Farindola~~June 17, 1888. On this day in 1888 my great great grandparents Biagio Di Francesco and Marianna Di Pendima were married in Farindola, Pescara. They were both contadini and the parents of my great grandfather Paolo Di Francesco.
Biagio was born on January 15, 1866 in Trosciano, Farindola to Luigi Di Francesco and Anna Emidia Lucerini. His birth record starts at the bottom of this page. Both of his parents were born in Farindola. Marianna was born on March 17, 1868 in Cupoli, Farindola to Carlo Di Pentima from Via Piana, Pianella and Nicola Antonia (di) Giansante from Rione del San Giovanni, Penne. Marianna’s birth.
The witnesses to their marriage were Clemente de Bernardinis, 43, Secretary (Municipal), and Domenico Ammazalorzco, 48, Country Guard (Municipal).
Biagio and Marianna welcomed their first child, Filomena, a little less than 9 months later. She died in infancy. Using other Farindola records on Antenati, I found that they went on to have at least 5 more children, and a stillborn. One son, named Zopito, emigrated to Canada. A daughter named Vincenza was born in 1890 and died in Farindola in 1954.
A son named Alfonso was born in 1892 and was a soldier in the 156 Regiment during World War 1 and died on August 12, 1915 from wounds received at Monte Cappuccio at the Second Battle of the Isonzo. His death record was on Antenati here because his parents requested information on their son from the Italian Army. In 1917, his military death record was sent from Rome to his parents and filed in the town records which I was able to access on Antenati.
My great grandfather Paolo Di Francesco was born in 1897. On July 15, 1915, he was called to military service in World War I and served in the 30th Artillery Regiment of the Infrantry. He was released from service in 1919. He and his future wife Luigia Maria Massei named a son Alfonso.
Biagio and Marianna had a son named Luigi who was born in 1899. He died in 1923 shortly after marrying Maria Vinci. Biagio died in 1923 as well at 29 Via Rossetti, Farindola. His death record is here. Marianna Di Pendima lived at least until 1928 because I have not located her death record in Farindola.
A Bit About the Parents of Marianna Di Pendima
Marianna’s mother Nicola Antonia (di) Giansante’s grandparents were Saverio Di Giansante and Domenica Andreoli. Saverio could write, and I have his signature from his son’s wedding record in Penne. They were contadini as well.
Saverio died in Penne but was born in Carpineto della Nora, Pescara, which is a few miles south of Farindola. Saverio’s death. Saverio and Domenica have a lot of descendants researching them and I run into more and more people wondering if that is why our DNA matches, etc. They are only in my tree once but in my Canadian cousins’ tree twice! As I am typing this I am asking myself why I have not yet researched Carpineto della Nora on Antenati!
Marianna’s father Carlo Di Pentima was born in Pianella and was a contadino. Carlo’s birth is on the left. Pianella is a few miles southeast of Farindola. In Pianella, the surname is spelled with a ‘t’ and not the ‘d’ they gave it in Farindola. I had to keep that in mind when I was looking at indexes. I have been researching Pianella the past week and the town seems larger than Farindola. In the late 1700s Pianella had a colony of Albanians according to the Farindola history I found on this Farindolesi’s website. I love that website.
The research continues…Wouldn’t it be something if I found an Albanian surname in my tree?
Sources: Antenati, Cadutigrandeguerra.it, Archivio di Stato di Teramo, Zia C.
My siblings love to hear what my DNA results are but they don’t want to get to get tested even though Ancestry keeps having sales. I choose not to broadcast my results anymore because if they don’t want to know why my test doesn’t show that I am not 100% European and shows 12% something else, then, never mind. Nor will I tell them how much Scandinavian or Iberian came up. I do know that I don’t have South Asian DNA but someone we are related to does and that is likely a sign of Roma ancestry in that person.
I was contacted recently by a user with a shared match that had an adoptee in their ancestry. So I have been looking more closely at my DNA on Ancestry. I am still learning how to use AncestryDNA, and after a year and a half, by looking at my matches and grouping them together with my shared matches by surnames and birthplaces, I know for sure that I am related to my mother, because I match her first cousin and second cousins on both sides of her family, and I am also related to my father because of the Cirone and Cacciatore matches.
Ancestry started something new this past spring called “Genetic Communities” in an effort, no doubt, to sell more DNA tests. Genetic Communities are “groups of AncestryDNA customers who are connected… most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors…For example some trace their roots back to groups of people who were isolated geographically…” Source: ANCESTRY.COM.
So, are you ready for my two genetic communities? Here is my first:
Here is the closeup:
My second genetic community is…
Southern Italians in which I have 35 DNA matches.
Surprised by either one? No? Then AncestryDNA got something right because the most recent immigrants in my tree were: a parent from Abruzzo and a great grandparent from Campania. Or maybe the Abruzzese and Campanian genetic makeup are similar? I don’t know. 12.5% DNA from my Campanian great grandparent is a small amount to put me in the Southern Italian community that easily. In case you are interested, the other people in the family that had DNA tests at Ancestry (and my family reading this knows who those people are) are not showing up in either of these Italian Genetic Communities.
Today’s birthday is Angela Maria di Massimo, born in 1871 at 10 a.m. in Macchie, Farindola, Pescara. She was the mother of my great grandmother Maria Luigia Massei.
-Angela Maria di Massimo-
The year 1871, day 7 of the month of June at hour 12, at the town hall, announced to me Massimo Ferri, Secretary of this Comune di Farindola, Penne Circuit, Province of Teramo, delegated, the Civil State Official, with the act of the Mayor dated the 20th of July last year, from the Procuratore of the King, appeared Donato di Massimo, of the living Serafino and the deceased Angela Maria Colangeli (Angela Maria Cecilia Colangeli), of 26 years, occupation contadino, living as a resident in Farindola, who presents a baby of the feminine gender, that he says was born on the 7th of the current month at the 10th hour to his wife Anna Domenica Cacciatore, daughter of the living Sabatino and the deceased Antonia Uriani (Oriani/Auriano), of 25 years, with whom he resides in their house in this Comune di Farindola at contrada Macchie, to this daughter he says he has given the name Angela Maria.
The above was declared and was also presented to me by Vincenzo Colangeli of the living Mattia of 37 years of the profession contadino and living as a resident in Farindola and of Costantino Massei (my third great grandfather and future father-in-law of Angela Maria di Massimo), of the living Sabatino of 39 years of the profession of contadino also living as a resident in Farindola.
The rest of the document says something to the effect of “the above act is presented and read to all of those present because they are illiterate.”
Signed: Civil State Officer Delegate
Source: Antenati/Archivio di Stato di Pescara: Stato Civile Italiano, Farindola, Nati 1871 Numero 58
We know from other documents retrievable at Antenati that Angela Maria’s mother Anna Domenica Cacciatore was born in Penne. Her father Donato di Massimo was born at a place in Farindola area called the Colle della Castagna. I would love to figure out where that spot is on a map of Farindola. Donato’s mother Angela Maria Cecilia Colangeli, for whom my second great grandmother was named, was born in Montebello di Bertona, a neighboring village.
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.
The gift of a “genealogy goldmine.” When the clipped newspaper articles are practically crumbling in your hands, you are viewing photos of people born in the 19th century, and the scent of paper older than 100 years lingers in the air, you know you were gifted the “genealogy goldmine.” That is what my mother’s cousin – a Ferraro cousin – gifted me the other day. You probably saw the photo of Angelo Ferraro on Facebook wearing the top hat and his Italian military medals with the explanation from the Italian article describing his military campaigns. That piece of gold and the stories she shared were the best part!
Someone in the family kept clippings, pictures, and programs related to these early Italian immigrants in my ancestry. I am guessing this collection of memorabilia may have been started by my great grandmother Helen and continued by one of my great aunts after she passed. There are many names in the “goldmine” I have heard, but can now put into context in the music industry. Not to mention, there is another little mystery surrounding Immigrant #3 ~ Retired Army Captain and Merchant Angelo Ferraro and who he may have been working for in New York City before he passed away in Ohio in 1926. More on that later after I sort it out.
In 1910, my great grandfather and 6 other Italians apparently formed the Italo-American Forwarding Company in Chicago. The description of the company in the torn pages from a publication we will never be able to name describes it as an import/export business that specifically specializes in Italian, French, and Spanish goods. They claimed to have a New York office. In the 1910 Chicago Census, Carmine was listed as a fruit broker. Perhaps the Italo-American Forwarding Company imported produce. You can see Gerry Valerioti and Angelo Scarnecchia were members of the incorporation and Antonio Ferraro is the Vice President! Could Antonio have been in charge of the New York part of this enterprise? Maybe he really spent time in Chicago?
Another clue I found on Antonio was a translated copy of a letter Carmine wrote to Antonio on February 1, 1948 that was sent to the “Augustinian College” at Santa Rita del Carmine, in Aversa, Caserta. Was Antonio really the religious brother then? What does this mean then about abandoning wife Elisa? Below is a current photo of the Complesso del Carmine in Aversa.
The Augustinians left in 1959 and the complex closed in 1980 after it was damaged by an earthquake. If you are wondering where Aversa is, it is a town about 5 miles outside of Napoli.
So now we know where Antonio was in the 1940s. Did he have a family in Italy? What was going on with this guy? We now know he lived until at least 1948. Could unraveling the next little mystery about my second great grandfather Angelo Ferraro lead us to another clue on Antonio in New York City? Maybe.
Immigrant Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia was born in 1886 in Montecalvario, Naples and came to America in 1904 with her mother and sisters. She was my great grand aunt, for she was the younger sister of my great grandfather Carmen Ferraro. Carmen had five siblings: Antonio, Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti, Gelsomina Ferraro Ciocco, Elena, and Giovania. Elena was the second youngest.
I found Elena on the 1905 Census in Brooklyn still living with her parents Angelo Ferraro and Filomena Napolitano. Neither she, nor her 3 sisters were working outside the home. Same for their parents.
By 1907, Elena’s parents Angelo and Filomena were living in Columbus, Ohio. Elena was also likely in Ohio, because by 1908, she had married an Italian immigrant Angelo Scarnecchia and had given birth to their oldest, Armando Scarnecchia.
Elena’s husband Angelo Scarnecchia, according to the 1900 census, came to the United States at age 7 around 1890 and worked as a clerk in his father’s confectionary store. His father was a confectioner in Warren, Ohio.
A Little Bit on Scarnecchia
Angelo Scarnecchia was born in 1883 in Barrea, L’Aquila, Abruzzo to Orazio Antonio Scarnecchia and Cleonice Santa D’Aquila. Because I love the Italian records site Antenati, I traced the Scarnecchia’s back to the late 1700s in Barrea, L’Aquila to the great grandparents of Angelo Scarnecchia named Clemente Scarnecchia and Maria Loreta Vecchione. They were farmers. I stopped there even though it could have been possible find two more generations.
Back to my great grand aunt…In 1909, Elena and Angelo had their second son, Orazio (John Horace Sargent) in Wheeling, West Virginia. Angelo’s parents were also living in Wheeling at the time. By 1917, Elena and Angelo had moved back to Warren, Ohio, and had their only daughter, Cleonice Elena (Henriksen). Angelo was working in his own company at this time, according to his World War I draft registration card – Foreign Exchange/Real Estate which also appeared on the 1920 census. They had two more sons, Angelo and Robert.
My great great grandfather Angelo Ferraro was living with the Scarnecchia’s in Ohio at the time of his death in 1926. In fact, Angelo Scarnecchia bought the plot to bury Angelo Ferraro in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Youngstown. He is the only person in the unmarked plot. Margerita Valerioti also lived with Elena (her aunt) and her family after her mother Maria Angelia Ferraro Valerioti died in 1918.
In the early 1930s, Angelo Scarnecchia was working as a clerk at Warren State Bank. I found a couple of newspaper references to Angelo Scarnecchia in Ohio. In this Akron Beacon clip from May 1930, there was a reference two incorporations bearing his money and name in Warren, Ohio:
I found another reference to these incorporations as Scarnecchia and Orlando. Angelo Scarnecchia died in Los Angeles in 1956.
When I was researching Elena’s children, I lost track of Armand after he appeared to marry in New York City to Ethel DeNaro. With the number of Angelo Scarnecchias living in the Warren area of Ohio, I also had difficulty tracing that son. Daughter Cleonice moved to New York City and was a singer like my great grandfather. I confirmed that sons Orazio and Robert used and/or changed their surname to Sargent. Robert and his wife Elizabeth were actors in Italian theater that toured the country and played to largely ethnic audiences.
BUT! Robert was also listed as Scarnecchia in the Social Security Death Index. Before he was in acting, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a junior grade Lieutenant during World War II. He died in Nevada in 1996. His son Bobby Sargent was a comedian who says he shortened his Scarnecchia name to Sargent when his surname got “too big for marquees” according to this clipped article I found from May 31, 1974 in the Reno, Gazette – Journal, in which he says Harpo and Chico Marx were his teachers:
Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia outlived all of the Ferraros in my ancestry that came to America from Naples in 1903 and 1904 and stayed. She died in Los Angeles in 1964, a few short months after my great grandfather.
Ellis Island Passenger Lists
New York State Census
New York City Marriage Index
Social Security Death Index
U.S. Navy Enlistment Records
Nevada Death Index
California Death Index
National Archives – CF files
Next immigrant: Great great grandmother Emilia Bold – the one with a German Junker ancestor, French ancestors, and Swiss ancestors.
On this day in 1842…Carmine Napolitano and Maria Michela Sabatino were married in the Cattedrale di Nola, Campania. Who are they? They are the parents of my 2nd great grandmother Filomena Napolitano, who came to America in 1904 at age 59. Filomena Napolitano is the mother of Carmen Ferraro.
In 1842, Carmine Napolitano was a blacksmith, age 37, and the widower of Giuseppa Manna, the mother of his first born – Carmela. Giuseppa Manna died in 1841 and Carmine was left without a mother for his young daughter so a marriage was arranged. Carmine’s parents were Antonio Napolitano, a master tailer, and Rosa Marotta, both from Nola. Carmine’s mother was already deceased at the time of his marriage to Maria Michela Sabbatino. He lived on Strada Sant’Anna in Nola.
Maria Michela Sabatino was 33 in 1842. She was born in nearby Sirico, which is now part of the town of Saviano. She lived on Strada Sant’Antonio in Nola at the time of the marriage. Maria Michela’s family was affluent in Sirico. Her father, Gioacchino Sabatino, was literate, and a man of wealth. On the record above, his profession is listed as bettoliere = tavern owner. In the Sirico records he went from being a tailor, like his father, to vendor on the piazza, tavern keeper, tavern owner, wealthy landowner = possidente, and at the time of his death in a hospital in Naples, back to tailor again. Gioacchino’s brother Lorenzo was the Mayor of Sirico from 1860-1861. Maria Michela Sabatino’s mother was named Santa di Conza and she was not from Sirico. She was born in San Valentino di Sarno, Salerno.
More on the easy to research Sabatinos at a later date…
The marriage of Maria Michela Sabatino and Carmine Napolitano produced at least 3 children. Son Antonio Napolitano was born in February 1843, next Filomena was born in 1845, and Giuseppa in 1847. A copy of the only photo we have of Filomena Napolitanois at the top.
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…