My great great grandfather Fritz Eckebrecht had 5 siblings. Carl, Auguste, Wilhelm, Heinrich Ferdinand, and Eduard. His brothers Edward and Henry Ferdinand arrived in New York City on May 25, 1866 aboard the Jennie with him. Edward was the baby of the family. You can see him on the far left of this photo taken sometime between 1868 and 1875. Henry is likely the tallest pictured in the middle back OR the gentleman on the far right.
Edward was born in 1859 in Schwarzburg, Thuringia. He was only 6 or 7 when he came to America with his family. He looks very young in the above photo! By 1880, he was living with his brother Wilhelm and working as a harness maker because his mother Marie Louise, seated above – middle, was already deceased. His father Quirinus, seated above, was living with his oldest son Carl. On September 27, 1880, at the age of 21, Edward enlisted in the United States Army in St. Louis, Missouri. His profession was recorded as harness maker and he was listed as 5’5″, having blue eyes, light hair, and possessing a light complexion. He was put into the cavalry, naturally, because he was a harness maker. Of the 41 enlistments on the page I found him, he was 1 of 19 men born outside the United States.
Edward was part of a famous regiment – the 4th Cavalry Regiment, Company B. Edward would have enlisted at the time the United States was engaged in various struggles with Native American resistance in the West. In fact, Edward enlisted in the 4th Cavalry Regiment at the time they had been sent to Colorado to “subdue” the Utes and then to Arizona to “subdue” the Apache. In Company B he would have served directly under then Colonel Ranald S. McKenzie, aka “Bad Hand/No Finger Chief”. In October, the 4th Cavalry under MacKenzie was sent to New Mexico to “subdue” White Mountain Apaches, Jicarilla Apaches, Navajos, and Mescaleros. Edward deserted the United States Military on May 5, 1881. About 1/3 of the page of enlistments where I located his name had deserted.
I find it incredibly interesting this Eckebrecht tale was lost to my side of the Eckebrecht family considering the fact that about ten years earlier his brother, my great great grandfather Fritz, was a “captive” of the Comanche in Texas. Uncle John had doubts about the word “captive” too. See: The Multi-Faceted Life Of Fred Eckebrecht 1848-1920 If Fritz was a “captive” I never understood how he was allowed to visit a German family for Sunday dinner once a week. Don’t forget the tale about our Fritz… during a civil case before a judge he spoke with his thick German accent. A lawyer told him to speak more clearly – more “real American.” Fritz replied in Comanche. The lawyer asked him what he had said. Fritz said, “That was real American, from the people who were here before we came…”
Nobody views desertion positively, right? Since Edward was part of a military unit that at that time was forcing the Native Americans to reservations, there is no fault in his desertion… That being said, unless the digging pans out with the potential brother of Johann Schuttler, a.k.a. “The Gigantic Brick Wall” ancestor, Edward was the first of the first in the Ferraro ancestry that served in any capacity in the United States Military.* Edward Eckebrecht was an immigrant that enlisted to serve his new country. He deserted for a reason we will probably never know.
*My 3rd great grandfather Johann “The Gigantic Brick Wall” Schuttler made wagons for the Union Army but never served. I am on the trail of a potential close relation to him that served in the Civil War for Illinois as a wagoner.
After he left the army, Edward married Mary Ruebhausen, a German-American. They had two children: Loretta and Elmer. By 1900 Edward was a machine engineer for a bank. He had a stepdaughter through that marriage – Sophie Eckebrecht. Sophie married Gerald Brown. Edward died in 1926 in Chicago.
Henry Ferdinand Eckebrecht
Researching Fritz’s brother Henry Ferdinand Eckebrecht gave me a hint about the migration of the Eckebrecht family to Chicago. I always thought the Eckebrechts stopped off somewhere between arriving in NYC in 1866 and appearing in Chicago on the 1870 census. I found the confirmation of Henry Ferdinand in the St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church in Chicago with a date of April 5, 1868. So Quirinus and Louise Eckebrecht already had the family in Chicago by 1868. I believe at this point that our Fritz was wandering around the Post-War South picking crops.
Henry Ferdinand was in the medical profession, the only sibling of Fritz that didn’t work in a laboring capacity. He was a pharmacist. In fact, he was comfortable enough in the 1900 census to have a servant. Henry Ferdinand married a German-American born in Wisconsin named Theresa Louise Engleman. They had three children: Henry Frederick, Theresa, and Albert. Henry Ferdinand has many descendants on the West Coast today. Below is a photo of his son Henry Frederick that I retrieved from his Seaman’s Certificate application on Ancestry from 1918.
Researching Edward Eckebrecht was a surprise for me. You have to read everything on a military record! I have not found any biological descendants of Edward alive after 1920. I would like to research more about Edward’s time in the United States Army to find out what his Company did while he served.
New York Passenger Lists
Chicago City Directories
United States Federal Censuses
Chicago Birth, Marriage, and Death Indexes
United States Social Security Death Index
Chicago 1892 Voter Registration
National Archives, U.S. Army Register of Enlistments
Coming: Carmine’s sister Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia.
I do plan to do write-ups on the Gerbing immigrants (the family of my third great grandmother.) Her siblings had huge families, who had huge families, who are now allover the country. They may likely come last.
4/20/18 – A genealogy angel (Hanspeter Jecker) from Switzerland sent me more complete, accurate, and voluminous data on the Strubel/Rubeli family that lived in Oberdiessbach, Bern in the 1600s. Their origins were in Langnau where they were known as Strubel. The data detailed an Anabaptist preacher (Tauferlehrer) 10th great grand uncle of the writer that was imprisoned twice by Bernese authorities named Christian Gungerich and the disbursement of his property upon his imprisonment and death. For those related to me, our branch of the Leies family are now confirmed Gungerich descendants.
The Rubeli family were religious refugees that fled to Germany from Switzerland in early 1672. They were forced to leave Canton Bern because of their belief in the Anabaptist faith. They emigrated to the part of Germany that was called Pfalzfgrafschaft bei Rhein (the present-day Palatinate or Pfalz Region). Christian Rubeli and his wife Anna Muller were my 8th great grandparents and they brought their 6 youngest children with them, including, my 7th great grandfather, Hans Theobald Rubeli, who was only 10 years old, to the village of Fischbach to receive aid from earlier Anabaptist migrants.
Data and Sources Concerning the Origins of the Family
A book is written about the farm the Rubeli lived on outside Otterberg in Germany called Messerschwanderhof claims Christian Rubeli was born in Langnau, Bern, Switzerland. His father may have been Peter Rubeli and his mother may have been a Gungerich. This is a link to the website where Christian Rubeli’s family lived on their farm after he settled down in Germany: Messerschwanderhof. The buildings you can see on that webpage were most likely built after his death. Because new research continually comes out to aid those researching Mennonite ancestry, I wrote this post using the following sources:
Der Tauferlehrer Christian Gungerich von Oberdiessbach (1595-1671) und der Streit um Seinen Nachlass by Hanspeter Jecker.
Der Messerschwanderhof by Herman Karch, Section on the Rubeli (translated to English);
Langnau and Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach Reformed Church Records;
BerneseAnabaptists and Their American Descendants by Delbert L. Gratz;
Palatine MennoniteCensus Lists 1664-1793;
History of the Bernese Anabaptists by Ernst Muller, Minister in Langnau;
Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners Vol 1-4, by Richard Warren Davis;
Contwig Reformed and Catholic Church Records;
Nunschweiler and Weisbach Catholic Church Records;
French and Swiss History; and
The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (Gameo.org).
The Family in Switzerland
4/20/18 – The information under this subheading has been updated to reflect new information in the article published in Mennonita Helvetica by Hanspeter Jecker: Der Tauferlehrer Christian Gungerich von Oberdiessbach (1595 – 1671). New data is reflected in this post with bold text in PURPLE.
At the suggestion of a distant cousin, I found the Rubeli family in Bernese Anabaptists and Their American Descendants, because they were listed among the names of Anabaptist families living in Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach in the Thun area of the canton in the second half of the 17th Century. Christian Rubeli was born in 1620. (sources: Mennosearch.com and Emigrants Refugees and Prisoners). 4/20/18 – Christian was born Christen Strubel in Langnau, Bern. His father was Peter Strubel and mother was Barbara Gungerich.
Der Messerschwanderhof, if I am understanding the translation to English, and perhaps something happened in the translation, Peter Rubeli, supposed father of Christian, perished in the Thirty Years War. First of all, it could be very likely that the rich men of the canton sent a Rubeli or Rubelis as mercenaries to fight for a foreign power in the Thirty Years War. That is what the Swiss did, and that’s how the rich men in Switzerland kept their money… So I checked the dates of the 30 Years War because I planned to write the Bernese archives about Swiss mercenary rolls to see if it was possible to get any military data regarding Peter Rubeli. So I looked up the Thirty Years War. I then realized that given the dates of the Thirty Years War, there was a problem with what was in Der Messerschwanderhof. There are two things that I think aren’t accurate with that if that man was our Peter Rubeli. 1. The Anabaptists refused the oath and were against violence, and that was a main reason for their persecution; and 2. If Peter Rubeli, Christian’s father, did perish in the Thirty Years War, he wouldn’t be there to have the children the book claims descend from him and also probably couldn’t buy that house.
SO! there are three things we can surmise from what is in Der Messerschwanderhof:
-Christian’s father was not Peter or one of these Peters. Gungerich is not the last name of his mother either.
-Christian’s father bought the house in 1630 and was not in the war.
-Christian’s father did perish in the war and it angered his children who then trended to follow the anti-State religion – Anabaptism. This makes for a better story.
You cannot take the translation of the book literally.
4/20/18 – Peter Strubel/Rubeli was Christian’s father and he bought the farm in Oberdiessbach from his father-in-law Hans Gungerich when his brother-in-law died. Peter Strubel/Rubeli WAS STILL alive in 1630.
At this time, the only information I have on Christian Rubeli’s wife is that she was named Anna Muller, the church record of St. Alban’s in Oberdiessbach states she married Christian Rubeli on December 2, 1642, and she was obviously in the baptisms of her children, including the baptism of my 7th great grandfather Hans (Theobald) Rubeli pictured below.
The Rubeli – Muller Migration
In 1671-1672, persecution of the Anabaptists in Switzerland was at it worst. In November 1671, 200 persons had come to the Palatinate from Switzerland, including cripples, and elderly people ages 70-90. They arrived destitute, having walked, with bundles on their backs, and their children in their arms. In January 1672, 215 Swiss came to the west of the Rhine, and 428 came to the east of the Rhine. (sources: Gameo. link, History of the Bernese Anabaptists.
With that data, I suspect that Christian, Anna Muller and 6 of their younger children, including our 10 year old Hans Rubeli, were part of the 215 Swiss Anabaptists that arrived west of the Rhine in January 1672 – because the data in Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners and Mennosearch.com, says Christian “was called Christen Roling when he was listed as a Swiss Anabaptist refugee in April 1672 at Fischbach, Germany. He was age 52 and his wife Anna Muller was 50 years. They had 8 children, 6 with them, with the oldest 20 years.” Fischbach was west of the Rhine River. The following are the children of Christian and Anna that came to Germany:
Barbli- 20, Anna-16, Christian-14, Hans (Theobald)-10, Nikolas-8, and Madlena-3.
Source: Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners, Mennosearch.com.
Eventually, our Hans married a lady named Anna Liesbeth, who may also have been a refugee, they had at least 6 children somewhere near Biedershausen, Germany. If you are a Rubeli researcher reading this, there is misinformation on this website you may be familiar with: Rubli. As you can see, Hans Theobald was only 10 when he got to Germany, he didn’t marry his future wife Anna Liesbeth in Switzerland, bring her to Germany and have my 6th great grandfather, Balthasar Jakob, the Gerichtsschoffe. Hans and Anna Liesbeth were already there in Germany.
In my search, Has and Anna Liesbeth had Balthasar near Biesdershausen in 1690. I found Hans Theobald RUBELI listed as a resident of the Contwig area of the Palatinate with his wife Anna Elisabetha on June 27, 1695 in the Catholic Parish. They are not Catholic residents. The nearest big town to Contwig is Zweibrucken. In 1720 in the Reformed Church records of Contwig, Hans Theobald is listed as a “common man” and the name is spelled Rubli. Contwig is also a couple of miles from Nunschweiler, birthplace of Johann Leies and Emilie Bold. Hans Theobald’s children appear in the local Reformed Church records, while Balthasar appears in both the local Reformed and Catholic records. The name changes to Rubly, Rubli, Ruble, and Rubel in the early 1700s in Germany. Balthasar married Anna Elisabetha Stuppi, and their daughter Anna Margaretha Rubly (as it was spelled in the Nunschweiler Catholic Church records) married Johannes Leyes, making them the 3rd great grandparents to Anne Leies Ferraro. Sources: Contwig, Weisbach, and Nunschweiler church records.
The Children Left in Switzerland
Christian and Anna’s oldest son Peter Rubeli didn’t accompany them to Germany according to the Fischbach refugee list. According to Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners, “he was a Mennonite of Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach when he was to be sent to Pennsylvania on April 17, 1709. He was in jail at the orphanage at Bern with his wife Margaret Engle. Ulrich Rubeli, their second oldest son, stayed and married Anna Russer.” However, Der Messerschwanderhof tells that Peter’s wife Margaret spent some time in the Palatinate with him and went back to their valley in Switzerland because she missed its beauty. He went after her and they were caught, and were sentenced to be sent to America. Der Messerschwanderhof said they made their escape back to the Palatinate but also states they escaped from being sold as galley slaves which causes some confusion for a reader. An Anna Rubeli had been imprisoned as well and she was sent away in 1711 to Holland on a ship called the Thuner. Source: History of the Bernese Anabaptists. I do not know her relation to our Christian and Anna, or if she was the daughter named Anna that may have returned to her homeland as well. There are numerous other Rubeli shipped away too, of which I can’t establish a connection to our Rubeli at this time.
What Became of Christian and wife Anna
Back in Germany, Christian and his son Nikolas moved to near Otterberg and lived on a farm where a farm had had been continually in existence since the year 1195. (Source: Messerschwanderhof). Der Messerschwanderhof implies that Christian, Anna, and Christian’s father Peter moved to Otterberg, Germany where they lived there as early as 1688 and another date of 1682. Other farm sources: Otterberg and Messerschwanderhof website. The surname is spelled on those websites as Rubel and Reubal. I believe a father of our Christian Rubeli would have been too old and doubt that. DerMesserschwanderhof says that Louis XIV burned the Palatinate in 1684. That year may not accurate. He burned parts of it more than once, in 1674, 1688, and 1689. Messerschwanderhof was burned down, and the French killed or stole the Rubeli cattle, and it is believed the people that survived the devastation fled to a small island in the Rhine River where they lived in huts and survived on frogs and snails (Source: Der Messerschwanderhof). Because of the French actions, October 6, 1683 saw the first wave of Mennonite settlers from the Palatinate arriving in the Philadelphia at the invitation of William Penn. They founded a new settlement called Germantown. Source: GAMEO.org.
Contrary to what is written in Der Messerschwanderhof, after the burning, our Christian Rubeli didn’t run off or sail to America because the farm was lost. If you want to accurately take what is in Der Messerschwanderhof though, in 1698, with the payment of protection fees to the sovereign, their youngest son Nikolas Rubel (as they spelled it) went back to the farm and began the rebuilding of the lower part of the Messerschwanderhof. I tend to believe this part of the book since his descendants continued to live on the farm for hundreds of years.
According to Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners/Mennosearch.com, our Christian Rubeli was living at Messerschwanderhof in 1691. If that is accurate, what year was the farm really burned, and what year was it really re-built?
Given the age of our Hans Theobald, and the possible dates of the burning of Messerschwanderhof, I surmise there is a possibility that he was living there when the French rolled through. This could explain why Hans ended up near Biedershausen in 1690 and then near Contwig in 1695, where the children he and Anna Liesbeth had after Balthasar were born.
Mennosearch.com relates that descendants of Nikolas Rubeli, Christian’s brother, emigrated to Pennsylvania, settling in York and Mifflin Counties before the Revolution. My DNA likely matches so many PA Dutch descendants because of these various portions of my Palatinate ancestry.
Finally, my research hasn’t discovered when Christian, Anna, and their son Hans Theobald and wife Anna Liesbeth died. According to the GAMEO.org, Otterberg Germany has its own Mennonite cemetery that they have kept through the centuries. I wonder if Contwig has the same…
4/20/18-THIS POST STILL NEEDS SOME MORE UPDATES WITH DATA FROM HANSPETER JECKER’S ARTICLE WHICH MAY COME IN THE FORM OF A NEW POST.
My great grandparents Cesidio Marcella and Serafina Merlenghi were married in Farindola. Their marriage was recorded at 3:40 in the afternoon at the Farindola town hall.
Because Cesidio’s father Filippo was deceased, his mother Elisabetta Rossi gave consent to the marriage. Serafina’s parents Cesidio Merlenghi and Maria Michela Cirone were both still living. Witnesses to the marriage were Antonio Carusi and Cesidio Colella. You can see down at the very bottom that my great grandfather signed his name.
And the paragraph I mentioned in yesterday’s post referencing Maria is enlarged below:
My translation is “the parents present with testimony also declare that from their natural union a daughter was born to unknown parents, …….the Uffizio de Stato Civile, the day 29 October 1916 with the name Maria and the surname of Battistisimi, presently recognize the same as a daughter effected to legitimacy. Please step in here native Italian speakers…
So now I ask again, how did my great grandmother get pregnant if my great grandfather was at war? He was on leave.
Immigrant Cesidio Marcella, my great grandfather, was born in 1895 in Case Bruciate, Farindola, Pescara, Italy. He came through Ellis Island in 1923 when he was 28 to earn money to send home to his family.
He was 1 of 15 children. His aunt, Maria Marcella, was the midwife that was present at his birth. He was the oldest child of his mother, Elisabetta Rossi. She was the second wife of his father, Filippo. Filippo had 9 children with his first wife, Maria Antonia Lacchetta, of which, the following, that I know of, survived to adulthood: Raffaele (father of Gabriele Marcella), Pasqua, Filomena, and Serafina. All of Filippo’s children to Elisabetta survived to adulthood. In order of birth, they were: Cesidio, Maria Domenica, Antonia Vincenza, and Andrea Antonio. Andrea greatly resembled his brother Cesidio.
At age 20, my great grandfather was made to perform military service during World War I in the 3rd Regiment Artillery.
The above photo is the physical description written down by the commander when he reported for his mandatory military service. His hair was straight and chestnut colored, his eyes were chestnut (we knew them as hazel) and his nose is described as greco for Greek. His hair would redden in the sun. At leggere/scrivere it says “si”, so he knew how to read and write. His profession is contadino.
I would like someone again to tell me the name of the place in the North of Italy where he had boot camp. After having served on the front line in the trenches in Austria, he was admitted to the military hospital in June 1916. In October 1916, he was released to go home on permanent leave. While he was away in the Army, his father had passed away in April of 1916.. I have the rest of his military record but some of the dates are so light I can’t make other things out. Is anyone willing to try?
A few weeks ago, I found the marriage record of my great grandparents at the LDS. Because of Italian privacy and contractual laws, this record is not available online for all to view, because it happened in 1919. At that time, my great grandfather was still a farmer. I will explore their marriage record later, on their anniversary. But for the purposes of this post, a written paragraph at the bottom stated the marriage legitimized the birth of a child born to a natural union, she was named Maria Battistisimi, and was born in 1916. Yes, it said 1916. Maria, according to the marriage record, was born October 29, 1916. When I first saw her birth date on my great grandfather’s petition for naturalization in the United States, I thought he misremembered the actual date. I will post the paragraph later and you can decide if I did indeed read her birthdate correctly. So how could she have been conceived while my great grandfather was in the trenches in Austria? He must’ve been on leave, right???? I COULD EASILY get her birth record from Farindola…you tell me what you think after you read about the marriage on their anniversary.
My great grandparents had four children: Zia Maria, Zia L. (who is still alive), my grandfather Biagio Filippo (who perished in World War II in the Alpini), and Zio Alberino (who died in the United States). Zia Maria married Iezzi. Zia L. married Fiore Generosi, son of Giuseppe Generosi (a foundling from Teramo) and Maria Di Gregorio. Alberino married another Farindolese who he brought to America, Gabriella Perilli, daughter of Angelo Perilli and Regina Colangelo.
After the birth of my grandfather, my great grandfather came to America. The previous post about his travel to America, Naturalization and time here can be found at this previous post: On this day in 1923….
I believe my great grandfather looked like this when he became a citizen of the United States:
I don’t care what anybody says but when I do a quick double-take, my brother resembles this photo, sans mustache. When his passport from 1929 becomes public record in a few years, we should have another young photo of him.
When I started genealogy, someone in my family said to me, “The Marcellas have been in Farindola for centuries.” It is simply true. I have traced back directly to Donato Marcella (my 6th great grandfather), born around 1700 in my paternal line who was likely born in Farindola because I still have not found Marcellas born in any neighboring Pescara towns.
Donato may be the son of Domenico based on the number of Domenico Marcellas that were alive at the same time as my 5th great grandfather Domenico. I think the wife of Donato Marcella may have been Domenica Cervo. Unfortunately, I have only found one record that says the mother of Donato Marcella’s daughter was named Domenica Cervo, and that is on the death record of one Giustina Marcella, #110 Morti 1816, the widow of Mattia Macrini. This is the link to her death at Antenati.
Through what is available on Antenati in Pescara, the earliest baptismal record I could find of any related Marcella in our tree was from Anna Saveria Marcella, sister of my 4th great grandfather Giuseppe Antonio Marcella, and is from her 1818 marriage to Vito Antonio Di Vico. Her baptismal extract is from 1773 and can be viewed at this link on Antenati. You can see her grandparents are listed as Donato (Marcella) and Giacinto (Ferri).
The earliest record I could find of a Marcella being born in frazione Case Bruciate was the brother of my 3rd great grandfather, Massimo Nicola Marcella, named Vincenzo, who was born there on April 2, 1812. Vincenzo’s birth record can be viewed here from Antenati on the right and continues to the next page. Massimo Nicola married Maria Carolina Colangeli and they moved to frazione Trosciano and then back to frazione Case Bruciate. It surprised me they lived in Trosciano, so perhaps any Marcellas there are relations of the Marcellas in Case Bruciate.
The Marcellas were farmers while their wives were filatrici (spinners) and levatrici (midwives). There was a branch of Marcellas in Farindola in the late 1700s and first half of the 1800s that were falegnami (carpenters). I have not been able to establish a connection between the contadini (farmers) and falegnami, even though they appeared in the same civil records as witnesses to each other’s life events.
Cesidio’s mother’s ancestry
While Elisabetta Rossi was born in Baccuco (Arsita, Teramo), her father Giuseppe Antonio Rossi was born in Penne, and her mother, Anna Antonia Ricci, was born in Castiglione Messer Raimondo, Teramo. However, all of Elisabetta Rossi’s grandparents were born in Penne and as you can see in Cesidio’s pedigree chart posted above, the tree is filled out to at least 6th great grandparents in most lines, and goes back further than can be pictured in one little snipping tool insert. Elisabetta also descended from filatrici from Penne and most of the males I found in her lines were literate. Penne, if I may compliment them, kept impeccable records and I am glad all of these records are available on Antenati.
A note about the Sciarras
Can you see Baldassare Sciarra in the pedigree posted above? He is the 2nd great grandfather of Cesidio, He was born in Fara San Martino, Chieti. He was a lanaro, which meant he worked with wool, and/or was a merchant of wool. Because Baldassare brought the surname Sciarra to Farindola, I am almost positive all of the Sciarra from Farindola today descend from him. He married a Farindolese, Angela Gabriele Dell’Orso. She was the daughter of Cinziarosa.
United States Naturalizations
United States Social Security Deaths
Arhives of Teramo (for military documents)
Archives of Pescara (Antenati.San.Beneculturali.com)
Comune di Farindola Anagrafe (our Colangeli cousin)
Zia C. in Canada
P. D’Angelo in Penne that assists with the Penne ancestry
Coming: The anniversary of the marriage of Cesidio Marcella and Serafina Merlenghi
Send me a message if you need an invitation to the tree on Ancestry.