GERMANNA History Notes Page #011

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This is the ELEVENTH 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 251 through 275.

GERMANNA History Notes
Page 11

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Nr. 251:

The Germanna Colonies started with one group of forty-two people who came to Virginia in 1714.  This group arrived rather accidentally in that, while they had left Germany (Nassau-Siegen) with a purpose, things had fallen apart in London.  Through the willingness of the Germans to work in America for their passage money, they were able to come on.  They ended up in Virginia in the employ of Lt. Gov. Spotswood.  Since the status of the Germans was most uncertain in an English colony, and since Spotswood saw a future for them in mining silver, he was careful to describe the many benefits that would accrue from their settlement on the frontier.  To help sell the endeavor to Queen Anne, he named the German's frontier fort, Germanna, after the Germans and after Queen Anne.

It appears very definitely that Spotswood let Captains of ships, which might bring immigrants, know that he was interested in a large number of Germans.  One captain obliged with upwards of seventy Germans in a mass kidnaping.  These were settled on the western lands in agricultural and naval stores project.

At the time these groups were not known as the First and Second Colonies.  More likely they were known as the miners and as the Palatines, respectively.  After this, the English had to do very little recruiting of Germans, as the Germans sent home letters and emissaries inviting other Germans to come.  For a while, many of these Germans came directly to Virginia, but before long the major port of entry became Philadelphia.

Communication among the Germans, up and down the eastern seaboard, was better than conditions of the times might have suggested.  Principally, news traveled by word of mouth, not by letter or post.  Coupled with the population surge in Pennsylvania, a mass movement started from Pennsylvania, which carried people down to the Carolinas and Georgia.  Many of these people passed through or stayed in the geographical area first settled by the Germanna people.  Meanwhile, the population of Virginia was experiencing its own boom.  Many of the Virginians joined the flow to the south and to the west.

All of this activity makes the definition of a Germanna Colonist difficult.  Geographically, one might say that any German who lived for a period of time east of the Blue Ridge Mountains (the Piedmont) was a Germanna Colonist.  But, already by 1750, descendants of these people were moving south.  Even though they left the area, we still they say they are Germanna Colonists.  And by now, many of these people had English ancestors as well as German ancestors.

We know that they people created history before they reached the Virginia Piedmont and they made history after they left the Piedmont.  We find our history of many Germanna people outside the Piedmont.

Therefore, as I write these notes, I am motivated to use material which is broader than the narrow definition of Germanna based on a small geographical area might suggest.

All Germans shared a lot, though Germany was not a unified nation or culture.  I do not feel that I am amiss in talking or writing about the Pennsylvania Dutch, or the Valley (Shenandoah) Germans, or the Germans in the Moravian communes in North Carolina.

This list exists for all to use.  You can be a reader, a contributor, one who asks, or all of the above.  Good questions make good contributions.

Nr. 252:

Questions have been asked about lists of passengers on ships which came to Virginia.  To the best of my knowledge, there are no such lists.  Unlike Pennsylvania which required the masters of ships to provide the names of male passengers of age sixteen and above, Virginia had no such requirement.

There was a provision of Virginia law that anyone who came into the colony could claim fifty acres of land.  This rapidly turned into the situation whereby anyone who paid the transportation for someone coming to Virginia could claim the fifty acres of land.

In application to our Germanna settlers, we have the following:  The members of the First Germanna Colony paid a fraction of their transportation and Alexander Spotswood paid the balance.  This was about a fifty-fifty split.  But because he had not paid one hundred percent of any individual's transportation cost, Spotswood could not claim the fifty acres of land.  Instead, he had paid about fifty percent of the transportation cost of forty-two Germans.  He would have done better had the bargain been structured so that he paid the full transportation costs of twenty-one Germans.  The Germans though, met the requirements for claiming fifty acres per head (person) and many of them appeared in court to make their claim.  These court records are very brief but they come about as close to immigration records as we get in Virginia.

Actually, the First Colony members gained very little by applying for these headrights.  They could not use them in the Northern Neck where their lands were located.  They could sell them for use outside of the Northern Neck and a few of the Germans did do that.  One headright was worth no more than five shillings, because one could, instead of using headrights, just simply pay five shillings per fifty acres.

Spotswood formed a land development enterprise with several individuals, but the major partner, after Spotswood, was Robert Beverley.  This partnership settled the Second Colony members on a tract that straddled the Rapidan River and extended out to the present day Culpeper Court House.  Spotswood kept a list of the people for which he paid the transportation (this time, individual immigrants were assigned to the partners).  Eventually he had to pay something for his lands in spite of the legislation designed to make this unnecessary.  At that time he came up with the name of forty-eight of the Germans.  For a variety of reasons, we identify many of these individuals as members of the Second Colony, and so the list itself becomes a clue as to who forty-eight of the members of the Colony were.

This list is not, technically, a ship's list.  It is a list of people for whom Spotswood paid the transportation costs.  The names will be given in a subsequent note.

Nr. 253:

The forty-eight names used by Alexander Spotswood as recorded in Virginia Patent Book 14 on page 378ff are:

Pale Blankebuchner, Margaret Blankebuchner, Mathiaas Blankebuchner, Anna Maria Blankebuchner, Hans Jerich Blankebuchner, Wolf Michel Kefer, Hendrich Schuchter, Hans Jerich Chively, Maria Clora Chively, Anna Martha Chively, Anna Elizabeth Chively, Anna Maria Chively, Michael Cook, Mary Cook, Henry Snyder, Dorothy Snyder, Hans Jerich Otes, Parvara Otes, Ferdinandis Sylvania Otes, Anna Louisa Otes, Joseph Wever, Susanna Wever, Hans Fredich Wever, Maria Sophia Wever, Wabburie Wever, Hans Michel Cloar, Anna Maria Parva Cloar, Andrea Claus Cloar, Agnes Margaret Cloar, Hans Jerich Cloar, Hans Michael Smiedt, Anna Creda Smiedt, Hans Michael Smiedt, Hans Jerich Wegman, Anna Maria Wegman, Maria Margaret Wegman, Maria Gotlieve Wegman, Hans Nicholas Blankebuchner, Applona Blankebuchner, Zachariahs Blankenbuchner, Coz Jacob Floschman, Anna Parva Floschman, John Peter Floschman, Maria Catharina Floschman, Hans Michel Milcher (or perhaps Milcker), Sophia Catharina Milcher, Maria Parvara Milcher.

If you count these names, you will perhaps find only forty-seven.  One name, Ferdinandis Sylvania Otes, represents two people, Ferdinand Utz and his half-sister, Sabina Volck.

When Nell Marion Nugent copied these names into volume III of "Cavaliers and Pioneers", she split the Clore family into two groups when they were actually consecutive names.

The puzzle in this list are the names Wegman and Milcher who have no further record in Virginia.

The Virginia State Library has a web site and one can download a copy of the original record.

I repeat that this is not a "ship's list".  These names probably came on the same ship, what ever it was.  Others, numbering about thirty, were also on the ship but no specific record of them exists.  The "Moyer" family was probably in this hidden group.  Other records hint strongly at other people who were probably also on the ship.

Probably it would be better to speak of immigrant's names rather than ship's lists.  We will look at other sources for these names.

Nr. 254:

Headrights are one source of immigrant names. � These were used at the time a land patent was taken from the Crown.  In the last note, I gave forty-eight of these names, all of which seem to be members of the Second Germanna Colony.  One can take the names from the land patents, and Nugent was very careful to give the names in her abstracts of the patents.

Normally though, the first step was to obtain the headright. � The immigrant went to court to prove his importation and thereby set in motion the process.  For example, on June 3, 1724, the following First Colony members all went to the Spotsylvania Court and gave evidence as to their coming:   John Spellman, Harmon Fitchback, John Huffman, Joseph Cuntz, John Fitzback, Jacob Rickart, Milchert Brumback, Dillman Weaver, Peter Hitt.

The amount of detail that a man gave varied considerably. � They usually gave the year and perhaps the month.  The statement also said who came with the petitioner.  These are not to be taken too literally. � For example, John Huffman said he was accompanied by Katherina, his wife.  You might assume that John was married when he came, but you would be in error if you did.  She did come at the same time, but they were not married yet.

Not everyone took out a headright. � After treasury warrants came in use, one could pay five shillings per fifty acres as an alternative.  If you lived in the Northern Neck, as the First Colony did, you had to find a buyer for your headright, since you could not use it in the Northern Neck.

Alexander Spotswood complained that people were cheating the Crown by taking out multiple headrights.  He set up a system of cross checks to prevent this, but it was not perfect.  In fact, some of our Germanna people applied for and got headrights even though they were not entitled to them. � Peter Weaver was one such person.

Nr. 255:

When did our ancestors celebrate New Years?  Of course, this assumes they did mark the day as something special.

In Germany, the calendar had switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar which resulted in New Years moving from March 25 to January 1.  So before our Germans left their homes, they were observing the start of the new year on January 1.  It must have seemed very strange to them in Virginia to find that the new year started on March 25.  They perhaps muttered about the strange ways of the English.

Did the Germans adopt the use of the Julian calendar where the new year starts on March 25?  For their own purposes, they probably did not.  They continued to speak German among themselves, and they probably continued to use the Gregorian calendar, that is, the revised calendar.  We have some evidence for this.  When the Evangelical Lutheran Church on the Robinson River set up their financial books preparatory to a fund raising drive, they choose to set the start of the accounting period as January 1.  To us, this appears natural.  But at the time it was done, this was just another day in the year in Virginia.

It shows how the Germans clung to their culture and set up a miniature Germanic society amongst the English.

I have no knowledge that New Years was anything special among the Germans.

Some of the dates recorded for births and baptisms at the Hebron Lutheran Church are in the period before the English adopted the Gregorian calendar.  It is not clear to me how these dates were recorded, i.e., by which calendar. John Blankenbaker

Nr. 256:

A correspondent writes that she is researching the name Fishback and has often been told that she should look at the Germanna Record Five, "Nassau-Siegen Immigrants," as it is said that the 1714 Fishbacks are the ancestors of all of the Fishbacks in the US.  This same correspondent goes on to disprove this statement by citing several Fishbacks who were in the immigration of 1709/1710.

Does anyone know whether a statement is made somewhere to this effect, i.e., the 1714 immigrant Philip Fischbach is the patriarch of the Fishback clan in the US?

Besides the 1709/1710 Fishbacks, there was a Jacob Fishback who came to Virginia, through Philadelphia, in 1734 and settled in the Little Fork.  I understand the name, Fischbach, means fish brook. Just as the name Fischer would seem to be a common name, I would speculate that Fischbach is not at all an unusual name.  It would be very likely that it has origins in many parts of Germany.

Emil Flender, who is the individual who did the most to get the Germanna Foundation off the ground, says that Fischbach is a place-name which was commonly called Fischpe or Fispe.  The earliest ancestor of Phillip Fishback, the immigrant, is Tyl van Fispe who was paying rent (real estate taxes?) in 1444 on an iron-works.  The name Tyl seems to a nickname for Tillman. A grandson of Tyl seems to be first with the surname of Fischbach.

Though the name Fischbach, or Fishback, seems simple enough, it is sometimes butchered in the records.  John Fishbey had a land patent in the Little Fork area, which he received on 28 Sep 1730.  His son, Frederick, incorporated this patent into a grant.

Nr. 257:

During the 1700's, the number of emigrants varied tremendously with the years.  When the numbers were high, this led to problems in transporting them.  Quite independently of this question, the winds and the weather did not always cooperate.  The year 1738 was very adverse for German emigrants because so many decided to leave in that year and the weather was not cooperative.  As a result, the year of 1738 became known as the year of the destroying angels, a reference to Psalm 78, verse 49.

At the start of the eighteenth century, ignoring the year of 1709 when more than 10,000 Germans set out for the New World, the groups were small.  Trans-atlantic travel did not excite the shippers and the emigrants were left to arrange many of the details themselves. � There was usually a common pattern to the migration.  People found their way down the Rhine River toward Rotterdam.  At Rotterdam, they found a ship to England, usually London.  In England, they had to search for another ship to carry them on to America.

This was much the pattern for both the First and Second Germanna Colonies.  They managed to get to London, and in London they found another ship. � For different reasons, both Colonies had troubles in London. � The First Colony had been expecting to meet Graffenried, or at least to meet a representative, who would help them with the next leg.  Graffenried was tardy, and furthermore he was broke.  By agreeing in advance to work for Spotswood (who knew nothing of the arrangements at this time), they were able to book passage on a ship leaving in the month of January.  The Second Colony struck a bargain with a captain to take them to Pennsylvania.  The captain was then thrown in the debtor's prison and a delay ensued before he could secure his release. � No doubt, the Second Colony left late in the year also.

With the passage of time, the shippers observed that they were carrying more raw material back to England than they were carrying goods or people to America.  In order to catch the maximum number of German emigrants, British shippers opened offices in Rotterdam and Amsterdam to catch the emigrants at the source.  They even did more as they recruited within Germany.  Their main agents were people known as "new-landers." � These were Germans who had come home for visits or trading purposes.  For every emigrant that a newlander steered to a shipper, the newlander built up credits against the cost of his own return passage or of the freight on his goods.

The ships were required to visit an English port after they left Holland and before they departed for America. � London was not a favored location because it was out of the way.  One very popular station was Cowes on the Isle of Wight, just south of Portsmouth on the southern coast of England. � In America, when the ship's master reported where his ship was from, it is this "refueling" or provisioning point that he gave. � This has confused many descendants of Germans because their ancestor arrived on a ship from an English port.  It is very unlikely that the ships took on additional passengers at these refueling stops.

Nr. 258:

The previous note, this one, and some yet to come, owe a lot to Klaus Wust as they represent man-years of research by him.  He has an article in the current issue of Beyond Germanna (v.10, n.1), which is a shorter version of a longer article which appeared in "The Report, A Journal of German-American History," vol. 40, published in 1986 by the Society of the History of Germans in Maryland.  In Beyond Germanna, the article is entitled "The Year of the Destroying Angels - 1738."

Two factors in 1738 were extremely bad for transportation.  The number of people who decided to emigrate was large.  The weather was adverse also.

The six thousand plus emigrants for North America exceeded all years except the very unusual year of 1709.  In 1738 though, there was no colonization scheme of any government or proprietor.  The emigrants decided individually they wanted to come.  Usually a group, many times related and often living in the same village, banded together and set out for Rotterdam (primary), or Amsterdam (secondary), where they expected to find British ships to take them on to America.  Passengers were taken aboard after signing a contract to pay their fares within a designated time after arrival.  In this redemptioner system, payment could be made by the passengers in cash, from the sale of goods brought along for that purpose, by friends and relatives in America, or by contracts of indenture.

Most of the shippers in 1738 were planning on Philadelphia as the destination port.  Traffic to Pennsylvania was growing and it was the most reliable market.  In the three years prior to 1738, the number of people to Philadelphia was 268, 736, and 1,528 for the 3 years 1735 to 1737, respectively.  But the shippers were not prepared for the number of people that arrived in the Dutch ports and especially they were not prepared for the early arrival of the people.

Some emigrants set out in March and the first contingents reached the Rotterdam area before the shippers were ready for them.  According to the Freudenberg pastor in Nassau-Siegen, fifty-three men, women, and children left on March 13th (some of our Germanna people were in this group).  To the south, in Canton Basel, the authorities processed numerous departure petitions in March.

With the shippers not ready at this early date, the emigrants had to wait in Holland.  After the 1709 experience, the Dutch passed a law to the effect that transients could not come into the cities such as Rotterdam.  The people had to camp outside the city in meadows and pastures.  No preparations had been made.  By May, probably a month after the first arrivals, the citizens in the holding area were petitioning the States of Holland to either have the Palatines sent home or moved on speedily to America.  The citizens were especially worried that the death of parents would leave orphans on their hands.

Nr. 259:

As the Germans arrived at Rotterdam, the shippers made belated preparations for them.  They sent word for their ships to come as soon as possible and they chartered additional ships.  In addition they made plans to load the ships to the maximum.  Bedsteads were crowded in as they could be.  Some emigrant chests were refused or broken up.  These preparations were time consuming and living conditions in the holding area were marginal and crowded.  Already sickness was spreading.

The shipping firm of the Hopes had five ships ready on June 22, which was probably about two months after the first emigrants had arrived outside Rotterdam.  A violent storm played havoc with the heavily loaded ships.  They spent three to five weeks in reaching a port in England, just across the channel.

Captain William Walker of the "Oliver" (one of the initial ships) felt that his ship was overloaded and he returned to Holland and resigned his commission.  The owners assigned a new captain and the "Oliver" was underway once more in July.  It reached Cowes readily in two days, but spent six weeks there to unload, reload, and to wait for favorable winds.  The extension of time meant that the passengers had been living in close quarters for many weeks and had not left the English Channel yet.

Demand for space was heavy and the shippers paid little attention to where the emigrants wanted to go.  Some of the Philadelphia bound people were assigned instead to the "Oliver" which was going to Virginia.  Departures continued until August.

The "Winter," which had been in the initial vanguard, reached Philadelphia first.  Though the trip had been nothing unusual except for the initial delay in the Channel, the ship and passengers came through relatively unscathed.  However, the passengers were able to report on the terrible conditions in Holland.

Captain Walter Goodman wrote home from America on October 19th,

"On the 4th of July last I sailed out of Dover in England and arrived here on this river on the 9th of September with crew and passengers in good health but on the way I had many sick people, yet, since not more than 18 died, we lost by far the least of all the ships arrived to-date.  We were the third ship to arrive.  I sailed in company with four of the skippers who together had 425 deaths, one had 140, one 115, one 90, and one 80."

Christopher Sauer of Germantown estimated on October 18 that 1,600 people had died on the fifteen ships which arrived so far.  By November 20th, the estimates ranged up to 2,000 deaths and not all of the ships were in port yet.

Nr. 260:

The ships arriving at Philadelphia were so loaded with sick people that the council decided that no one could be put ashore until the ship was cleared by doctors.  It was strongly suggested that the captains rent houses outside of the city where passengers could recuperate without spreading their sickness to the residents.

Fifteen leading citizens in Philadelphia formed a committee to compile a comprehensive account of what had happened and to see if measure could not be taken to prevent a recurrence of the events.  Many witnesses were called to testify and thus the events of 1738 are documented in better than average fashion.  One objective was to warn prospective emigrants of the dangers of the trip.

Though the year of 1738 had been bad, people could still recall singular episodes from the past which, individually, were perhaps worse.  Four years earlier, the "Love and Unity" had lost two-thirds of its Palatine passengers from starvation.  The voyage had taken nine months and during the last stages of it a lively trade in mice and rats had developed.  In another singular event, a ship with English passengers was wrecked on the New England coast with a loss of more than one hundred people.

Late in the year, the situation was summarized by the committee,

"However, this year the sea has held quite a different harvest, ������� because by moderate reckoning, more than 1800 died on the 14 ������� ships arrived till now.  While there are still two missing, ������� we have reasons to assume them lost for they have been at ������� sea for more than 24 weeks."

The ship "Davy," one of the 14, arrived on October 25th.  The captain, both mates, and 160 passengers died at sea. It was the ship's carpenter, William Patton, who brought the ravaged vessel up the Delaware River.  Patton listed 74 men, 37 women, and no children as the remaining passengers, but only 40 of the men were well enough to come to the courthouse.

John Stedman was the favorite captain of the Germans.  He had conducted several trips across the Atlantic bringing Germans.  He was so well thought of in previous years, that several Germans had written home recommending his ships.  This year he did not come into port until October 29, the conclusion of a voyage lasting twelve weeks during which 120 passengers had died.  Captain John Stedman was so unnerved by the trip that he refused to take another emigrant transport.  He had a brother, esteemed almost as highly, who as a captain lost about 240 of his 300 initial passengers.  He also lost mates and sailors and lay near death himself.

Not all of the ships have been accounted for.  At least two are still at sea.  But this mini-series will close for now.  After the second part of "The Year of the Destroying Angeles - 1738" has appeared in Beyond Germanna, I will return with more material on this topic.

Nr. 261:

These notes are available on the Wagners' (Gene and Leatrice) web page with the added provision that for each set of 25 notes there is an index of names for that set.  Start on and follow through to the genealogy section.  I believe the notes read the same as those on Sgt. George's web page since they came from there indirectly.

This may be a good time to remind readers that these notes are copyrighted material of which I am the owner of the copyright.  Use them in your personal research freely, but they may not be incorporated without my permission in items, print or electronic, intended for distribution.

Earlier, I had mentioned that the Before Germanna booklets, twelve in total, would be available in electronic form which I had understood to be a disk.  At the time I mentioned their availability in this form, I was expecting them to be forthcoming very shortly.  The research for these was done by Johni Cerny and Gary Zimmerman (now deceased) at Lineages.  I have heard from Teresa M. Barker that there has been a delay in the release of this material due to problems with the software.  If I hear something positive, I will mention it here.  Or you can follow through with Lineages at these addresses:  (Teresa's EMail Address)
or at:>  (Teresa's Web Site)

Rootsweb, the provider of this list service and 2,299 other lists, has sent some interesting statistics to members.  From last September to December, there was a 55% growth.  The numbers that they are dealing with are frightening.  In December, they sent about 90,000,000 pieces of mail.  They now have four T1 lines to interface to the Internet.  Each of these lines can carry 1,500,000 bits of information per second, or, they are approaching one million characters of information per second.  Remember that RootsWeb is only a hobby and hobbies like this can get to be expensive fast.  Contributions to help out are very much appreciated.  About every quarter, I send something to them.  I invite you to do the same.  Here is an address for your envelope:

Dr. Brian Leverich
RootsWeb Genealogical Data Cooperative
P.O. Box 6798
Frazier Park, CA 93222-6798

Make your check or money order payable to:   RootsWeb.

Nr. 262:

In the last issue of Beyond Germanna, Jimmy Veal has a note on research into the Hold/Holt family in Germany.  For a few years now, as the result of research by Johni Cerny and Gary Zimmerman, there have been published, in the Before Germanna booklets, the German origins of perhaps more than forty of the Germanna families.  This information was gathered as an entrepreneurial endeavor.  The results were published as copyrighted material which defrayed the expense of gathering the information.  I have reported the German origins of a few Germanna families, but the information had been gathered by private individuals who welcomed the distribution of the data.  In general I have refrained from reporting the German information which was gathered by Cerni and Zimmerman.

Mr. Veal wished to verify the information on the Hold family (which had been given by Cerni and Zimmerman), and especially to confirm that the family did disappear in the German records at a time consistent with their purported emigration to the New World.  Others have wished to do the same type of thing and there are two general courses of action for one to follow.  One is to obtain copies of the same microfilms that Cerni and Zimmerman used (they are available from the LDS family history centers) and to read them.  This has scared off people because of the old German script.  Steve Broyles has done this for his Broyles family and he reports that it can be done, even if one's initial capabilities for this seem to be zero.  Others have confirmed his conclusions.  Incidentally, when Steve did this, he found that some improvements could be made in the records and that the records could be extended.

A second approach is to hire a German researcher.  Mr. Veal did this and found that the expense was reasonable.  Of course, he knew the village where he wanted the search to be made so the researcher could get right to work in the correct village at the correct time.  Again, the result was that some improvements could be made in the record.  In particular, the spelling of two surnames was changed.  What had been Brickmann and H�gelin was said by the German researcher to be Br�ckmann and N�gelin.

Also, Mr. Veal had the satisfaction of knowing that no records could be found after 1717 for his Second Colony ancestor which made him feel better that the correct family had been identified.  The earliest ancestor was Jonas Hold, born 1601, who was B�rgermeister (mayor) of Stetten am Heuchelberg.  A maternal line carries back to (Old) Bernhard Br�ckmann who died in 1661.  The village of Stetten am Heuchelberg is very much in the center of other villages from whence Second Colony and later people came.

Nr. 263:

This note elaborates on the Hold/Holt information found in Germany (as mentioned in the last note).  In part, it illustrates what is possible.  In some cases, more information is to be found in the records, while in other cases not nearly so much can be found.

Jonas Hold, died 9 Apr 1663 in Stetten, married Anna ___, who died 17 Apr 1687 in Stetten. They had eight children:

2. Martin, b. 1642
3. Anna Margaretha, b. 1644
4. Barbara, b. 1646
5. Catharina, b. 1648
6. Maria, b. 1650
7. Jonas, b. 1652
8. Mattha�s, b. 1654
9. Johannes, b. 1656

All of the births are recorded in the (Protestant) church in Stettin.  After Jonas, Sr. died, Anna married Caspar Walter in 1668.

Number 2, Martin Hold, married Barbara Waydelich in 1665.  She died in 1686, but Martin and Barbara had had five children.  Martin then married Anna Maria Br�ckmanm in 1687.  She was the daughter of Hans Jerg Br�ckmann and Anna Barbara N�gelin.  Martin died in 1710 and Anna Maria married Joh. Sp�th in 1714.  Anna Maria, her husband Joh. Sp�th, and her son Hans Michael Hold, were the immigrants to Virginia.  Before Martin died, he and Anna Maria were the parents of three children:

10. Hans Martin, b. 1690
11. Hans Georg, b. 1692
12. Hans Michael, b. 1696 (immigrant to Virginia)

Hans Michael was 21 years old when he arrived in Virginia with his mother and his stepfather.

A similar tracing can be made for the Br�ckmann family back to (Old) Bernhard Br�ckmann who died in 1661, just before Jonas Hold died in 1663.

With luck, ancestries can often be traced back to the early 1600's and sometimes even earlier.  It is very rare to find data earlier than 1500.  As one approaches 1500, the information is often a bit "shaky" and incomplete leaving one with an uncertain feeling.  Typically, it is the maternal lines which are the most difficult.  Trouble in research often occurs when the family is from another locality or village.  Still, Holt descendants have the benefits of four added generations to the history of Michael Holt.

(In the dates here, I omitted the month and day in most cases.)

Nr. 264:

Continuing with the discussion on examining the German church records, I have no depth of experience in doing this.  Perhaps, among the readers here, there are some who can add to the discussion.

Typically, looking at a single record such as a baptismal record, one is very discouraged at the first glance.  Steve Broyles reported that it was all "Greek" to him.  But he made copies of the records which he carried and studied in his free moments.  Gradually words began to emerge.  Often, personal or given names are the easiest to recognize.  Many of the names appear lots of times and one begins to recognize them as units or words, not as a jumble of letters.  Names such Johann, Michael, Anna, and Elizabeth, soon become old friends.  Last names are not so easy.

The spectrum of last names is large. Furthermore, names are not always spelled in the same way.  Usually, one has to decipher these, letter by letter, hoping sometimes to find multiple occurrences of the names to give you additional insight.  As always in reading handwriting, one goes looking for unknown letters in the context of known words.  To add to the difficulties, more than one style of writing may be used, even in the record.

Names of individuals are the most common occurrence in a baptismal record.  Place names are common as someone will be identified as of a location.  This may be where the person lived at the time.  Or, the locality identified their citizenship, not their residence.  Women are often identified by a man in their life, such as the husband or father.  Occupations are typically used to identify people.

Place names are often very frustrating. First, the name of the locality is usually spelled in a different way than it is today.  Second, though the spelling seems clear enough, but there are umpty-ump similar names in the index to your gazetteer.  Third, when one goes for the film of the church records in a given village, it is found that they have not been filmed.

What I have described so far are a set of frustrations.  Let's balance this against the rewards.  Some individuals have put together complete family histories from the records covering multiple generations of many branches.  Certainly those individuals who work full time at the process have accomplished a lot.  But there is no reason that any one single individual cannot have a measure of success.

Let me urge a response on the part of readers who have some experience at using the German church records.  Others would be interested in what you have to say.  That is a purpose of this list, to exchange information and experiences.

Nr. 265:

Douglas Sanford, Professor at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia, has written about Fort Germanna for publication in Beyond Germanna (vol. 4, no. 5 and following issues).

Ten years ago, the location of the fort had been thought to be on the south side of state route 3 (the Germanna Highway), in the approximate location of today's Germanna Community College.  This was in the area where the Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia owned property;  however, archaeological surveys in that area had been negative for locating the fort.  Later, when the Center for Historic Preservation (of Mary Washington College) had been examining the remains of the home that Alexander Spotswood built north of Route 3, they were "lucky" enough to have found a section of the wall of the fort underneath or near the home.

The portion excavated met the requirements for known types of palisade construction.  That is, a ditch, a little wider than the spade, was dug down into the earth.  Then posts, perhaps split, were stood on end in the ditch.  Dirt was thrown back into the ditch to hold the posts upright and perhaps banked against the inside of the palisade.  The posts were supposed to be close enough together and large enough to prevent entry and to stop musket fire.  The fort was entirely enclosed in a five-sided palisade according to John Fontaine.

The find on the site of the Spotswood home meets the known description of how palisades were constructed.  It remains to extend the excavation to two corners and to observe the direction that the palisades take there.  At this point it should be possible to outline the complete palisade.  When that is done, it should be possible to locate the blockhouse rather easily as it was in the center of the palisade.  Finding the nine homes of the Germans will take a little more work.

In hind sight, now that the fort has probably been located, the location seems very logical.  The fort was probably located on high ground for the best view of the surrounding countryside.  Now real estate agents will tell you that this would also be a premium homebuilding site.  Furthermore, the ground in and around the fort was probably cleared.  Thus, the fort was probably both a desirable location for building and semi-developed already.  The original motive for building the fort was no longer needed as relationships with the Indians had improved.  Starting in 1717 (or more likely in 1718), more Germans had been settled across the Rapidan River to the west of Fort Germanna.  As a fort, the time for it had passed.

Fort Germanna was built by the principles of the day which called for strong points as a defensive measure.  Some were forts, both large and small, and some were enclosed settlements.  Fort Germanna was, in a sense, an enclosed settlement but it did have the addition of the block house which turned it into a small fort.

The location fit Governor Spotswood's public desire to bolster the western frontier.  Recent Indian wars were too fresh in the memory to ignore the dangers.  It also fit nicely into general plans for upcoming land development, a desire shared by many residents in Virginia.

Nr. 266:

About a year and a half after he came to Virginia as Lt. Governor, Alexander Spotswood was worried that the Indian wars in North Carolina would spread to Virginia.

(February 8, 1711/12 to Council of Trade in London) ". . . a ��Combination of all our Neighboring Indians might put our Frontiers ��in a very unhappy condition, considering how ill we are provided to encounter an Enemy . ."

Christopher de Graffenried and his colony of Swiss and Germans had suffered at the hands of the Indians in North Carolina.  Graffenried visited Virginia for a variety of reasons, one of which was to see if he could find a more suitable location of his settlers.  Spotswood's report of this discussion given in the same letter as above said,

" . .(Graffenried) has made some efforts to remove with the ��Palatines to this Colony upon some of his Majesty's Lands; ��and since such a number of people as he may bring with him, ��with what he proposes to invite over Swisserland and Germany, ��will be of great advantage to this Country and prove a strong ��Barier against the incursions of the Indians if they are ��properly disposed above our Inhabitants.  I pray your Lord'ps' directions what encouragement ought to be given to this design, ��either as to the quantity of Land or the terms of granting it."

Spotswood envisioned settling the frontier with foreigners that would protect the current inhabitants.  He was unsure as to the status that these people should have, especially as they were foreigners.  It is clear that he felt that foreigners would serve excellently in this capacity, not because they were better peace keepers but because they were expendable.  They were in some sense different from "Our Inhabitants".  I am unaware that Spotswood ever received any answers to his questions.  However, he did not forget the basic idea.

Within three months, a new dimension entered into the frontier question.  In Spotswood's own words,

(May 15, 1712 to the Board of Trade) ". . .a gen'll Opinion lately received (was) that there are gold and silver mines in these parts towards the Mountain . . ."

This hope for precious minerals was strong enough that Larkin Chew obtained a patent for 4,020 acres on May 3, 1713.  This was centered around the community of Burr Hill in present day Orange County, a few miles from the future Fort Germanna location.  One month later Chew sold fractional shares in this silver mine to seven others including Spotswood and Graffenried.

We are seeing ideas taking shape that will influence the�future location of Fort Germanna.

Nr. 267:

Backing up a bit to better understand Alexander Spotswood's motives, he was the Lt. Governor of Virginia under Lord Orkney who was Governor in name.  They split the pay for the job and Spotswood did all of the work while Orkney remained in England.  Though Spotswood had been in the army (he was now retired), he lived on a scale that suggested he had visions of grandeur.

For example, when he came to Virginia, he was accompanied by his doctor, his secretary, and fifteen servants.  So he had to scratch a bit to find the money to pay his staff on his pension and half-pay.  Therefore, a lot of his actions, both official and unofficial, bear the influence of how the outcome could benefit him.  He was a good governor and he certainly did more than most governors to enhance and protect the position of the crown.  At the same time, he always had his eye on enhancing and protecting the position of Alexander Spotswood.

An early venture was an Indian trading company.  Legislation was passed in Virginia which made this a monopoly under the supervision of the colony.  One of the objects was to regularize the trade with the Indians and to secure benefits for the colony.  After it was set up, one of the investors in the enterprise was Spotswood, some of his friends, and his relatives.  This particular law was not allowed in England and it was revoked.

In the first month after he arrived, Spotswood was hearing talk of iron ore, but he was several years away from taking a personal interest in this.  For one thing, it was an expensive undertaking and he did not have a lot of spare cash.  Also in the first months, Spotswood was talking to Graffenried who held a letter from Queen Anne saying the Governor of Virginia should allocate land to a colony which Graffenried proposed to establish.  Graffenried was motivated in this endeavor by the belief of his partner, Francis Michel, that he had found silver in the back country, in the Shenandoah Valley in particular.  Mining of precious metals did not seem to be as expensive as refining iron ore.  So Spotswood was more attuned to talk of gold and silver than he was to iron.

This is why, when Larkin Chew patented land which was thought to contain silver, that Spotswood was an investor in the enterprise.  Actually, of course, Chew was probably acting as agent for Spotswood and others.  Other fractional owners were Graffenried and Orkney.  Graffenried was probably included because of his or Michel's earlier work and because Graffenried might be useful.  Graffenried admitted that he was already recruiting miners around Siegen.  The inclusion of Orkney as a minor partner was probably to secure his support in England should that be necessary.

Even before Spotswood arrived in Virginia, Robert Beverley had been active in prospecting for land on the frontier.  He had staked out a claim to 11,000 acres along the south side of the Rapidan River starting at a point beyond the site of the future Germanna.  Beverley never applied for a patent on the land because it would have been required to pay the fees for the land.  The land was a little too far out to find settlers for it so Beverley held on to his money.

The situation in 1713 above the fall line in the Rappahannock River was that the land speculators were looking and staking their claims.  At the same time, Chew patented the silver mine land and took several partners into the enterprise.  There was an active interest in the area.

Nr. 268:

As soon as Spotswood smelled silver and gold, or thought there was a possibility that they existed in Virginia, he investigated the legal status of silver and gold mines.  What he found was very discouraging.  Normally, land patents from the crown reserved to the crown a percentage of precious metals that might be found on the land.  In the case of the lands patented from the crown, there had been an oversight and no reservation had been made.  (In the Northern Neck, the crown had reserved a percentage of the gold and silver that might be found.)  This was a dangerous situation.  For example, if silver were to be found on the silver mine tract which had been patented by Larkin Chew, the crown might step in after the fact and claim a large percentage or perhaps even all of the output.

Therefore, as soon as Spotswood became an investor in the projected silver mine, he went to work to try and get a clarification from the crown of what percentage they would want.  In doing this, Spotswood worked with the agent for Virginia who was located in London, Col. Blakiston.  Of course, this involved letters and several of them on the subject have been preserved.  They tell us that Spotswood was very excited about his new mine and he was urging Blakiston, in as strong words as politeness would allow, to action to get this question resolved.  As a consequence, Blakiston became well acquainted with Spotswood's hopes and plans.

Apparently the question was never settled though the effort went on from 1713 to the reign of George I.

In 1709, when Graffenried and Michel were in London, they formulated the idea of establishing a colony to mine the silver which Michel had thought he had located.  If mining was necessary, the use of skilled miners seemed desirable.  Without regard to the type of ore, they decided to recruit in the area of Siegen where there were iron mines.  Since Graffenried and Michel had to go on to America at that time, they hired an agent, Johann Justus Albrecht, to do the actual recruiting.  So from London, Michel and Graffenried went west and Albrecht went east.

Within a short time, Graffenried hoped to bring the people from Siegen to Virginia.  Graffenried told Spotswood about his plans and Spotswood referred to them in his letter to the Board of Trade in which he asked about settling foreigners.  This was the letter in which Spotswood suggested they be settled on the frontier as a barrier to the Indians to protect the inhabitants.  But these people were being recruited by Graffenried, not by Spotswood.  And they were to be settled under a colonization plan which Graffenried and Michel had submitted to the Queen.

When Graffenried went bankrupt, Spotswood probably thought that was the end of the Germans who were to be imported.  And had everything been logical, that would probably would have been the end of the story.  Somehow, and this is a big part of the mystery, the Germans went from Siegen to London.  Graffenried admitted to writing that if one or two of them wanted to come to America to have a look-see, then they could come ahead.  But he claimed to be mystified as to how they could have imagined that he was encouraging them all to come.  Graffenried suggests that Albrecht, the "head miner," had misunderstood or misconstrued his remarks.

Nr. 269:

Late in the summer of 1713, perhaps in the early fall, the Germans from Siegen were in London expecting to meet Graffenried.  They also expected him to provide the funds to send them on to America.  But, there was no Graffenried.  The funds of the Germans were running low and they sought work to supplement the meager resources.  Graffenried did appear but he was broke and literally in debt.  Professing surprise and shock at the situation, Graffenried recommended that the Germans go home.  Having paid for their exit visas from Nassau-Siegen, the Germans were homeless and had no home to which to go.  They came to the agreement that they would work four years in America to pay the part of the transport costs that they could not afford.

Graffenried called on several people to see if there was any interest in the Germans' proposal.  One of the people, probably a reference given by Spotswood, was Col. Blakiston, the agent for Virginia who was in close contact with Spotswood.  Blakiston knew that Spotswood was very excited about a mine for precious metals.  Even though the percentage of the mine's output that the crown would want was not yet decided, Blakiston thought the opportunity of getting a batch of "miners" in one fell swoop was too good to pass up.  So he committed Spotswood to paying one hundred and fifty pounds sterling toward their transportation costs.  Spotswood himself did not know anything about the arrangement.  The Germans were on the sea heading toward Virginia before Spotswood learned that he had "hired" forty-odd Germans.

When the Germans arrived, Spotswood was ready with a plan of action.  He would settle them on the frontier as a barrier to the Indians.  That was the official reason that he sent back to London and is the reason stated in the minutes of the Virginia government.  What Spotswood did not mention is that about four miles from the site where he settled the Germans there was a projected silver mine in which he was a part owner.  Also Spotswood did not mention that Fort Germanna would be an excellent position from which to launch a land acquisition program.  But then, these were private reasons, not official reasons.  In everything that Spotswood did in an official capacity one must look behind the official reasons to see what some of the private reasons were.  It should be noted that Fort Germanna was an official activity of the Colony of Virginia.

The Germans were appointed Rangers and as such became agents of the colony.  It also exempted them from some taxes.  Looking at private reasons here, the Germans might be construed as indentured servants of Spotswood.  The indenture holder was responsible for the taxes.  So this act had its private reasons also, as it relieved Spotswood of any possible obligation to pay taxes for the Germans.  In an official act of the colony, an area around Germanna was declared off limits for hunting except by the Germans.  Again, was this for the benefit of the Germans or for the benefit of Spotswood?  To the extent that the Germans could obtain their own food by hunting, Spotswood was relieved of the need to support them.  A special parish was set up around Germanna for the Germans and they did not need to pay tithes to the state church.  Again, as indentured servants, Spotswood would have been required to pay the tithes but with this exemption for the Germans he was freed any obligation on this score.

A point to be made is that statements by Spotswood need to be examined on a stated explicit level and on the unstated level.  The unstated words are the private reasons.  So it not always easy to read the real history merely by seeing what Spotswood said.

Nr. 270:

The Germans probably helped build Fort Germanna with some members of the Virginia militia providing guidance on the plan and technique.  As the Germans looked around, they probably saw and felt the need for food.  The area around Germanna was reserved for their exclusive use in hunting.  But they would have gone to work to clear ground around Fort Germanna where they could grow grains and vegetables.  Some of this clearing would have occurred naturally in obtaining the wood for the fort and in providing a clear space around the fort.

For the first two years, the Germans did little more than provide for their own sustenance.  In fact, in 1716, Spotswood wrote to London that the Germans had done nothing for him (though this was not true).  The Germans wanted to go to work on the projected silver mine but Spotswood would not let them do so.  Again, he wrote that the Germans thought there was a good appearance of silver ore but they could not tell without some serious digging.  He added that he would not let them do this.  The question of the crown's share of mines was still not decided.  Queen Anne died and she was followed by George I whose native language was German, not English.  Spotswood urged Blakiston to use the argument with George I that a decision on the crown's share would allow the work to go ahead where it would benefit George's fellow countrymen.

The Germans must have been very frustrated during this hiatus. They had agreed to work four years to pay the balance of their transportation costs.  So far they had done nothing substantial for Spotswood.  When were the four years going to start?  Did it start when they went to work or when they landed?

Spotswood took steps to patent the land on which Fort Germanna was built.  It is debatable whether this was his land to patent.  The settlement of the Germans had been described as an official act of the Virginia Colony and it was supported in part by the colony.  Usually forts are thought of as arms of the government and not as private endeavors.  But regardless of the views on this topic, it is clear that the Germans were doing something for Spotswood.  They were providing the "seating" for his land claim.

During these first two years, the Germans were probably looking around the neighborhood of Germanna.  They found something which they understood better than silver and that was iron.  About 1716 or 1717, the Germans brought the existence of this ore to Spotswood's attention.  At this point, Spotswood had no commitment to mining iron ore and smelting it.  First, it was a very expensive operation and he simply did not have the money.  His attention was focused on land acquisition which was a known method to acquiring wealth.

However, when parties in England asked Spotswood if he could undertake a search for iron, he readily agreed with them.  In doing so, he probably had the intelligence of the Germans that there was iron in the general neighborhood of Germanna, though not immediately at Germanna.  So a search was started to see if a good source of the ore could be found.  This is not a simple task as the ore must exist in quantity to support a furnace for several years.  Building the furnace would be expensive and it would be necessary to have several years supply of ore to support it.  So it was not sufficient to find a few pounds of the ore; it had to be measured in tons of ore.

Nr. 271:

There is recorded testimony from both Spotswood and from the Germans as to their activity during the last half of the stay of the Germans at Fort Germanna. � This work, it would appear, was some thirteen miles from Germanna so it is not clear where the Germans lived during these two years.  A daily commute of thirteen miles would have been impossibly long.

According to Spotswood, a request was received from a well placed individual(s) in England who wanted Spotswood to look for iron.  At this point, the Germans had probably told Spotswood that they thought there was iron.  With the prospect of financial help from England, Spotswood was pleased to have a search made. � But he had no commitment yet to iron.  On the contrary, he was concentrating on land (by this time, he was probably discouraged about silver).  Spotswood does say the search for the iron ore cost upwards of sixty pounds. � From this figure, we know that the project went no farther than looking for and perhaps developing the mines.  At this sum of money, no furnace could have been involved.

And the testimony of the Germans makes it clear that no furnace was involved for they said that the work involved mining and quarrying (probably to remove the overburden).  Comparing the two testimonies, there is some difference as to when the activity started.  On the whole, the activity probably consumed two years.  From the German's testimony, the implication is clear that it went until December of 1718 which generally agrees with Spotswood.

When the date of December 1718 is compared to the time that the Germans were to serve Spotswood, it seems even more evident that this was the termination of the work.  Probably they moved within the month to "Germantown" where they had purchased land from Lady Fairfax during the previous year.

Many of the people who tell the Germanna story say that Spotswood settled the Germans at Germanna because he had discovered iron there. � In truth there was no iron there; Germanna was thirteen miles from the site where the iron mines were developed. � Had iron been the motivation, the Germans would have been located closer to the mines.  Furthermore had there been iron at Germanna, the Germans would have been working for Spotswood during the first two years.  As it was, Spotswood said they did nothing for him.  From his actions and words, it is clearer that he was interested in silver and land and for this purpose the location at Germanna was well suited.

One modern man saw the inconsistency of the position posited by many of the family historians pertaining to the reasons for existence and the site of Germanna.  This was Brawdus Martin who decided that the original Germanna was located at the furnace site, thirteen miles down the river from the accepted site.  He failed to convince others in spite of the fact that he manufactured false evidence to support his view.  Not only was his scholarship flawed but his ethics were questionable.  However, the original and erroneous story persists in the history books.

Nr. 272:

After January of 1719 (by the new style calendar) when the Germans probably left, Fort Germanna declined rapidly and was torn down in about a year.  About 1720, Spotswood started on his house which seems to be located on the site of the fort.  There is some question as to whether the houses that the Germans lived in were immediately torn down.  In 1733, Col. William Byrd stayed with the Spotswood family at Germanna.  He mentioned that across from Spotswood's home there were a baker's dozen of ruinous tenaments which had been occupied by the workmen.

These houses are a mystery.  John Fontaine said, as an observation from his visit, there were nine homes.  Does the baker's dozen mean that these nine were maintained and four more were built?  Perhaps the Germans had built thirteen homes before they left.  Did some of the bachelors marry and build homes?  Or were the thirteen homes built for the workmen who built Spotswood's home?

Byrd describes the homes as having been occupied by the Germans but then his understanding of the Germans was confused.  For example, he said the Germans had moved ten miles higher in the Fork of the Rappahannock to land of their own.  Now the First Colony had moved to Germantown which was not in the Fork of the Rappahannock.  It was the Second Colony which had moved to the Fork of the Rappahannock.  But the Second Colony never lived at Germanna; they lived near Germanna, but not at Germanna.  So Byrd's testimony is dubious though there can be little doubt that he could count to thirteen.

Since Spotswood was building his home at Germanna at just about the same time as he was building his iron furnace, which was thirteen miles away, there is a question as to why he didn't build nearer the furnace.  I believe the answer is that he was focused on land acquisition and not on iron.  Land was a proven road to wealth, whereas iron was very speculative and of a dubious political status.  By building at Germanna, Spotswood was closer to the center of his land holdings which were to the west of Germanna.  These lands extended more than thirteen miles to the west (they included the site of the present Culpeper Co. Courthouse), and included about one hundred square miles of land, all to the west of Germanna.

At the same time as he was building, he was setting up the new county of Spotsylvania which was to have its seat at Germanna, a very illogical location, which was entirely to the west of all population in the county.  But by drawing people's attention to the west, he was trying to interest them in his land to the west.

Nr. 273:

The public and private reasons for Fort Germanna's existence underscored its tie to traditional practices of frontier fortification and land settlement.  The reasons also reveal the mixture of motives which surrounded the fort.  Mingled with Alexander Spotswood's entrepreneurial designs were the multiple roles of the Germanna colonists, part frontier defenders, part settlers, part mineral prospectors.

John Fontaine's descriptions of Fort Germanna help the archaelogical interpretation of the site.  It was a first-hand description, written at the time.  And it informs us about the Germans.

John Fontaine was a French Huguenot, or at least the son of a French Huguenot, who had settled in Ireland.  He sought land for himself and members of his family.  From 1714 to 1718, he searched for land while engaging in speculative ventures.  He had good connections to Gov. Spotswood.  On two visits, he spent more than seven days at Germanna.  The first visit had been an excursion from Williamsburg seeking land to buy.  Germanna was the farthest extent of his travels, though his interest in land did not extend out that far.  His second visit, much the longer of the two, was while he was a member of the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe."  Had he not been a member of this expedition, and recorded some of the events, we would hardly be aware that the trip was made.

On his first trip, Fontaine said Germanna was thirty miles above the falls of the Rappahannock, which are located where Frederickburg is located today.  He was in error on the distance, as it is closer to twenty miles.  But remember that his estimates were formed by the number of hours he was on horseback.  If the countryside were wild and undeveloped, which it was, then progress would be slower and the distances would seem to be longer.  On November 20, 1715, he wrote,

". . . continued on the road. About five we crossed a bridge that was made by the Germans and about six we arrived at the German settlement.  We went immediately to the minister's house.  We found nothing to eat but lived on our small provisions and lay upon good straw.  We passed the night very indifferently."

On the next day, he penned the critical description of Fort Germanna.

"Thursday.  Our beds not being very easy, as soon as 'twas day we got up.  It rained hard, but, notwithstanding, we walked about the town which is pallisaded with stakes stuck in the ground, and laid close the one to the other, of substance to bear out a musket shot.  There is but nine families and they have nine houses built all in a line, and before every house, about 20 feet from the house, they have small sheds built for their hogs and hens, so the hog stys and the houses make a street.  The place that is paled in is a pentagon, very regularly laid out, and in the very centre there is a blockhouse made with five sides which answer to the five sides of pales or great inclosure.  There is loop holes through it, from which you may see all the inside of the inclosure.  This is intended for a retreat for the people in case they were not able to defend the pallisadoes if attacked by the Indians."

Nr. 274:

It is a hope to excavate more at the site where Fort Germanna is believed to have existed.  It may involve moving quite a bit of earth if Spotswood leveled out or built up the area prior to erecting his house.  Since the projected location is under Spotswood's home, the question arises as to whether the house might be disturbed.  The ruins have been looked at by the archaeologists and what they have found of the home is minimal.  This is because the house was deliberately abandoned and much of the material in it was appropriated for use elsewhere.  Later the remains were set on fire.  That this is the sequence, is told by what was not found.  Had the house burned while it was being lived in, the debris would have included tangible pieces of objects used in a home such as pottery.  But there were no pottery pieces, which tells us that it was emptied before it was burned.  Also, there are not enough bricks in the rubble, which tells us that they were taken for use elsewhere.  About all that is left of the house is its outline in the ground and some of the below ground level structure.

Since a short length of the palisade has been found, the work will concentrate upon extended its lines.  Once it is found, the blockhouse will be easy to locate, since it was in the center of the fort.  The signs in the earth for the blockhouse should be clear, since it was a five sided structure, which is unique.  We do not know at present how the blockhouse was constructed.  There are two methods which might have been used.  Logs might have been set vertically.  If they were, there should be clear stains below the level of the ground.  This type of construction is known as "earthfast", and is a type of building construction common in the Chesapeake region during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  If the blockhouse were constructed from a horizontal lay up of the logs, the impression and stains in the ground should be weaker.  We are assuming it was built of wood, the common construction method of the times.

To the Germanna descendants, especially those of the First Colony, finding the nine homes would be more exciting.  The essentially linear arrangement, with larger structures on one side, and the smaller structures on the other, would be a major clue.  (But if the houses should be found, it will lead to discussions and arguments about which house belonged to which family!)  Besides the structures themselves, cellars, pits for excavating clay, and even pig wallows, might be distinguished.  Then of course there would be some domestic debris, though the short period of the occupation would limit the quantity.

All of Fontaine's references imply that he thought of it more as a settlement than as a fort.  He called it a town, especially German Town.  So, it should probably be thought of more as an enclosed settlement than as a first-rate fort.  It was not an engineering stronghold with corner bastions to assist in protecting the outsides of the palisades.  Hostile Indians could readily have set a fire against the palisade and destroyed it.  Fort Germanna followed the standard of the times by being constructed as a light barrier, surrounding a series of houses.

During the four or five years of its existence, the Indian frontier moved to the west.  In fact, by 1717 or 1718, Germans were settled farther to the west without any fort.  Fort Germanna even more definitively had lost it military value and had become another settlement.

Nr. 275:

I should say that the recent notes have come from many sources, but one that deserves mention is Professor Douglas Sanford of Mary Washington College and its Center for Historic Preservation.  In volumes 4 and 5 of "Beyond Germanna", he published several installments on Fort Germanna.

We envision Fort Germanna as a small town enclosed by a wooden palisade.

Both in its physical appearance and its functions of frontier defense and land settlement, Fort Germanna conformed to a colonial tradition of fortification and community building.  The same tradition conditioned Germanna's sister fort to the south, Fort Christanna.  The work that has been done at Fort Christanna will help in the work to be done at Germanna.

Fort Christanna was the second site for implementing Spotswood's three-pronged policy of securing the colony's frontier, establishing peaceful trade with the Indians, and promoting the expansion of British settlement.  One hundred and fifty miles to the south of Fort Germanna, located on the Meherrin River, Fort Christanna was the cornerstone of another county, Brunswick, formed at the same time as Spotsylvania Co.  A nearby town today is Lawrenceville.

Begun in 1714, it was supposedly finished by February of 1715.  It too was described by John Fontaine, who visited it in April of 1716, and who described the Indians of the neighborhood in some detail.  Spotswood had wanted the Indians to settle near the fort and to help provide friendly stability.  Of course, the fort would also be the site of a trading post.  At Christanna, these ideas were better fulfilled with several hundred Indians in proximity, than at Fort Germanna where there were no permanent Indians settlements.  There was an Indian school at Fort Christanna, with the mission of educating and Christianizing Indian children.  The school also served the political purpose of keeping Indian families attached to the fort.

Fort Christanna had more of a military appearance with bastion-like corners and soldiers permanently stationed there.  These features were not present at Fort Germanna with.  Since Fort Christanna was closer to North Carolina where there had been an Indian war in the recent years, this may be the reason for the increased military posture.  However, both Fort Christanna and Fort Germanna were given up by the colony of Virginia within a few years.  The location of Fort Christanna was well known down to the present because it was maintained as a center of activity.

As a fort, it was described by John Fontaine,

". . . we crossed the river in a canoe and went up to the fort which is built upon a rising ground.  It is an inclosure of five sides, made only with pallisadoes, and instead of five bastions, there are five houses which defend the one the other - each side is about one hundred yards long.  There are five cannon here, which are fired to welcome the Governor.  There are 12 men continually here to keep the peace."


(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 ELEVENTH set of Notes, Nr. 251 through Nr. 275.)

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 1200 subscribers and there are bound to be users here who can help you.

If you are interested in subscribing to this List, click here.  You don't need to type anything, just click on "Send".  You will shortly receive a Welcome Message explaining the 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