Concepts: Anonymized Versus Pseudonymized Data and Your Genetic Privacy

Until recently, when people (often relatives) expressed concerns about DNA testing, genetic genealogy buffs would explain that the tester could remain anonymous, and that their test could be registered under another name; ours, for example.

This means, of course, that since our relative is testing for OUR genealogy addiction, er…hobby, that we would take care of those pesky inquiries and everything else. Not only would they not be bothered, but their identity would never be known to anyone other than us.

Let’s dissect that statement, because in some cases, it’s still partially true – but in other cases, anonymity in DNA testing is no longer possible.

You certainly CAN put your name on someone else’s kit and manage their account for them. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this, depending on the testing vendor you select.

If the DNA testing is either Y or mitochondrial DNA, it’s extremely UNLIKELY, if not impossible, that their Y or mitochondrial DNA is going to uniquely identify them as an individual.

Y and mitochondrial DNA is extremely useful in identifying someone as having descended from an ancestor, or not, but it (probably) won’t identify the tester’s identity to any matching person – at least not without additional information.

If you need a brush-up on the different kinds of DNA and how they can be used for genealogy, please read 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy.

Y and mitochondrial DNA can be used to rule in or rule out specific descendant relationships. In other words, you can unquestionably tell for sure that you are NOT related through a specific line. Conversely, you can sometimes confirm that you are most likely related to someone you match through the direct Y (patrilineal) line for males, and matrilineal mitochondrial line for both males and females. That match could be very distant in time, meaning many generations – even hundreds or thousands of years ago.

However, autosomal DNA, which tests a subset of all of your DNA for the genealogical goal of matching to cousins and confirming ancestors is another matter entirely. Some of the information you discern from autosomal testing includes how closely you match, which effectively predicts a range of relationships to your match.

These matches are much more recent in time and do not reach back into the distant past. The more closely you are related, the more DNA you share, which means that your DNA is identifying your location in the family tree, regardless of the name you put on the test itself.

Now, let’s look at the difference between anonymization and pseudonymization.

It may seem trivial, but it isn’t.

Anonymization vs Pseudonymization

Recently, as a result of the European Union GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation,) we’ve heard a lot about privacy and pseudonymization, which is not the same as anonymized data.

Anonymized data must be entirely stripped of any identifiable information, making it impossible to derive insights on a discreet individual, even by the person or entity who performed the anonymization. In other words, anonymization cannot be reversed under any circumstances.

Given that the purpose of genetic genealogy conflicts with the concept of anonymization, the term pseudonymization is more properly applied to the situation where someone masks or replaces the name of the tester with the goal of hiding the identity of the person who is actually taking the test.

Pseudonymization under GDPR (Article 4(5)) is defined as “the processing of personal data in such a way that the data can no longer be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of ‘additional information.’”

In reality, pseudonymization is what has been occurring all along, because the tester could always be re-identified by you.

However, and this important, neither anonymization or pseudonymization can be guaranteed to disguise your identity anymore.

Anonymous Isn’t Anonymous Anymore

The situation with autosomal DNA and the expectation of anonymity has changed rather gradually over the past few years, but with tidal wave force recently with the coming-of-age of two related techniques:

  • The increasingly routine identification of biological parents
  • The Buckskin Girl and Golden State Killer cases in which a victim and suspect were identified in April 2018, respectively, by the same methodology used to identify biological parents

Therefore, with autosomal DNA results, meaning the raw data results file ONLY, neither total anonymity or any expectation of pseudonymization is reasonable or possible.


The reason is very simple.

The size of the data bases of the combined mainstream vendors has reached the point where it’s unusual, at least for US testers, to not have a reasonably close match with a relative that you did not personally test – meaning third cousin or closer. Using a variety of tools, including in-common-with matches and trees, it’s possible to discern or narrow down candidates to be either a biological parent, a crime victim or a suspect.

In essence, the only real difference between genetic genealogy searching, parent searches and victim/suspect searches is motivation. The underlying technique is exactly the same with only a few details that differ based on the goal.

You can read about the process used to identify the Golden State Killer here, and just a few days later, a second case, the Cook/Van Cuylenborg double homicide cold case in Snohomish County, Washington was solved utilizing the following family tree of the suspect whose DNA was utilized and matched the blue and pink cousins.

Provided by the Snohomish County Sheriff

A genealogist discovering those same matches, of course, would be focused on the common ancestors, not contemporary people or generations.

To identify present day individuals, meaning parents, victims or suspects, the researcher identifies the common ancestor and works their way forward in time. The genealogist, on the other hands, is focused on working backwards in time.

All three types of processes, genealogical, parent identification and law enforcement depend on identifying cousins that lead us to common ancestors.

At that point, the only question is whether we continue working backwards (genealogically) or begin working forwards in time from the common ancestors for either parent identification or law enforcement.

Given that the suspect’s or victim’s name or identifying information is not known, their DNA alone, in combination with the DNA of their matches can identify them uniquely (unless they are an identical twin,) or closely enough that targeted testing or non-genetic information will confirm the identification.

Sometimes, people newly testing discover that a parent, sibling or half sibling genetic match is just waiting for them and absolutely no analysis is necessary. You can read about the discovery of the identity of my brother’s biological family here and here.

Therefore, we cannot represent to Uncle Henry, especially when discussing autosomal DNA testing, that he can test and remain anonymous. He can’t. If there is a family secret, known or unknown to Uncle Henry, it’s likely to be exposed utilizing autosomal DNA and may be exposed utilizing either Y or mitochondrial DNA testing.

For the genealogist, this may cause Pavlovian drooling, but Uncle Henry may not be nearly so enthralled.

In Summary

Genealogical methods developed to identify currently living individuals has obsoleted the concept of genetic anonymity. You can see in the pedigree chart example below how the same match, in yellow, can lead to solving any of the three different scenarios we’ve discussed.

Click to enlarge any graphic

If the tester is Uncle Henry, you might discover that his parents weren’t his parents. You also might discover who his real parents were, when your intention was only to confirm your common great-grandparents. So much for that idea.

A match between Henry and a second cousin, in our example above, can also identify someone involved in a law enforcement situation – although today those very few and far between. Testing for law enforcement purposes is prohibited according to the terms and conditions of all 4 major testing vendors; Ancestry, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage.

Currently law enforcement kits to identify either victims or suspects can be uploaded at GedMatch but only for violent crimes identified as either homicide or sexual assault, per their terms and conditions.

Furthermore, both 23andMe and Ancestry who previously reserved the right to anonymize your genetic information and sell or otherwise utilize that information in aggregated format no longer can do so under the new GDPR legislation without your specific consent. GDPR, while a huge pain in the behind for other reasons has returned the control of the consumer’s DNA to the consumer in these cases.

The loss of anonymity is the inevitable result of this industry maturing. That’s good news for genetic genealogy. It means we now have lots of matches – sometimes more than we can keep up with!

Because of those matches, we know that if we test our DNA, or that of a family member, our DNA plus the common DNA shared with many of our relatives is enough to identify us, or them. That’s not news to genealogists, but it might be to Uncle Henry, so don’t tell him that he can be anonymous anymore.

You can pseudonymize accounts to some extent by masking Uncle Henry’s name or using your name. Managing accounts for the same reasons of convenience that you always did is just fine! We just need to explain the current privacy situation to Uncle Henry when asking permission to test or to upload his raw data file to GedMatch (or anyplace else,) because ultimately, Uncle Henry’s DNA leads to Uncle Henry, no matter whose name is on the account.



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Thank you so much.

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A Dozen Years – 52 Ancestors #195

It was a dozen years ago on a rainy spring day that Mom left this earthly realm.

I thought the rain would never stop.

I like to remember her as a young, hopeful, inspired soul, before she was burdened with the concerns and grief of adulthood that awaited her further down life’s road.

She was beautiful then, and in myriad ways throughout her life.

More beautiful in maturity than in youth, with silver hair, a chipped tooth and laugh lines.

All celebrating chapters in her journey.

Souvenirs collected along life’s path.

That’s the woman I knew best.

The soft countenance that comes to mind.

Her spirit left her body and flew through the mists of time, leaving us to mourn her passing, but knowing it was time for her to depart.

I told her in those last hours and minutes, as she struggled to both live and die, that she could go now, that we would all be fine.

I lied, in essence, to free her from the bonds that held her here in her broken body – her brain ravaged, destroyed by strokes.

Blind. Unable to talk, move or eat. Dying by inches. Dehydrating and starving to death. It was time…

The final breath of death was merciful.

One is never “fine” when their parent passes.

Yet, I told her to go, because my love for her was far greater than my pain.

And I know that her love for me transcends time, space and death.

I know she watches over me. I just hope not too closely and not too often.

My choices would not be hers.

I chuckle at the thought.

Assuredly, I would earn a finger-wagging lecture from time to time.

Perhaps daily.

I smile though tears as I compare my brash directness with her consummate lady persona.

Perhaps two sides of the same coin. Genes expressed differently.

She was a tower of strength, forged by life’s misfortunes, her warrior’s sword hidden away until she needed to reveal it just long enough to slay the dragon at hand.

Then sheathed and concealed beneath her smiling Avon-Lady deacon-of-the-Baptist-church veneer, until she needed it again.

She would love you to death.

She would also, without hesitation, slice, dice and rice you if that’s what you deserved.

You never knew what hit you – or what happened to that nice little old lady.

Or, if a fool made the regrettable mistake of crossing someone she loved.

God help them.

Get. Out. The. Way.

We called it “whup-ass” on the farm, a term distinctly not lady-like, according to Mom.

Dad just smiled.

He knew.

I doubt Mom understood the empowering strength of the example she spent her life setting.

Or, how, like the best inheritance, it would be passed on for generations.

I see her in my children.

In the wonderful adults they’ve become.

Standing up, always, for right, no matter how untimely or inconvenient the burden.

I see her in their faces.

The unruly curl of the front lock of my, and my daughter’s hair.

I see her in my grandchildren.

I catch a glimpse of her as they enter the stage in their dance recitals or drama club plays.

Or, as Elsa, as they perform pirouettes in joyful springtime glee outside in the sunshine.

That’s her spirit, and she is there.

I hear her in their voices.

In their laughter.

See her in their smiles.

They are beautiful, talented and smart – oh so smart.

The promise of the future.

She would be proud.

The woman they will never know, but whose lifeblood runs renewed in their veins.

Their roots.

Nourishing them, just as she did me, a generation earlier.

They – they are her legacy.

I miss her this Memorial Day.

I will always miss her.

Honor her.

Thank her.

And love her.

That beautiful, hopeful, young woman so full of life, destined to become my mother.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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GDPR – Birthing the 100 Pound Baby

GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – Today’s the day of deliverance – May 25th. GDPR is finally enacted after MONTHS and MONTHS of agony.

Believe me, to those of us in the field, the GD does NOT stand for General Data – it stands for Gol Danged or something much, MUCH stronger.

And speaking of stronger, when I’m really stressed, I do one of three things:

  • Buy a bauble commensurate with my level of misery
  • Eat dark chocolate
  • Drink

In extreme cases, all three.

Actually, if you know me, you know I don’t drink. So item number 3 is really, REALLY a distant 3rd- – and I’m on my third bottle of wine this week. Good thing I only like muscato wine, ice wine and my rightful Irish legacy, Guinness.

I actually prefer to quilt, because you can stress-quilt wearing baubles and eating chocolate, but if you drink while quilting, your seams will be crooked as a dog’s hind leg.

So, how do you like my new GDPR-size blue bauble flanked by support “staff”?

Yes, it’s been one horrid, awful, miserable, give-me-a-case-of-wine and buy-chocolate-in-bulk six months or so.

Did I mention that it’s been horrid?

I equate dealing with GDPR to giving birth. Not being pregnant, mind you – just the miserable giving birth part – like being in labor for let’s say – 9 months or so. Then delivering a really ugly 100 pound baby that not even a mother can love. Not to mention, I broke my foot during this time too – and no, it wasn’t kicking anyone or anything. AND I was stone cold sober, at a quilt retreat.

For those of you who don’t know, I have 30+ years of technology consulting experience. While I’m “semi-retired,” I’m not entirely retired and I’ve spent the last many months wrestling with this monster known as GDPR. I’m glad to report that my clients are ready, but no one emerged unscarred. I have crooked-seam quilts that I’m claiming are a new art form, am walking like peg-leg the pirate in a very “special” shoe and I’ve gained 5 “chocolate” pounds.

Wonder why I haven’t been doing many DNA reports? Well – now you know!

I have tried, really tried, to maintain a positive outlook – but as the date has approached and I’ve seen how much we are cumulatively losing in the genetic genealogy community – any semblance of a positive perspective has disappeared.

You can read my GDPR articles:

Making it even worse are the hollow assurances of individuals on social media saying that “everything will be alright” because GDPR is really no big deal, or worse yet that people are “scaremongering.”

So, let me be extremely candid and not sugarcoat anything, because after being in GDPR-labor for several months, I have absolutely not one shred of patience left whatsoever.

What Is This Behemoth and Why Do I Care?

GDPR, was enacted by 28 EU member countries referred to as “states” to regulate information privacy. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with that, and given the Facebook Cambridge Analytics fiasco and others, it’s much needed.

However, and this is a huge HOWEVER, the way this regulation was written and implemented is not only a massive overreach in regulation, it’s vague, poorly written and almost impossible to comply with. In many cases, there are no standards or definitions included and where there are, they are often draconian, misinformed or outdated in nature.

Furthermore, GDPR is enforced by the unnamed and unknown commissioners of the 28 different “member states” at their sole discretion – including how to leverage fines up to and including 20 million Euro or 4% of a company’s gross worldwide revenue – whichever is MORE.

And no, there is no, absolutely no indication of how that fine will be decided, the steps or processes, or if the penalty will be imposed based on the severity of the infraction or the size of the organization or individual.

How, you wonder, is the process of an investigation set in motion? By a malcontent complaining.

Now that malcontent may well be justified (read about Equifax breach here and here, and the Facebook fiasco here) or the malcontent might be someone who is simply vindictive – or someplace inbetween. Regardless, the person or company on the receiving end of the complaint is then obligated to defend themselves, to PROVE the malcontent is inaccurate or the fines can be levied at the discretion of the unnamed commissioner. Yes, the burden of proof is on the company, not the complainer.

There is no court involved, no appeal process – nothing.

Are these regulators going to make examples of people or companies? Is this a cash grab by the EU member states? Will there be GDPR chasers, like ambulance chasers? Who knows? I don’t, but it’s clearly a huge risk with zero, zip case law yet. Which is exactly why smaller entities are folding.

How does someone even defend themselves? They would hire a lawyer, of course. Know what lawyers that understand GDPR are charging right now?

I can tell you, from direct, personal experience. $1000/per hour, billable by the minute. So if you do manage to avoid the fines, your legal defense will bankrupt you instead. Well, that’s certainly a win!

Now you understand why several small businesses have closed their electronic doors, blogs have disappeared and some sites are blocking all EU IP addresses. Better safe than sorry, but not terribly conducive to genealogical sharing.

Not only that, the GDPR regulation is not just moving forward from May 25th into the future, it’s retroactive, meaning it applies not just to new sales but to any database worldwide that contains data of an EU resident. The more information, or the more openly they shared, the more difficult GDPR was to implement. Hence, many have closed.

How can you tell if someone is an EU resident from a gmail address, for example? You can’t. So as a business or even a blogger, you are left in the position of not knowing which individuals this regulation might apply to – so if you want to stay in business, or stay safe and NOT attract the notice of the EU commissioners who have the ability to function as GDPR fine-levying Gods – you must comply.

For those of you thinking that GDPR can’t be enforced in the US – maybe, and maybe not. How would we know before lawsuits are filed? And at $1000 an hour, who among us can afford to find out.

Raise your hands please…



I see no hands.

But GDPR created a solution for that too – because non-EU companies that function in Europe MUST appoint a European Representative – who absorbs some of the risk of non-compliance so that the EU commissioners know who to reach out to in order to get their hands on you.

Care to guess how much this service costs? Well, just start running that attorney’s per hour meter rapidly – and this has to be paid YEARLY – forever.

Now, care to guess ultimately who will pay for all of this?

Yes, YOU, the consumer – whether you live in the EU or not.

Sometimes I try to spare my readers from the under-the-hood nitty gritty – but this time, you really do need to know so that you can appreciate what vendors have dealt with to revamp their businesses and internal processes. Otherwise, we as a community stood to lose genetic genealogy and that would have been a mind-numbing tragedy.

What Does Comply Mean?

Some people are being very dismissive of GDPR, or hyper-critical of companies who are trying to change their products, features and websites to become compliant. It’s worth noting here that none of the major companies or vendors are EU companies.

Here’s an example of an e-mail update I received today from a US company:

After nearly two years of hard work and preparation, we are ready for May 25 — the start of “GDPR” in Europe. More than 500 employees from across our company have helped meet more than 1,500 project milestones.

The General Data Protection Regulation is a sweeping set of new and enhanced rules in the European Union. It covers how companies treat the personal data of customers and employees. Specifically, it makes sure an individual’s rights are enforced, personal data is inventoried, breaches are reported promptly, and privacy is baked into all products.

If someone tries to convince you that GDPR compliance is no big deal, they are either grossly uninformed about GDPR itself or don’t have any idea about the magnitude of the ramifications of GDPR on entities from large corporations down to (some) volunteers. Some people have opined that if the companies were “taking care of their customers’ data,” they wouldn’t have to do anything and “would have nothing to worry about in the first place.” That’s blatantly wrong.

For starters, every company had to undergo a specific compliance evaluation process, which was far from easy because GDPR doesn’t just tell you THAT you have to protect information, in some cases they specify how – keeping e-mails in a separate database for example. Data bases aren’t necessarily designed in that manner, nor is that the best solution for security or performance – not to mention genetic genealogy is about sharing.

However, if a company doesn’t comply and someone complains,they have to undergo an audit. If found out of compliance, they’re liable for a potentially astronomical fine by an unknown commissioner (each country has their own) who may or may not have a clue about technology or in this case, genetic genealogy and how it’s utilized.

I’ve made a list of a FEW of the GDPR requirements. Also, keep in mind, many of the requirements tell you in general terms what they want, but there are no examples of what they consider adequate, so you just have to guess and if an issue arises, the data commissioner gets to decide if you guessed correctly.

If not, you’ll get to pay up!

I have included the GDPR citation in the table below, so you can check for yourself if you think I’ve just made this up and am, well, scaremongering. In fact you can read the entire document here and here with the added schedules AND, if that’s not enough, you can then read the UK version here with explanatory notes available separately. Yes, it’s hundreds of pages of pure misery but if you have insomnia, it, guaranteed, will cure you immediately. Hey, there has to be a silver lining someplace.

I’ve briefly listed the requirement, summarized unless in quotes, and the reference citation from the first linked document above, published in the “Official Journal of the European Union.” So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to correlate the requirements of the first, second and third documents, together, and figure out how to resolve any conflicts. Good luck! Start now and you’ll exit the maze, dazed and confused, sometime around late summer😊

You will quickly see that I’m neither over-reacting nor making this up.

In the following table, a controller is the primary entity working with information. For genetic genealogy, that would be a DNA testing company or a third party vendor. A processor is any other entity, which could be a lab doing the actual processing, a third party working with a vendor or project administrators who also “process” information.

Processing is defined basically as anything you do with someone’s information:

‘Processing’ means any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction;…

A controller is defined in L119/33 article 4.7 and a processor in L119/33 article 4.8.

GDPR Requirement Reference/Comment
“This Regulation applies to the processing of personal data in the context of the activities of an establishment of a controller or a processor in the Union, regardless of whether the processing takes place in the Union or not and regardless of whether the controller is in the EU or not.” L119/32 article 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 – This EU document’s effects are worldwide.

L119/4 item 22

Controllers must carry out a GDPR “data protection impact” assessment that includes mapping data flow and security and must be able to demonstrate compliance with GDPR. L119.50 article 28.4

L119/14 item 74

L119/16 item 84

L119/16 item 83

Consent must be given by a clear affirmative action for each thing consented to and everything processed. Silence, pre-selected boxes or inactivity is not consent. L119/6 item 32 – I actually like this, but if you’re irritated by being asked to reconsent or reconfirm, this is why. As a business or person “processing” information, you must be able to PROVE they gave informed consent.
You must explain to the person how they gave consent for what you are doing with their information and be able to demonstrate that in fact, they did consent. L119/7 item 39
Person must be not suffer negative consequences for not granting consent. L119/8 item 43
Information must be concise, east to understand and easily accessible. L119/11 item 58 – Actually, as a consumer I love this requirement because too many companies hid behind verbiage that was impossible to understand without a law degree.
Person has right to be forgotten, or to correct data, and processor must comply or respond within one month. Furthermore, the controller (the main entity processing information) must inform any secondary processors, who also must comply. L119/11 item 59 – If you’re wondering why FTDNA suggests that administrators remove any data they’ve put on any site about FTDNA customers who leave projects, within 30 days, this answers your question.

L119/13 item 66

L119/5 item 29

L119.12 item 65

Person must be informed when data is transferred between entities, especially to entities outside of the EU. L119/12 item 61
Person can request any information held about themselves. L119/13 item 68, L119/45 article 20

L119/45 article 20

Any controller/processor outside of the EU must designate an EU representative who “will cooperate with a supervisory authority with regard to any action taken to ensure compliance with this regulation. The designated representative should be subject to enforcement proceedings in the event of non-compliance by the controller or processor.” L119/15 item 80, also L119/48 article 27.1 – Yep, just try to find someone in the EU willing to do this. Costs are astronomical.


Processors must be bound to controllers by contract and must delete data when finished processing and GDPR requirements of controller must be passed on to processors. L119/16 item 81 – This is probably why the Family Tree DNA administrators must sign the new agreement and are instructed to delete project member information when members leave projects.

L119.50 article 28.4

Controllers and processors must maintain records of processing and make those records available on demand to the supervisory authority. L119/16 item 82
Processors must adhere to an approved code of conduct. L119.50 article 28.5 – And no, in case you were wondering, there is no suggestion about that code of conduct.
Required security includes pseudonymisation and encryption of personal data, assessing risks of disclosure, loss, alternation, adherence to approved codes of conduct and prohibits keeping e-mail address in same file as test results. L119/51/52 article 32 inclusive
ʺSensitive processingʺ means processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin (and other things)…or processing genetic data for the purpose of uniquely identifying an individual. HL Bill 66: Chapter 2 Principles 7a/b
Some personal data is considered “sensitive” including any that reveals…racial or ethnic origin. L119/10 item 51

L119.12 item 65

Volunteers are not excluded because they are not paid. L119.5 item 23
Does not apply to dead people or research for genealogy. L119/30 item 160 – Don’t get excited. Genetics is considered in a special category of sensitive information.

L119/5 item 27

Does not apply to individuals in a purely personal or household activity with no connection to a professional or commercial activity…but does apply to controllers or processors which provide the means for processing personal data. L119/3 item 18 – Ironic isn’t it that the very document that requires straightforward non-legal understandable language is so vague and uses confusing language subject to very different interpretation.
Information must be pseudonymized and additional information for attributing the information to a specific individual must be kept separate. L119/5 item 29
Person must be able to withdraw consent as easily as it was given. L119/5 item 29

L119.37 article 7.3

Personal data breaches must be reported within 72 hours if the breach is determined to be damaging to the rights and freedoms of the individuals and communicate to the people affected that a data breach has occurred. L119.50 article 28.4

L119/16 item 85

L119/6 item 86

Must hire or assign a data protection officer focused on GDPR. L119/55 article 37-39 inclusive, also L119/34 item 4.17, also 119/15 #80
“Where more than one controller or processor, or both a controller and a processor, are involved in the same processing and where they are, under paragraphs 2 and 3, responsible for any damage caused by processing, each controller or processor shall be held liable for the entire damage in order to ensure effective compensation of the data subject.” L119/81 article 82.4
“Non-compliance with an order by the supervisory authority as referred to in Article 58(2) shall, in accordance with paragraph 2 of this Article, be subject to administrative fines up to 20 000 000 EUR, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 4 % of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher.” 119/83 article 83.6, also HL Bill 66 page 83 #150

119/82 article 83.4

L119/27 items 146-150

Criminal penalties and liability are discussed along with individuals’ right to compensation. L119/81 article 82 inclusive

Over these next few days and weeks, when we’re tempted to be critical or impatient with a genetic genealogy vendor who has made changes instead of closing up shop and throwing in the proverbial towel – let’s try to be patient, grateful and cognizant of their effort. They have collectively been slaving away in the hot kitchen now for many months, trying to get ready to birth this 100 pound baby, while smiling, with as little disruption as possible to the rest of us.

I know we are all frustrated, but until we’ve walked that proverbial mile, we really have no idea what they’ve been through. From my experiences, I can tell you it was bloody painful.

Vendors’ GDPR compliance is much like an iceberg with a smiley face stuck on top. You’re only seeing the tippy top of the effort involved and it’s an entirely different picture underneath where everyone has been rowing like crazy.

Design By Committee

If you are thinking to yourself that this regulation looks a lot like it was designed by a committee, you’re right, it was. That negotiation process took 4 years, and the regulation took effect another 2 years later – meaning today.

Glory halleluiah, the birthing is FINALLY over, and the baby looks a lot like a….camel.



A camel?

Have you heard the analogy that a camel is a horse designed by a committee?

The idea was sound, but the outcome was not at all what was intended or expected. Indeed, the law of unintended consequences. GDPR’s effect on genetic genealogy certainly fits that bill.

In fact, here’s our new a-mazing GDPR horse.

For another perspective, head on over and read what Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist has to say on the matter.

Now, for me, back to genealogy – a much needed respite!



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

GDPR, DNAeXplain and

GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation enacted by the European Union as of May 25, 2018 is upon us. It’s important because GDPR applies to information held or processed about any European Union resident, and I know many of my customers and blog followers live in the EU or UK.

I recently wrote about GDPR in these articles:

GDPR sets forth both rights of individuals as to the processing and storage of their information and responsibilities of processors. and are a genetic genealogy consulting business and associated blog, respectively, located in the United States and owned by Roberta Estes. You’re receiving this notification because you are a blog follower or subscriber to explain how I process and/or handle your information.

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Project Groupings and How to Get the Most Out of Projects at Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA is the only DNA testing company that offers and supports projects – a structure that allows participants to join groups of common interest with the goal of providing information about their ancestors. Family Tree DNA provides a project structure and even a special administrator support group and hotline at Family Tree DNA to assist project administrators with the over 8000 projects that exist today.

Projects do more than just help the members – they have the potential to help others who descend from these same lines. Not to mention that they are a wonderful recuiting tool.

You can see what projects might be available for a surname of interest at this link by typing the surname or topic (like Indian) into the “Search your Surname” box:

For the past several years, World Families Network has hosted some Family Tree DNA projects utilizing a different format, as well as orphan projects, meaning those with no administrator.

With the recent World Families Network announcement that they are retiring as of May 23th and will no longer be hosting projects, several people have been inspired to adopt orphan projects, literally preserving what exists at World Families Network already in place for that project. That’s great news, but what’s next and how does a project administrator manage a project?

Or maybe you’re on the other side of the fence and you’d like to understand why projects are grouped so differently and how to use, or group, them effectively.

This article is written for surname project administrators, but is a learning tool for anyone interested in surnames. Isn’t that all genealogists?

Projects Are Your Surname Billboard

Project pages are your project’s front door, the marketing department, and a great way to put your best foot forward to recruit new members.

I’ve provided some resources for administrators at the end of this article, but before you start the nitty-gritty of how to group project members, I’d like to provide a few thoughts, observations and recommendations for grouping specific types of projects.

No need to roll through the same mud puddles I’ve already stomped in just to discover that they’re cold, wet and dirty.

Project Types

I administer or co-administer a number of projects at Family Tree DNA, such as:

  • Regional projects, such as the Cumberland Gap Y and mitochondrial DNA
  • Family or special interest projects, such as the American Indian project and the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry project.
  • Haplogroup projects
  • Surname projects
  • Autosomal projects

How projects are grouped varies by the type of project, combined with the project’s specific goal. Not every project falls neatly into one of these categories, but most do.

Let’s take a look at the differences.

Regional Projects

Regional projects often reflect an interest in a particular region of the world. This includes projects based on geographic regions, like the Cumberland Gap projects, or sometimes countries like the French Heritage Project.

Regional projects sometimes show both Y and mitochondrial DNA results, although this is sometimes problematic. Unless the administrator checks to be sure both the Y and mitochondrial lineages belong in that specific project for every member who joins, the member’s results will be shown in both categories if they have taken both tests. For example, a man’s direct paternal line might be from the Cumberland Gap region, but his mother, or mitochondrial line might be from Italy. Clearly both lines don’t belong in this project.

The administrator can individually disable one display or the other (Y or mt) for each project participant – but that requires that the participant communicate with the administrator and frankly, it’s a huge pain. Been there, tried that, didn’t work.

For that very reason, several years ago, I split the Cumberland Gap project into two projects, one being for Y DNA results and one for mitochondrial results. That way, I can simply disable the entire mitochondrial page display for the Cumberland Gap Y DNA project, and disable the Y page display for the Cumberland Gap Mitochondrial DNA project. No need to do something with each person who joins. The member joins the appropriate project for their heritage – Y or mitochondrial DNA, or maybe both.

Deciding how to group a regional project can be challenging. The French Heritage project groups their Y DNA members and mitochondrial by surname and ancestor.

Please click to expand any image.

In this case, the administrator of the French Heritage project has chosen NOT to include the surname column, but instead created a subgroup banner with the surname included – so the surname column was not necessary unless a member is ungrouped.

The Cumberland Gap literally at the intersection of Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, was a waystation on the westward migration and the projects were originally intended to help reassemble families whose ancestors migrated through the mountain ranges to new frontiers. Some stayed and settled, but many left behind a family member of two and then moved on. Truthfully, I’m not sure that this project hasn’t outlived its original purpose with the advances in DNA testing since it was established about 15 years ago.

The Cumberland Gap Mitochondrial project results are “ungrouped,” because based on how Family Tree DNA groups Mitochondrial results, similar results and haplogroups appear together – so mitochondrial projects are in essence self-grouping in most instances.

For mitochondrial DNA, the current surname is largely irrelevant because women’s surnames tend to change with every generation, unlike patrilineal surnames which are relevant to Y DNA results.

The administrators also maintain a separate Yahoo group to exchange genealogical, regional and cultural information.

If you are administering a Y haplogroup only project, disable the mitochondrial page display, and vice versa.

World Families Network didn’t host regional, special interest or haplogroup projects, so these projects aren’t as likely to be orphaned as surname projects.

Special Interest Projects

Special interest projects are focused specifically on one type or group of people. Grouping varies widely depending on the project type. I co-administer both the American Indian project and the Acadian Amerindian Ancestry projects, and they are grouped differently.

The American Indian project is grouped according to haplogroup, since specific haplogroups are known to be Native; subsets of C and Q for Y DNA and subsets of A, B, C, D, X and possibly M for mitochondrial DNA.

Note that we show the surname and the “Paternal Ancestor Name” columns, both, because the surname and the paternal ancestor’s name may not be the same for a variety of reasons.

The Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry project includes both Y and mitochondrial DNA of our Acadian ancestors. Acadians were a mixture of French, a few English soldiers, and Mi’kmaq Indians. The Acadian AmerIndian Y DNA project is grouped both by haplogroup and by surname.

Some surnames, such as Doucet, have both a Native lineage (C-P39) and a European lineage (R-M269), so their separate lineages are shown grouped with their respective haplogroups.

If members were grouped primarily by surname, then both lineages would have been shown adjacent to each other under the Doucet surname.

There is no one right way to group projects.

In this project, as well as others, I sometimes wish we had implemented the “apply to join” methodology, because I suspect that some people (in the ungrouped section) have joined in error.

Some ungrouped people have joined because their lineage is Acadian, but not their direct Y or mitochondrial lines.

The administrators chose to embrace the open join policy, even though it’s more difficult and time-consuming to administer, because we want to be inclusive and help everyone with either Acadian or AmerIndian ancestors from France, Eastern Canada and the Acadian diaspora regions connect with their ancestors. Acadians were admixed in Canada for 150 years, then dispersed to the winds in 1755 when they were forcibly evicted from Nova Scotia, so we find their roughly 2 million descendants in many parts of the world today.

Haplogroup Projects

By comparison, haplogroup projects are easier to group, because their focus is clear. Haplogroup projects, be they Y or mitochondrial are focused on that haplogroup and it’s sub-haplogroups.

The Haplogroup C-P39 project is a relatively small Native American project, so it’s grouped by surname and matching group within that haplogroup.

Another popular way to group larger haplogroup projects is by haplogroup subgroups for both Y and mitochondrial DNA. The popular R-L21 and Subclades project where my Estes men are members, but I don’t administer, is grouped in this manner.

One of the great features of all projects at Family Tree DNA is mapping. Based on how the administrator subdivides the project, if they enable project mapping (please do), you can select groups to display to view subgroup clusters.

I just love this feature. You know there’s a story behind this grouping that is relevant to the men who carry this haplogroup.

The A2 mtDNA Haplogroup project is grouped by subgroup. Some administrators go further and group by specific mutations within subgroup as well, hoping they will someday form a new subclade.

Maps provide so much information. In this case, the map of the A2 group, with no A2+ (downstream) subgroups shows a dispersal throughout the Americas, plus one person in Denmark.

Wait, what?


Of course, Denmark immediately raises a plethora of questions including whether the Denmark person has taken the full sequence test or has perhaps misidentified their ancestor’s original location.

Some people don’t understand that the matrilineal line is your direct mother’s mother’s mother’s line on up until you run out of direct line mothers. They hear or understand maternal instead and select their most distant MATERNAL ancestor which may be anyone from their mother’s side of the tree – and someone entirely different than their direct line MATRILINEAL ancestor.

Surname Projects

Surname projects play a different role than the projects mentioned above. Specifically, surname projects not only attract males with that surname who are candidates to test, they also attract anyone who has that surname in their genealogy who is looking to see if someone from their line has tested – because they can’t.

All of us have a lot more surnames that aren’t our direct paternal surname, which only males can test via Y DNA.

In the graphic above, the surname lineage is blue, the mitochondrial is red, and the colorless boxes represent all of our other lines.

Therefore, most people are looking at a surname project to find lineages they can’t directly test for. Surname projects need to make it easy to find and locate lineages based on ancestors and location.

I don’t know how many surname projects exist, as opposed to other project types, but I’d say surname projects outnumber the other types of projects significantly – meaning there is a huge potential to find your surnames and ancestors in those projects.

I love surname projects, because even if you are a female or a male that doesn’t carry that surname today, you can still benefit from the tests of people with that surname.

In the Estes project, which was formed for Y DNA, we also welcome autosomal joiners as long as they have Estes lineage someplace in their tree.

In the project, I group Estes men by lineage from the immigrant Estes ancestor.

In order to do this, I utilized the descendants of Abraham Estes to recreate his haplotype, and I compare everyone to those values, which represent the values that Abraham himself carried.

The good news is that by looking at the matches of each person in the project, you know who does and does not match each other. Family Tree DNA tells you that. They do the hard lifting and you arrange the furniture.

I didn’t know quite what to do with people whose genealogy and surname go back to Abraham Estes, or one of his cousins who all descend from the Deal, England line – but their Y DNA unquestionably doesn’t.

I created a “New Estes Line – Genetically Speaking” category. We can’t say that these people “aren’t Estes” because their mother may have been an Estes and gave her male child her surname, just not her Y DNA (which she doesn’t have,) of course. That was contributed by the father. So the surname is Estes, but the Y DNA doesn’t match any of the Estes descendants of the Deal line. However, these people may match Estes descendants autosomally.

There is also an “Estes Ungrouped” group, because even though their Y DNA is clearly Estes, I can’t connect these men back to a specific line yet either through paper or DNA.

Assigning a member to the “Estes Ungrouped” group is different than leaving them in the default “ungrouped” catchall group provided by Family Tree DNA which is located at the bottom of the page. The default ungrouped group is where everyone lives until the administrator assigns them to a group.

Autosomal Joiners

There’s been recent discussion about why administrators would want to allow people to join Y DNA surname projects who’ve tested autosomally and descend from the surname line, but aren’t males who carry the surname.

I am very much IN FAVOR of allowing autosomal joiners. Some other administrators, not so much. Someone recently said that they don’t understand why anyone who is not a male with the same surname as the project would want to join – what benefit there could possibly be. As a female Estes, I can explain exactly why, in one simple graphic. OK, 3 graphics.

On your personal account myFTDNA tab, there’s an Advanced Setting under “Tools and Apps.” Click there.

Then select the Family Finder test, then “yes” to “Show only people I match in all selected tests,” then select the project. The project selected (Estes in this example) must be one you have joined – that’s why it’s important to allow people from that lineage that don’t carry the Y chromosome to join.

Want to guess how many people I match, meaning Estes males AND all other Estes descendants who have joined the project? Click on the orange “Run Report” to see.

The answer is 23 people, although I’ve truncated the graphic. Some are cousins that I tested, but a dozen aren’t AND there are a few that I’ve never heard of before. Hello cousins! Does anyone have the family Bible or know where it is???

Clearly, I could match some of these people through other lines, BUT, now I know where to start looking. Using the advanced tools like Paternal Phasing (bucketing), the In Common With (ICW) tool and the Matrix, available to everyone, will quickly tell me how I match these people. You can read about how to utilize these tools here.

Project administrators have an even more powerful matrix tool at their disposal.

This is exactly why I’ve elected to welcome autosomal testers into my Y DNA surname projects. The power of DNA is not just in a single set of results, but in collaboration and combined tools.

Autosomal Projects

Autosomal projects, typically referred to as “private family projects” do exist, but you can’t see them when you search by surname because they don’t show up in searches, according to the Family Tree DNA policy.

I hope this policy changes in the near future, allowing the option of searching for autosomal-only projects. Admittedly, autosomal projects are challenging without any results to “show” in a display.

Therefore, in an autosomal project today, in order to group people, you must allow either the Y or mtDNA to “show” because members can’t be grouped otherwise, and even then, they must be grouped on two independent pages – Y and mitochondrial.

The current project structure does not support creating an autosomal group, perhaps by ancestor, and allowing project members’ ancestor from the Estes line to show, for example, given that it’s not the direct Y or mitochondrial DNA line.

For that reason, autosomal projects are private, but I would like for the administrator to be able to select public or private for autosomal projects and to have a separate autosomal tab in the administrator’s toolbox where all members can be grouped according to autosomal lines, independent of and in addition to Y or mitochondrial DNA if relevant.

This would also allow the creation of “ancestor projects,” meaning everyone descended from Robert Eastye (that becomes Eastes and Estes) born 1555 in Deal or Ringwould, Kent, England. Thinking ahead, we could then proceed to recreate his autosomal DNA from project members, just like we recreated Abraham Estes’s Y STR haplotype.

Here’s an example of how autosomal results could be grouped, without showing any additional results information, in projects. I’ll be submitting this as a request to Family Tree DNA!

This autosomal grouping challenge is present as well for Y DNA surname projects that allow autosomal joiners.

Some Grouping Don’ts, With a Dash of Humor

One of the things I do roughly yearly is to peruse the public projects to see if any of my ancestral lines are represented or their haplogroup has been expanded. I recently finished this activity once again, so, here are a few of the frustrations I encountered that are entirely avoidable.

  • Please Don’t Make Projects Private

There is nothing more discouraging than seeing this:

Projects are a wonderful way to recruit new members and if the project is private, you’ve disabled your best recruiting tool.

I’m not feeling warm and fuzzy about this project, and that’s no joke. The first thing this project administrator did was to hang a big “Go Away” sign out for me to see. Ok, I’m going! No need to ask twice!

Individuals select for their results to “show” or “not show” publicly in projects. You don’t have to do this for them. Really.

So please, be inclusive and roll out the red carpet!

  • Please Don’t Group Surname Projects by Haplogroup Only

Please don’t group surname projects by haplogroup, at least not if you have any other choice. Let’s call this the last choice or desperation grouping methodology.

Remember, the most common reason people are looking at the project is to be able to find their ancestors, or ancestral group, which may be predicated on location. No one, but no one, already knows the surname haplogroup or they wouldn’t be searching for their ancestors in this way.

Family Tree DNA automatically groups by marker/color within subgroup, but if you’re trying to see if your ancestor or line is represented in a project, it’s almost impossible to find using the “group by haplogroup” methodology – especially with small subgroups. Y haplogroups can vary in their naming, depending on how deeply people have tested. For example, haplogroup R has thousands of branches. Some administrators group at the highest haplogroup level, and some group by the smallest branch level, which separate groups of men in the same family line – because not everyone has tested to the same level.

Of course, if you really don’t know how these men connect, or don’t have any idea about who descends from which ancestor, haplogrouping at the base haplogroup level (like R or J) may be the best you can do. Family Tree DNA will attempt to automatically group within your haplogroup subgroups.

If this is the case, you might want to attempt to recruit a genealogist with some specialty in this surname as a co-administrator. Hey, maybe someone from within that surname project!

  • Please Don’t Group by Number of Markers Tested

OMG, please no. Just no.

Grouping by number of markers tested makes it impossible to find line marker mutations that should be grouped together. For example, the men with a value of 13 at marker DYS439, above, should be displayed together because that is likely a line marker mutation – signifying descent from a specific descendant line of Charles Dodson in the red rows. However, since participant results are grouped by the number of markers tested, these men are displayed in different groups.

To figure out which ancestral line that value of 13 descends from, you need a subscription to the Physic Friends Network.

  • Please, PLEASE, Don’t Show Only Surnames and not “Paternal Ancestor Name”

How on earth would I ever know if my Luttrell or Littrell line is represented here. And why would an administrator choose to NOT INCLUDE the Paternal Ancestor Column?

This one makes me just want to pull my hair out. Yes, seriously! Going bald.

  • Please, Name the Line

Give the lineage a name or description, not just “Lineage 1.” It helps researchers determine if THAT John Jones is THEIR John Jones and it helps a lot to know who John Jones married, and when, if you know.

For example, for Lineage 1, put as much information as you can discover, or at least enough to unquestionably identify the line. For example, “John Doe born 1612 Sussex, England died 1683 Tukesbury, MA m Jane Smith.”

This helps identify specific lines. This is not Wheel of Fortune for ancestors. Don’t make me guess, because I may guess incorrectly – and there is no need for that when the information is (could be, might be, please let it be) readily available.

Another hint is to use color effectively. Perhaps lines that have different known progenitors but still match genetically having the same surname, meaning the earliest common ancestor has not yet been identified, could be the same color.

Think this through ahead of time and come up with a naming and color scheme that works well for your project circumstances and goals.

Sometimes after you’ve worked with a project for some time, you realize that perhaps things could be organized better. Been there, done that – no t-shirt. Just re-do it.

  • Or Worse Yet…

No surname AND no ancestor AND the lines aren’t named. Yes, really. This project might as well be called “why bother” or “shoot me now.”

You can’t even tell which surname this project might be, let alone identify an ancestral line.

You know that old saying about serving as a bad example? Well, this is it!

  • A Good Example

And because I don’t want to leave on a negative note – a really good example of a surname project.

You can tell that this administrator has spent a significant amount of time working on this project – and also encouraging members to enter their most distant ancestor information which is extremely useful.

Now this project looks inviting and welcoming. And no, in case you were wondering, I do not administer this project, but since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’m going to review my own surname projects with this one in mind.

Great job Hill project administrator(s).


Maurice Gleeson has produced two wonderful YouTube videos about project administration and in particular, member grouping.

How to Group your Project Members using MPRs (by the way, an MPR is a “marker of potential relatedness,” according to Maurice.

How Y-DNA can help your One Name Study

In addition, Family Tree DNA just updated the Quick Start Guide for administrators which walks you through setting up a project.

Now, enjoy Maurice’s videos and create the most friendly welcome mat possible.



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Johann Michael Muller and Johann Jacob Stutzman – Half Brother Saga, It’s Complicated – 52 Ancestors #194

Long ago in a land far away, in a village called Steinwenden in Germany, there was a young boy, Johann Michael Mueller (the second) who was born on October 5, 1692 and baptized in the local church. He was the sixth child baptized by his parents, the first five having already died during the preceding 6 years. Would this child live?

October 5, 1692 – Johann Michael, parents: “Michael Müller, Irene from Steinwenden”, Godparents: Johann Michael Schumacher; Balthasar Jolage; Christina, wife of Hans Bergter (Bergtol) from Krodelbach (Krottelbach).

It was believed that Johann Michael Mueller’s mother, Irene, subsequently died and his step-mother, Loysa Regina raised him, after his father, Johann Michael Mueller (the first) died on January 31, 1695. At two years and two months of age, this young boy had lost his five siblings and both parents, becoming orphaned. What a rough start in life.

Multiple baptismal and other records prior to Johann Michael’s birth in 1692 showed that indeed, Johann Michael Mueller’s mother’s first and middle names were Irene Charitas, so when the widow of Johann Michael Miller listed by the first and middle name of Loysa Regina remarried to Johann Jacob Stutzman on November 29, 1696 in Krottelbach, it made sense that Irene Charitas had died sometime between Johann Michael Mueller (the second’s) birth in October of 1692 and Johann Michael Mueller (the first)’s death in January of 1695.

Further suggesting this sequence of events, no further children were born to Michael Muller through either wife from October 1692 through his death. At least one more child would have been expected about the end of 1694 or into 1695, or even born after his death. Women generally conceived another child about 9 months after a birth if the child lived.

At some point between October of 1692 and January of 1695, Johann Michael Miller (the first) had apparently remarried. Otherwise, how could his widow be named Regina Loysa and not Irene Charitas? Apparently Michael and Loysa Regina hadn’t been married terribly long, because there was no child born to Loysa Regina either before or after Michael’s death. This all made logical sense. Right?

In November 1696, a year and 10 months after her husband’s death, Loysa Regina married Johann Jacob Stutzman.

Marriage Entry No. 61

Hanss Jacob Stützman, surviving son of Jacob Stützman from Switzerland with Loysa Regina, surviving widow of Michael Müller from Stenweil(er) (Steinwenden). Married on the 29th of November 1696 in Ohmbach.

Source: Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche Konken (BA Kusel), Bavaria Church records. LDS Familysearch Microfilm No. 193926 item 1.

The names Irene Charitas and Loysa Regina aren’t similar in any way and don’t even sound alike, so they had to be two different wives of Michael Muller.

It was odd, however, that there was no death record for Irene Charitas in the Steinwenden church records, and no remarriage record for Johann Michael Mueller (the first,) even though there are no missing church records during that period.

It was also unusual that Johann Michael Mueller (the second) was raised by his step-mother, Loysa Regina, and his step-mother’s subsequent husband, Johann Jacob Stutzman, which would have been a step-step-father, I guess, rather than by the godparents at Michael’s baptism. After all, in Germany at that time, that was the whole purpose of godparents. They, in front of God and the congregation which meant the entire village, swore that if something happened to the parents that they would take the child and raise the child in the church.

But that’s not what happened in the case of Johann Michael Mueller (the second.) Now, it’s easy to think that Johann Michael’s step-mother had fallen in love with this sweet baby boy that she had been raising as her own. It’s touching to believe that maybe the cooing baby reminded her of her deceased husband, and out of the kindness of their hearts, the church elders allowed Regina Loysa to keep and raise the child. After all, she loved him and perhaps she had no other children.

I say perhaps, because, we know nothing at all about Regina Loysa before she appears in the church record in 1696 marrying Johann Jacob Stutzman. In Germany, in the 1690s, single women didn’t just “magically” appear in a village without an indication of who they are or where they are from. Who was this woman?

Jacob Stutzman and Regina Elizabetha, as she was recorded in the Kallstadt church records, had a daughter on November 26, 1699, almost three years after their marriage, a son on June 12, 1702, another son on January 31, 1704, and finally, son Johannes Jacobus Stutzman on Friday, January 1, 1706. Happy New Year!!!

Now, Johann Michael Muller (the second) would have step-siblings, if that’s what you call the children of your step-mother and her next husband. Regardless, Johann Michael Muller (Mueller/Miller) would establish a life-long bond with his baby “step-brother,” Johann Jacob Stutzman, even though they were 14 years apart in age. They became inseparable, leaving Germany together October 2, 1727 from the port of Rotterdam, arriving in the Philadelphia on the ship “Adventure” where they had to sign an oath of allegiance before disembarking in what was then the colony of Pennsylvania.

Michael Muller/Mueller/Miller and Jacob Stutzman were never far apart in their lives, probably as close as any “real brothers” could have been. They remained a part of the Brethren/Mennonite Berchtol/Ulrich/Miller/Stutzman group that left their motherland and arrived together in 1727, even if they didn’t always live in exactly the same location.

Michael died in 1771 in Frederick County, Maryland which must have pained Jacob greatly.

Two years later, Stephen Ulrich witnessed the will of Jacob Stutzman in 1773 in Cumberland County, PA, so even some 46 years after arrival, these families were still closely allied, trusting into death the same people they had trusted with their lives. I’m sure they reunited joyfully on the other side.

With that, the story of the two step-brothers, raised by the same mother – biological mother to Jacob but in essence an “adopted” mother to Michael comes to a close. The curtain drops.

What a wonderful woman to raise her step-son as her own after his father’s untimely death. Extra special kudos to Loysa Regina, the mystery woman, whoever she was.

Doesn’t this story just tug at your heartstrings? Make you feel warm and fuzzy all over? Well, enjoy that for a minute, because it isn’t true!

Loysa Regina isn’t at all who you think she is, or isn’t.

However, to tell this story properly, we first have to visit the Stutzman family history.

Go and get yourself a nice cup of hot tea, because you’re going to need it for this one!

To quote my German genealogist friend, Tom, who played an instrumental part in the unraveling of this ball of string, “The theory of relativity is probably easier to follow!”

Yes, seriously! It’s complicated.

A Little Background

First, I’ve written a few articles about these people previously, but beginning two or three years ago, new puzzle pieces began to be scattered on the table. We didn’t know if we had all of the pieces for the entire puzzle to be assembled, or if the cats of time had permanently batted a few pieces off of the table, forever missing in the cosmos, along with all of those socks from the dryer. Neither is there a picture on the front of the puzzle box, AND, the genealogy gods have a wicked sense of humor.

So, it has been for months on end.

From time to time a puzzle piece drops into place, causing us to excitedly run around the entire table of pieces trying them all over again. Occasionally, we discover that some piece we thought fit, doesn’t.

I just published a retraction article about Irene Charitas Schlosser, because, ahem, she isn’t a Schlosser – she’s a Heitz. Yes, that’s really embarrassing, but I’m just grateful that my friend Chris discovered the REAL puzzle piece and Chris and Tom together put that section together, because I certainly couldn’t have. Give me genetics any day, not incomplete German records in medieval script!

Steinwenden, the Family Village

Steinwenden, the ancient village at the heart of this story, and these families, was entirely abandoned during the 30 Years War when everything in this part of the countryside was destroyed.

Resettlement occurred slowly. Eight years after the Peace Treaty of Westphalia, according to a 1656 tax list, still no one lived in Steinwenden. In 1660, two men were rebuilding the mill, and Swiss Protestant immigrants, many Calvinist, lured by the promise of no or low taxes began to arrive in family groups.

Piecing together these groups from partial church and other records is quite challenging, especially when trying to find their origins in Switzerland or even nearby France.

In 1684, Steinwenden only had 6 families and 25 residents. By 1791, long after our families left, the population was a whopping 305. Steinwenden has always been a small village where nearly everyone is related – and most probably already were related when they arrived from Switzerland. The challenge is, of course, that we don’t know how.

In 1980, Steinwenden celebrated its 800th anniversary. Historian Roland Paul wrote an article (in German) about the Steinwenden families who emigrated, based on the Steinwenden church books beginning in 1684. Note that families who stayed aren’t mentioned, an incredibly frustrating omission. Neither, of course, are families from surrounding villages.

Farms during this point in history weren’t arranged like farms are today in the US. For protection, farm houses were tightly packed into a small village, often sharing walls with each other, which provided an added measure of protection.

You can see the remnants of that structure in the old part of the village, yet today.

A village or city wall might also have been built around the village, with the fields laying for a mile or two outside the village. Farmers would tend their fields daily, but return home to the village in the evening. This means that it wasn’t unusual at all to look around and see several church steeples in the distance, given that the next village in any direction was probably only two to five miles away.

Relevant Steinwenden families mentioned in Mr. Paul’s book include Berchtold, Muller and Ringeisen.

Berchtold is also Berchtel, Berchtol, Bechtol, Bechtel, and probably more.

Susanna Agnes Berchtol born in 1688 to Hans Berchtol and Anna Christina would marry Johann Michael Mueller (the second) in 1714.

While Muller is mentioned, given that we don’t know where Johann Michael Muller came from before he arrived in Steinwenden, we can’t identify which of these Muller families, if any, are relevant to Michael. Our Johann Michael Mueller (the first) died in Steinwenden in 1695 and his children are listed.

Lastly, Jacob Ringeisen is identified in records as a cousin to Michael Muller. Jacob is from Erlenbach, in Canton Bern, Switzerland. Is Michael from there too? How is he a cousin to Michael? Does cousin literally mean “first cousin,” or should this relationship be interpreted more broadly as “related?”

Conspicuously missing is Johann Jacob Stutzman. He would marry the widow of Johann Michael Mueller in 1696. Where was Jacob? Did the Müllers and the Stutzmans migrate from Switzerland together?

The Stutzman Saga Continues

There’s some great irony here. The people who research the Stutzman line have agonized for years about the Stutzman genealogy in Germany and Switzerland. More than once, I was silently grateful that I didn’t have to deal with that. While my Michael Müller (the second) was raised by Loysa Regina and her second husband, Jacob Stutzman, and their story after their marriage was also Michael’s story – the Stutzman family history really didn’t concern me because Michael wasn’t biologically related to either Loysa Regina or Jacob.

So I thought.

Kind of like karma paying me back for those smug thoughts, the Stutzman genealogy reached out and tapped me on the shoulder. Oh, I tried to ignore it. I graciously wrote an article for the Stutzman family about the various different genetic lines, according to Y DNA. Then, when the Stutzman Y DNA surname project at Family Tree DNA needed an administrator, I decided I could adopt that, honoring Michael Miller’s love for his step-brother, even though there was no blood relation between Michael and Jacob.


I wasn’t the only one the Stutzman genealogy tagged. Right alongside me, or maybe leading the way, the Stutzman’s also ensnared my retired German genealogist friend and cousin, Tom. I have no idea why he found this mystery so intriguing, but he did. I’m blaming Jacob Stutzman, personally. Bless Tom with his infinite patience and wisdom because I did not receive that trait!

But that wasn’t all. Next came Christoph, my young German friend in Berlin. Jacob Stutzman somehow recruited him too!!!

Obviously, Jacob, Michael and the clan knew I needed help, because I clearly wasn’t going to unravel this maze of confusion on my own.

They were right too. I had absolutely NO PRAYER without Tom and Chris.

So while I’m writing this saga, it’s really Tom and Chris’s story to tell. Tom has been working on this for at least two years now, building on the previous works of other Stutzman researchers, but adding substantial discoveries of his own. Then Chris came along and pretty much knocked our socks off with one gargantuan discovery that would prove us wrong. That took a few days of getting used to, I’m telling you!

When he first began, I wasn’t convinced that there was anything in the Stutzman records that would be of value to the Miller story. I was wrong. Dead wrong.

In fact, Tom unearthed two records that prove the identity of our mystery woman, Loysa Regina.

Let’s go to Switzerland and Germany and visit the Stutzmans, in mostly Tom’s words with additional translations and clarifications by Chris. Colorful commentary by me😊

The Stutzman Clan

Please note that you can click to enlarge any image

By the late 1660’s, the brothers, Hans and Hans Jacob Stutzman, sons of Peter Stutzman of Erlenbach im Simmental, Canton, Bern Switzerland, had migrated from their native village to the Geislautern, Saar region, Germany.

Looking at the map below, the great irony is that I lived in the small village of Versoix, about 5 miles north of Geneva, on Lake Geneva, in 1970, and fell in love with the region. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t have a clue that my family had also lived nearby in the not-so-distant past.

This journey was not for the faint of heart, crossing mountains and traveling for about 450 km. A trip of 6 hours by car today was a trip of weeks then. Some, but not all of the trip could have been on, or parallel to the Rhine River.

A Hans Jacob Stutzmann, born October 2, 1676 in Geislautern, believed to be the son of Hans Jacob Stutzman born in 1650, was found in research by Gunter Stopka in 1998 in the resource: Stutzmann, Rupp, Carl, Lichti. Schweizer in der ehemaligen Grafschaft Saarbrücken vor 1700 In: Saarländische Familienkunde 31, 1998, S. 318-323.

This Hans Jacob Stutzman, Jr. (born 1676) is believed by us and was suggested also by Francis C. (Bud) Martin, editor in the excellent publication, The Peter Stutzman Family Story by Daniel T. Stutzman, Sr., editor and Francis C. (Bud) Martin, editor, 2011 (available for download at the website,) to be the father of all the early Stutzmann children who married and lived in Konken, Bavaria at the turn of the 17th century.

Hans Jacob Stutzman, Sr. migrated from Geislautern and obviously settled in another village after 1676 and before 1682 when he fathered a child in Birkenfeld, Oldenberg, Germany.

After the death (1685) of Hans Jacob Sr. at the age of 35/40, his children would relocate to the Konken, Bavaria area between 1685-1696.

Hans Jacob Stutzmann Sr.’s brother, Hans and wife Ursula (nee Leuenberger) finally settled in Hinsberg (Hinsbourg, Bas-Rhin (Alsace), France where their family records appear.

Although France sounds far from Germany, it actually isn’t far from Konken.

Both brothers are the sons of Peter Stutzmann and Catharina Burginer of Erlenbach im Simmental, Bern Canton, Switzerland.

Records, Beginning in 1667

Hans Stutzman married Ursula Leuenberger in April 1667.

On Monday, the 22nd of April, 1667, from Bettborn were to be blessed (in marriage), Hans Stutzman, legitimate surviving son of the late Peter Stutzman from Switzerland and Ursula, legitimate surviving daughter of the late Jacob Leuenberger of the Bern region, Switzerland

Source: Evangelische Kirche Finstingen, (Elsass-Lothringen) now called Fenetrange, Sarrebourg, Moselle, France. Film No. 637090, Item 2, Mittersheim, Postdorf, Niederstinzel, Neunkirchen (Kreis Saargemund), Taufen 1658-1685; Heiraten 167401679; Tote 1672-1685.

Hans Stutzmann and his wife, Ursula Leuenberger had a family consisting of:

  1. Christina, born ca 1668, probably in Nassweiler, Saarbrucken according to Gunter Stopka.
  2. Johann Jacob, born ca 1671, probably in Hinsbourg, Bas-Rhin, France.
  3. Magdalena Margaretha, born ca 1680, probably in Hinsbourg, Bas-Rhin, France
  4. Hans Nickel, probably in Hinsbourg, Bas-Rhin, France
  5. Anna Catharina, born ca 1686, probably in Hinsbourg, Bas-Rhin, France.

The parish of Waldhambach, Bas-Rhin, France contains many of the marriage records of these children as well as their deaths.

Johann Jacob Stutzmann (son of Hans Stutzmann, above, not Hans Jacob Stutzman) married in Diemeringen parish nearby. The records of Waldhambach begin in 1683. No baptisms of these five children, above, have been recorded there. They may have been born elsewhere and Hinsbourg (Hinsberg in German) may have only been the place of residence.

Ursula Leuenberger Stutzmann died on January 21, 1729 in Hinsbourg, aged 83 years. Her husband, Hans Stutzmann, died between the years 1695-1700. This is implied by the marriages of Christina Stutzmann who married Hanss Neser (Neeser?) of Schingen, Bern Canton, Switzerland (note: probably the surname Neeser of Seengen, Canton, Aargau, Switzerland). Her father is noted as a subject of Hinsberg. At the marriage of Hanssmann Janss of St. Stephan (Bern), Switzerland and Magdalena Margaretha Stutzmann, daughter of the late, Joh. (Hans) Stutzmann on 17 May 1701, Hans Stutzmann is noted as deceased.

Please note that the Johann Jacob Stutzman, above, the child of Hans Stutzman carries the same name as Johann Jacob Stutzman who married Loysa Regina, son of Hans Jacob Stutzman, but these are two separate men.

Waldhambach, Bas-Rhin, France Records

Translated records found in Waldhambach, Bas-Rhin, France are included in this article, because they provide information that, thread by thread, weaves this family together.


Tieffenbach – Date of Marriage: 1 Feb 1695

Groom: Hanss Neser a journeyman weaver from the village Schingen/Sehingenin the Bern Region (probably village of Seengen, Canton Aargau), son of Friederich Neser from the same place.

Bride: Christina, legitimate daughter of Hanss Stutzmann, presently a subject of Hinsberg.

Waldhambach – Registres Paroissiaux (Avant 1793) – Paroisse protestante (Avant 1793) – Registre de baptêmes mariages sépultures 1683-1720 – 3 E 514/1 – page 129

This tells us that Jacob Stutzman Sr. is still living.


Date of Marriage: 23 February 1700

After 3 proclamations were married Johann Jacob Stutzmann, surviving legitimate son of the former subject in Hinsburg, Lutzelstein Herrschaft with Anna Maria, legitimate daughter of the late Peter Stöcker.

Diemeringen – Paroisse protestante (Avant 1793) – Registre de baptêmes mariages sépultures 1665-1715 – 3 E 94/2 – page 86

Former subject probably tells us that his father, Hans is dead and that his father probably lived in Hinsburg at his death.


Date of Marriage: 17 May 1701

Groom: Hanssmann Janss, unmarried bachelor, legitimate son of Peter Janss from St. Stephan, (Bern), Switzerland.

Bride: Magdalena Margaretha, surviving, unmarried daughter of the late Joh. (Hanss) Stutzmann, subject in Hinsperg (Hinsberg).

Waldhambach – Registres Paroissiaux (Avant 1793) – Paroisse protestante (Avant 1793) – Registre de baptêmes mariages sépultures 1683-1720 – 3 E 514/1 – page 131

This tells us that Hans Stutzman is definitely dead.


Date of Marriage: 11 May1706

Groom: Benedict Janns, unmarried bachelor, surviving legitimate son of the late Peter Janss, citizen in St. Stephan, (Bern), Switzerland).

Bride: Anna Catharina, surviving legitimate daughter of the late Hanss Stutzman from Hinssberg.

Waldhambach – Registres Paroissiaux (Avant 1793) – Paroisse protestante (Avant 1793) – Registre de baptêmes mariages sépultures 1683-1720 – 3 E 514/1 – page 133


Tieffenbach Date: 1707

Groom: Hanss Nickel Stutzmann, surviving legitimate son of Hanss Stutzmann, former resident in Hinsberg.

Bride: Salome, legitimate daughter of Peter Janss, former citizen in St. Stephan, Bern region, Switzerland.

Waldhambach – Registres Paroissiaux (Avant 1793) – Paroisse protestante (Avant 1793) – Registre de baptêmes mariages sépultures 1683-1720 – 3 E 514/1 – page 134


Hinssberg – Date of Death: 21 January 1729

Decedent: Ursula nee Löwenberger, surviving widow of Hanss Stutzman, former resident. Her age 83 years.

Waldhambach – Registres Paroissiaux (Avant 1793) – Paroisse protestante (Avant 1793) – Registre de mariages sépultures 1720-1772 – 3 E 514/5 – page 120


Date of Death: 8 July 1729 Hinssberg

Decedent: Anna Catharina, surviving widow of the former resident Benedict Janss of Hinssberg. She died on the 8th of July and was buried on the 9th of July. Her age: 43 years, 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days.

Waldhambach – Registres Paroissiaux (Avant 1793) – Paroisse protestante (Avant 1793) – Registre de mariages sépultures 1720-1772 – 3 E 514/5 – page 121


On the 30th of November 1736 died, Jacob Stutzmann, the farm steward for the Herrschaft here and on the following day, the first of December was buried. His age 65 years.

Diemeringen – Paroisse protestante (Avant 1793) – Registre de baptêmes mariages sépultures 1716-1778 – 3 E 94/3 – page 224


Date of Death: 29 November 1739

Died Nicolaus Stutzmann, citizen in Hinsberg and on the 30th thereafter was buried.

Date of Death: 11 December 1739

Died Christina Nesser, legitimate wife of the late Johannes Nesser, former citizen and steward in Tieffenbach and on the 13th was buried.

Tieffenbach – Registres Paroissiaux (Avant 1793) – Paroisse protestante (Avant 1793) – Registre de baptêmes mariages sépultures 1734-1764 – 3 E 491/1 – page 224

Note that the two adult siblings, above, died within 12 days of each other. I wish causes of death had been recorded.

Quote from The Peter Stutzman Family Story:

Dufner lists a Hans Jacob Stutzmann, born 2 Oct 1676 in Geislautern, son of Hans Jacob Stutzmann, Swiss citizen, born 24 Mar 1650 (son of Peter Stutzmann and Catharine Burginer.) There is a Geislautern in the Saar, near Saarbrucken, about 14 miles SW of Ottweiler. Could it be that these two men, one born ca 1676 and the other born 1676, are the same person? I have not included the Hans Jacob (born 1676) of this note in any other place in this genealogy.

Co-editor, Francis C. (Bud) Martin, 2011, “I believe you have correctly connected to the Johann Jacob Stutzman, progenitor with his unknown wife, of the Stutzman family of Krottelbach/Konken. This information ties in well with the information uncovered recently from Birkenfeld, Oldenberg, Evangelische Church not far from Krottelbach, Konken.”

Let’s take a look at the Birkenfeld records and follow the Stutzman family.

Birkenfeld Records

We find the next chapter of the Hans Jacob Stutzman family in the Birkenfeld records with family residing in Einschiedt.

Thankfully, the two sons, Hans Stutzman and Johann (Hans) Jacob Stutzman settled in two different places. Otherwise, I don’t know how we’d ever tell their children apart. Like most families, they recycled the same names, which are surely hints to their ancestors as well…if the early records just existed.

By the way, for those not familiar with German naming patterns, Hans and Johann (Hans) Jacob weren’t really examples of two sons with exactly same name. In Germany at that time, most boys were given two names. The first one was typically, but not always Johann, often called a “saint’s name” and the second name was the name they were called in the family. It’s not at all unusual to see the entire list of boys in any family with Johann as the first name, but with different second names…unless one died then sometimes a second child would be given the exact same name. However, when you see a male with just one official name, Johann or Johannes, that IS his given name. He is often called “Hans,” the nickname for Johann or Johannes.

While Hans Stutzman and wife Ursula Leuenberger settled in HInsberg, and thankfully stayed put, his brother Hans Jacob Stutzman, wife unknown, probably started out in the Geislautern area in 1667 or so, then moved to Birkenfeld in 1682, dying there in 1685. His family except for the apparent oldest son moved on to Konken by 1696, although we don’t know why. I wonder if his widow remarried and moved there, but we found no records to indicate that was the case.

Despite Hans Jacob Stutzman’s young death, he had 7 children who lived, although every record managed to stubbornly avoid the mention of even his wife’s first name!

  1. Dominic (1670-1748)
  2. Johann Jacob Stutzman born 1673/76 (Geislautern) -1739, married Regina Loysa (1654-1729), widow of Johann Michael Muller in 1696 in Ohmbach
  3. Johann Christian born 1682 Birkenfeld married in 1702 in Asselheim
  4. Catharina Ursula born 1684 and found in Konken records in 1698
  5. Johann Philip in 1696 married Maria Margaretha in Ohmbach
  6. Anna Barbell in 1702 married Peter Jacob in Ohmbach
  7. Anna Elisabetha is found in the Konken records in 1697, married in 1750 in Asselheim


Entry No. 235

Johann Christian Stutzman (#3 above)

The 4th of January 1682 Hans Jacob Stutzman, a Swiss, from Einschiedt (Einschieder), a young son was baptized and named: Johann Christian. Godparents were: Catharina Jacobi; Johannes Meyer, Christel, the Swiss, from Nohfelden; Johannes Roth, foreman? in the ironworks, Anna Escherin?, the Swiss.

Source: Evangelische Kirche Birkenfeld (Oldenburg). LDS Microfilm No. 492996.


On the 21st of March 1683, Velten Pfaltzer, …….? and his wife, a young son was baptized and given the name: Hans Jacob. Godparents: Hans Adam Finck from here; Hans Jacob Stutzmann, the Swiss from Einschiedt; Margreth Sch…?, a young lady from here and Anna Liess Numweyler?, young lady, .?

Source: Evangelische Kirche Birkenfeld (Oldenburg). LDS Microfilm No. 492996.

This is the only entry where Hans Jacob Stutzmann or any Stutzmann is found in Birkenfeld as a godparent.


Catherine Ursula Stutzman (#4 above)

The 29th of the same (May) 1684, Hans Jacob Stutzman, the Swiss from Einschieder and his legitimate wife, a daughter was baptized and received the name: Catharina Ursula. Godparents were: Nicolaus Ma..(margin), a Swiss, from Zweybrucken (Zweibrucken); Catharina Schupfflin, a Swiss; ………ookenthal?, housewife and Ursula Stutzmannin, legitimate wife of Hans Stutzman from Feldtling? (probably Völklingen) in Amt Saarbrücken.

Source: Evangelische Kirche Birkenfeld (Oldenburg). LDS Microfilm No. 492996.

This entry above, clearly ties Ursula, wife of Hans Stutzmann of Folkling, (Volklingen) Saarbrucken (about 40 miles from Hinsbourg) to Johann Jacob Stutzmann of Birkenfeld. This would make sense if Hans Stutzmann and Johann Jacob Stutzmann were brothers.


The 8th of April 1685 was buried, Hans Jacob Stutzman, a Swiss, from Einschiedt (Einschieder). His age about 40 years.

Source: Evangelische Kirche Birkenfeld (Oldenburg). LDS Microfilm No. 492996.

This is Hans Jacob Stutzman, progenitor of the Konken branch of the Stutzman family, so this explains why his death record was not discovered in Krottelbach. Tom searched high and low for that record.

Hans Jacob Stutzmann and his unknown wife, had 7 children before his death. If he married at age 19 or 20, there is enough time after their marriage to account for these children. It is perplexing that the Birkenfeld church books do not record the name of the mother of the child; only the father’s! No death record for Hans Jacob Stutzmann’s wife could be found in Birkenfeld nor a remarriage. She remains a mystery for the Stutzman family to unravel.

Perhaps in time, additional records in Germany, may yet reveal additional information on this extensive migratory family.

The Konken/Krottelbach Stutzman Records

It should be noted from the outset that no death entries were found for Hans Jacob Stutzmann, (the elder’) wife (name unknown) in the registers of Konken. The first record of this family is found in Konken with the 1696 record of Johann Jacob Stutzman (the elder’s) marriage to the widow Muller. It appears that son Dominic never moved to Konken. He would have been about 25 or 26 by the time the family group moved, so old enough to stay behind in Zwiebrucken where he lived and died.

The Konken records are indeed where life begins to get interesting.

Looking at the map, both Steinwenden and Konken are on the road between Zwiebrucken and Birkenfeld.

Konken and Steinwenden aren’t terribly distant from each other – about 18 km or so. However, that’s also not close.

In 1692, when Irene gave birth to Johann Michael Muller (the second,) the Muller family lived in Steinwenden. Johann Michael Muller (the first) died there in 1695, and in 1696, up the road 18 km, Loysa Regina, Johann Michael Muller’s widow, married Johann Jacob Stutzman (Jr.).

How did they meet? How and when did she decide to move from Steinwenden to Konken? Why did the Stutzman clan decide to move to Konken?


Entry No. 61

Hanss Jacob Stützman, surviving son of Jacob Stützman from Switzerland with Loysa Regina, surviving widow of Michael Müller from Stenweil(er) (Steinwenden). Married on the 29th of November 1696 in Ohmbach.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Sonstiges 1653-1729, Bild 100 Mikrofilm 144  

Jacob Stutzman and Loysa Regina weren’t married in Konken, even though the marriage was recorded in the Konken Church. They were married in Ohmbach, a few miles down the road. Jacob Stutzman was 20 years old and the widow who was married to Johann Michael Mueller would have been reportedly about, um, about 42. That’s pretty unheard of, but we have her previous marriage and death record that provides an age.

Her later death record gives an age that subtracts to a birth year of 1654, but could be wrong of course. Let’s assume she was 20 when she married Johann Michael Mueller in 1684, instead of 30. That’s still a pretty big spread – 12 years between Loysa Regina and Jacob Stutzman, but corroborated by the fact that her last child was born in 1706, when she would have been about 42. If she was born in 1654 instead of 1664, her last child would have been born when she was 52. Not impossible, just highly improbable.

While we’re in shock over the age disparity, note that for a 20-23 year old, Jacob Stutzman had a lot of miles under his belt, literally.

We know that the Johann Jacob Stutzman’s wife is the same person who was married to Johann Michael Muller from Steinwenden, because the marriage record tells us. Then, sure enough, on February 3, 1697, the couple was back in Steinwenden for a baptism where the child is named Irene Elisabetha.

Generally, the child was named for the godparents, so Irene made sense, but only if Loysa Regina’s name was actually Irene.



That can’t be, because Jacob Stutzman married Michael Muller’s widow, Loysa Regina. Irene was dead and buried, and Loysa Regina and Jacob Stutzman were raising Irene’s baby boy, Michael Miller – right?

If that’s the case, why was Jacob Stutzman’s wife called Irene in her HOME CHURCH? Konken wasn’t her home church and Ohmbach wasn’t her home residence, but Steinwenden assuredly was – where Irene had given birth and buried 5 children between 1685 and 1692. Two in one week and another just a few months before her husband died. Her sixth child, Johann Michael Muller would live to establish the Brethren Mueller/Miller dynasty in the US.

But Irene herself died, right?


Or did she?


February 3, 1697

Child: Irene Elisabeth

Parents: H. Samuel Hoffmann, Maria Magdalena from Steinwenden

Godparents: Irene, Jacob Stitzman’s wife from Krodelbach (Krottelbach); Elisabetha, Balthasar Jolage wife and Dominicus Stutzman, unmarried.

Steinwenden Evangelische-Reformierte, Kirche. Landesarchiv Speyer > Steinwenden > Taufe 1684-1698, Taufe 1698-1738, Taufe 1724, 1738, Trauung 1684-1780, Beerdigung 1685-1780, Konfirmation 1685-1779, Bild 17

(Please note that is a paid archive service but does NOT allow customers to use the images for publication, so, unfortunately, I can’t share them with you unless I can find the image elsewhere.)

If Irene died, then how do we explain this baptism record where Jacob Stutzman’s wife is called Irene, and the child named after her is named Irene as well? It’s clearly not a mistake, not a slip of the pen of an elderly forgetful minister. The Steinwenden minister knew Irene very well. He had buried all of her children and her husband.

OK, back to Konken, where we find our next baptism record. What does it tell us?


No. 201

Hanss Peter

Hanss Jacob Stutzman & Regina Loysa, his lawfully wed wife from Crottelbach on the 22nd of October 1697 was baptized. Godparents were: Pet. Mellinger, censor, Hans Pfauer, a Swiss, and Anna Elisabetha, surviving legitimate daughter of Jacob Stutzman of Switzerland.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Sonstiges 1664-1756, Bild 103 Mikrofilm 114

Back to Regina Loysa, except her names are switched from Loysa Regina to Regina Loysa.


1 March 1699 at Steinwenden Ev. Ref. Kirche, Bavaria

Maria Magdalena

Samuel Heitz & Catharina Appollonia of Steinwenden

Godparents: Magdalena, Herr Samuel Hoffmann’s wife, Anna Maria, Hans Cunrad Ausinger’s daughter from Turkheim (Bad Dürkheim); Jacob Stutzmann from Weylach.

Landesarchiv Speyer > Steinwenden > Taufe 1684-1698, Taufe 1698-1738, Taufe 1724, 1738, Trauung 1684-1780, Beerdigung 1685-1780, Konfirmation 1685-1779, Bild 19

Look, Jacob Stutzman is back again two years later, in Steinwenden, but now he’s noted as being from Weylach. This tells us that he has moved. He’s also the godfather for the daughter of Samuel Heitz, Irene Heitz’s brother. That would be his wife, Irene/Regina, of course.

As it turns out, Weylach is about 3 miles north of Bad Dürkheim. Chris tells me that it in early records, Dürkheim was often spelled Turkheim. It’s a fairly long way from Konken to Bad Dürkheim. What was Jacob Stutzman doing that he could afford to just pick up and move from one place to another?

Our Jacob Stutzman, with his wife Irene, Loysa Regina or Regina Loysa, whatever her name was, had clearly moved again. But most importantly, Johann Jacob Muller (the second) was with them.

Johann Jacob Stutzman may have moved to Weylach, but his siblings continued to create records in the Konken church records. Let’s begin with Jacob’s brother, Johann Philip and look at the records for each sibling separately.

Brother Philip Stutzman Family of Konken


IMAGE 99 – Entry No. 54

Johann Philip Stutzman, surviving, legitimate son of the late (blank) Stutzman, from the Bern region with Maria Margaretha, legitimate daughter of Hans Düke, a Swiss. Married on the 6th of March 1696 in Ombach.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Sonstiges 1653-1729, Bild 99 Mikrofilm 144


IMAGE 101 – No. 185

Hanss Peter

Johann Philip Stutzman & Maria Margaretha his legitimate wife from Crofftelbach (Krottelbach), a son was baptized on the 9th of February 1697. Godparents were: Hanss Berchtel, a Swiss; Peter Daubert, a Swiss and Anna, Christian Joggi’s surviving widow.

Source: Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche Konken (BA Kusel), Bavaria Church records. LDS Familysearch Microfilm No. 193926 item 2. Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Sonstiges 1664-1756, Bild 101 Mikrofilm 114

Berchtel is my line too. Johann Michael Mueller would one day marry Suzanna Berchtel, daughter of Hans Berchtel. Was 5 year old Johann Michael Miller playing with his future wife, Suzanna Berchtel while this wedding was taking place?


IMAGE 105 – Entry No. 218

Johann Ludwig

Johann Philip Stutzman, a Swiss, from Crofftelbach (Krottelbach) and Maria Margaretha his legitimate wife a son was baptized on the 6th of June 1698. Godparents were: Hanss Jacob Zimmer; Johann Ludwig Dik, a Swiss; Anna Margaretha Morjans, the pastor’s legitimate wife and Elisabetha Stutzman, the late (no name), surviving daughter.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Sonstiges 1664-1756, Bild 105 Mikrofilm 114


IMAGE 118 – Entry No. 328

Johann Theobald

Philip Stutzman, a Swiss from Crofftelbach (Krottelbach) and Maria Margar(etha) his legitimate wife, a son was baptized on the 19th of July 1702. Godparents were: Joan. Theobald Dauber, legitimate surviving son of the late Herr Joan. Daniel Dauber; Jacob Ringeisen, from the Bern region; Maria Gartha, legitimate wife of Peter Mellinger, censor from Crofftelbach (Krottelbach); and Margaretha, legitimate wife of Hanss Zimmer, the same (of Krottelbach).

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Sonstiges 1664-1756, Bild 118 Mikrofilm 114

In another record, Jacob Ringeisen is mentioned as being the cousin of Johann Michael Muller, so this may be the best indication of where Michael Muller was actually from before arriving in Steinwenden, given that Jacob and Michael were cousins.


IMAGE 132 – Entry No. 488

Johann Christian

Philip Stutzman from Crofftelbach (Krottelbach), a Swiss from the Bern jurisdiction and Maria Margaretha his legitimate wife, baptized a son on the 15th of August 1707. Godparents were: Martin Genpert; Johan Christian Dick; Susanna, legitimate wife of Kilian Kennel, baker from Brücken; and Barbara, legitimate wife of Peter Joggi, all born in Switzerland.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Sonstiges 1664-1756, Bild 132 Mikrofilm 114

Brother Peter Jacob Stutzman & Anna Barbell Family of Konken


IMAGE 104 – No. 98

Peter Jacob, legitimate, surviving son of the late Christian Jacob, from Zweysimmen in the Obersiebenthal (Obersimmental), Bern region with the young lady, Anna Barbell, legitimate, surviving, beloved daughter of Jacob Stutzman from Erlenbach in the Obersiebenthal (Niedersimmental), Bern were married on the 12th of January 1702 in Ombach.

Source: Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche Konken (BA Kusel), Bavaria Church records. LDS Familysearch Microfilm No. 193926 item 1. Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Sonstiges 1653-1729, Bild 104 Mikrofilm 144

Beloved daughter that grew up without her father. How his heart must have ached to leave her.


IMAGE 148 – Entry No. 623

Hanss Jacob

Peter Jacob, a Swiss from Crofftelbach (Krottelbach) and Anna Barbara, his legitimate wife, a son was baptized on the 28th of March 1712. Godparents were: Hanss Michael Müller from Weylach (Weilach); Henrich Berchtell, legitimate surviving son of Hanss Berchtel; Maria Elisabetha, legitimate daughter of Hanss Zimmer of Crofftelbach (Krottelbach); Anna Margaretha, legitimate wife of Niclos Keyser of Crofftelbach (Krottelbach).

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Sonstiges 1664-1756, Bild 148 Mikrofilm 114

Here, we find Hans Michael Muller stated as being from Weylach (Weilach), the same location where Jacob Stutzman was noted as being from in 1699. In 1712, Johann Michael Muller would have been 20 years old. By this time, he might have seriously been courting Susanna Berchtel, as they would marry 22 months later, on January 4, 1714, in Crottelbach (Krottelbach).

Susanna’s father has died, and Henrich, her brother, stands up with Michael Muller as the godparents of Hanss Jacob.

I bet Michael made it a point to return often. How I wish we had a photo of this couple.


IMAGE 69 -Entry No. 172

Hans Peter

Peter Jacob, a Swiss from Crofftelbach (Krottelbach), a son died on the 28th of May 1713 and was buried on the 29th of May 1713. Joyfully ascending. May the Lord be merciful.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Sonstiges 1653-1729, Bild 69 Mikrofilm 144

Never, in all the records I’ve seen until these have I seen the comment “joyfully ascending” written in conjunction with any death, let alone that of a child. I’m sure it was meant to bring the mother comfort, but it just doesn’t – let alone three times in 3 weeks.


IMAGE 69 – Entry No. 173

Maria Susanna, ? (adjective) Peter Jacob’s daughter, on the 7th? of June died and on the 11th of June 1713 was buried in Ombach. Joyfully ascending. May the Lord be merciful.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Sonstiges 1653-1729, Bild 69 Mikrofilm 144


IMAGE 69 – Entry No. 174

Hanss Jacob, son of ? Peter Jacob on the 18th of June 1713 died and on the the 19th of June was buried. Joyfully ascending. May the Lord, Jesus Christ be merciful.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Sonstiges 1653-1729, Bild 69 Mikrofilm 144

The loss of 3 children within 3 weeks is devastatingly heartbreaking. There was no “joyfully ascending.” There was no joy at all.


IMAGE 158 – Entry No. 705

Maria Christina

Peter Jacob, a Swiss from Crofftelbach (Krottelbach) & Anna Barbara his legitimate wife, a daughter was baptized on 1 November 1714. Godparents were: Hans Peter, legitimate son of Philipp Stutzman; Dominik Stutzman from Crofftelbach (Krottelbach); Caecilia, legitimate wife of Elias Daubert, schoolmaster? in Ombach; Maria Elisabetha, legitimate wife of Christian Zimmer from Crofftelbach (Krottelbach) & Anna Christina, legitimate daughter of Peter Gürtner, a Swiss.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Sonstiges 1664-1756, Bild 158 Mikrofilm 114

Sister Anna Elisabetha Stutzmann of Konken


IMAGE 100 – Entry No. 182

Anna Elisabeth

Johannes Geyer and Anna Ottilia, his legitimate wife from Crofftelbach (Krottelbach), a daughter who was baptized on the 21st of January 1697. Godparents were: Herr Peter Mellinger, censor; Hanss Jacob Wagner, legitimate son of Johannes Wagner, censor of Ombach; Gertraud, legitimate wife of Hanss Jacob Motzen; and Anna Elisabeth, legitimate surviving daughter of the late Hans Jacob Stutzman.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Sonstiges 1664-1756, Bild 100 Mikrofilm 114

Daughter Anna Ursula Stutzmann of Konken


IMAGE 105 – Entry No. 224

Ursula, Hans Nickel Hesse?, cowherder in Crofftelbach (Krottelbach) and Margaretha his legitimate wife, a daughter was baptized on the 11th of December 1698 in Ombach. Godparents were: Peter Mellinger, censor; Jacob Zimmer; Maria, legitimate wife of Wilhelm Grosklos; Ursula, legitimate daughter of late Jacob Stutzman, a Swiss.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Sonstiges 1664-1756, Bild 105

Mikrofilm 114

Stutzmann Entries in Asselheim, Bavaria:


11 January 1700

Joh(ann) Michael Bernhardt, legitimate son of the master baker, mayor and “bandsetzer”? from here Hanss Jacob Bernhardt.

Anna Elisabetha, legitimate unmarried daughter of the late Hanss Jacob Stutzmann from Erlenbach in the Nieder-Siebenthall, Switzerland.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Grünstadt > Asselheim > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Sonstiges 1666-1743, Bild 171 Mikrofilm 23


9 June 1702

Joh. Christian Stutzmann, surviving son of the late Hanss Jacob Stutzmann from Erlenbach in the Nieder-Siebenthall, Switzerland.

Maria Margretha, legitimate daughter of Hanss Jacob Bernhardt, daughter of the master baker, mayor and “bandsetzer”? from here were married on a Friday during the praying hour”. (It was noted) they had premarital sex.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Grünstadt > Asselheim > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Sonstiges 1666-1743, Bild 173 Mikrofilm 23

Seriously, did they really HAVE to record in the church record the legacy of their premarital sex? It’s likely that she was visibly pregnant.

The entries clearly establish that the father of the earliest Konken Stutzmann children from the late 17th century is Hans Jacob Stutzmann of Erlenbach im Simmental, Bern, Switzerland.

These records would seem to link him as the son to Peter Stutzmann and Catharina Burginer, born on 24 March 1649/1650. The only other candidate is one Jacob Stutzmann, born 26 July 1657, son of Peter Stutzmann and Christina Koller, who would be too young to be our Hans Jacob who had Dominic about 1670 and Johann Jacob 1673/1676.

Dominic Stutzmann of Zweibrucken


IMAGE 0434563-00178

The 10th of March 1733, Dominic Stutzmann, farm steward, legitimate surviving son of the late Jacob Stutzman, farm steward in Crottelbach, Lichtenberger Oberamt with Catharina, daughter of Burckhard Brändl of Roding (Reutigen), Bern (Switzerland).

Zweibrucken Evangelische Kirche Records online at


IMAGE 0434558-00304 – No. 3159

Johann Jacob

16th December 1735

Dominic Stutzmann, local citizen and his legitimate wife, Catharina, a son. Godparents: Jacob Bergden, councilman in Crottelbach (Krottelbach); Christian Stutzmann, farm steward in Dirmingen; Anna Margaretha Dickin from Aischberg?; Anna Margaretha Jacky from there.

Zweibrucken Evangelische Kirche Records online at

There is clearly an unknown link with Krottelbach given that the councilman traveled to Zwiebrucken to stand as the godparent for Dominic’s child.


IMAGE 0434558-00313 – No. 3345

Christian Carl

The 20th of April 1739 Dominic Stutzmann & Catharina a child. Godparents were His Highness Duke Christian IV and Her Highness Princess Carolina.

Zweibrucken Evangelische Kirche Records online at

This is a very interesting record given that the godparents were royalty. Christian IV was the Count Palatine of Zwiebrucken, born in 1722, so would have only been age 17 at this time. His sister, Princess Carolina was born in 1721, so she would have been 18.

The purpose of Godparents was to take the child and raise them, specifically in the church, in the case of the demise of both parents. There were no other godparents, so this begs the question of whether the Count and Princess were actually going to take this child to raise if something happened to her parents.

It’s hard to say if this was a token courtesy, or if this was a genuine committment, especially given the occupation of Dominic, as stated in the following record.


IMAGE 0434558-00336 – No. 3602

Maria Juliana

1 May 1743

Dominic Stutzmann, citizen and daylaborer from here and his legitimate wife, Catharina, a daughter was baptized. Godparents were: Johann Georg Ross, estate cooper; Daniel Gehring, citizen and b.(margin) here; Anna Barbara, wife of Adam Romer, citizen and baker here; Juliana, wife of Balthasar Krullen, citizen and hof….? here.

Zweibrucken Evangelische Kirche Records online at

Given that Johann Ross was an estate cooper, I wonder if Dominic too was working on an estate.


IMAGE 0434559-00373 – No. 4069

29 June 1748

Joh(ann) Dominic Stutzmann, burger (citizen) from here. 84 years old.

Zweibrucken Evangelische Kirche Records online at Source: Germany, Lutheran Baptism, Marriages, and Burials, 1564-1938

Tom commented:

I would doubt Dominic Stutzmann’s age at death. More likely was in his high 70’s. He was either the eldest child or 2nd eldest.

He married in his 50’s which is rather old. It is doubtful that his wife or children would have reported his age correctly.

Dominic would have been the son of Hans Jacob Stutzman who died in 1685 in Einscheidt. Konken is another waypoint for the Stutzmann siblings. Our branch moves to Kallstadt and other branches remove to Asselheim and Zweibrucken. They all had the “wanderlust.”

And yes, in case you’re wondering, there is a genetic mutation (DRD4-7r) associated with “wanderlust.”

My Branch of the Stutzmann Clan

The first child of Johann Jacob Stutzman and Regina Loysa was born in Krottelbach and baptized in Konken.


No. 201

Hanss Peter

Hanss Jacob Stutzman & Regina Loysa, his lawfully wed wife from Crottelbach on the 22nd of October 1697 was baptized. Godparents were: Pet. Mellinger, censor, Hans Pfauer, a Swiss, and Anna Elisabetha, surviving legitimate daughter of Jacob Stutzman of Switzerland.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Kusel > Konken > Taufen, Sonstiges 1664-1756, Bild 103 Mikrofilm 114

By March of 1699, Jacob Stutzman, his wife Regina Loysa, her son Michael Muller, and their firstborn had moved from Konken to Kallsdtadt where Jacob became the tenant and administator of a manorial farm.

We don’t know for sure what was grown on the farm, but given that this is heavily a wine region, if I had to guess, it would be grapes.

I recent years, Kallstadt has gained somewhat unwelcome notoriety based on the fact that the Heinz family, of ketchup fame, along with the Trump family are both from Kallstadt. Trump’s grandparents immigrated from Kallstadt, but there is no known relationship to the Stutzman or Miller families.

It’s interesting to note the roses planted by the grapevines in the above photo. During my trip to Germany in 2017, I noticed the same thing. The vintners said that roses, which thrive in the same soil and climate conditions as grapevines are an early warning system for vineyards. Roses attract aphids before the vines do and also get fungus before the vines. Mildew isn’t the exact same between the plants, but the conditions that favor rose mildew are the same conditions that favor grapevine mildew. In other words, healthy and beautiful roses means healthy and beautiful grapevines.

Not only that, but roses offer habitat for bees and other beneficial insects and their thorns discourage horses, needed to work the rows, from cutting corners and damaging precious vines. Plus, roses enhance the beauty of the vineyards, as an added bonus.

The Kallstadt Stutzman Families

The church in Kallstadt was the closest church to Weilach, home of Johann Jacob Stutzman, Regina and her son, Michael Muller.


Page 136 Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Tuesday, the 21st of November, Hanss Jacob STURTZMANN, farm administrator (steward) for the most gracious Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) in Weilach and his legitimately wed wife, Regina Elisabetha, a young daughter came into the world and on the following 25th Sunday after Trinity, the 26th of November (1699) received Holy Baptism. The Godparents were Maria Catharina, wife of Peter Clonstt??, co-farm administrator for the Manor in Weilach; Maria Eva, wife of Johannes Rauscher?, citizen in Turckh(eim) (Bad Dürkheim); Hanss Jacob Bernhard, citizen of Asselheim. The child received the name: Maria Catharina.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 70 Mikrofilm 437

Tom and I both searched for Turkheim, but Chris is the one who figured out that Turkheim is really Bad Dürkheim, today. Of course, it’s right next door, right under my nose.

The earliest documented appearance of the name of Bad Dürkheim is in the Lorsch codex of 1 June 778, as Turnesheim. A letter of enfeoffment from the Bishop of Speyer in 946 mentions Thuringeheim. So apparently Turkheim was an amalgamation of today’s Dürkheim and the earlier spelling.

This is also the first record of Hanss Jacob Stutzman in Weilach, noted as a steward for Herrschaft, Lord of the Manor.


Page 146 Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Monday, the 12th of June (1702), Hanss Jacob STOTZMANN, farm administrator (steward) at Weilach and Regina Elisabetha, his lawfully wed wife, was born to them a young son who was baptized on the 1st Sunday post Trinity, the 18th of June (1702). The godparents were: Joh. Michael Be…(margin), citizen from Asselheim, Samuel H..(Heitz?)(margin) from Stenweiler (Steinwenden) im Westrich; Elisabeth, wife of Hanss Michael Schum..(margin) from Ramsen. The Christian name of Johann Samuel was given.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 75 Mikrofilm 437


Page 150 Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Thursday evening, the 31st of January 1704, Hanss Jacob STOTZMANNEN, farm administrator (steward) for the most gracious Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) and his lawfully wed wife, Regina Elisabetha, a young son was born and was baptized on Sunday Estomihi (Quinquagesima Sunday), the 3rd of February 1704 at Weilach. Godparents were: Johann Christian Stotzmann and Matthaeus Krauss from Ungstein and Joh. Daniel Schumacher, citizen from Ungstein and wife, Anna Margretha. The Christian name given was Johann Matthaeus.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 77 Mikrofilm 437


Page 156 of the Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Friday, the 1st of January in the year 1706 of the new year, Johann Jacob STOTZMANNEN, farm administrator (steward) of the most gracious Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) at Weylach and his lawfully wed wife, Regina Elisabetha, a young son was born which on Tuesday, the 5th of January 1706 was baptized. The godparents were: Johann Jacob Schick; son of the honorable master, Johann Georg Schicken, butcher and citizen in Durckheim; Anna Elisabeth Beerin, legitimate daughter of the late Johann Martin Beer. The Christian name given was Johannes Jacobus.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 80 Mikrofilm 437


On the 29th of January 1708 at 1 am on the fourth Sunday after Epiphany to Franz Ludwig Einde..?, a daylaborer on the Herrschaft of Weylacher Hof from his legitimate wife Anna Clara, two children, twins were born, a daughter and a son who were baptized on the fourth Sunday after Pentecost godparents of the daughter were: Catharina Margaretha, daughter of Johann Wendel Ulm, citizen and innkeeper here; Anna Catharina M(aria) legitimate daughter of Lorentz Lotz and Johann Michael, stepson of Joh(ann) Jac(ob) Stotzman, steward and farm administrator for the Lord of the Manor at Weylacher Hof. The child was named: Catharina Margretha.

The godparents of the son were: Johann Adam […?], wagoner and citizen from here and Johan Philips Schmidt, citizen from here and Anna Veronica, wife of a quarryman from Weylach, Conrad Brüls, who named the child: Philippus Adamus.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 84 Mikrofilm 437

The most important aspect of this record, for my research at least, is the fact that Johann Michael (Mueller) is noted in 1708 as the STEPSON of Johann Jacob Stotzman, the steward of the manor at Weylacher Hof. Michael would have been 16 years old.

Step-son, of course, tells us that Johann Jacob was married to Johann Michael’s mother, and Jacob Stutzman is recorded as being married to Loysa Regina in Ohmbach, the widow of Michael Muller of Steinwenden in 1696. In 1697, back in Steinwenden, Jacob’s wife is recorded in a baptismal record once again as Irene. In 1699, 1702, 1704 and 1706 in the Kallstadt records, she is recorded consistently as Regina Elisabetha.

She seemed to be very flexible about her name and probably answers to anything that sounded remotely familiar.

The next three entries are from “The Peter Stutzman Family Story by Daniel T. Stutzman Sr. and Francis C. (Bud) Martin, Editors, 2011

77 iii. Anna Regina Stutzmann. Christened, 27 Feb 1706/7, in Asselheim, Grunstadt[119]. Godparents of Anna: Anna Catharina, wife of Johann Nicolaus Trommer; Regina, wife of Johann Jacob Stutzmann, “Hofmann at Weylach”; Zacharias Stein, inhabitant in Albsheim, “married since 1702 to Margaretha Jacobea Bernhardt,” according to Item 2 from Levente Pasztohy.

Daughter of Johann Christian Stutzman of Asselheim (Tom’s note).

78 iv. Johannes Stutzmann. Christened, 13 Mar 1708/9, inAsselheim[120]. Died, 6 Jul 1712, in Asselheim[103]. Godparents of Johannes were: Johann Jacob Stutzmann “Hofmann at Weylicher Hof near Tiirckheim”; Margaretha Jacobea, wife of Zacharias Stein, citizen in Albsheim. In his death record, Johannes is called Johann Jacob.

Son of Johann Christian Stutzman of Asselheim (Tom’s note).

70 v. Johanna Catharina Bernhardt[105]. Christened, 8 Jan 1709/0, in Asselheim, Rheinpfalz. Godparents: Johanna Catharina, wife of Johann Georg Naumann, miller in Asselheim; Catharina, wife of Johann Andreas Schecht, inhabitant in Asselheim; Johann Jacob Stutzman, “Hofmann at Weylich near Tiirckheim.”

Daughter of Anna Elisabeth Stutzman Bernhardt of Asselheim (Tom’s note).


Page 189; Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Friday morning the 17th of January 1716, Johannes Schumacher, cow herder at the Weilach Farm and from his lawfully wed wife, Catharina, a young daughter was born which on the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, the 19th of January was baptized at Weilach due to severe cold. The godparents were: Regina Elisabetha, legitimate wife of the farm administrator (steward) of the most esteemed Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor), Jacob Stotzmann; Susanna, wife of Hans Michael Muller, the farm administrator (steward) (refers to Jacob Stotzmann above mentioned), son in Weilach; the master Johann Daniel ?, citizen and smith in Callstadt (Kallstadt). The Christian name of Susanna Elisabetha was given.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 96 Mikrofilm 437

In this record, Michael Muller is recorded as the son of Jacob Stotzmann, the farm administrator.

I wonder how many workers the estate employed. So far we see evidence of cowherders and dayworkers. Plus the administrtor and apparently his son-in-law and probably his sons as well as they became old enough to work.

In 1714, Johann Michael Muller (the second) married Suzanna Agnes Berchtol of Ohmbach in Krottelbach. Even though the villages of Weilach and Ohmback are distant, these families clearly kept in touch. You can’t marry who you can’t court.

In 1715, they had a son, Johann Peter Muller, baptized in Konken, near Ohmbach, but by 1719, Johann Michael Muller (the second) and his young family had joined his mother and step father on the estate in Weilach. Michael‘s step-father was the farm steward, so assuredly, there was work and probably some level of prestige for Michael as well. Now that we know where to look for him, we can document additional children for Michael, ones only hinted at in the land records of Maryland.


On Wednesday, the 20th of May 1716 was born a young son to Johann Michael M(uller), the co-steward at Weilach and his legitimate wife, Susanna. The son was baptized on Exaudi Sunday (24th May) at Weilach. Godparents: Johann Ja(cob) Stotzmann, steward for the gracious Lord of the Manor at Weilach, the child’s grandfather; Nicolaus Leist from Wachenheim an der Hardt; Catharina, legitimate wife of Andreas Neuer.burger? from Callstadt (Kallstadt). The child was named: Johann Jacob.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 97 Mikrofilm 437

Here, Michael Muller is listed as co-steward and Jacob Stutzman is listed as the grandfather. Johann Michael Muller was truly lucky to have Jacob Stutzman in his life. This child was clearly named in Jacob‘s honor. I wonder if this child lived to adulthood. We have no further records.

I also wonder why the child was baptized on the farm estate rather than in the church in Kallstadt.

More from Stutzman & Martin, 2011:

81 vii. Margaretha Jacobea Stutzmann. Born, 24 May 1716, in Asselheimf123]. Died, 5 Jul 1716, in Asselheim[103]. Godparents of Margaretha were: Margaretha Jacobea, wife of Zacharias Stein, citizen in Albsheim; Johann Jacob Stutzmann, “Hofmann at Weylacher Hof”.

Daughter of Johann Christian Stutzman of Asselheim (Tom’s note).

82 viii. Maria Felicitas Stutzmann. Christened, 16 Jan 1717/8, in Asselheim[124]. Godparents of Maria were: The honorable Johann Friedrich Bernhard, citizen in Lautern; virgin Maria Catharina, daughter of the honorable Johann Jacob Stutzmann, “inhabitant in Weylich, in the jurisdiction of the Count of Leiningen”.

Daughter of Johann Christian Stutzman of Asselheim (Tom’s note).


Baptism: page 194 of the Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Monday, the 30th of August 1717, Johann Michael Muller, farm administrator (steward) for the Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) in Weilach and his lawfully wed wife, Susanna Agnes, a young daughter was born and was baptized on the 15th Sunday post Trinity, the 5th of September 1717. The godparents were: Jean (surname in margin), the esteemed Count (margin) at Hardenburg; Regina Maria, wife of Nicolai Ceston, ? from Wachenheim. Johannes Cornelius Neu, citizen in Callstadt (Kallstadt); Maria Catharina, legitimate daughter of Johann Stozmann from Weilach. The child received the name Regina Maria Elisabetha.

This is the first reference to Michael Muller as the farm administrator. He would have been 25 years old.

There is no further record of this child but that doesn’t mean that the child didn’t survive.


Page 198 of the Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Monday, the 24th of April 1719, Michal Muller, farm administrator (steward) for the most gracious Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) in Weilach and his lawfully wed wife, Susanna Agnesa, a son was born and baptized on the 27th of April. The Godparents were: Regina (margin), legitimate wife of Jacob Stotzmann, Sr., the old steward and the fathers mother(!); Johannes Schumacher, cow herder; Anna Eva, legitimate wife of Daniel ?, smith in Callstadt (Kallstadt); and Johannes (Christian) Stotzmann from Asselheim. The child was given the Christian name of Johannes Michael.

IMAGE: 0488294-00106 Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 101 – Mikrofilm 437

Not only do we find the next child born to Michael and Susanna, we find yet another confirming link between Michael and Regina as his mother, the wife of Jacob Stutzman.

The records later in the US indicate that indeed, there is a Michael Muller the third. This child, or a namesake, clearly lived.


Baptism: page 204 of the Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Saturday, the 5th of April 1721, Johann Michal Muller, farm administrator (steward) for the most esteemed Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) in Weilach and his lawfully wed wife, Susanna Agnesa, a young son was born and on the following Thursday, the 10th of April 1721 was baptized. Godparents: Johann Samuel Stozmann, legitimate son of Johann Jacob Stozmann, farm administrator (steward) for the most esteemed Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) at Weilach; Ludwich Stozmann, legitimate son of Philip Stozmann, farm administrator (steward) on the Kohlhoffin, Nassau; Eva Catharina, legitimate daughter of Samuel Heitzen, citizen in Stannweiler. The child was given the name: Johann Ludwig.

IMAGE: 0488294-00109 Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 104 Mikrofilm 437

It appears that the Stutzman’s family may be career farm administrators. Philip Stutzman is the administrator for another farm, the Kohlhoffin. This record also tells us that the name Ludwig or Lodowich as it’s known in the US came from the Stutzman family, not the Miller line directly.

Not only do we next find Lodowich, whose real name was Johann Ludwig, we also find a confirmation as to the real identity of Regina Loysa, aka Irene, aka Irene Charitas.

This record links Eva Catharina, daughter of Samuel Heitz to Michael Muller and the Stutzman families. Samuel Heitz was the brother of Irene Liesabetha (Irene Charitas) Heitz who married Michael Muller, (the first) who died in 1695 in Steinwenden. Yes, Irene Charitas was actually Irene Elisabetha Heitz, who was then known for some reason when she married in a church away from where she lived as Regina Loysa, then Loysa Regina, and then in yet another church in another village as Regina Elisabetha.

Irene Charitas Regina Loysa Elisabetha’s brother traveled all the way to Kallstadt to stand up as her grandchild was baptized. And thank goodness that he made that trip, almost 300 years ago, because it provides us with confirmation of the identify of Jacob Stutzman’s mother.

Johann Michael Muller (the second) is now listed as the farm administrator in his own right in this record.

We are fortunate enough to find one more record for Johann Michael Muller and his wife Suzanna that links him to his next destination.

Baptism: page 206; Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Thursday evening, the 15th of January 1722, J(ohann) Schumacher, cow herder for the Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) estate in W(eilach) and from his legitimately married wife, Anna Catharina, a young son was born and which on the 20th of January at Weilach was baptized. The godparents were: Hans Michael Muller, b(….) at Lam(b)sheim, son of Joh(ann) Jac(ob) Stozmann, Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) farm administrator (steward) at Weilach; Justina Margreth, legitimately wed wife of Master Joh(ann) Ja(cob) Schmiddt, citizen and shoemaker from here; Eva Barbara, legitimate daughter of Joh(ann) Conr(ad) Brül, laborer, and the local ziegelscheder? here, a Catholic. The child was given the name: Johann Mich(ael).

This last record connects Michael Muller with Jacob Stutzman once again, as well as tells us that he is now a Lambsheim resident.

Did these people ever stay put in one place?


Beginning in 1799, Johann Jacob Stutzman and his wife, Irene Charitas Regina Loysa Elisabetha (take your pick of names) lived on the estate Hofruine Weilach, owned by the Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) in Weilach, a member of the Leininger Counts, a noble family. Jacob Stutzman was a steward of the farm, as was Johan Michael Muller who co-administered the estate, and then apparently administered the estate.

In a 1982 article written in German by Otto Gödel about the Weilach Hof, a list of the administrators is given, as follows:

  • 1578 Lampert Ott
  • 1614 Jacob Min
  • 1651 Theobard Klein
  • 1669 Peter Georgens
  • 1684 Christ Ulrich (This name causes me pause, because Ulrich is one of my family names that we find with Muller both in Germany and in the US, and this is the first time I’ve seen it associated with a common location with the Miller line. However, Ulrich isn’t an somewhat uncommon German name.)
  • 1699 Hans Jacob Stutzmann
  • 1716 Hans Michael Muller
  • 1727 Johann Samuel Stutzmann also Mithofmann
  • 1769 Peter Becker and
  • 1785 Johannes Becker

This is interesting, because we know unquestionably that Michael Muller was in Lambsheim in 1721. Where was Jacob Stutzman afer 1716?

Michael Muller probably had only vague memories of living elsewhere. He would have been 4 when his mother remarried and 7 in 1799 when Jacob Stutzman became the farm administrator.

Michael clearly maintained ties with the family near Steinwenden, because he married Suzanna Agnes Berchtol in Ohmbach in 1714. They obviously lived there for a short time given that their first child was born there the following year, but shortly thereafter Michael and Suzanna would return to Weilach and join Jacob Stutzman as a co-administrator of the farm. At that time, Jacob Stutzman (Jr., now referred to as “the elder”) would have been about 38 years old. It occurs to me that Michael was only 14 years younger than his step-father, and he then was 14 years older than his half-brother, Jacob Stutzman (the third, referred to as “the younger”) – exactly half way between father and son. Michael may have been more close friends with his step-father than anything else.

Weilach was Michael’s childhood home, where he grew up with his much-beloved half-brother, Jacob Stutzman (the younger), and where he would begin raising his own family as well.

What do we know about Weilach?

First of all, it was very difficult to find today, becuase it’s in ruins. However, Tom did find these maps from about 1898 where Weilach is actually still shown.

Weilach and Kallstadt maps about 1898, above and below. Weilach is located about half way between Kallstadt and Bad Dürkheim.

Weilach was a farm first documeted in 1381 as Weilacher Hof and was in posession of the Leininger Counts. The area is notorious for wet pools and willow trees, and thereby received it’s name. Beginning in 1490, the estate was managed by a series of 10 tenants until 1790 when the farm was burned by a gang of robbers. The steward’s daughter hid in a kennel and recognized one of the miscreants, leading to justice. The farm was never rebuilt, the ruins remaining today in a mountainous area popular for hiking, marathon runs and bicycle racing.

A well was located in the middle of the yard. Opposite the house stood a shepherd’s house.

The wall remains of the ruined courtyard. That wall was extremely thick, so I suspect it was a form of fortification. I do wonder why the holes or indentations were present in the wall.

Here’s a YouTube video of the estate as it exists today, nestled in the forest.

My heart longs to visit, to walk there, to tread where Michael, his wife and his mother stood. I want to trace their footsteps 300 years later – to share their experience and absorb everything possible.

The area is very hilly, located on an outlier of the Haardt Mountains. This photo shows a view of the Upper Rhine Plain from west to east from a vineyard near Neustadt with Mannheim in the background. This is very similar to what Michael would have seen from the landmark hill close to Weilach.

By Myself (user Alex Ex) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Today, the old Wielacher Hof can be located by first finding the Peterskopf tower, also known as the Bismark tower. There’s a restaurant there, so finding this location shouldn’t be too difficult.

The Peterskopf tower hill lies 3 km northwest of Bad Dürkheim on the eastern edge of the Palatine Forest on the forest estate of the municipality of Kallstadt; the actual village being in the northeast, 4 km away. On the southeastern slope of the hill, 700 metres from the summit, are the ruins of the Weilach farmstead first mentioned in 1381. The River Isenach flows past the Peterskopf to the southwest before entering the town of Bad Dürkheim.

View from the Felsenberg-Berntal Nature Reserve looking southwest over Leistadt to the Peterskopf tower on top of the hill. The manoral farm where Jacob Stutzman was the administrator, raising his family, would have been on the other side of the hill, to the left.

Here’s a video of a beautiful fall walk near the tower and the view from the top of the tower. Another video here and here with amazing views of the countryside and the Rhine.

The tower is marked on the map below with Peterskopf.

Satellite view of the tower.

700 meters translates into 2296 feet, so the Hutte in der Weilach which is a small eatery seems to be located very close to the car park and the ruins themselves. The ruins (former farm) would have been located on a road.

I notice there is a crossroads there, and it looks like the ruins may have been nestled in vineyards, if that’s what the terracing and rows in the photo are. (Excuse me while I go get a glass of wine.)

Being young boys, rest assured that both Michael Muller (the second) and Jacob Stutzman (the younger) climbed that very hill and stood on top, surveying the Rhine River Valley and perhaps dreaming of one day whey they would float away on that distant, barely visible, Rhine river, beckoning them to embark on the adventure of their lives.

A few years later, that dream came true. But first, Michael Miller would go to Lambsheim.


In the three months after the April 1721 baptism of his son, Johann Ludwig, Johann Michael Mueller and his wife moved to Lambsheim, only about 12 miles distant, where they lived until they left for America in 1727.

The following snippet (#1371) documenting Michael Muller being from Weilach, living in Lambsheim, and leaving for America in 1727 is from this Muller-Familien site in German by Dr. Hermann Muller.

I can’t help but wonder why Michael moved to Lambsheim, because assuredly Jacob Stutzman wasn’t getting any younger and needed help on the farm. The actual estate records are confusing during this time. Perhaps a conflict arose or maybe Jacob Stutzman preferred working his own son who he probably assumed would follow him as the farm administrator.

Jacob Stutzman (the younger), Michael’s brother, now age 15, would have been living at home in Weilach. His half brother Michael moved a few miles away, so they would have kept in touch.

Let’s take a look at what we know about Michael‘s move to Lambsheim.

The city of Lambsheim is in the middle of the wine region, seen here in the distance, across the vineyards.

By The original uploader was Romantiker at German Wikipedia – Transferred from de.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0,

The middle of the village today. Churches are always someplace near the center of the old medieval villages.

Lambsheim was a fortified city, with the gatehouse still remaining.

Von Joachim Specht – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,

This former hunting lodge in Lambsheim was built in 1706, originally as a moated castle with gardens, so would have been new when Michael Miller lived here. He may have climbed those very steps. Today, this is the town hall!

Von Altera levatur – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,

You can see more historic and architectural photos here. I am utterly enchanted seeing buildings that I know my ancestors saw with their own eyes, maybe even walked in – connecting me to Michael and Suzanna in some small way through time and space.

An article in Pennsylvania Folklife in the Winter 1973-1974 issue tells us about Lambsheim during the time when Johann Michael Mueller would have lived there.

Lambsheim wouldn’t have looked much different in 1721 than it did when this map was created in 1672. You can see the city wall and gatehouse.

The history of Lambsheim includes an interesting nugget about religion. The town includes Reformed, Lutheran and Catholic families, along with a few Jewish families as well. After 1705, the Catholic and Reformed congregations shared a church building, a rather remarkable arrangement considering that religion had been such an contentious factor in the 30 Years War which had ended only a generation previously.

The town wasn’t large, but it included churches, schoolhouses, inns, bakehouses and more. Michael and Suzanne lived someplace on these few streets.

Looking at the town today, you can see the same map outline, with Marketstrasse the main east-west street and Hauptstrasse the main north-south.

The churches and steeple. I know Michael saw this, every single day, and certainly was inside this building, probably many times.

Gathering Place

The Ulrich, Berchtol, Miller and Stutzman families are all found in the Steinwenden, Krottelbach, Konken and Ohmbach area of Germany beginning in the 1680s when the Swiss migrated and began settling the German lands vacated and abandoned during the long 30 Years War. That’s an entire generation, and few families would be in a position or have the desire to return. The older generation was gone.

This entire driving route is about 17 miles and would take about 35 minutes today.

As we’ve seen, the Swiss/Germans tended to migrate quite a bit within Germany. With no generations deeply rooted, and still no ability to own land outright, there was no reason NOT to go elsewhere and try your hand. After a generation or two, that just seemed normal, I’m sure.

We already know that Jacob Stutzman came from Erlenbach im Simmental, Bern Canton, Switzerland. Many families in this region originated near Geneva, Switzerland. We also know that the Berchtol, Miller and Ulrich families were Swiss before becoming German, although the exact location of their roots has yet to be firmly established.

They all settled in the Konken/Krottelbach/Steinwenden region in Germany, but some of the next generation moved on. In this case, “on” seems to be Lambsheim where we once again find records involving these same families. In some cases, we know it’s the identical family, because we can actually connect the dots, but in others, we’re not so lucky. Lambsheim also seems to be where the Miller family connects with the Ulrich line.

The Pennsylvania Folklife article provides interesting information about some of the Lambsheim residents who immigrated.

In 1727, Jacob Stutzman, Michael Miller, Jacob Bauman, Johannes Ullerich, Christian Ullerich and Peter Rool (Ruhl) arrived in Philadelphia on October 2, on the ship “Adventure.” One Christ Ulrich held the lease on the Weilach estate from 1784 to 1799, just previous to Jacob Stutzman. Is this the same line?

Also immigrating at a later date from Lambsheim was one Maria Katharina Bechtold, widow of Zacharias Bechtold, son of Hans Stephan Bechtold and Anna Elisabetha. Is Bechtold the same as Berchtol? I don’t know. The author seems to think so and provides additional information about Hennrich Bechdolt from Lambsheim arriving as well, in 1738.

Michael Muller is mentioned as having been born at Steinweiler in the Oberant Lautern. When he became a citizen in Lambsheim in 1721, it was stated that he was formerly on the farm property at Weilach which belonged to the counts of Leiningen. There is no question about this being the same Michael Muller.

We don’t know if or how Peter Ruhl was related to the Miller/Stutzman clan, but he too was on the ship “Adventure” with the Lambsheim contingent in 1727. His entry in Lambsheim is interesting because it says that he paid his emigration tax. He was a wineloader and nightwatchman who was a nonhereditary tenant on a farm.

I wonder how much emigration tax cost, and if it had to be paid for every person, or just for the head of household or males of a certain age. Was it meant to dissuade migration, or just one more way to make a few last dollars off of someone who was leaving anyway?

Johannes Ulrich became a Lambsheim citizen on November 10, 1721, a few months after Michael Muller, and one Johannes Ulrich arrived on the same ship with the Miller/Stutzman group. So did Christian Ulrich.


I’ve never been clear on when or where Johann Michel Muller and Johann Jacob Stutzman became pietist. They were both very clearly Brethren in the US, documented in both of their family histories along with the Brethren history. Their ancestors were Swiss, then Lutheran or Reformed, but in Europe, not even a hint of Pietism. However, on this side of the Atlantic by 1738 for Stutzman and 1744 for Miller, we know they were pietists, but we don’t know exactly when or how that happened.

I do believe we may have found at least part of the secret, in Lambsheim.

Lambsheim seemed to have a mesmerizing draw in the person of charismatic John Philipp Boehm, born in 1683, a Lambsheim resident who had been an innkeeper prior to becoming a teacher and then a clergyman in the Reformed church. Not without controversy, he is considered the father of the Reformed Church in America.

According to the Pennsylvania Folklife article, in 1702, several men in Lambsheim were accused of pietism, including Matthaus Baumann, another man who would immigrate. Baumann and several followers were convicted in 1706 and sentenced on a subsistence of bread and water to clean out the town ditches (think raw sewage including human and animal waste), at which time most of them took the oath of allegiance. Bauman however, a radical pietist, testified that he had no written confession and that he believed in God alone, with whom he had spoken and who had sent him to call people to repent. Making matters worse, he declared that the clergy of the state churches preached false doctrine.

Many of the men who refused to take the oath were subsequently banished from the town and province in 1709, 1714 and 1719. This was the beginning of the Lambsheim immigration to America. Eventually 1133 people left between 1832 and 1877, and clearly more left between 1709 and 1832. That’s a very large number for a small village, even though the exodus took place over more than a century. It tells us that there are probably a lot of people in the US today descended from Lambsheim.

Baumann was one of the first to leave in 1714, settling in Berks County, PA, where many others would follow and settle in the Oley Valley among other Germans.

Skabat169 – Own work This panoramic image was created with Autostitch

In 1742, both Michael Miller and Jacob Stutzman filed for land grants on the same day in Berks County.

I wonder what the impetus was for leaving Lambsheim in 1727. Jacob Stutzman (the younger) would just have been coming of age. Jacob, the youngest child, of Irene Charitas Regina Loysa Elisabetha was leaving with her oldest child, Michael Muller. Clearly, Irene/Regina knew unquestionably that she would never see them again in her lifetime. She had already buried at least 5 children and now her youngest and oldest were leaving too, by choice.

Irene/Regina was no spring chicken either. In 1727, she would have been about 63, a ripe old age in that time in Germany. I can’t help but wonder if something happened in 1721 when Michael Muller moved to Lambsheim, the same rift that would allow him to leave in1727, taking his brother with him.

Both of those men knew they would never see their mother or Jacob Stutzman again.

On to America!

In 1727, when Johann Michael Muller arrived in Philadelphia, now age 35, his previous place of residence was listed as Lambsheim, Pfalz, Bavaria. He was a resident in Lambsheim from 1721-1727 and became a citizen in Lambsheim on June 4, 1721, listed as formerly residing on the grafl. Leining Hofgut at Weilach. The ship’s manifest reports his birth as Steinweiler Oberamt Lautern and his arrival on October 2, 1727 on the ship “Adventure.”

This means that Michael and Suzanna likely had children born in 1723, 1725 and perhaps 1727 in Lambshein. Unfortunately, Lambsheim church records for this timeframe no longer exist. Nothing prior to 1800.

We know positively that Philip Jacob Miller, son of Michael Miller and Susanna Berchtol, was born about 1726 and there are other possible children as well.

What else do the Kallstadt records tell us?


Page 395; Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Tuesday, the 18th of February 1721, following the announcement of 3 banns were officially married in church: The shoemaker, Johann Adam Schmidt, legitimate son of the master shoemaker and citizen, Johann Jacob Schmidt with Maria Catharina, legitimate only daughter of Johann Jacob Stotzmann, the farm administrator for the Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) at Weilach.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 201 Mikrofilm 437

Johann Adam Schmidt would probably assist his father-in-law, Jacob Stutzman (the elder,) as a farm administrator. In 1721, Jacob is still listed as the administrator of the farm, so the records indicating that Michael Miller took over in 1716 are incorrect. It appears they were co-administrators until Michael moved to Lambsheim.


Tuesday morning at 4 a.m. on the 22nd of April 1721 was born to Tobias Schragen, citizen here, a young son from his legitimate wife, Gertraud. On Friday the 25th of April he was baptized. Godparents: Johann Jacob Stotzman, steward for the Lord of the Manor at Weilach; Anna Margretha, legitimate wife of Johannis (Johann Christian) Stotzmann from Asselheim. The child was given the name: Johannes Jacobus.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 104 Mikrofilm 437


Thursday evening [“24 October” added to the right] at about 8 to 9, a young daughter was born to master shoemaker Johann Adam Schmidt, now living on the Weilach manor with his father-in-law Stotzmann, with his lawfully wed wife Maria Catharina, which was baptized on the manor on the 27th, 19th Sunday after Trinity. Godparents were: Master Johann Jacob Schmidt, citizen and shoemaker from here, grandfather of the child, Anna Regina, lawfully wed wife of Johann Jacob Stotzmann, steward for the lord of the manor, grandmother of the child, who gave the child the name Johanna Regina.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 115 Mikrofilm 437

Irene Charitas Regina Loysa Elisabetha is beginning to see her grandchilden born, being their godmother and witnessing their baptisms.


Thursday, the 9th of October 1727 was born to Johann Samuel Stotzmann, steward for the Lord of the Manor at Weilacher Hof and his legitimate wife, Anna Maria, a young daughter, who was baptized on the 12th, 18th Sunday after Trinity at the Weilacher Hof. The godparents were: Johann Jacob Stotzmann, steward at the manor with his legitimate wife Regina Elisabetha; Anna Elisabetha, legitimate wife of Joh(ann) Adam Walter, steward for the Lord of the Manor in Durckh[eim]. The child was named: Regina Elisabetha.

Johann Adam Walter was also a godfather. (Note added in the row below.)

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 116 Mikrofilm 437


Page 515 of the Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Laetare Sunday, the 27th of March 1729 died in Weilach as a result of consumption, Anna Regina, lawfully wed wife of Johann Jacob Stotzmann, farm administrator (steward) of the esteemed Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor). Aged 75 years and was buried at Callstadt (Kallstadt) with the ringing of (church bells); hymns and a funeral sermon.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 261 Mikrofilm 437

Clearly, as late at 1729, Jacob Stutzman is stil the farm administrator at Weilach.

If Regina was 75 years old, she was born in 1654, a decade before I thought possible, given that Jacob Stutzman, her husband, was born in 1673/6, making her 22 years older than him when they married. He was age 20 according to his birth record. This would also mean that by 1706 when her son Johann Jacob Stutzman Jr. was born that she would have been 52. That’s certainly not unheard of, but it’s not exactly normal either. Ages given at death are often incorrect. I don’t exactly know what to think about this informatoin.

Irene/Regina is probably buried in the Kallstadt churchyard, carried outside after her sermon. I can hear those churchbells ringing to celebrate her life.

Her first 5 children died young. Her only other Muller child, plus her youngest Stutzman child had departed for America two years before. Irene/Regina still had six children to attend her funeral, her husband and several grandchildren. She may have had surviving siblings as well, along with nieces and nephews. I’m sure the church was packed to the gills that day!

You can view additional photos of Kallstadt here.

I find it unusual that Johann Michael Muller left Germany before his mother passed away. He was her oldest living child. She died just 2 years later. News must surely have reached him by letter, many months later, if ever. Of course, that news would have meant as much to Jacob Stutzman as Michael Muller, then Miller, as she was his mother as well.

The next year, their brother, Samuel, also the farm administrator died too, a few months shy of his 28th birthday, joining his mother in the churchyard. I can’t help but wonder why. Was he injured on the farm?


Page 515 Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Saturday, the 4th of February 1730 in the evening died: Johann Samuel (Stutz)mann, son of the citizen and farm administrator for the count of Leiningen-Hardenburg. His age 27 years, 8 months and was buried on Monday the 6th of February in Callstadt (Kallstadt).

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 261 Mikrofilm 437


Page 401; Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Tuesday, the 12th of July 1730, Johann Jacob Stotzmann, farm administrator (steward) for the most gracious Herrschaft (Lord of the Manor) at Weilach with Louysa, the surviving widow of master baker and local juror, Tobias Lunge from here after receiving dispensation from …. the mourning period……………

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 204 Mikrofilm 437

When you’re as old as Jacob Stutzman, if you don’t waive the mourning period and just pay the fee, you just might not live long enough to marry. I don’t know how long that mourning period was supposed to last, but he waited 16 months. Neither Tom nor Chris are familiar with the custom of a fee to waive the mourning period. Neither had even hard of a mourning period? Was the purpose to be sure a merry widow didn’t remarry the next week, or was this a fundraising opportunity for the church?

Jacob is still the farm administrator.

Life marched on with more births to the Stutzman children.


Page 250; Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

The 27th of October in the afternoon was born to Johann Adam Schmitt and his lawfully wed wife from here, Maria Catharina nee Stutzmann(in) a daughter and on the 31st of the same (month) was baptized. The godparents were: Jacob Stutzmann and his lawfully wed wife, Louisa Margaretha. The child received the name Louisa Margaretha.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 127 Mikrofilm 437


Page 257; Kallstadt Evangelische Kirche, Bavaria

Monday, the 4th of February 1737 between 9-10 a.m. was born to Adam Schmitt, local citizen and his wife, Maria Catharina, a son, who was baptized on the 6th [Iof February. The godparents: Jacob Stutzmann, farm administrator (steward) at Weilach with his legitimately wed wife, Louisa Margaretha, the child’s grandparents on the mother’s side. The child was named: Jacob.

Note added:

“During the erection of the church building on 17th of June 1772 he fell down and died.”

I’m presuming here that the note pertains to Jacob who would have been age 35 at that time. I wonder if “fell down” meant from the top.

Jacob is still the farm administrator and is now in his 60s.

Zentralarchiv der evangelischen Kirche der Pfalz > Bad Dürkheim > Kallstadt > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Konfirmationen, Kommunikanten, Sonstiges 1656-1739, Bild 130 Mikrofilm 437 IMAGE: 0247601-00355


6 September 1739 in Friedelsheim-Gonnheim Ev. Ref. Kirche

On the 6th of September 1739 was buried, Jacob Stutzmann, his age 66 years.

Jacob Stutzman Sr. lived for another 9 years after his remarriage. Sometime between February 1737 and his death in September of 1739, if we are to judge by where his death is recorded, he retired from farm administration. Friedelsheim is about 10 kilometers from Weilach.

Someone would have written the sad news to both men in a letter which would have arrived in Pennsylvania weeks or months later, perhaps not until the spring or early summer of 1740.

The story of Michael Mueller (the second) and Jacob Stutzman (the younger) doesn’t end with the death of their mother and the man who raised both his biological son and step-son.

Their bond would continue in America for the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania

On October 2, 1742, Michael and Jacob both obtained land warrants for 100 acres each on Saucony Creek, Maxatawney, Philadelphia County, PA, now Berks County. I do wonder if they bought that land with their inheritance from Jacob Stutzman.

This is now Berks County, shown below, within about 5 miles of Allentown, PA.

Maxatawny Township is shown here, with Saucony Creek running through the middle of Kutztown.

The warrant information for Michael Miller says that he vacated this land. I wonder why.

Michael also applied to patent 200 acres in the same location on June 11, 1734, which he also vacated.

The survey for this land can be found in book A84, page 144, although it provides exactly no additional information.

Jacob Stutzman applied for two claims of 100 acres each in 1742 on the same day as Michael entered his second claim. Jacob also abandoned one claim.

According to the Pennsylvania State Archives, one of Jacob Stutzman’s warrants was vacated and replaced by a warrant to Michael Christman (See Berks County Warrant Register, Surnames beginning with “C”, warrant no. 28). The other warrant simply refers to the vacated warrant (no. 128). No further action appears to have been taken with the second warrant. This is rather disappointing, because I was hoping to be able to pinpoint the location of these men during a someone fuzzy time.

I wonder if either man ever actually lived on this land. We found Michael Miller in Chester County for some time, then he begins paying taxes in York County by 1744, involved with the Ulrich group who helped found the Little Conewago Brethren Church. At some point, Stephen Ulrich sold his original Lancaster, then York County land to Jacob Stutzman, but that deed was never recorded. The only way we know about it is due to a transaction another generation later.

In York County, we do find Lodowick Miller who surveyed 250 acres at Mt. Joy and received the warrant on March 22, 1749. That survey wasn’t returned until May of 1864 in his name. No, that’s not a typo.

Was this Ludwig Miller, son of Johann Michael Miller/Muller, born in April 5, 1721 in Kallstadt. He would have been 28 in 1749, so it’s certainly possible. Note that there is also a Lodowick Solomon Miller who warrants York County land in 1769, after our Lodowich is in Maryland. Unfortunately, Miller is a very common surname and the only way we know the Michael Miller in Philadelphia (then Berks) County is our Michael is because Jacob Stutzman registered land at the same time. The chances of those two names appearing together on the same day in the same place, but not being those two men is vanishingly small.

By 1745, this group was buying land across the border in Washington, now Frederick County, Maryland and by 1752 the entire congregation had moved to escape ongoing border wars in that part of Pennsylvania.

This group of German Brethren families established the foundation for the next many generations of Brethren as they moved across the frontiers. Many of these families remain Brethren to this day.

What About DNA?

You might have noticed only the passing mention of genetics up until now.

We have three types of DNA that we can utilize.

  • First, Y DNA, passed only from father to son, is entirely irrelevant to this mystery, because we already know that Johann Michael Muller and Johann Jacob Stutzman don’t share a common paternal line.
  • Second, mitochondrial DNA descended from Irene indeed could under some circumstances be relevant, but because mitochondrial DNA is passed from a mother to all of her children, with only females passing it on, it’s not useful in confirming that Michael Miller and Jacob Stutzman were half siblings. Neither man passed mitochondrial DNA to his children, so that option is off the table.

Mitochondrial would be very interesting if we could find someone today who descends from Irene/Regina through all females to the current generation, which can be male. That would tell us a great deal about Irene/Regina, but not whether Michael and Jacob were half siblings, unless we dug them up, of course. (PS – No, we really can’t because we don’t know where they are buried.)

  • Third, autosomal DNA is inherited by children from both parents – half from each parent. Each parents’ autosomal DNA is effectively halved in each generation, so he child only received part of the DNA of each parent. The child may not receive exactly 50% of the DNA of each ancestor in each generation, but on the average, the following grid shows how much of each ancestor’s DNA you carry back 7 generations in time.

Compare this chart to the pedigree below that shows my descent from Irene:

  • The first issue we have is that the relationship begins as a half-sibling, which means that Jacob and Michael only shared half as much common DNA as full siblings would share.
  • The second problem is that we are two generations beyond the 7th generation where the average amount of DNA drops below 1%. At 9 generations to a common ancestral couple, we would expect to see slightly less than .2%, and with half siblings to begin, that has now dropped to .09%. In other words, to have a large enough piece of common DNA after this many generations beginning with half siblings, we’d have to be extremely lucky several times over. Not impossible, but also not common.
  • The third challenge is that on my side, we have an unknown wife. Magdalena, married to Philip Jacob Miller, sometime around 1751 in either Pennsylvania or about the time they moved to Maryland. Regardless, in true Brethren fashion, the marriage is not recorded. They may have been good Brethren, avoiding any government at all, but those practices drive genealogists nuts!
  • The fourth challenge is that we don’t know who Jacob Stutzman’s wife was, so for all we know, Jacob’s wife and Philip Jacob Muller’s wife could have been sisters or otherwise related. It was, after all, a small Brethren community.

One thing we do know beyond a doubt is that Philip Jacob Miller’s wife, Magdalena would be Brethren, or at least pietist, and so would Jacob’s. So, perhaps Mennonite. Otherwise, the couples would have been excommunicated from the church.

Therefore, it’s certainly possible that Magdalena’s lineage is found in Jacob Stutzman’s descendants, or Jacob’s wife’s line in Philip Jacob Millers descendants, or both. At that early date, about 1750, the number of Brethren families in the Little Conewago congregation was quite small and records were very poorly kept, if at all.

Jacob Stutzman would have married someplace in the US after arrival, but that’s about all we know. His wife might not have been Brethren when he married her, because we don’t know for sure when Jacob became Brethren.

Furthermore, because the Brethren are so closely aligned, eschewing those not of the Brethren faith, they tended to migrate together, as displaced Swiss to Germany, as Germans to the colonies and later, as Brethren marching across the frontiers to new lands. Endogamous groups are defined by intermarriage for many generations, and we certainly see that phenomenon here.

Therefore, if the descendants of Jacob Stutzman had DNA matches to the descendants of Johann Michael Muller/Miller, we would have no way to determine if that match was because of Irene’s contribution, or because the descendants are related through an unknown ancestral line.

Unless by some miracle we can identify both Jacob’s wife and Magdalena’s surname and family, we will never be able to utilize autosomal DNA effectively, with one possible exception. If we can find descendants of Irene’s siblings or family members not descended through Irene, and they triangulate to Irene’s descendants, that too would suffice. Never say never. The stars might align and I might just win the genetic genealogy lottery.

After all, Tom and Chris have pretty much already done the impossible, so why not hope for yet another miracle!

  • If you descend from Jacob Stutzman, but have NO descent from the Miller, Berchtol or Ulrich lines, please let me know. If your DNA matches with a Miller descendant, we might be able to tentatively identify a few segments of Irene/Regina’s DNA, even yet today.
  • If you descend from Regina through one of her Stutzman daughters through all females to the current generation, which can be male, you carry her mitochondrial DNA. I have a DNA testing scholarship for you.
  • I would also encourage any male Stutzman who carries the surname to take the Y DNA test at Family Tree DNA. Additionally for Y test takers, and any other descendants of either gender, please take the Family Finder autosomal DNA test at Family Tree DNA. Then, join the Stutzman DNA project as well as the Miller-Brethren project so you can compare your results to known descendants to see if your DNA matches. Once a project member, you can compare directly to other known descendants within the project.

Descendants of Johann Michael Muller/Miller are encouraged to join as well. After all, thanks to Irene Charitas Loysa Regina Elisabetha, the Millers and the Stutzmans in the US are finally proven to be related by blood.


It was complicated, and frustrating, but it’s so worthwhile now.


I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Tom who has been working on the Stutsman Saga now for at least two years. Also to Chris who joined our little team in the past year. Tom suggests that Bud Martin deserves the credit for his work on the early Peter Stutzman lineage including the two sons, Hans and Hans Jacob. Tom adds that the superb work of Klaus Dufner and Uwe Porten were tremendously important in sorting through the Stutzman generations. I would like to add that there is a great deal of new information here for the Stutzman cousins, even those not related through Irene Charitas Regina Loysa Elizabetha, or whatever her name really was.

Related Articles

This article provides information not included in the following articles, and corrects some earlier information – for example, the Schlosser family is NOT an ancestor to the Johann Michael Muller/Miller line. However, all of these articles contain relevant historical information pertaining to the area in Germany where all of these families lived before immigration. They also explain how these mistakes arose. I’m hopeful thta leaving the information will prevent it from happening again and allow future researchers to step through the process.

The stories of the individuals involved are contained in their own biographies, listed below:



Irene Charitas/Schlosser/Heitz


Believe it or not, we aren’t yet finished with this series. I’ll be writing about Irene Heitz’s parents, Michael Muller (the first)’s father and the Ulrich family soon.



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Cherokee Ancestry – The Most Persistent Native American Family Legend

Cól-lee, a Band Chief, painted at Fort Gibson in 1834 by George Catlin who refers to the subject as Jol-lee in Letters and Notes. Also known as John Jolly who died in 1838.

“An aged and dignified chief. … This man … as well as a very great proportion of the Cherokee population, has a mixture of red and white blood in his veins, of which, in this instance, the first seems decidedly to predominate” (Letters and Notes, vol. 2, p. 119, pl. 217).

Does Your Family Have a Cherokee Story?

It seems that just about every family with a lineage east of the Mississippi before about 1800 has a Cherokee Indian ancestor – at least according to oral history passed down in the family. I certainly did, even though the person in my tree who was supposed to be Native was subsequently proven to have no Native ancestry. In that process, I did, however, find different lines that have been proven to be Native using genealogical records along with mitochondrial and Y DNA testing.

Does your family have a “Cherokee story”? Has DNA testing proven or disproven your family lore? Have you been disappointed by an ethnicity test? Have you had any luck proving that lineage with traditional genealogical research? Many people are disappointed that their family has claimed Cherokee heritage, sometimes for generations, but they have been unable to corroborate that information by either genetic or traditional research methods.

There are lots of reasons this might happen, including the possibility that your ancestors weren’t Native. But that’s not the only reason. A recent article in Slate is one of the best I’ve read that presents the reasons without undue drama or prejudice.

Before you read the article, I want to make four things crystal clear:

  • Having no discernable Native DNA in ethnicity tests does NOT mean you DON’T have a Native ancestor. It only means that you need to do traditional genealogy to find that ancestor, combined with Y and mtDNA testing of relevant family lineages. Y and mtDNA is the only way to prove or disprove who in your tree was Native other than through genealogy research, unless that Native ancestor was in a very recent generation.
  • Showing small percentages of Native DNA in ethnicity tests does NOT mean you DO have a Native ancestor. Small amounts can be noise or can be residual from a common Asian population source. For example, I have seen German people with as much as 3% Native American DNA, which clearly isn’t. You need more evidence before confirming Native ancestry.
  • Without additional research, you cannot prove your lineage to a tribe using DNA – no matter what any company tells you, although Y and mitochondrial DNA matching may lend important clues. Family Tree DNA is the only testing company that combines Y and mitochondrial testing, matching and maps.
  • No matter how much Native DNA you have, only a tribe can tell you how to qualify for their membership – and each tribe’s rules differ. You’ll need to contact the tribe directly for that information. DNA identified as Native through DNA testing for genealogy (alone) will not qualify you for tribal membership in any federally US recognized tribe.

For a comprehensive list of resources, please refer to Native American DNA Resources.

Now, for the Slate article:
Why Do So Many Americans Think They Have Cherokee Blood?




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World Families Network, Ysearch and Mitosearch Bite the Dust – Thanks So Much GDPR

It’s a sad month.

The core foundation of genetic genealogy is sharing.

GDPR is NOT about sharing easily, and the GDPR hoops are onerous, to be charitable. I wrote about GDPR in the articles GDPR – It’s a Train and It’s a Comin’ and Common Sense and GDPR.

One might say GDPR is at cross purposes with genealogy. It probably wasn’t intended that way, but so far, we’ve lost several resources due to GDPR, and it’s still not here yet.

Add to the death list World Families Network, Ysearch and Mitosearch.

The cost of GDPR compliance, necessary attorney fees along with with the risk of the horrific fines of up to 4 million Euro is just too much for a small business or a non-profit. Additionally, non-EU businesses are required to retain a European Representative company that agrees to absorb some level of the risk for non-compliance. Try finding a company to do that. Not to mention the pain-in-the-butt-factor of the hoops that they would have to jump through if so much as one person complained. Bottom line – not worth it.

Thanks so much GDPR.

World Families Network

Terry Barton, founder of World Families Network, a Y DNA project management company that consists primarily of Terry and his wife, sent an e-mail to the administrators of the projects they host saying that WFN is retiring and shutting down on May 23rd, two days before the GDPR date.

Here’s part of the e-mail to WFN administrators from Terry:

We will delete the project sections of the WorldFamilies site on May 23, 2018, so please copy any information that you wish to save. You may wish to make a copy of your Home, Results, Patriarch, Discussion or other project pages. We can provide an empty excel spread sheet with columns preset to copy/paste your results page on request. For the other pages, you may want to copy/paste your info into a Word document. (Note: we won’t be able to “rescue” you if you miss the deadline, so please don’t wait too long.)

The projects hosted at World Families Network (WFN) will revert to their project pages at Family Tree DNA, so all is not lost, BUT, the information on the Patriarch’s pages as well as some of the information on the actual DNA results pages at WFN does not come directly from Family Tree DNA. Some WFN sites are not fed from the Family Tree DNA project pages at all, so fields like “Earliest Ancestor” at WFN may be blank at Family Tree DNA. That, of course, can be remedied, but won’t happen automatically.

Many of the projects managed by WFN were abandoned, meaning they have no administrator. Some have administrators that preferred the WFN format to the Family Tree DNA format. One of the most popular features was the Patriarchs page where lineages of men with the project surname were listed. This feature was put in place before trees were available at Family Tree DNA – but the Patriarchs format serves as a one-glance resource and can be connected to the kit numbers on the DNA pages.

Please, please, please do two things:

  • Visit the WFN surname links here for projects and scan the projects shown with “project site,” meaning they are WFN hosted, to see if any include your ancestral surnames. If SO, visit that WFN project site by clicking the link and record any information relevant to your family.

  • Consider adopting projects relevant to your surname. Most of these projects will need to be spruced up at Family Tree DNA, meaning they will need to be grouped and the Patriarch’s page will need to be copied onto one of the several available project pages at Family Tree DNA. Many of these projects are small and you can easily preserve information. Terry provides a list of orphaned projects here, but I don’t know if it’s current. I would reach out to Family Tree DNA at about any project listed as having a project site at WFN. Some projects have an administrator listed, but they are no longer active.

For project administrators considering a private website, be aware per the GDPR requirements that you will constantly have to monitor the privacy settings at Family Tree DNA and assure that you are not displaying information for anyone who has selected, or changed their project setting from public to “project only.” Family Tree DNA automatically removes the project members data from a public display when they change settings or leave projects.

Ysearch and Mitosearch

On May 10th, on their Forum, a Family Tree DNA representative announced that Ysearch and Mitosearch will be shut down by month end. These databases were established in 2003 by Family Tree DNA for free, open sharing.

While this announcement doesn’t state that it’s because of GDPR, that correlation probably isn’t coincidence.

These two data bases have been on life support for some time now. They have been less immediately useful since other testing companies stopped Y and mitochondrial DNA testing, meaning that you could see all of your new matches at Family Tree DNA.

One of their biggest benefits, even for Family Tree DNA customers, was that these were the two databases where everyone could compare actual marker values, not just see if they matched and genetic distance.

Unfortunately, Ysearch and Mitosearch were the only locations left for people who uploaded from those now-defunct databases. Of the 219,410 records in the Ysearch database, 25,521 are from sources other than Family Tree DNA.

Originally, there were four public databases. The other two have been gone for some time, with these being the last two resources to go. This is truly a tragedy for the genetic genealogy community, because unlike the WFN departure where the projects are still available at Family Tree DNA – there is no alternative resource to Ysearch and Mitosearch. Gone is gone – especially for the 25,000+ results archived there from companies that are also gone meaning Relative Genetics, Oxford Ancestors, Ancestry’s now defunct Y DNA, Sorenson and others.

Recently, Family Tree DNA fixed the captcha issue, but the sites are still not fully functional. I tried to retrieve information by searching by surname at Ysearch, and the search failed with an error. I don’t know if the problem now is the actual data base or the fact that the site is overwhelmed by people trying to do exactly what I was trying to do.

As someone in the Family Tree DNA forum thread said:
“GDPR: The gift from Europe that just keeps on giving.”

Thank You

As sad as I am to see both of these resources go, I want to publicly thank Terry and Marilyn Barton for their 14 years of service to the genetic genealogy community and wish them well in their retirement. Hopefully they will have time to solve their own genealogy mysteries now.

I also want to thank Family Tree DNA for establishing both Ysearch and Mitosearch, and maintaining these sites as long as they have. Few companies would have established a platform for their customers to compare results with their competitors’ products which speaks to their early and ongoing commitment to genealogy.



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Barbara Jean Ferverda (1922-2006) and Her “Suitcase of Life” – 52 Ancestors #193

It’s Mother’s Day, of course. Mother’s Day falls within a week or so of the anniversary of mother’s passing. The year she passed away, I spent Mother’s Day cleaning out her apartment and moving the furniture I was keeping, along with several boxes, home, in a rented truck. Clearly, that was one of the most miserable Mother’s Days ever. Talk about a tough day.

After Mom passed away, as I was cleaning out her closet, I found her old dancing suitcase, the handle cracked with age and hundreds of performances. Mom lived out of this suitcase for years, her ever-present companion.

The metal latches were worn smooth with her fingers, packing and unpacking costumes across the country, needles and pins still clinging to the inside for quick fixes. That sojourning suitcase with all of its secrets, now “retired” and packed full of “stuff” that she had saved for me.

Thanks Mom. Such a wonderful gift.

The Suitcase of Life

Mom called it her “suitcase of life” and after I opened the suitcase, on top, greeting me was a note written on an envelope in her handwriting.

How my heart ached for my mother’s suffering when I saw that.  Had I know about this a few days sooner, perhaps I could have given her some sort of assurance or comfort.

A few days, you ask? A story was unfolding, even as she died, a tragedy that reached back some 65 years.

The first thing that struck me was the apologetic timbre of the note, along with the fact that it was incredibly sad that she felt her life was in any way “bad.”

Mom’s life was difficult. She was an accidental pioneer.

No, her life wasn’t all bad – in fact, it wasn’t’ “bad” at all, but it was anything but easy. She was a soul placed on this earth before her time – seldom in sync with the society and location in which she found herself living, trying to survive, at the time.

Mom often endured criticism for both her own choices and circumstances that dragged her along, over which she had no control. Sometimes when you’re marching on life’s road, the only way is forward, no matter where it leads.

I knew that somehow this gift was a combination treasure chest and Pandora’s box.

What treasures did she leave?

There were certainly some surprises, let me tell you! Things I never suspected. Things I suspected and could now confirm. I’m just as sure that there are secrets I’ll never know – that she took to her grave with her. Secrets too personal, or painful, to leave behind for scrutiny.

One of the best gifts was a treasure trove of photos, with at least a few from her childhood. Let’s start there.

Baby Barbara Jean

In many ways, my mother, Barbara Jean Ferverda, was typical for the time and place in which she was born. The tiny town of Silver Lake, Indiana in 1922 was a conservative Brethren crossroads community in Kosciusko County, Indiana with far more horses than cars. The “town” was all of three blocks wide and about as long, streets were dirt, and a cornfield grew beside their house.

Notice the horse and buggy in the upper left hand side of the photo.

Her parents, Edith Barbara Lore and John Whitney Ferverda owned the last house at the edge of town – the only home they ever owned and where Mom lived her entire life before leaving entirely.

Edith, third from right in front, worked at the local chicken hatchery as a bookkeeper until sometime after 1940.

A working wife was highly unusual and not well accepted. John was the stationmaster at the railroad depot, beginning in 1910, within sight of the house.

That was, until John bought a hardware store in 1916 and then apparently sold the business about 1922. The family oral history says that he went bankrupt during the Depression. I’m not sure which is true, or perhaps some combination of both.

One way or another, by 1930, John had lost the hardware store and sold tractors and trucks at the Ford dealer until no one could afford to purchase tractors and trucks anymore.

Mom remembers that when she walked the 3 or 4 blocks to school as a child, she would go another half block beyond the turn to go to school and ask her father for a nickel for a candy bar. Then, she walked another half block where she would promptly purchase a Hershey bar at the drug store on the corner, beside what used to be her father’s hardware store. Her mother wouldn’t have approved of the candy, but her dad just pretended not to notice. She loved Hershey bars literally until her dying day.

By the 1940 census, the family raised chickens and had a large garden along with fruit trees and berry bushes – which was all that stood between them and hunger during the Depression years. John listed himself as a chicken and fruit farmer.

Mother cleaned chickens and was paid a nickel for each one she cleaned. She hated cleaning chicken as long as she lived – but during the Depression, everyone did anything and everything they could to contribute to the common good.

In some ways, mother was very different from the other children as she grew up. Aside from having a working mother, the major difference being that contrary to her family’s Brethren background, mother danced. You can bet that was the talk of the town – but it didn’t happen in quite the way you might imagine.

Mother’s life seems to have been divided into compartments or chapters, and in many cases, she did her best not to let those compartments intrude into each other. So, I’ll tell her story the same way she lived her life – in sections – starting with life in Silver Lake.

Early Pictures

Mom with her mother in 1923 where Mom looks to be maybe 3 months old or so. She was oh so cute. I’d love to hold and snuggle that baby. Especially today – Mother’s Day.

Mom’s maternal grandmother, Nora Kirsch Lore McCormick, James Martin on trike, her brother Lore Ferverda and Mom in February 1923.

What is it about my family and pixie haircuts for the girls? If Mom hadn’t been wearing a dress combined with a name on the photo, she would look like a little boy in this picture taken in September 1925.

Mom was 2 years and 9 months old in her first portrait.

Photography in the 1920s was very much a luxury. Cameras and film were both rare and expensive. Therefore, we have very few photos of Mom before she began dancing.

This picture, where Mom REALLY looks like a boy, was taken at Tridle’s, her babysitter’s house, playing with or feeding the chickens.

Mom looked every bit as unhappy with her bangs cut to her hairline as I was a generation later when Mom gave me the EXACT same haircut. I think this was an outgrowth of conservative frugality when no one was about to waste money having a child’s hair cut when you could do it easily at home. Mistakes? Don’t worry – they grow out!

One thing that struck me about these photos is that Mom was blonde as a baby. I never knew her as anything but a brunette, until age lightened her hair once again.

Mother had an older brother, seven years her senior, Harold Lore Ferverda, known as Lore, sporting his new bicycle in the photo below.

This series of 3 photos looks to have been taken at the same time. In the photo below, Mom looks to have been crying. Older brothers will do that to you, just saying…

Mom always loved dogs, and Lore probably told her the dog didn’t like her or some other “brotherly” thing meant to irritate his baby sister. It obviously worked.

If Mom looked unhappy above, she looks smug as a bug in a rug below, with her brother, center, and cousin, James Martin at right.

In the photo below, Mom is in front of the house where she grew up in Silver Lake.

It’s somehow prophetic that Mom’s feet are front and center in this photo, because one way or another, they were her focus for the rest of her life. On the day she had the massive stroke, we found her, having crawled somehow into the closet, wearing her dress shoes and little else. Priorities!

Mom with an unnamed friend, but one I spotted in several photos. Her socks are rolled to her ankles. It looks like a warm day and the girls probably got hot.

In the next photo, on a much smaller bicycle, Mom looks to have been 7 or 8. The house on the right is the side of the Ferverda home where Mom grew up and her parents lived for more than 40 years – maybe as long as 50 years. I was about 6 years old the last time I was in that house, but I remember it vividly.

The double set of windows beside my Mom to the right was the music room where the piano lived and my grandmother would play. The floor was hardwood, so dance practice and lessons could easily take place. My grandmother died when I was 4, but I remember her at the piano and the cactus in pots those windows. I managed to get tiny cactus quills in my hand and they burned like fire. The music room was joyful, filled with singing and fun. Well, except for those evil cactus.

School Pictures

The schoolhouse in Silver Lake included students of all ages, so class pictures were really more like school pictures, meaning multiple ages in each photo. In later years, there were enough students to have several classrooms.

Thankfully, tucked into Mom’s “suitcase of life” were a few school photos. I have cropped Mom’s pictures from the larger group pictures, below.

The photo above on left was labeled 1932, so she would have been 9 years old.

On the back of that photo, Mom wrote the names of each of her classmates, along with her own, in her sweet little-girl handwriting.

Of course, there were no years written on most photos, but the last picture appears to be older than the first three.

I have to laugh at Mom’s crooked bangs, because it tells me that Mom obviously inherited her bang-cutting skills from her mother and later, practiced them on me.

In her last class photo, she looks to be 15 or 16.

I think the family bought a camera when mom was about 10 or 11, based on the following photographic record of at least a portion of Mom’s life, thanks to dancing.

Dancing Begins

Dancing. How romantic it sounded to me as a child. Mother had been a ballerina! A REAL ballerina! I saw glittery consumes and stage lights, but I never knew Mom when she danced nor did I have any inkling of the story behind her dancing.

And Mom, well, she wasn’t talking. However, there was a suitcase full of photos and another full of costumes to tell the tale. That tale was far more tragic than I ever knew or could have imagined. In fact, I never knew the details until after her death – and I probably still don’t know them all.

As a child, I could never understand why Mom didn’t teach dancing. She certainly could have. She was imminently qualified. I would only learn much later that she really didn’t like to dance, it wasn’t her passion, and it was not a love in her life. In many ways, it was a forced march, a necessity – one that captured her and refused to let go.

Instead, Mom was relieved to be “past” that stage in her life – to shed it and leave it behind. Indeed, she was somewhat embarrassed by her career, as she tried to fit back into the life and lifestyle that she left. She just wanted to be a “regular” wife and mother. Typical wives and mothers certainly didn’t dance, and neither did well-behaved church women. Discrimination and stereotyped assumptions about dancers plagued mom when she danced and forever after.

We never had any photos of Mom’s dancing years anyplace in evidence when I was growing up. She strove to be a “normal” person, not a dancer or a retired or former dancer. Mom’s dream had been to be a bookkeeper, not a dancer. Dancing claimed her, not the other way around.

Mom was obviously very talented. Most people don’t achieve the level of professional acclaim that she did without a love and passion for the art. But then, nothing mother ever did was done in the normal fashion, or half way, and dancing wasn’t any different.

So how the heck did the daughter of a Brethren man come to be a professional ballet and tap dancer with a renowned dance company?

Rheumatic Fever

Mother never chose to dance. It wasn’t a hobby she selected. Her health demanded it and her parents arranged for lessons. When Mother was someplace between 7 and 9, she developed Rheumatic fever. She recalled that her arms felt too heavy for her body and it hurt her to even hold her arms at her side. She needed to lay them on pillows to relieve the pain. She clearly couldn’t attend school.

Today we know that Rheumatic fever is the result of an untreated streptococcal infection, manifesting itself about 3 weeks after the person has had either strep throat or scarlet fever. Unfortunately, rheumatic fever is much worse and involves the heart, causing congestive heart failure, mitral valve prolapse and a host of other issues including heart murmurs, which mother had. The doctor told her parents that she needed to dance to strengthen her heart which was damaged by the disease. I don’t know if that was accurate or not, but regardless, it set the stage, pardon the pun, for the rest of her life.

Today physicians recommend another 5 years of low grade antibiotic treatment to prevent a relapse which is all too common. It was during this time that Mom began to have recurring nosebleeds which too are a symptom of rheumatic fever, although I doubt she was aware of this because she never mentioned the connection. She likely had a low grade infection for years, until the nosebleeds stopped sometime in her teens.

Mom was lucky to have survived, as many of the early victims before the use of antibiotics did not.

Rheumatic fever is so named because of its similarity in terms of painful joints and extremities to rheumatism. Mother commented several times about how terribly sick she was and the unending, unrelenting pain. She said that she was too sick to be able to read books, which she loved to do, so her father would carry her down the stairs in the morning, position her on the couch so her body was not bearing the weight of her arms and legs, and would read to her to comfort her throughout the long days. Mother always had a very close and special relationship with her father.

Sometimes her recently widowed Brethren grandmother would come to stay and care for her as well.


It was about this time that Buster came into mother’s life. My grandparents got Buster to help Mom through her illness and with loneliness during the long recovery. Mother loved Buster devotedly and never really got over his passing. Buster was born in 1932 and passed away in 1945 while mother was gone.

Buster’s death was one of three “great griefs” that tumbled one upon the other about that time that would forever shape mother’s life.

Buster was Mom’s constant companion and a full fledged family member.

Mom always felt that her traveling was somehow responsible for Buster’s death, as he grieved so terribly when the suitcases would come out of the closet. Mother’s niece, Nancy, told me when I visited her in 2008 that Buster began drooling and they thought he had rabies, so my grandparents had him put to sleep. Mom kept his photo on her dresser or on the counter in the kitchen throughout her life, literally, until the day she died in 2006 – more than 60 years. That’s devotion! She never stopped missing Buster and I’m glad to know they are reunited now.

The Outhouse

There was no note along with this photo, but Mom loved cats her entire life too. Fluffy was her beloved cat as a teen, and she was heartbroken when Fluffy disappeared. Inside cats weren’t a “thing” at that time like they are today.

I’m not quite sure what was going on in this photo, but I do recognize “the facility” to the left. Homes at that time didn’t have inside plumbing, although by the time I was born, a bathroom had been added on the side of the house in Silver Lake.

Before that, it was a long cold walk to the outhouse in the middle of the night!

The Scrapbooks

Mom kept a scrapbook. Scrapbooks were popular then, and her mother, Edith, probably started it for her. It had wooden covers and leather laces which have deteriorated and are broken now. I scanned each of the pages. The scrapbook held a great deal of dancing related memorabilia. You could tell that her parents were proud of Mom’s accomplishments, and probably relieved as well that she was physically able to succeed. They came close to losing her altogether.

Dancing was the 1930s equivalent of physical therapy in tiny Silver Lake.

Pictures were reserved for special events, as film had to be developed and printed. This 1937 snow storm apparently qualified.

As Mom got older, towards graduation, the scrapbook contained photos of other family events, such as a 1938 trip to Lookout Mountain and Rock City, both in Georgia. I’m not sure Mom went along, because the photos are only of her parents and another couple.

I always wondered about Rock City, having seen the signs for years on barns across the midwest and south, and I finally saw it myself in Mom’s scrapbook.

The family obtained their first camera about this time. I’ve always wondered if it was in trade for chickens. My grandfather took just about anything in payment.

A second scrapbook held mother’s Chicago and professional dancing photos,  newspaper clippings and such, but this article only covers the years before she became a professional dancer when she moved to Chicago, about 1944.

The front of the photo album was actually wood, shown above. The pages inside were thick brown paper, some deteriorating with age.

Dancing 1933

The earliest dancing photograph of mother that I’ve been able to find is the one above, dated 1933. She would have been nine and a half years old and looked rather stilted and nervous. She was probably weak from months of recovery from Rheumatic fever.

The programs from the various dance recitals don’t begin for another 2 years, so she may have switched teachers or perhaps there was no program printed, or it wasn’t saved. Given the costume above, there was obviously a dance recital or performance of some type.

The following photograph is undated, but given her age, it appears to be early.

The Courthouse Lawn Performance

It would have been about this time that my mother’s brother painted her face – black – with paint used to paint the porch screens at the house. By the way, this is back in the day when paint required turpentine and scrubbing to remove – if it could be removed at all and didn’t just have to “wear off.”

I’ll let mother tell this in her own words, written before her passing:

One summer when I was about 9 or 10, I was supposed to dance on the courthouse lawn in Wabash Indiana for a holiday celebration. Every spring, the screens on the front porch were reinstalled for the summer. Lore painted the screens with black paint in the garage. Some kittens came to visit and were annoying Lore. He put black paint on the nose of one of the kittens, at which time, I moved in rather loudly to rescue the kitten and took a swing at my brother who swung back and hit me on one check with a paint brush full of black paint….at which time I went running and screaming to the back door telling mother “Lore put black paint on me!!!”

Mother lost it and was chasing Lore with a broom – she was so livid. It’s funny now but was very serious at the time. The turpentine was in the basement and Lore was trying to get there but he couldn’t get past her swinging the broom.

In the meantime, I was trying to remove the paint with a wet wash cloth. That paint was not water soluble, none was at that time, and the wash cloth smeared it even worse. After a few minutes we got most of the paint off with very little loss of skin.

The neighbors heard my mother a block to the church and across the street. I was able to dance after all was said and done.

Of course, Lore painted the entire side of Mom’s face including her cheek, ear and hair. Thankfully, he didn’t get any IN her eye. And she had to leave to dance in a few minutes.

My grandmother began wiping paint from my mother with her ever-present apron. My grandfather went to find gasoline and busily began removing paint from my mother’s face while my grandmother nearly killed her son. They washed mother’s hair with gasoline or turpentine in the driveway, then in the sink. Performances don’t wait and dancers can’t have paint on their face (unless the role calls for paint) nor can they smell like turpentine or gasoline. They all 3 left in the car with my mother in tears, and without Lore who was in BIG trouble.

My grandfather drove while my grandmother continued to soak my mother’s skin in gasoline to remove the paint which had sunk into her pores. Then, my grandmother applied layers of makeup to cover mother’s bright red (and black) skin on one side of her face.

Mother’s face and eye began to swell, and by the time she was finished dancing, she covered herself with a shawl to hide and went to the car immediately. It was perceived as a celebrity exit, but it was anything but.

I don’t think Mom ever forgave her brother, not just for painting her face, ironically, but for painting poor Fluffy’s nose. Indeed, it made a great story for years and she got mad at him all over again every time she told it. He, on the other hand, desperately wanted to forget the entire episode. I think he came out on the short end of that stick in multiple ways!

Unfortunately, we have no photos of that memorable event.

Dancing 1934

The following photo is dated 1934, and again, no program. Were it not for these dance photos and scrapbook, we would have no photos of mother during this period of time.

Violet Reinwald

Beginning in 1919, the newspapers in northern Indiana begin proclaiming the talent and beauty of Violet Reinwald, mother’s dance instructor. The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette said, “Miss Violet Reinwald, principal among the soloists was a dancer of rare grace and beauty. Miss Reinwald has won Fort Wayne audiences before, but her appearance last night in new numbers has acclaimed her the mistress of her art; her reputation as a danceuse is made.” She is described a few months later as an instructor in interpretive dance. In 1920, she opened a school of “Fancy Dance” and her “Revues” are covered in newspapers for at least the next two and a half decades.

This 1936 program provides additional information about Violet. Her Chicago connection may be the link between mother and her professional career, launched at the upscale Edgewater Beach Hotel there during World War II.

Ironically, Violet herself suffered from mitral valve stenosis, a condition caused by untreated rheumatic fever. She passed away in 1952, at age 50, still listed on her death certificate as a dance teacher. Perhaps her personal experience with rheumatic fever, and unquestionable recovery, is why my grandparents chose Violet as mother’s instructor.

Violet also became mother’s mentor and advocate.

Dancing 1935

Beginning in 1935, when Mom would have been 12, turning 13 the second to last day of the year, we begin to find programs for her performances.

Most years, two performances were given around Memorial Day, one in Huntington, Indiana and one in Fort Wayne, with the Fort Wayne performance seeming to be the larger one. The performances, at least initially, were entirely different. The programs for the Fort Wayne recital appear to be more professionally produced and included ads, which probably meant that Violet had to pay for the theater in Fort Wayne, so had to raise revenue one way or another.

Below, the program for the Violet Reinwald Revue, Huntington – Tuesday, June 11, 1935.

Fortunately, we have photos to go along with the 1935 performances.

With what I’ve heard about my extremely conservative grandmother, I’m totally amazed that my mother was allowed to wear a skirt this short for any reason whatsoever – costume or not!

The Russian act was performed in Fort Wayne, listed in the program below.

This costume was also worn in the recital in Fort Wayne.

Mom truly looks happy in these photos.

Kicking It Up a Notch

In May of 1935, things change a bit and it looks like Violet Reinwald went upscale, scheduling a performance at the Shrine Theater in Fort Wayne, Indiana, complete with professionally printed program and advertising. The stage, above, is where mother would have performed as my grandparents sat in the audience.

The Huntington event was only a couple of weeks later, so Violet’s students would have been practicing two entirely different programs at the same time. That’s an impressive undertaking!

The Shrine Temple in Fort Wayne was constructed at 431 West Berry Street in 1924 with an eye to professional theater production. This building is shown above as it originally appeared and below, as it appears today.

Mother returned to Fort Wayne with me in 1994 to hang a special exhibit at the Allen County Public Library titled “Seven Generations of Hoosier Needlewomen.” She never mentioned to me that she danced in performances, for years, just across the street and down a block or so.

It is ironic that in the spring of 2009, three years after mother’s passing and 70 years after Mom danced in this building, I stayed in a hotel across the street from the Shrine Theater as I taped several segments about DNA for the Allen County Public Library and their cable television station. Little did I know.

Those DNA presentations were open to the public at the library. After I finished speaking, a lady approached me and told me that she knew my mother and had been mother’s dance student at one time. She had no idea when she decided to attend my presentation that it would include my mother, or that she had any connection at all. Talk about a small world. It thrilled me to no end to meet someone who remembered my mother so fondly some 65 or 70 years later. The lady mentioned that mother gave her a costume that mother had once worn, and she would check to see if she still had that costume tucked away someplace.

Dancing 1935

Based on this program, we know where Mom was on Tuesday, May 21, 1935.

The ads in the program are as interesting as the program itself. The phone numbers all begin with a letter plus 4 numbers. Later that letter would translate into digits and ultimately into contemporary 10-digit phone numbers.

In Fort Wayne in 1935, you could get steam permanent waves in your hair by Joseph or could purchase Rosemary butter, Fort Wayne’s favorite. I surely have to wonder about those steam waves. And what was Rosemary butter anyway?

You could go to the Town House for special Sunday Noon dinners from 12-2 or visit their beverage room after the theater. Now that’s a nice way to say “bar.” You could probably order a Berghoff beer, still available today, in the beverage room as well.

Packard Piano was a very large and well-established business, building and shipping both pianos and organs, but they went bankrupt during the depression, as did so many others.

A cab ride to seemingly anyplace would cost you twenty-five cents. Heating was done by coal or coke, and that’s not the drinkable type.

Mom danced two roles during this performance, the Russian and another group dance. It’s fun to see the photos of the costumes she wore.

The ads provide us with a glimpse into life at that time in Fort Wayne.

Of course, while mother danced in Fort Wayne, the family lived 40 miles distant in Silver Lake. My grandmother or grandfather drove Mom back and forth for years, which also meant, of course, that they waited while she took her lessons and practiced. They had only one car, which both adults as well as my uncle shared. Driving a car as well as gasoline was expensive and scarce during the depression which lasted for 10 years, not ending until 1939. The cost of dance lessons and driving back and forth to Fort Wayne must have been a real commitment for this family.

They were probably greatly relieved when mother became good enough to receive even minimal compensation by teaching younger students.

The Double Exposure

You might notice the name of Mary Louise Woerner in the programs. Mary Lu was Mom’s long-time dancing partner and friend.

The following double exposure was one of Mom’s all-time favorite photos and was taken about this time. I wrote about “Mom’s Joyous Springtime “Mistake” and the fond memories of finding this photo in the photo box at my grandmother’s table as a child.

I thought this was Mom hand-standing on her own behind, but Mom said it was her and Mary Lu, goofing around as they practiced in the yard. Yes, they practiced dancing outside in the yard, on sidewalks, everyplace.

Dancing 1936

In the 1936 dance recital, mother was an acrobat and danced in the music segment for the Reinwald Revue. There were two performances, one at the Shrine Theater in Fort Wayne on May 26th and one later in Huntington on June 4th.

In a second performance she was also a gypsy.

This year, Mom appeared in a featured dance duet with only one other person, a notch up from a group performance.

I couldn’t help myself, and had to laugh at this ad.

If my child looked like that, I think she’d need more than glasses. I wonder how they convinced that child to cross her eyes like that. This was before the days of photoshop. Mom always told me if I crossed my eyes, they would stay that way! Maybe this is why.

Note that the students had a contest to see who could sell the most tickets.

Dancing 1937

In 1937, a third recital venue was added. The Reinwald Revue held in Bluffton, Indiana on May 27th was sponsored by the Sigma Phi Gamma sorority.

In this production, Mom danced in the ballet Moonlight Interlude and then danced the role of the Emerald in the jewelry store. I would like to have seen that costume, in color. However, color photography was years distant and I don’t believe there is any photo of her portraying the emerald.

It appears there was a Huntington Revue this year as well judging from the program.

For the first time, Mom is wearing toe shoes, a much-coveted rite of passage for a ballerina. Judging from the look on Mom’s face either the sun is in her eyes or her feet hurt, or maybe both.

Apparently that hedge was a favorite photography location, because Mom’s picture was taken there for years.

I wonder if the Moonlight Interlude is the dance associated with the photos of Mother and Mary Woerner in their identical costumes, below.

Mom would have been about 15 at the time. I notice her hair style is different from the Music photos above too, and Music is also listed as a dance in the 1936 program.

The following photos are of mother’s friend, Mary Lu who passed away in 1961 at age 45, also having been a professional dancer for her entire life.

Mary Lu was 6 years older than Mom, and you can tell that she has been dancing a very long time by looking at the muscle development in her legs.

Below, the 1937 Reinwald Revue at the Shrine on May 25th, two days before the performance in Bluffton. It was a busy time of year for Mom.

I have omitted the program pages that do not include mother.

Dry cleaning deliveries are still free, but now permanents are oil instead of steam and cost $1.

Mother was once again an emerald. A new advertiser is City Light, above. Interestingly, the Light Company was owned by the residents.

Ankle socks in plain or gay stripes are 17 cents or 3 for 49 cents. How could you resist?

The Student Becomes the Teacher

About 1936, Mother began to teach dancing at the ripe old age of 14. Her mother, Edith provided the music in the music room at home by playing the piano and mother gave dance lessons to young students. As the teacher, Mom was responsible for having a “Revue” for her students as well, and indeed in 1937, she held the first Barbara Jean Ferverda Revue, although the location isn’t mentioned. Clearly, it had to be someplace with seating for all of the parents, grandparents and families who would dutifully attend.

How I would love to turn back time so I could attend. Mom must have been so excited!

Mom’s brother, Uncle Lore was even involved, although I’m betting it wasn’t voluntarily. Maybe he was still doing penance for the paint brush incident.

One of Mother’s students sent her the card below and Mom always kept it. This may have been her student who passed away. Mom was crushed when that happened.

Although mother danced a lot, her life did not stand still and she had other interests outside of dancing. Mom also played the piano, as did her mother, who I’m sure taught mother.

Mom’s Best Friend – Frank

Mom had a diverse group of friends including Frank Drudge, literally the boy across the street who was 6 months younger, a cheerleader, a dancer at the same dance school as Mom, and Mom’s best friend.

Frank was being raised by his aunt, Carrie and her husband who had no children. Mother was particularly close to Carrie who became almost like a second mother. I’d wager that the two families shared driving back and forth to Fort Wayne for dance lessons.

I remember when Carrie died in 1963. Mom was visiting friends in Silver Lake after her parents passed away and called Carrie to see if she could stop in and visit. Carrie didn’t answer the phone, which Mom found odd, but she tried again a few minutes later. Mom subsequently discovered that Carrie fell and broke her hip on the way to answer the phone, and a few days later, died. Mom felt terribly responsible, even though she knew logically she didn’t need to. Mom lost both of her parents, Carrie and my father within a 3 year span.


Mom’s Brethren Grandmother was Evaline Louise Miller who married Hiram Ferverda. Hiram died in 1925, but Evaline lived until 1939. Pictured in the 1937 photo above, Evaline (upper left) with her son John Ferverda (lower right), Mom with Buster, and Evaline’s daughter, Chloe standing beside her, with her daughter and husband. This was taken in front of the house where Mom grew up in Silver Lake.


It comes as no surprise, I’m sure, given that Mom danced, that the family was not Brethren, attending the Methodist church just two doors away in Silver Lake.

A much better photo of the church, today.

Mom was baptized here when she was 11.

Epworth Forest

Mom had a group of church friends that she either met or met up with at Epworth Forest, the Methodist Church camp. Epworth Forest still exists today. Mom would have been 15 the summer of 1938

Mom is on the far left in the above photo.

In the next photo, Mom is sitting in front of the group.

I’m surprised at how much she seems to have matured between July and November. She was still almost two months shy of her 16th birthday.

Unfortunately, Mom didn’t tell us the names of her friends. This is the third photo with hose rolled down to the ankles of the girls, so I’m beginning to think this was a fashion statement.

Looks like Frank and Betty just might have been a couple.

The Bicycle

Mom rode a bicycle, literally until she couldn’t anymore. Notice that she is wearing a dress, and her hose or socks are once again rolled down to her ankles. Females simply did not wear pants at that time, and for a long time in her adult life, at least until the 1980s, she refused as well. I was forbidden to wear blue jeans, which equated to poverty for Mom. It wasn’t until she was well into her 70s that she owned a pair of jeans herself – and then only “dress” jeans, NOT Levis.

Dancing 1938

The Reinwald Revue in 1938 was again held at the Shrine Theater. By now, Mother is dancing solo performances, according to the program. She is 15 and obviously coming into her own as a performer and a young woman. In the 1938 Revue Mom danced a solo number as the Beachcomber and with a group doing the Military Toe Dance.

Unfortunately, we have no photos of 1938 or 1939.

There was no Huntington or Bluffton program in those years, but there was something new.

Infantry Recognition Party

Below, the Infantry Recognition Party program from 1938. The beginning of World War II is generally held to have begun on September 1, 1939, but the nation was ramping up and preparing prior to the official date when war was declared.

Mom gave two performances, just shy of age 16.


You knew this was coming, right?

By 1939, Mom was dating Dan and would marry him 4 years later. She noted in her scrapbook, “One winter afternoon out at Dan’s.”

Dan was Mom’s only known boyfriend. The earliest photos of Mom at Dan’s are in 1939, where she is pictured with his dogs at his parents’ farm. They may have been dating earlier.

Mom would marry Dan in 1943 when he was on leave from the service. World War II changed the lives of many, but the War was also responsible for ending the Great Recession – quite the double-edged sword.

Dancing 1939

The Reinwald Revue was once again held at the Shrine Theater on Tuesday, May 23rd in 1939. While we don’t have any photos of mother, the program tells us that she danced one solo, the Mardi Gras Queen, and one duet, the Moonlight Serenade with Mary Lu Woermer. She also danced a group number called “On Revival Day.”

Dancing and Graduating in 1940

By 1940, Mother was reaching adulthood and graduated from high school on April 22nd at age 17. Tradition held that the girls married the next month, but that wasn’t the path mother chose.

Mom told me she wanted to go to college, or at least business school in Fort Wayne, but she was afraid and no one encouraged her. Of course, her brother Lore had gone to college, but those days were different and it was pretty well expected that women would marry out of high school and start a family, not go traipsing off to college. Her parents told her that they had paid for one college education (for Lore) and they weren’t paying for another one. The Depression was just ending, money was still scarce, and they had already paid for years of dance lessons. Mother couldn’t ask for more. It’s somehow ironic that Mom’s mother, Edith, attended Business School in Cincinnati, paid for by her aunt, before she married Mom’s dad. Edith’s bookkeeping skills are what sustained the family when John was out of work.

I’ve always wondered how far mother would have gone had she followed her dream to college – but that fork in the road was only peered down and longed for. There were no scholarships then, at least not for women. Student loans hadn’t even been dreamed of.

Mother disliked her senior picture, below, but I always thought it was stunning and that mother looked beautiful. There is a photo of me and later, one of my daughter about the same age that are strikingly similar.

On May 28th, just a few weeks after graduation, Mom would once again dance at the Shrine theater in Fort Wayne. No individual photos, but Mom danced a solo, American Melodies.

I suspect that mother is one of the older students in this picture from the program, but I can’t identify her.

Dancing 1941

In 1941, the Reinwald Revue was held at both Fort Wayne and at Huntington High School. The program was the same in both locations, and Mom danced a Moonlight and Roses solo along with a group piece titled Bucking Broncos Tap.

1942 Baer Field Review

Mom, second from right, supported the war effort in June 1942 by dancing for a fundraiser at Baer Field in Fort Wayne.

Mom would turn 20 in December of 1942.

1942 – Dancing Professionally

In 1942, Violet Reinwald’s Shrine program focused on patriotism. The country was backing the war, and our soldiers. Everyone was a patriot and everyone was involved one way or another – there was simply no question about that.

Mother performed 3 solos, Blues in the Night, My Melancholy Baby, United Nation – Russia, and a group number titled Salute to the US Armed Forces.

I would love to have seen these performances. In fact, I would love to have seen mother perform anything, at all, ever.

1942 would be the last year that mother would dance with the Violet Reinwold Revue.

By now, Mom had been dancing at least 9 or 10 years and teaching for at least 6. She was two years out of high school and most of her classmates had married and already started a family. She would turn 20 that December. It was time to do something.

I don’t know why, but Mom chose to branch out beyond Indiana, a decision that was viewed with a great amount of skepticism by those in Indiana. I suspect it may have had to do with the relationship with Dan cooling. For some reason, they had chosen not to marry immediately after high school, as was the local tradition, nor did they marry during the next two years. These choices didn’t follow the expected pattern.

In the summer of 1942, Mom performed in Philadelphia and Atlantic City, as well as other locations on the East Coast with a touring troupe, traveling by train.

In July 4, 1942, Mom was in Atlantic City. There were several pages in her photo album which recorded her day at the beach.

I wonder if the location where they were performing was one of the buildings in the background.

Mom never shared the back story to the photos below. Let’s just say that she was beautiful and single, and the men in uniform weren’t Dan.

That looks positively dreamy.

The legend at the bottom on the photo says that this is “John Shiver, myself, Walt.”

Let’s just say that look definitely qualifies as flirting. I think Walt got left out. In fact, I don’t think John and mom even know Walt is there.

Looking back, I wonder about John Shiver, Charles Sharp and Walt. Did they remember Mom? Was this a chance meeting or something more?

I think Mom liked men in uniform.

World War II and Marriage

The war was escalating, and Mom’s life was about to change, dramatically and forever.

I’m don’t know whose car this was, but Mom looks stunning!

Back home in the fall, Mom was dating Dan again just before he joined the military on October 14, 1942. Below, Dan in uniform but without his shirt.

Mother didn’t know it yet, but when Dan left, she was pregnant. She would make that discovery a few weeks after Dan was already gone. In the photos above and below, I can see my brother and my nephew’s faces so clearly.

Like so many young couples, Dan took a leave from the service as soon as he could, came home, and Mom and Dan were married, not in Indiana, but in Joliet, Illinois. I suspect this location was chosen to cover the fact that their child was “premature” and that the pregnancy predated the marriage. Today, there is little or no judgement about couples living together before marriage, but at that time, this “situation” was embarrassing for everyone involved, with a great deal of condemnation for the young woman.

Would Mom and Dan have married otherwise? I don’t know, but suspect probably not, since they hadn’t already married and seemed to have been living very different lives. Dan stayed at home on the farm and Mom was dancing and touring. She obviously came home to say goodbye to Dan, given the timing involved. Maybe it was the uniform!

Unfortunately, they spent very little time together as husband and wife, because Dan had already shipped out. Mom stayed home with her parents to wait when they received a small bundle of joy in the form of John who was born while Dan was serving his country. Mom continued to live at home with her parents and wait for Dan’s return. His tour of duty wasn’t scheduled to end until October of 1945 – but things would change long before that.

Oh, those garter belts. They were just awful, torturous devices, but if you wanted to wear hose before panty hose came along in the 1970s, this was the only way to do it.

Today, it might look like Mom is posting for a pinup photo, but she probably wasn’t as it would have been considered VERY risqué. Hose were a luxury and a rarity during wartime, so it’s very likely that Dan actually brought Mom these hose and she is showing off the fact that she has hose to wear. I don’t know, but suspect this photo may have been taken when they were married.

1943 – John Arrives

Clearly, Mom didn’t dance in 1943, as she was busy with other things, namely one named John.

Dan and Mom holding John right after he was born.

A Sad Divorce

Sadly for Mom, Dan and John, the stress of being young and apart was too much for the young couple to survive, and their marriage deteriorated before Dan came home from the war, although their divorce was not final until in 1946. In reality, they never had the opportunity to live as a married couple. Perhaps if they had, the outcome might have been different.

When Dan came home on leave shortly after John’s birth, it became obvious that marriage wasn’t the answer. Ironically, mother said very little about this time. However, given the small town grapevine environment, I heard both sides, from multiple people, and let’s just say that being married to each other simply wasn’t going to work.

At that point, Mother knew that she had to go to work because she had a young child to support and she realized no husband was going to be “marching home” from the war. The divorce decree only called for $4 per week child support, and they had been living apart for their entire married life, so child support for John didn’t begin until he was three when his parents’ divorce was final. Otherwise, it fell to Mom and my grandparents.

Dan filed for divorce when he was discharged from the service in 1945, and custody of John was agreed to be awarded to Mom’s parents, John and Edith Ferverda. Mom had already gone to Chicago to dance, the only thing she could do to earn enough to support herself and her son.

The hard feelings and divisions generated between individuals and families during this time never healed.

Dan came home, married his second wife and settled down to farm. Mom continued to dance in Chicago, but a sense of sorrow had inched its way into her heart and she became very sad, missing her child, wanting a life she couldn’t have, and feeling consuming guilt about her parents suffering the consequences of her choices. She couldn’t win, but she never stopped trying.


I asked mother one time if she had any regrets. Her first answer didn’t really surprise me, but her second and third ones did.

Little did I know what a landmine this question would turn out to be. It’s also the perfect, or imperfect, lesson in how things aren’t always as they seem.

The First Regret – Not Enough Time With Johnny

Mom said that she was sorry that she hadn’t been able to spend more time at home with “Johnny” when he was little. She did not want to leave to dance, but it was the only skill she had and she felt that she owed it to my grandparents. I know she felt incredibly guilty, and not without some encouragement from my grandmother about the fact that her parents were burdened with raising her child.

I never knew the rest of the story until I found the papers in her suitcase and John revealed the story he had been told by his father after he found papers in the attic when he was about 10 years old, which didn’t exactly match the story conveyed by legal documents in the suitcase. These two events occurred within about a month’s time of each other, during and after mother’s death. In other words, too late to ask her any questions – but at an incredibly emotional juncture.

It was a shocking revelation, at least to me.

At one time, Mom and Dan jointly agreed to adopt John privately to a physician and his wife in Chicago, but both sets of grandparents petitioned the court, together, to prevent the adoption.

Eventually, the stigma of being a “bad mother,” meaning willing to place her son for adoption, was laid on mother’s shoulders alone. Dan disavowed his part in the decision when approached by John after John found the papers in the attic, claiming that he had no knowledge of the adoption because he was in the service at the time. However, the court papers were in the “suitcase of life.” Dan had been discharged from the service and he, along with mother, JOINTLY agreed, before the court disallowed the adoption, granting custody to my grandparents who subsequently raised John.

Perhaps John’s question caught Dan unprepared. Nonetheless, his answer irreparably damaged both John and his relationship with mother.

Dan lived nearby with his new family, paying $4 a week in child support. Mother danced in Chicago, lived with the dance troupe, in essence with a house-mother in a supervised facility, and sent her money home to her parents for John.

No More Shame

That judgmental mantle of guilt and shame because the parents were willing to place a child for adoption should never have been laid on anyone’s shoulders, and certainly not on mother’s alone. Mother and Dan were doing what they jointly thought best for John under the circumstances. The fact that the grandparents prevented the adoption cast mother in a villainous light and haunted her forever, especially after Dan managed to “forget” his role, leaving mother to suffer alone.

I feel compelled to state unequivocally that placing a child for adoption is not the manifestation of the absence of love – it’s often the demonstration of a greater love for the child. It’s the essence of doing what is right for the child, no matter how badly the mother, or parents, wish that circumstances were different. Unfortunately, in mother’s case, she was condemned for both being willing to place her child for adoption, and for not placing the child for adoption and burdening her parents with that child. John resented her for both choices, but never shared with mother why he was so cold and bitter towards her, while his father was absolved and cast himself in the role of co-victim along with John. Mother was never afforded the opportunity to provide an explanation, or her side of the story. My brother only heard one side, and it wasn’t complimentary towards mother.

Clearly, in retrospect, it would have been better if this chapter hadn’t been kept secret by all parties involved. Mom could have shared the reasons why they thought adoption would have been a better option for John, but how to you explain that adoption doesn’t mean that the child “wasn’t wanted.” Perhaps John could have understood that the choice didn’t reflect that his mother didn’t love him. But then of course, in the telling of that part of the story, the rest of the “shame” story would have emerged – you know – like sex before marriage. Of course, for whatever reason, the majority of the “shame” falls to the female who was sinful and didn’t resist, while desiring sex is “normal” for males in a time and place that still embraced very Puritan thinking.

This part of the story has too long been shrouded in shame. Shame of having sex before marriage. Shame of having to “go away” to get married. Shame of dancing, especially in an extremely conservative community and family. Further shame of going to Chicago and dancing professionally. Shame of being beautiful and NOT being correspondingly demure about it. Shame of, god-forbid, wearing makeup to make yourself even more beautiful and irresistible to men. Shame of having an illegitimate child. Shame of even considering adoption, let alone beginning down that path. Shame of having to have your family “stop the adoption,” and finally, shame of being labeled as “unfit,” alone, with the husband who also agreed to the adoption later utilizing that joint decision to turn the child against the you.

Dan and his wife both encouraged John to have some level of relationship with mother, “because she is your mother,” which probably unintentionally continued the narrative of mother being unworthy. He should continue the relationship even though she didn’t really deserve it.

I’m done with shame. I recognize mother for her brave decisions. She was human. She did the very best she could under the circumstances, for all of the right reasons and continued to do so in the face of insurmountable barriers. I’m sorry she had to live with such toxic judgement and I’m ending that cycle here and now. No more shame. Mother had nothing to be ashamed of. Full stop.

Mother clearly loved John as was evidenced throughout my life. Enough to have him, enough to keep him, enough to choose adoption when she thought that would be best for HIM, not her. Enough to send money home to support him and to spend as much time in Silver Lake as possible, withstanding the wagging tongues of shame that never stopped. Enough to make him things, food he loved, attend his functions and all of the grandma events too. And ultimately, enough to leave him fully half of her estate at her death. She never understood why her affection was not returned in kind, but it didn’t matter – she loved him unconditionally, chalking it up to “John just being John.”

The Second Regret – Not Enough Education

Secondly, Mom regretted that she had not gone to business school or college, and that she had been too fearful to go after high school. She already felt guilty about the sacrifices the family made for her dancing, and didn’t dare to ask for anything more. Mom felt that if she had attended college, then she would have had the skills to be able to stay in Silver Lake with John and would never needed to leave to dance, starting that cascading effect.

It’s amazing to me that the stage didn’t frighten her one bit, but fear of the unknown, of college or “business school” which is what women who insisted on obtaining a higher education were encouraged to attend at that time prevented her from furthering her education. Changing that one decision would have made such a tremendous difference in her life.

Third Regret – Not Trying Harder With Dan

Third, surprisingly, Mom said she was sorry that she and Dan didn’t try harder to work things out. I would say that this regret is tied to the other two.

Mom and Dan were never able to live together to even attempt to have a marriage in anything but name alone. By the time Dan got out of service, their marriage had suffered from separation and youth, and was unrepairable.

According to my grandfather and cousins, Dan had come home on leave and not told Mom he was home. My grandfather was quite surprised to run into Dan, in the company of another female, and the situation deteriorated from there, as one might imagine. I heard Dan’s side of the story from others, and it didn’t resemble the same story at all. His story was focused on Mom going to Chicago to dance, not on what caused her to go to Chicago. Regardless, the situation was quite sad because what began as a high school romance became a classic tragedy. A beautiful ballerina, war, broken hearts, a child, infidelity, a divorce and a tragic death. All the makings of a soap opera.

Except this soap opera was mother’s real life.

The Three Great Griefs

All I can say from the distance of decades and a long generation is that mother was very hurt by what she perceived as betrayal while she waited for Dan to return. She felt terribly vulnerable and alone. While she was the woman shamed for being pregnant out of wedlock, he was a hero fighting for his country. There were no options for single women at that time, except to quickly marry someone, anyone.

I know she loved Dan and truly wanted that marriage to work. Discovering that your husband was home on leave, and you didn’t know, must have been devastating, especially under the circumstances.

The loss of her marriage was one of the three “great griefs” mother encountered between the beginning and end of WWII. The unraveling of her marriage which had at one time seemed so full of hope unraveled the rest of her life along with it, leaving her as a single mother in a time when women had very few viable options. At least she had one – she could dance.

Mom hated the fact that her parents were burdened with raising John, but there was no other alternative. She could not raise John alone in Chicago and there were no jobs in Silver Lake. Her parents had chosen to raise John by stopping the adoption, but proceeded to complain about his behavior, hoping mother could intercede.

Sadly, my brother came to view my mother’s absence as both abandonment and rejection. He dreaded her frequent visits as she tried to convince him to “shape up” for my grandparents. The phrase “wait until your father comes home” apparently had “mother” in place of father at my grandparents’ house. My grandmother complained incessantly to mother about how difficult John was to raise – even though they had petitioned the court for exactly that situation. There were no winners – only losers.

The story conveyed by my brother’s valentine to his mother detailing the myriad ways that he got into trouble sums the situation up pretty well.

The second grief was the death of Buster in 1945, for which Mom blamed herself, and indirectly Dan because she would not have been traveling to dance if her marriage had any prayer of being solvent. Buster was the only “person” to love mom unconditionally and without criticism or judgement.

The third great grief, another death, happened while mother lived in Chicago. Mother found a new love, Frank Sadowski, her hope for the future, who died tragically, fighting for his country just before the end of the war.

You can read about Frank in the following articles:

Frank Sadowski (1921-1945), Almost My Father – 52 Ancestors #73
Frank’s Ring Goes Home – 52 Ancestors #106
Sadowski WWII Scrapbooks, Salvaged From Trash Heap, 52 Ancestors #149Frank Sadowski Jr. – Bravery Under Fire, 52 Ancestors #162

Warning – you’ll need an entire box of Kleenex!

In essence, Mom lost two men to the war, in two very different, tragic, ways. Her son wasn’t adopted, but she lost his love just the same. I often wonder how different John’s life would have been had that adoption been granted. Perhaps he wouldn’t have been so hurt, resentful and bitter. Discovering that his “mother” had tried to “give him away behind his father’s back” colored his perspective, incorrectly, for the rest of his life, and hers.

The Next Decade

Mom never fully recovered from the war years and the three great griefs. She carried her regrets forever, but she put one foot in front of the other and marched forward. That’s who she was. These tragedies helped form that resilient part of her.

Mom continued to dance in Chicago and throughout the eastern half of the country for the next decade before meeting my father.

But first, she would meet and marry a one…nope, nope, I can’t tell you. You’ll have to join me in a future article for Mom’s next decade, as told by the “suitcase of life” and my subsequent genealogical sleuthing.

Believe me, mom’s life was full of surprises!



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Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

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Pass the DNA, Please

I know that sometimes understanding who inherits what kind of DNA from whom can be confusing, especially with four kinds of DNA to keep track of.

Let’s Make This Easy

In a nutshell:

  • Y DNA is passed from the father to male children only (blue boxes). This is the paternal surname line.
  • Mitochondrial DNA is passed from women to all of their children, but only females pass it on (red circles).

  • Half of each parent’s autosomal DNA (chromosomes 1-22) inherited from ancestral lines, meaning all lines shown above, is passed to each child – but not the same exact half is passed to different children.
  • The X chromosome has a distinct inheritance pattern that is helpful to genealogists, but is often confused with mitochondrial DNA.

You can read about the X chromosome’s unique inheritance path in the article X Matching and Mitochondrial DNA is Not the Same Thing, along with some helpful fan charts.

Let’s look at this a different way.

Mother Passes DNA to Children

Father Passes DNA to Children

Ordering Tests

You can order any of the various DNA tests, including matching to other testers, from the following vendors:

I recommend that you test with or transfer to each of the vendors.

Autosomal Transfers

Have you already taken an autosomal DNA test and want to transfer between vendors? Here’s a handy-dandy chart for you.

For more information about transfers, including when the various chips were in use, please read Autosomal DNA Transfers – Which Companies Accept Which Tests?



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research