ca 1777, m. Margaret Hitt,
5. Mordecai Boughan, b. ca 1782, m. Mary Zimmerman,
6. Moses Boughan, b. 9 Feb 1783, m. Sarah Yowell,
7. Catherine Vaughan, b. ca 1790, never married,
8. Jeremiah Vaughan, b. ca 1785-92, m. Molly Unknown,
9. Simeon Boughan, b. 8 Jul 1786, m. Lucy Haines,
10. Joel Vaughan, b. 1785-92, m. Frances Unknown.

"Henry, Lystra, Mordecai, Moses, and Simeon pioneered in Ohio.  Michael and Sarah Boughan Aylor pioneered in Boone Co., Kentucky.  Susanna, Catherine, and Joel�s wife and children continued to live in Virginia, and we have no further information about Jeremiah�s family.  Catherine, Jeremiah, and Joel are listed as �Vaughan� because that seems to be the way they were known in Culpeper Co., VA.  The two spellings are used interchangeably in old court records."

(Editor�s note.) Ardys Hurt wrote, "Gene Dear deserves ALL of the credit re Eve Baumgardner.  He sent the copies of records and I simply passed on information regarding Eve�s proof of parentage."  Among the reasons that I liked the story was it illustrated that cooperation pays.  Steven Bunger and the publisher of Beyond Germanna paid for the Preble County District Library subscription which was the start of Sally Baughan�s story.  Gene Dear and Ardys Hurt supplied missing information.
(28 Mar 06)

Nr. 2279:

Let�s look at Eve Baumgardner�s parents and siblings.  (See the last two Notes.)

Frederick Baumgardner was the nephew of Johann Michael Willheit and both of them came from the village of Schwaigern.  Frederick arrived in 1732 at Philadelphia.  In the Robinson River Valley, he married Catherine Unknown.  They had six children before Frederick died.  His will was written in 1745 and probated in 1746.  After he died, Catherine married John Deer (Hirsch).

The six children of Frederick and Catherine were (not necessarily in birth order):

1. Adam
2. George
3. Frederick
4. Joel
5. Dorothy
6. Eve

Adam married ca 1767 Elizabeth Clore.  They had one son, Jesse.  After Adam died, Elizabeth married John Baker, by whom she had three children, Elizabeth, Aaron, and Abraham.  Jesse went to southwestern Pennsylvania where he married Elizabeth Dolby.  In the Baptismal Records, it appears that Jesse was the son of John Becker/Baker but this came about because Adam had died and Elizabeth had remarried before Jesse was born.

George Baumgardner never married and he moved to southwestern Pennsylvania at an early date, perhaps as early as 1766, which would be very early.  At this time, the Colony who had jurisdiction around the physical area south of Fort Pitt was uncertain.  Both Virginia and Pennsylvania claimed the area.

Frederick Baumgardner married Sarah Swindel/Schwindel.  He sold some land to Nonnenmacher.

Joel Baumgardner never married.  He owned land which he left to his mother and to his brother, Frederick.

Dorothy Baumgardner married Robert Fleshman.

Eve, whom the last two notes discussed, married Mordecai Baughn.

(From the land transactions and marriages, it would appear that the Swindel, Razor (Racer) and Nonnenmacher families may have something in common.)
(29 Mar 06)

Nr. 2280:

I will start a discussion of the immigrant, John Thomas, who presumably came in 1717, though there is no positive proof of it.  The young Thomas family may have been among those who were temporarily stranded in London.

John Thomas was born as Hans Wendel Thoma[s] in Neuenbuerg on 17 April 1712, to Johannes Thoma and Anna Maria Blanckenbuehler.  His mother was almost 25 years old when he was born.  Normally we would think that the boy would have been called Wendel since that was his calling name.  Perhaps he preferred Hans to Wendel, a rather uncommon name.  In Virginia, he became John.

Neuenbuerg is in Baden-Wuerttemberg today.  Before these two states were combined into one, Neuenbuerg was in Baden.  Prior to that, throughout the Eighteenth Century, it was in the lands belonging to the (Catholic) Bishops of Speyer.  Neuenbuerg was on the edge of the Bishop�s domain and about two miles away there was a Protestant church in Oberoewisheim to which the Blankenbuehlers went.  Since there are two Neuenbuergs, only about twenty miles apart, the Neuenbuerg where the Blankenbuehlers lived was in the Kraichtal district northeast of Bruchsal.  The Rhine River is just to the west a short distance.

A daughter, Ursula, was born to Johannes and Anna Maria Thoma on 8 Nov 1714 and she died the same day.  About a year later, another daughter, Anna Magdalena was born on 24 Nov in 1715.  The family that emigrated consisted of the father and mother with two children.  In Virginia (presumably, but perhaps on the trip), Margaret and/or Michael were born.  In Virginia, the father Johannes Thoma died before the time that the immigrants took up their land.  Anna Maria married secondly Michael Kaefer, by whom she had five surviving children.  The will of Michael is a tremendous help in determining the family for he names his children and his wife�s children.

Anna Magdalena married Michael Smith, Jr.  Margaret married Henry Aylor.  That Margaret married Henry Aylor was only determined in recent years.  The confusing factor was the will of Michael Kaefer where the spelling is atrocious.  The families of the two girls, Anna Magdalena and Margaret, are well known.

Michael was married twice and the tradition is that he was the father of twenty-five children, not all of whom are identified.  For unknown reasons, the families of John Thomas (as he became known in Virginia) and Michael Thomas are not in the German Lutheran Church of the Robinson River Valley.
(30 Mar 06)

Nr. 2281:

John Thomas (born Hans Wendel Thoma) was married at least twice as appears from deeds where there is a wife�s name.  The first known wife was Mary and the second was Sarah, both surnames are unknown.

Some have speculated that Mary was a Vaught based on a land sale from John Paul Vaught to John Thomas.  This is very weak evidence.  It is true that John Paul Vaught came with his wife and five children on the ship Charming Betty in 1733.  The ship�s roster is more complete than usual and gives Johan Vogt, 53, Andreas Vogt, 12, Casper Vogt, 8, Maria Vogt, 46, Catherine Vogt, 18, and Maria Vogt, 16.  One factor against Maria as the wife of John Thomas is that Maria is not mentioned in her father�s will nor are any children of hers mentioned.  There is no evidence for her existence beyond her arrival in Philadelphia.

In May of 1735, John Thomas was issued a patent for 400 acres in the Great Fork, for which he paid with the head rights of three people, Robert Turner, Mary Turner, and Parva Turner plus 25 shillings.  Robert Turner was a mistake for Robert Tanner.  He testified that he came in 1720 with his wife Mary and five children, Christopher, Christianna, Katherine, Mary, and Barbara (Parva).  In this same year, 1735, Robert Tanner was issued a patent for 200 acres for which he paid with the head rights of four people, Catherine Turner, Mary Turner, Christopher Turner, and Christianna Turner.  (None of these people had to be living at the time their head right was used.)  Thus, John Thomas was using three of the head rights that Robert Tanner did not use.  Robert could have sold the extra head rights or given them to John Thomas.

Very often, head rights were used within the family.  For example, when John Carpenter took up 150 acres of new land in 1733, he paid with the head rights of Andrew Kerker, Margaret Kerker, and Barbara Kerker.  These were his parents-in-law and their daughter, his wife.

I have wondered if the wife Mary of John Thomas was Mary Tanner.  Unfortunately, husbands of the Tanner daughters are unknown except it does appear that Katherine married Richard Burdyne.  There is no evidence for the husbands of Barbara (who did not marry Peter Fleshman as some have guessed), nor of Christianna or Mary.

We know only, for sure, that John Thomas� wife in 1742 was a Mary, for in that year he sold his interest in a 156 acre tract to his brother Michael.  Whether Mary was a Vaught, Tanner, or another surname is not known and the best answer is to note the uncertainty of pinpointing her name.
(31 Mar 06)

Nr. 2282:

The land transactions of John Thomas are instructive and interesting in themselves.  First, he and his brother Michael had a patent for 156 acres in the midst of patents to Blankenbakers, Scheible, and Fleshman.  At the time this patent was issued in 1726, John Thomas was fourteen years of age and Michael was perhaps about seven years old.  Probably, had the authorities known the ages of John and Michael, there would have been objections raised.  More exactly, they would have demanded guardians for the boys.  This land, in the newly formed Spotsylvania County was free so no payment for it is recorded.

Two years later, John Thomas took another 400 acres.  He was sixteen years old at this time.  This aggressive action was continued in another 400-acre tract in 1735.  This is the patent in which he paid for the land by the three head rights of Tanners, plus 25 shillings.  When he was less than 23 years old, he was the owner of almost a thousand acres of land.

In 1742, John Thomas released his rights in the original tract of 156 acres to his brother Michael.  When he sold, John�s wife was Mary.

In 1745, John Thomas bought 470 acres of land from John Paul Vogt (Vaught) and Mary Catherine, his wife.

In 1747, John Thomas transferred 200 plus acres to Margaret Aylor, his sister.

In 1760, John Thomas gave 109 acres to Jacob Holtzclaw (Jr.) who had married John�s daughter, Susannah.  This same year John also gave 90 acres to Jacob Blankenbaker who had married Mary Barbara, another of John�s daughters.  In 1762, John gave Joseph Holtzclaw 96 acres.  Joseph has married Mary, another daughter of John�s.  At about this same time there was a sale of land to John Railsback but this will be deferred until the next Note.

In 1762, John Thomas and his wife, Sarah, sold a parcel of land (100 acres) to Michael Smith.  This tract came from the Vaught tract.  Michael Smith was John�s brother-in-law who married Anna Magdalena Thomas.

In 1771, John Thomas and Sarah, his wife, sold 68 acres to Zachary Smith, a son of John�s sister Anna Magdalena.  Also, this same year, John and Sarah Thomas sold 124 acres on Deep Run to Michael Smith.
(03 Apr 06)

Nr. 2283:

Johannes Rehlsbach was baptized 16 Sept 1731 with parents Johann Georg Rehlsbach and Maria Catharina Gerhard, who were married in the chapel at Eisern.  Johannes was the oldest child and he emigrated to Virginia, arriving on the ship Nancy at Philadelphia on 31 Aug 1750.  Several consecutive names from the passenger list show that a group from Nassau-Siegen had emigrated together.  John Railsback, as he became known in Virginia, was involved in several land transactions from 1757 to 1778 in Culpeper County.

When John Thomas gave land for "love and affections", to Jacob Holtzclaw and wife Susanna Thomas, to Joseph Holtzclaw and his wife Mary Thomas, and to Jacob Blankenbaker and his wife Mary Barbara Thomas, it was noted that John Railsback was a neighbor.  At the same time, John Thomas sold land to John Railsback, who got twice as much land as the three known sons-in-law.  This sale is regarded as another father-in-law to son-in-law transaction that cost John Railsback something because of the greater amount of land.

At the German Lutheran Church in the Robinson River Valley, at the christening of Catharina, the daughter of Johannes Relsbach and his wife Elizabeth, on 16 Mar 1777, the sponsors were Jacob Blankenbaker (Elizabeth's brother-in-law), Dorothy Tanner (her unmarried cousin), and Maria Zimmerman (her unmarried second cousin).  This, with the land transactions already noted, serves as evidence that Elizabeth was of the John Thomas family.

The inference that John Thomas had originally divided some land into five parts to give away to his children seems well founded.  Before the fifth parcel was given away, something happened that made this fifth parcel superfluous.  Therefore, John Thomas sold this parcel to John Railsback.

Why was this fifth parcel not used as it appears to have been originally intended? It would appear that there was a fifth child who may have died, or who may have moved away, or who preferred to have the money rather than the land.  Because John Thomas himself disappears from the records in Culpeper County, it may be that John Thomas and this fifth child moved away from Culpeper County.

The children of John Thomas may be taken as:

Susanna, who married Jacob Holtzclaw (Jr.),
Mary, who married Joseph Holtzclaw (brother of Jacob above),
Mary Barbara, who married Jacob Blankenbaker,
Elizabeth who married John Railsback, and
A fifth child.
(04 Apr 06)

Nr. 2284:

About the time that I and others had made the observation that John Thomas (Jr.) had planned on making a five-fold distribution of a major part of his land, I received a letter from a Thomas man, JET, in North Carolina, which stated that he had an ancestor by the name of Michael Thomas who had a strong tradition that he was born in Culpeper County (or perhaps an earlier county) and that he had moved to North Carolina.  The tradition also said that he was "German".

I was very much inclined to believe JET and that he was essentially correct.  I would assign this Michael Thomas as the fifth child of John Thomas and his first wife Mary.  It was Michael that was to get the fifth parcel but he preferred the money.  (Michael was the name of John Thomas' brother.)

The person, JET, who is a male descendant of Michael Thomas, had more to his history than just this.  He observed that Michael Thomas had land in North Carolina and that adjacent to this land a John Thomas also had land.  One way of interpreting this John Thomas is that he is the John Thomas of Culpeper County, Virginia, and that he was the father of Michael.

The story has even more parts to it.  There were four more Thomas men who seem to be associated with John Thomas of Virginia and North Carolina, namely William, Lewis, Jesse, and Joel.  William was in the Revolutionary War and he applied for a pension.  In his application, he stated he was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, in 1763.

Without reviewing all of the evidence, the following seems to be the story.  By his first wife Mary, John Thomas, was the father of the four girls who have been named in recent notes, and of Michael.  John planned on distributing land to these children.  By then he was married to Sarah, his second wife by whom he had children, including but not limited to the William, Lewis, Jesse, and Joel just mentioned.  For some reason, perhaps because Sarah�s family was moving to North Carolina, John Thomas moved to North Carolina.  Before leaving Virginia, John wanted to distribute land to his heirs who planned on remaining there.

The tracing of ancestors in lines with names such as Thomas is difficult, especially because the name Thomas is international.  Many people have preconceived notions of the nationality of their ancestors and the history becomes all mixed up and difficult to sort out.  This is an excellent time to resort to genetic studies to see which nationality people should be assigned.  These studies are underway at the present time for this family, and preliminary results seem to be roughly consistent with the history that I have just presented.
(05 Apr 06)

Nr. 2285:

We still are with the Thomas family in Virginia that originated with the marriage of Johann Thoma and Anna Maria Blankenbuehler in Germany.  They had four children, Hans Wendel (a.k.a. John, Jr.), Michael (Sr.), Margaret, and Anna Magdalena (not in birth order, as John, Jr., and Anna Magdalena were born in Germany and the other two in Virginia).  We now have reason to believe, based on land transactions and on DNA studies that John, Jr., had two families.  The first by Mary Unknown included four daughters and a son, Michael, Jr. (to distinguish him from his father�s brother).  Then John, Jr., married Sarah Unknown and had at least four sons, William, Jesse, Lewis, and Joel.  These four sons are identified in North Carolina land deeds and with land for John Thomas, Jr.

We have DNA tests for a male descendant of Michael, Sr., via his son Abraham (one of the better-known families in the large number of Michael, Sr., descendants).  This male descendant is the brother of Marilyn Thomas Hansen, who has been doing so much recently to educate us.  Then we have the DNA test for a descendant of Michael, Jr., in the first family of John Thomas, Jr. (the fifth child whose existence was only suspected but is now confirmed).  And we have a DNA for a descendant of Joel in the second family of John Thomas.  All three of these individuals today match excellently with only small differences to be expected from a common descendant of Johann Thoma.  The three descendants have lines back to Johann Thoma as is shown by their excellent matches in their DNA.

In the second family of John Thomas, Jr., we know that William was born in 1763 per his Rev. War pension application.  At this time his father was married to Sarah as we know from the land transactions.

A question was raised about a Mary Thomas who is mentioned in land records when John, Jr., was giving away land to his children.  This is the daughter, Mary, who was not yet married.  Very soon thereafter, she married Joseph Holtzclaw and Joseph received land from John, Jr.  (Not all of the land was distributed at the same time but the earliest deeds reflect the intentions of John, Jr., even though he had not yet executed the deeds.  John, Jr., had two daughters, Mary Barbara and Mary, where Mary Barbara used both of her names while Mary used only her calling name.  This Mary might have been named something like Anna Maria.)

Several questions have been answered by the DNA studies.  It has extended the Germanna Thomas family.  Not only am I happy to see the clarification in the Thomas family, but we showed what DNA studies can do.  It is a suggestion that other families might also profit by similar studies.
(06 Apr 06)

Nr. 2286:

Recently we were talking about the Thomas family.  In reviewing some of my material, I found a bit of family history that I thought I would copy over to you.  In giving it to you, I emphasize that I do NOT endorse it.  My point is to illustrate some of the fantastic stories that people repeat.  In order not to embarrass anyone, I will not give any names.

The story concerns Michael Thomas, who was the younger son of Johann Thoma and Anna Maria Blankenbuehler.  His older brother was John Thomas, whom we have discussed in some detail recently.  Michael was said to be married twice.  His second wife is said to be Eva Susanna Margaret Hart and it is her history that we are discussing.

"Dr. Elijah Hart, a Spanish Don of Seville Spain, emigrated to Germany and became a German Baron.  [Already I have begun to doubt the story.]  He lived in his Castle [presumably on the Rhine].  He had a daughter, Eva Susanna Margaret, named for her god-mothers.  She and her brother, when nearly grown, were sent with other sons and daughters of equal rank to a dancing and finishing school near the seashore.  One Saturday afternoon they were given a half-holiday and went down to the wharf where a sailing vessel lay at anchor.  They heard music on board.  The Captain politely invited them on the ship where they could hear the music better.  Four couples accepted the invitation.  Eva and her brother were among them.  The vessel was swaying with the motion of the waves, and before they were aware of it, the ship was under sail.  Pleadings and tears were unavailing, for they were kidnapped by one of the pirate ships that infested the seas at that time.  They were rudely treated, and feared for their lives.  Eva had a considerable sum of money, so her friends persuaded her to deposit it with the clerk and take a receipt.  One of each sex died on the way.  When the ship landed, Eva presented the receipt for her money.  The pirates cursed her and said the receipt was a forgery.  They were all sold to Maryland farmers for three years service to "pay for the passage".  They were put out in the fields to work under an overseer, like slaves.  Eva�s tender hands soon became swollen, pulling flax, but she had to work on.  When her term of service had expired, the son of a wealthy neighbor had learned of her history, and realizing her rank, pitied her sorrows and married her.  Soon she was surrounded with luxury like she had been used to in her home in Germany.  There were Indian excursions still in the settlements, so her husband, Mr. Wilson, had his slaves build a stone wall, with port holes and a drawbridge, around fifty acres, including his mansion and the cabins of his three hundred slaves.  There a daughter, Jane Wilson, was born and reared in ease and pleasure.  By the time she had grown up the Indians had disappeared and here and there bushes had grown up around the stone wall.  But love was soon to invade this princely home in the New World."

(To be continued)

[The story is not finished yet, but do any of you have a story of more rampant imagination?]
(10 Apr 06)

Nr. 2287:

[Continuing one story of Michael Thomas]

"Adam [sic] Thomas and his brother came over from Germany, and located near the Wilson estate [perhaps Adam found employment there, I dont know].  Soon Jane Wilson was madly in love with Adam Thomas.  Her father threatened imprisonment, and she told her lover of the threat, and said she would put letters in a certain port hold behind the clump of bushes if her father did have her shut in her room.  This he did, but let her old colored nurse take her out for exercise in the afternoons, but only on the inside of the wall.  For three months Eva and her lover exchanged letters through that port hole.  (Her father objected because Adam was poor.)  One day Eva told her old nurse that she could not find any more nice Paw Paw leaves there to pin together.  The slaves were gathering corn and hauling it in from the fields outside.  The drawbridge was down, so Eva told her nurse she want to go outside, to a large patch of Paw Paw bushes, to get nice leaves.  The nurse strenuously objected, but Eva went, and there was Adam Thomas with two fleet horses.  Eva looked back and saw her old nurse wringing her hands and screaming, "O Lordly, Massa will kill me", over and over.  They fled to where they could legally be made man and wife.  Then on they fled to Fort Duquesne (Pittsburg).
. . .
"Now, I have brought the family history across the sea into Pennsylvania, and will be delighted if you can trace it down to the present time.  [The material being quoted is from a letter.]  I believe that I told you that Adam Thomas' eldest son was killed in the War.  Israel was in the battle of Blue Licks, Kentucky.  An Indian threw a tomahawk at him and cut his shoulder blade loose as he was trying to crawl over a very large fallen tree.  The Indian gave a whoop and plunged after him, falling on him.  Israel held him close with his wounded arm, while he secured the Indians knife and stabbed him to death.  He then surrendered, ran the gauntlet next day, with arm swinging loose.  Was adopted and lived with Indians three years.

"It seems that Adam Thomas went from Pennsylvania to Culpepper, Virginia."

[From another letter dated March 20, 1911]

"I met the daughter of Cevera, the Spanish Commodore, as we went to the Worlds Fair in Chicago.  Sat in seat in car with her all the way and I found her a lovely girl.  Her mother was a cousin to the late Queen of Spain.  We talked all the way and I found her a lovely girl.  Her home is in Seville, Spain.  She knew the Hart family there.  She said they were Spanish Dons.  I believe I told you that Dr. Elijah Hart emigrated from Seville to Germany and became a Baron.  It was his daughter Eva Susanna Margaret who was kidnapped.  [We] may find a crest, or coat-of-arms, if you will!  Isnt it worth while?  Eva married a Wilson in Maryland, her daughter, Jane, married Adam Thomas, father of Israel, Abraham, George, and Daniel Thomas, our ancestors."
[to be taken with a large dose of salt]
(11 Apr 06)

Nr. 2288:

Michael Thomas (son of Johann Thoma and Anna Maria Blankenbuehler) is said to have married Eva Susannah Margaret Hart.  In the last two notes, I have given the "history" of Eva.

There are Harts in the "Hebron" Communion lists.  On Christmas Day in 1775, Vallentin Hart and his wife Anna Maria were communicants who sat "between" Christoph Mayer and his wife Catharina, and Peter [Klar] and his wife Maria.  The year 1775 was the first recorded communion list.  By 1775, Michael Thomas had moved to Pennsylvania.

In 1782, Moses Hart was confirmed at the age of 17.  He could have been a younger sister of Eva.  At this same service, Vallentin Hart and his wife A. Maria were communicants along with Elisabetha Hart.  The Harts collectively sat between Carl Vorete (Frady) and his wife Barbara, and Christian Reiner and his wife Elisabeth (Fleshman).

Then in 1783, Mossis Hartt (this was during the term of J. Michael Smith as pastor when spelling was atrocious) was a communicant.  He sat with Philip Schneider and Peter Risser.

In 1783, Elisabetha Hart and Anna Hart with Vallentin Hart and his wife A. Maria were communicants.  The sequence of names is Veronica Hirsch, Vallentin Hart and wife A. Maria, Elisabetha Hart, Anna Hart, and Eberhart Reiner.

In 1784, Vallentein Hart, his wife A. Maria, and Elisabetha Hart were communicants.  This trio sat between Joh. Blankenbuechler, his wife Barbara, and Christoph Tana wife Elisabetha (Aylor).  Christoph�s sister Mary may have married John Thomas, Jr.

A Leonard Hart is in the 1781 Culpeper Classes (#96) along with names such as Weaver, Wilhoit, Razor, Barlow, Hufman, Clore, and a few English names.

By the time of the 1787 Culpeper County tax list (including today�s Madison County), the Hart name seems to have disappeared from the area.

There are no Harts in the Baptismal Register, but that may be because they came to the area after their children were baptized.

Michael Thomas and his family are not in the "Hebron" records, but that may be because they had moved away before the rewrite of the Baptismal Records about 1774.
(12 Apr 06)

Nr. 2289:

I thought that we might return to the two earlier Notes that dealt with the "history" of Eva Susannah Margaret Hart.  I think that most of us might agree that the story told there was obviously gilded with a liberal application of imagination.  Was there any basis in fact for the story there?  Let us assume that there may have a mixup between the male and female ancestors.  Though the story was told as Eva Susannah Margaret�s, let us try some aspects of it as pertaining to the Thomas family and see if that could have been the source of elements of the story.

The Thomas family had Fisher cousins (Ludwig Fischer married Anna Barbara Blankenbuehler).  The Fishers held to the belief that Ludwig (Lewis) had an estate in Germany and their imaginations led them to think that Lewis was a Baron with a castle on the Rhine.  There was no basis in fact for this belief but the Thomases may have been trying to keep up with their Fisher cousins.

The belief that Eva was "kidnaped" and taken on board a ship might have some basis in that, apparently, the Thomas family was taken, with the others of the 1717 Colony, by Capt. Tarbett to Virginia when he had promised to take them to Pennsylvania.  In essence, the entire Second Colony was highjacked or kidnaped.  They were sold to Lt. Gov. Spotswood and became his indentured servants.  So the kidnaping and the indentures in Virginia might have had some basis in fact.

The Second Colony was sent to the west of Fort Germanna, and in going there they would have seen Fort Germanna even though the fort disappeared not long after that.  The reason for the fort was protection from the Indians.  So the story about the wall to protect the Wilson family from the Indians could have been a ghost of Fort Germanna.

The Eva story said that she and her lover, Adam Thomas, went to Fort Duquesne near present-day Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.  Later, Adam went to "Culpepper", Virginia.  This has some basis in fact since Michael Thomas did move from Culpeper County, Virginia, to southwestern Pennsylvania.  In the Eva story, the direction is reversed.

The fact that the Adam Thomas was in reality Michael may not have been an error, but a reflection that his baptismal name was Adam Michael.  The people who made up the story used the Adam while Michael himself used his calling name.
(Please do not take this comment as an authority to give his name as Adam Michael.)

So even though this story has farfetched elements, there may have some basis in fact for parts of it.  I have no idea how the Spanish or many of the other details came in.  But the kidnaping, the indenture, the wall for protection from the Indians, and reference to Pennsylvania may have had some actual basis within the Thomas family.  But to find to find the facts given in just the story would be hard.
(13 Apr 06)

Nr. 2290:

Thanks to some information from Marilyn Thomas Hanson, I have been reading some about genes which are the basis of genealogy.  So we should know more than we probably do know, especially in the future where DNA will be increasing important in genealogical studies.

The Y chromosome is one of the two sex chromosomes in humans, and in most other mammals.  The other sex chromosome is called X.  Males have a Y chromosome and an X chromosome while females have two X chromosomes.  A male inherits his Y chromosome from his father and his mother contributes little to this.  Thus, the same Y chromosome gets handed down from generation to generation in the male line.  In theory, the Y chromosome goes back to Adam for all men.  Mutations have developed along the way and once a mutation has occurred it is passed on to succeeding sons if the mutation is not life threatening.  These mutations develop slowly over time and make it easy to trace paternal lineage.  The Y chromosome contains the lowest number of number of genes and is responsible for the fewest number of genetic disorders.  Many of the genes in the Y and X chromosomes are in common but one of the genes on the Y chromosome determines the male sex.  Some parts of a new Y chromosome may come from the mother, but the male gene comes only from the father.  Sometimes things go wrong on the recombination at the start of a new human life and the resultant individual has an indistinct sex.  Such recombinations were not beneficial and as a result 95% of the Y chromosome is unable to recombine.  This protection mechanism helped to insure that males and females were distinct.

There are few Y chromosome-linked diseases, in part due to the small number of genes.  Sometimes there will be more than one Y chromosome which tends to produce taller men who have learning problems.  More than two Y chromosomes are rare, but are known to exist.  The individuals are poorly defined sexually.

All chromosomes, except Y, are robust and have accurate repair mechanisms.  The primary repair mechanism for a mutation or abnormal chromosome comes from the receipt of two copies of the chromosomes, one from the mother and one from the father.  Damaged genes are swapped out and replaced by good genes in the recombination process which generates new chromosomes from the two parts donated by the father and mother.  In some cases the error is corrected simply by the fact that the new chromosomes are not viable and the inheritor dies.  This cannot occur for the Y chromosome since the source for it comes only from the father.  As a result, errors build up on the Y chromosome.  One result is that the Y chromosome has lost much of its original DNA and become smaller and smaller as only the essential genes have remained.  Another repair mechanism has evolved, but the next Note will take that up.
(14 Apr 06)

Nr. 2291:

Unless there was some repair mechanism to correct errors in the Y, or male, chromosome, the errors would accumulate until the gene became nonfunctional.  Then there would be no more male humans (and many other mammals).  Other chromosomes occur in pairs, one from the mother and one from the father.  They preserve genetic integrity by comparing matching genes on the homologous chromosome, a process called crossing over.  The Y chromosome lacks that option, being an unpaired chromosome.  Only recently, it was discovered that the Y chromosome has an internal or self-correcting mechanism.  There are repeated sequences along the chromosome that are mirror images of each other.  The Y chromosome carries two copies of each gene sequence.  This is used as a corrective mechanism.  The base pairs that carry genetic information are arranged as palindromes.

These extra base pairs are not "junk" DNA.  The extensive use of gene conversion or comparison plays a role in the ability of the Y chromosome to edit out genetic mistakes and maintain the integrity of the relatively few genes that it carries.  This mechanism is so ancient it is found also in chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas.  This would carry us back at least five million years before humans and the non-human primates diverged from each other.

Errors in the Y chromosome do occur, but not all of these errors are life threatening.  Once a benign [non-harmful] change in the Y chromosome occurs, it is passed on from the man where it first occurs to his sons, and to that son's sons, ad infinitum.  These errors can be identified and labeled.  If two men today have the same error, then the probability they descend from the same male is extremely high.  This originating male may have lived centuries or thousands of years ago.  It could have been so long ago that additional mutations or changes in the Y chromosome could have occurred.  Thus, two males today may share a mutation (showing a descent from a common individual) but they may have an additional mutation showing a divergence in the family tree at some later time.

These mutations are relatively rare, occurring only infrequently.  Their value is in showing the larger, broader genetic path that occurs over the long term.

The Germanna Thomases share a common Y chromosome mutation.  This mutation has been plotted over several continents.  It is never found in Wales, for example.  Thus, the researchers who believed that the Germanna Thomas family was Welsh, could not be correct.  Today, we have male descendants of Johann Thoma of the Germanna family who inherited their Y chromosome from Johann Thomas.  They have a Y chromosome mutation that is never found today in Wales.
(17 Apr 06)

Nr. 2292:

We started a discussion of the Thomas family which led us into some discussion of genetics.  Gerry Parchman made two comments, which for the record, I feel should be entered into the Notes.

He felt, and I agree, that the reason that southwestern Pennsylvania became a center of attention of people living in Culpeper County, Virginia, was that soldiers in the French and Indian War became acquainted with the region.  This seems very plausible and is a straightforward explanation.

Then Garry sent a comment to the list on genetics and the mechanism by which a new human life is created.  I believe the following is essentially his words:

"As a biologist, I can't resist commenting on John's explanation of chromosomal "crossing over".  His explanation was not quite accurate.  When the two homologous (matching) chromosomes (non-Y) match up, during the sexual division process called meiosis, in order to generate the haploid gametes for fertilization, the chromosome pair can sometimes exchange one strand for another so that the resultant gametes (egg or sperm cells) have a new combination of genes on the chromosomes that are partly from the person's male parent and partly from the female parent.  This "crossing over" occurs much more often than gene mutations, and allows for more genetic variation in offspring.  For example if chromosome 18 received from one of a person's parents has gene mutations (alleles) called XYZ and the chromosome 18 received from the other parent has the gene mutation combination ABC, after the crossover event the chromosomes can segregate into the gametes as XYC and ABZ.  This mixture is why most non-sex chromosomes cannot be used to trace ancestry.  The male Y chromosome does not participate in this process with the X chromosome, so no crossovers can mix up the genes on the Y chromosome and it can be used to trace paternal ancestry.  However, the X chromosome occurs twice in females and does undergo crossovers, so it cannot be used to trace female ancestry.  Female ancestors are traced using the mitochondrial DNA, since all mitochondria have small amounts of their own DNA, and all mitochondria passed to the next generation come from the egg, not the sperm."

We appreciate this amplification.  In the next Note, I will stick my neck out again and give you all a chance to comment.
(18 Apr 06)

Nr. 2293:

The mutations which occur in the male sex chromosome (and in the female mitochondrial DNA) fall into defined haplogroups.  [Haplogroups are groups of haplotypes that share common ancestry defined by shared sequence.  Haplotypes are a set of closely linked alleles (genes or DNA polymorphisms)inherited as a unit.]  These haplogroups have received intensive study in the recent years and new variations are still being found.  The Germanna Thomas family is in Haplogroup E.  This haplogroup can be further refined as more mutations have been added to the basic E pattern.  More specifically the Germanna Thomas family is in Haplotype E3a3b.

The distribution of this haplotype has been plotted around the world.  First, the basic E pattern originated , long ago, in Africa.  It has split into two branches, E3a and E3b, with E3a remaining mostly in Africa.  Haplogroup E3b is found mainly in populations from East Africa, West Asia, and Southeastern Europe and Italy.

Some percentages show the distribution among the population.  In Italy, 15.7% of the people in the Calabria area have the E3b3a, especially among the Albanian community of Cosenza Province.  11.7% of the Askenazim Jews have this haplotype, as do 10% of the Shephardim Jews.  In Tunisa, 5.2% of the males have the haplotype.  5.1% of the Ethiopians have it, as do 3.5% of the Sardinia Italians.

In northern Europe the haplogroup is very rare.  In England it is almost nonexistent, and no cases have been found in Wales, Ireland, or Scotland (except for the "accidentals").  Southwestern Germany has a low frequency.

Apparently, the male line of the Germanna Thomases came from the south side of the Alps, but this may have been from the south, or from the east, via the south.

In the U.S.A., the general frequency of E3b3a is about 2%, so it not that rare here.  In Europe it occurs at about a 1.7% rate.  This may have arisen with the arrival of Neolithic farmers from the Near East.  Or it may have been introduced directly into Europe from Africa (perhaps by way of Roman soldiers?).

[I need to read more so I will stop here.]
[This is fun, as it certainly gives one the BIG picture.]
(18 Apr 06)

Nr. 2294:

One of the things that becomes obvious as we study the DNA patterns is that we are related to more regions, nationalities, and races than we had imagined.  The degree of "relatedness" varies, but we are all brothers and sisters.

I may have given the occurrences of the Germanna Thomas Haplogroup incorrectly.  It takes some study to get this right, and I am just trying to learn something myself.  Or, as Marilyn Thomas Hanson puts it, "There is a steep learning curve and we are at the bottom."

The E3b Haplogroup has undergone many mutations in the Y chromosome.  Starting with the original Y chromosome of Adam, one mutation led to the E group without any other mutations.  But, with the mutations identified as M33 M132 we have the E1 group.  With the M75 (think of M as "marker" to the basic E group), we have the E2 group.  With the P2 marker to the E group, we have the basic E3 group.  Counting the unmodified E3 group, there are ten subgroups of E3.  In one of these, the E3b1c1 group, there are six mutations from the original Y chromosome of "Adam".

There are a total of eight identified mutations that are lumped together as the E3b Haplogroup.  Some of these share some of their mutations.  Drawn as a tree, it looks like a chart of descendants that we know in genealogy.  And, in a broad sense, this is a correct interpretation.

As I understand it, the Thomas Germanna family is in Haplogroup E3bE3b is a very common haplotype in sub-Saharan Africa.  The Fulbe people from Nigeria have ONLY this haplotype.  Other regions of Africa have many occurrences of this haplotype, but not quite to this degree.  Almost one in five of the Ethiopian Jews has the same chromosome.  In North Africa, it is falling off, but 10% of the Mozabite Berbers have the E3b Haplotype.  Crossing over the Mediterranean, it falls off even more, but 4% of the northern Portugese have this chromosome.  Further north in Europe, the frequency is diminished; however, the basic E3b Haplotype, with additional mutations, is found in Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albanian, to name a few other locations.  (This suggests that the basic E3b pattern came directly up from the south of the Mediterranean, and not out of eastern Europe.)  Ten percent of Albanians, some from Turkey and some from the eastern Mediterranean, have the haplotype.  None of the Eastern Asians, the Pacific people, or the Native Americans have it.

This is an evolving field of research and much is to be learned.  It is helpful for tracing how people have migrated around the world.

In the next Note, I may make some modifications or additions to this Note.  The Germanna Thomas family is a subset of the basic E3b Haplogroup.
(19 Apr 06)

Nr. 2295:

The Germanna Thomas Haplotype is E3b1c1 which is sometimes given as E3b3a.  Regardless of the nomenclature, the distinguishing features are the M123 and M34 markers.  These two markers define the final two mutations.  From Adam, the first man, there are six mutations in the Y chromosome before we get to the male chromosome of the Germanna Thomases.

The first mutation led to the family of E haplotypes.  The second mutation led to the family of E3 haplotypes.  A third mutation led to the family of E3b haplotypes.  A fourth mutation led to the family of E3b1 haplotypes.  Two more mutations lead to the Germanna Thomas family.  Let us now look at the distribution of this particular set of mutations.

The M123 mutation without the M34 mutation is very rare.  (Almost immediately after the M123 mutation, the M34 mutation must have occurred.)  With the M34 marker, there is a much wider distribution.  The most frequent location is East Africa, especially Ethiopia, including some of the Jewish population there.  Smaller numbers are found in Northern Africa in the Egyptians and in the Berbers.  In the Mediterranean area, 6.6% of the men in Sicily have the M34 mutation.  In decreasing order of appearances, there are traces in Sardinia, Southern Italy, Northern Italy, and Corsica, where 1.4% of the men have the M34 mutation.

There is good representation in the Near East, the best representation outside Africa.  The best representation of this broad region is Turkey.  Close behind them are the Bedouins and the men from Oman, where 7.7% of the men have the M34 mutation.

It appears that the E Haplogroup originated in sub-Saharan Africa.  The M34 marker may have originated in Ethiopia, from where it spread to Northern Egypt.  From there it spread west along the African coast, and then across the Mediterranean, leaving traces in the islands before the mutation came to Italy.  From Italy there may have been a small diffusion across the Alps.

The other path for distribution went from Egypt, along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, with one minor branch into Turkey, and another minor branch to the east and the area of the Persian Gulf.  There are two routes that the Germanna Thomases may have taken.  The first is from the south of the Alps and the second is from the east.

Remember that we talking only about the male line.  There were millions of ancestors from outside the exclusively male line.  Thus, the distribution is much more general than what this Note might imply.  An important point is the Germanna Thomas family did NOT originate in England or Wales, which is sometimes given as their origin.
(20 Apr 06)

Nr. 2296:

In the more recent notes we have paid special attention to the male line of descent.  Of course, we have other lines of descent, the majority of which are mixed male and female.  I have a father and mother, two immediate ancestors.  I have four grandparents and eight great-grandparents.  Great-grandparents do not take us back very far.  So let�s see how many ancestors we have over some of the larger stretches of time.  If we go back to Charlemagne about 800 A.D., that would take us back 1200 years.  If we allow 33 years per generation, that would be 36 generations.

How many positions would there be on our ancestor chart in the year 800?  We would have to keep doubling the number for each generation as follows: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc. until we had completed 36 doublings.  This gets to be a tedious process and the exact answer is not all that important.  Let us note that doubling ten times gives us 1,024, which is almost a 1,000 so let�s call it that.  Therefore, we have 1,000 times 1,000 times 1,000 times 64.  Each 1,000 represents doubling 2 for ten times so the three 1,000 are approximately equal to doubling 2 for thirty times.  The final 64 represents doubling 2 for six times.  So the answer to the original question is approximately 64,000,000,000 or 64 billion (as Americans say) ancestors.

Of the 64 billion ancestors in the year 800, only one of them in is the male line all the way.

It is interesting to compare this number to the number of people living then, say in Europe.  There is no census data, so we have to estimate the number of people living then.  Say we take the number of people in Europe to be ten million.  With 64 billion places on your ancestry chart in the year 800, every person then would, on the average, have to occupy 64,000 places.

My point is that we have a lot of ancestors with a very mixed heritage.  They may all lead back to Adam and Eve, but on the average we have many different paths.  So, to emphasize any one of these is probably fallacious.  As an example, if I say I am a Blankenbaker, I am ignoring millions of other people who contributed to my genetic makeup.

If it can be proved that there are sex-linked characteristics to my makeup (besides my sex), then I may have inherited these characteristics from the original "Blankenbaker".  For example, a three-colored cat [a Calico cat] is a female.  Having three colors is a characteristic that is inherited with the female sex genes for cats.  But there few genes in the Y chromosomes, so the number of sex-linked characteristics are few, if any.

My point is that we pay too much attention to the male line.
(21 Apr 06)

Nr. 2297:

I had thought I was finished, for the time being, my discussions on DNA and its impact.  Then the New York Times Large Print Weekly for April 17-23 (2006) came and it had an article related to DNA.  So I have decided to add to the DNA comments.

Alan Moldawer adopted twin sons who are now of college age.  Matthew and his brother Andrew have always thought of themselves as white, as was Mr. Moldawer.  It was admitted, though, that the twins had tan-tinted skin.  After Matt had applied for college, Mr. Moldawer thought that perhaps it might be advantageous to have DNA studies done for Matt.  The result is that the twins were designated 9% Native American and 11% northern Africa.  Whether this will be useful in obtaining financial aid for the boys is not clear.

John Haedrich, a Christian, used DNA tests to claim Jewish ancestry and Israeli citizenship.  Americans of every shade are using their DNA tests to claim Indian health services and casino money.

Pearl Duncan has larger ambitions.  She is trying to claim a castle.  She was a descendant of Jamaican slaves.  She already had a record trail which carried her ancestry back to her mother�s great-great-grandfather, who was a Scottish slave owner.  Now she has a DNA test which confirms that she has a 10% British Isles ancestry.  Armed with all of this, she contacted her Scottish cousins who had built an oil company with their common ancestor�s fortune.  The family collectively has eleven castles which were obtained through the labor of Ms. Duncan�s ancestors.  Though her quest is playful, she does insist that the Scottish cousins recognize that their ancestors were slave owners, a point that they would like to forget.

Probably, we are all familiar with the case of Thomas Jefferson.  The DNA evidence is not always accepted, especially if it upsets previous ideas.

These examples are showing that the future impact of DNA studies will be significant in many ways and the field of DNA work is only in its infancy.  [I have told college students that this century will be remembered as 'the years of DNA' and that they should study as much as possible about the subject.]

The patriotic societies will need a policy on DNA.  Will this be an allowable path for admission?  What if a member should have DNA which is inconsistent with the paper trail?  The paper trail has only a certain probability of truth and should not be regarded as absolute.  DNA could be more truthful.

We have Germanna descendants of all shades of skin color.
(24 Apr 06)

Nr. 2298:

The genetics picture sometimes has more to it than we first imagine.  There are Black Blankenbakers, some of whom, I suspect, adopted that name upon obtaining their freedom from slavery.  There are Black Blankenbakers who have come by the surname genetically, i.e., they are descendants of Blankenbakers.  There are Blacks who could claim the name Blankenbaker, but who have been denied the right to do so.

Thanks to a correspondent, I have the following cases from Madison County.  Elias Blankenbaker was the great-grandson of John Nicholas Blankenbuehler, the 1717 immigrant.  Sometimes his name is given as Nicholas, but it does seem as if he preferred to be called John Nicholas.  The line of descent from John Nicholas to Elias was John Nicholas, Zacharias, John, and then Elias.  Elias married first Lucenda Southard in 1820.  They were the parents of six children from 1824 to 1844:  Simeon, James Cornelius, Smith F., William B., Elias Frank, and Nicholas.  The father Elias married secondly Helen B. Hood in ,but no children are known.

Smith F. Blankenbaker had three known children with the 'Black Lady', Cora or Cola.  Although they never married, Smith gave his mulatto children his Blankenbaker surname.  Smith is buried at Mt. Pisgah Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ruth, Madison County, VA.  The names of two of the three children are unknown.  The youngest, born 30 Apr 1873, had the name Bruster R.  He did not die until 1951.

Smith�s brother, Elias Frank, had a Black common-law wife by the name of Laura Hill.  She was been born in 1849.  Elias denied Laura the use of his Blankenbaker surname for her children, and their mother chose the surname Hill for them.  The eight children were Sue, William Yancey, Charles, Dora, John, Cornelia, Austin, and Virginia C.

Bruster, the son of Smith F., married Ella Washington in 1896 in Madison County.  Both Bruster and Ella are buried in Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery.  They had five children, one of whom was Ernest M. (Cletus) Blankenbaker.  He married Maude Lee Carter and they had six children:  Unknown, Elizabeth, Reva, Alice, Hilda, and Lawrence.

William Yancey Hill, the son of Elias Frank Blankenbaker and Laura Hill, married Maggie Banks.  One child, Clifton (Sr.) Hill, is known and he married Leona Weaver.  This latter couple had a son, Yancey, who was able to give my correspondent an oral history which the correspondent was able to confirm at the Madison Court House.  This tied the Hills and the Blankenbakers together.

If I have understood the story correctly, Yancey and I have the same Y chromosome having a common ancestor in Thomas Blankenbuehler who never left Germany.
(25 Apr 06)

Nr. 2299:

This past weekend, I went to the Spring Conference of the Palatines to America, Pennsylvania Chapter.  It was a delight to me to meet two individuals whom I had known already.  The Master of Ceremonies was James Beidler, the First Vice President of the Chapter.  I have mentioned him here several times in connection with his work as a columnist for the German Life magazine where he writes a page in each issue on a German genealogical question.  I have used several of his columns as material in the Notes here.

There was one speaker, John T. Humphrey, who gave three talks.  John is the current president of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society, a vice President of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, and a past vice president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Palatines to America.  He has also served in many other capacities to promote genealogy.  He published a sixteen-volume set of Pennsylvania Births listing more than 200,000 births in eastern Pennsylvania counties before 1825.  John is also the author of "Understanding and Using Baptismal Records", from which I have used material for several Notes.  Besides genealogy, his hobby is classical music.  He has heard, in concert, every major orchestra from around the world.

His three talks for the day were "German Research:  Using Under-Utilized and Unknown Resources", "Documentation:  It is Essential", and "German and American Church Records".

I asked James and John whether they found the sponsors for Christenings in Germany to be related to the parents.  The general answer is that it is not universal.  In some areas it is common, but in the majority of the areas the rule seems to be "social".  Sponsors in these regions seem to be chosen to connect the family to a "higher" social class, say the Lord, the mayor, or the school teacher.  Sometimes they are chosen as an equivalent occupational level.  In my reading of the Gemmingen church records, I found that many sponsors were chosen from the same occupational level.  In Nassau-Siegen, there was a mixture of related and social individuals.

I also asked John about the proper method of citation for records.  For instance, the emigrant Blankenbuehlers lived in an area belonging to the Bishops of Speyer, which later fell into Baden and eventually into Baden-Wuerttemberg.  John�s answer was the citation should emphasize where the record is to be found that is used.  If I use an LDS microfilm, I should give the number of the film and the identity of the Church.  It is less important to say that a marriage took place in Baden then it is to give where I found the record and where someone else could find the record.
(26 Apr 06)

Nr. 2300:

One of John Humphrey�s talks (see the last Note) was on "German Research:  Using Under-utilized and Unknown Resources".  One recommendation was historical newspapers, some of which are on-line now (but perhaps requiring a fee to use).  The Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper has both news stories and advertisements (which may be of use, for example), German servants for sale, the arrivals and departures of ships, the announcement of estate sales, advertisements of land for sale, and headlines with stories such as "Indian Raids on the Frontier", which may name families.  So often deeds were not recorded and the paper trail of property comes to an end.  Sometimes the gap can be filled with estate announcements and property sales announcements, in these old newspapers.  The newspapers are all of an American origin, though some are in the German language.  John notes there are technology aids which can be used to interpret the latter.  The Pennsylvania Gazette, from 1728 to 1800, is available on-line at for a fee.

From Germany, John notes the existence of Ortssippenbuechen.  I have mentioned them here on several occasions and I concur with John on the value of them.  In America, there are three principal locations for some of these, the Library of Congress, the Family History Library of the LDS, and the New York Public Library.  From Germany you may want to try the web site   Some of the Ortssippenbuechen can be purchased from Germany, try

Another of John�s talks was "German and American Church Records".  He compared examples from Germany and from German churches in America.  They are similar in both the type of the material recorded, and in the presentation.  In the Eighteenth Century this is especially true, since the pastors, or their agents, doing the recording were often trained in Germany.  In the Nineteenth Century, there are similarities, but the difference is more often in the information recorded and the style of the presentation.  By the Nineteenth Century, printed forms are being used, which suggested very specific information such as dates, parents, child�s name, and the sponsors.  In the Eighteenth Century, the form was more general, as a paragraph of information which might include the fathers of the bride and the groom and some occupations, plus geographical information, such as where the groom was from.

Sometimes the information has been extracted and published in Ortssippenbuechen, Dorfssippenbuechen, and Familienbuechen.  In noting these, John emphasizes there may be transcription and translation errors.  Even though they are an apparent beauty of organization, they are still secondary sources.  Beyond the basic information in the church records, which may not be present in the secondary sources, there is indirect evidence in many forms, such as the sponsors which may be a part of the extended family, or the social standing in Germany, or perhaps clues to the location of ancestors.
(27 Apr 06)

(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 NINETY-SECOND set of Notes, Nr. 2276 through Nr. 2300.)

John and George would like very much to hear from readers of these Germanna History pages.  We welcome your criticisms, compliments, corrections, or other comments.  When you click on "click here" below, both of us will receive your message.  We would like to hear what you have to say about the content of the Notes, and about spelling, punctuation, format, etc.  Just click here to send us your message.  Thank You!

There is a Mailing List (also known as a Discussion List or Discussion Group), called GERMANNA_COLONIES, at RootsWeb.  This List is open to all subscribers for the broadcast of their messages.  John urges more of you to make it a research tool for answering your questions, or for summarizing your findings, on any subject concerning the Germanna Colonies of Virginia.  On this List, you may make inquiries of specific Germanna SURNAMES.  At present, there are about 700 subscribers and there are bound to be users here who can help you.  If you are interested in subscribing to this List,

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

Index Links to All Pages of John's GERMANNA NOTES and Genealogy Comments
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