Posts Tagged With: Germany

Seeing Through the Mists: The Leys in Germany


Stiftskirche Kaiserslautern

Stiftskirche in Kaiserslautern dates to the 13th Century. Our Ley ancestors probably arrived in the 1600s, but no word on whether their Evangelical Lutheran and reformed Protestant churches stand today.

Part 1: Will the Real Johann Ley Please Stand Up?

 

This week marks the 10th anniversary of Whispering Across the Campfire. Huzzah!

Despite some yawning gaps, and the intervention of the non-genealogical world, I’ve spilled digital ink across 248 posts and counting to chronicle stories from the families Foutz, Johnson, Ley and Weible — and all the other varied surnames in our history, from Germany to Switzerland, Wales to England.

Today, we trek back to the 1700s to get to know our Ley ancestors in Bavaria just a bit better than the historical record up to this point has allowed.

We’re going back to visit great-grandparents of the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth order — a 12-generation span, counting the latest Ley great-grandkids in my sons’ age group.

Up until now, the best sources we’ve had to uncover who these ancestors were, and how they lived, have been two:

  1. A Short History of the Ley Family — a six-page, lavender-covered pamphlet printed by John Doerschuk of Shanesville, Ohio, circa late 1890s, probably at the behest of my third-great-grandfather Augustus Ley, since it documents his parents’ 60 years of happy marriage, and they had died not long after that milestone.
  2. The Carl Frederick Ley Family — an extensive tome researched and published by Doris Eileen Ley Hill, in 1992. Doris graciously shared a copy with me a few years into my own genealogy foraging, as well as a nice old print of my fourth-great-grandparents, Charles and Susan Ley, a scan of which now hangs in my dining room.

Doris is a descendant of two Bavarian Leys. Charles and Susan’s daughter, Minnie Ley, married her cousin, Carl, the German-born son of Charles’s brother Friedrich Kristian Ley. Carl is Doris’s great-grandfather, and the husband of my fourth-great-aunt (as well as a cousin a few calculations removed from what I’m willing to figure out at the moment). So there you are. Family.

My credo since beginning this genealogy quest some 12 years ago has been to do only a little more than what I can burrow into via electronic sleuthing — full-contact genealogy quests to graveyards and hometowns notwithstanding — so I can only imagine the lengths Doris had to go to, 30 years ago: writing (via old-fashioned stamps and envelopes) to record-keepers in Germany, deciphering scribbles in family bibles, tweaking the misfiring neurons of well-meaning relatives during in-person interviews.

Without her record, there would have been no way to separate the Leys and Lays and Leÿs from old German church records (before there even was a proper Germany).

But with the benefit of Doris’s sleuthing, I’ve been able to connect the dots even further back, squinting at the flourishes in digital script this time, and correct a bit of the record as we — and our well-meaning ancestors — understood it.

Let’s begin as A Short of History of the Ley Family began — and I’ll share both that version and Doris’s, and alternately correct and expand to reveal the new details.

interior-of-a-tailor-s-shop-quiringh-van-brekelenkam

Interior of a tailor’s shop, c. 1653 by Dutch painter Quiringh van Brekelenkam. The Leys came to Germany from the Netherlands by the late 1600s, and our earliest ancestors on record were cloth manufacturers and master tailors. Getting in the mood yet?

Master Tailors in Kaiserslautern

The “Short History…” begins:

According to trusty tradition the family LEY comes from the Netherlands.

1. The first Ley came from thence to Keiserslautern, in the Rhine Palatinate, and erected at this place and carried on a cloth manufactory. his name, birthday, etc. are unknown.

Doris begins in the same way, with:

  1. The first LEY we know about, according to family tradition, came from the Netherlands, and settled in Keiserslautern, in the Rhine Palatinate, where he erected and carried on a cloth manufactory. His name, birthday, etc.  are unknown.

I can now correct the record to reveal the name of that ancestor — Johann Berthold Laÿ. And you can keep the umlaut and L-a-y spelling, too, as the earliest church documents confirm them.

Johann (or John, today) appears in a 1738 marriage record for his son, Johann Friedrich Lay, and Maria Magdalena Didi, in the Evangelische (evangelical) Kirche (church), Kaiserslautern, as well as the bride’s father, Heinrich Didi.

Birthday “and etc.” are still unknown. But let’s connect how we get to my eighth-great-grandfather (!), shall we?

The Ley history continues with:

2. He had but one son, who conducted at the same place a large rural estate. He was highly esteemed and held for many years the office of mayor of the city. his name, birthday, etc. are also unknown.

Doris broke some ground here, and she supplied us with names of my seventh-great-grandparents, as well as a bit more detail on occupation:

2. His son, JOHANN FRIEDRICH LEY, was a master tailor, married MARIA MAGDALENA DIDI. They had a son, also named JOHANN FRIEDRICH LEY.

The historical record checks all the boxes when it comes to Johann Friedrich marrying Maria Magdalena Didi. Both soon appear on their son’s birth record in the same church, about a year later.

The date of their wedding? Aug. 19, 1738. It’s recorded not only in the Reformed Church’s book in Kaiserslautern, which helpfully lists Johann Berthold Lay as Johann Friedrich’s father, and Heinrich Didi as Maria’s, but also in a retrospective dated July 17 1757, which records a speech given by Johann Friedrich marking 46 years since the church’s foundation stone was laid.

Where did I get such wonderful facts? While I’d love to claim they came from an exhaustive trip to the former Palatinate, after hours and days winding along roads that, from the pictures, resemble my hometown Tuscarawas County a great deal, in the digital age what you mostly need is the dough for an Ancestry World-level membership, and the exhaustive patience to search and comb and hunt and cross-check and scroll through the “kirchenbuch” (church book) records of the day.

In the 1970s The Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City sent teams to caches like the Stadtsarchiv (state archives) at Kaiserslautern to microfiche all the rolls of church records they could. Good news? There’s a lot of them. No fewer than a dozen captured collections numbering in the several hundreds of pages that document our Ley ancestors and in-laws in several old Bavarian communities within 30 or so miles of Kaiserslautern. The bad news? Each collection seems to slice and dice the old records from several churches in turn, so you’ll have a hundred pages from the Lutheran Church followed by 50 from the reformed church, followed by scores more from the Catholic church, and so on.

All in tiny, ornate, at times whispering script from the 17th and 18th centuries. Oh, also thoroughly auf Deutsch. An effort that, when it yields up that elusive nugget of info, is worth the hours hunched in 21st-century chairs, bathed in laptop light. And when it doesn’t? A pox on 800-slide microfiche! But, I digress.

The 1757 speech by Johann Friedrich the elder is a curious entry, which seemed to throw off the Mormon transcribers, who unhelpfully recorded both Johann Friedrich and Maria Magdalena as died and buried on Aug. 19, 1738, since for some reason the church book basically repeats the wedding info in the record of the speech 20 years later. I’m not sure why the 1757 date in the entry was ignored when the decision was made to kill off Johann and Maria on their wedding day, but thus is the way of tyrants and itinerant record transcribers.

It doesn’t help the squinting Mormons, perhaps, that that later entry even mentions the fact that the speaker, Johann Heinrich, had married Maria Magdalena there in 1738, but also goes on to mention their fathers again, and their fathers’ occupations — Johann Berthold as “schneidermeister zu neustadt” (master tailor to Neustadt, about 28 miles southeast of Kaiserslautern — and a place I should hunt next), and Heinrich Didi as “küfer und burger,” which gets a little more transparent when it is helpfully repeated in a different way in the birth record of Johann Heinrich the younger about a year later.

Want to squint at 18th-century German records? SURE YA DO! Find them here:

But let’s move on to the record of my sixth-great-grandfather’s birth, which ties all three generations together, handily, and corrects a misconception in the old Ley history and Doris’s record.

 

Ley John Frederick Birth 1739 Kaiserslautern

This record, which I first discovered at FamilySearch.org, put the right birth parents and the right birth date with the ancestor recorded in the Ley Family History and Doris Hill’s book.

Choosing the right John Ley; Finding a Sister

From the Ley history:

3. To him a son John Frederick was born May 6th, 1738.

He studied theology and became a minister of the gospel at Imsbach, county Falkenstein, Rhine Palatinate.

He was married to Maria Philippina Dorothea Lauckhardt, Nov. 25, 1764, and in the following year, 1765, he was installed as minister of the gospel in St. Alban, succeeding his father-in-law, the Rev, Geo. William Lauckhardt.

Doris adds even more to the record:

This JOHANN FRIEDRICH was born May 6th, 1738. He studied theology and became a minister of the gospel Aug. 20, 1759-1763 in Jakobsweiler; Oct. 3, 1763-65 in Imsbach, county Falkenstein, Rhine Palatinate; and Mar. 13, 1765-1788 St. Alban, where he died Apr. 1, 1788.

Johann was married to MARIA PHILIPPINA DOROTHEA LAUCKHARDT, on Nov. 25, 1764. …

 

The big issue? That birthday is wrong. And when you try to apply it beyond the printed record of 1897, or 1992, it links up to completely different ancestors in the records databases than the ones chronicled in our family histories.

But the birth date is wrong in an increasingly interesting way. Let me explain.

The date connects to a Johann ADAM Lay, whose father is Johann Wilhelm Lay, and mother Anna Barbara, maiden name Braun. So: wrong Lays entirely, but Johann Wilhelm is also listed as a master tailor on this and his other children’s birth records. And his father-in-law, Johann Adam Braun, is listed as a master tailor as well.

In addition, there’s another Lay, Johann Ulrich Lay, whose occupation is variously listed as master baker, and then later, tailor, in these same church records.

I’m thinking we might not only have separated Johann Adam from our ancestor, Johann Friedrich, with the proper birth date, but we *may* have found his cousins and uncles, brothers in the tailor trade with Johann Friedrich Lay, the elder. Which *may*, also, trace back to Johann Berthold Lay as the mysterious first ancestor from Netherland to come to Kaiserslautern — Neustadt, according to the records — and run a cloth manufactory. (Though we have a lot of Lays to link up.)

So, how did we get there?

We know that Johann Friedrich Lay (the elder) and Maria Magdalena Didi were married Aug. 19, 1738. So having a son born 4 months before that is probably not likely. Plus, the names on that record do not match theirs, or their son’s, for that matter. Sorry, Johann Adam.

The record of Johann Friedrich being born on July 10, 1739, and being baptized July 12, makes a lot more sense. And lists the correct parents — Johan Friedrich, master taylor, and mom Maria Magdalena Didi — and paternal grandparents Johann Heinrich Didi and Anna Sybilla (Schlaffers).

These correct dates and names are cited in no fewer than four old German church records. Check them out:

  • Johan Friedrich’s birth record, from the Evangelische-Reformierte Kirche, Kaiserslautern, listing baptism date as well as parents, and materal grandparents
  • Another matching birth record for Johan Friedrich, from Kaiserslautern u Schaffer, listing baptism date as well as parents, and maternal grandparents
  • An index to the Evangelische-Reformierte Kirche’s Taufen und Heiraten (birth and marriage) records, listing Johann Adam a couple rows up from Johann Friedrich, with their respective birthdates, and also, the marriage date of Johann Friedrich the elder on a separate line — check out all the Lays in Kaiserslautern’s parish
  • The individual record for Johann Adam Lay — NOT matching our Lay’s parents and grandfathers, or a feasible birthdate if his parents were married Aug. 19, 1738
  • Page from the same index on seven-great-grandmother Maria Magdalena Didi, listing her marriage date; her birth record is in another church’s kirchenbuch
  • Another Lay cousin? — Johann Wilhelm Lay’s birth record from 1732; his father, Johann Wilhelm the elder, appears variously as master baker and master tailor in birth records for his other children

About the time I’d untangled Johann Adam from Johann Friedrich the younger, I discovered another birth record connected to Johann Friedrich Lay and Maria Magdalena Didi. This time, to a daughter, Maria Magdalena, born Sept. 21, 1741, and baptized Sept. 24.

She was about 8 pages away in the church record from her brother, my sixth-great-grandfather Johann Friedrich Lay (the younger). And all seems very promising.

Except: the names in the maternal grandparents column we’ve placed such stock on earlier in our research don’t quite match up with her older brother’s listings. It could be I’m mistaking a capital-letter occupation with where “Didi” was on the other record. Or not quite deciphering the scribbling. Would that I could find the same “clean” record I did for Johann Friedrich (the younger) that laid everything out as a match for his other, messier record in this same kirchenbuch. Alas, that record cuts off in 1740, and I’ve had my fill, for now, of trying to link up the various microfiche records to find the next installment for their church.

But not bad sleuthing, right, as far as that goes? We’ve managed to rewrite the first couple graphs of our Lay/Ley family history in Bavaria:

The first Ley we know about, according to family tradition, came from the Netherlands, and settled in Kaiserslautern, in the Rhine Palatinate, where he erected and carried on a cloth manufactory. His name was Johann Berthold Lay, and records indicate he resided in Neustadt.

His son, Johann Friedrich Lay, was a master tailor. On Aug. 19, 1738, in Kaiserslautern, he married Maria Magdalena Didi. Maria was born Sept. 10, 1708 to Johann Heinrich Didi and Anna Sybilla Schlaffers, according to the Evangelische Reformierte church in Kaiserslautern. They had a son, also named Johann Friedrich Lay, and possibly a daughter, Maria Magdalena, born Sept. 21, 1741 in Kaiserslautern.

This Johann Friedrich was born July 10, 1739 in Kaiserslautern. He studied theology and became a minister of the gospel Aug. 20, 1759-1763 in Jakobsweiler; Oct. 3, 1763-65 in Imsbach, county Falkenstein, Rhine Palatinate; and Mar. 13, 1765-1788 St. Alban, where he died Apr. 1, 1789, according to the kirchenbuch at the parish he led.

More on Johann the younger and his wife, Maria Philippina Dorothea Lauckhardt, when we continue with Part 2 on our Ley ancestors in Bavaria.

Categories: Ley, newsletter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Five Enduring Foutz Family Mysteries


Jonathan Foutz

Great-Great Grandfather Jonathan Foutz would probably agree with Dory — looking for answers to genealogy questions? Just keep sleuthing!

Genealogy Never Rests

Just keep sleuthing, just keep sleuthing….

Dory from Finding Nemo (and her own eponymous sequel) was really a genealogist at heart. The motto that kept her moving — swimming — kept leading her to families, no matter the leagues between them. First, Nemo’s, then happily, her own.

Aside from occasional bursts of full-contact hereditary rummaging, my genealogical quest has been more of an occasional thing. Some early-a.m. flipping through old newspapers here, some peeks at the burgeoning pile of electronic detritus on Ancestry.com there. Day job, Dad duties, mindless TV — all conspire to slow my family-sleuthing from mad scramble to meandering marathon.

And that’s OK. This blog is a record of where we’ve been before, and an open lane to the depths we’ve yet to discover. And often, the way to latch on to new currents is to back-paddle to places we last left off. Dive around. Pick up the tidal pull again.

What do we do? We sleuth….

Questions to Keep Sleuthing By

My goal for this space the next six months is to share, at least once a week, some tidbit or tale that I’ve kept under glass the last few years, or lately untangled from the historical net. These discoveries spark conversations, which in turn spark connections — people with answers, and questions of their own. Keep ’em coming.

For now, here are five of the biggest, most-enduring mysteries I’d like one day to solve, bringing further clarity to the muddy waters of Foutz, Ley, Weible, Morgan, Fisher, Johnson, Palmer, Zeigler origins.

1. Where did Michael Pfouts come from?

Yeah, we think we know. Württemberg. Along the lower Neckar River region in Germany. Where Foutzes of old farmed, fought, made little Foutzes.

So says John Scott Davenport’s Foutz Newsletter of the 1980s: Michael Pfoutz emigrated to America in 1787, settled in Washington County, Maryland, and by 1810 or so was on his way to Harrison County, Ohio, where multiple records pretty definitively trace the Pfouts-Fouts-Foutz story through the succeeding two centuries.

But: Where exactly did Michael come from in Germany? Why did he cross the ocean, at 18? Did anyone come with him? Where else did those possible brothers and sisters, and father and mother, end up?

As the Davenport newsletters grow yellowed, and the originators of that work pass away, we’ve got to look for new answers, new connections. One I may have found, that I’ll reveal in a post soon (to echo Star Wars’ original trilogy): “a sister(rrrrrrrrr)?”

2. What happened to Rachel Foutz?

As traced in the years since an original summation of Foutz mysteries, we now know what became of every brother and sister of my great-grandfather, Vance Foutz, and even have a pretty good bead on their descendants, save for one sister, Rachel (Foutz) Coleman.

Rachel was one of three older sisters to my great-grandfather. We know what became of Lila and Ida. And it’s through Ida’s son Sherman’s diary — and the useful transcribing of distant cousin Dawn James — that we gain a little color around the facts we know, and a window on life in Dover, Ohio after Rachel and family followed younger brothers Charles, Vance and Mom Rebecca Foutz there in the first decade of the 1900s:

  • Born June 3, 1871 to Jonathan and Rebecca Foutz,in Harrison County, Ohio
  • In 1891, at age 20, Rachel married a war vet, William Coleman, more than 20 years her senior, and became stepmom to at least one living son, Berttie
  • They had at least four kids — Carl, who died of tuberculosis at my great-grandfather’s house in 1915 (same spring as Rebecca Foutz and her oldest son, Sherman); Blanche, Frank and Bessie.
  • Bessie, born in 1906 in Dover, disappears, along with mother Rachel, from the record. No other census, death or burial records have been found.

We later find William living in a veterans’ home in Canton, Ohio. And Frank lives until 1959 in Canton (he has a family I have not further explored – could be connections there). Meanwhile, sister Blanche lives until the ripe old age of 97, passing away in 1994 in Kent, Ohio. A few years back, I spoke to a family who knew her well, and shared photos. Story to come.

But what became of Rachel? There’s a mystery even more vexing for all we’ve assembled about our now-distant Foutz relatives.

Kaiserslautern Coat of Arms

Kaiserslautern Coat of Arms. The Leys emigrated there from The Netherlands sometime in the 1600s.

3. What can we learn of the Netherlands Leys?

According to A Short History of the Ley Family, a pamphlet passed down from our Port Washington, Ohio Ley ancestors, the Ley family originated in the Netherlands and came to Kaiserslautern in Germany, probably in the late 1600s.

We can trace the family back through my fourth-great-grandfather, Karl Ley, coming to America in 1833 and settling first in Shanesville, Ohio, and later, Port Washington, making his career as a saddler. And then further back through his father, Frederick Charles Ley, a minister at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pfalz, Bavaria; and then through his father, John Frederick Ley, also pastor at that parish (succeeding, in fact, his father-in-law, who succeeded his own father).

Neat trick, and probably an amazing place to visit someday for all that family mojo.

But we don’t know much about Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Ley — not his name, date of birth, city of residence, or death — save that he had a large, rural estate and was mayor, for a time, of his unknown city. And that his dad, Great Ley x 8, was first to move from the Netherlands and settle in Kaiserslautern, where he set up a cloth “manufactory.”

What can we learn from detailed German records, which seem to have been maintained through the tenuous political jigsaw puzzle of those centuries, and through war, etc., but weren’t so far recorded by our relatives?

Who were Thomas Johnson’s parents?

We’ve got names, known to my grandma, Erma (Johnson) Foutz, and her sisters. Just not much else. Maybe because his name was so common?

George Johnson was probably born in England, so says family legend, and he married a, well, Mary, and they settled in Guernsey County, Ohio. That’s the sum total of our knowledge about fourth-great-grandfather Johnson.

Admittedly, it doesn’t get too much clearer with Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Thomas, who died at 42 in the Civil War. Though just where in Mississippi, and of what, is a matter of some debate. (Possibly also due to his fairly common name?)

We hear he was a mule skinner in the army — something to do with nabbing available meat from local farms the army passed through and butchering it for the fighting boys. But we don’t even know that much about the wife he left behind, Nancy Valentine, back home in Guernsey, at first, and then, by 1910 in Jackson, Ohio. There’s a tid bit about her maybe not getting his pension — why? We also don’t know her death.

This is odd, because we know all their descendants, and their paths through Harrison and Tuscarawas counties, Ohio. Time to start sleuthing….

5. Where, in Wales, were the Morgans?

Also in the common name department are my second-great-grandparents, Thomas and Jannett (Rees) Morgan. We know their lives after they emigrated from Wales quite well — from their marriage in Philadelphia in 1872, to their settling in western Pennsylvania, and eventually, in Carnegie, where Thomas ran the Hotel Morgan before he died, in 1897.

What is a continued vexation — a problem not cleared up by the terse obituaries of the 19th century — is just who their parents were. When Thomas first came over; when Janet did. What happened to their sisters and brothers (if they had any) and parents. Even how “Reese/Rhys/Rees” is spelled.

We have theories about where they were from in Wales, and family stories of Jannett and her children going back to visit. We’ve gained their photos, and a hunch about Jannett’s Dad’s name, Daniel.

Everything else? Time to get sleuthing.

Categories: Foutz, Johnson, Ley, newsletter, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Visit with Great Aunt Nellie | Repost


Colt Foutz Nellie Johnson Fitzgerald

Colt and his great aunt Nellie (Johnson) Fitzgerald at her home in March 2011.

Hugs & Hospitality in the Home of Nellie (Johnson) Fitzgerald

Great Aunt Nellie (Johnson) Fitzgerald passed away Nov. 19 at age 99. This post, from March 2011, recounts a visit.

I was once a quite enterprising reporter, so I should have known better.

Presented with the chance to spend an afternoon chatting with my Great Aunt Nellie, 94 years young as of last September, I fumbled around with my laptop, spent a good half hour busying my hands consuming trail bologna and deviled eggs and macaroni salad and the like, and utterly failed to pop open a notebook and record our winding conversation with anything more reliable than my own noggin.

Which will have to suffice.

We spent the day chatting in her home, site in the summertime of many a family gathering, afternoons filled with sunshine and pickup softball games and plenty of food and lemonade. There was snow on the ground this time, and a chill in the air. But the atmosphere inside was cozy.

Nellie still lives at home, with some assistance throughout the day, and frequent visits from her son, who lives just up the road a piece. She was also kept company, during our visit, by a former daughter-in-law (I think?) and a great-grandson. So the house was filled with conversation, and I found Nellie to be as delightfully frank, and sweet, and feisty, and fun as I remembered.

Johnson Leona Miller

My great-grandfather Charles Johnson’s first wife, Leona Miller, died shortly after they were married.

The Tragic Tale of Leona Miller Johnson

Nellie has some trouble getting around these days. She greeted us from her easy chair, and moved about the house with the aid of her “horse” — her walker.

We began our visit by flipping through old photos — everything I had stored up in my Family History Master folder on my computer. She confirmed some of the old relatives I was wondering about, including some beauties of my grandma Erma (Johnson) Foutz as a young teenager (see below), and chuckled at ones of herself shortly after her wedding to DeLoyce Fitzgerald and especially at one of her as a baby, posed with older sibs Leonard and Virginia.

“Oh,” she said (of the photo at the bottom of this post), “I forgot to wear my socks that day!”

Nellie’s house is decorated with scores of old photos and mementos. She was kind enough to have copies made for me of a portrait of my grandmother as a baby, and of my great-great grandparents Palmer (which I featured in yesterday’s post).

In her current bedroom hangs a very unique portrait — that of my great-grandfather (her father) Charles Johnson’s first wife.

Leona Miller and Charles married shortly after Valentine’s Day, 1907. She was 23; he was 20.

According to family lore, and retold by Nellie during our visit, Charles, a coal miner, came home one day, perhaps as early as the week they were married, and found Leona on her hands and knees, scarlet-faced, scrubbing the floor.

As he knelt down to tend to her, Leona collapsed. She died shortly after.

Charles returned to the home of his parents (as noted in the 1910 census), and wouldn’t remarry until 1911, when he wed a girl from nearby Dennison, my great-grandmother, Viola Palmer.

“When you think about it,” I knelt down to murmur in Nellie ear, “it’s a sad story, but without Leona dying, none of us would be here.”

“Oh,” Nellie said, the whisper of a grin on her face, “I don’t know.”

There’s not a lot we know about Leona beyond her fate and the image preserved above. According to the New Philadelphia cemeteries department, she is buried in the same plot as my great-great grandparents Clement and Anna Johnson, but I found no marker to indicate such during my stop at East Avenue/Evergreen the next day.

Erma Johnson Foutz

This picture of my grandma as a very young teenager was taken in 1933, when she was not yet 13. Scribbled on the back: “Camp Birch Creek, F-60, Dillon, Montana. C. 15-1 C.R.R.,” which we’ve determined was a WPA-era camp at which her brother Joe was spending the summer. Joe’s name was also written on this picture.

A Big Sister’s Take on a Boy’s Grandma

The part of me that deeply misses my grandma Erma since she passed away in 2000, and yearns to be able to visit her again, really felt fulfilled by seeing Aunt Nellie again.

I remember the time I’d seen her before, after the funeral of my grandma’s second husband, Max, hugging Nellie felt a lot like hugging grandma. And yeah, I miss that.

This time around, I was full of questions. Things I wished I had asked Grandma, growing up. Or had paid more attention to her answers.

Nellie confirmed the many addresses in New Phila her family called home over a period of 25 years. These moves were logged in war records, censuses, and the certificates recording three of her brothers’ untimely deaths.

I also wanted to hear about how my grandmother and grandfather met, if she could fill me in. I’d read in the article detailing their marriage announcement that grandma was a secretary in the offices of the steel mill, where my great-grandfather Foutz and two of his sons worked from way back. But my grandpa only joined the mill later on, after he’d spent years as a sales agent for the local Ford dealership.

So, how, I wondered, did a girl from New Phila end up mixing with a boy from crosstown Dover, and one some seven years her senior at that?

“Oh, your grandma got around pretty good in those days,” Nellie quipped.

“Oh, your grandma was beautiful,” one of her visitors gushed. “And a very nice lady.”

How can an enterprising reporter hold up, in the face of comments both sly and complimentary?

Palmer homestead Scio Ohio

Another view of the old Palmer homestead in Scio, Ohio as it appeared in March 2011.

Tracing the Tree Back — Johnson & Palmer Roots

Nellie was keenly interested in some of the stops on my genealogy tour, asking about the state of the Palmer homestead, where her mother grew up and generations of the family farmed before that.

She was more interested, though, in how my parents were doing, and my wife and kids. “They should come and see me,” she said. And who could argue?

The visit ended much too soon. And I felt, not for the first time, that I’d already crammed way too much into three short days. And felt the weight, in leaving, of not knowing how soon my path would wind back her way again.

But in the work of honoring our ancestors, there are still volumes rich with information to mine.

Nellie had shared with her daughter, Sara (who in turn helps spread the word and get the family tree in order on Geni.com and Ancestry.com), the tale of her grandfather, Thomas Johnson, a Civil War mule skinner who died on a march through Mississippi in 1864. And there is limited info to go on past that, but a definite location to dig into — Guernsey County, where the Johnsons seemed to have first set up shop in Ohio.

Other connections of the family to the great conflict between the states include that of Anna (Burkey) Johnson’s father, Joseph Burkey, a soldier in Company B of the 126th regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Military records indicate he served from May 1864 through June 1865. I’ve visited his grave and snapped a picture there, but I’d love to hunt down a photo, and more info on his time in the war.

Meanwhile, Sara has traced the Palmer connection back through Harrison County farmfields and beyond, to the Balmers of 16th century Germany. A good, yawning gap of time to gape at, and wonder at all the ancestors — and their stories — in between.

Erma Foutz Miller Nellie Johnson Fitzgerald

Colt’s Grandma Erma and her older sister Nellie at his high school graduation, in 1994.

Johnson Leonard Virginia Nellie

A pic of the oldest Johnson kids — Leonard, Nellie and Virginia — about 1916.

Categories: Foutz, Johnson, newsletter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For the Record | Elizabeth Zeigler, 1928 Obit


Duerr Siblings 1903

Great-great Grandmother Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler — seated in the front row, second from right — and her siblings and siblings-in-law, at a family reunion, circa 1903. From left, front row: Margaret Stallecker Duerr, Mary Duerr Welsch, Anna Duerr Arnold, Elizabeth Duerr Zeigler, Susan Myers Duerr. Back: Michael Duerr, John Krantz (husband of Catherine Duerr) and Sam Duerr. Courtesy of Thomas Bitticker.

Elizabeth Duerr Zeigler, 1845-1928

From 87 years ago today, Great-Great Grandmother Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler passed away in the home of her daughter, Great-Grandmother Laura Foutz.

She was 83 and a native of Germany. Just where in Germany is pretty nailed down, and what’s more, that area lines up pretty neatly with her spouse, Jacob Zeigler’s, neck of Deutschland. But more interestingly, the place our Foutzes (over there, Pfoutses) are likely from, too.

How they all ended up in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, is a story that bears digging into.

But for now, record transcriptions report the Zeiglers (sometimes Ziegler) came from Hohenacker and the Duerrs came from Schlaitdorf. Both are towns near the southwestern German city of Stuttgart, in the Neckar River region. Pfoutses are said to have come from the lower Neckar River region in what is now Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Well, the trouble with certain German towns from the 18th and 19th centuries is that they were small then — some aren’t even in existence today. And, to complicate things further, sometimes there are more than one of them.

In the case of Hohenacker, birthplace of the Zeiglers, you can find the village in Bretzfeld, Waiblingen and Esslingen. Record transcriptions for the baptisms of Great-Great Grandfather J.J. Zeigler, in 1827, and sister Barbara, in 1810, show that they were born in Hohenacker, Waiblingen — which also happens to be the district that eventual wife Elizabeth Duerr and family called home, in Schlaitdorf. But family records claim these Zeiglers were born in Hohenacker, Esslingen.

Which is correct? Both villages are found near Stuttgart, both near that famed Neckar River which also produced the Pfoutses.

Baptismal records are probably the most authoritative when pinpointing our German ancestors. But I have seen more errors in transcription — and interpretation, such as family records that mutate Wuerttemberg into Wittenberg, which, as the German eagle flies, is aaaaaaall the way up in northeast Germany toward Berlin, but maybe our cute little relative researchers were thinking of the college in Ohio? — than I have seen dead-on accuracy.

So finding the actual records and eyeballing them is key. Until then, we have the swirling mists and a general geographic idea of where our Germanic roots got growing.

From the Jan. 23, 1928 edition of the New Philadelphia, Ohio Daily Times:

Mrs. Ziegler Dies Monday

DOVER TWP. RESIDENT 72 YEARS

Mrs. Elizabeth Ziegler, 83, widow of Jacob Ziegler, native of Germany, but a resident of Dover township since she was eleven years old, died at 10:20 p.m. yesterday at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Vance Foutz, 515 Race street, Dover, where she had made her home for the past six months.

Mrs. Ziegler, who became bedfast seven months ago tomorrow, died of a complication of diseases and infirmities of old age. Prior to her removal to Dover, Mrs. Zeigler had resided for twelve years with her son, David Ziegler, Russlin Hills, Dover township, four miles north of Dover. Mr. Ziegler died June 1, 1897.

Surviving are eight children: John, Zoarville; Mrs. Samuel Lengler, Parrall; Mrs. Edward Archinal, 515 West High street, this city; Jacob, David, Edward, all of Route 4, Dover; and Mrs. Foutz, at whose home she died; one brother, Samuel Duerr, Zoar; and a sister, Mrs. Constantine, Michigan.

Mrs. Ziegler was a member of St. Paul’s Evangelical church, Ruslin Hills.

Funeral services will be conducted at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Foutz home where she died, and at 10 a.m. at the St. Paul’s church. Rev. Paul Kaefer, Bolivar, will officiate. Burial will be made in the church cemetery by the Lewis Funeral Home, Dover, and Uhrichsville.

 

Zeigler Elizabeth Duerr grave Ruslin Hills Cemetery Dover Ohio

Great-great Grandmother Elizabeth (Duerr) Zeigler is buried in Ruslin Hills Cemetery north of Dover.

 

Categories: Foutz, General Genealogy, Milestones | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dover, New Phila Foutzes Connected by Football, Genes


Foutz Don Earl

Don Foutz, left, and H. Earl Foutz reminisce in 1974 about the pass Don of Dover threw that Earl of Phila hauled in for an interception and 85-yard return for a touchdown that won the 1929 rivalry game.

Foutz-to-Foutz Pass a Familial Feat

In the yellowed newspaper clipping, Don Foutz wears a turtleneck and a smirk. He looks less formal than the man in the suit and tie standing next to him, a guy also named Foutz, but also less than thrilled to be reliving a shared moment on the football fields of their youth.

Maybe because the moment happened to be one of the few that didn’t go a teenage Don Foutz’s way, particularly against rival New Philadelphia.

Maybe, too, because aside from a fabled pass that went the wrong way for Dover’s Tornadoes (and the right for Phila’s Quakers), the two men appeared to share little else.

Well, a shared name, in Foutz. But as the article says, the two men “are not related.”

It’s what they thought that November day in 1929; it’s what they believed 45 Novembers later on the eve of another annual rivalry football game.

So I guess it’s OK that my first post here in seven months is so long in coming since it will undo more than 100 years of missed conceptions and forgotten connections. Because the article’s wrong. The Dover and New Phila Foutzes are related.

Don Foutz’s Errant Pass Gives Earl Foutz Glory

A series of Tornadoes Time Warp posts in 2010 thoroughly documented Don Foutz’s football glory days from 1929-31. Among his exploits against hated rival New Philadelphia:

  • Scoring on an early run and throwing a 4th-quarter TD pass in a 13-7 Dover victory in 1930
  • Piling up a school-record 220 rushing yards (it would stand for 64 years) and 2 TDs in a 27-6 Dover victory in 1931

Grandpa was a fixture in print that senior season, as Dover notched a best-ever 10-1 record and #5 state ranking, an opener for a stretch of football and basketball dominance under Coach Hermann Rearick and grandpa’s successor at halfback, Doc Kelker, that briefly made Dover Ohio’s city of champions.

But his legend faded quickly and he settled into the daily routine, raising three kids and working for a Ford dealership before following his father and two older brothers into the steel mill.

Occasionally, the Dover Daily Reporter would catch up with the old Crimson Flash, as in a 1961 article about son Donn’s rushing exploits for Dover. The 1974 article, however, focused on a rare miscue — a year before Don Foutz played the hero against New Philadelphia, he sealed Dover’s fate with an interception to opposing player Earl Foutz. Read all about it by clicking the thumbnails below.

Don Foutz 1929 interceptionEarl Foutz intercepts Don Foutz

In addition to sharing details of the 1929 contest as a preview to the rivalry’s 70th installment, the article states: “that game marked the first time Don and Earl — who are not related — ever met.” While I don’t dispute the truth of the football covered in the article, I thought I’d dig a little more deeply into the genealogy.

Sharing a Common Great-Great Grandfather

Earl and his brother, Dick Foutz, were well-known around Dover and Phila, and to my family, as the operators of Foutz Appliances on Tuscarawas Avenue in New Philadelphia. I even remember as a kid asking about the cross-town Foutzes, but being told we weren’t related.

As it turns out, grandpa Don was third cousin to Earl and his brothers Dick and Lloyd. The connection goes back to where our Foutz — originally, Pfouts — ancestors started in Ohio, a couple dozen miles east near Bowerston.

According to well-documented research, Michael Pfouts — Don’s and Earl’s second great-grandfather — emigrated from the lower Neckar River region of Wuertemberg, Germany in 1787. He first settled in Washington County, Maryland, where he probably farmed with other German immigrants. He married a woman named Catharine in Maryland in 1799, and over the next 26 years they had 8 children — about half in Maryland and, beginning with Jacob in 1811, the rest in Harrison County, Ohio.

The early Pfoutses owned several parcels of land throughout Monroe and North townships, on which they farmed for the better part of 150 years. Gideon Pfouts, my third-great-grandfather (grandpa Don’s great-grandfather), farmed 80 acres along what is now Grundy Ridge and Mill Hill roads south of Bowerston. John, a brother more than a decade Gideon’s senior, farmed an area in the southeast corner of Monroe Township with siblings Jonathan and Elizabeth Pfouts. Although his homesteading siblings would never marry, John wed relatively late in life, marrying Irish immigrant Margaret Sprowls in 1850, when he was 43 and she was 27.

John and Margaret Pfouts are Earl’s great-grandparents. They’d have four children. Their second, born July 3, 1854 on the farm, was named Andrew J. Pfouts. That’s Earl’s grandpa. I dipped into the spreadsheet I started keeping in 2010 to track all the many (related) Foutzes (Pfoutses) from census to census in 19th century Harrison County. There, in 1860, was five-year-old Andrew in the home of John and Margaret Pfouts.

Earl and brother Richard would take over the store their father, James Howard Foutz, began on Tuscarawas Avenue in New Phila in 1920. (A talented brother, Lloyd, would perform as a musician around the country before dying young in 1961.) The connection between our families is confirmed by J. Howard Foutz’s 1901 marriage certificate to Effie Leggett of Carroll County. The certificate names Andrew J. Foutz and Mary Ayers of Harrison County as Howard’s parents. A 20-year-old James H. Fouts appears in their household in the 1900 census, the only one between his 1880 birth and 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 censuses documenting his married life with Effie and the kids in New Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, Gideon would marry Delilah Jones in 1843. Together, they’d raise six children. Their oldest, Jonathan Foutz, would marry Rebecca Caldwell and have seven children of their own. Their very youngest, born in 1887 in Bowerston, was Vance Cleveland Foutz, my grandpa Don Foutz’s dad.

The final resting places of our Foutz cousins mirror our own clan’s trek from the farms of Harrison to the city life of Tuscarawas county. John and Margaret Pfouts are buried with Michael and the rest of the original Pfoutses in Conotton Cemetery, while Andrew and Mary Pfouts are buried in Grandview Cemetery near Scio.

James Howard Foutz is buried, with Effie and infant daughter Mary, in East Avenue Cemetery, New Philadelphia. Son H. Earl and wife Isabel Marie Foutz are buried at Maple Grove Cemetery in Dover.

Earl outgained Dover by a crucial 85 yards in that 1929 contest; he outlived my grandfather by 13 years. I wonder what they’d chat about, today, if they’d lived to see the roots of their family history reconnected.

foutz andrew grave grandview harrison oh

Foutz James Howard grave 1941

Categories: Foutz, newsletter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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