There is a lot of unsourced information about Stephen Ulrich (Jr.) on the web. As Dwayne Wrightsman, another of Stephen’s many descendants, said about Stephen, “so much has been said and so little is known.”
One of the documented but unproven items about Stephen is this “Oral History of Ulrick Family” from a private letter documented in Kinsey’s My Family Tree, which states:
Stephen Ulrick was born about 1680 near the German and Swiss border. Some records give His birthplace as Swebeland, Germany….He had two brothers, John and another whose name is unknown…all members of the German Baptist Church. Early in the eighteenth century they left their European home to escape religious persecution and came to the New World. They settled east of the mountains–probably first in northern Maryland and later removing to Huntingdon Co. Pa. near Hollidaysburg…Now Blair Co. These three brothers were all short and heavy set. They married three very tall sisters. Stephen (our ancestor) also had three sons, David, Samuel, and Stephen. They were all German Baptist preachers.
How much of the above letter is true? At least some.
We know that Stephen Ulrich (Sr.), the father of Stephen Ulrich (Jr.) born in about 1720 could well have been born in 1680. We also know there was a Mathias Ulrich in in York County, Pennsylvania living in the same group of Germans where Stephen Ulrich (Sr.) and (Jr.) were both living.
Holidaysburg is in Morrison’s Cove, just north of Bedford County where indeed, several of the children of Stephen Ulrich (Jr.), including Stephen (the third) settled – along with Stephen Jr.’s brother, John and probably his brother Daniel. And yes, Stephen Jr. did settle in northern Maryland, having moved from Pennsylvania and he did have three sons named David, Samuel and Stephen. So, we know that there is quite a bit of truth to this family letter. As for the rest, we don’t know, but given that there are some accurate items, it’s not unlikely that there are more. There is, however, some generational intermixing of at least three generations. Of course, in all fairness, there were (at least) three generations of Stephen Ulrichs.
I must admit, I’m fascinated by the physical description of these men and their wives. That’s information that could only ever be forthcoming from a source like this. Did the original Ulrich men marry sisters? Would that have been Stephen Sr. the immigrant and two unknown brothers, or would this commentary have been referring perhaps to Stephen Jr. and two of his brothers? Stephen Jr.’s brothers John, George and Daniel all moved with him to Frederick County, so it’s certainly possible that they could have married sisters and remained close. There clearly weren’t a lot of Brethren females to choose from in the 1740 timeframe on the Pennsylvania frontier.
If anyone has documented information not included in this article, please do me the favor of sending it my way and I’ll be glad to update the article. I don’t however, want to be a party to spreading speculation or misinformation, so if it’s not documented, it’s not here, other than the above letter which I feel could provide important clues to the genesis of the Ulrich family.
I should probably explain, by virtue of introduction, that the Johann Michael Miller, Jacob Stutzman, Stephen Ulrich (Sr. and Jr.) families were all intertwined very early, certainly in the US if not in Germany previously. In fact, we do find the Miller and Stutzman families together in Germany, and possibly also the Ulrich family, but more on that in another article. In Lancaster, then York County, Pennsylvania, the Greib/Cripe family joins this group of Brethren families. In the US, the way to find any one of these families is to find any of these other families, because it seemed they were always together. They also intermarried, a lot, so sorting them out has proven challenging at best.
The Brethren Encyclopedia
For a Brethren family, a good place to check first is the Brethren Encyclopedia. It’s certainly not infallible, but often has valid information and equally as important, sources.
The Brethren Encyclopedia, The Brethren Press, 1983, p. 1285: Ulrich (Ullery, Ulery) Family
Families of this name of German/Swiss origins appear early in Pennsylvania records, but the first identifiable with Brethren communities (George, Matthew, Stephen, relationship unknown) settled in the Little Conewago valley (now Adams and York Cos., PA) ca. 1740. They were probably the Eldrick identified by Morgan Edwards among the founders of the Little Conewago congregation.
Stephen Ulrich, born abroad prior to 1725, took up land in 1742 adjoining his father Stephen Ulrich south of present McSherrystown, Adams Co., PA. In 1752 he moved to the Conococheague valley of Maryland (near Clear Spring), where he was active in Brethren affairs.
In 1767 Stephen Ulrick of Frederick Co., MD, was naturalized in Pennsylvania, an act which troubled his conscience as reported by Nicholas Martin to Alexander Mack, Jr., in 1772. His wife, Elizabeth Cripe (?) having died, he married in 1782 the widow of neighbor Jacob Stutzman. The children of the first marriage were three sons: David, Stephen, Samuel; and five daughters: Christina (m. Jacob Stutzman, Jr.), Elizabeth (m. Daniel Miller), Mary (m. George Puterbaugh), Hannah (m. Henry Puterbaugh), and Lydia (m. Jacob Lear). Daniel Ulrich, probably related, bought land from Stephen in 1754, then moved to Bedford Co., PA, where he died in 1792. John Ulrich, probably related, settled near Stephen in 1758, then moved west and died in Huntingdon Co., PA, in 1804. Numerous descendants of these pioneers, committed Brethren, including several eminent ministers, educators, and missionaries, spread along the frontiers of Pennsylvania, Ohio (by 1803), Indiana (by 1837), and west across the continent. In 1855 Jacob Ulrich was among the first Brethren settlers in Breckenridge Co., KS, where he knew John Brown and where his house and barn were burned by Quantrills raiders in 1863. JHS (John Hale Stutzman)
PA Land Records, Lancaster Co. Warrants 7 (U) and 8 (U), Feb. 16, 1742; Frederick Co., MD, Land Records Book E., 57-59; J. H. Stutesman, Jr., Jacob Stutzman (1982) index; Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd Series, 11:399; Washington Co., MD, Deed Book Co, 180-81; Washington Co., MD, Land Records Book D., 588-91; Colonial America (1967) 148, 184, 255, 266, 601; E. Pennsylvania (1915) index; Kansas (1922) esp. 13-26, 153-55.
Researcher Carol Henson tells us more:
Like other families, the Ulrich name changed quite a bit — especially in the first couple of generations in America. The family name generally appears as Ulrich or Ulrick — and then some of the Ulrich family members began using Ullery.
Ulrich and Ulrick has the same meaning as the old Germanic name “Uodalrich” or “Odalrik”. “Odal” means inheritance, and “rik” or “rich” means mighty or ruler, sovereign. Ulrich was the name of two German saints. There appear to be Ulrichs that were located in Baden Germany and Switzerland about the time of our first ancestor, Stephen Ulrich, Sr.
Ulrich family of Frebershausen in the Principality of Waldeck (is the first known Ulrich family), whose known roots first began in the 1500s. The earliest known Ulrich was Georg, a man whose story is clouded and whose parentage is uncertain. Waldeck in German means the corner of the woods. The area occupied by the former principality of Waldeck, even at this time, is a beautiful wooded region to which Germans and other Europeans come to vacation because of its beautiful woods, lakes, rivers, streams and spas.
Is this Ulrich family ours? We don’t know, but with Y DNA testing, we may one day be able to answer that question.
Being A Pietist Was Dangerous
The ongoing warfare in Europe, and in particular in Germany for centuries created a group of small fiefdoms where the ruler owned all of the land and dictated the religion of everyone who inhabited his fiefdom – generally meaning Protestant (Lutheran) or Catholic. This was legitimized by the Treaty of Augsburg on September 25, 1555.
If that ruler died, or was overrun, the new ruler, who might have entirely different views, took over – along with his religious preference, which became a mandate. The penalty for noncompliance was death, and people would run like rats from a sinking ship to escape into a friendlier fiefdom, often just a few miles down the road. However, with no land ownership and vacillating religious rules and policies, there was no reason for any peasant to develop much loyalty to any one place – other than family. And the family was also peasantry, so they weren’t tied either. More often than not, they moved together – sometimes leaving one or a few behind, like bread crumbs, along with the dead whose records might be found in church books, of course.
In the early 1600s, itinerant preachers roamed the German countryside preaching “unofficial doctrines” and working the populace into a lather. Local rulers tried to get rid of them, because social unrest of any kind was not a good thing to a landowner.
While all these groups are lumped together and called pietists, they often fought bitterly among themselves, but they were all united in their rejection of bureaucracy that could and did tell them what to do, and how. They each felt that they held the “only key” to salvation and grace. The church, both Catholic and Lutheran, dictated “correct” beliefs, but the pietist sects believed in a personal relationship with God and rejected all intermediaries.
To the pietists, the Bible was the doctrine, period, and all one needed to do personally was to read and follow the Bible. No interpretation necessary by churches, ministers or rulers…thank you very much.
Many of these groups also were opposed to infant baptism because they did not believe one could be “saved” before one had the capacity to choose salvation for oneself. The official churches condemned unbaptized babies to hell. The pietists sects began baptizing, or rebaptizing adults, an act punishable by death.
These groups were called Anabaptists, or rebaptizers, and the Moravians, Brethren, Mennonites, Amish and others fell into this general group.
The first recorded adult baptism happened in Zurich in 1525 and by 1574, more than 2500 Anabaptists had been put to death for adult baptism – the unrepentant being burned at the stake. If you repented, the men were beheaded and the women drowned. A quicker terrible fate, although all three just make me shudder. And to think they were performed in the name of religion.
The official state religion kept changing too, first to Reformed, then to Lutheran, and each change caused more upheaval and more underground worshipers. Amazing that something that is supposed to be bring peace and comfort, like religion, caused so much pain and death.
By 1644, the foundation for immigration to Pennsylvania where William Penn openly recruited the downtrodden refugees and weary worshipers, specifically targeting the Quakers, Mennonites and other pietists and eventually, the Scots-Irish. Maryland welcomed Catholics, where Virginia was an English colony requiring membership in the Anglican church with stiff penalties otherwise.
In 1683, William Penn founded Philadelphia with 300 houses and negotiated his Great Treaty with the Indians. Later that year, the first German Mennonites arrived and established Germantown. The wave of German immigration had begun. On that wave, a few years later, would ride Stephen Ulrich.
I have to wonder what would motivate someone to undertake an adventure into the completely unknown. What they were leaving must have been perceived to be worse than anything they could encounter where they were headed. Warfare was not unfamiliar to the pietists in Europe, and they had feared for their lives and property there as well. They must have felt like their entire existence was going from one conflict to the next. Maybe they felt these trials were sent by God to test their faith.
One big difference, and it may have made all the difference, is that in Germany, the rulers owned the land. In the colonies, the settlers had the opportunity to own land – something that would never happen in Europe. Indeed, even with its problems, America was the land of opportunity. That is, if you survived the voyage.
The voyage itself was dangerous and you could expect to lose part of your family. On some voyages, half the people perished. On some, more than half, two thirds, 80%. These were not anomalies. And the voyage took weeks. God forbid you were pregnant. I suspect that was a death sentence. What could have been so bad that one would choose uncertainly and a very, very high risk endeavor?
Justin Replogle in his book recounts both the 30 Years War that ended, finally, in 1648, only to be followed by the War of Spanish Succession from 1684 to 1713. Villages and farms were plundered and ruined and legions of people killed. From 1688 to 1697, every big city north of Cologne was plundered. On a single day, the Elector of Mannheim wrote that from the city walls he could see 23 villages burning. During this time, many Germans fled to Switzerland. A few years later, many Swiss would migrate to Germany for religious freedom and toleration – the price of resettling the naked German landscape. However, for the pietist sects in Switzerland, these were magical words.
So this landscape of warfare was sadly familiar to the German immigrants. They had lived with it, endured and survived for their entire lifetimes and the lifetimes of their parents and grandparents. Frightening? Certainly. But nothing terribly new. However, for a sect that refused to fight, even to protect themselves, they must have been sitting ducks. It’s amazing that any survived.
Many of the Pietist sects, meaning Mennonites and Brethren, immigrated between 1719 and 1729. We don’t know exactly when Stephen immigrated. We also have no information to suggest that he, or the families associated with Stephen, were pietist before immigration. What we do know is when he was naturalized.
The first actual piece of documented information we have about Stephen Ulrich is that he was born in Germany, because he, along with his father, also named Stephen, was naturalized in 1738, which would not have been necessary if he were born in the colonies.
On page 57 of the Council of Maryland, “Commission Book No. 82,” which contains miscellaneous entries from 1733 to 1773, we find an entry that says: “Ulderey, Stephen, Planter of Baltimore county, native of High Germany, naturalized 4 June, 1738; and his children Stephen, George, Daniel, John, Elizabeth and Susanna.” (Dwayne Wrightsman)
This could imply that Stephen Sr.’s wife had died, although at that time, wives were not individually listed and were simply included in their husband’s naturalization.
I have to ask why, if Stephen was living in Pennsylvania in 1738, near Hanover, was he being Naturalized in Baltimore County, Maryland. The answer to that question is that the state border was in dispute and Stephen believed that his land was indeed in Maryland, not Pennsylvania. If Stephen’s land was in Maryland, Baltimore County would have been where it was located. Frederick County, Maryland was later formed from parts of Baltimore and Prince George Counties. As it turned out, Stephen was wrong and his land wound up being in Lancaster County (subsequently York County, now Adams County) in Pennsylvania, a few miles north of the Maryland/Pennsylvania state line, or where it would eventually be.
Also listed on pages 57-58 of “Commission Book No. 82” were six of Stephen Ulderey’s neighbors, all of whom were known to reside at or near Digges Choice on Little Conewago Creek in what turned out to be Lancaster County, PA. Stephen Sr. had purchased his initial land from Digges, so we know positively that’s where he lived.
People naturalized on this date – all ‘natives of High Germany now planters of Baltimore County’ were:
- John Morningstar and his children Philip, Elizabeth and Joanna
- John Martin Ungefare and his children George, Francis and Catherine.
- Adam Furney and his children Mark, Nicholas, Philip, Charlott, Mary and Clara
- George Coontz and his children John, Eva and Catherine
- Stephen Uldery and his children Stephen, George, Daniel, John, Elizabeth and Susannah
- John Lammon (of Prince George County, Maryland) and his children John, George, Louisa, Lenora, Catherine and Margaret.
Where is “High Germany?” According to Wikipedia, “High Germany is a geographical term referring to the mountainous southern part of Germany.” They also report that is was a common reference to Alpine Germany in the 16th century, but had fallen out of use by the 19th. When referring to language, it means the German spoken south of the Benrath line.
Dwayne Wrightsman says:
According to Morgan Edwards, writing in 1770, the Little Conewago congregation of Brethren was started in 1738, by “Eldrick, Dierdorff, Bigler, Gripe, Studsman and others under the leadership of Daniel Leatherman.” It is commonly thought that Eldrick was Ulrich, Gripe was Greib/Cripe, and Studsman was Stutzman. All were Brethren, friends, neighbors, and related by marriage. It is also commonly thought that Eldrick and Ulderey were one and the same.
Little Conewago is near Hanover, PA, in present day Adams County, about 100 miles from Philadelphia. At that time, this area was still very much unsettled frontier. Just 20 years earlier, Conestoga, 20 miles west of Philadelphia, had been described as wilderness.
Researchers report that there is another Naturalization for Stephen Ulrick in Philadelphia County on April 5, 1741. However, that’s actually incorrect. He was naturalized a second time, but the document actually says that the naturalization was pursuant to an act in the general assembly in 1742. It’s easy to understand how the confusion arose, looking at the following page.
Stephen Ulrick from Frederick County, Maryland was naturalized with Michael Miller from the same place, his son Philip Jacob Miller, and Jacob Stutzman from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, just across the border from Frederick County, Maryland.
Ordering the actual document from the Pennsylvania Archives made a world of difference, because the month and year, April 1767, is right on the outside of the document packet.
The 1738 original naturalization date tells us that Stephen Ulrich Sr. immigrated before that date and possibly in or before 1731. I’m unclear on the Maryland requirements for naturalization in 1738, and each colony was different, but in some locations, naturalization required residence for 7 years.
We don’t know exactly when Stephen Jr., along with his father, immigrated, or exactly when he was born, but it was surely before 1720 because in 1742, we find Stephen Jr. obtaining land and he would surely not have been any younger than age 22 or so.
Land at Little Conewago
One of the issues with records from early Pennsylvania is that the counties changed.
The earliest records of what is now Adams County, PA are found in what was originally Chester Co., PA. which successively changed to Lancaster Co. in 1728, to York County in 1748 and to Adams Co., PA in 1800.
And it wasn’t just counties that changed, but the state line itself was in dispute, as was the actual land ownership – meaning that the Indians still felt they owned at least the frontier and borderlands, exactly where the Brethren families were living, until at least 1736.
Ironically, these people who eschewed all forms of conflict wound up right dab smack in the center of a protracted heated battle.
Both Maryland and Pennsylvania claimed the land where Chester (then Lancaster/York/Adams) County lay. Initially the Pennsylvania government complained when Marylanders settled this area, but since no one else, except the Indians, was complaining, nothing was done until 1728 when Pennsylvania ran the settlers off and burned their homes. By 1732, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia were all three competing for settlers on the frontier to stabilize the region and provide a buffer between the settled portions and the “savages.”
In 1732, Pennsylvania began giving out “licenses” to settle west of the Susquehanna with the idea that the licenses could later be turned into warrants when the colony actually bought the land from the Indians. No wonder the Indians were unhappy.
Note on this present day map that all of the area near Hanover was significantly west of the Susquehanna, shown to the right, by about 20-30 miles.
Between 1733 and 1736, 52 licenses were issued, mostly to German families, although the original list created by Samuel Blunston later disappeared. Presumably some went to the group who settled in the Conewego area where the Ulrich and Cripe families were living at that time. These licenses were confirmed in 1736 when the land was purchased from the Five Nations and an order for a resurvey was issued in 1762. It could have been at this time that the list was lost.
This same land had been issued under Maryland grants as early as 1731, according to “The Beginnings of the German Element in York County Pennsylvania,” a wonderful paper written in 1916 by Abdel Ross Wentz, PhD, Professor of History at Pennsylvania College. Thomas Cresap had built a cabin west of the Susquehanna as early as 1728. Dr. Wentz’s document includes a great deal of historical detail that provides enlightenment about how our ancestors who settled in that area lived, and the conditions they were subject to.
Maryland still claimed this land and by 1730, things were getting ugly. Maryland granted the same land, much of it to Thomas Cresap, a very early pioneer and Indian trader. Pennsylvanians tended to paint Cresap as an aggressive villain who terrorized the region and Marylanders viewed him as a hero who saved the day. One thing is for sure, he became the spokesperson for the Maryland faction of the German community, joined the Brethren Church, and ultimately bought the land Michael Miller would purchase from him called Miller’s Choice on Antietam Creek near Hagerstown, MD.
Living on the west side of the Susquehanna River, in the disputed land were 40 Germans, Michael Miller listed among them in 1736, just before the “Revolt of the Germans” ensued.
Because of the uncertainty of boundaries and the questionable legality of the Digges Choice land transactions, the area was often referred to as ‘the disputed land” and later, the community was referred to as “Rogue’s Resort.” This didn’t reflect upon the settlers, but upon Digges himself who was selling land he didn’t have clear title to.
In the 1730s, local warfare ensued with both Maryland and Pennsylvania jailing people. At one point, Cresap got thrown off of his own ferry mid-river, but survived. In 1734, Cresap shot a Pennsylvania sheriff’s ranger who came to arrest him. I’m suspecting that perhaps he wasn’t yet Brethren at this time.
Some settlers returned back east at this point, having had enough – but turning back never seemed to be an option for the Brethren who also wouldn’t fight.
As militias on both sides became involved, the frustrated Brethren and German settlers must have become quite desperate because in 1736 they sent a resolution to the Governors of both states pledging their loyalty. However, when the duplicate loyalty was discovered, Governor Oglethorpe of Maryland offered rewards for the apprehension and arrest of nearly 40 men. John Wright was apparently the ringleader, because the bounty on his head was 40 pounds. However, Michael Miller was included but his bounty, and that of most of the other men, was only 2 pounds. We don’t know if this was the Michael Miller of the Ulrich/Cripe/Stutzman group, but it could have been. Cripe, Stutzman and Ulrich were certainly there by 1738, according to Brethren historical church records, but Michael Miller may have still been living in Chester Co., PA. His tax records don’t begin in this area until 1744. Certainly this regional war affected everyone.
Pennsylvania did purchase the land from the Indians in 1736 and land warrants were issued in 1738 – but given the uncertainty about who owned what and which state it would actually fall into, it was no wonder nothing much was done.
In 1738, a temporary line between Pennsylvania and Maryland was established, and the Digges Choice lands fell 4 miles north of that line.
In 1743, the German families had Digges Choice surveyed and exposed that Digges didn’t own all of the land he had sold. In fact, he was about 4000 acres short.
In 1745, Digges attempted to obtain additional lands, in Pennsylvania, through his Maryland patent, claiming this was simply a resurvey and adjustment of his original survey. Unfortunately, this new Maryland patent and survey included some lands that had already been granted to German families from Pennsylvania. Needless to say, a great deal of consternation and hard feelings, to put it mildly, ensued, causing years of conflict.
In 1746, several German families petitioned Pennsylvania to protect their rights against Digges aggressions. Violence followed, and in April 1746 Matthias Ulrich and Nicholas Forney (son of Adam Forney), both men living on the disputed lands and refusing to surrender their patents to Digges, were arrested.
Digges attempted to continue to press the issue, trying to force these families to either surrender their land or repurchase it from him, but he soon learned just how stubborn and tenacious Germans can be. John Lemon, Lammon in the 1738 naturalization was one of the German men involved whose land lay outside of Digges original survey but inside the resurvey bounds.
Maybe this settlement should have been called “Digges Sorrow,” because certainly everyone who lived there was sorry about something!
Eventually, we find our Brethren families in the records, but things really didn’t improve. In fact, this conflict wasn’t settled for another 30 years with the running of the Mason-Dixon line, which, ironically cut right through Jacob Stutzman’s land – even after the Brethren had finally had enough and left Hanover in Pennsylvania for Frederick County in Maryland where they thought they would be immune to these issues. They weren’t.
By the time the Mason-Dixon line was run, these families had been embroiled in this mess for 30 years, or more.
Based on the location of Stephen Ulrich’s land, and the secondary information that Stephen Sr. purchased his original tract directly from John Digges, who originally settled “Digges Choice in the Back Woods,” a supposed 10,000 acre parcel near present day Hanover, PA under a Maryland land grant. Today Digges Choice includes all of Penn Township, most of Heidelberg Township in York County and part of Conewago, Germany and Union Townships in Adams County. This land was surveyed in 1732 but a patent was not issued until October 11, 1735. Some of the “squatters” that had originally settled west of the Susquehanna were attracted to Digges Choice. Digges was advertising these lands as early as 1731. The first land record given by Digges was to Adam Forney in October of 1731, but clear title couldn’t have passed at that time, so Digges gave Forney his bond upon which he identifies himself as “of Prince George’s County, Maryland,” clearly indicating that he believed this land to be located in Maryland, not in Pennsylvania. Note that Adam Furney is one of the men naturalized along with Stephen Ulrich in 1738.
The Conewago Settlement, where Stephen Ulrich Sr. lived, was also on Digges’ Choice and is now located in Adams County.
On Feb. 16, 1742, Lancaster County, PA issued warrants 7-U and 8-U for Stephen Ulrick, Junr. to take up lands west of the Susquehanna. He staked out adjoining tracts in what was then a dense wilderness on Little Conewago Creek on land adjoining that of his father. We know that Stephen lived there as early as 1738 when he is listed as a founder of Little Conewago Church.
Stephen Ulrich Sr and Stephen Ulrich Jr. both owned land in or near Digges Choice in York, now Adams County. Hanover was at the center of Digges Choice, which was laid out about 1739.
It’s interesting to note on this page of Lancaster County Warrant Register that Stephen Jr. obtained two tracts of land and neither warrant was returned until in the early 1800s.
The Pennsylvania Land Warrants and Applications 1733-1952 data base on Ancestry shows the following:
Stephen Ulrich Junior, Lancaster County, 100 acres situate on Indian Creek a branch of Little Conewago adjoining Henry Eastle? (Castle?) land on the west side of Susquehanna River, 15 pounds 10 shillings and yearly quit-rent of one half penny sterling for every acre thereof.
Stephen Ulrich Junior of Lancaster County 100 acres of land situate on Little Conewago Creek adjoining his father Stephen Ulrich’s land and William Hoolerd? On the west side of Susquehanne River for 15 pounds 10 shillings and yearly quit rent of one half penny sterling for every acre thereof
I’m unclear about where Stephen Ulrich Sr.’s land is located. There is no warrant and no deed.
There is also a Lancaster Co. Warrant to Ansted Ulrick on Nov. 4, 1743 for 200 acres in Lebanon Twp, Lancaster County, although we don’t know who Ansted is and he may or may not be related. The name Ansted does not repeat in the Stephen Ulrich family that I’m aware of.
John Hale Stutzman was apparently able to locate the land of Stephen Ulrich, Jr.
On the document below, the outlines of tracts A and B from John Hale Stutzman’s book are based on official survey, patent and deed records. Stephen’s land was described as adjoining his father, Stephen’s, tract.
Tract C was purchased in 1759 from John Digges by Jacob Stutzman. Jacob also bought tracts A and B from Stephen Ulrich. This suggests strongly that the boundard of Digges Choice was between tracts A and B which were obtained in Warrants from Pennsylvania and tract C which was obtained by purchase from John Digges.
This land was located about one mile south of McSherrytown, shown below in Adams Co., PA but was in Lancaster County originally, then in York in 1749 when it was formed, then in Adams beginning in 1800.
You can see Stutzman’s drawing above on the map below from Google Maps. Indian Creek intersects with Little Conewago just below Narrow Drive and Hanover Pike is the old road.
If this drawing is accurate, Stephen Ulrich would have owned the land between the two 194 markers on Hanover Pike, meaning roughly between Race Horse Road and Pennville.
Here’s a satellite of the same area. This is certainly nice farmland.
The photo below from Google Street View shows Indian Run Creek today from Narrow’s road. If the warrant is accurate, this would have been Stephen’s land although that’s not reflected in Stutzman’s drawing. Indian Run is not very large.
Let’s drive down the road towards Hanover Pike.
This picture is just north of the intersection of Narrows Road and Hanover Pike. Stutzman’s drawing shows that this would have been Stephen’s land.
When Stephen first rode in his wagon on what would one day become this road, it would have been entirely wooded. This flat farmland is just south of the same intersection.
If you are a farmer, flat is good.
This 1783 record further clarified that Stephen lived on the main road in York County, which would have been Hanover Pike.
1783 – Deed – May 17th – George Adam Stum of Heidelberg Twp, York County yeoman and Mary Apelone his wife for better securing the payment of….sold to Sebastian Opold a 150 ac tract of land in Heidelberg Twp part of larger tract called Diges’ Choice adj the Conestoga Old Road which tract of land John Digges conveyed unto Stephen Ullery and the said Ullery conveyed unto Peter Neffziger….
Land Records of York Co, Pa 1775-1793 by Mary Marshall Brewer, p 70-71
Given that John Digges did not convey land to Stephen Ulrich Jr., this land, above, has to be that of Stephen Sr.
It is believed that in 1738, during the time Stephen Ulrich lived here, he and his friend Jacob Stutzman organized the Conewago Congregation of the German Baptist in Conewago Twp. near Hanover, Pennsylvania.
Stephen Ulrich (Jr.) was reported to be a German Baptist minister based on Nicholas Martin’s notes. Stephen is believed to be the son of the immigrant Stephan Ulrich, given that their land was adjacent and they were referred to as Sr. and Jr, and Stephen Sr.’s 1738 naturalization record includes Stephen Jr.
About 1740, Stephen Jr. married his wife, reported, but not documented, to be Elizabeth Cripe. I sincerely believe that her surname was not Cripe, but I will delve into that topic in Elizabeth’s article.
Stephen Ulrich sold his Lancaster/York County land to his friend, Jacob Stutzman. This transaction is described in John Hale Stutzman’s book, “Jacob Stutzman, His Children and Grandchildren.” Unhappily for us, these two devout Dunkers, under the strictures of their church doctrine, avoided engagement with government authorities and did not record the deed of sale. “Heaven perhaps for the Dunkers but Hell for the genealogist,” as quoted by John Hale Stutzman. I’m glad I’m not the only Brethren researcher that feels that way!
We only know about this land sale because of a subsequent sale by Jacob Stutzman to George Wine. The Wine family intermarried with the Miller family through son Lodowich (Ludwig.). And around and around we go…
In 1743, another battle broke out and Stephen Ulrich was certainly in the middle of it, although his name is not specifically recorded. We know he was, though, because of John Digges and an unnamed Mathias Ulrich, possibly a relative.
In a deposition given August 29, 1746, Matthias Ulrich stated that he arrived in 1738 but he did not settle on Digges’ Choice until 1742 just before visiting Germany. So Mathias arrives at Digges Choice at least 4 years after Stephen Ulrich.
In 1743, the Germans sent one Martin Updegraf to Annapolis, Maryland to check on John Digges grant. It was found that Digges had sold some land he didn’t own, so he obtained a new grant from Maryland which included farms of 14 Germans under warrant from Pennsylvania. Both sides tried to intimidate the German farmers. The Pennsylvania surveyor warned them against violating royal orders. Mathias Ulrich apparently told the sheriff “to go to the devil,” an action very out of character for a Brethren. Eventually Digges son was killed but Pennsylvania would not surrender the killers to Maryland to be tried. It was clearly one hot mess on the frontier, and petitions and requests for help went unheard and unanswered by those back east who cared little if a bunch of Germans killed each other.
The Brethren tried to stick it out for a few more years, but in 1745, Michael Miller began buying land in Frederick County, MD, near present day Hagerstown and not long thereafter, the entire group of Brethren would sell out and remove themselves to what they hoped would be a more peaceful and secure, undisputed area.
The final straw, perhaps, came in 1748 when the sheriffs from both states insisted on collecting quick rent, which in this case, was in essence extortion money for being left alone. A 1748 deposition complaining to the Maryland governor said that “a great number of the Germans and some others were so much alarmed by the sheriff’s proceedings that several of them have already left the province and others have declaired they would go.” Many of the German families held land authorized by Pennsylvania.
In 1748, Frederick County, Maryland was formed from Baltimore and Prince George’s County.
On November 15, 1749, Stephen Ullery bought 150 acres in “Digges Choice” from John Digges and on June 3, 1758, “Stephen and Elizabeth Wollery of Frederick County, Maryland sold this land, according to Baltimore County, Maryland land records listed by John Hale Stutzman. This land purchase from Digges is a bit confounding, knowing that Stephen Ulrich held land patented by Pennsylvania adjacent Digges land, so assuredly in the midst of the land that Digges tried to extort from the Germans by bullying them into either giving him their patents or making them repurchase their land from him. This is also about the time Stephen Sr. is reported to have died. Did Stephen repurchase his own land? His father already had purchased land directly from Digges. Would Stephen Jr. have purchased land in 1749, just before moving to Frederick County from the despised Digges? We will likely never know “the rest of the story,” but surely there is more to the story than is readily apparent.
“Stephen Ullery” appears in the official records of York Co., Pennsylvania in 1749 in the Little Conewago area.
Frederick County, Maryland
However, by 1750, Stephen had had enough. Both Maryland and Pennsylvania tried to tax Heidelberg Township in the Conewago area. Stephen Ullery was taxed 7 shillings and Mathias Ullery, 2 shillings. It’s unclear whether this was Maryland or Pennsylvania tax, but regardless, Stephen sold his land and moved. Mathias apparently does as well, but I can’t find a deed. Many of the Brethren simply passed the deed to the new owner and if they didn’t register the deed, it didn’t matter to the person who sold the land. In many cases, the deeds passed hand to hand several times and were never registered. Unfortunately, this plays havoc with any historical continuity.
By 1752 Stephen Ulrich Jr. had moved about 60 miles almost due west to Frederick County, Maryland, near today’s Hagerstown, but then it was the edge of the frontier. The closest village in 1752 was Conococheague where the creek of that name empties into the Potomac River. This is the area where Stephen would spend the rest of his life after purchasing land from one Hance (Hans) Waggoner in 1751.
To illustrate life on the frontier, Evan Shelby, who had sold Stephen’s eventual land to Waggoner also sold land to Indian trader, John Hager, 5 years after Shelby initially acquired the land. When Shelby sold the land to Hager, it had been improved with “two sorry houses” and “3 acres of cornfield, fenced in.” That was it – 5 years worth of improvements on the frontier. According to land surveys in Frederick County, this was the rule, not the exception.
Most land in this area was entirely unimproved, but Stephen’s land that he purchased from Waggoner may have been. Another man purchased the other half of Waggoner’s land, and one of the two men received these improvements:
One dwelling house 20 by 16 feet made of hewd logs and covered with lap shingles, a stone chimney, one dwelling house 27 by 22 feet of hewd logs and covered with lap shingles, plankd above and below, a stone chimney, a new barn of hewd logs covered with lap shingles, 49 feet by 27, 69 apple trees, 72 peach trees and 6 acres of cultivated land well fenced.
In 1750 on the frontier, this was a palace. I do have to laugh, because true to form, the barn is much, much larger than the house, more than twice as big.
On September 25, 1752, Stephen Ulrich (Jr.), “of Frederick County, Maryland” bought 235 acres from a very early settler in the region, Hans Waggoner. The same day, Hance Waggoner sold another 200 acres of Germania to Walter Friendesburgh. The Waggoner family had lived adjacent the Ulrich family in York County as well.
The Ulrich’s settled right at the base of the first mountain range, about 8 or 9 miles northwest of today’s Hagerstown. John Hale Stutesman’s map has Stephen Ulrich’s original farm just below today’s Mason-Dixon line which forms the state line . This would be on Maryland 494 just below the state line where 494 becomes 75 in Pennsylvania.
Stutzman states that the X is near where highway 57 intersects 75, which would today be 494, although that appears to be about half a mile south of the state line. Stutzman didn’t have the benefit of Google satellite when he wrote his book in 1982.
This picture above is taken just north of the intersection of 57 and 494.
Based on that description, this land should be Stephen’s, and there are the mountains in the distance.
You can drive for miles seeing nothing but farms and cornfields, punctuated from time to time by a very old house that is located very near the road. I always wonder if these houses stood when our ancestors passed by in horse and wagon. This house may have been located on Stephen’s land.
This end of the house, which is the original portion, looks like it might have been fortified at one time. Other similar homes on the Tennessee frontier have these same strategically placed windows at the highest portion of the end of the home so that the men can gain a height advantage when shooting at their foes. Note the two windows on either side of the chimney in the highest portion of the home.
Even the trees are ancient, as are the barns to the right of the house above.
Adjoining Stephen Ulrich’s land is the Jacob Stutesman place, purchased in 1761, straddling the state line and ultimately the Butterbaugh holdings were right here on both sides too, according to Stutzman. Jacob Cripe lived somewhere in this region too, northwest of John Hager’s house. The relationship between the Cripe and Ulrich families is unclear, but some individuals suggest that Jacob Cripe’s wife was the sister of Stephen Ulrich Jr. I have never seen documentation to this effect, but given the lack of Brethren records, it’s possible.
Stephen Ulrich and his wife raised a large family of nine children. Their daughter Christina married Jacob Stutzman, Jr., the son of their neighbor.
Frederick County Maryland Land Records Liber B Abstracts 1748-1752 by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p 4:
Stephen Ulary recorded Jan. 6, 1753, made Sept 5, Hans Willaree Waggoner of Frederick Co., farmer, for 340 pcm, tract called Garmina at first line of tract called Maidins Choice, m&b for 235 acres. Signed Hans Willarae Waggoner before Thomas Prather. Ack. Elizabeth Waggoner, his wife released dower. Receipt AF paid.
On February 19, 1753, Stephen and Elizabeth Ulrich sold 25 acres to Lodowick Miller, the son of Michael Miller. Michael Miller’s grandson, Daniel, through son Philip Jacob Miller would marry Stephen Ulrich’s daughter, Elizabeth some 20 years later. Also on February 19, 1753, Walter Friendesburgh sold 100 acres to Lodowich Miller.
Given this close connection with the Miller family, it’s also possible that either Stephen Ulrich’s wife or Jacob Cripe’s wife was Lodowich Miller’s sister. I do need to state that this is purely speculative, and I almost hate to even mention it because they is no proof, in either direction. There is only the possibility given the limited number of Brethren in York County at an early day when those men would have been marrying.
Jacob Stutzman was thought to have been the step-brother of Michael Miller, the immigrant and father of Lodowick Miller, but recent information that has come to light strongly suggests Jacob Stutzman was actually Michael Miller’s half-brother.
In 1753, Stephen Ulrich’s brother George had apparently also moved to Frederick County, and subsequently died.
Nicholas Martin and Stephen Willarick (Ulrich) as administrators of George Willarick (Ulrich) deceased late of Frederick County MD reported the value of the deceased property to the court on August 27, 1753.
1754 – 483-484 – Lodewick Miller recorded July 7, 1754 and made Feb 19 same year between Stephen Ulrich of Frederick County for 25 acres, Pennsylvania current money tract called Garminia (Germania) in Frederick County in his actual possession, metes and bounds given, signed Stephen Ulrich before Thomas Prather, Walter Tenderback, Elizabeth wife of Stephen Ulrich released dower right. Receipt. AF paid.
484–485 – Lodewick Miller recorded July 7, 1754, made Feb 19, 1754 between Walter Fundenberg farmer, for 100pcm, tract part of land called Garminia, m&b given. Signed Walter Gondeback, before Thomas Prather, Stephen Ulrich. Katern wife of the said Walter released dower right. Receipt. AF paid.
1754 – 590-591- Daniel Ularick recorded November 20, 1745 made May 31, 1754, between Steven Ularick of Frederick Co., farmer for 100 pcm MD, part of a tract called Garminia (Germania) beginning on the 10th line, m&b given for 86 acres, signed Stephen Ularick before Thomas Prather, Joseph Smith. Elizabeth wife of Stephen Ularick released dower right. Receipt AF paid.
In August of 1754, Stephen Ulrich was appointed overseer of roads in Conococheague Hundred in Frederick County for 1755.
Stephen’s Maryland lands butted up against the first rampart of the Alleghenies, called in whole “The Endless Mountains.” This particular mountain was called “The North Mountain” and his land was on the eastern flank.
The years of 1754 and 1755 signaled the beginning of the French and Indian war.
All was not tranquil on Conococheaque and the worst was yet to come. In 1755, the French and Indians smashed General Braddock’s column a few miles to the west, killed Braddock himself, and set the frontier aflame. In 1756, Gov. Sharpe of Maryland wrote, “The fine settlement of Conococheaque is quite deserted”.
Stephen Ulrich and family had hurredly abandoned ship, but where did they go?
The War Years
This land looks beautiful, idyllic and serene today, but it wasn’t always this way.
During the time that the Brethren were settling, first near Hanover, PA, then Maryland, they weren’t the only people who felt they had a right to this land.
The Native tribes had good relations for decades with both Pennsylvania and Maryland. Both colonies bought land from the tribes. The problem was twofold.
First, the Native idea of land use and ownership was different from that of Europeans. While the Europeans “bought” the land from the Indians whose villages were physically on the land, those weren’t the only Indians with an interest in the land. Other tribes could well feel an ownership towards the land in terms of using it for hunting, or for travel. Once the Europeans owned it, they felt they owned it exclusively and anyone else that infringed in any way was trespassing. The worldview of the Indians and the Europeans was quite different, which put them squarely at odds with each other.
While Pennsylvania and Maryland were negotiating in good faith, others were not. For example, the Indians were promised land in the Ohio Valley, undisturbed, and that settlers would not cross the Proclamation line in 1763, promises which were immediately broken. There was a long history of European misrepresentation, mis-set expectations, broken promises and treaties.
Secondly, both the French and English in the northern part of the colonies, and the Spanish in the southern tier were trying to do two things at once. They were trying to displace the Indians and at the same time, trying to win them over to their side in terms of warfare. This means that the Indians were in conflict with the French, English and Spanish and having internal conflicts between tribes as well. Old conflicts were not forgotten, and new injuries added to the list as the Indians sided with the French and raided the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland, for example.
The Braddock expedition, also called Braddock’s campaign or, more commonly, Braddock’s Defeat, was a failed British military expedition which attempted to capture the French Fort Duquesne (modern-day downtown Pittsburgh) in the summer of 1755 during the French and Indian War. Braddock was defeated at the Battle of the Monongahela on July 9, and the survivors retreated. The expedition takes its name from General Edward Braddock, who led the British forces and died in the effort. Braddock’s defeat was a major setback for the British in the early stages of the war with France and has been described as one of the most disastrous defeats for the British in the 18th century.
Before setting out on this expedition, Braddock had been warned about the Indians and their ambush style of attacks, which he poopooed. A decision he would regret, but did not live to regret. The families in Frederick County, Maryland would watch more than 200 of Braddock’s men move between the Potomac River and Antietam Creek on land owned by Brethren Johann Michael Mueller.
Braddock’s men marched through the woods in their red coats, in formation, in columns, drums and pipers playing and flags flying. They made one fine target of themselves. The Indians must have thought them insane.
General Braddock’s defeat in 1755 left the entire frontier at the mercy of the French and their Indian allies, who were both trying to displace the settlers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and part of Virginia against the “Endless Mountains,” the Blue Ridge and Alleghenies. Attacks on the settlements began at once with Braddock’s defeat.
There were plenty of British and German settlers who had moved to the frontier who were sitting ducks, and the Indians descended upon them.
By June 28th of 1755, Governor Sharpe of Maryland sent a document to the lower house: “a party of French Indians last Monday morning (June 23) fell on the inhabitants of this province and killed two men and one woman…eight other persons they have taken prisoners and carried off…”
In general, with some exceptions, you were far better off to be killed quickly than taken captive. The horrors that captives were subjected to are simply too gruesome to describe.
A French Captain wrote shortly after Braddock’s defeat that they had succeeded in “ruining the three adjacent provinces of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, driving off the inhabitants and totally destroying settlements over a tract of country thirty leagues reckoning from the line of Fort Cumberland.” Thirty leagues is about 103 miles. Fort Cumberland is at the right upper end of the map below.
Col. Adam Smith reported from Fort Cumberland that “the smoak of burning plantations darkens the day and hides the neighboring mountains from out of sight.”
“They kill all they meet…” wrote Claude Godfrey, a priest. Women and maidens were reported to be abused, then slaughtered or burned.
Fort Cumberland was about 65 miles west of the area near Hagerstown where the Brethren lived, and the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland. Stephen’s land was well within the circle of destruction – and he would have had to go at least 40 miles east to be even remotely safe.
On October 9, 1755, the Maryland Gazette ran this story:
Last Wednesday morning the Indians carried off a woman from Frazier’s plantation…killed Benjamin Rogers, his wife and 7 children, and Edmund Marle, one family of 12 persons, besides 15 others, all in Frederick County. On Patterson Creek many families have within this month been murdered, carried away or burnt in their houses.” It goes on to say that “near Town Creek…a few miles this side of Cresaps more settlers were killed or carried away.
Patterson’s Creek is near Fort Cumberland and Town Creeks is west of Stephen Ulrich’s land.
By 1756, the territory around Cumberland was almost entirely deserted and George Washington wrote on April 22 that stories of the “butchering enemy melt me into such deadly sorrow that I would willingly offer myself a willing sacrifice…provided that would contribute to the people’s ease.”
And then on March 11, 1756, the Maryland Gazette reports this incident very close to where the Brethren families lived:
On the 26th instant…we found John Meyers house in flames and 9 or 10 head of large cattle killed. About three miles further up the road we found one Hynes killed and scalped with one arm cut off and several arrows sticking out of him. Further on they found a fortified house full of 40 women who told them they had been surrounded by Indians. But when the attackers tried to burn the house, the women extinguished it with ‘soapsuds’.
Never, never underestimate the ingenuity of a group of desperate women.
Those who didn’t leave were virtual captives in their home. Going to the fields to work or the creek for water was a life-threatening adventure. Many entire families lost their lives. Most families lost someone.
Near the close of the Revolutionary War, one Mr. Butterfield reported, “From Pittsburgh south…there are few families who have not lived therein any considerable length of time that had not lost some of their number by the merciless Indians.” (Replogle)
Living on the frontier was not for the faint of heart or spirit. But then again, being of a dissenting religion in Europe hadn’t been safe either.
On November 15, 1749, Stephen Ullery had purchased 150 acres in “Digges Choice” from John Digges and on June 3, 1758, “Stephen and Elizabeth Wollery of Frederick County, Maryland sold this land, according to Baltimore County, Maryland land records listed by John Hale Stutzman.
This 1758 record in Baltimore County may provide us with a very important clue. Stephen Ulrich claims he is from Frederick County, but this deed is filed in Baltimore County, where he may have taken refuge during the time the family was seeking shelter from the Indian raids. My assumption had always been that Stephen, and indeed the entire Brethren group had returned to Pennsylvania, but that appears to be incorrect – at least relative to Stephen.
Eventually things quieted down and the survivors returned to their homes. Just what became of the Ulrich family during this time is not known. But when he returned, Stephen Ulrich Jr. had his land resurveyed and named it “Good Neighbor” and was able to persuade his old friend Jacob Stutsman to buy land adjoining his in 1761.
On March 9th, 1761, Jacob Stutzman of the Province of Pennsylvania, farmer, paid 300 pounds to Bernard Stuller for 245 acres called “Good Luck,” with 24 acres of Flaggy Meadow lying on the northeast border of “Good Neighbor.”
On April 21, 1761, Stephen and Elizabeth Wollery of Frederick Co., Maryland sold 150 acres in “Digges Choice” to George Wain or Wine. The surname is likely Wine, because the Wine family married into the Johann Michael Miller family. One tract had been sold to Jacob Stutzman by 1759 and Stutzman sold his land to Wine as well, probably when Stutzman moved to Frederick County and purchased “Good Luck.” Deeds were made to clear the record.
1761 – April 21 – Deed – Stephen Ulrich of Manham Twp York Co for 10 pounds sold to George Wain of same place 200 acre tract of land whereon the said George Wain now dwells in Manheim Twp which was granted unto me by warrant dated Feb 17 1742…wit Jacob Danner, Ludwig Miller. Ackn April 21 1761 before Michael Danner . (B: pg 179)
Please note that Lodowick’s name is recorded as Ludwig here.
1761 – June 2, 1763, Deed George Wain of Manham Twp, York Co yeoman sold to Conrad Keefaver of same place yeoman one half of a 200 acre tract of land being part adj Martin Kitsmiller Digges and the same Conrad Keefaver…whereas in pursuance of a warrant dated Feb. 16, 1742 there was surveyed and laid out unto Stephen Ullrick a 200 ac tract of land in Manhiem Twp. and the said Stephen Ullerick on April 21, 1761 did convey the tract of land unto the said George Wain. Wit John Wagner, Henery Harris ackn June 12, 1763 before John Pope esqr justice (B: pg 183)
Land Records of York County, pa 1746-1764 by Mary Marshall Brewer p 177
The fact that this land, previously owned by Stephen Ulrich is adjacent the tract owned by Martin Kitsmiller is quite interesting. Martin Kitsmiller was a miller whose land was part of the “disputed land” caught up in the Digges resurvey. A cornerstone in the former mill is dated 1738 and the mill was located near the headwaters of the Little Conewago Creek. He bought his 100 acres on Conewago Creek which was contiguous to Digges Choice from John Lemmon in 1736. It was at Kitzmiller’s Mill in 1752 that John Digges’ son, Dudley was killed when the Baltimore County sheriff attempted to arrest Martin Kitzmiller when Digges tried to force him to repurchase his land. Kitzmiller’s son, Jacob, killed Dudley, but it may well have been accidental during the scuffle. Ironically, it was during this trial that it was determined that Kitzmiller’s Pennsylvania warrants were valid and Maryland, where Jacob Kitzmiller was being tried, had no jurisdiction to do anything at all, including collect taxes or arrest anyone, for anything, in Pennsylvania.
On September 29, 1761, Stephen Ulrick and Nicholas Martin of Frederick County, Maryland received a patent for 425 acres for which they obtained a warrant on August 27, 1759. This tract was called “Stephen’s Hope” and included a former survey, “Much Grumbling,” which had not been taken up by Jacob Funk.
Stephen Ulrick recorded a release September 24, 1762.
I, Charles Carrol of Annapolis, barrister, heir and executor of Charles Carroll the mortgage for 193 pounds 19 shillings paid by Stephen Ulrich, farmer and interest. Signed Chas Carroll. Duty paid.
Frederick County Land Records, Liber G and H Abstracts, 1761-1763, Abstracted by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p 56
More Warfare – Pontiac’s Revolt
However, in 1763, this area would see a repeat of the warfare that occurred in 1754-1756 in the French and Indian War – except even worse, if that can be imagined.
From Francis Parkman’s book, “History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac,” we learn frightening details about Pontiac’s Revolt. In May of 1763, with Indians from as far away as the Mississippi, Pontiac descended on the English settlers and garrisons from Detroit to the Carolinas in a concerted warfare effort.
Parkman tells us:
It was upon the borders that the storm of Indian war descended with appalling fury, a fury unparalleled through all the past and succeeding years. For hundreds of miles from north to south, the country was wasted with fire and steel…the ranging parties who visited the scene of devastation beheld, among the ruined farms and plantations, sights of unspeakable horrors; and discovered in the depths of the forest, the half-consumed bodies of men and women, still bound fast to the trees where they had perished in the fiery torture.
Somehow both Stephen Ulrich and Jacob Stutzman survived. We don’t know if they went back east and stayed with families there, or perhaps they took shelter in Fort Frederick, located 8 or 10 miles distant, as the crow flies. On the map below, the Ulrich property is just below Maryland/Pennsylvania border at Dry Run. Fort Frederick is on the Potomac River.
Today the fort is restored.
Here is an artist’s rendering of how the fort would likely have looked when these families would have been living in the vicinity – and perhaps taking shelter here.
There were other, smaller forts as well – basically fortified homes – probably similar to the home found on the land that may have been Stephen’s. We know at least one of these, the Philip Davis home wasn’t far from Stephen’s land, because Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, of the Mason-Dixon line fame stayed at his home while surveying the line that would eventually dissect Jacob Stutzman’s land into two states. On October 4th, 1763 the surveyors crossed a spring at the foot of the North Mountain. It’s quite surprising that the surveyors and homesteaders were still in this area. Perhaps the warfare had not spread this far east yet.
I’m sure the families of Jacob and Stephen watched this surveying process with great curiosity and perhaps some trepidation, uncertain of what the results would mean. I wonder if they were more frightened of the Indians or what the surveys could mean to them if they found themselves in the “wrong” state. And as for Stephen, he had to worry regardless, given that it appears his land was in both states.
One thing is certain, the Brethren, including Stephen Ulrich, didn’t remain in their homes as warfare descended upon them once again. We have historical records stating that all of this area of Maryland was abandoned. We know that some of the area families took shelter in the Fort – although I would think the men in the fort would have been expected to defend it, were it to be attacked. Under those circumstances, the Brethren families were probably more likely to have taken their families back east and found refuge among family or church members. Perhaps Stephen went back to Baltimore County, again.
However, we do know where Stephen was on May 28, 1763. In 1763, in the midst of all of the wartime upheaval, which included vacating their land in Frederick County for several years, we find Stephen Ulrich and Nicholas Martin attending the Great Council of the Brethren in 1763 in Conestoga.
Conewago, in the book, “A History of the Church of the Brethren in Southern District Pennsylvania” is noted as being near current Ephrata, PA and also as being the current congregation of White Oak in Lancaster County.
Stephen’s name appears on an annual report with that of Nicholas Martin, Jacob Stutzman and both Nicholas and Daniel Leatherman in the Conestoga area, near Germantown, where the annual Brethren meeting was held. Does this imply that this is perhaps where the Brethren families on the frontier retreated to when their homes were in danger? Stephen may have been unwilling to fight, but he surely would not have left his family in danger to attend the meeting in Germantown. Had the warfare not yet reached Frederick County? Did they go back home to their families, only to have to vacate shortly?
We don’t know where these Brethren families lived from late 1763 until about 1765 when they returned to Frederick County, but it’s likely this entire area evacuated eastward and joined other Brethren families.
It was also about this time that these two families became even more intertwined. About 1765 Christina Ulrich married Jacob Stutzman Jr.
In 1766, an unusual transaction takes place, that upon analysis, is most likely a deed to Elizabeth Ulrich, sister of Stephen Ulrich (Jr.). We know that Stephen Ulrich Jr.’s daughter Elizabeth married Daniel Miller about 1774, so the only other known Elizabeth that this could be in Stephen Jr.’s sister – and the only reason that seems logical for a deed to be conveyed to Elizabeth, yet unmarried, is as an estate settlement.
On November, 18,1766, Elizabeth Ulrich is deeded part of the land called “Stephen’s Hope”, which was then sold to Anthony Hartman, 17 Nov. 1768, (Frederick County, MD deed Book L, page 559, 560) in consideration of the sum of “sixty pounds current money of Pennsylvania.”
Elizabeth was deeded this property by Stephen Ulrich, Jr. and Nicholas Martin who had patented this land together in 1761, obtained originally in 1759. Elizabeth was not yet married to Jacob Snively in 1766. The “Stephen’s Hope” tract was located in the Middle Creek Valley in Frederick Co. some miles distant from the Ulrich and Shively homesteads.
On the map below, you can see Stephen’s “Good Neighbor” land near North Mountain at the state line in the upper left hand corner of this map, and the Middle Valley lies just north of Ellerton, in the south corner of this map. As the crow flies, this land is at least 15 or 16 miles distant, and further as the wagon travels.
1766 – P 851-853 – Stephen Ulrick Jr recorded Dec. 8, 1786 made Nov 18 between Nicholas Martin and Stephen Ulrick for 48 pounds sells part of a track called Stephen’s Hope. M&b given for 141 acres. Signed in German Script by Stephen Ulrich, Nicolays Martin before Joseph Smith, Peter Bainfridge, receipt ack by partied and AF paid.
Pg 153-155 Stephen Ulrick Jr recorded Dec. 8, 1766 made Nov 18th between Nicholas Martin and Stephen Ulrick for 3 pounds part of a tract called Much Grumbling, m&b given for 21 acres. Signed same as before.
Pg 855 Elizabeth Ulrick recorded Dec. 8, 1766 made Nov 18 between Stephen Ulrick and Nichlas Martin of FC for 4 pounds sells part of tract called Stephen’s Hope.
Pages 856-858 are missing. We have no idea what might have been held on these pages. One this is certain, it likely had to do with this land because pages 859 and 860 still regard these transactions.
Pages 859-860 – m&b for 133 acres signed in German script by Stephen Ulrick, Nicholas Martin, Receipt from Elizabeth Ulrick for 48#. Ack and AF paid.
Frederick Co. Md Land Records Liber K Abstracts, 1765-1768 abstracted by Patricia Abelard Andersen, pg 71
Pages 922 – 924 – Daniel Gaver recorded January 9, 1767 (or 1761) made Dec 18 between Stephen Ulrick and Nicholas Martin for 48 pounds sells tract Stephen’s Hope m&b given adj to Much Grumbling containing 80 acres. Signed in german script by Stephen Ulrick and Nicollaus Martin before Thomas Price, P. Bainbridge. Receipt of deed. AF paid
Frederick Co. Md Land Records Liber K Abstracts, 1765-1768 abstracted by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p 76
When you read the survey narrative for Stephen’s Hope, it states:
30 day March 1753. Surveyed for a certain John Leatherman added by a resurvey to a tract of land called Much Grumbling as any other vacant land thereto contiguous.
The patent info shows Leatherman’s tract ‘Much Grumbling’ is dated 1743, and was for 30 acres. It is hard to read, but the narrative lists a stream that runs into what looks like Kittowakin Creek. However, there is no stream that carries that name today in either Washington or Frederick County, MD. (Bill Thomas)
When Anthony Hardman bought this Frederick Co. MD farm in 1768, he paid in cash with Pennsylvania money.
Frederick Co., MD Land Record, Liber L, folio 559 dated 17 Nov. 1768, Anthony Hardman from Jacob Snively, sell tract, part of “Stephens Hope” for 133 acres.
Obviously Elizabeth had married “Jacob Snively” by this time.
This 425 acres wasn’t developed land. The note on the survey says that there are about 4 acres of cultivated ground and about 500 “old fense logges.”
Stephen’s Second Naturalization
1767 – The division of Jacob Stutzman’s land between Maryland and Pennsylvania may ultimately have caused him to have to be naturalized in Pennsylvania, an act that went directly against his Brethren beliefs. The survey that established the Mason-Dixon line was begun in 1763 and completed in 1767, and the crew would have worked directly through Jacob’s land. If indeed, part of Stephen Ulrich’s land was also bisected by this line, the same logic would apply as to why he would be naturalized a second time.
In the actual survey map of the Mason-Dixon line above, you can see this area just to the right of North Mountain which is located above the V. Coneccocheague is the river between the I and the N in Province, below the drawing. Little Conococheague Creek runs between North Mountain and the mountain range shown between North Mountain and Conecocheague Creek, right above the I. It’s possible that Jacob Stutzman’s house is shown beside the mountain on the Pennsylvania side – which would be Cumberland County. Both Stephen Ulrich’s and Jacob Stutzman’s land would have fallen between these two landmarks – the first row of mountains and Conecocheague Creek.
Jacob and Stephen’s naturalization record on April 10, 1767 says that Jacob Stutzman of Cumberland County, PA appeared before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia to be naturalized. Stephen Ulrich of Frederick Co. Maryland was naturalized as well as several other “foreigners…who conscientiously scruple to take an oath…but took the affirmation and made and repeated the Declaration according to the Directions of the Act of King George the Second.”
The only Stephen Ulrich that could be being naturalized in 1767 would be Stephen Jr., who we know was born in Germany due to the 1738 Maryland naturalization. His father was presumed dead by this time, and Stephen Ulrich (the third) would have been born in the colonies, so wouldn’t need to be naturalized.
I can just see this group of reluctant Brethren men, standing there uncomfortably shuffling and probably staring at their feet. There were at least two other Brethren too, Michael Miller and his son, Philip Jacob Miller. There were also a few other men from Frederick County who were also “affirmers” so likely Brethren as well. It’s no trivial feat to get from Hagerstown to Philadelphia, so this must have been important, regardless of the reason. And for Stephen, he got to be “shamed” twice. Being naturalized once wasn’t enough. Perhaps he wasn’t yet Brethren the first time.
In 1767, Stephen Ulrich resurveys his existing Germania, along with two other tracts that are “vacant,” into a 694 acre tract called “Good Neighbor.” Stephen lived on Germania (also spelled Germony) from 1751 until he died. His brother John lived nearby, reportedly (but no confirming deed) next to the mountains. John could well have lived on some of Stephen’s land.
Stephen’s Good Neighbor survey, amended, is shown below.
This survey combines the original Germania property with two more and is now called Good Neighbor. The improvements are listed as a quarter acre cleared and 230 old fence posts. The survey says that Germania was originally purchased from Hance Waggoner on May 24, 1751 and that Hance held the original warrant for 435 acres.
1768 – Stephen Ulrich sells 60 acres to George Butterbaugh, 139 to Daniel Ulrich, 106 to John Snider and 40 to John Metzger. Elizabeth is no longer mentioned, so she may have died by this time. Replogle 117
This sale totals 345 of the total 445 acres. Did Stephen retain 100 acres for himself?
A Butterbaugh descendant’s map of George Butterbaugh’s holdings places this 60 acre tract just slightly above the Mason-Dixon line. If correct, this means that in 1765 the Mason-Dixon line crossed the very top of “Good Neighbor.”
On May 24, 1772, Nicholas Martin, the Brethren minister in Frederick County wrote a letter to Alexander Mack Jr. in which he says, “as regards Brother Stephen…has now become more reluctant (to be ordained) because he thinks he has become estranged to the brethren throughout the country because he became naturalized…” This is supposed to refer to “Stephen Woller,” Martin’s assistant. This letter also said that brother Stephen’s brother John moved away, which is accurate, given that John Ulrich moved to Bedford County, PA prior to 1772. (Olds referencing Donald Durnbaugh in “The Brethren in Colonial America.”)
1773 – Jacob Stutzman wrote his will and Stephen Ulrich signed as a witness in German script. The Stutzman book says this will still survives in the archives of Cumberland County, PA probate court records, will Number 28. I’d love to obtain a copy of Stephen’s signature. Jacob Stutzman’s will was probated February 3, 1775.
I wrote to Cumberland County, PA and Diane from the Clerk’s office was kind enough to call me, but the news wasn’t good. Jacob Stutzman’s will had been “reinforced” with Scotch tape years ago, and is now so hard and fragile they were afraid to handle he document. She told me they would have an archivist “look at it” which I figured was the kiss of death in terms of ever hearing anything. But fortunately, I was wrong.
A couple weeks later, I received high quality photographs in the mail, printed on full size paper. The archivist had managed to open the document, and insert the document into an archival quality plastic sleeve. Diane then took photos for me. I’m telling you this so that you will appreciate the effort that Diane and Cumberland County went to, and the photos below are the best we can do.
Diana also sent a copy of Jacob Stutzman’s will as it is written into the will book. This helps decipher words and names, because the person who copied that will into the official will book knew the players. Plus, it suggests that the original way Ulery or Ullery was pronounced probably sounded like Woolery to an English-speaker.
From these documents, we can see that the witnesses to the will were David Davis, Stephen Woolery (Ulery) and Daniel Woolery (Ulery). Stephen Woolery (Ulery) also swore an oath when the will was probated, but this signature is partially obscured in the photos.
Now, let’s look at the original document.
The back of the document is shown below.
The back of this document holds something not recorded in the will book. Hannah’s statement saying that she is fully satisfied. Additionally, we find the signature of Stephen Ulrich witnessing her statement, in German script.
How do we know that the signature above David Davis is Stephen Ulrich’s signature? By looking at the rest of the document compared to what is recorded.
Here’s the entire main page of Jacob Stutzman’s will. It’s very difficult to see the signatures of the witnesses due to the glare.
Take a look at just the top half, above. You can see that the translated version says there are three witnesses with the third being David Woolery and the second being Stephen Woolery and the first, obscured under the tape here, being David Davis.
Here’s just the witness signature section.
Even though there is glare, you can see the pattern of the signature pretty well. Now, compare it to the top signature witnessing Hannah’s statement, below.
Furthermore, the second half of the main page shows part of Stephen Woolery’s signature under David Davis again.
The pattern of the two signatures identified in the clerk’s book as Stephen Woolery match the signature we can see best under Hannah’s statement.
This confirmed that indeed, we do have Stephen’s signature – not once, not twice, but three times. It’s a good thing, because it took all 3 to confirm it actually is his.
1776 – Deed. Joseph Rentch of Frederick Co Md and William Duffield of Peters Twp, Cumberland Co, Pennsylvania, executors to the will of Jacob Stutzman late of Cumberland Co, PA, decd in consideration of the premises and also 5 shillings sold to George Wine of Heidelberg Twp, York Co, yeoman a 55 acre tract of land in Heidelberg Twp….whereas on Nov 19, 1759 John Digges of Baltimore Co., MD sold to the said Jacob Stutzman then of Baltimore Co MD a 55 ac tract called Digges’ Choice then in Baltimore County but now in Heidelberg Twp, York Co adjacent Stephen Ullery (Book 4 fol 53 and 54 in Maryland) and the said Jacob Stutzman in 1761 sold the tract of land unto the said George Wine for which he hath been since fully paid and whereas the said Stutzman by a bond dated April 18, 1770 became bound unto the said George Wine of 200 pounds conditioned that they should execute unto the said George Wine a deed of conveyance for the 55 acre tract within 7 years, and he said Stutzman on March 15 1773 made his will and did appoint the said Joseph Rentch and he said William Duffield executors and shortly after died without having conveyed the tract of land unto the said George Wine….Wit. James Stevenson, David Moreland, Ack April 24 1776 before William McClean Justice (G:P 217)
This 1776 document confirms that Digges Choice was originally considered to be in Maryland, and that Stephen Ullery (Ulrich) at one time owned this land.
Remarriage and a Prenuptial Agreement
After Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth, died, he married Hannah Stutzman, widow of his devout German Baptist friend and neighbor Jacob Stutzman, Sr. and mother-in-law of his daughter Christina Ulrich Stutzman.
Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth Ulrich probably died between 1761 and 1768 and assuredly before March of 1782, for what now would be called a “Pre-Nuptial Agreement” was signed March 25, 1782 and recorded in the deed records, book C. P. 180 in Washington Co. MD. by “Stephen Ulrich and Hannah Stootsman,” both of Washington Co., Md. Hannah was the widow of Jacob Stutzman who died in 1775. The agreement stipulated that their individual heirs would have no claim to the estates of the other spouse.
This would be a case of Christina Ulrich Stutzman’s father, Stephen Ulrich, marrying Christina’s mother-in-law, Hannah Stutzman – so Christina became her own step-sister-in-law. Her mother-in-law was now her step-mother as well. Stephen was 70 – 72 years old at the time of this marriage and unfortunately, died sometime between 1783 and June of 1785.
The 1783 tax list of Washington County, Maryland which had been formed from Frederick County lists Stephen Wolery with 324 acres, 3 horses and 3 cattle.
Stephen Ulrich’s “Good Neighbor” consisted of 324 acres, 10 acres of “meadow”, 70 acres of ‘arable’ and 244 acres of ‘wood’. In 1785 his heirs sold this tract. Replogle 118
Jacob Replogle, whose research has been impeccable, tells us that the 324 acres is “Good Neighbor.” I don’t know whether the tax list says this, or Replogle surmised this, but from the sale calculations, Stephen should only have 100 acres of “Good Neighbor” left. Because of the missing pages, we don’t know how much, if any, of “Stephen’s Hope” Stephen retained in joint ownership with Nicholas Martin.
We are very fortunate indeed that Stephen Ulrich’s heirs sold his land, as follows:
This indenture made June 17, 1785…between David Ulrick, Stephen Ulrick, Samuel Ulrich, Jacob Stutsman, Christina Stutsman, Daniel Miller, Elizabeth Miller, George Butterbaugh, Jacob Liear, Lidia Liear, all of Washington County, Maryland, for 1510 pounds sold to John Cushwa…tract of land called Good Neighbour which contained 322 acres.
Without this important transaction, we would have no comprehensive record of Stephen’s children, nor who they married. This record also seems to confirm that the land that Stephen retained at the end of his life was indeed, Good Neighbor. Perhaps some of the 1768 land sold was Stephen’s Hope.
I can’t help but wonder if there is really a 2 acre discrepancy, of if this is a transcription issue. Or, was part of Stephen’s land a cemetery? He had to have buried Elizabeth someplace – as well as be buried someplace himself.
Where was Stephen buried? There was no Brethren church building in 1785, so no official Brethren cemetery. I wonder if he was buried on his farm, along with Elizabeth, in a now-lost cemetery. Is that the 2 missing acres? Two acres would be awfully large for a cemetery.
A Visit to Frederick County, Maryland
When I set out to find Johann Michael Miller’s land in Washington County, Maryland near Hagerstown, in the fall of 2015, I’m ashamed to admit that never thought about the Ulrich land – probably because I didn’t think I could find it. The locations are vague at best.
Michael Miller’s son, Philip Jacob Miller, would marry a woman named Magdalena whose surname is unknown. By the time Philip Jacob’s son, Daniel would marry Elizabeth Ulrich, about 1774, I was under the assumption that they were already in Bedford County, PA…but they weren’t. I hate the word assume. Or more specifically, I hate it when I assume anything because it almost always turns out to be incorrect.
Daniel Miller and Elizabeth Ulrich were likely married in Frederick County about 1774. In reality, we don’t know for sure, but what we do know is that the Ulrich family was living in the area as part of the Brethren group that formed and continued to move together to new lands, eventually finding their way to Bedford County, PA, Dayton, Ohio, Elkhart County, Indiana and some on to points further west. They generally established Brethren Churches along the way.
We also know that Daniel and Elizabeth Ulrich Miller were still (or again) living in Washington County in 1785 when Elizabeth Ulrich and Daniel Miller sold her father’s property.
After I was already on the road, I read in my Miller notes that John Hale Stutzman had placed the Ulrich family, by using deeds, west of Conococheague Creek, right on or maybe even spanning between the Maryland/Pennsylvania line, and near Fairview Road.
I looked on Google maps, and that’s all I needed. I was off!!!
I figured the best chance I had at actually driving across the Ulrich land is to drive across Wishland Road (unlabeled above) which runs from just north of Conococheague Creek, parallel with the Creek for a ways, then intersecting at the state line on Cearfoss Pike. I did just that. I might have been a bit off in terms of location, slightly east, but come along anyway. Certainly this land has not changed much, other than clearing trees.
Below, Conococheague Creek from the bridge. Stephen would have been quite familiar with this waterway. He probably forded this “creek” here, at least when the water was low.
Beautiful farm land.
The “Endless Mountains” are quite close here. It is reported that Stephen’s brother John lived near the mountains as well, before he moved to Bedford County prior to 1772. Stephen’s brother, Daniel, would have lived in the area too, buying land from Stephen, before he too moved to Bedford County.
This probably is not the actual Ulrich land, but this home is just stunning, as is the barn. I can see Stephen Ulrich here, can’t you? Hardly the “quarter acre cleared and 230 old fence posts“ anymore!
Looking close, you can see the satellite dish. Times have changed, but not terribly visibly otherwise.
While much of Virginia and West Virginia are reforested, Maryland is not, and flat land here is farmed.
John Stutzman’s book provides a map and tells us that Stutzman’s land was where Pennsylvania 75 intersects Maryland 57 which is today’s 494, Fairview Road in Maryland and Fort Loudon Road in Maryland. The road that continues to the west become 57 in Maryland.
On the map below, you can see all of the landmarks, North Mountain to the west, the three roads mentioned above, Cearfoss Pike and Conocheague Creek. The total distance, as the crow flies, between Cearfoss Pike at the state line to North Mountain in about 4 miles. Stephen lived here for about 34 years and probably knew these roads, which were no more than wagon trails at that time, like the back of his hand. Someplace, both he and his wife are buried here.
Here’s the state line today, about where the barn stands, and the old road running beside the modern one.
Stephen’s wife’s name was Elizabeth, according to several deeds, who is reported to be Elizabeth Cripe, but with absolutely no documentation of any surname. It stands to reason that if Stephen bought land in 1742, he was probably recently married and he assuredly married within the Brethren community if he and/or his father were Brethren church founders in 1738.
Much has been written about the children of Stephen Ulrich, and much confusion exists between generations, mostly because the same first names were used over and over again.
I’m using the document written by Dan Olds in 2003, because his research is impeccable and he does not “add” children who are not present in Stephen’s estate settlement.
I should probably mention here that Daniel Ulrich of Bedford County is often attributed to Stephen (Jr.) but there is no Daniel mentioned in the 1785 estate distribution, and since there was no will, all of Stephen’s children would have been included in that distribution. We know that one Daniel Ulrich was the brother of Stephen (Jr.) The Daniel appearing in Bedford County seems to be too old to be a son of Stephen Jr. If he was Stephen’s son, he would have already purchased and been running a mill when he was about 20 years old, and that’s pretty much unheard of.
Stephen Ulrich Jr.’s children were:
- David Ulrich born about 1746 and died in 1823, married Barbara and had 7 children. They lived in Montgomery County, Ohio.
- Stephen Ullery born about 1750 and died in 1835. He married Susan Rench and they lived in Morrison’s Cove in Bedford County, PA and then in Montgomery County, Ohio.
- Christina Ulrich born about 1752 and died about 1810. She married Jacob Stutzman (Jr.) who later became her step-brother when their widowed parents married. They eventually moved to Montgomery County, Ohio.
- Samuel Ulrich born about 1754 and died in 1822. He married Mary Brumbaugh and they lived in Bedford County, PA.
- Elizabeth Ulrich born about 1757 and died in 1832. She married Daniel Miller and they moved first to Bedford County, PA, then to Clermont County Ohio, then to Montgomery County, Ohio.
- Mary Ulrich born about 1760 and died about 1842. She married George Butterbaugh and they lived in Bedford County, PA.
- Hannah Ulrich born about 1762 and died in 1798. She married Henry Butterbaugh and they lived in Washington County, Maryland.
- Lydia Ulrich born about 1764 and died about 1810. She married Jacob Lear, Jr and they lived in Cambria County, PA.
Stephen’s Y DNA
Unfortunately, no directly descended Ulrich males from either Stephen Jr. or Stephen Sr. have taken the Y DNA test. That’s hard to believe, I know, given how many children these Brethren families had. Stephen’s male children, whose direct male line descendants are eligible to take a Y DNA test are bolded above. The test requires a male who descends from one of the Ulrich male ancestors and carries the Ulrich (by any spelling) surname.
The Y chromosome is passed from father to son, without any of the mother’s DNA, and the Y chromosome lineage follows the surname line of descent.
By testing a male Ulrich that descends from this line, we can determine Stephen’s deep heritage, his clan, for lack of a better word. In addition, we may match a male Ulrich from Germany who has tested – and there are some – which will help us determine where our Ulrich line is from.
If you are a male Ulrich who descends from this line, I have a DNA testing scholarship for the first male Ulrich to come forth.
If not you, do you know an Ulrich male who might be interested?
Sources and Acknowledgements:
- Replogle – “Ancestors on the Frontier” by Justin Replogle (1998), self published and out of print
- Wrightsman – “The Elusive Stephen Ulrich” (Dec 2004) Dwayne Wrightsman
- Olds – “Ulrich Line” by Dan W. Olds (January 26, 2003)
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