The 1709ers – German Palatinates – 52 Ancestors #137

I’m betting that a lot of you don’t know who the 1709ers were. I didn’t until I discovered I was descended from 1709ers, and then became immediately and compulsively interested in these people, their travels, travails and fate.

As luck and irony would have it, synchronicity smiled on me one day. I like to think that some favor I paid forward just got paid back. This was a big one.

A woman, Doris, was my “room angel” at a conference where I was speaking about DNA years ago – ironically, the Palatinate of America conference.  Doris contacted me after reading an article I wrote about X chromosome mapping and said that she had identified the parents of my Barbara Kobel who I had mentioned in the article as an “end of line” person – in other words – a brick wall. Indeed, Doris was correct, and she pointed me towards Jacob Kobel and his wife, Anna Maria. I have since added another 5 generations to this previous brick wall based on information that began with her kind note and information that she included. I can’t thank Doris enough! She’s an angel alright!

Doris told me that Jacob Kobel was part of the 1709 Palatine Immigration. The next question I had for her was “what was that?” The answer came in the form of a Wiki article and a couple of books, the best of which was “Becoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York” by Philip Otterness, a history professor at Warren Wilson College.

Who Were the German Palatines?

The German Palatines were natives of the Electorate of the Palatinate region of Germany, although a few had come to Germany from Switzerland, the Alsace, and probably other parts of Europe. Towards the end of the 17th century and into the 18th, the Palatine region was repeatedly invaded by French troops, which resulted in continuous military requisitions, widespread devastation and famine.

The “Poor Palatines” as they came to be called were some 13,000 Germans who arrived in England between May and November 1709 in response to a false rumor that the Queen was giving free land in America. Their arrival in England, and the inability of the British Government to integrate them, caused a highly politicized debate over the merits of immigration. The English tried to settle them in England, Ireland, and the Colonies. The English transported nearly 3,000 in ten ships to New York in 1710. Many were first were assigned to work camps along the Hudson River to work off the cost of their passage.

The Palatinates had left Germany believing that the English Queen was giving land in America in return for settling there. It wasn’t true, but the Germans didn’t discover that until after arriving in either Rotterdam or London, and then many refused to believe it. In fact, decades later, many were still trying to obtain their free land to which they were just sure they were entitled.

The 1709ers received their nickname because that’s the year they arrived, en masse, in London, descending on a city that was not prepared for them.

The first boats packed with refugees began arriving in early May 1709. The first 900 people were given housing, food and supplies by a number of wealthy Englishmen. The immigrants were called “Poor Palatines”: “poor” in reference to their pitiful and impoverished state upon arrival in England, and “Palatines” since many of them came from lands controlled by the Elector Palatine. The majority came from regions outside the Palatinate and often against the wishes of their respective rulers, they fled by the thousands down the Rhine River to the Dutch city of Rotterdam, where the majority eventually embarked for London.

Within a few days another 800+ Germans had crowded together in miserable rooms in St. Catherine’s parish in London. This was just the beginning of the tidal wave.


In 1598, St. Katherine’s was described as “inclosed about or pestered with small tenements and homely cottages” and it remained so a hundred years later when its inhabitants consisted “of weavers and other manufacturers and of seamen and such who relate to shipping and are generally very factious and poor.” The parish, on the City’s east side just beyond the Tower had long been a community of poor English families and foreigners.  You can see the neighborhood to the right of the tower, both above and below.  The 1709ers would have fit right in were it not for the fact there were so many of them.

1746 London Map

Throughout the summer of 1709, ships unloaded thousands of refugees, and almost immediately their numbers overwhelmed the initial attempts to provide for them.

They were initially crowded into St. Katherine’s, also written as St. Catherine’s, today known as St. Katherine’s by the Tower.

At that time, these accommodations were tenements by the docks in an unsavory area. Having entirely overrun all buildings available, they lived in tents in squalid conditions and the local London people came to view them as entertainment.

By summer, some were moved to the fields and barns of Blackheath and Camberwell, now part of metropolitan London. A Committee dedicated to coordinating their settlement and dispersal sought ideas for their employment. This proved difficult, as the Poor Palatines were unlike previous migrant groups — skilled, middle-class, religious exiles such as the Huguenots or the Dutch in the 16th century.  The 1709ers, by contrast, were rather unskilled rural laborers, neither sufficiently educated nor healthy enough for most types of employment. Their health wasn’t improving by living in those squalid conditions, either.

The Germans already in London now realized that the queen had never planned to settle them in America and had been completely unprepared for their arrival. Now all they could do was to wait for the queen to determine their fate. They tried to make life as normal as possible. A woodcut of one the German camps at St. Katherine’s published in 1709 shows the women cooking and hauling wood while the children sleep next to the tents. This woodcut is part of an article describing the state of the Palatines.


Some worked on surrounding farms. Some men joined the British army. The rest lived off of English generosity and the Queen.

In 1709, when the Palatinates were living at St. Katherine’s by the Tower, a beautiful church and hospital were located there as well, known as St. Katharine’s Church. The 1709ers would have worshipped in this church that was by that time already nearly 600 years old. Sadly, this church was destroyed in 1825 when the area was razed to build the St. Katharine Docks.


This map below shows the area to be destroyed to build the docks. You can see the church and cloisters and surrounding small streets and houses.

An intensely built-up 23 acre site was earmarked for redevelopment by an Act of Parliament in 1825, with construction commencing in May 1827. Some 1250 houses were demolished, together with the medieval hospital and church of St. Katharine. Around 11,300 inhabitants, mostly port workers crammed into insanitary slums, lost their homes.  Of course, only property owners received compensation and that didn’t include the tenants.

I shudder to think about more than 11,000 people crammed into 23 acres, what it would have looked and smelled like, but this map gives us some idea what this area would have been like with 16,000 Palatinates in tents in this same region, in addition to the residents.


You can see, on the current Google map below that the entire neighborhood was replaced by docks.  The water in the dock area looks dark, but you can see the boats moored today.


Life Gets Worse

Soon an alternate image of the “poor Palatine refugees” emerged. A physician wrote:

”I wish you the recovery of your health and a better neighborhood than the palatines, which I fear have infected your pure air. Our country has whole loads of them and call them gipsies, not knowing the language and seeing their poor clothes.”

Gypsies were often portrayed in Britain as parasitic intruders who invaded civilized societies while maintaining their own closed and mysterious communities. In 1711 gypsies were described as “this race of vermin.”

By the beginning of August, the people of London had visited their camps and the “poor Palatine refugees” had not lived up to their billing. Rather than being fit objects of charity, they had become, in the words of an anonymous pamphleteer, “a parcel of vagabonds, who might have lied comfortably enough in their native country, had not the laziness of their dispositions and the report of our well-known generosity drawn them out of it.”

Life was bad and getting worse for the German families. Many had been reduced to begging in the streets. Others were shipped back home. England became desperate to get rid of this group of people they hadn’t wanted nor invited and who couldn’t support themselves. When the opportunity to send the entire group to New York and Pennsylvania arose, they were all too happy to take advantage of the opportunity and send them on their way.

On To America

In mid-April, 1710, almost a year after the first migrants had arrived in London, a convoy bearing the 3000 Germans and New York’s Governor Hunter left England.

Jacob Cobel (Kobel), a miller, age 27, reported to be a Catholic, his wife and a son aged one half, were in the 4th group of arrivals in England in 1709 according to the London Lists. He had left Hoffensheim-Sinsheim. This is somewhat remarkable in that he was reported to be Catholic AND that he continued to immigrate to America. Most Catholics, in fact, all that the English knew about, were returned to Holland. I am not convinced that he was Catholic. If he was, how he and his family evaded deportation is both unknown and miraculous.

In 1710, Jacob along with his wife and child continued on to America, in fact, settling eventually in a location that would be named after him, Cobleskill, NY.

The postcard below shows Cobleskill Creek in Coblesill, NY. This is likely Jacob’s mill creek. He was documented as being a miller in the US as well.


Jacob Cobel’s wife was Anna Marie Egli and they had daughter Maria Barbara after their arrival in the US. Maria Barbara married Johann Jacob Schaeffer, a member of another 1709er Palatinate family. His parents were Johan Nicholas Schaeffer and Maria Katherine Suder from Relsburg, Germany.

However, the story doesn’t stop here. It does however, skip forward some 304 years, to September 2013.

St. Katherines Today

My husband, Jim, and I were visiting London. We only had 2 and a half days.

On the day of our arrival, after finally finding our hotel, walking from a train station pulling heavy bags, we discovered that the travel agent had not made the reservation for the correct days. We had to find a different hotel. With the help of the hotel, we were able to do so, but it took a couple of hours that we didn’t have to spend. We missed any possibility of the tour I had so been looking forward to. Our next two days were already spoken for. With all of the frustration and disappointment, I just wanted to cry. Things were not going as planned. What to do?

After getting settled, we regrouped, and realizing we only had part of the afternoon, we decided to visit a couple of quilt shops I had found online. The hotel was gracious and called us a taxi, and a few minutes later our driver arrived, ready to take us anyplace we wanted.

On the way to the first of three quilt shops, we told him about our travel snafu and the tour we had hoped to take. One of the places I was really looking forward to seeing was the Tower of London so I could, from there, hopefully, see St. Katherine’s by the Tower. My ancestors, the 1709ers, “camped” there and I wanted to visit that area – or at least see it from a distance.

Our driver, whose name was Said, was beyond wonderful, and he wove a tour into the quilt shop visits. We spent the most wonderful afternoon with this gentleman and he took me directly to places that were on no canned tour.

Of course, with his London driving experience, he knew exactly how to get to all the best places.  That travel snafu turned out to be a lovely gift in disguise!

From this area on the Thames near St. Katherine’s, you can see Tower Bridge, located beside the Tower of London.  St. Katherine’s is between the Hermitage Park, where I’m standing in this photo, and the Tower Bridge.  St. Katherine’s begins on the other side of the brown building, to the far right in this photo, about half way between me and the bridge. This gives you an idea of how small the neighborhood of St. Katherine’s actually was. Google maps shows the area of St. Katherine’s to be roughly 1000 feet by about 700 feet.

London Bridge

In the most ironic twist of fate, today, this area has once again been redeveloped and is now comprised of very high-end, upscale condos, some directly on the Thames and some on the Marina. My ancestors wouldn’t recognize it.


Beautiful buildings on what is now a beautiful setting.


You don’t have to look too far though to see some of the warehouses that were adjacent to the docks. There are still warehouses a block off of the waterfront. You can see them behind Said’s car, waiting patiently for me to get my ancestor-fix.

Said's Mercedes

The city walls, a remnant shown below behind the men at the bus stop, would have still been intact when the 1709ers were there, but not much remains today. I love these old brick streets too.


The old ship ties still exist at St. Katherine’s docks. These were at one time used to tie the large cargo ships to hold them secure while they were loaded and unloaded.


You can still read “St. Katherine by the Tower.”

St Katherines by the Tower

I had to pinch myself to believe I was really standing here where my ancestors stood. Truthfully, between being sleep deprived after an all-night flight, followed by the hotel debacle, this unplanned experience felt entirely surreal.


This area has been made into a lovely waterfront park which includes the docks of course, and the historic Dickens Inn, shown with the red hanging baskets, above.  What a transition from how cramped and miserable this area was in 1709 and how spacious and lovely it is today.  The 1709ers would be shocked and probably mortified at all of that “wasted space” that they so desperately needed.


The redeveloped park where I’m standing, is located in the area between the green “St. Katharine Docks and The Dickens Inn on the current map above, in the lower right hand quadrant.  You can click to enlarge.  On the old map, this would have been just in front of the St. Catherine’s church – a place certainly familiar to the 1709ers who were assuredly praying daily for deliverance of some sort.


The photo above is difficult to see because I took it through glass, but it shows pictures of the inside of the condos or apartments that are for sale in the area, all for over half a million pounds – and those are the cheap ones.

It’s somehow a supreme irony that the former poorest area, the waterfront tenement slums, are now the posh area. This is the third life of St. Katherine’s. I guess that is the very meaning of redevelopment.

I was so very grateful to Said for taking me to where my ancestors camped.  It brought history to life in a very memorable way.

I’d love to know more about these families before their arrival in England.  In particular, I’d like to know more about their deep ancestry, before the advent of surnames.  Where did they come from?  Who were their people?  Were they Celts or Saxons or maybe Huns before they were Germans seeking refuge?  Y DNA testing can give us those answers, but we need a male from the surname lines in question to test.

DNA Projects and Participants

Given that I certainly can’t test my Y DNA (females don’t have Y DNA) for the 1709er lines, I need to find males who descend from these family lines to test. Y DNA is always passed from father to son, generally along with the surname. The best way to start that search is to check the projects at Family Tree DNA, along with YSearch.

I checked the Family Tree DNA Y database and discovered no Cobel, Kobel or derivative surname, so I started the Kobel/Coble Y DNA project. While this project was initially focused on Kobel/Coble males, anyone who descends from a Kobel/Cobel line is welcome to join. Fortunately, we do have a Coble male from Jacob Kobel’s line, and he matches other Coble males as well. I would invite and encourage any Kobel (or similar spelling) male to join. I’ll be writing about Jacob Kobel’s line soon.

Viewing the Shafer project, it does appear that the 1709er Schaeffer line has probably tested and is a subgroup of haplogroup U106. I say probably because it’s a line believed to connect to my line, from a group that went to NC. Still, I’d much prefer to test someone from my own proven line, just in case. You can view the grouping of men that match, in yellow, below.


There are no projects for either Egli, Suder or Sonsst. There are apparently 8 people with the Egli surname who have tested, but the only one I could find in any project was from France. One Suder has apparently tested, and no Sonssts. Sonsst could easily have been corrupted into something I wouldn’t recognize today. YSearch showed several people with either the Egli surname or Egli in their pedigree charts, but nothing that would suggest that they connect to the Egli family from Hoffensheim-Sinsheim.

Hopefully, someone, someplace is researching these family lines and will pass the word. I’m offering a Y DNA testing scholarship for a male carrying the surname and descending from these various 1709er family lines. If you qualify, please contact me.

  • Johann Peter Schaeffer (born c1640) family from Relsburg, Germany
  • Michael Suder (born c 1650 or earlier) family from Relsburg, Germany
  • Marx Egli (born probably 1664 or earlier) family probably from the Hoffensheim-Sinsheim area of Germany
  • Han Sonsst (born probably 1680 or earlier) family probably from the Hoffensheim-Sinsheim area of Germany



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90 thoughts on “The 1709ers – German Palatinates – 52 Ancestors #137

  1. Hi Roberta,

    Excellent summary about the Palatines travails in England.
    I’ve found that the definitive genealogical work for our 1710s (when many arrived in the American Colonies) is “The Palatine Families of New York: a study of the German immigrants who arrived in colonial New York in 1710, Henry Z. Jones”
    Mr. Jones’ summary at the start of his books has even more details about what they suffered in Germany, the years in transit, as well as after arrival in the American Colonies.

    NEGHS has some great info as well

    Richard (also of Palantine descent)

    • Expert Palatine genealogist Henry Z. Jones also wrote an enjoyable book called: “Psychic Roots: Serendipity & Intuition in Genealogy,” quoting the experiences of many professional genealogists. The book made me celebrate all the marvelous “coincidences” that continues to happen in my family research.

  2. Perhaps doing business with these 1709ers while they were at St. Katherine’s by (or near) the stairs was the father of Simon Siron. The first name of Simon’s father is unknown, but the family had been living there since at least 1702. Evidently his father was a German merchant of some sort, being called a “Schiffer” and a shopkeeper.

    On 8 January 1735, a fire swept through this area, destroying forty houses, one of which was the house of Simon’s parents. (Being somewhat ostracized by his family for his religious views, Simon had immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1733.)

    For a couple of contemporary articles about this 1735 fire, see

  3. Thank you for this warm and “humanizing” story of our Palatine ancestors (I have more than 50 direct ancestors among the 1709ers who settled in the Hudson Valley after enduring St. Katherine’s). Thank you, too, for remembering me. It’s such a joy to help break down someone else’s brick wall and to introduce them to a new aspect of their family history.

    I checked the Palatine DNA Project for Schaffer and was shocked to find none listed. There were many Schaffers in this group, according to Henry Z. Jones, Jr., The Palatine Families of New York 1710. I descend from Jost Henrich.

    Warm wishes and many thanks,
    Doris Wheeler

    • I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to reach out to me with the key to breaking down this brick wall. It was really the key to a doorway filled with fascinating ancestors. Better yet, we discovered that we are cousins!!!

      I need to check and see if you match any of my Miller cousins.

  4. Roberta, you may already have this knowledge in your impressive arsenal, but having lived in Switzerland for 10 years, I can say with some confidence that Egli is a Swiss name. It is a fish found in the Swiss lakes. A type of pike. Most proper names and nouns ending in “li” are Swiss and not German. It is their form of diminutive.
    Thanks for another fabulous blog. Always informative and superbly written.

  5. Hallo Roberta, Egli is a name from Switzerland. Perhaps you can start there to find, if there was an immigrant to Germany /Pfalz.

  6. Thank you so much for this interesting article on the Palatinates. I am descended from several Palatinate families on my father’s maternal line who settled in the Mohawk Valley, NY: Baum, Seeber (Seibert), who sons were soldiers in the Revolutionary War in the Tryon Militia. Until now, I was unaware of the hardships they faced in Europe.

  7. Roberta, as I’m sure you found in your research, 3,000 Palatines initially emigrated to Ireland. If you go to, you’ll see a list of Irish Palatine family surnames. According to the Irish Palatine Association, “The Landlords of Irish estates wanted to increase the Protestant tenant population … In September 1709, almost 3000 Palatines were relocated to rural Ireland, with a roughly equivalent number being transported to New York and North Carolina. Over the following three years, more than two thirds of the Irish Palatine settlers left Ireland [Note from me: reluctant to pay rent, angered by landlords and reception of some R.C. Irish] and returned to England and Germany … Of the Landlords who successfully managed to induce their allotment of Palatine immigrants to remain in rural Ireland, the most successful was Sir Thomas Southwell of Castle Matrix near Rathkeale, Co. Limerick … Southwell had retained only 10 families but by 1714 he had settled about 130 families on his lands, and the region around his demesne has retained the largest concentration of Irish Palatine residents to this day in Killeheen, Ballingrane, and Courtmatrix.”

  8. Thanks for bringing back memories of the docks at St. Katharine’s, as I’ve been there on business. But until your article today, I had no idea that it was the site of the Palatinates in London. At lunchtime it’s teeming with people in business attire from the office buildings. I doubt that they also know!

  9. I descend from Jacob Borst one of the Palatine emigrants. I notice there are only 4 in that project. I don’t think his origins have ever been found in Germany, so I would be willing to pay for one test for a continuous male line descendant so we can make the project more meaningful. Thanks Roberta for the inspiration.

  10. Hi Roberta,
    Thank you so much for a wonderfully informative post! My late cousin Brenda and I did a lot of research on our 1709er’s, which includes half a dozen sets of great-grands. This gives a wonderful historical background to what they endured. They were made of strong stuff indeed.

  11. My spouse’s ex is a Palantine descendant (Abraham Defoe, Christoph and Henrich Ketzbach, Johann Georg Reiffenberger lines). The information about their time in England is much appreciated. There are living direct Ketzbach male descendants, and probably the Defoe and Reiffenberger as well. It is was something of a surprise to find the the Ketzebach line were Loyalists and went to Canada just prior or during the Revolutionary war period. There were some descendants who came back to Vermont and later to MInnesota.

    • Aquila, I am of the line of Abraham Defoe and Johan Georg Reiffenberger also. Hello cousin. Perhaps we could compare notes. Abraham married Georg’s granddaughter, Anna Maria Catharina Reiffenberger. They are my 6th great grandparents.

      • Hi, Dorcas. My spouse’s ex is the Defoe-Reiffenberger descendant. It’s a lovely convoluted puzzle they’ve given us to solve. Please feel free to email me and visit my blog

    • My Lückhards (later Lightharts) arrived in NY in 1710 with the Palatine group; they were also Loyalists – hence the U.E. after my name – and ended up in Canada. Most of us are still there.

  12. I recommend the following books as well:



    Charles W. Meiser
    Palatine DNA Project

  13. I have Palatine forbears – but mine went to Ireland! Bateman/Bartman derived from Bergmann.
    I am trying to find any links! I have some possible connections but have not been able to “prove” the bloodline as records are scarce!

  14. Roberta:
    Thanks very much for this interesting article. I believe that I have a relative among this group. He was Johann Friedrich Haegar, the son of Johann Henrich Haegar and Anna Catherine Friesenhagen. This couple came to America in 1714 and were among the original settlers of the Germanna Colony in northern Virginia. They are my 7th-great-grandparents. I am descended from their daughter Agnes, who married Johannes Fischbach, also original Germanna Colony settlers. My sources for Johann Friedrich Haegar are: 1) US and Canada, Passenger Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, an database indicating he came to New York in 1709; 2) he is also listed in American Immigrant Minister, 1690-1811 by Gerald Fothergill, also found on; and 3) The German Element in the United States, Vol 1, chpt 4, The First Exodus-The Palatine Immigration to New York. He and another German minister, at the request of the Board of Trade, made a census of the Palatines in New York in 1718. Interestingly, even though he was an ordained minister, he was not allowed by the colonial government to provide religious services to the Germans, but he and the other pastor did provide what we would consider today to be social service. His father, in Virginia, was the first minister of the German Reformed Church in America. I gained my membership in The Society of the Descendants of the Colonial Clergy through him. He died in 1737. Jim Wilson

  15. I have a Palatine family – Everett – that stayed in Limerick, Ireland for 100 years and then moved to Australia. It was quite a surprise to me some years ago when I learnt that my “Irish” branch was in fact German!

  16. My Swiss Palatine family, Isaac Hutto (aka Huttow, Otto) didn’t come through New York, they came in July 1735 to Charleston, SC on the ship Oliver from Rotterdam as indentured servants all, both parents & their children. They worked off their indenture, got land & when Isaac died in 1759 he was buried on his plantation near Orangeburgh, SC. The records say he was found dead on the path between his home & the town without a mark of violence or a fall on him. Sounds like a heart attack or stroke as it was in the middle of August when he died & we know how hot it gets in SC in that time of year.

    • I am from this line as well and my DNA lists an ancestor from the Palatine region. My father’s DNA results are linked to mine and that is how I know it is in fact from his lineage and most likely this line.

  17. Roberta,
    Thank you so much for this article. My 7th great grandfather was one of these Palatines. We have a small bit of the story that was passed down, all these generations, and we have been able to verify parts of it. His name was Daniel Thevoz. He was born about 1665 and probably in the village of Missy, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland. He was still there in 1691, when he was a witness to a marriage in that village. The New York City Reformed Churchbook confirms he was from Switzerland, but spells his name Theroux.. He was a vinedresser and left Switzerland to work in the vineyards of the Rhine Valley. Before June 1700, he married Marianne. Their first child, Maria Anna Devoe was born about 1700 in the Palatinate on the Rhine. Their second child, Abraham, was born about 1702/03 probably in that same location.

    Our family story does not tell about the treatment of the Palatines by the French Army, but relates that the winter of 1708-09 was the worst weather on record. The vines froze and put thousands of people out of work including Daniel. There was no relief of any kind from the government and many people were starving. So when Queen Anne of England sent a fleet of three ships up the Rhine, with promises to save them, Daniel’s family was on the first ship. According to the story, the ship stopped at Rotterdam and the people there fed them. It took four to six weeks to sail down the Rhine to Rotterdam. Daniel Thevoz, ege 24, with his wife, a son aged 6, and a daughter aged 8, were among the first arrivals in England, according to the London Lists. He and his family arrived in England in May 1709 Arriving in England, they were camped on Blackheath. Daniel and his family appear on the first four London Provisioning Lists. There were four Board of Trade lists of the first 6520 Palatines to arrive in 1709. They were compiled in England by John Tribekko and George Ruperti, German clergymen. Many came to America soon after arrival in London. On one of these lists, Daniel’s name is spelled Thevoux.

    They camped on Blackheath until December 1709, according to the New York City Reformed Churchbook, then went on board ship, but did not sail until April. They were crowded together on the small ship, and suffered from vermin and poor sanitation. They were forced to subsist on unhealthy food. Many became ill and the entire fleet was ravaged by ship’s fever (known today as typhus) which caused the deaths of many passengers (“The Palatine Families of New York – 1710” by Henry Z. Jones). When the fleet of eleven ships finally reached New York in June, they had been on board for six months.

    The New York City Council protested the arrival of 2500 disease laden passengers within their jurisdiction and demanded that the Palatines stay in tents on Nutten (Governor’s) Island, offshore. Typhus continued to decimate the emigrants. Altogether about 470 Palatines died on the voyage and during their first month in New York (Jones, op.cit.). Evidently Marianne, Daniel’s wife, was one of those who did not survive.

    Daniel Teffa aged 30, Marianna Teffa aged 11, and Abraham Teffa aged 7, were in New York City 1710/11. Daniel’s family was number 117 on Governor Hunter’s subsistence lists. Eventually, they were taken up the Hudson River to the East Camp, then nearby at the Tarbush. Their job was to tap the pine trees for their pitch, which was to be used as caulking on English ships.

    Daniel and Abraham were naturalized together on 8 and 9 Sept. 1715 (Kingston Naturalizations) in Kingston, New York.

    Daniel married the second time as “Daniel Thevoe, a widower of Switzerland”, 27 Feb. 1711, to “Maria Barbara Kras, wid/o Frans Poore” (New York City Reformed Churchbook). Daniel Diefuh and Maria Barbara with two children were at Beckmansland about 1716/1717 [Semmendinger Register].

    I have followed them and subsequent generations. It has been a most rewarding journey through our family history.

  18. Hi, new bern NC was also settled in 1710 by German and Swiss including palatines. You might want to try this area. I had Simmons and other lines arrive with them

  19. Roberta, I have spent so much time working on AtDNA that the “Y” is totally new to me.I did test at FTDNA and my results were R-M269 and my surname is Sheaffer I thought I may be able to contribute since you specifically mentioned Johann Peter Schaeffer (born c1640). Okay, Sheaffer in all of it’s variations is “Shepard” or tender of the flock, which could be a Sheep Herder or a Minister who is tending his “Flock” Spiritually, consequently is is anything but rare. Since you mentioned specifically Johann Peter Schaeffer (born c1640), I thought you would have his DNA Haplogroup. What tests do I need to take at FTDNA to look for a match?

  20. Hi Roberta,

    I’ve just forwarded your post to my friend Garry Finkell, president of the New York State chapter of the Palatines To America. This could not have come at a better time as we had planned to meet this week to discuss how we might incorporate DNA genealogy into encouraging more people to research their 1709 Palatine ancestors. The many posts here with resources and stories speaks to the continued interest.
    Hopefully we can work together to help you in your research into your Palatine ancestors and help the larger community of Palatine descendants.
    Bruce Romanchak

  21. Roberta, thank you for your insightful article concerning my Palatine ancestors and their dreadful experience enroute from Germany to the new world. Johan Peter Wagner is my relation and his story is Palatine Roots by Nancy Wagoner Dixon 1994. His home still stands
    in Palatine Township, NY, built 1725. I’ve been DNA tested and is in my wikitree site. My wife and I visited Hinterwald, Hessen-Darmstadt Germany to view his home town. Would love to work with you on further exploration of our cousins.
    Robert Wagner Warner Jr.

  22. This has been a wonderful read this morning. I first was aware of your work while researching my Estes ancestry, and now I learn of our common descent from the Palatines. My GGGGrandma, Hannah Estes married Jacob Philip Empie (Emichen is the original spelling). Ernst Emichen was our immigrant ancestor from Worms, Germany in 1709-10, who settled in NY. I am interested in identifying his family in Germany. Other Palatine relatives include Schnell, Schultz, and Zamin. Perhaps DNA testing will help with this.

  23. THANK YOU so much for all of this information on The German Palatinates. I am so thankful to have even more information on my ancestors! I had found the information on the Hudson River Valley and The Palatinates, but I haven’t followed up on it. I followed it “this way” instead of “back”. I descend from Albrecht/Albright, Schaeffer/Shaffer, and several more that I am trying to nail down, that I am certain are in this settlement. Most of my direct ancestors followed Conrad Weiser (Friend and Indian Interpreter for Chief Shikellamy and The Colonial Government). While on a trip to Philadelphia with The Chief, Conrad Weiser met Benjamin Franklin. After hearing of the problems that The Germans were having in the Albany area; Mr. Franklin facilitated an offer between William Penn and the Settlers, being offered up to 100 acres each of free land for settling in Pennsylvania. I believe that there were 39 families that came with Mr Weiser, following the head waters of the Susquehanna River, to Swatara Creek at modern day Harrisburg PA, and they followed the creek and went and additional twenty some miles and settled what is known today as The Tulpehocken Settlement. The brother of my Albrecht/Albright ancestor, Jacob, is the Albright that persevered being beaten, almost to death several times; in an attempt to spread a new religion that he had come up with and believed in. Ironic, considering many of the Germans in Lancaster County, PA had left their homes fleeing religious persecution. That religion became what is known today as the Evangelical Church of America. There is still a functioning Seminary there today. Another relative, possibly a nephew of this Jacob, a John Albright, left Pennsylvania and migrated with several families, one being a Jacob Martin. They started The Old Stoney Creek Church. They settled in (I can’r remember off the top of my head what the county was called at the time of their migration, so I’ll say this:) what was known as Orange County, NC. The county was formed in 1752 from parts of Bladen County, Granville County, and Johnston County. It was named for the infant William V of Orange, whose mother Anne, daughter of King George II of Great Britain, was then regent of the Dutch Republic. In 1771, Orange County was greatly reduced in area. The western part of it was combined with the eastern part of Rowan County to form Guilford County.

    Any how, sorry if I rambled. I’ll end by saying, obviously, I am a PROUD descendant of The Palatinate Germans. Thank You Again!

    • It sure is fun to research the ancestors and the history surrounding them. If you descend from the Schaefer line, then we are cousins:) Does our DNA match at all? I’m at all 3 vendors plus T524738 at GedMatch. My mother is T167724 and she clearly carries more Schaeffer DNA than I do. She’s also at FTDNA but not elsewhere since the only reason I was able to do her autosomal was because her DNA was archived at FTDNA.

      • My dad (kit #A401371) matches your kit #A206179, 7.2 cM on Chromosome 20. I’m trying to confirm/rule out the surname Schaffer as that of his 5th great-grandmother. I’m not experienced with GEDmatch interpretation, so I don’t know the chances of a match with your people.

    • My dad (kit #A401371) matches your kit #A206179 on Chromosome 20, 7.2 cM. I’m trying to confirm/rule out the surname Schaffer as that of his 5th great-grandmother. I’m not experienced with GEDmatch interpretation, so I don’t know the chances of a match with your people.

  24. Thank you so much for this. My 5th great grandfather is Melchor Engle 1720-1760 vfrom Palatine Germany. Thanks to this blog of yours I was able to get a hard copy of “The Melchor Engle Family History” and I am so excited. It was the only one available. I should have it in a few days. Your blog posts are wonderful. Thank you

    • Did you ever get farther back than Melchor? I wish I could find if I have family in Germany still since I’m also a descendant from Melchor.

  25. A couple of things: (1) I’m trying to buy a copy of Nancy Wagoner Dixon’s PALATINE ROOTS:THE 1710 GERMAN SETTLEMENT IN NEW YORK AS EXPERIENCED BY JOHANN PETER WAGNER, and I can’t find one for sale. Anybody know where I can get one? For now, I’ve arranged an interlibrary loan but would love to have the copy since she details so much about the group’s migration. (Even though I’m not descended from the Wagners.)

    (2) I’m trying to figure out the maiden name of my 6th g-grandmother Gertrude/Gertraut, married about 1720 to Johan Jurg Kast jr. Johan’s Palatine family traveled from the East Camp to Weiserdorf (now Middleburgh, Schoharie), then to Herkimer. Doing some deep digging, one of the names I’m looking at is Schaffer because of some baptism sponsorship. What’s the best place I can compare DNA in order to find Gertrude’s family? I’ve uploaded my dad’s DNA to Ancestry and haven’t nailed this one down.

    Other Palatine families I’m descended from include Feg/Feck, Koch, Helmer, Hilts, and Dornberger.

      • Thanks, I’ll keep that on file. I’m zeroing in on precise timeframes and locations in my search for Gertrude’s family. In October, I’m also visiting the area to retrace their journey in New York, and the book will give me some vivid historical background.

    • I too descend from many Palatines. If you have not already done so, be sure to check the seminal work by Henry Z. Jones, Jr. who has written many books and articles. Your family is in Vol. 1 pp. 437-438 of The Palatine Families of New York 1710, pub. 1985. Also, the book are looking for was published not long ago. Check with the publisher to see if there is a digitized version available or if they will republish soon.

      • Yeah, I’ve done a ton of research on this family over the past 35 years and am working my way through Hank Jones’s books and others to answer that one last question: “Gertrude who?” A bunch of other Ancestry researchers believe it’s “Meleut” but I have found no evidence of that name even appearing in the colonies. I think someone grabbed a random hint and a bunch of others copied it.

        Sadly, the publisher of the book I’m looking for is permanently closed.

        • I met the author at a conferencee soon after she published it. She wasn’t old. I would think you could Google her. Authors almost always have left over copies of books.:-)

    • Luanabee, I can’t help you with the book but I have some suggestions for DNA research. Ancestry has a large database of users for their DNA project but they are behind in the tools they offer to look at matches. I would suggest that you go to, a free DNA genealogy comparison site, register and then use the File Upload link to copy your Ancestry results to GEDmatch. This will give you better tools and access to people who have tested with other DNA companies (FamilytreeDNA, 23andMe…). At the same time you can ask to join the Facebook group: Palatinate German DNA and Ancestry. This group is just starting up but people are joining and sharing their GEDmatch DNA kits. The founders have connections to German Palatines who settled in Pennsylvania but it is open to anyone. I know that a number of the Palatines who settled in the Schoharie Valley ended up in Pennsylvaia. Please be mindful that autosomal DNA tests are only reliable for the last 4 or 5 generations. Another option is to have your father have his Y-DNA done on Familytree DNA and then he/you can join the Palatine and/or German Y-DNA projects. I did not see a Kast project but there are Kastler and Kastner family projects. Of course he could also do mtDNA and follow his mother’s line if that is Palatine. Its not DNA but you might also check with the Palatines To America organization on information on your family surnames.

        • Doris,

          When I enter the search word Palatine at FTDNA, nothing is returned. You might want to enter this as one of the surnames for that project so it will be returned in a search. Also, it this literally just for Y DNA or do you accept autosomal?


          • Sorry to say I no longer admin this project. They have removed both mtDNA (including me) and autosomal and deal only with Y-DNA. You can find it under Geographic projects. The project seems to be managed by now and I’m not even a member and can’t be under their rules.

          • I gave it up because I didn’t have time to do what I had hoped. There’s a lot of potential there. Someone will benefit from the database in future research, I’m sure.

      • Thanks for the DNA ideas; I’ll have to check them out. I did upload the DNA of my dad, my brother, and myself to GEDmatch several months ago, at the request of a relative. Made a few interesting discoveries but need to take the time to make some kind of a spreadsheet to make sense of it all. It’s a bit overwhelming.

  26. Johann Jurgh (George), Jr. and his wife Gertraud had children recorded in Pastor Sommer’s Family List at the Fall ca. 1744 (Schoharie Lutheran \Churchbook), per Jones. Read the front matter in Jones’ books, and write to him. You might find this particular churchbook online or among the collections at Kinship, Rhinebeck, NY. Check the Rhonebeck and Poughkeepsie libraries for important genealogical collections. Also contact Germantown, Columbia County and Schoharie societies.

    • Fabulous! I was already planning on driving through Rhinebeck and Germantown on my trip to the Mohawk Valley, will check these sources out beforehand too.

      This morning I heard from Nan Dixon, the author of “Palatine Roots.” She has a couple of copies left and will sell me one. Yay! FYI, Nan was hard to find, but can be reached through the Jefferson County New York Genealogical Society (JCNYGS).

  27. Today I found a FABULOUS resource for Palatine history in the Mohawk Valley: the newspaper “St Johnsville NY Enterprise”, which ran genealogy and history columns from about 1920 to the 1950s (a Mohawk Valley version of the Boston Transcript). The LDS lists it here, where you can view one collection online which details the Wagner, Dillenbeck, and Staring families …

    I initially ran across this newspaper at Fulton Postcards here …

    … where I found tons of info by searching …
    “St Johnsville NY Enterprise” genealogy
    … followed by the surname I was looking for.

    Or browse general columns by searching …
    “St Johnsville NY Enterprise” “genealogy and history”

    There’s A LOT of other great historical information besides specific family info. Enjoy!

  28. My family name in the Rhine valley was keurlis. They immigrated to America in the very late 1600s or possibly 1700s on the ship concord. It’s possible they too were some of the 1709 group.

  29. Well, here I am having just discovered the “1709’s” – and that my husband appears to have been descended from the Kuntzlis and Islers of the New Bern group. Thank you for this article – and thank EVERYBODY for all the links within the comments. These will form my first forays as we try to educate ourselves on this amazing historical event. It seems incredible that such a wave of migration could occur, and today no one even knows of it! Yet another privilege we have as genealogists: rediscovering and passing on this knowledge!

  30. I love this story. So American. I am descendant of Johannes and Magdalena Zeh. 1709ers. They eventually settled in the Schoharie area. Magdalena has an interesting story having lead the women in running the sheriff out of town.

    Tough ladies!

    I am very proud of my family….all branches and all they have done. Germans, Irish immigrants in the 1840’s, Norwegian in the 1850’s thru 1875 (my maternal grandfather)….and my wife from the Philippines in the late 1970s….so difficult to leave your homeland for a new world.

    My family later changed the spelling of our name to Zhe in the early 1860’s; I haven’t been able to find out the reason for the change.

    We’ve continued to move west…. Germany to England to New York to Wisconsin and in the 1940’s to California.

    We’ve been to Oppenheim on the Rhine and I’ve visited the church where Johannes and Magdalena were married.

    Wish everyone well in their family journeys.


  31. On my father’s side my grandmother’s parents were mostly derived from Palatine immigrants. Johann Balthazar Loesch and Johann Emerich Bott were both her parental lineage.She did a good job of preserving the history for me and I used it to do a middle school report on my Ancestry. At the time it was all I had known about my ancestry. Now I know it’s only about 12% of my ancestors, but it still had a special meaning since it was all I knew growing up. The DNA test shows some German DNA, but a lot of the DNA from the German I think gets lumped in with England/Wales/Northern Europe on Ancestry. The Y-DNA I inherited is RL-21 which is mostly found in the British Isles and can be found around the people who live along the Rhine River.

    The Palatines are one of the more fascinating people who migrated to America in my opinion because of all they overcame and went on to contribute.

  32. This post is a few years old, so not sure if you’re still interested in the y-dna of the Palatine group. I have one family line who arrived in NY with the 1710 Palatines – no idea whether they came from the Palatinate or from a neighbouring area, but I might be able to find a male descendant to test. Another family line arrived in Philadelphia in 1738 – they are not part of the 1709/10 group, but they *did* come from the Palatinate in roughly the same era, from from Bosenbach near Kusel. Numerous men descended from that family have done y-dna testing and they came back haplogroup C-M217 – almost unheard of in Europe and best known for its possible connection to Genghis Khan! This would suggest their paternal ancestor was a Mongol invader, but my guess is he probably arrived with the Huns. (The Huns were a mixed group – including Mongolians, according to tests done on their remains in Europe – and they actually got as far as the German Empire.) I rather suspect by the time the family left Germany they had long forgotten their Asian origins.

  33. My ancestors were Palatinate immigrants that settled on the Mohawk River upstream from the Hudson River in NY during that time period, too. Their surname and my maiden name is Stauring. There have been many different spellings over time. I have several male cousins with that surname, so their Y chromosome might be good for you study.

  34. Johan Wilhelm Simon and Catherine Sterner are my Palatine ancestors. Johan and Catherine were married in 1710, about a year after Catherines first husband, George Mueller, died on the boat trip. Johan’s first wife passed away also, but I am unaware of the circumstances. He had a daughter with her, who also came to NY. Somewhere I read that today there are about 2 thousand of Johan’s descendants roaming the planet.

  35. I’m a direct descendant of Palatine Wilhelm Johann Pulver. From his son Cornelius’ line.
    If you need my DNA just ask.

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