“Earliest Known Ancestors” at Family Tree DNA in 3 Easy Steps

Why should you take the time to complete the information about your earliest known ancestor, your EKA, at Family Tree DNA?

The answer is simple – because it helps you with your genealogy and it helps others too. Genealogy, and in particular, genetic genealogy is by definition a team sport. It takes at least two to test and match – and the more, the merrier. From there, it’s all about information sharing.

Maybe the easiest way to illustrate the benefit of providing Earliest Known Ancestor information is by showing what happens if you DON’T complete the EKA field.

To be direct, you lose important opportunities to work with other genealogists and, if others don’t complete their EKA, you also lose the opportunity to see who their earliest known ancestors are. This information, when viewing your Y and mitochondrial DNA matches, shows immediately who is from your genetic line. It can also help you break down brick walls to push your own EKA back a few generations. I’ve used this tactic, successfully, repeatedly with both Y and mitochondrial DNA.

Earliest Known Ancestors Are Used 7 Ways

  • Matches – Every Y and mitochondrial DNA match displays your matches’ Earliest Known Ancestor

Here’s what your matches look like if they don’t complete their EKA information.

eka match.png

How depressing to see blanks listed for the Earliest Known Ancestor for your matches. These are exact full sequence mitochondrial matches, but no ancestors listed. A few do have trees, as indicated by the blue pedigree icon, but the ability to quickly view a list of ancestors would be so beneficial.

Looking at the matches for one of my Estes male cousins, below, you can see a much more helpful example.

eka complete

You may see a genealogical line you recognize. Or, several you don’t which may serve as a huge hint.

eka project.png

  • Surname and other types of projects, meant to attract more testers, also suffer when Earliest Known Ancestors and Countries of Origin, when known, aren’t completed.
  • Matches Maps – Another place where your Earliest Known Ancestor information will help is on the Matches Map which displays the location of your matches Earliest Known Ancestors, available for both Y DNA tests and mitochondrial DNA tests as well as Family Finder.

eka matches map

Looking for clusters of matches can be very revealing and can point your research in a specific direction. Genetic clues are indispensable, as is the information about the earliest ancestors of your matches. I am clearly related to these clusters of people in Scandinavia – but it’s up to me to figure out how, and when. It would be very useful to know of any of them share the same EKA.

Additional places where your EKA is utilized to provide information about your ancestry include:

  • Ancestral Origins: A page provided for both Y and mtDNA results where locations of your matches’ EKA are shown.
  • Haplogroup Origins: A page provided for both Y and mtDNA where locations of your haplogroup are found.

eka origins.jpg

I wrote about Ancestral Origins and Haplogroup Origins, here, and here, with lots of examples.

I wrote about the Y tree, here, which shows locations for each haplogroup. An article about the mitochondrial tree can be found here. These are the most comprehensive trees available, anyplace, and they are completely free and accessible to anyone, whether they have tested at FamilyTreeDNA or not. Science at work.

That’s 7 different ways your Earliest Known Ancestor information can benefit you – and others too.

However, this information can’t be utilized unless testers complete their EKA information.

Here’s how to enter your EKA information.

How Do You Complete Your Earliest Known Ancestor Information?

Your ancestor information lives in three separate places at FamilyTreeDNA – and they are not all interconnected meaning they don’t necessarily feed each other bidirectionally.

The information is easy to complete. We will step through each location and how to update your information.

What is Direct Paternal and Direct Maternal?

Before we go any further, let’s take just a minute and define these two terms.

When completing Earliest Known Ancestor information, you’ll be asked for your “Direct Paternal Ancestor” and “Direct Maternal Ancestor.” This does NOT mean the oldest person on each side, literally. Some people interpret that to mean the furthest person back on that side of your family. That’s NOT what it means either.

Your direct paternal ancestor is the furthest person in your tree on your father’s, father’s father’s direct paternal line. In other words, your most distant patrilineal ancestor.

Your direct maternal ancestor is the further person in your tree on your mother’s mother’s mother’s direct maternal line. This is your most distant matrilineal ancestor.

eka maternal paternal.png

In this view of my cousin’s tree, Holman Estes is the Earliest Known Ancestor on the paternal, meaning patrilineal, line. Of course, that’s also the Y DNA inheritance path too.

Sarah Jones is the Earliest Known Ancestor on the maternal, or matrilineal line. Mitochondria DNA descends down the matrilineal line.

The home person in this tree inherited the Y DNA of Holman Estes (and his patrilineal ancestors) and the mitochondrial DNA of Sarah Jones (and her matrilineal ancestors.)

Ok, let’s put this information to work.

Step 1 – Earliest Known Ancestor

When you sign on, click on the down arrow beside your name on the upper right hand corner of your personal page.

eka account settings

Click on “Account Settings.”

On the “Account Settings” page, click on “Genealogy,” then on “Earliest Known Ancestors.”

eka eka.png

In our example, above, the tester has completed the Direct Paternal Ancestor information, but not the Direct Maternal Ancestor.

Note that “Country of Origin” and “Location” are somewhat different. Location can mean something as specific as a city, county or region, along with map coordinates.

Country of Origin can mean something different.

To select a location and to complete your ancestor’s information, click on “Update Location.” If you don’t click on “Update Location,” you’ll need to save this form before exiting.

When you click on “Update Location,” the system takes you to the Matches Map screen where you can easily plot ancestral locations.

eka plot locations

In our example, we see that our tester has already entered his paternal EKA, Nicholas Ewstes in Deal, in the UK. We don’t need to do anything to that information, but we need to add a Maternal Location.

Click on “Edit Location”

eka update locations.png

You’ll see a screen where you can click to edit either the Maternal or Paternal Location. In this case, I’m selecting Maternal.

eka step 2

Enter the name of your ancestor. I tend to enter more information that will uniquely identify her to someone looking at their match list, such as when and where she lived.

eka more.png

If there’s room, I could also add “m 1849 Hayesville, Ohio to John Parr” which would further uniquely identify Sarah – especially given that her surname is Jones. If a match sees “Sarah Jones,” that doesn’t provide much context, but “Sarah Jones married in 1849 in Hayesville, Ohio to James Parr,” even if the tester doesn’t provide a tree, gives the match something to sink their teeth into.

When finished, click “Next.”

eka step 3

Enter the location and press “Search.” Longitude and latitude will be filled in for you.

eka select.png

Click “Select” if this is the correct location.

eka step 4

By changing the location name here, you could enter a historical name, for example, if the location name has changed since your ancestor lived there.

eka exit.png

You’ll see the final information before you Save and Exit.

eka both

You’ll view the map with your direct paternal ancestor and direct maternal ancestor both shown with pins on your map. This is before matching, of course.

Now, if you look back at the Direct Maternal Ancestor field under Account Settings, you’ll see the information you entered on the map, except for the Country of Origin.

eka direct maternal.png

This information doesn’t feed backwards into the EKA “Country of Origin” field, because country of origin can mean different things.

For example, my cousin’s direct maternal ancestor’s location would be United States because that’s where she lived. But is it where her line originated?

eka unknown origin

When looking at the Country of Origin dropdown box, you can see that United States can actually mean different things.

  1. Does it mean she was born here and we know her ancestors were European or African, but the specific country is uncertain?
  2. Does it mean her ancestors were Native American – and if so, do we actually know that, or is it yet unproven oral history?
  3. Or does United States simply mean that my cousin’s genealogy is stuck in Ohio?

In his case, it means stuck in Ohio. The mitochondrial haplogroup of this woman’s direct matrilineal descendants and her Matches Map tells us that her ancestors were European in origin, not Native or African.

In his case, “Unknown Origin” is not inaccurate, but by making that selection, other people won’t know if the tester really doesn’t know, or if they simply forgot to enter a location. I generally enter “United States” when the US is where I’m stuck.

Please note that the actual geographic location, including longitude and latitude, does populate from map selections.

When exiting the Direct Maternal or Direct Paternal Ancestors page, always click on the orange Save button, or it won’t.

Step 2 – Matches Map

You’ve already had a preview of this functionality in Step 1.

eka y matches map.png

The second way to populate EKA information is to select Matches Map directly from the menu on your personal page at Family Tree DNA.

eka pins

click to enlarge

I clicked on Matches Map from my cousin’s Y DNA page, so we’ll see his Y DNA Matches displayed. These pins displayed on his map are there because his matches entered their Earliest Known Ancestor information. The different colors indicate the relative closeness of matches.

His white pin that shows his own ancestor is displayed behind several other men’s pins (red arrow at right) who have also tracked their Y DNA ancestor to Deal, England and match the tester.

My cousin can update or enter his EKA information by clicking on “Update Ancestor’s Location” (red arrow at bottom) where a box allowing him to select between Paternal and Maternal will be displayed.

Please note that every pin on this map has an associated match that can be displayed by either mousing over the individual pins or by clicking on “Show Match List” in the bottom left corner.

Step 3 – Trees

Be sure to upload your tree too.

eka pedigree.png

Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA match pedigree icons looks like this, indicating your match has uploaded or created a tree.

eka pedigree ff

The Family Finder pedigree icon will be blue if a tree is provided and greyed out otherwise.

Always check your match’s tree because sometimes the Earliest Known Ancestor and the earliest ancestor in your match’s tree are not the same person.

Additional research may have been completed, but regardless of the reason for a discrepancy, you want to view the most distant person in that line.

Sometimes people get confused about who belongs in the Earliest Known Ancestor field, so a tree check is always a good idea.

  • Hint: If you see a male in the maternal field, you know they are confused. Same for a female in the paternal field.

To create or upload a GEDCOM file click on “myTree” at the top of your personal page.

download ancestry ftdna

Then, select your choice of creating a tree manually or uploading a GEDCOM file that you already created elsewhere.

eka create tree.png

If you need to download a tree from Ancestry to upload to FamilyTreeDNA, I wrote about how to do that, here.

Whether you upload or create a tree, choose yourself (assuming it’s your test, or select the person whose DNA test it is) as the home person in the tree.

eka home person

Bonus – Ancestral Surnames

Once your tree is uploaded, if you have NOT previously entered your Ancestral Surnames (under Account Settings,) uploading a GEDCOM file will populate the surnames, but not just with your direct ancestral lines. It populates ALL of the surnames from your tree. This isn’t a feature that I want. I recommend adding only direct line surnames manually or from a spreadsheet. If you have a small tree or don’t mind having surname matches not in your direct line, then allowing the surnames to auto-populate is probably fine.

eka surnames.png

If you’re wondering how Ancestral Surnames are used, the two Family Finder matches below illustrate the benefits.

eka surname list

When you have matching surnames in common, they float to the top of the list and are bolded. The first match matches the tester and they bothhave those bolded surnames in their trees.

With no matching surnames, the list is still present, but no bolding, as shown in the second match.

eka surname bold.png

You can then click on the ancestral surnames to see all of the surnames listed by that match.

If you search for matches that include a specific surname on Family Finder, that surname is displayed blue, the common surnames are bolded, and the rest aren’t.

eka surname search

By looking at these common ancestral surnames, I can often tell immediately how I’m related to my match.

eka surname blue.png


Using Earliest Known Ancestors, Matches Maps and Ancestral Surnames at Family Tree DNA is as easy a 1-2-3 and well worth the effort.

If you provided this information previously, is it still up to date? For your kit and any others you manage?

What hints are waiting for you?

Have other people uploaded their trees or added EKAs since you last checked?

You can always send an email to your matches who need to add Earliest Known Ancestors by clicking on the envelope icon. Feel free to provide them with a link to this article that explains the benefits of entering their EKA information along with step-by-step instructions.

DNA is the gift that just keeps on giving – but it can give a lot more with Earliest Known Ancestors and their locations!



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Johann Theobald Koob (born circa 1705 – died after 1766), Münchmeister – 52 Ancestors #291

Johann Theobald Koob was born about 1705, probably in Fussgoenheim, Germany, to Johann Dietrich Koob and Anna Catharina, surname unknown.

The first record of Johann Theobald Koob is when he served as godfather for the Renner family in Fussgoenheim.


21 November 1728

Child: Anna Maria

Parents: Johann Jacob Renner and Helena, his lawfully wed wife

Godparents: Johann Theobald Kob, unmarried from Fussgonheim and Anna Maria Sachs(in).

This wasn’t the only interaction with the Renner family, and mark my words, they were related somehow.

Married in Fussgoenheim

In February of 1730, Johann Theobald Koob married Maria Catharina Kirsch.

Koob Kirsch 1730 marriage

Pfalz: Zentralarchiv der Evang. Kirche > Speyer > Fußgönheim > Taufen, Trauungen, Bestattungen, Sonstiges 1726-1798, Bild 74, www.archion.de

Marriage: 21 Feb 1730

Joh. Theobald Coob from here with Maria Catharina Kirch(in) were married.

Koob is spelled variously as Koob, Coob and Kob in the early church records.

Johann Theobald’s parents both attended his wedding in the quaint Lutheran church on the cobblestone street, probably sitting alongside his siblings. We know his parents were still living, because we find his father’s burial record in those same church records in November 1734 and his mother’s just a few months later, in April of 1735.

That must have been a very tough year.

Children Bless the Couple

Johann Theobald Koob and Maria Catharina Kirsch welcomed their first-born child, a daughter, Susanna Elisabetha, on June 17, 1731. How joyful they must have been when baptizing their beautiful baby girl. Three of the four grandparents celebrated with them that June Sunday, exactly 289 years ago today, as I write this article. This is an incredibly important day for me, because Susanna Elisabetha is my 4th great-grandmother.

Happy 289th birthday Susanna Elisabetha!!! Part of you is still here!

Koob, Susanna Elisabetha

Taufen__Trauungen__Bestattungen__Sonstiges_1726-1798_Bild14(1), Fussgönheim Evangelical Church Records, Archion.de

Baptism: 17 June 1731

Parents: Joh. Theobald KOOB and his wife, Maria Catharina, a daughter was baptized and named:

Susanna Elisabeth

Godparents: Johann Andreas Kirsch & Anna Elisabeth, widow of the late mayor  Koob.

We can glean so much information from the godparents. These people weren’t selected randomly, and it wasn’t just an honorary position. On the contrary, it was well-thought-out.

The godparents were expected to raise this child, attending to their education, both traditional and secular, in the event that something happened to the parents. An equivalent today would be selecting your children’s adoptive parents and designating them at the birth of your children. Godparents promised to perform these duties before the village, in front of both families, the reverend, the congregation, and more importantly, before God.

If you think about it, it’s a wonderful tradition that assures that every child in a family is cared for if the parents die without placing the entire burden of several children on one family member. In a small village, the children would only live a few houses apart and could still see each other and interact regularly.

Based on Fussgoenheim history, Anna Elisabetha, the widow godmother, is probably the widow of Johann Nicolaus Koob, the former mayor. She’s clearly related to the family, but exactly how is unknown. We do know that Johann Nicolaus Koob has a son, Johann Dietrich Koob, the same name as Johann Theobald’s father, but he married Maria Kinigunda Sahler in 1728. Therefore, if Anna Elisabeth is Johann Nicolaus Koob’s widow, she is not Johann Theobald’s grandmother.

The widow Anna Elisabeth may be his aunt or great-aunt or related another way, or both. Her name may also have been Susanna Elisabetha. In a future record, the child Susanna Elisabetha baptized that day is called Anna Elisabetha – probably after her godmother.

Two years later, Johann Theobald Koob’s first son, Emanuel Koob, joined the family.

Taufen__Trauungen__Bestattungen__Sonstiges_1726-1798_Bild18, Fussgönheim Evangelical Church Records, Archion.de

Baptism: 26 May 1733

Parents: Joh. Theobald Koob and his wife, Maria Katharina, a son was baptized and named: Emanuel

Godparents: Joh. Michael Kirsch and his wife, Anna Margaretha.

In 1763, Emanual stood as godfather when his older sister’s son, also named Emanual, was baptized.

By 1771, Emanual was godfather for his younger brother Johann Theobald Koob and his wife, Catharina Barbara when they baptized a son named Emanual. In this record, Emanual is noted as being from Münchhof near Danstatt, which proves to be an important clue.

In 1736, daughter, Maria Catharina, named for her grandmother, joined the family.

Taufen__Trauungen__Bestattungen__Sonstiges_1726-1798_Bild24, Fussgönheim Evangelical Church Records, Archion.de

Baptism: 20 April 1736

Parents: Johann Theobald Kob & wife Maria Cath.

A daughter was baptized and named: Maria Catharina

Godparent: the grandmother, Maria Kirsch(in), widow

Born: 16 April 1736

Baptized: 20 April 1736

Entry No. 29

In 1738, a son with the same name as his father was born. Interestingly enough, the godparents were from Frankenthal, about 7 and a half miles away, and the child is not named after the godparents, which is typical.

Koob Fussgoenheim Frankenthal

It looks like perhaps their son, Johann Theobald is too young to actually be a godparent, so they stood with him? Perhaps Johann Theobald Koob was the younger Johann Theobald Welker’s godfather. This would suggest some type of family relationship.

Taufen__Trauungen__Bestattungen__Sonstiges_1726-1798_Bild27, Fussgönheim Evangelical Church Records, Archion.de

Baptism: Entry No. 66

Parents: Johann Theobald Kob, the juror and his wife, Maria Catharina a son named: Johann Theob(ald) was baptized

Godparents: the honorable Georg Henrich Welcker, butcher and innkeeper in Frankthal and his wife, Maria Ernstina with son Johann Theobald, formerly confirmed at S. ……..?

Born: 24 August 1738 at 8 a.m.

Baptized: 29 August 1738

In this record, Johann Theobald was referred to as a juror. I asked my two friends, Tom and Christoph, what being a juror meant at that time in Fussgoenheim. Their answer was that while neither are experts on that specific topic, their understanding is that jurors would be respected men within the community who would perhaps adjudicate non-criminal disputes and disagreements.

Two years later, things didn’t go well in 1740.

Taufen__Trauungen__Bestattungen__Sonstiges_1726-1798_Bild30, Fussgönheim Evangelical Church Records, Archion.de

Baptism: Entry 108

Parents: Johann Theobald Kob, juror and wife, Maria Catharina, a daughter on the 14th of October 1740 was born and because of weakness so she was baptized immediately in the home.  Godparents were the mother’s side, the grandmother Maria. But the child is deceased in a few hours.

Sadly, this baby wasn’t named, or if she was, the reverend didn’t record her name. It seems so sad to think of a tiny, nameless, anonymous grave.

The next child, Johann Dieter, arrived almost exactly a year later. Of course, Johann Dietrich Koob is Johann Theobald’s father’s name.

Taufen__Trauungen__Bestattungen__Sonstiges_1726-1798_Bild32, Fussgönheim Evangelical Church Records, Archion.de

Baptism: Entry 111

Parents: Theobald Kob and his wife, Maria Catharina, a son Johann Dieter

Godparents: Johann Dieter Kob, customs collector in Weiss……?and wife Maria Kunigunda

Born 30 Sept 1741          Baptized:8 October 1741

Weissenheim am Sand is a village about 7 miles directly north of Fussgoenheim and Weissenheim am Berg is about the same distance west of Weissenheim am Sand.

This too proves to be a hint that will help tie things together, later.

In 1767, Johann Dieter Koob, unmarried, stood as godfather for his brother, Johann Theobald Koob’s child, named Johann Diederich, of course. This confirms that Dieter and Diederich are synonymous. Dieter is likely a nickname.

Johann Theobald Koob and Maria Catharina Kirsch’s last child, Johannes, arrived just before Christmas in 1750, but not before a massive upheaval that’s not revealed in the church records.

It was by tracking this family through and after that upheaval that I found another child, born in 1746 elsewhere…and baptized in exile.

Let’s just say it was an incredibly long time between 1741 and 1750.


There are several years missing in the births of children, with a noticeable gap between 1741 and 1750. That’s because Johann Theobald’s life was turned upside-down in 1743.

Politics in Germany was ever-present and seemingly, always dangerous. In 1729, Jakob Tilman von Hallberg, a member of the House of Hallberg who had acquired half of Fussgoenheim in 1728, followed shortly thereafter by the second half, undertook a village survey in which the roads were redrawn and the area redivided. The result was that the villagers lost two-thirds of their hereditary land, with Hallberg personally absorbing the rest that was left “abandoned” by the resurvey.

Johann Theobald Koob was one of several jurors or village elders, noted as judges in a German to English translation, who refused to sign the survey book. As punishment, Hallberg had them expelled from Fussgoenheim after first being jailed for two weeks. The Kirsch family went to Ellerstadt as serfs.

It’s unclear where Johann Theobald Koob and Maria Katharina Kirsch went, at least for several years.

We do find a baptism for another son in Weissenheim am Sand.

Baptism: Johann Matheus, parents Johann Theobald Koob and Maria Catharina. Koob on January 16, 1746. Godparents Johann Matheus Sahler and Maria Cath.

However, based on a baptism for Johann Theobald Koob’s son in 1750, it would appear that Johann Theobald Koob was in Münchhof by that time where he had some sort of hereditary ownership.

It’s likely that Johann Theobald Koob had children in 1742, 1744 and 1748 as well, but we simply don’t have those records.

The 1750 baptism record reveals such important information.

Baptism: No. 188

Born 5 December 1750

Baptized 8th of same (month) in Münchhof +

Child: Johannes

Parents: Johann Theobald Kob, hereditary owner in Münchhof and his wife.

Godparents: Johannes Lammert, innkeeper in the Lamb’s Inn in Mutterstadt and wife, Maria Margaretha Weisin.

Koob Johannes 1750

This record, from archion.de is part of the Dannstadt churchbook, not Fussgoenheim.

It’s interesting that in 1750 Johann Thoebald Koob is living in Münchhof.

Oh, what a tangled web is genealogy.


The Lammert/Lemmert family in Mutterstadt is known to me.

Koob Mutterstadt Fussgoenheim Dannstadt

Three generations later, Johann Theobald Koob’s great-grandson, Philip Jacob Kirsch would be born in Fussgoenheim in 1806. He would marry Katharina Barbara Lemmert in 1829 in Mutterstadt. This couple, my ancestors, would immigrate to Ripley County, Indiana about 20 years later, the founding members of the Kirsch line there.

Koob Jacob Kirsch pedigree

By the time Philip Jacob Kirsch married Katharina Barbara Lemmert, these families had apparently known each other for generations.

But what about Münchhof?


Johann Theobald Koob may have been spitefully evicted from Fussgoenheim in 1743, but he was apparently not poor. He didn’t entirely disappear. We do find him in Weissenheim am Sand in 1746 and mentioned again as being from there in 1748 when he resurfaces in Münchhof.

According to the journal, Pennsylvania Folklife” (1966), Volume 16, page 41, available here, we discover that in 1748, Daniel Jouis, as lessee, sells one quarter of the property, Münchhof, to Theobald Koob of Weisenheim am Sand.

Koob Munchhof article

While this article by Dr. Krebs is focused on the Jouis family, it handily answers several questions about Theobald Koob.

We now know where he went in 1743 after he was evicted from Fussgoenheim. He had family in Weissenheim am Sand, as evidenced from the 1741 baptism of his child, so he went there.

Koob Weissenheim am Sand atlas

Five years later, when it may have seemed improbable that he would ever be allowed to return to Fussgoenheim, he purchased a quarter lessee ownership of Münchhof and moved to this large farm, owned by the University of Heidelberg, with his family.

Koob Weissenheim am Sand map

Word that this quarter of the Münchhof estate was available for purchase, as a lessee, must have traveled by word of mouth. Johann Theobald Koob’s relative was the tax collector in Weissenheim am Sand, so he would probably have been aware of these types of opportunities. We also find early Koob families in Schauernheim and Dannstadt, just north of Münchhof.

Münchhof wasn’t exactly next door to Weissenheim am Sand, but it was fairly close to Fussgoenheim and family members seem to have been scattered throughout this part of the Palatinate – fertile lowlands east of the Rhine.

Koob Munchhof atlas

Münchhof is close to Fussgoenheim, about three and a half miles away. It would have been easy for them to see their family members in Fussgoenheim while remaining a persistent thorn in the side of Hallberg.

Koob Munchhof close

A gazetteer documenting all German locations from 1871-1918 shows Munchhof.

We can use this map to find the location of Munchhof today, matching up landmarks and roads that have retained their original shape.

Koob Munchhof atlas to google

Based on the google map legend the area below looks to be about 4 or 5 acres, roughly.

Koob Munchhof 5 acres

One quarter square mile is 1320X1320 feet and holds 160 acres, so the original Munchhof would have encompassed roughly this land, the house marked by Dells Tierwelt.

Koob Munchhof today aerial

Dr. Krebs who wrote that 1966 article even went so far as to drive out to Münchhof and take these photos for his article. I’m thrilled!

Koob Munchhof 1965

The amazing thing about these estates is that they changed very little over time and Münchhof probably looked almost exactly like it did in 1748 – 212 years earlier – minus the cars and modern farm equipment of course. There is documentation of some destruction in 1807, but whatever damage incurred was clearly repaired.

Münchhof still exists today as a location that breeds dogs.

Koob Munchhof aerial close

Fortunately, the current owners cared enough to document the history of Munchoff, here.

I used the Deepl translator to translate, below.

Our Münchhof

In 1987 we bought the “Münchhof”, which has been part of the Dannstadt community since 1797.

Koob Munchhof 1985

I’m so very grateful that they included this photo from 1985 which shows a different perspective than the 1965 photo.

The following transcript was taken from “Heimatblätter für Ludwigshafen am Rhein und Umgebung, Jg.7, 1918, No. 4

The Münchhof at Dannstadt.

The Münchhof is located about 5 minutes away from the parish village Dannstadt at the Speyerer Straße. Already the name indicates that we are dealing with a monastery estate. In the Middle Ages, half of Dannstadt was spiritual property.

In 804 the Münchhof comprised 128 acres of land, which belonged to the Kindergut.

Note that 128 acres of land was about the entire size of the village of Fussgoenheim in 1743.

The farm, which was founded at an unknown time, probably came into existence in 987 through a donation by Count Otto of Rhine-Franconia to the Benedictine and later Dominican monastery Lambrecht in the Haardtwald, which he had founded at that time. In the beginning “one” farmer – later there were several – owned the Münchhof from Lambrecht Monastery as part of his inheritance; he held the title ” Münchmeister.”

I absolutely cannot help but chuckle. This means that Johann Theobald Koob was a Munchmeister, or at least one quarter Munchmeister. Of course, in German, meister means master, so the farmer who was leasing this property was indeed the master of the hof, or farm.

In 1331, Ludwig the Bavarian pledged the Speyergau bailiwick to the sons of his brother Rudolf, the Palatine Counts Rudolf 2nd and Ruprecht 1st, for 1000 pounds heller.

When the influence of the Reformation became noticeable, Elector Friedrich 2 obtained permission from the Pope to confiscate and abolish the Lambrecht Monastery and 11 others and to transfer their income to the Heidelberg College in 1551. Thus the Münchhof fell to the University of Heidelberg.

In 1563, a settlement was reached between the university and Elector Friedrich 3, who granted St. Lambrecht and the Münchhof free of encumbrances. A large part of the other monasteries that had been confiscated were ceded by the university to the Elector, but in this way she had cleverly evaded the sovereign’s easements on the estates. The Münchhof had now become a free court. From this time on it was under the administration of the Heidelberg university conductor and the electoral administration there. However, this special position was a source of incessant friction between the courtiers and the aforementioned village court.

The Peace of Luneville in 1801 made the left bank of the Rhine French. Napoleon used the opportunity to smash the property. In 1807 the Münchhof in Mainz was auctioned off as a so-called national property.

Understanding the size of Münchhof helps put this purchase into perspective. Even if Johann Theobald Koob only purchased access to one quarter of the 128 acres, assuming it was still the same size, that means he farmed 32 acres and lived on the property, which was probably functionally the same as a small village. Compare and contrast this to the small farms in Fussgoenheim that were originally about 15 acres each, but reduced to an average of 4.67 after Hallberg’s resurvey.

Based on records from Fussgoenheim, we know that Johann Theobald Koob was still a citizen in Fussgoenheim in 1766. It’s possible that he was living at Münchhof, but I’d think those records would have mentioned that.

I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to Münchhof.

It appears that Johann Theobald’s oldest son, Emanual, inherited his father’s lease rights to Münchhof. In 1771, when he stands as godparent for his sibling’s child, he is noted as being from Munchoff. The torch has apparently passed. This record may be the closest thing we have to a death record for Johann Theobald.

It’s possible that Johann Theobald Koob actually died at Münchhof, not in Fussgoenheim. We don’t know if he loved being at Münchhof, or if it was simply a safehaven when he needed one – retaining it later as an investment. Did he stay there, or was he relieved to move back to Fussgoenheim in 1753.

Münchhof apparently became a hereditary legacy in the Koob family, because an agricultural journal published in 1876, 128 years after Johann Theobald Koob purchased that quarter, mentions a “Jakob Koob, economist on the Münchhof”:

Using 30 years per generation, that’s between 4 and 5 generations later. Johann Theobald Koob was likely the great-great or three times great-grandfather of that Jakob Koob of 1876. I wonder if he had any idea what had happened to his ancestor, Johann Theobald Koob, in 1743, why and how Münchhof came to be in the Koob family.

Contacting a local historian reveals that members of the Koob family still live on part of it’s land, not associated with the dog breeding business.

Return to Fussgoenheim

In 1753, von Hallberg was forced to allow the evicted Fussgoenheim families to return to their hereditary properties in the village. Based on this 1743 map, we know exactly which properties Johann Theobald Koob owned.

Kirsch 1743 Fussgoenheim under village

Given that this maps showed land owned hereditarily in the north half of the village, we can see that Johann Theobald Koob owned two properties, probably inherited from his father.

This property still existed in the 1940s, and the Kirsch and Koob families still lived adjacent.

Fussgoenheim Kirsch Koehler homes

The Kirsch property is noted with the X, and the Koob with the O. This photo was sent by descendants living in these houses during WWII to relatives in Indiana.

Fussgoenheim street

The properties are marked in this photo as well, which I’d wager is a victory celebration of some sort on the main street of Fussgoenheim, almost 200 years after Johann Theobald Koob had his own sweet victory of return.

Today, you can see this part of Fussgoenheim on Google maps, which correlates to the 1743 map and the 1940s photos.

Koob property today

The upper Koob property is shown, below in a photo taken by my friend, Noel, when she took a detour on her vacation to find my ancestors. I’m incredibly grateful!

Fussgoenheim intersection Ruchheimer Hauptstrasse

I believe, based on the 1743 map and today’s intersection of Hauptstrausse and Ruchheimer streets, that the property on the aerial above, designated by the upper red arrow, to the left of the yellow house, with the brown large door and solar panels is one of Johann Theobald Koob’s properties. It’s probably the same house that still stands.

Whose House Was It?

The Kirsch/Koob photo from the 1940s is of the property designated with the lower arrow, which I wrote about, here.

Marliese’s letters were somewhat confusing. She wrote them as a teen, almost 90 years after these families had immigrated. Her letters are clear about which property was the Kirsch property, because she grew up in that house.

Her references to the house with the O marked over it were believed to have referred to this as the Koehler home at that time. There was confusion within her family, plus the challenges of German to English translation, and the Kirsch, Koehler and Koob families were eventually heavily intermarried. Marliese used a lot of pronouns such as “they” and it was often unclear as to who, exactly, “they” was referring to.

This is going to be hard to follow, so here’s a diagram.

Koob Kirsch Koehler pedigree

click to enlarge

On this chart, people in red are my ancestors. You can see Johann Theobald Koob at right, with a black box around his name. The people in green are the couple who Marliese believed lived in the house next door before they immigrated – except for one daughter. Marliese and I share the same founding Kirsch, Koob and Koehler ancestors.

Knowing what I know today, after significant research, I am confident that this home was never the Koehler home, and was always the Koob home, in part, because the first record I find of the Koehler family is in Seckenheim, and never in Fussgoenheim. Johann Peter Theobald Koehler lived (1696) and died (1767) in Seckenheim during the same time period that Johann Theobald Koob was living in Fussgoenheim and at Munchhof.

My Koehler line intermarried with the Koob line in Ellerstadt. Margaretha Elisabetha Koehler was born in 1772 in Ellerstadt, married Andreas Kirsch there and moved to Fussgoenheim as his wife. Her father was probably born in Seckenheim, as his parents were born and died there.

If indeed, the Koehler family did eventually own the Koob property, it was after Johann Martin Koehler, Margaretha Elisabetha’s brother, born in 1796 in Ellerstadt married Anna Margaretha Kirsch, the daughter of Andreas Kirsch, in 1821 in Fussgoenheim.

This couple, who are not my ancestors, are shown in the green block. Martin Koehler, according to Marliese, was reported to have had a beautiful singing voice and played in the village orchestra, as well as sang in the choir.

His three surviving sons immigrated to Indiana, and his one surviving daughter married Karl Ritthaler and remained in Fussgoenheim. There are virtually no Koehler church records in Fussgoenheim, including no burial record for Johann Martin Koehler himself. As you can see, he did not marry a Koob directly, but a granddaughter of Susanna Elisabetha Koob, so it’s highly unlikely that he wound up with the Koob property next door to the Kirsch home.

Regardless of the ownership of the Koob property in the later 1800s and into the 1900s, it was clearly owned by Johann Theobald Koob in the 1700s. The Koob and Kirsch families intermarried for generations. They were all related to each other several ways.

Despite the confusion about the identification of the Koob property in the 1940s photos, Marliese’s ancestor, Anna Elisabetha Koehler, born in 1781 in Ellerstadt, married Johann Mathias Koob in 1801 and moved to Fussgoenheim. This is shown at right, in the chart, above. Their daughter married Johannes Kirsch, so even in Marliese’s own family line, no Koehler actually lived next door, but the Koob family clearly did. The Koehlers entered the picture as spouses.

I wonder how long this property actually remained in the Koob family, and what happened to it.

Johann Theobald Koob’s Property Today

Unfortunately, as you can see in this satellite closeup, the Koob home is gone today. replaced by the garden area in front of the building with the checkerboard roof. The original Kirsch property includes the while house at left, the driveway area and the small white building adjacent to the beginning of wall.

Fussgoenheim Kirsch Koehler

Many original structures do remain, so I have to wonder what happened to Johann Theobald Koob’s home.

Here’s a current street view, with the Kirsch home at left.

Fussgoenheim Kirsch on Hauptstrasse

The wall stands where the Koob home once stood at 11 Hauptstrausse. The double brown gates, below, appear to provide access to where the Koob’s neighbor’s home once stood, and was not the Koob property, at least, not that we know of.

Fussgoenheim Kirsch Koehler

A building, which may or may not be original, stands behind the wall (and the tree) at 11 Hauptstrasse.

Fussgoenheim Koob 11

The addresses are marked on the fence. The original Kirsch home, to the left, is 9 Hauptstrausse.

Fussgoenheim Koehler building

Today, a small garden replaces the original Koob home at 11 Hauptstrausse. in the photo above, we are looking directly at Theobald Koob’s property. Below, over the fence at the building shown above.

Fussgoenheim Koob garden 2

This Koob property is noted as 11 Haupstrausse on Google maps, as is the small portion of the building still standing to the left of the wall and to the right of the large brown door. It’s hard to align with original properties, especially since German homes are built sharing walls.

However, in the 1940s photos, the Koob home looks to be clearly separate from the Kirsch property, which included his small addition to the right of the brown door.

Fussgoenheim Koob wall 3

11 Haupstrasse, where the garden is today, was clearly the Koob property, which includes the building behind, to the left of the van in the photo below. The property to the right looks to have been 13 Hauptstrasse and appears to be used as a driveway currently.

Fussgoenheim Koob garden 3

The portion below looks to be the property designated as 13. In 1743, that was not privately owned, because it was not mapped.  I wonder if this was some of the property that Hallberg attempted to confiscate, and if so, who the rightful owners were.

Fussgoenheim Koob garden 4

The contemporary photos are all courtesy of my friend, Noel.

When Did Johann Theobald Koob Die?

We don’t know exactly when Johann Theobald Koob passed away, but we do know that on February 11, 1766, when his namesake son, Johann Theobald Koob married Catharina Barbara Wessa(in), daughter of Johann Jacob Wessa, citizen and member of the court in Schauernheim, the groom was named as the son of Johann Theobald Koob, citizen in Fussgoenheim. Had he been deceased at this time, the records would have stated that.

This tells us that Johann Theobald Koob lived through being evicted from his property in Fussgoenheim in 1743, and returned in or after 1753, living long enough to see at least three of his children marry. He welcomed at least two grandchildren, and most likely more.

Johann Theobald probably passed away sometime between 1766 and the 1771 record where his son Emanuel is noted as being from Münchhof, but the records are incomplete and we simply don’t know. The Fussgoenheim records end in 1778. He may have still been alive at that time and died between then and 1798 when the French records began during the French occupation of the Pfalz. If so, he lived long enough to see his homeland invaded and may have been displaced, yet again. If so, there was always Munchhof, a safehaven for the old Munchmeister.


Unfortunately, it appears that no Koob male has yet taken a Y DNA test. From this test, we could determine where the Koob line came from initally, before Fussgoenheim.

If you are a Koob male descending from this line through all males, please contact me. I have a Y DNA testing scholarship waiting just for you!



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Thank you so much.

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Pandemic Journal: Rise Up

I haven’t said much, because I literally just don’t know what to say anymore.  My heart aches and I’m tired. Very emotionally tired.

Is there an opportunity, someplace, buried in this bleakness?

God, I hope so. My lips to God’s ears.

Straight Up

We, in America, are on a run-away pandemic freight train. The graphics in this article from National Geographic show the ugly going-straight-up line of daily new infections on the chart. Yet, we seem unwilling to do the small things, specifically one small thing, that can and does make a huge difference.

For many, perhaps including you, a life-and-death difference.

If that’s not bad enough we are enduring the most toxic, divisive political Hell I’ve ever experienced, mixed with civil unrest. Plus – hate speech everyplace. Social media has become unsocial media. That’s like multiple rings of Hell with multiple Satans in every one.

No One is Exempt

No get-out-of-jail free card. No pass. No redo. This is not an escape room. There is no escaping this one.

There is only action – NOW! By each and every one of us taking personal responsibility.

Friends are ill or unemployed and many have experienced deaths of family members.

Two friend’s mothers dead of Covid, my other friend’s uncle, another and another and another are added to the list – someone almost every day now, horribly ill or gone after a torturous battle. And those who “recover” don’t exactly get well. It’s not “like the flu.” Just google for those stories. They are brutal and people are left with permanent organ damage, still suffering miserably weeks and weeks later.

Very few people, if any, are NOT at risk right now, either physically, economically, or both. Businesses are shuttering and cutting back. Not to mention those who are losing their employer-sponsored health insurance when they need it most.

You may want to read the personal accounts of Dr. Erik Martin, a physician who survived the Covid trenches of NYC and is now fighting Covid in his overwhelmed community in Missouri. This isn’t primed and edited for publication – just his personal journey on his Facebook page as he does battle with this monster. Every. Single. Day.

If you don’t like the media, listen to Erik. He has no agenda.


4th sky.jpg

Yet, if you look outside, you see sunshine and blue skies which belie the tsunami which is unarguably rolling towards us, one by one, at breakneck speed. I fear we have no prayer now of avoiding some form of personal devastation. That opportunity is gone. Now we must mitigate damage as best we can and deal with the rest.

Our eyes tell us one thing – everything’s fine in the back yard. Flowers are blooming and life is just like it is every other hot summer day, in all the years that have come before.

4th roses

No need NOT to BBQ and have family over. Right?

I mean, what could it hurt? Really?

Then, turn on the TV news and look at the hospitals overwhelmed in Houston with over 22,000 currently active cases in their county which is also home to the largest medical complex in the world.

Read the story about the birthday party at which 18 of 25 adults caught Covid, including both elderly parents and a cancer patient who are hospitalized. Family members said they tried to social distance and the party was only for a couple hours. But, that clearly wasn’t enough and there’s no way to tell until it’s too late, way too late.

All it takes is one time, the wrong time. Getting way with “cheating” once instills a false sense of security. Nothing happened so let’s do it again. That false feeling that “it’s OK, nothing happened” emboldens people to engage in repeated risky behavior.

It’s kind of like not using birth control. Do it enough and pregnancy will happen. You just don’t know which time. I know several of those surprises that are lovely people. However, Covid is never lovely. It’s deadly. There is no upside or redeeming qualities.

No, warm weather doesn’t kill this virus. Neither does denial. And clearly, if other countries have wrestled this monster to the ground, we could have too, but we haven’t.

In for the Long Haul

For the record, I’m still staying home, wearing a mask when I do need to go out, and I will until we have a vaccine or the virus finishes with us. Let’s hope it’s the former and soon.

And yes, I do other socially responsible things to protect myself and others too, like pay for insurance, wear a seatbelt, and not drink and drive. You get the drift I’m sure. Making those decisions are easy because the potential consequences certainly aren’t worth non-compliance.

Wearing a mask isn’t any different and it unquestionably saves lives – yours, those you love, and people you don’t even know but can infect even though you’re asymptomatic.

We don’t think anything of paying for house or car insurance that we hope we’ll never use – but some people are very resistant to wearing a mask which is both easy and free and we unquestionably need in the current circumstances. It’s free insurance for both us and everyone around us.

It’s like refusing a free gift that will save your life.

The 4th of July


Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

It’s the 4th of July, and I don’t feel like celebrating in the traditional way this year. I fear for our democracy. I cringe when I hear vile, hate-filled words spewing from the mouths of Americans, directed at each other.

Vitriol and ignorance combined are a horrible, lethal, toxic brew. I’m stunned to witness the behavior of some people I thought I knew much better. Others, however, like cream, have risen to the top. I’m so proud of them.

I ask myself, is this hatefulness really what we have become? Or, has this climate simply unmasked selfishness and lack of concern for others that was always present? Can those who refuse to comply with something as easy as wearing a mask actually still be ignorant after all this time?

How did wearing a mask to protect yourself and others in the middle of a pandemic, a MASSIVE, overwhelming pandemic that’s killing Americans by the 10s of thousands, infecting more than 50,000 each and every day, and RISING, become a weaponized political statement? Not to mention people continue to gather when it’s unwise, even if not forbidden.

I hope the tide is turning. I’m afraid it will be too little, too late. I pray I’m wrong and that this tide turns quickly.

Every one of us needs to be that good example to help turn this boat around.

I Don’t Want to Either

I fully understand why no one wants to think about this. I understand why people want to try to pretend it doesn’t exist – especially in warm weather when it seems everything is just fine.

We’re all exhausted and we need a break.

4th lavender.jpg

The lavender is blooming, the butterflies are flitting. All looks superficially well with the world. Everything just looks so, well, normal. But this picture is deceptive because life is not normal this year – regardless of bucolic appearances that serve to confuse our aching brains.

I don’t want any of this to exist either and I certainly don’t want to think about what’s coming. But it’s going to arrive, one way or the other, and your actions, or inactions, literally will make the determination of who lives and dies in the Covid-lottery.

And to be clear, you don’t get to vote on the question of who – because by the time you know, it’s way, way too late.

Choose Love as Your Legacy

Perhaps this mental overwhelm, anguish and emotional fatigue is why I’ve been so focused on genealogy, quilting, and yes, even cleaning things – in the hope that there IS a future to be lived with those I love. Plus, I can do all of those at home.

Maybe I’m just whistling past the graveyard.

You don’t know who will be left at the end of this journey. Love everyone like there’s no tomorrow. Because there might not be.

Think about your legacy. You are living it now.

How do you feel about the last thing you said to someone, or posted on social media being the last thing you say – ever? Are you satisfied with those as your parting words?

Will you be the person who infected someone who dies, like that family of 25 who had the party? My friend’s mom who died contracted Covid on Mother’s Day when her family visited? Try living with that for the rest of your life. Her Dad’s life is still hanging in the balance.

Or will you be the voice of kindness and reason?

You get to choose one way or the other with your every action. In these pandemic times – your choice really does matter.

Will you rise up to meet the challenge?

Rise Up

Now’s the time.

Rise up.

Rise up and be counted for what you believe.

Rise up for good.

Rise up for right.

Rise up to protect others.

Rise up to defeat hatred.

Rise up and wear a mask.

Rise up and bring someone else with you.

I decided to write this article because I want to share this incredibly beautiful song; Rise Up – an inspiration even on the darkest of personal days. You need this even if you don’t know it😊

Trust me on this one.

Music that will touch your soul with love, raise your spirits and infuse you with hope.

This unbelievably moving duet by mother and son will cause your allergies to act up, immediately. Unlesss you’re already cutting onions, of course.

I give you….Rise Up – Andra Day // Cover by Mother and Son (Jordan Rabjohn Cover)

4th rise up4th rise up mother

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Rise. Up.



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

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GEDmatch Introduces Automated Tree Matching

GEDmatch has just introduced a great new tool – automated tree matching. You’ll find it under the “Find common ancestors (MRCA) from DNA matches” on the application menu under Tier 1 tools which are available for a $10 monthly subscription. (Yes, you can subscribe month by month.)

gedmatch mrca.png

Of course, you’ll need to have your tree uploaded so that GEDmatch can match ancestors in your tree against ancestors in other people’s trees.

I wrote about how to upload a GEDCOM file, which holds your family tree information, in the article, Download Your Ancestry Tree and Upload It Elsewhere for Added Benefit. Step-by-step instructions for uploading both DNA files and a GEDCOM file to GEDmatch are included in this article.

MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestors) Search Tool

Clicking on the “Find common ancestors (MRCA) from DNA matches” link takes you to a screen where you’ll enter your kit number.

gedmatch mrca search

The default settings work fine. 10,000 is the maximum number of kits it will compare.

Next, you’ll see the processing screen.

gedmatch mrca results.png

click to enlarge

In my case, of my highest 10,000 matches, only 1036 had associated GEDCOM files. That’s only about 10%. Imagine how much information would be available if everyone uploaded a GEDCOM file.

Of those, I had 136 hits of people where potential common ancestors could be identified in our trees.

When processing is complete, you’ll see a list of your matches complete with your common ancestors. How cool is this!!!

gedmatch mrca matches

click to enlarge

I’ve obscured private information. Looking at this information, column by column:

  • I can click through to my match’s tree by clicking on the green tree icon.
  • The cM column shows the total matching cMs over the threshold of 7. In the case of my first match, that 52.5 cMs is broken into 2 segments of 19.6 and 32.9.
  • The Common Ancestor in Primary GEDCOM is my ancestor.
  • The Descent Path to Primary Kit is how I am descended from that ancestor.
gedmatch descendants.png

click to enlarge

For example, clicking on the 5G in the first row shows me that I’m 7 generations removed, so Agnes Muncy is my 5th great-grandmother.

  • The next column, Common Ancestor in Row GEDCOM shows the relationship of my match to the person shown in their GEDCOM file. In this case, the names are spelled exactly the same, but that’s not always the case.
  • The Up/Down Path shows how the two of us are related to each other and descended from our potential common ancestor.

gedmatch up down path

  • The Compare GEDCOM link provides information about all of the common individuals in our trees. I don’t think the GEDCOM IDs are any type of security risk, but I’ve obscured those numbers anyway. At GEDmatch, you can request to compare by GEDCOM ID.

gedmatch gedcom compare.png

  • Finally, the Score column ranks the matches from 1 to 10, with 10 being highest.

The Up/Down Path information illustrates the challenges in making computer comparisons. The information in our trees is similar, but not exact. I’ve spelled Samuel’s name Claxton and my match has spelled it Clarkson. Both are accurate. There was no consistency and descendants spell it differently. Even his military papers were elusive for decades when his widow filed a claim because the name was spelled both ways.

What Else Can I Do?

For those of us using DNAPainter to paint our segment matches, this new tool is a goldmine of ancestral segment information that can be attributed to specific ancestors, especially for matches who tested at Ancestry where segment information is not available.

I wrote about DNAPainter, here.

I know what I’m going to be doing for the rest of the day!




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 Products and Services

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