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.

Right??

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 familysearch.org 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.

Marriage:

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.

Marriage:

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.

Marriage:

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.

Marriage:

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

Marriage:

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

Death:

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

Death:

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

Death:

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

Death:

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

Baptism:

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.

Baptism:

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.

Baptism:

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.

Death:

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?

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.

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.

Wait?

What?

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?

Right?

Or did she?

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

(Please note that archion.de 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?

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

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

Baptism:

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 Durkheim); 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 www.archion.de

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 Durkheim. Chris tells me that it in early records, Durkheim was often spelled Turkheim. It’s a fairly long way from Konken to Bad Durkheim. 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

Marriage:  

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 www.archion.de

Baptism:  

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 www.archion.de

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?

Baptism:  

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 www.archion.de

Baptism:  

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 www.archion.de

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.

Baptism:  

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 www.archion.de

Brother Peter Jacob Stutzman & Anna Barbell Family of Konken

Marriage:  

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 www.archion.de

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

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

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.

Death:  

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 www.archion.de

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.

Death:

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 www.archion.de

Death:

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 www.archion.de

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

Baptism:  

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 http://www.archion.de

Sister Anna Elisabetha Stutzmann of Konken

Baptism:  

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 www.archion.de

Daughter Anna Ursula Stutzmann of Konken

Baptism:  

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 www.archion.de

Stutzmann Entries in Asselheim, Bavaria:

Marriage:

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   www.archion.de

Marriage:

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 http://www.archion.de

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

Marriage:

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 Ancestry.com.

Baptism:  

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 Ancestry.com.

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

Baptism:  

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 Ancestry.com.

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.

Baptism:

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 Ancestry.com.

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

Death:

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 Ancestry.com. Source: Germany, Lutheran Baptism, Marriages, and Burials, 1564-1938 Ancestry.com

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.

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

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.

Baptism:

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 Durkheim); 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 www.archion.de

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

The earliest documented appearance of the name of Bad Durkheim 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 Durkheim 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.

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

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).

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

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.

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

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

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.

Baptism

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 http://www.archion.de

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

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 http://www.archion.de

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?

Weilach

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 Durkheim.

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, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1260063

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.

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, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1955104

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, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42061691

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, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40964618

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.

Pietism

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?

Marriage:

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 www.archion.de

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.

Baptism:

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 http://www.archion.de

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

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

Baptism:

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 http://www.archion.de

Burial:

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 www.archion.de

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?

Death:

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 www.archion.de

Marriage:

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 www.archion.de

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.

Baptism:

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 www.archion.de

Baptism:

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 http://www.archion.de IMAGE: 0247601-00355

Death:

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.

Hurray!!!

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

Acknowledgements:

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:

Miller/Stutzman

Berchtol/Bechtol

Irene Charitas/Schlosser/Heitz

Ulrich

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.

Researching and Visiting Ireland

With my recent articles about Ireland, I’ve had lots of questions about visiting Ireland and researching Irish ancestors. Let’s talk about both!

Ireland is a wonderful place to visit. The people are genuinely friendly and outgoing, perhaps moreso than anyplace else in the world.

You can read about my adventures and share some of Ireland in the following articles:

Who Are The Irish?

The Irish are an ancient people with roots in the Neolithic hunter gatherer tribes who constructed the megalithic monuments more than 5000 years ago, followed by the Celts, Vikings, Normans and English. Today’s Irish are an amazing people with a wonderful sense of humor and unparalleled flexibility in the face of adversity. In other words, they are experts at making lemonade out of lemons. I suspect that’s what has at times made the unbearable, bearable, and ultimately insured their survival.

Let me give you an example.

I sat down on a tour bus for a short ride of about 10 minutes between two destinations.

A man traveling with a retiree’s club tour sat next to me, as all of the other seats were occupied.

Before sitting down, the man who I’d estimate to be on the far side of 4 score years, asked if he could sit beside me. I replied, “By all means, sit right down.”

He did and asked me if I was from the US. Laughing, I asked, “What was your first clue?” I obviously have a very distinct US accent.

We both laughed.

Then he looked at me, kind of sized me up, and asked, absolutely deadpan, “Will ye marry me?”

I could tell that this was just something he did and he was enjoying the shock value.

I told him that the ride was about 10 minutes and we could negotiate. He cheerfully said “OK!”

We started chatting about the location we had just visited and nothing in particular. In other words, the proposal was an ice-breaker and no serious negotiations were ensuing. (I was wearing a wedding band.)

Then, I asked him what women normally say when he proposes like that.

He looked at me and said, I his lovely Irish brogue, “Well, obviously no one has said yes yet or I wouldn’t still be askin’.”

I wish I could write in Irish brogue, which is what would be needed to truly convey this exchange.

I laughed till I cried. We parted friends. He has probably already forgotten about me, especially if someone has since taken him up on his proposal, but I’ll never quire forget him! After all, how many women get proposed to between Knowth and New Grange?

If you’re thinking he was the exception, he wasn’t – although granted, no one else proposed. However, many Irish extended themselves in the 10 days I visited and were exceptionally friendly and helpful at a level that many Americans would consider a borderline invasion of personal space.

For example, this is Edna, a lady that said hello in a pub during hurricane Ophelia and a few minutes later, we were best buddies.

This is simply consummate Ireland. In her words, “We do this all the time.”

Oh, and by the way, that’s a baby sized Guinness in my hand, just to see if I liked it.  I did, and thank you Edna! What a fun time we had in the middle of a hurricane.

Why Ireland?

Ireland has experienced significantly more migration and emigration than many other locations due to both religious conflicts and famine. When visiting the UCD Library, the curators of the Irish Folklore Project stated that there are far more Irish descendants scattered outside of Ireland than inside. In other words, the diaspora is larger than the homeland. I believe the diaspora is estimated to be about 70 million people with Irish roots, versus about 7 million current population by combining Ireland and Northern Ireland.

In my case, the Scots-Irish migrated to the US in early days, between 1717 and 1770, populating areas of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. The Appalachian Mountains probably felt much like home.

The Scots-Irish were only Irish for a little more than a hundred years. Before that, they were Scottish and were only transplanted to Ireland in the early 1600s, beginning about 1606 when the Protestant Scots were settled in what is now Northern Ireland, near Ulster.

Most families stayed for 4, maybe 5 generations before leaving again for better opportunities, beginning about 1717 and included an Irish famine that occurred between 1740-1741.

We know in Ireland that the Scots-Irish lived in what is now Northern Ireland, in the Ulster Plantations.

A second wave of emigration occurred during a second Irish famine that occurred between 1845-1852.

Finding Family

And now, for the bad news – many Irish genealogy records were destroyed in the bombing and subsequent fire in Dublin that destroyed almost all of the records held in the Irish Public Record Office in 1922, making research before that time challenging at best.

Therefore, DNA testing is likely to help Irish families and descendants more than most. DNA has the power to help piece together the past and overcome those missing records. The Irish, at least those interested in genealogy, aren’t nearly as reticent to test as continental Europeans. But then again, continental Europeans generally haven’t lost their records at quite the same level as the Irish.

If you’re one of those people who are lucky enough to discover the location of your family homeland in Ireland – or home road or farm, you may want to visit. Even if you can’t find the exact location, Ireland isn’t a large country, and you may be able to get close.

Other researchers visit to perform the actual research in various archival facilities.

Regardless, I have a few tips and hints for you about what to expect, what to do, what not to do, and more.

Driving

JUST DON’T!!! The Irish drive on the “wrong side” of the road and the rules are different. You’ll get yourself or someone else killed. Seriously, don’t…really! Need convincing? Look at this intersection. Any idea what you’re supposed to do?

Parking is extra and in many places, you simply can’t, so you’re MUCH BETTER to take a taxi or a bus in larger cities.

Hire a driver. I hired Brian O’Reilly and I can’t say enough good things about him – not only as a driver but as a tour guide.

I would hire Brian again in a heartbeat and I now count him among my friends. Brian works with a cooperative of several other private drivers and guides, so if Brian isn’t available himself, he will help you arrange transportation and guide service for your needs. He can also respond on relatively short notice. Brian O’Reilly’s e-mail is Brian.oreilly101@yahoo.ie. Tell him Roberta sent you and that I said “hello.”

Brian and I had a really great time and I learned so much about the Irish culture I would never have learned on a canned tour.

Hire a taxi, not a chauffeur, when hiring a driver. Why? Because taxis can use bus lanes while chauffeurs cannot. And yes, that makes a huge difference in terms of when you arrive, often by a factor of two in Dublin.

Taxis, in general, take forever to arrive to pick you up. Plan for extra time. They are often a half hour late due to traffic.

Public busses, especially in the morning and evening peak hours are often full, meaning you may not be able to board and will have to wait for the next bus. If you take public transportation, have exact change ready.

Bus schedules are merely suggestions. Be prepared to wait for up to half an hour, standing, in whatever weather is occurring.

Locations

Ireland is not handicapped accessible like we are used to in the US. Many if not most restrooms are either upstairs or downstairs in restaurants and few have elevators, called lifts. Many public buildings don’t have public restrooms and will send you across the street or down the block for a restroom.

Tipping

People that Americans would typically tip, such as servers in restaurants, are paid differently and they don’t expect a tip. Some people round up to the nearest Euro. Tipping is neither necessary or expected.

As an American, it’s very difficult for me not to tip.

Money

Ireland uses the Euro, but Northern Ireland uses the English sterling pound. And no, they don’t take each other’s money.

Not everyplace accepts credit cards. Some taxis do, but be prepared to pay an uplift of about 4% for the privilege. And the card reader doesn’t always work. Have cash available.

Almost no businesses accept American Express.

Notify your credit card companies that you will be traveling, and when. I have also put free alerts on my cards so that I know when they are being used.

Restaurants and Food

Most restaurants won’t split bills between people. That’s your problem.

Some restaurants add a fee for large parties. Large is defined by the restaurant and they may not tell you in advance.

Service EVERYPLACE is slow. Some excruciatingly slow. Plan on dinner taking literally all evening. It’s normal and part of the Irish experience.

Pub food is better than just about anyplace else.

Water served with meals is available if you ask, but doesn’t arrive automatically. It may or may not have ice.

Furthermore, ice is a precious commodity. In the hotel, only one ice machine was available for 6 floors and no ice bucket, just plastic cups stacked beside the ice dispenser.

Many restaurants, including pubs, don’t have mixed drinks, such as margaritas. They have well drinks, such as scotch and water, wine and beer. Want Kahlua? Nope, but everyone has Baileys Irish Cream – after all – it’s Ireland.

Guinness is the national beer. Drink Guinness, or at least try it. The locals say that you can ask for a couple drops of currant to sweeten the beer, but I liked it without. It tastes a bit roasty. When in Rome…or Ireland.

Carry-out is referred to as take-away. Not everyplace offers take-away.

In some parts of Europe, like the Netherlands, sharing food is frowned upon, but I didn’t notice anything like that in Ireland. Either that or they were too nice to tell me.

Bathrooms

Europeans do not use washcloths or facecloths. I purchased a pack at the dollar store at home and left them behind as I traveled. What else are you going to do with a wet washcloth?

There are often two flush buttons on the toilet. Generally, the small one is for little flushes and the larger one is when bigger flushing is needed. Yes, I had to ask Brian because it seemed that neither worked reliably.

And then sometimes, you find something like this.

If in doubt, just push buttons until you find one that achieves the desired effect.

Those funny things on the walls are towel warmers.

We could learn from the Irish!

Your appliances may turn on with a switch at the baseboard near the plug. Why? I have no idea, but plugs often don’t work if you don’t turn them on.

Rain

Rain is a fact of life in Ireland. It’s how the Emerald Isle stays Emerald. Be prepared. It may rain and be sunny 10 minutes later, or vice versa. Every. Single. Day.

Often, umbrellas are useless due to the wind. Mine turned inside out, making me look like some sort of confused ninja parachutist.

Geography

Ireland is an island and the lower 4/5th is the country of Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland.

Northern Ireland, created in 1921, although historically part of Ireland, is a different country today, ruled under the British monarchy and is part of the United Kingdom. There are no longer any border checkpoints between the two, but with Brexit, that might change. If you’re planning to travel between the two, be prepared in terms of currency and a passport.

Language

In Ireland, the official language is English, but many speak Gaelic. Because the English historically tried to exterminate the Gaelic language, when Ireland regained control of its own government, they included a clause in the constitution that everything in Ireland is offered in two languages – up to and including road and other signage.

However, their English is spoken with a very heavy Irish brogue which is both beautiful and frustrating. Like someone said, two people separated by a common language.

Pharmaceuticals

Medications like Dramamine and cold medicine, things we typically purchase over the counter are behind the counter at pharmacies in Europe, including Ireland. Pharmacies are typically not open past 5 PM and many not before sometime between 10 and noon.

Don’t assume you can pick up any medications at the convenience store, because you likely can’t. Not to mention, convenience stores are few and far between, so not convenient as we think of them. My hotel, even though expensive, did not have a shop – only two vending machines. Take what you might need, plus extra.

Hotels

Plugs in hotels are often not located conveniently to a nightstand, so either take a European conformant (based on the country you are visiting) extension cord or plan otherwise.

My hotel in Ireland did provide shampoo, but no conditioner and no washcloths. Take your own supplies, just in case.

Hotels rooms also do not generally include microwaves or refrigerators.

Expect to pay for parking at hotels.

Many hotels offer “Afternoon tea” or “High tea” which is an afternoon event that includes tea, biscuits (cookies) and small finger sandwiches. It’s an upper class social event, people often “dress,” and sit and talk. My hotel did not offer tea, the one across the street did, for 45 Euro. Another Dublin hotel at the upscale end charged 95 Euro. I think this is a case of if you need to ask how much, don’t go. I didn’t but I was told that I should have high tea at least once in my life.  Guess I’ll have to go back!

Here’s a link to more info about tea time.

No clock or alarm in the hotel room. My cell phone was probably more reliable anyway and I had to get up to turn the alarm off, since there were no plugs bedside.

Hotels and Climate Control

Most hotels and B&Bs don’t have air conditioning. Neither do other buildings including public buildings, so you’ll need to grin and bear it. It’s seldom beastly hot, but it can be very close and humid.

My hotel room had a lovely set of French doors and a balcony, permanently sealed shut. I also had two windows, only one of which would crank out about 2 inches. That’s not much to obtain any type of air movement within the room.

Heat in hotels, especially in older buildings is generally by radiator, not by thermostat, if heated at all. You will need to turn a knob on the radiator when entering the room to turn the heat on – and if you get too hot, there is no way to cool off. So be careful.

I stayed at the Clayton Ballsbridge, which I do NOT recommend for various reasons including consistently very poor service combined with an attitude that I was being unreasonable to expect decent service, like you know, clean cups, replenished tea, etc., daily, in my room that cost over $190 per night. Not to mention it took two and a half hours to get a bowl of stew in the restaurant.

Perhaps this is the down side to tipping being included in the price of the meal – little motivation for good service.

People staying in B&Bs were generally happier than people who stayed in hotels.

Electronics

You will need items that will plug in to 230 volt, 50 Hz power which have a different plug than in the US.

This is not necessarily just a converter issue, but a voltage compatibility issue. Check the voltage on your device.  In my case, a heating pad did not work using a converter, so I had to purchase one that would. Then I needed an extension cord, which I didn’t have. Plan accordingly.

You will need multiple converters so that you can charge your phone, etc. Here’s a page that discusses converters and sockets.

Plugs are often not placed conveniently.

Phones

OMG, the bane of my existence. Phones hate me, truly, and always have.

I can call Ireland from the US, but I cannot seem to call anyone in Ireland on my US cell phone while in Ireland, and I tried every combination I could think of and that anyone suggested. I suspect, but don’t know, that it had to do with a US phone being in Ireland, so it was confused by which type of country access code it needed. I could, however, message one person, thankfully. I never could manage to communicate with another.

Here’s my suggestion. Find someone in Ireland, maybe at the hotel front desk, that you can practice with. Once you figure out what you need to do on your phone to call them, it should work when dialing others in country too.

Beware of cell phone roaming and data charges. Understand how to turn off roaming by putting your phone in airplane mode. Before traveling, call or visit your phone carrier and understand what you can and cannot do with what kind of data without being charged. It’s extremely easy to run up a cell bill over $1000 and never realize what is happening. Case in point, your phone is always roaming to update Facebook and similar apps.

Mind you, I couldn’t make a bloody call, but the phone found ways to connect so that I’d be charged!

Tours

Unless you arrange for a private tour, which I did with Brian, tours generally leave from the downtown area at the beginning of the day, which means you’re going to encounter heavy rush hour traffic getting to the tour site. Allow adequate time, more than you think you’ll ever need, because the tour will leave without you otherwise.

Private tours cost more, especially for one person, but by the time you have 3 or 4 people or so, depending on the tour, the cumulative cost won’t be more and you’ll be much MUCH happier. Plus, a private tour can cater to your desires – like a coffee break, bathroom stop, a quilt shop along the way, or anything else of interest.

Seasons and Stores

Some businesses are seasonal – including restaurants. If you are not visiting in the high tourist season of June-August, I would strongly suggest calling ahead if you are planning on visiting a particular location.

Small businesses may or may not be open on a whim. Seriously. Always call.

Genealogy and Research Assistance

I asked these fine folks, shown here on a day trip in front of Carrickfergus Castle in Belfast, about their recommendations for Irish genealogical research:

  • Michelle Leonard, professional genealogist at Genes & Genealogy, out of Glasgow, Scotland (red hair, above)
  • Martin McDowell, professional genealogist (martin.mcdowell3@talktalk.net) as well as Development and Education Director with The North of Ireland Family History Society (right, above)
  • Dr. Maurice Gleeson, coordinator of Genetic Genealogy Ireland (left, above)

These people work with Irish records, as well as genetic genealogy every day, and they know what they are doing.

Martin recommends https://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/ where both church and civil records can be found free of charge. He suggests that of the best pay sites for Irish records is http://www.rootsireland.ie/, though its accuracy depends on the quality of the transcription.

The North of Ireland Family History Society where Martin serves as the Education & Development Officer provides a website detailing their holdings: http://www.nifhs.org/, including a full PDF of everything in the library: http://www.nifhs.org/library-list/

Maurice mentions that the PRONI and GRONI sites are specifically Northern Ireland:

Michelle points out that irishgenealogy.ie has all of the Northern Ireland BMDs prior to January 1, 1922. She points out that if you’re searching for a marriage that took place in 1906, search for it on irishgenealogy.ie where you will get the image for free as opposed to on GRONI where it will cost you £2.50 for the same image.  On the other hand if you’re searching for a marriage that took place prior to 1882 in Northern Ireland you will find it on irishgenealogy.ie but there will be no image so it’s best to go to GRONI and pay the £2.50.

My personal experience is more limited, being only a consumer of Irish research, not a professional researcher. Having said that, I DON’T recommend the Ulster Historical Foundation. I completed their form and requested an initial assessment for 35 pounds sterling on July 4th, and I’m still waiting to hear back, today, many months later, after my trip to Ireland is complete. They could at least have told me they were too busy to accommodate my needs.

The web site says they are extremely busy and to expect a delay of 4-6 weeks, but never contacting the person requesting the research is unacceptable.  It’s a good thing I was able to find a private researcher (Martin McDowell) who was willing to take an “emergency” case at a late date. Unfortunately, my situation because “an emergency” because I waited for the Ulster Historical Foundation, expecting they would be able to assist my research. Thank you Martin McDowell for being my hero and Maurice Gleeson for helping me find Martin!

I do recommend the Irish Folklore Center as well as John Grenham’s blog and website.  To find where surnames are clustered in Ireland, a surname map which combines information from 1848 through the 1911 census is available here.

For genetic genealogy, I strongly suggest the videos produced at Genetic Genealogy Ireland which now form a library on the GGI YouTube channel, all for free. Also, the ISOGG Ireland page provides an extensive list of Ireland specific resources.

By the way, a big thank you to all of the volunteers, including the speakers, who work together to produce Genetic Genealogy Ireland. GGI is an all-volunteer effort, and without these people, and Maurice Gleeson coordinating the entire event, it wouldn’t happen!

You might want to attend the Belfast Genetic Genealogy Ireland Conference on February 17-18 sponsored by Family Tree DNA. You can read more here including the great lineup of 13 free sessions and speakers focused on genetic genealogy!

Safety

As big cities go, I felt safe in Dublin and Belfast, or as safe as I feel in any large city, although I was never in the Belfast city center. I felt a lot better having Brian with me, directing me and explaining what I should and should not do and where I shouldn’t go, and why.

Time

I intended to visit six locations:

  • Dublin
  • The Cliffs of Moher
  • Giant’s Causeway
  • Wicklow Mountains
  • Boyne Valley – Knowth, New Grange and Tara
  • Belfast

Partly due to the hurricane, and partly due to fatigue, I scrapped the Cliffs and Giant’s Causeway trips.

Those two trips are long, meaning 12 hour days and that doesn’t include dinner. They are difficult in the rain and when it stays dark later in the morning and gets dark early in the evening. Those trips, in addition to the 8 hour days for the other trips, were just too much, on back to back days.

If I had planned for an additional 3 or 4 days in Ireland, it would have given me the opportunity to rest between tours or see a few additional sights in Dublin on the down days.

Even with that consideration, the late fall is not the best time of year for visits to either the Giant’s Causeway or the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin.

Ireland is Wonderful

Go.

Enjoy.

Eat pub food.

Drink Guinness.

Connect with your roots!

If you need to test your DNA before you go, I recommend Family Tree DNA for Y (patrilineal for men) and mitochondrial (matrilineal for both genders) DNA testing, as well as Family Finder autosomal for cousin matching across all of your genealogy. If you would like to know more about these various types of tests, please read 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy.

In my case, I could not personally test for the Y DNA of my McDowell ancestor – so I found a McDowell male from my line to take that test. Were it not for his results that included a match to a man who knew exactly where the McDowell’s lived in Ireland, I would never have known where my McDowell line originated and been able to visit and traverse the road where they lived. So think in terms of testing appropriate relatives to unlock secrets about your ancestors!

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Standard Disclosure

This standard disclosure appears at the bottom of every article in compliance with the FTC Guidelines.

Hot links are provided to Family Tree DNA, where appropriate. If you wish to purchase one of their products, and you click through one of the links in an article to Family Tree DNA, or on the sidebar of this blog, I receive a small contribution if you make a purchase. Clicking through the link does not affect the price you pay. This affiliate relationship helps to keep this publication, with more than 850 articles about all aspects of genetic genealogy, free for everyone.

I do not accept sponsorship for this blog, nor do I write paid articles, nor do I accept contributions of any type from any vendor in order to review any product, etc. In fact, I pay a premium price to prevent ads from appearing on this blog.

When reviewing products, in most cases, I pay the same price and order in the same way as any other consumer. If not, I state very clearly in the article any special consideration received. In other words, you are reading my opinions as a long-time consumer and consultant in the genetic genealogy field.

I will never link to a product about which I have reservations or qualms, either about the product or about the company offering the product. I only recommend products that I use myself and bring value to the genetic genealogy community. If you wonder why there aren’t more links, that’s why and that’s my commitment to you.

Thank you for your readership, your ongoing support and for purchasing through the affiliate link if you are interested in making a purchase at Family Tree DNA.

2018 Resolution – Unveiling Hidden Evidence

I spent New Year’s Eve, doing what I’ve done for years on New Year’s Eve – celebrating by researching. In fact, it was at the stroke of midnight in 2005 that I ordered kit number 50,000 from Family Tree DNA.  Yes, I’m just that geeky and yes, I had to purchase several kits in a row to get number 50,000.

That kit went on to help immensely, as I used it to test an elderly cousin of my great-grandmother’s generation who took both the Y DNA test, and then, eventually, autosomal.

This year I made a wonderful discovery to mark the new year.  But first, let’s see how I did with last year’s resolution.

Last Year’s Resolution

Last year, I made 1 resolution. Just one – to complete another year’s worth of 52 Ancestor stories.

Now, that didn’t mean I had to do 52 in total.  It meant I had to be committed to this project throughout the year.  You know, unlike cleaning out that closet…or losing weight…or exercising more. Commitments that are abandoned almost as soon as they are made.

So, how did I do?

I published 37 stories.  I shudder to think how many words or even pages that was.  I’m ashamed to say that I plucked much of the “low hanging fruit” early on, so these were tough ancestors for an entire variety of reasons.

That’s not one article each week, but at least I’m making steady progress. And I must say that I couldn’t do it without a raft of helpers – all of whom I’m exceedingly grateful to.  Friends, professionals, cousins, DNA testers, blog subscribers and commenters – an unbelievable array of very kind souls who are willing to give of their time and share their results. Thank you each and every one!

Now, I’m thrilled to tell you that Amy Johnson Crow has revitalized the 52 Ancestor’s project.  It’s free and you can sign up here.  There’s no obligation, but Amy provides suggestions and a “gathering place” of sorts. Think of her as your genealogy cheerleader or coach. It’s so much easier with friends and teammates! I miss reading other people’s stories, but I won’t have to miss that much longer!

Randy Seaver (of Genea-Musings) and I will have company once again.  He’s the only other person that I’m aware of that has continued the 52 Ancestors project – and he has put me way to shame.  I do believe he published number 286 this week.  I keep hoping that some of his ancestors and some of mine are the same so I can piggyback on Randy’s research! I need an index! Randy, are you listening?

You might wonder why I enjoy this self-imposed deadline ancestor-writing so much.

It’s really quite simple.  It’s an incredible way to organize and sort through all of your accumulated research “stuff.”  I cherish the end product – documenting my ancestors lives with dates, compassion and history.  BUT, I absolutely hate parts of the research process – and the deadline (of sorts) gets me through those knotholes.

I absolutely love the DNA, and I really, REALLY like the feeling of breaking through brick walls.  It’s like I’m vindicating my ancestors and saving them from the eternal cutting room floor. DNA is an incredible tool to do just that and there are very few ancestors that I can’t learn something from their DNA, one way or another – Y, mtDNA,  autosomal and sometimes, all three.  And yes, DNA is in every one of my articles, one way or another. I want everyone to learn how to utilize DNA in the stories of their ancestor’s lives.  In many cases the DNA of theirs that we (and our cousins) carry is the only tangible thing left of them. We are wakling historical museums of our ancestral lines!

How Did You Do?

Not to bring up an awkward subject, but if you recall, I asked you if you had any genealogy resolutions for 2017?  How did you do?

Congratulations if you succeeded or made progress.

It’s OK if you didn’t quite make it. Don’t sweat last year.  It’s over and 2018 is a brand spanking new year.

New Year Equals New Opportunities

2018 is stacking up to be a wonderful year. There are already new matches arriving daily due to the Black Friday sales and that’s only going to get better in the next month or two.  Of course, that’s something wonderful to look forward to in the dead of winter.  We’ll just call this my own personal form of hibernating. Could I really get away with not leaving my house for an entire month? Hmmm….

I want to give you three ideas for having some quick wins that will help you feel really great about your genealogy this year.

Idea 1 – Finding Hidden Mitochondrial DNA

This happened to me just last night and distracted me so badly that I actually was late to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  Yes, seriously.  One of my friends told me this is the best excuse ever!

I was working on making a combined tree for the descendants of an ancestor who have tested and I suddenly noticed that one of the female autosomal matches descended from the female of the ancestral couple through all females – which means my match carries my ancestor’s mitochondrial DNA!

Woohooooooo – it’s a wonderful day.

Better yet, my match tested at Family Tree DNA AND had already taken the mitochondrial DNA test.

Within about 60 seconds of noticing her pattern of descent, I had the haplogroup of our common ancestor. That’s the BEST New Year’s gift EVER.  I couldn’t sleep last night.

So, know what I did instead of sleeping? I bet you can guess!

Yes indeed, I started searching through my matches at Family Tree DNA for other people descended from female ancestors whose mtDNA I don’t have!

So, my first challenge to you is to do the same.

Utilizing Family Finder, enter the surname you’re searching for into the search box in the upper right hand corner of your matches page.

That search will produce individuals who have that surname included in their list of ancestral surnames or who carry that surname themselves.

Your tree feeds the ancestral surname list with all of the surnames in your tree.  I understand this will be changing in the future to reflect only your direct line ancestral surnames.

Some people include locations with their surnames – so you may recognize your line that way. Click on your match’s surname list (at far right) to show their entire list of surnames in a popup box. Some lists are very long.  I selected the example below because it’s short.

Your common surnames are bolded and float to the top.  The name you are searching for will be blue, so it’s easy to see, especially in long lists of surnames. 

About half of my matches at Family Tree DNA have trees.  Click on the pedigree icon and then search for your surname of interest in your match’s tree.

Hey, there’s our common ancestral couple – William George Estes and Ollie Bolton!!!

Idea 2 – Finding Hidden Y DNA

Now that I’ve shown you how to find hidden mitochondrial DNA, finding hidden Y DNA is easy.  Right?

You know what to do.

I this case, you’ll be looking for a male candidate who carries the surname of the line you are seeking, which is very easy to spot on the match list.

Now, word of warning.

As bizarre as this sounds, not all men who carry that surname and match autosomally are from the same genetic surname line.

As I was working with building a community tree for my matches last night, I was excited to see that one of my cousins (whose kit I manage) matches a man with the Herrell surname.

I quickly clicked on the match’s tree to see which Herrell male the match descends from, only to discover that he didn’t descend from my Herrell line.

Whoa – you’re saying – hold on, because maybe my line is misidentified.  And I’d agree with you – except in this case, I have the Y DNA signature of both lines – because at one time I thought they were one and the same. You can view the Herrell Y DNA project here.  My family line is Harrold Line 7.

Sure enough, through the Family Finder match, I checked my Harrell match’s profile and his haplogroup is NOT the same as my Herrell haplogroup (I-P37.)

I could have easily been led astray by the same surname. I really don’t need to know any more about his Y DNA at this point, because the completely different haplogroup is enough to rule out a common paternal line.

Don’t let yourself get so excited that you forget to be a skeptical genealogist😊

My second challenge to you is to hunt for hidden Y DNA.

You can  increase your chances of finding your particular lineage by visiting the relevant Y DNA projects for your surname.

Click on Projects, then “Join a project,” then search for the DNA project that you’re interested in viewing and click on that link.

Within the project, look for oldest ancestors that are your ancestors, or potentially from a common location.  It’s someplace to start.

You can read more about how to construct a DNA pedigree chart in the article, “The DNA Pedigree Chart – Mining for Ancestors.”

Idea 3 – Pick A Puzzle Piece

Sometimes we get overwhelmed with the magnitude and size of the genealogy puzzle we’d like to solve. Then, we don’t solve anything.

This is exactly WHY I like the 52 Ancestor stories.  They make me focus on JUST ONE ancestor at a time.

So, for 2018, pick one genealogy puzzle you’d really like to solve. One person or one thing.  Not an entire line.

Write down your goal.

“I’d like to figure out whether John Doe was the son of William Doe or his son, Alexander Doe.”

Now admittedly, this is a tough one, because right off the bat, Y DNA isn’t going to help you unless you’re incredibly lucky and there is a mutation between Alexander Doe and his father, William.  If indeed that was the case, and you can prove it by the DNA of two of Alexander’s sons who carry the mutation, compared to the DNA of one of William’s other sons who does not, then you may be cooking with gas, presuming you can find a male Doe descended from John to test as well.

This is the type of thought process you’ll need to step through when considering all of the various options for how to prove, or disprove, a particular theory.

Make a list of the different kinds of evidence, both paper trail and genetic, that you could use to shed light on the problem. Your answer may not come from one piece of evidence alone, but a combination of several.

Evidence Available/Source Result
William’s will No, burned courthouse Verified
Alexander’s will No, burned courthouse Verified
Deeds with William as conveyor No, burned courthouse Verified
Family Bible Nope, no Bible
Deeds with Alexander as conveyor, naming John Possible, some deed books escaped fire Check through county, Family search does not list
Deeds with John as conveyor Yes, check to see if they indicate the source of John’s land John is listed in index, need to obtain original deeds from county
Y DNA of John’s line Yes, has been tested Matches DNA of William’s line as proven through William’s two brothers
Y DNA of Alexander Not tested (to the best of my knowledge), find descendant to see if they will test Search vendor DNA testing sites for male with this surname to see if they have/will Y DNA test
Closeness (in total cM and longest segment) of individuals autosomal matching through any of William’s descendants Mine both Ancestry and FTDNA for surname and ancestor matches This step may produce compelling or suggestive evidence, and it may not.  Make a McGuire chart of results.
Does John match any relatives of the wife of Alexander Doe? Search FTDNA and Ancestry for matches.  Triangulate to determine if match is valid and through that line. This is one of the best approaches to solve this type of problem when paper records aren’t available. Fingers crossed that Alexander and his wife and not related.

You can add pieces of evidence to your list as you think of them.

Making a list gives you something to work towards.

Your Turn!

Select one thing that you’d like to accomplish and either set about to do it, like mining for mitochondrial or Y DNA evidence, or put together a plan to gather evidence, both traditional and genetic.

In the comments, share what it is you’ll be searching for or working on.  You just never know if another subscriber may hold the answer you seek.

I can’t wait to hear what you’ll be doing this year!

Have a wonderful and productive New Year searching for those hidden ancestors!

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Standard Disclosure

This standard disclosure appears at the bottom of every article in compliance with the FTC Guidelines.

Hot links are provided to Family Tree DNA, where appropriate.  If you wish to purchase one of their products, and you click through one of the links in an article to Family Tree DNA, or on the sidebar of this blog, I receive a small contribution if you make a purchase.  Clicking through the link does not affect the price you pay.  This affiliate relationship helps to keep this publication, with more than 900 articles about all aspects of genetic genealogy, free for everyone.

I do not accept sponsorship for this blog, nor do I write paid articles, nor do I accept contributions of any type from any vendor in order to review any product, etc.  In fact, I pay a premium price to prevent ads from appearing on this blog.

When reviewing products, in most cases, I pay the same price and order in the same way as any other consumer. If not, I state very clearly in the article any special consideration received.  In other words, you are reading my opinions as a long-time consumer and consultant in the genetic genealogy field.

I will never link to a product about which I have reservations or qualms, either about the product or about the company offering the product.  I only recommend products that I use myself and bring value to the genetic genealogy community.  If you wonder why there aren’t more links, that’s why and that’s my commitment to you.

Thank you for your readership, your ongoing support and for purchasing through the affiliate link if you are interested in making a purchase at Family Tree DNA, or one of the affiliate links below:

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2017 – The Year of DNA

Every year for the past 17 years has been the year of DNA for me, but for many millions, 2017 has been the year of DNA. DNA testing has become a phenomenon in its own right.

It was in 2013 that Spencer Wells predicted that 2014 would be the “year of infection.” Spencer was right and in 2014 DNA joined the ranks of household words. I saw DNA in ads that year, for the first time, not related to DNA testing or health as in, “It’s in our DNA.”

In 2014, it seemed like most people had heard of DNA, even if they weren’t all testing yet. John Q. Public was becoming comfortable with DNA.

In 2017 – DNA Is Mainstream  

If you’re a genealogist, you certainly know about DNA testing, and you’re behind the times if you haven’t tested.  DNA testing is now an expected tool for genealogists, and part of a comprehensive proof statement that meets the genealogical proof standard which includes “a reasonably exhaustive search.”  If you haven’t applied DNA, you haven’t done a reasonably exhaustive search.

A paper trail is no longer sufficient alone.

When I used to speak to genealogy groups about DNA testing, back in the dark ages, in the early 2000s, and I asked how many had tested, a few would raise their hands – on a good day.

In October, when I asked that same question in Ireland, more than half the room raised their hand – and I hope the other half went right out and purchased DNA test kits!

Consequently, because the rabid genealogical market is now pretty much saturated, the DNA testing companies needed to find a way to attract new customers, and they have.

2017 – The Year of Ethnicity

I’m not positive that the methodology some of the major companies utilized to attract new consumers is ideal, but nonetheless, advertising has attracted many new people to genetic genealogy through ethnicity testing.

If you’re a seasoned genetic genealogist, I know for sure that you’re groaning now, because the questions that are asked by disappointed testers AFTER the results come back and aren’t what people expected find their way to the forums that genetic genealogists peruse daily.

I wish those testers would have searched out those forums, or read my comparative article about ethnicity tests and which one is “best” before they tested.

More ethnicity results are available from vendors and third parties alike – just about every place you look it seems.  It appears that lots of folks think ethnicity testing is a shortcut to instant genealogy. Spit, mail, wait and voila – but there is no shortcut.  Since most people don’t realize that until after they test, ethnicity testing is becoming ever more popular with more vendors emerging.

In the spring, LivingDNA began delivering ethnicity results and a few months later, MyHeritage as well.  Ethnicity is hot and companies are seizing a revenue opportunity.

Now, the good news is that perhaps some of these new ethnicity testers can be converted into genealogists.  We just have to view ethnicity testing as tempting bait, or hopefully, a gateway drug…

2017 – The Year of Explosive Growth

DNA testing has become that snowball rolling downhill that morphed into an avalanche.  More people are seeing commercials, more people are testing, and people are talking to friends and co-workers at the water cooler who decide to test. I passed a table of diners in Germany in July to overhear, in English, discussion about ethnicity-focused DNA testing.

If you haven’t heard of DTC, direct to consumer, DNA testing, you’re living under a rock or maybe in a third world country without either internet or TV.

Most of the genetic genealogy companies are fairly closed-lipped about their data base size of DNA testers, but Ancestry isn’t.  They have gone from about 2 million near the end of 2016 to 5 million in August 2017 to at least 7 million now.  They haven’t said for sure, but extrapolating from what they have said, I feel safe with 7 million as a LOW estimate and possibly as many as 10 million following the holiday sales.

Advertising obviously pays off.

MyHeritage recently announced that their data base has reached 1 million, with only about 20% of those being transfers.

Based on the industry rumble, I suspect that the other DNA testing companies have had banner years as well.

The good news is that all of these new testers means that anyone who has tested at any of the major vendors is going to get lots of matches soon. Santa, it seems, has heard about DNA testing too and test kits fit into stockings!

That’s even better news for all of us who are in multiple data bases – and even more reason to test at all of the 4 major companies who provide DNA matching for their customers: Family Tree DNA, Ancestry, MyHeritage and 23andMe.

2017 – The Year of Vendor and Industry Churn

So much happened in 2017, it’s difficult to keep up.

  • MyHeritage entered the DNA testing arena and began matching in September of 2016. Frankly, they had a mess, but they have been working in 2017 to improve the situation.  Let’s just say they still have some work to do, but at least they acknowledge that and are making progress.
  • MyHeritage has a rather extensive user base in Europe. Because of their European draw, their records collections and the ability to transfer results into their data base, they have become the 4th vendor in a field that used to be 3.
  • In March 2017, Family Tree DNA announced that they were accepting transfers of both the Ancestry V2 test, in place since May of 2016, along with the 23andMe V4 test, available since November 2013, for free. MyHeritage has since been added to that list. The Family Tree DNA announcement provided testers with another avenue for matching and advanced tools.
  • Illumina obsoleted their OmniExpress chip, forcing vendors to Illumina’s new GSA chip which also forces vendors to use imputation. I swear, imputation is a swear word. Illumina gets the lump of coal award for 2017.
  • I wrote about imputation here, but in a nutshell, the vendors are now being forced to test only about 20% of the DNA locations available on the previous Illumina chip, and impute or infer using statistics the values in the rest of the DNA locations that they previously could test.
  • Early imputation implementers include LivingDNA (ethnicity only), MyHeritage (to equalize the locations of various vendor’s different chips), DNA.Land (whose matching is far from ideal) and 23andMe, who seems, for the most part, to have done a reasonable job. Of course, the only way to tell for sure at 23andMe is to test again on the V5 chip and compare to V3 and V4 chip matches. Given that I’ve already paid 3 times to test myself at 23andMe (V2, 3 and 4), I’m not keen on paying a 4th time for the V5 version.
  • 23andMe moved to the V5 Illumina GSA chip in August which is not compatible with any earlier chip versions.
  • Needless to say, the Illumina chip change has forced vendors away from focusing on new products in order to develop imputation code in order to remain backwards compatible with their own products from an earlier chip set.
  • GedMatch introduced their sandbox area, Genesis, where people can upload files that are not compatible with the traditional vendor files.  This includes the GSA chip results (23andMe V5,) exome tests and others.  The purpose of the sandbox is so that GedMatch can figure out how to work with these files that aren’t compatible with the typical autosomal test files.  The process has been interesting and enlightening, but people either don’t understand or forget that it’s a sandbox, an experiment, for all involved – including GedMatch.  Welcome to living on the genetic frontier!

  • I assembled a chart of who loves who – meaning which vendors accept transfers from which other vendors.

  • I suspect but don’t know that Ancestry is doing some form of imputation between their V1 and V2 chips. About a month before their new chip implementation in May of 2016, Ancestry made a change in their matching routine that resulting in a significant shift in people’s matches.

Because of Ancestry’s use of the Timber algorithm to downweight some segments and strip out others altogether, it’s difficult to understand where matching issues may arise.  Furthermore, there is no way to know that there are matching issues unless you and another individual have transferred results to either Family Tree DNA or GedMatch, neither of which remove any matching segments.

  • Other developments of note include the fact that Family Tree DNA moved to mitochondrial DNA build V17 and updated their Y DNA to hg38 of the human reference genome – both huge undertakings requiring the reprocessing of customer data. Think of both of those updates as housekeeping. No one wants to do it, but it’s necessary.
  • 23andMe FINALLY finished transferring their customer base to the “New Experience,” but many of the older features we liked are now gone. However, customers can now opt in to open matching, which is a definite improvement. 23andMe, having been the first company to enter the genetic genealogy autosomal matching marketspace has really become lackluster.  They could have owned this space but chose not to focus on genealogy tools.  In my opinion, they are now relegated to fourth place out of a field of 4.
  • Ancestry has updated their Genetic Communities feature a couple of times this year. Genetic Communities is interesting and more helpful than ethnicity estimates, but neither are nearly as helpful as a chromosome browser would be.

  • I’m sure that the repeated requests, begging and community level tantrum throwing in an attempt to convince Ancestry to produce a chromosome browser is beyond beating a dead horse now. That dead horse is now skeletal, and no sign of a chromosome browser. Sigh:(
  • The good news is that anyone who wants a chromosome browser can transfer their results to Family Tree DNA or GedMatch (both for free) and utilize a chromosome browser and other tools at either or both of those locations. Family Tree DNA charges a one time $19 fee to access their advanced tools and GedMatch offers a monthly $10 subscription. Both are absolutely worth every dime. The bad news is, of course, that you have to convince your match or matches to transfer as well.
  • If you can convince your matches to transfer to (or test at) Family Tree DNA, their tools include phased Family Matching which utilizes a combination of user trees, the DNA of the tester combined with the DNA of family matches to indicate to the user which side, maternal or paternal (or both), a particular match stems from.

  • Sites to keep your eye on include Jonny Perl’s tools which include DNAPainter, as well as Goran Rundfeldt’s DNA Genealogy Experiment.  You may recall that in October Goran brought us the fantastic Triangulator tool to use with Family Tree DNA results.  A few community members expressed concern about triangulation relative to privacy, so the tool has been (I hope only temporarily) disabled as the involved parties work through the details. We need Goran’s triangulation tool! Goran has developed other world class tools as well, as you can see from his website, and I hope we see more of both Goran and Jonny in 2018.
  • In 2017, a number of new “free” sites that encourage you to upload your DNA have sprung up. My advice – remember, there really is no such thing as a free lunch.  Ask yourself why, what’s in it for them.  Review ALL OF THE documents and fine print relative to safety, privacy and what is going to be done with your DNA.  Think about what recourse you might or might not have. Why would you trust them?

My rule of thumb, if the company is outside of the US, I’m immediately slightly hesitant because they don’t fall under US laws. If they are outside of Europe or Canada, I’m even more hesitant.  If the company is associated with a country that is unfriendly to the US, I unequivocally refuse.  For example, riddle me this – what happens if a Chinese (or fill-in-the-blank country) company violates an agreement regarding your DNA and privacy?  What, exactly, are you going to do about it from wherever you live?

2017 – The Year of Marketplace Apps

Third party genetics apps are emerging and are beginning to make an impact.

GedMatch, as always, has continued to quietly add to their offerings for genetic genealogists, as had DNAGedcom.com. While these two aren’t exactly an “app”, per se, they are certainly primary players in the third party space. I use both and will be publishing an article early in 2018 about a very useful tool at DNAGedcom.

Another application that I don’t use due to the complex setup (which I’ve now tried twice and abandoned) is Genome Mate Pro which coordinates your autosomal results from multiple vendors.  Some people love this program.  I’ll try, again, in 2018 and see if I can make it all the way through the setup process.

The real news here are the new marketplace apps based on Exome testing.

Helix and their partners offer a number of apps that may be of interest for consumers.  Helix began offering a “test once, buy often” marketplace model where the consumer pays a nominal price for exome sequencing ($80), significantly under market pricing ($500), but then the consumer purchases DNA apps through the Helix store. The apps access the original DNA test to produce results. The consumer does NOT receive their downloadable raw data, only data through the apps, which is a departure from the expected norm. Then again, the consumer pays a drastically reduced price and downloadable exome results are available elsewhere for full price.

The Helix concept is that lots of apps will be developed, meaning that you, the consumer, will be interested and purchase often – allowing Helix to recoup their sequencing investment over time.

Looking at the Helix apps that are currently available, I’ve purchased all of the Insitome products released to date (Neanderthal, Regional Ancestry and Metabolism), because I have faith in Spencer Wells and truthfully, I was curious and they are reasonably priced.

Aside from the Insitome apps, I think that the personalized clothes are cute, if extremely overpriced. But what the heck, they’re fun and raise awareness of DNA testing – a good thing! After all, who am I to talk, I’ve made DNA quilts and have DNA clothing too.

Having said that, I’m extremely skeptical about some of the other apps, like “Wine Explorer.”  Seriously???

But then again, if you named an app “I Have More Money Than Brains,” it probably wouldn’t sell well.

Other apps, like Ancestry’s WeRelate (available for smartphones) is entertaining, but is also unfortunately EXTREMELY misleading.  WeRelate conflates multiple trees, generally incorrectly, to suggest to you and another person on your Facebook friends list are related, or that you are related to famous people.  Judy Russell reviews that app here in the article, “No, actually, we’re not related.” No.  Just no!

I feel strongly that companies that utilize our genetic data for anything have a moral responsibility for accuracy, and the WeRelate app clearly does NOT make the grade, and Ancestry knows that.  I really don’t believe that entertaining customers with half-truths (or less) is more important than accuracy – but then again, here I go just being an old-fashioned fuddy dud expecting ethics.

And then, there’s the snake oil.  You knew it was going to happen because there is always someone who can be convinced to purchase just about anything. Think midnight infomercials. The problem is that many consumers really don’t know how to tell snake oil from the rest in the emerging DNA field.

You can now purchase DNA testing for almost anything.  Dating, diet, exercise, your taste in wine and of course, vitamins and supplements. If you can think of an opportunity, someone will dream up a test.

How many of these are legitimate or valid?  Your guess is as good as mine, but I’m exceedingly suspicious of a great many, especially those where I can find no legitimate scientific studies to back what appear to be rather outrageous claims.

My main concern is that the entire DTC testing industry will be tarred by the brush of a few unethical opportunists.

2017 – The Year of Focus on Privacy and Security

With increased consumer exposure comes increased notoriety. People are taking notice of DNA testing and it seems that everyone has an opinion, informed or not.  There’s an old saying in marketing; “Talk about me good, talk about me bad, just talk about me.”

With all of the ads have come a commensurate amount of teeth gnashing and “the-sky-is-falling” type reporting.  Unfortunately, many politicians don’t understand this industry and open mouth only to insert foot – except that most people don’t realize what they’ve done.  I doubt that the politicians even understand that they are tasting toe-jam, because they haven’t taken the time to research and understand the industry. Sound bites and science don’t mix well.

The bad news is that next, the click-bait-focused press picks up on the stories and the next time you see anyone at lunch, they’re asking you if what they heard is true.  Or, let’s hope that they ask you instead of just accepting what they heard as gospel. Hopefully if we’ve learned anything in this past year, it’s to verify, verify, verify.

I’ve been an advocate for a very long time of increased transparency from the testing companies as to what is actually done with our DNA, and under what circumstances.  In other words, I want to know where my DNA is and what it’s being used for.  Period.

Family Tree DNA answered that question succinctly and unquestionably in December.

Bennett Greenspan: “We could probably make a lot of money by selling the DNA data that we’ve been collecting over the years, but we feel that the only person that should have your DNA information is you.  We don’t believe that it should be sold, traded or bartered.”

You can’t get more definitive than that.

DTC testing for genetic genealogy must be a self-regulating field, because the last thing we need is for the government to get involved, attempting to regulate something they don’t understand.  I truly believe government interference by the name of regulation would spell the end of genetic genealogy as we know it today.  DNA testing for genetic genealogy without sharing results is entirely pointless.

I’ve written about this topic in the past, but an update is warranted and I’ll be doing that sometime after the first of the year.  Mostly, I just need to be able to stay awake while slogging through the required reading (at some vendor sites) of page after page AFTER PAGE of legalese😊

Consumers really shouldn’t have to do that, and if they do, a short, concise summary should be presented to them BEFORE they purchase so that they can make a truly informed decision.

Stay tuned on this one.

2017 – The Year of Education

The fantastic news is that with all of the new people testing, a huge, HUGE need for education exists.  Even if 75% of the people who test don’t do anything with their results after that first peek, that still leaves a few million who are new to this field, want to engage and need some level of education.

In that vein, seminars are available through several groups and institutes, in person and online.  Almost all of the leadership in this industry is involved in some educational capacity.

In addition to agendas focused on genetic genealogy and utilizing DNA personally, almost every genealogy conference now includes a significant number of sessions on DNA methods and tools. I remember the days when we were lucky to be allowed one session on the agenda, and then generally not without begging!

When considering both DNA testing and education, one needs to think about the goal.  All customer goals are not the same, and neither are the approaches necessary to answer their questions in a relevant way.

New testers to the field fall into three primary groups today, and their educational needs are really quite different, because their goals, tools and approaches needed to reach those goals are different too.

Adoptees and genealogists employ two vastly different approaches utilizing a common tool, DNA, but for almost opposite purposes.  Adoptees wish to utilize tests and trees to come forward in time to identify either currently living or recently living people while genealogists are interested in reaching backward in time to confirm or identify long dead ancestors. Those are really very different goals.

I’ve illustrated this in the graphic above.  The tester in question uses their blue first cousin match to identify their unknown parent through the blue match’s known lineage, moving forward in time to identify the tester’s parent.  In this case, the grandparent is known to the blue match, but not to the yellow tester. Identifying the grandparent through the blue match is the needed lynchpin clue to identify the unknown parent.

The yellow tester who already knows their maternal parent utilizes their peach second cousin match to verify or maybe identify their maternal great-grandmother who is already known to the peach match, moving backwards in time. Two different goals, same DNA test.

The three types of testers are:

  • Curious ethnicity testers who may not even realize that at least some of the vendors offer matching and other tools and services.
  • Genealogists who use close relatives to prove which sides of trees matches come from, and to triangulate matching segments to specific ancestors. In other words, working from the present back in time. The peach match and line above.
  • Adoptees and parent searches where testers hope to find a parent or siblings, but failing that, close relatives whose trees overlap with each other – pointing to a descendant as a candidate for a parent. These people work forward in time and aren’t interested in triangulation or proving ancestors and really don’t care about any of those types of tools, at least not until they identify their parent.  This is the blue match above.

What these various groups of testers want and need, and therefore their priorities are different in terms of their recommendations and comments in online forums and their input to vendors. Therefore, you find Facebook groups dedicated to Adoptees, for example, but you also find adoptees in more general genetic genealogy groups where genealogists are sometimes surprised when people focused on parent searches downplay or dismiss tools such as Y DNA, mitochondrial DNA and chromosome browsers that form the bedrock foundation of what genealogists need and require.

Fortunately, there’s room for everyone in this emerging field.

The great news is that educational opportunities are abundant now. I’m listing a few of the educational opportunities for all three groups of testers, in addition to my blog of course.😊

Remember that this blog is fully searchable by keyword or phrase in the little search box in the upper right hand corner.  I see so many questions online that I’ve already answered!

Please feel free to share links of my blog postings with anyone who might benefit!

Note that these recommendations below overlap and people may well be interested in opportunities from each group – or all!!

Ethnicity

Adoptees or Parent Search

Genetic Genealogists

2018 – What’s Ahead? 

About midyear 2018, this blog will reach 1000 published articles. This is article number 939.  That’s amazing even to me!  When I created this blog in July of 2012, I wasn’t sure I’d have enough to write about.  That certainly has changed.

Beginning shortly, the tsunami of kits that were purchased during the holidays will begin producing matches, be it through DNA upgrades at Family Tree DNA, Big Y tests which were hot at year end, or new purchases through any of the vendors.  I can hardly wait, and I have my list of brick walls that need to fall.

Family Tree DNA will be providing additional STR markers extracted from the Big Y test. These won’t replace any of the 111 markers offered separately today, because the extraction through NGS testing is not as reliable as direct STR testing for those markers, but the Big Y will offer genealogists a few hundred more STRs to utilize. Yes, I said a few hundred. The exact number has not yet been finalized.

Family Tree DNA says they will also be introducing new “qualify of life improvements” along with new privacy and consent settings.  Let’s hope this means new features and tools will be released too.

MyHeritage says that they are introducing new “Discoveries” pages and a chromosome browser in January.  They have also indicated that they are working on their matching issues.  The chromosome browser is particularly good news, but matching must work accurately or the chromosome browser will show erroneous information.  Let’s hope January brings all three features.

LivingDNA indicates that they will be introducing matching in 2018.

2018 – What Can You Do?

What can you do in 2018 to improve your odds of solving genealogy questions?

  • Test relatives
  • Transfer your results to as many data bases as possible (among the ones discussed above, after reading the terms and conditions, of course)
  • If you have transferred a version of your DNA that does not produce full results, such as the Ancestry V2 or 23andMe V4 test to Family Tree DNA, consider testing on the vendor’s own chip in order to obtain all matches, not just the closest matches available from an incompatible test transfer.
  • Test Y and mitochondrial DNA at Family Tree DNA.
  • Find ways to share the stories of your ancestors.  Stories are cousin bait.  My 52 Ancestors series is living proof.  People find the stories and often have additional facts, information or even photos. Some contacts qualify for DNA testing for Y or mtDNA lines. The GREAT NEWS is that Amy Johnson Crow is resuming the #52Ancestors project for 2018, providing hints and tips each week! Who knows what you might discover by sharing?! Here’s how to start a blog if you need some assistance.  It’s easy – really!
  • Focus on the brick walls that you want to crumble and then put together both a test and analysis plan. That plan could include such things as:

o   Find out if a male representing a Y line in your tree has tested, and if not, search through autosomal results to see if a male from that paternal surname line has tested and would be amenable to an upgrade.

o   Mitochondrial DNA test people who descend through all females from various female ancestors in order to determine their origins. Y and mtDNA tests are an important part of a complete genealogy story – meaning the reasonably exhaustive search!

o   Autosomal DNA test family members from various lines with the hope that matches will match you and them both.

o   Test family members in order to confirm a particular ancestor – preferably people who descend from another child of that ancestor.

o   Making sure your own DNA is in all 4 of the major vendors’ data bases, plus GedMatch. Look at it this way, everyone who is at GedMatch or at a third party (non-testing) site had to have tested at one of the major 4 vendors – so if you are in all of the vendor’s data bases, plus GedMatch, you’re covered.

Have a wonderful New Year and let’s make 2018 the year of newly discovered ancestors and solved mysteries!

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Standard Disclosure

This standard disclosure appears at the bottom of every article in compliance with the FTC Guidelines.

Hot links are provided to Family Tree DNA, where appropriate.  If you wish to purchase one of their products, and you click through one of the links in an article to Family Tree DNA, or on the sidebar of this blog, I receive a small contribution if you make a purchase.  Clicking through the link does not affect the price you pay.  This affiliate relationship helps to keep this publication, with more than 900 articles about all aspects of genetic genealogy, free for everyone.

I do not accept sponsorship for this blog, nor do I write paid articles, nor do I accept contributions of any type from any vendor in order to review any product, etc.  In fact, I pay a premium price to prevent ads from appearing on this blog.

When reviewing products, in most cases, I pay the same price and order in the same way as any other consumer. If not, I state very clearly in the article any special consideration received.  In other words, you are reading my opinions as a long-time consumer and consultant in the genetic genealogy field.

I will never link to a product about which I have reservations or qualms, either about the product or about the company offering the product.  I only recommend products that I use myself and bring value to the genetic genealogy community.  If you wonder why there aren’t more links, that’s why and that’s my commitment to you.

Thank you for your readership, your ongoing support and for purchasing through the affiliate link if you are interested in making a purchase at Family Tree DNA, or one of the affiliate links below:

Affiliate links are limited to:

Concepts – DNA Recombination and Crossovers

What is a crossover anyway, and why do I, as a genetic genealogist, care?

A crossover on a chromosome is where the chromosome is cut and the DNA from two different ancestors is spliced together during meiosis as the DNA of the offspring is created when half of the DNA of the two parents combines.

Identifying crossover locations, and who the DNA that we received came from is the first step in identifying the ancestor further back in our tree that contributed that segment of DNA to us.

Crossovers are easier to see than conceptualize.

Viewing Crossovers

The crossover is the location on each chromosome where the orange and black DNA butt up against each other – like a splice or seam.

In this example, utilizing the Family Tree DNA chromosome browser, the DNA of a grandchild is compared to the DNA of a grandparent. The grandchild received exactly 50 percent of her father’s DNA, but only the average of 25% of the DNA of each of her 4 grandparents. Comparing this child’s DNA to one grandmother shows that she inherited about half of this grandmother’s DNA – the other half belonging to the spousal grandfather.

  • The orange segments above show the locations where the grandchild matches the grandmother.
  • The black sections (with the exception of the very tips of the chromosomes) show locations where the grandchild does not match the grandmother, so by definition, the grandchild must match the grandfather in those black locations (except chromosome tips).
  • The crossover location is the dividing line between the orange and black. Please note that the ends of chromosomes are notoriously difficult and inconsistent, so I tend to ignore what appear to be crossovers at the tips of chromosomes unless I can prove one way or the other. Of the 22 chromosomes, 16 have at least one black tip. In some cases, like chromosome 16, you can’t tell since the entire chromosome is black.
  • Ignore the grey areas – those regions are untested because they are SNP poor.

We know that the grandchild has her grandmother’s entire X chromosome, because the parent is a male who only inherited an X chromosome from his mother, so that’s all he had to give his daughter. The tips of the X chromosome are black, showing that the area is not matching the mother, so that region is unstable and not reported.

It’s also interesting to note that in 6 cases, other than the X chromosome, the entire chromosome is passed intact from grandparent to grandchild; chromosomes 4, 11, 16, 20, 21 and 22.

Twenty-six crossovers occurred between mother and son, at 5cM.  This was determined by comparing the DNA of mother to son in order to ascertain the actual beginning and end of the chromosome matching region, which tells me whether the black tips are or are not crossovers by comparing the grandchild’s DNA to the grandmother.

For more about this, you might want to read Concepts – Segment Survival – Three and Four Generation Phasing.

Before going on, let’s look at what a match between a parent and child looks like, and why.

Parent/Child Match

If you’re wondering why I showed a match between a grandchild and a grandparent, above, instead of showing a match between a child and a parent, the chromosome browser below provides the answer.

It’s a solid orange mass for each chromosome indicating that the child matches the parent at every location.

How can this be if the child only inherits half of the parent’s DNA?

Remember – the parent has two chromosomes that mix to give the child one chromosome.  When comparing the child to the parent, the child’s single chromosome inherited from the parent matches one of the parent’s two chromosomes at every address location – so it shows as a complete match to the parent even though the child is only matching one of the parent’s two of chromosome locations.  This isn’t a bug and it’s just how chromosome browsers work. In other words, the “other ” chromosome that your parents carry is the one you don’t match.

The diagram below shows the mother’s two copies of chromosome 1 she inherited from her father and mother and which section she gave to her child.

You can see that the mother’s father’s chromosome is blue in this illustration, and the mother’s mother’s chromosome is pink.  The crossover points in the child are between part B and C, and between part C and D.  You can clearly see that the child, when compared to the mother, does in fact match the mother in all locations, or parts, 3 blue and 1 pink, even though the source of the matching DNA is from two different parents.

This example shows the child compared to both parents, so you can see that the child does in fact match both parents on every single location.

This is exactly why two different matches may match us on the same location, but may not match each other because they are from different sides of our family – one from Mom’s side and one from Dad’s.

You can read more about this in the article, One Chromosome, Two Sides, No Zipper – ICW and the Matrix.

The only way to tell which “sides” or pieces of the parent’s DNA that the child inherited is to compare to other people who descend from the same line as one of the parents.  In essence, you can compare the child to the grandparents to identify the locations that the child received from each of the 4 grandparents – and by genetic subtraction, which segments were NOT inherited from each grandparent as well, if one grandparent happens to be missing.

In our Parental Chromosome pink and blue diagram illustration above, the child did NOT inherit the pink parts A, B and D, and did not inherit the blue part C – but did inherit something from the parent at every single location. They also didn’t inherit an equal amount of their grandparents pink and blue DNA. If they inherited the pink part, then they didn’t inherit the blue part, and vice versa for that particular location.

The parent to child chromosome browser view also shows us that the very tip ends of the chromosomes are not included in the matching reports – because we know that the child MUST match the parent on one of their two chromosomes, end to end. The download or chart view provides us with the exact locations.

This brings us to the question of whether crossovers occur equally between males and female children.  We already know that the X chromosome has a distinctive inheritance pattern – meaning that males only inherit an X from their mothers.  A father and son will NEVER match on the X chromosome.  You can read more about X chromosome inheritance patterns in the article, X Marks the Spot.

Crossovers Differ Between Males and Females

In the paper Genetic Analysis of Variation in Human Meiotic Recombination by Chowdhury, et al, we learn that males and females experience a different average number of crossovers.

The authors say the following:

The number of recombination events per meiosis varies extensively among individuals. This recombination phenotype differs between female and male, and also among individuals of each gender.

Notably, we found different sequence variants associated with female and male recombination phenotypes, suggesting that they are regulated by different genes.

Meiotic recombination is essential for the formation of human gametes and is a key process that generates genetic diversity. Given its importance, we would expect the number and location of exchanges to be tightly regulated. However, studies show significant gender and inter-individual variation in genome-wide recombination rates. The genetic basis for this variation is poorly understood.

The Chowdhury paper provides the following graphs. These graphs show the average number of recombinations, or crossovers, per meiosis for each of two different studies, the AGRE and the FHS study, discussed in the paper.

The bottom line of this paper, for genetic genealogists, is that males average about 27 crossovers per child and females average about 42, with the AGRE study families reporting 41.1 and the FHS study families reporting 42.8.

I have been collaborating with statistician, Philip Gammon, and he points out the following:

Male, 22 chromosomes plus the average of 27 crossovers = an average of 49 segments of his parent’s DNA that he will pass on to his children. Roughly half will be from each of his parents. Not exactly half. If there are an odd number of crossovers on a chromosome it will contain an even number of segments and half will be from each parent. But if there are an even number of crossovers (0, 2, 4, 6 etc.) there will be an odd number of segments on the chromosome, one more from one parent than the other.

The average size of segments will be approximately:

  • Males, 22 + 27 = 49 segments at an average size of 3400 / 49 = 69 cM
  • Females, 22 + 42 = 64 segments at an average size of 3400 / 64 = 53 cM

This means that cumulatively, over time, in a line of entirely females, versus a line of entirely males, you’re going to see bigger chunks of DNA preserved (and lost) in males versus females, because the DNA divides fewer times. Bigger chunks of DNA mean better matching more generations back in time. When males do have a match, it would be likely to be on a larger segment.

The article, First Cousin Match Simulations speaks to this as well.

Practically Speaking

What does this mean, practically speaking, to genetic genealogists?

Few lines actually descend from all males or all females. Most of our connections to distant ancestors are through mixtures of male and female ancestors, so this variation in crossover rates really doesn’t affect us much – at least not on the average.

It’s difficult to discern why we match some cousins and we don’t match others. In some cases, rather than random recombination being a factor, the actual crossover rate may be at play. However, since we only know who we do match, and not who tested and we don’t match, it’s difficult to even speculate as to how recombination affected or affects our matches. And truthfully, for the application of genetic genealogy, we really don’t care – we (generally) only care who we do match – unless we don’t match anyone (or a second cousin or closer) in a particular line, especially a relatively close line – and that’s a horse of an entirely different color.

To me, the burning question to be answered, which still has not been unraveled, is why a difference in recombination rates exists between males and females. What processes are in play here that we don’t understand? What else might this not-yet-understood phenomenon affect?

Until we figure those things out, I note whether or not my match occurred through primarily men or women, and simply add that information into the other data that I use to determine match quality and possible distance.  In other words, information that informs me as to how close and reasonable a match is likely to be includes the following information:

  • Total amount of shared DNA
  • Largest segment size
  • Number of matching segments
  • Number of SNPs in matching segment
  • Shared matches
  • X chromosome
  • mtDNA or Y DNA match
  • Trees – presence, absence, accuracy, depth and completeness
  • Primarily male or female individuals in path to common ancestor
  • Who else they match, particularly known close relatives
  • Does triangulation occur

It would be very interesting to see how the instances of matches to a certain specific cousin level – say 3rd cousins (for example), fare differently in terms of the average amount of shared DNA, the largest segment size and the number of segments in people descended from entirely female and entirely male lines. Blaine Bettinger, are you listening? This would be a wonderful study for the Shared cM Project which measures actual data.

Isn’t the science of genetics absolutely fascinating???!!!

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Standard Disclosure

This standard disclosure will now appear at the bottom of every article in compliance with the FTC Guidelines.

Hot links are provided to Family Tree DNA, where appropriate. If you wish to purchase one of their products, and you click through one of the links in an article to Family Tree DNA, or on the sidebar of this blog, I receive a small contribution if you make a purchase. Clicking through the link does not affect the price you pay. This affiliate relationship helps to keep this publication, with more than 850 articles about all aspects of genetic genealogy, free for everyone.

I do not accept sponsorship for this blog, nor do I write paid articles, nor do I accept contributions of any type from any vendor in order to review any product, etc. In fact, I pay a premium price to prevent ads from appearing on this blog.

When reviewing products, in most cases, I pay the same price and order in the same way as any other consumer. If not, I state very clearly in the article any special consideration received. In other words, you are reading my opinions as a long-time consumer and consultant in the genetic genealogy field.

I will never link to a product about which I have reservations or qualms, either about the product or about the company offering the product. I only recommend products that I use myself and bring value to the genetic genealogy community. If you wonder why there aren’t more links, that’s why and that’s my commitment to you.

Thank you for your readership, your ongoing support and for purchasing through the affiliate link if you are interested in making a purchase at Family Tree DNA.

Imputation Matching Comparison

In a future article, I’ll be writing about the process of uploading files to DNA.Land and the user experience, but in this article, I want to discuss only one topic, and that’s the results of imputation as it affects matching for genetic genealogy. DNA.Land is one of three companies known positively to be using imputation (DNA.Land, MyHeritage and LivingDNA), and one of two that allows transfers and does matching for genealogy

This is the second in a series of three articles about imputation.

Imputation, discussed in the article, Concepts – Imputation, is the process whereby your DNA that is tested is then “expanded” by inferring results you don’t have, meaning locations that haven’t been tested, by using information from results you do have. Vendors have no choice in this matter, as Illumina, the chip maker of the DNA chip widely utilized in the genetic genealogy marketspace has obsoleted the prior chip and moved to a new chip with only about 20% overlap in the locations previously tested. Imputation is the methodology utilized to attempt to bridge the gap between the two chips for genetic genealogy matching and ethnicity predications.

Imputation is built upon two premises:

1 – that DNA locations are inherited together

2 – that people from common populations share a significant amount of the same DNA

An example of imputation that DNA.Land provides is the following sentence.

I saw a blue ca_ on your head.

There are several letters that are more likely that others to be found in the blank and some words would be more likely to be found in this sentence than others.

A less intuitive sentence might be:

I saw a blue ca_ yesterday.

DNA.Land doesn’t perform DNA testing, but instead takes a file that you upload from a testing vendor that has around 700,000 locations and imputes another 38.3 million variants, or locations, based on what other people carry in neighboring locations. These numbers are found in the SNPedia instructions for uploading DNA.Land information to their system for usage with Promethease.

I originally wrote about Promethease here, and I’ll be publishing an updated article shortly.

In this article, I want to see how imputation affects matching between people for genetic genealogy purposes.

Genetic Genealogy Matching

In order to be able to do an apples to apples comparison, I uploaded my Family Tree DNA autosomal file to DNA.Land.

DNA.Land then processed my file, imputed additional values, then showed me my matches to other people who have also uploaded and had additional locations imputed.

DNA.Land has just over 60,000 uploads in their data base today. Of those, I match 11 at a high confidence level and one at a speculative level.

My best match, meaning my closest match, Karen, just happened to have used her GedMatch kit number for her middle name. Smart lady!

Karen’s GedMatch number provided me with the opportunity to compare our actual match information at DNA.Land, then also at GedMatch, then compare the two different match results in order to see how much of our matching was “real” from portions of our tested kits that actually match, and what portion of our DNA matches as a result of the DNA.Land imputation.

At DNA.Land, your match information is presented with the following information:

  • Relationship degree – meaning estimated relationship
  • # shared segments – although many of these are extremely small
  • Total shared cM
  • Total recent shared length in cM
  • Longest recent shared segment in cM
  • Relationship likelihood graph
  • Shared segments plotted on chromosome display
  • Shared segments in a table

Please note that you can click on any graphic to enlarge.

DNA.Land provides what they believe to be an accurate estimate of recent and anciently shared SNA segments.

The match table is a dropdown underneath the chromosome graphic at far right:

For this experiment, I copied the information from the match table and dropped it into a spreadsheet.

DNALand Match Locations

My match information is shown at DNA.Land with Karen as follows:

Matching segments are identified by DNA.Land as either recent or ancient, which I find to be over-simplified at best and misleading or inaccurate at worst. I guess it depends on how you perceive recent and ancient. I think they are trying to convey the concept that larger segments tend to me more recent, and smaller segments tend to be older, but ancient in the genetics field often refers to DNA extracted from exhumed burials from thousands of years ago.  Furthermore, smaller segments can be descended from the same ancestor as larger segments.

GedMatch Match

Since Karen so kindly provided her GedMatch kit number, I signed in to GedMatch and did a one-to-one match with this same kit.

Since all of the segments are 3 cM and over at DNA.Land, I utilized a GedMatch threshold of 3 cM and dropped the SNP count to 100, since a SNP count of 300 gave me few matches. For this comparison, I wanted to see all my matches to Karen, no matter how few SNPs are involved, in an attempt to obtain results similar to DNA.Land. I normally would not drop either of these thresholds this low. My typical minimum is 5cM and 500 SNPs, and even if I drop to 3cM, I still maintain the 500 SNP threshold.

Let’s see how the data from GedMatch and DNA.Land compares.

In my spreadsheet, below, I pasted the segment match information from DNA.Land in the first 5 columns with a red header. Note that DNA.Land does not provide the number of shared SNPs.

At right, I pasted the match information from GedMatch, with a green header. We know that GedMatch has a history of accurately comparing segments, and we can do a cross platform comparison. I originally uploaded my FTDNA file to DNA.Land and Karen uploaded an Ancestry file. Those are the two files I compared at GedMatch, because the same actual matching locations are being compared at both vendors, DNA.Land (in addition to imputed regions) and GedMatch.

I then copied the matching segments from GedMatch (3cM, 100 SNPs threshold) and placed them in the middle columns in the same row where they matched corresponding DNA.Land segments. If any portion of the two vendors segments overlapped, I copied them as a match, although two are small and partial and one is almost negligible. As you can see, there are only 10 segments with any overlap at all in the center section. Please note that I am NOT suggesting these are valid or real matches.  At this point, it’s only a math/match exercise, not an analysis.

The match comparison column (yellow header) is where I commented on the match itself. In some cases, the lack of the number of SNPs at DNA.Land was detrimental to understanding which vendor was a higher match. Therefore, when possible, I marked the higher vendor in the Match Comparison column with the color of their corresponding header.

Analysis

Frankly, I was shocked at the lack of matching between GedMatch and DNA.Land. Trying to understand the discrepancy, I decided to look at the matches between Karen, who has been very helpful, and me at other vendors.

I then looked at our matches at Ancestry, 23andMe, MyHeritage and at Family Tree DNA.

The best comparison would be at Family Tree DNA where Karen loaded her Ancestry file.  Therefore, I’m comparing apples to apples, meaning equivalent to the comparison at GedMatch and DNA.Land (before imputation).

It’s impossible to tell much without a chromosome browser at Ancestry, especially after Timber processing which reduces matching DNA.

DNA.Land categorized my match to Karen as “high certainty.” My match with Karen appears to be a valid match based on the longest segment(s) of approximately 30cM on chromosome 8.

  • Of the 4 segments that DNA.Land identifies as “recent” matches, 2 are not reflected at all in the GedMatch or Family Tree DNA matching, suggesting that these regions were imputed entirely, and incorrectly.
  • Of the 4 segments that DNA.Land identifies as “recent” matches, the 2 on chromosome 8 are actually one segment that imputation apparently divided. According to DNA.LAND, imputation can increase the number of matching segments. I don’t think it should break existing segments, meaning segments actually tested, into multiple pieces. In any event, the two vendors do agree on this match, even though DNA.Land breaks the matching segment into two pieces where GedMatch and Family Tree DNA do not. I’m presuming (I hate that word) that this is the one segment that Ancestry calls as a match as well, because it’s the longest, but Ancestry’s Timber algorithm downgrades the match portion of that segment by removing 11cM (according to DNA.Land) from 29cM to 18cM or removes 13cM (according to both GedMatch and Family Tree DNA) from 31cM to 18cM. Both GedMatch and Family Tree DNA agree and appear to be accurate at 31cM.
  • Of the total 39 matching segments of any size, utilizing the 3cM threshold and 100 SNPs, which I set artificially very low, GedMatch only found 10 matching segments with any portion of the segment in common, meaning that at least 29 were entirely erroneous matches.
  • Resetting the GedMatch match threshold to 3 cM and 300 SNPS, a more reasonable SNP threshold for 3cM, GedMatch only reports 3 matching segments, one of which is chromosome 8 (undivided) which means at this threshold, 36 of the 39 matching DNA.Land segments are entirely erroneous. Setting the threshold to a more reasonable 5cM or 7cM and 500 SNPs would result in only the one match on chromosome 8.

  • If 29 of 39 segments (at 3cM 100 SNPs) are erroneously reported, that equates to 74.36% erroneous matches due to imputation alone, with out considering identical by chance (IBC) matches.
  • If 35 of 39 segments (at 3cM 300 SNPs) are erroneously reported, that equates to 89.74% percent erroneous matches, again without considering those that might be IBC.

Predicted vs Actual

One additional piece of information that I gathered during this process is the predicted relationship.

Vendor Total cM Total Segments Longest Segment Predicted Relationship
DNA.Land 162 to 3 cM 39 to 3 cM 17.3 & 12, split 3C
GedMatch 123 to 3 cM 27 to 3 cM 31.5 5.1 gen distant
Family Tree DNA 40 to 1 cM 12 to 1 cM 32 3-5C
MyHeritage No match No match No match No match
Ancestry 18.1 1 18.1 5-8C
23andMe 26 1 26 3-6C

Karen utilized her Ancestry file and I used my Family Tree DNA file for all of the above matching except at 23andMe and Ancestry where we are both tested on the vendors’ platform. Neither 23andMe nor Ancestry accept uploads. I included the 23andMe and Ancestry comparisons as additional reference points.

The lack of a match at MyHeritage, another company that implements imputation, is quite interesting. Karen and I, even with a significantly sized segment are not shown as a match at MyHeritage.

If imputation actually breaks some matching segments apart, like the chromosome 8 segment at DNA.Land, it’s possible that the resulting smaller individual segments simply didn’t exceed the MyHeritage matching threshold. It would appear that the MyHeritage matching threshold is probably 9cM, given that my smallest segment match of all my matches at MyHeritage is 9cM. Therefore, a 31 or 32 cM segment would have to be broken into 4 roughly equally sized pieces (32/4=8) for the match to Karen not to be detected because all segment pieces are under 9cM. MyHeritage has experienced unreliable matching since their rollout in mid 2016, so their issue may or may not be imputation related.

The Common Ancestor

At Family Tree DNA, Karen does not match my mother, so I can tell positively that she is related through my father’s line. She and I triangulate on our common segment with three other individuals who descend from Abraham Estes 1647-1720 .

Utilizing the chromosome browser, we do indeed match on chromosome 8 on a long segment, which is also our only match over 5cM at Family Tree DNA.

Based on our trees as well as the trees of our three triangulated Estes matches, Karen and I are most probably either 8th cousins, or 8th cousins once removed, assuming that is our only common line. I am 8th cousins with the other three triangulated matches on chromosome 8. Karen’s line has yet to be proven.

Imputation Matching Summary

I like the way that DNA.Land presents some of their features, but as for matching accuracy, you can view the match quality in various ways:

  1. DNA.Land did find the large match on chromosome 8. Of course, in terms of matching, that’s pretty difficult to miss at roughly 30cM, although MyHeritage managed. Imputation did split the large match into two, somehow, even though Karen and I match on that same segment as one segment at other vendors comparing the same files.
  2. Of the 39 DNA.Land total matches, other than the chromosome 8 match, two other matches are partial matches, according to GedMatch. Both are under 7cM.
  3. Of DNA.Land’s total 39 matches, 35 are entirely wrong, in addition to the two that are split, including two inaccurate imputed matches at over 5cM.
  4. At DNA.Land, I’m not so concerned about discerning between “real” and “false” small segment matches, as compared to both FTDNA and GedMatch, as I am about incorrectly imputed segments and matches. Whether small matches in general are false positives or legitimate can be debated, each smaller segment match based on its own merits. Truthfully, with larger segments to deal with, I tend to ignore smaller segments anyway, at least initially. However, imputation adds another layer of uncertainty on top of actual matching, especially, it appears, with smaller matches. Imputing entire segments of incorrect DNA concerns me.
  5. Having said that, I find it very concerning that MyHeritage who also utilizes imputation missed a significant match of over 30cM. I don’t know of a match of this size that has ever been proven to be a false match (through parental phasing), and in this case, we know which ancestor this segment descends from through independent verification utilizing multiple other matches. MyHeritage should have found that match, regardless of imputation, because that match is from portions of the two files that were both tested, not imputed.

Summary

To date, I’m not impressed with imputation matching relative to genetic genealogy at either DNA.Land or MyHeritage.

In one case, that of DNA.Land, imputation shows matches for segments that are not shown as matches at either Family Tree DNA or GedMatch who are comparing the same two testers’ files, but without imputation. Since DNA.Land did find the larger segment, and many of their smaller segments are simply wrong, I would suggest that perhaps they should only show larger segments. Of course, anyone who finds DNA.Land is probably an experienced genetic genealogist and probably already has files at both GedMatch and Family Tree DNA, so hopefully savvy enough to realize there are issues with DNA.Land’s matching.

In the second imputation case, that of MyHeritage, the match with Karen is missed entirely, although that may not be a function of imputation. It’s hard to determine.  MyHeritage is also comparing the same two files uploaded by Karen and I to the other vendors who found that match, both vendors who do and don’t utilize imputation.

Regardless of imputing additional locations, MyHeritage should have found the matching segment on chromosome 8 because that region does NOT need to be imputed. Their failure to do so may be a function of their matching routine and not of imputation itself. At this point, it’s impossible to discern the cause. We only know, based on matching at other vendors, that the non-match at MyHeritage is inaccurate.

Here’s what DNA.Land has to say about the imputed VCF file, which holds all of your imputed values, when you download the file. They pull no punches about imputation.

“Noisey and probabilistic.” Yes, I’d say they are right, and problematic as well, at least for genetic genealogists.

Extrapolating this even further, I find it more than a little frightening that my imputed data at DNA.Land will be utilized for medical research.

Quoting now from Promethease, a medical reference site that allows the consumer to upload their raw data files, providing consumers with a list of SNPs having either positive or negative research in academic literature:

DNA.land will take a person’s data as produced by such companies and impute additional variants based on population frequency statistics. To put this in concrete terms, a person uploading a typical 23andMe file of ~700,000 variants to DNA.land will get back an (imputed) file of ~39 million variants, all predicted to be present in the person. Promethease reports from such imputed files typically contain about 50% more information (i.e. 50% more genotypes) than the corresponding reports from raw (non-imputed) data.

Translated, this means that your imputed data provides twice as much “genetic information” as your actual tested data. The question remains, of course, how much of this imputed data is accurate.

That will be the topic of the third imputation article. Stay tuned.

_____________________________________________________________________

Standard Disclosure

This standard disclosure appears at the bottom of every article in compliance with the FTC Guidelines.

Hot links are provided to Family Tree DNA, where appropriate. If you wish to purchase one of their products, and you click through one of the links in an article to Family Tree DNA, or on the sidebar of this blog, I receive a small contribution if you make a purchase. Clicking through the link does not affect the price you pay. This affiliate relationship helps to keep this publication, with more than 850 articles about all aspects of genetic genealogy, free for everyone.

I do not accept sponsorship for this blog, nor do I write paid articles, nor do I accept contributions of any type from any vendor in order to review any product, etc. In fact, I pay a premium price to prevent ads from appearing on this blog.

When reviewing products, in most cases, I pay the same price and order in the same way as any other consumer. If not, I state very clearly in the article any special consideration received. In other words, you are reading my opinions as a long-time consumer and consultant in the genetic genealogy field.

I will never link to a product about which I have reservations or qualms, either about the product or about the company offering the product. I only recommend products that I use myself and bring value to the genetic genealogy community. If you wonder why there aren’t more links, that’s why and that’s my commitment to you.

Thank you for your readership, your ongoing support and for purchasing through the affiliate link if you are interested in making a purchase at Family Tree DNA.

Family Tree DNA Sale, MyHeritage Transfers and Hurricane Fundraiser

As many of you know, the owners of Family Tree DNA, a Houston company, have committed a percentage of their sales during the month of September for donation to hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts. A daily running total is displayed at the top of their page.

I think they will top $20,000 today!

I know that with two more hurricanes (Irma an Maria) and two earthquakes in Mexico, Harvey, which ravaged Texas less than 3 weeks ago seems like old news. It’s not to the families whose lives have been upended and who have lost everything, not only due to the winds of the hurricane along the coast, but unprecedented flooding in Houston for the following week. Those families are still cleaning mud out of their homes, ripping off their sheetrock, and so much more. Thousands are displaced and have lost everything.

The best part about the Family Tree DNA fundraiser is that you can contribute to the relief effort without any additional cost to you. In fact, there’s a lot of benefit to everyone – you benefit when you order a test or upgrade, other people whose genealogy may depend on your testing benefit, and the families trying to recover from Harvey benefit as well. You never know, maybe the person you desperately need to knock down a brick wall will test or transfer now!

Everyone wins! But you only have another week, so don’t wait.

Family Tree DNA just sweetened the deal in three ways too.

Deal Sweeteners

MyHeritage Transfer

Family Tree DNA has just added MyHeritage as a transfer partner, meaning if you tested at MyHeritage, you can transfer your results to Family Tree DNA and see matches for free.

The autosomal DNA transfer option for MyHeritage as well as other vendors can be found, here, in the upper left hand corner of the main Family Tree DNA page, under DNA Tests.

Family Tree DNA accepts transfers from:

  • Ancestry
  • 23andMe V3 and V4
  • MyHeritage

Family Finder Just $69

The Family Finder autosomal test is on sale now for $69, a $20 savings. If you haven’t tested yet, or have transferred the 23andMe V4 or Ancestry V2 tests which only provide your closest matches, and not the more distant ones (due to chip incompatibility), now is a great time to order a Family Finder test. I don’t know how long the sale price lasts, so if you’re interested, buy now.

Unlock All Transfer Features Just $10

In addition, Family Tree DNA has dropped the price of unlocking the full suite of autosomal tools available after the free transfer of your results. You receive your matches for free, but by adding the $10 unlock, on sale reduced from the regular $19 until the end of September, you add three features:

  • Chromosome Browser
  • myOrigins (ethnicity)
  • ancientOrigins.

You will need a coupon code, so you can use mine. These codes are NOT limited to one use only, so please feel free to upgrade as many tests as you wish.

USE CODE: ATUL0917

Here’s what the unlock gives you access to, in addition to your free matches.

Transferring and Unlocking is Easy…

  • Click here to upgrade, unlock (ATUL0917) or transfer your results from another vendor.
  • Then sign on to your own account to transfer, unlock or upgrade if you already have an account at Family Tree DNA.
  • If you don’t currently have an account at Family Tree DNA, click in the upper left hand corner of the page you’ll see to set up an account and transfer your DNA file from another vendor. Then use the use code (ATUL0917) to unlock all the features for just $10.

It’s that easy and you’ll be helping others too!

______________________________________________________________________

Standard Disclosure

This standard disclosure appears at the bottom of every article in compliance with the FTC Guidelines.

Hot links are provided to Family Tree DNA, where appropriate. If you wish to purchase one of their products, and you click through one of the links in an article to Family Tree DNA, or on the sidebar of this blog, I receive a small contribution if you make a purchase. Clicking through the link does not affect the price you pay. This affiliate relationship helps to keep this publication, with more than 850 articles about all aspects of genetic genealogy, free for everyone.

I do not accept sponsorship for this blog, nor do I write paid articles, nor do I accept contributions of any type from any vendor in order to review any product, etc. In fact, I pay a premium price to prevent ads from appearing on this blog.

When reviewing products, in most cases, I pay the same price and order in the same way as any other consumer. If not, I state very clearly in the article any special consideration received. In other words, you are reading my opinions as a long-time consumer and consultant in the genetic genealogy field.

I will never link to a product about which I have reservations or qualms, either about the product or about the company offering the product. I only recommend products that I use myself and bring value to the genetic genealogy community. If you wonder why there aren’t more links, that’s why and that’s my commitment to you.

Thank you for your readership, your ongoing support and for purchasing through the affiliate link if you are interested in making a purchase at Family Tree DNA.