I share DNA with the descendants of the Hauck family and Helfrich family that emigrated to Pennsylvania before the Revolution.
Anyone in America that has the surname Leies in their tree and has ancestors that immigrated to NYC and Wooster, Ohio is my DNA cousin. They can all be traced back to Wenceslaus Layes-Trauden who lived the Zweibrucken area in the 1690s. His origin is unknown.
*My Kempf ancestors from Grosssteinhausen, RP are possibly descended from the Saarbrucken Kempfs in the Saarland. I am working to prove descendancy from the Bailiff Hufflinger who lived in Saarbrucken in the 1400s which French researchers on Geneanet seem to think is a possibility.
Moselle, Lorraine, France
Loutzviller: Bittel, Scheid(t), Conrad
Schweyen: Conrad, Stauder
Volmunster: Bittel, Ziegler, Stauder, Stauder dit Le Suisse
I have DNA matches with the Conrad family that emigrated to Germantown, Pennsylvania. I share DNA matches with the Stauders the emigrated to Ohio from the Palatinate.
Bernese Anabaptist Refugees to the Palatinate
Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach, Bern: Rubeli, Muller migrated to Fischbach, RP and lived in Messerschwanderhof and Contwig. The Rubeli were related to the Gungerich Anabaptists of Diessbach. See: Mennosearch.com.
Our newly discovered Union Private Peter Leies was born at Huberhof, Nunschweiler, Germany in 1841 and killed in action at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862 in the single most bloodiest day in American history. Peter is our cousin and left no wife or children. He enlisted at age 21 in New York City in the NY 4th Infantry, Company “D.”
I found a little information about Peter in an American Civil War Research database. I hope the link to him works for you before we hit a paywall. The only other information I know about Peter and the war are the records I found pertaining to him on Ancestry.
The enlistment officer wrote his name as Peter Leas. His pension card had that noted as his alias. LEIES also appears on the pension card, and with the names of his parents on the card, I knew he was the first cousin to my great great grandfather Johann Leies. I have all of the Leies baptisms and confirmations from Nunschweiler, Germany in a file. In my research experience, nobody but an actual relative of my grandmother spells their surname as L-E-I-E-S.
In 1865, his mother Louisa Knerr Leies applied for his pension after the war ended. In 1874, his father then applied for the pension, probably after his mother passed.
I found Peter quite by accident last night. I was chasing down the Leies relatives of Grandma in NYC and trying to prove Peter’s brother Jacob Leies enlisted in the Union Army. I wasn’t looking for Peter until I found his parents listed on his pension card. We have long known we had no direct ancestors in the United States Civil War.
I wonder now what possessed the ethnic Germans to enlist in the Civil War and desire to learn more about the Battle of Antietam. I found a reference to Peter’s Company “D” on another Civil War page saying it was formed with the intent of being a solely German company. I know that didn’t work out because there is a shamrock on the monument to his regiment at Antietam. Follow this link to the memorial.
According to the 1855 NY State Census, Peter and his brother Jacob had been living in NYC since 1852. I found a Jacob Leies enlisting in the NY 159th in 1862. The problem is that on that enlistment record Jacob has his birthplace listed as Brooklyn. I have Jacob’s baptismal record from Nunschweiler. So I wonder if they put Brooklyn on the record if Jacob no longer had the German accent. I will have to research Jacob some more. He is the one that led me to Peter.
With the United States Army Heritage Center so close by, I intend to take advantage of the opportunity to research Private Peter Leies further because, he is a Leies and he died in action. He gets his own research binder.
In case you are wondering how we are related, Peter Leies and my great great grandfather Johann Leies shared the same grandfather.
Immigrant Emilia Anna Bold was born in 1843 in Nuenschweiler, Rheinpfalz, Germany like her future husband Johann Leies. She was the daughter of Nuenschweiler’s Catholic Schoolmaster Franz Jacob Bold and Elisabetha Scheid. She was my second great grandmother.
Emilia was 1 of 5 Bold children that survived to adulthood. Her brothers Alexander, Richard, and sisters Juliana Rosa and Anna came to the United States sometime around 1866. The Catholic Kirchenbuch of Nuenschweiler lists Emilia and her brother Alexander as being confirmed in 1865. Their confirmation sponsor was Emilia’s future husband Johann Leies. In that record the parish priest spelled his surname “Lays.” Emilia’s brothers were both Chicago police officers. We know that Immigrant #1: Chicago Police Officer Alexander Bold was naturalized in 1866 which leads me to believe that is about the same time Emilia arrived. In those days you didn’t have to be in the country for at least 5 years before you could be naturalize. Nobody has ever been able to find the immigration records of the Bolds coming to the United States. Of course it is possible that Emilia came to America with Johann Leies. However, there is no evidence they were married yet. Their marriage was not in the Nuenschweiler Kirchenbuch. I am making a guess they were married in Ohio.
Emilia married Johann Leies. Their sons Alexander (my great grandfather) and John Ferdinand were born in 1870 and 1872, in Wooster, Ohio.
Emilia’s second son, my great grandfather’s brother, John Ferdinand, was ordained a Redemptorist Priest in 1896 in New Orleans and died of a sudden illness shortly thereafter. Uncle John wrote about his uncle John Ferdinand, and in the near future, it will be shared here, like the life of The Multi-Faceted Life Of Fred Eckebrecht 1848-1920.
I only have two records plus a newspaper clipping in America that mention Emilia specifically. She appears on the 1880 census in Chicago as wife of Johann Leies keeping house when he is running a tavern in Chicago. The second record is her Cook County, Illinois death index record! The news clipping is about a civil suit appeal in which she is mentioned in the Civil Suit roll as a plaintiff in 1877, the outcome of which I haven’t yet been able to find. I think she was close to her brother Alexander, having named my great grandfather after him. Maybe both of her brothers frequented her husband’s saloon.
Two years after her passing, Emilia’s widower married Caroline Sickel, a native of New Orleans. She was the daughter of a French immigrant father and German immigrant mother with the surname of Kunz who Uncle John was certain was also a native of Nuenschweiler. She and Johann had no children.
Back in Germany: Franz Jacob Bold
It is known that Emilia’s father Franz Jacob Bold stayed behind in Germany because in 1874 he appeared in this book in 1874 and listed as the schoolmaster of the Catholic school in Nuenschweiler:
Franz Jacob also signed Catholic Church records in Nuenschweiler as the head school master. See Another Week, Another Country. Discoveries in Germany in the Leies Line. The Bolds have been hard to research beyond the parents of Franz Jacob Bold – Johann Adam Bold and Margaretha Becker. He was born in nearby Labach in 1811, and was 1 of 8 children. They were 7 boys and 1 girl in all. Emilia’s Bold grandfather was a farmer. Source: Familienbuch, Knopp-Labach 1785-1799-1824. They moved the family to Rodalben, a neighboring town to Nuenschweiler. Source: Rodalben Kirchenbuch. Because Emilia’s father was the schoolmaster, I want to find out more about the Bolds to see if there are more teachers in her father’s ancestry.
“I can’t help but think the genes of Emilia’s father maybe the cause for so many schoolteachers in Emilia’s descendants.”
Like Emilia, little is known about the life of her mother Elisabetha Scheid. Could she have come to the United States with her children? It is possible. I found a widowed Elizabeth Bold in the 1900 New York City census living with a niece and nephew born in Germany in September 1822. That jives with our Elisabetha. But I can’t connect the niece and nephew to our Elisabetha.
Unfortunately, as is common in researching female ancestors, I know more about Elisabetha’s ancestry than I do her or her daughter Emilia Bold. Elisabetha married Franz Jacob Bold in Nuenschweiler in 1842. She was born in Rodalben in 1822. Please refer to the map below. Fr. Peter Bold baptized her. Elisabetha was the youngest of the 10 children born to Catharina Buchler and Johann Jakob Scheid. Once I had the names of her parents and birthplace, the ancestors just kept coming and are still increasing. According to 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald** and Die Helfriche* a branch of Elisabetha’s ancestry was living in this southwestern area of the Palatinate before and after the Thirty Years War, which I understand was rare for that time period. Sources: Nuenschweiler Kirchenbuch, Rodalben Kirchenbuch, Familien-und Seelen-Vercheisnissi fur Pfarrei Rodalben, 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald, Die Helfriche.
Elisabetha’s great grandfather Frederic Scheidt was born in Loutzviller, Moselle, France in 1691.
Source: Baptemes Loutzviller, Archives Moselle/Archives 57, Rodalben Kirchenbuch, Register zu Gerichtsbuch Amtes Grafenstein . The surname is seen with a “t” at the end in Moselle, France.
I like to refer to Elisabetha Scheid as one of the “mill ladies” in my German ancestry because she is one of the ladies that descends from a lot of millers. Two of her great grandfathers, Frederic Scheidt and Christian Becker were millers near Rodalben in Germany. There is evidence from the land purchases and sales in the Register zu Gerichtsbuch des Amtes Grafenstein 1657-1732, that Frederic Scheidt owned several mills in the Rodalben area to include Trulben. Frederic Scheidt’s migration story is coming.
Two of Elisabetha’s great great grandfathers, Johann Jacob (Georg) Hauck and Jean Nicolas Scheidt owned mills. Johann Jacob (Georg) Hauck owned a mill in Vinningen near Rodalben while Jean Nicolas Scheidt owned the Moulin d’Eschviller in Volmunster, Moselle which had previously been owned by his father-in-law Nicolas Bittel/Buttel. This was likely the town’s mill. The current day Moulin d’Eschvhiller is not the mill that was standing in the 1600s. Nicolas Bittel’s father Gall Bittel was a miller in Haspelschiedt, Moselle. Right there, Elisabetha Scheid has at least 6 ancestors owning or operating mills in the Palatinate and Moselle. Sources: Register zu Gerichtsbuh des Amtes Grafenstein, Rodalben Kirchenbuch, 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald, Die Helfriche, Archives Moselle/Archives 57, Heredis Online, Wikipedia.
Before I write about the unconfirmed part of Elisabetha’s Moselle ancestry from the French Genealogy website Geneanet.org, I have to account for two small things regarding Elisabetha’s ancestry which are also confirmed through credible sources. Her great great great grandfather Jean Jacques Hauck was Game Keeper (Garde Forestier) and Court Alderman (Eschevin de Justice). Source: Heredis Online. His son, the miller Johann Jacob Georg, married Anna Katharina Helfrich. Do you remember that surname from the Schultheiss post? Anna Katharina Helfrich was the daughter of Schultheiss Johann Valentin Helfrich. Now if I am counting correctly, Anna Katharina Helfrich was also the 6th great granddaughter of Junker Helfrich of Leiningen, who was alive in the early 1400s. Emilia Bold would then be the 11th great grand daughter of Junker Helfrich. Sources: Die Helfriche, 850 Jahre Leimen Pfalzerwald, Rodalben Kirchenbuch. A Junker is a usually a minor nobleman or an honorific title, or a country squire. Source: Wikipedia.
Unconfirmed Scheidt Possibilities:
Every time I turn around there are more French genealogy sites giving me more avenues on these ancestors. The major French genealogy site is called Geneanet.org. There are spectacular trees from Moselle on there. And the sources! Wow! Their sourced tree are incredible! Many trees on Geneanet detail parts of the French ancestry of Elisabetha Scheid, that me as an American, without access to more records can neither prove or deny without having someone visit the archives for me. One tree makes a claim that Frederic Scheidt’s great grandfather Alexandre Zeigler was a miller in Volmunster. This data is confirmed at Heredis Online but is not confirmable elsewhere. If that turns out to be true, that would make seven millers in Elisabetha’s ancestry.
Gall Bittel, mentioned above, if the trees can be believed, is purported to have been born in Sarreguemines, Moselle and his father Nicolas Shaub “dit Bittel” is alleged to have migrated from Switzerland or Tyrol. The sources in these trees site notarial records of Comte de Bitche that were not destroyed during the Thirty Years War. Another tree makes the claim that Frederic Scheidt’s great grandfather Francois Jacques Fabing/Faber was born in Switzerland, while another one ties the surname to the Fabers that lived in Bitche, Moselle. If the latter is to be believed, and Emilia Bold’s ancestor Susanna Fabing’s father is actually a Faber from Bitche, and not Switzerland, then Emilia Bold and Johann Leies would be distantly related to each other because the Bitche Fabers are in the ancestry of my second great grandfather Johann Leies as well. The French have access to older records and genealogy books at their genealogy societies that I can only dream of accessing here. I am still skeptical about these Fabers/Fabings and Nicolas Shaub claims .
I wish I knew half as much about Emilia that I do about her mother’s ancestry and I just wish I had a photo of her.
In addition to the sources mentioned throughout this post that can be found at Family Search online and on microflim or online at Archives Moselle/57, the following sources were used:
Uncle John’s writings
United States Federal Censuses
Cook County Marriage and Death Indexes
*The book on the Helfrich’s full title is: Die Helfriche im Grafensteiner Amt by Alfons Helfrich. It is not available online.
On this day in 1852, my 16 year old great great great grandmother Louisa Gerbing departed from Hamburg, Germany for Quebec City, Canada with her parents Friedrich and Marta, and her 4 siblings Franz-19, Christian-17, Dorothea-12, and Maria-7 on the ship the Anna Catharina, piloted by Captain Gehm. Friedrich’s occupation was maurer or mason. According to the manifest, his place of birth was Vieselbach, Preussen. It is a tiny town outside of Erfurt.
It was cheaper for them to take a ship to Canada and the trip would have lasted around 90 days.
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.
The Rubeli family were religious refugees to Germany from Switzerland in early 1672. They were forced to leave Canton Bern because of their belief in the Anabaptist faith. They immigrated 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 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
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) I could not find any church record to back up the information in Der Messerschwanderhof that Christian was born in Langnau, Bern. He was simply not in the records available to me. The researcher of the book checked and stated there were no Rubeli mentioned in the oldest church records of Oberdiessbach dating to 1587. The author also stated that the Rubeli likely left Langnau for Oberdiessbach because of persecution by the sovereign and said that Christian’s father Peter bought a house from his brother-in-law Hans Gungerich in Oberdiessbach in 1630. Gungerich, according to the data in Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners and Mennosearch.com, was a prominent surname in the Oberdiessbach area and they were all Anabaptists. Because of the amount of Gungerich in that area, I believe it is impossible to figure out which woman could have been Christian Rubeli’s mother.
I too searched the Aeschlen bei Oberdiessbach records to 1587 and also found no Rubeli. I do agree with the author of Der Messerschwanderhof that they weren’t from Oberdiessbach, but the Langnau records didn’t prove Christian Rubeli was born there either.
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.
The only way to know is to go to Switzerland and visit the archives in Bern. Either way, you cannot take the translation of the book literally.
At this time, I do not have any verifiable data on the mother of Christian Rubeli besides the possiblity she was could be a Gungerich (again, if Der Messerschwanderhof is correct). Additionally, 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…
Alexander Bold was a younger brother of Great Great Grandmother Emilia Bold Leies. He was born in 1848 in Nuenschweiler, Germany and was a musician and a hard-working Chicago Police Sergeant and Lieutenant with a colorful family life that made the Chicago papers. He became a naturalized American citizen one year before his future brother-in-law Johann Leies in 1866 in the same county in Ohio – Wayne County.
Alexander Bold married a German-American lady named Magdalena Bucholz in Ohio in 1869. Her father was born in Baden, while her German-American mother was born in Pittsburgh. They had 5 children: John, Richard, Otto, Rose Mary, and Joseph Frederick. By 1876 the had moved to Chicago. Alexander and Magdalena lived down the street from Emilia and Johann Leies on Larabee Street.
Both of Emilia’s brothers were members of the Chicago Police Department. In fact, Lieutenant Alexander Bold was one of three immigrants in my tree that were members of the Chicago Police Department. While looking at men in the force in Chicago in the 1800s, researchers always mention whether or not someone was an officer during the Labor Riots of 1877. The first reference I can find to Alexander working for the department is 1879 because in 1878, Alexander was listed in the city directory as a musician. So I looked in the Chicago paper. In 1879, Alexander was already a Police Sergeant getting transferred to the Third Precinct.
Here are some of the career highlights I found in the papers:
-the recovery of a drowned man;
-raising an alarm to a fire;
-a chase and struggle with a “crazy fiend” who had just shot 5 people. Officer Bold was nearly shot but he shot him first;
-capturing burglars red-handed;
-shooting and killing a run-away thief;
-promotion to Lieutenant at Desplaines Street Station on September 10, 1887;
-and arresting a gang of rough necks in February 1888.
In May 1888, a William A. Haerting publicly accused Lieutenant Bold of adultery with his wife. Mrs. Haerting was estranged from her husband and was boarding with the Bolds and their children. So he was let go from the force. After a hearing before the Police Board in which both Mrs. Haerting and Mrs. Bold testified on Alexander’s behalf, it was revealed the only evidence against Alexander came from the statements of his two sons. Alexander had submitted signed affidavits from them re-canting their previous statements saying they were due to being under the influence of alcohol.
Alexander was re-instated in September of 1888 but his sons didn’t stay out of the papers. One month later, they were in the paper for their legal problems like fraud and embezzlement and Alexander was again in the paper when he had to escort them to hearings for scamming little old ladies.
In May 1889 the libel suits Alexander Bold and Mrs. Haerting had commenced against the Chicago Herald were dismissed. The same month, Mrs. Magdalena Bold filed for divorce on grounds of cruelty which means she suffered physical abuse. By 1900 Alexander was living in a boarding house and was employed in private security as a watchman according to that year’s census.
Alexander died on September 2, 1910, outliving his sister Emilia and was buried in St. Boniface where she also rests.
I traced the children of Alexander a little bit. At least two of Alexander’s grandchildren served in World War II in the Army and the United States Coast Guard. Some descendants of Alexander live in Western Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and still live in Chicago today working in Leitelt Brother’s Casting Foundry, a company founded by Alexander’s daughter Rose’s husband Charles Leitelt.
I couldn’t find a photo of Alexander Bold but cannot help but think he had to be a big and fit individual to be able to provide chase and possess the ability to subdue some of the roughnecks he arrested during his time as a police officer in the Chicago Police Department. I also can’t help but think that Emilia and Johann Leies named their oldest son, my great grandfather, Alexander Leies, after Emillia’s brother because I could find no other Alexanders in the Bold or Leies ancestry.
Moschelmuhle, Burgalben, Pfalz, Germany – I am still tracing the lines of Emilie Bold. Her mother’s side is proving easier than her head schoolmaster father’s side. Emilie Bold’s mother Elisabetha Scheid (Grandma Ferraro’s great grandmother), descended from several millers and mill owners. They keep popping up on all of the Scheid twigs. Some of them just owned mills. Others owned mills and worked them. Some were just millers at a mill owned by somebody else. They all appeared to inter-marry too. I am finding that when you are a miller or buying and selling mills you are also in a lot of land transactions in areas of organize-happy Germany and Lorraine, France, that didn’t lose records in any of the World Wars!
Luckily, in at least one case, there is a mill still standing today named after the place Emilie Bold’s ancestors lived in Burgalben, near Rodalben, Pfalz, Germany in the mid 1700s. It was called Moschelmuhle. To be exact Elisabetha Scheid’s grandmother’s family, the Beckers, lived in a place with this name and only other families with their surname lived there.
Could this be where they lived?
That is a picture of the actual mill today. To be fair there are other mills in Burgalben still standing but this is the only one named Moschelmuhle.
A mill could be owned by a lord or the town and millers bid on the rent to lease it and be the town’s miller for a specified number of years. Now, in my case in my family I can say my ancestor Frederic Scheid (Elisabetha’s great grandfather) bought a mill near Rodalben, Pfalz in 1722. I have its description too, along with its price, in German, from the Gerichtsbuch. It was his, not the town’s. His son Peter married into the family that lived in Moschelmuhle – the Beckers.
On the other hand in Farindola in my tree, my ancestor Nicola Carusi, the Cancelliere and his uncle the Conte Carusi, signed off on a document authorizing the highest bidder named Giuseppe Salvitti (who happens to be my 6th great uncle) to mill for Farindola in 1814 for a duration of four years. That was a mill owned by the town.
Did you know Frederic Scheid is another person in Grandma’s ancestry that was born in France? I am still sorting that all out.
Back to Moschelmuhle. Did my ancestors just live at Moschelmuhle? I haven’t found any document yet that calls Christian Becker a “miller” unfortunately. I am still looking for any land transaction for Moschelmuhle since Christian Becker’s family lived in a place with that name. Nor am I finished researching his limb in the family tree.
Italian American Heritage Month is October. German American Heritage Month is September 15-October 15. These months were created to celebrate the many achievements made by the successes of Italian Americans and German Americans. Coincidentally these months overlap each other on the anniversaries of several of the dates that my Italian and German ancestors became Naturalized Citizens of the United States.
-2nd Great Grandfather Johann Leies, naturalized in Ohio on October 4, 1867.
-Great Grandfather Cesidio Marcella, naturalized in Queens County, New York on October 4, 1929.
-2nd Great Grandfather Fritz Eckebrecht, naturalized in Chicago on October 5, 1888.
-Great Grandfather Carmine Ferraro, naturalized in Chicago on October 27, 1911.
What is it about October and Naturalizations?
Because we only have Johann Leies’s naturalization date and not his record, the oldest Naturalization Record we have is from 1888 and it is. It belonged to Fritz Eckebrecht and came from Frank Eckebrecht who researched his family with Uncle John for decades.
A Little Bit about German Americans and Italian Americans
Germans brought the Christmas tree to America while the Italians brought their food and family-centered culture to America. Our country is named after an Italian. German Americans are the largest ancestry group in America today and the largest number of German Americans live in Pennsylvania today.
Most of the Germans in Pennsylvania are descendants of the Germans from the Palatinate (or Pennsylvania Dutch). Not until I started genealogy did I know that the German language of the Palatinate is that of the Pennsylvania Dutch. My 100% German American grandmother had 50% Palatinate ancestry. She never lived in Pennsylvania. She was born in Chicago at a time when Germans made up the largest ethnic group there.
Grandma said she remembered anti-German sentiment after World War I. Some Germans Americanized their surnames and were forced to purchase war bonds to prove American support. Another fact that I didn’t know until I started doing genealogy was that German Americans were detained and placed in internment camps during World War I and World War II. Italian Americans were placed in internments camps during World War II. I am not sure if either group ever received a formal apology from the government. I am happy to report that this did not happen to any of my ancestors. Even so, it is a struggle to obtain government records on an Italian in my tree between the World Wars where I believe someone was a victim of anti-Italian sentiment. You can read more about German Americans and their heritage through Wikipedia here.
Italian Americans are the fourth largest ethnic population in America. Besides their food and family-centered culture, they brought opera, bocce, and Montessori schools to America. Philadelphia has the second largest Italian American community in the country. You can read more about Italian Americans and their heritage here.
I think I will pack an Italian hoagie for lunch. Later I will make some stick to your ribs Pennsylvania Dutch chicken corn soup for dinner. Next: Brick Wall Wednesday
Leimen, Rheinpfalz – It turns out that Grandma is the direct descendant of the Schultheiss, or appointed town leader, of Leimen, Rhineland Palatinate, Germany. His name was Valentin Helfrich. His daughter married the owner of a mill and are also direct ancestors of Grandma.
Leimen is in the heart of the Pfaelzerwald or Palatinate Forest, a nature park, not far from the birthplace of Emilia Bold and Johann Leies. Today it has a population of about 900 people. According to the village’s homepage, it is known as the highest village in the Palatinate, for its clean air, its natural medicinal plants, and classic Christmas Eve celebration.
This Wikipedia article explains a little about the meaning and origins of the Schultheiss. Note that it was a the duty of a Schultheiss to collect taxes from citizens.
Little is known about this ancestor. Valentin is found in the ancestry of Emilia Bold. I had stopped researching her ancestry because I had hit a bit of a block and been stuck on my 4th great grandparents. It is amazing how much research became available online in a few short months since I stopped. I am once again shocked at the totality of information researchers from this area of Germany organize and put online. Since Labor Day, I have added 5 more generations in the lines branching off from Emilia Bold. It has led to more discoveries in Grandma’s French ancestry from Lorraine which, I am still trying to sort out.
Now the online research regarding Valentin has to be confirmed with data offline. The source of information that states this ancestor was a Schultheiss, a book about the Helfriches from Grafensteiner Amt, Germany, has to be found on loan from another public library for confirmation and/or by writing the current mayor of Leimen. I don’t yet know the names of his parents. If you are keeping tally that makes a Cancelliere of the Commune of Farindola – Nicola Carusi, a Gerichtsschoeffe/Court Alderman in Bechhofen -Balthasar Jakob Rubli, and Valentin, a Schultheiss. Nicola Carusi is the closest to us in degree of generations and has been the easiest to research.