Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mission Accomplished

The project I started on September 28, 2008, is almost complete. I looked through all twelve boxes of Holliday Ellwood Hartman's books and learned about my ancestors in the process. I recorded the information for each book in a database which now includes more than 200 titles. I took photos of the most interesting books and blogged about them so that my relatives can learn more about our family history. And then yesterday I packed them all up again in twelve new boxes organized by: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Textbooks, and Very Fragile Books.

The last step in this project is to figure out what to do with all the books. I've started to give some to relatives, and I've also put aside the books that I would like to keep (e.g. family Bibles, H. E.'s notebooks, and a photography book). It would be really helpful if some book experts stumbled onto this blog and helped me answer the following questions:

  • Are any of these books valuable? My oldest books are the 1841 Cottage Bible, "Lady Huntington and Her Friends" from 1853 and a Bible from 1855. Some books in the collection have beautiful illustrations, including "A Child's Garden of Verses" and "The Conquest of Fire". The textbooks and encyclopedias from the late 1800s and early 1900s might be interesting from an academic point of view. There's a copy of "Elbert Hubbard From East Aurora" by Felix Shay that I think is really cool because it still has many uncut pages. I don't know what this is called in printing terms, but you'd have to cut the outside edge of the page with a knife in order to read the two interior pages. There's also an enormous Bible published by A. J. Holman & Co. in 1893 that includes gorgeous illustrations and very thorough glossaries. I have a first edition of Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," but it turns out it's not the first printing of the first edition. I may have other first editions, but I haven't done enough research to know.
  • Which books would be worth rebinding, and how do I go about doing that? The old Cottage Bible is in pretty bad shape but contains family history information. Could someone restore it for me, and would that process be expensive?
  • If I decide to sell some of these books, would I be able to sell them on my own? Should I use an online service such as eBay or Alibris? Would it be better to sell to a bookstore?
I'm going away for a while, so I'm putting this project on hold. I hope that while I'm gone, my relatives will have a chance to look through these posts and comment or ask questions. My next goal is to research other branches of the family tree, a project I started in my entries about the Wises and the Zieglers. Eventually I would like to write a book about my ancestry: immigration, the founding of American cities, conflicts with Native Americans, farming and industry in Pennsylvania, religious communities, wars, and various victories and tragedies. It's a big subject, but I'm going to try to make it into a coherent narrative.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Miscellaneous Nonfiction

Today I went through the last few boxes of Holliday Ellwood Hartman's books. Most were nonfiction and provided insight into my great-grandfather's interests.

There are more books about history and government than about any other subject. Holliday received "The History of The United States Told In One Syllable Words" (see photo) for Christmas 1892, when he was eight years old. Two years later, his mother gave him "The Century Book For Young Americans: The Story Of The Government." In 1898, he received "Great Words From Great Americans" which includes speeches by Washington and Lincoln.

H. E.'s interest in history continued into adulthood. He owned, for example, a three-volume history of the United States by Julian Hawthorne, Senator John Sherman's autobiography (which is a beautiful book - see photo), and a biography of Theodore Roosevelt called "Great-Heart." He also had a number of anthologies of stories about honorable men (only men) and great leaders (only men) - "Noble Deeds of the Great and Brave" and "Leaders of Men."

There are a few books that branch out from American History and Government, including a book about South African history and "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbon. I loved looking through the Gibbon book because it has notes on every single page - mostly subject headings and underlining (see photo) - through page 292. Dates are also recorded from time to time, ending in 1903. The book belonged to "H. Hartman," which could be my great-great-grandfather Henry Waters Hartman or my great-grandfather Holliday Ellwood Hartman. I'm leaning toward H. E. because most of the other books in the collection belonged to him and he was reading similar books in 1903 when he was 19 ... however H. E. always always signed his books "H. E. Hartman," not just "H. Hartman." I'll have to look at it more closely.

Commemorative Books
There are a few souvenir books commemorating special events. One is called "The Book of the Yale Pageant" (1916) and is a sort of play written to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of Yale - H. E.'s alma mater - moving to New Haven. There are three books about fire and fire insurance, books H. E. probably owned because he sold insurance. The most impressive is "Conquest of Fire" (see photo), published by the New York Underwriters Agency, A & JH Stoddard, to mark the 50th anniversary of their business. It includes two-page, full-color spreads of gorgeous paintings of fires throughout the ages. "27th Triennial Conclave" is a book about Pittsburgh prepared by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar in October of 1898. Apparently this military order was officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1129 and fought in the Crusades (thanks, Wikipedia). They are related to the Freemasons, which I guess is why they were still active in Pittsburgh a century ago. There's a Library of Congress photo (left) of their 1898 parade where they received this souvenir book. I think my great-grandfather H. E. was a Mason, and my grandmother belonged to the Order of Eastern Star when she was young. However, H. E. would have been just 14 years old when this event took place, so I wonder if his father Henry Waters Hartman was also a Mason and either went to the parade or received this book from friends.

Besides the "27th Triennial Conclave" souvenir, I found a few other Freemasonry-related books. "History of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons and Concordant Masons" (The Fraternity Publishing Company, Boston, 1916) is in very fragile condition, so I didn't look through it very thoroughly. I did, however, notice in the Table of Contents that there's a whole chapter on "comprehensive history of the Knights Templars," so I can find out more about the group that met in Pittsburgh. I also found ten or twelve more Bibles and hymnals, some of which belonged to the Presbyterian Church in Zelienople or Grace Reformed Church in Harmony.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Septuple Ancestor Christopher Ziegler

Branches of my maternal grandfather's family make their way back to the Zieglers. In fact, my maternal grandmother's family also descends from those same Zieglers. So my mom's parents are (distantly) related, both tracing their ancestry to Christopher Ziegler (1714-1804) and his father, Emigrant Michael Ziegler (1684-1765).

This wouldn't be very shocking, except that my grandparents are actually related to four of Christopher Ziegler's ten children through seven of his many great-grandchildren. Here's how it works:

  • First there's Christopher's daughter Catherine Ziegler Moyer (1736-1786). Her grandson Benjamin Moyer is my grandpa's great-great-grandpa. And her granddaughter Sarah Moyer Boyer is my grandma's great-grandma.
  • Then there's Christopher's daughter Hannah Ziegler Landis (1740-?) who is my grandpa's great-great-great-great-grandma.
  • Next we have Christopher's son John Ziegler (1744-1776). His grandson Andrew Heistand Ziegler is my grandpa's great-great-grandpa. And his grandson Joseph Heistand Ziegler is my grandma's great-grandpa.
  • And finally, Christopher's daughter Elizabeth Ziegler Bower (1746-1804). Her grandson George Bower Boyer is my grandma's great-great-grandpa. And her grandaughter Maria Boyer Moyer is my grandpa's great-great-grandma.
I was having trouble wrapping my mind around that, so I drew a diagram. The four colors represent the four children of Christopher Ziegler my mom is related to. Some of them appear twice, and they all lead back to Christopher Ziegler, highlighted yellow, who appears septuply.

This line of the family has been well documented by Gertrude Mohlin Ziegler in her book "The Ziegler Family and Related Families in Pennsylvania" (published 1970, revised 1978). She explains that Christopher Ziegler's father Michael Ziegler was the first Ziegler in our line to immigrate to America:

  • 1684. Michael Ziegler was born in 1684, probably in the Palatinate - a district of Germany west of the Rhine River. (There's a possibility he was born in Switzerland and moved to the Palatinate before emigrating from Europe.)
  • 1709. Seeking freedom from religious persecution, he immigrated to America in September 1709. I think he arrived in Germantown or Philadelphia, but I don't know the exact ship information.
  • 1717. Michael was one of seven trustees appointed by Matthias Van Bebber to build a meeting house and school in what are now Skippack and Perkiomen, PA.
  • 1718. Michael purchased 100 acres for 25 pounds. He purchased 50 more acres in 1722.
  • 1725. Michael was one of about 35 men who signed a petition that was sent to the Philadelphia Court asking that the township be laid out and surveyed.
  • 1727. He purchased 100 more acres in 1727 for 100 pounds, and then 450 acres in the Goshenhoppen (Upper Hanover Township) in 1728.
  • 1728. Michael was one of 75 signers of a petition requesting their Excellency for protection against the Indians.
  • 1729. In 1729 or 1730, Michael Ziegler was naturalized and took an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown of Great Britain.
  • 1742. In 1742 and then again in 1745, Michael and others sent letters to Holland warning that war (the French and Indian War of 1754 to 1763) was imminent and asking for advice.
  • 1763. Michael made a will which is recorded in Will Book N, page 454 in Philadelphia and copied in Gertrude Ziegler's book.
  • 1765. Michael Ziegler died in 1765. He and his wife Catherine were buried in the cemetery of the Lower Skippack Mennonite Church, but no markers remain today.
Michael Ziegler and his wife Catherine had nine children: Andrew, Gertrude or Gertrauta, my ancestor Christopher, Barbara, Susannah, Margaret, Catherine II, Michael II, and William. Christopher inherited and purchased a large portion of the land that belonged to his father. He married Deborah Dewitt Pawling (1717 - abt. 1785), daughter of Lt. John Pawling and Aagje Dewitt Pawling. He worked as a weaver and lived in what is now Upper Hanover Township. He is buried in the same cemetery as his parents at Skippack Mennonite Church.

On my recent trip to the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, I found a lot of information about Christopher Ziegler. I actually got to see and touch two copies of his will - one written in 1786 and one in 1796. (That means I was touching documents that are nearly as old as the Declaration of Independence of 1776!) The wills are transcribed in Gertrude Ziegler's book, but it was pretty cool to see the originals.

I wonder whether Christopher Ziegler spoke or wrote English. I'm pretty sure he spoke German at home because I'm pretty sure his son John Ziegler spoke German at home. And I'm pretty sure of that because John Ziegler's son Abraham wrote him two personal letters (which can be found at the Schwenkfelder Center) in German. Maybe they were all bilingual and Christopher wrote his will himself, but it is also possible that his will was translated and that this written document was prepared by a lawyer or government employee in Philadelphia. I wonder, then, when the Zieglers started speaking and writing English fluently, and when they started using English at home.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Missing Wise Link

Today I visited the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center in Pennsburg, PA. I was very impressed with their resources and grateful for the assistance of Mr. Hunt The Archivist. However, I left with more questions than answers ... which I guess is normal in genealogy research?

In my last entry, I wrote that my maternal grandfather's family - the Wises - descend from Rev. George Weiss, the first Schwenkfelder Minister in Pennsylvania. I had gotten this information from the family history book "The Ziegler Family and Related Families in Pennsylvania" by Gertrude Ziegler, and I'd seen the same names on family trees as well as note pages in my family's files. I contacted the Schwenkfelder Center and told them that I was directly related to their founding minister and would like to come learn more about my heritage. They informed me that Rev. George Weiss of the Schwenkfelders had no descendants and so I could not be directly related to him. However, they told me there were a few other George Weisses in their records, and so perhaps I could find what I was looking for.

One generation after (meaning younger than) the mysterious George Weiss is Killian Weiss, and I actually know a lot about him. He was born on Dec 15, 1751 in Pennsylvania. He died Feb 16, 1840 and is buried in a Mennonite cemetery in Bally in Berks County, PA. He married Catherine Ziegler Landis, daughter of Hannah Pawling Ziegler and Martin Landis. Catherine was born Sept 4, 1764 and died May 20, 1826. She is buried next to her husband, and as far as I know their tombstones are still there in Bally. I haven't gone to the cemetery yet, but the church records are available at the Schwenkfelder Library (see photo) and also online. In the records, Killian is spelled Killion and Catherine is spelled Catharine, so perhaps I should go with these spellings until I can check them myself at the cemetery.

Their information is confirmed in the Ziegler book (which, however, gives Catharine a death date of July 10, 1859) and a book called "History of the Descendants of Jacob Funck Wise" prepared by my grandfather John H. Wise in 1962 (which only records Killion, spelled Killian Weisz). My grandfather referenced a book called "Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania" by Morton L. Montgomery, which I found in the Schwenkfelder Library (see photo). Montgomery uses the spellings Killian Weis and Catharine Weis and adds that in the 1790 federal census, Killion was listed as "a taxable resident of Upper Milford township, Northampton county."

Both the Ziegler and Montgomery books list Killion and Catharine's nine children: Anna who married John Ehst, Killian Jr. who married Barbara Shelly and is buried in the Boyertown Mennonite Cemetery, my ancestor John Landis who married Mary Funk, Jacob who married Catherine Bauer Boyer, George who married Anna Weinberger, Samuel who married a Latshaw, Katherine called Kate who married Henry Shelly, Henry who married Susanna Weinberg of Quakertown, and Hannah who married Isaac Longacre. The Montgomery book adds that Killion had a brother named Jacob who owned a mill.

So the problem is: Who were Killion (and Jacob?) Weiss's parents? The Ziegler book claims they were Rev. George Weiss of the Schwenkfelders and his wife Anna Meschter, but that can't be true. The Wise book also points to a George Weisz, explaining: "Four brothers landed at Philadelphia in 1725, first of the Weisz family to reach America. They were Kilyan, George, Rudolph and Jacob, settling in the upper part of Montgomery and lower Lehigh counties, and became the originators of the Mennonite church at or near Emause, about four miles from Allentown. Of these brothers, George had a son named Killian, born December 15, 1751, died February, 1840, at the age of 88." The source of this information is not listed, except for a note that says, "Most of the following was written in 1947." I'll have to ask my grandfather if he knows who wrote it and how they made the connection between Killion and George-Of-The-Four-Brothers-Who-Arrived-In-1725.

I continued my search for George/Georg or Killion/Killian Weiss/Weisz/Weis in the Schwenkfelder Library's databases and archives. In a file cabinet, I found a manila envelope labeled "Weiss" that contained three packets of information. The first page (see photo) was incredibly interesting, as it listed some of the same information as the Wise book. It starts out, "The Weisz's originally were Hollanders. They were exiled from Holland, fled from Switzerland, and then came to the United States. They landed at Philadelphia about 1727-1728 or 1729. Four brothers came to this country - Rudolph (died March 26, 1783 age 55 yr 6 m buried at Upper Milford Mennonite Cemetery), Jacob, Kilyon, George (?)." It goes on to list some of the descendants of Jacob Weisz, then it reads, "Of the original forefathers who came to the United States one was a minister, one a doctor, one a military man, and one a free holder." The last paragraph on the page references "Record in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, by H. L. Weisz." It says, "A Mennonite meeting house was built a few miles from what is now called Allentown between 1735-40, members of whom were George and Rudolph." Then is says, "Col. Jacob Weisz was born in Philadelphia about 1750, died at Weissport 1839. His father was a respectable doctor, a native of Germany."

So apparently these are the same four brothers who are listed in the Wise book. However, nowhere on this Random Page from the manila folder does it talk about George's wife or children. Maybe, as the Berks County Book claims, the Col. Jacob at the end of the page is my ancestor Killion's brother, and so their father is George who was a member of the Mennonite church and a doctor. But besides the missing link between George and Killion, there are a few problems with all of this:

  • Rudolph's grave is listed in the Upper Milford Mennonite church's cemetery records, but George's is not. Maybe whoever made that list couldn't see or read George's grave? Maybe he moved and was buried somewhere else - like in Weissport with his son Jacob? He's not buried in Bally with his son Killion.
  • If Rudolph's gravestone is correct (died March 1783 at the age of 55 1/2) then he was born in September 1727. The top of the Random Page says that four brothers sailed to Philadelphia in 1727, 1728, or 1729. If Rudolph was a tiny infant, wouldn't he be traveling with his parents? Why don't either of the sources - this random page and the Wise book - say anything about his parents?
  • I looked in two sources that list immigrants who arrived in Philadelphia starting in 1727 (based on ships' logs), and neither of them list four Weiss/Weisz/Weis brothers. There are a few George Weisses, but they arrived in the 1730's, 40's, and 50's. And I didn't see any Rudolphs or Kilyons. I guess it's possible their names are illegible on the ships' logs or their logs got lost?
The other two packets of information in the manila folder concern a Rev. George Michael Weiss. For a few brief moments I hoped that this would be the George Weisz from the Random Page and from the Wise Book, and that in these packets I would find the Missing Link. However, this Rev. George Michael Weiss (who is very well documented) was sent by the Reformed Church (not a Mennonite) and, most importantly, had no children.

So I left the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center knowing that Killion's father was not The Rev. George Weiss of the Schwenkfelders, nor was he The Rev. George Michael Weiss of the Reformed Church. He was perhaps George Weisz, one of Four Brothers, who was a Mennonite and maybe a Doctor and came from Germany in the 1720's ... but I'm not really sure about that yet. Fortunately, the trip to the Schwenkfelder Library gave me a few places to turn for more information:

  • There's the Upper Milford Mennonite Church where George and Rudolph were members and where Rudolph is buried. It's still around and apparently published an updated history for its 250th anniversary, so I should contact them. I found a short history of the church in the book History of the Mennonites Historically and Biographically Arranged from the Time of the Reformation which lists all four Weisz brothers as founding members (as well as Abraham Heistand who is another ancestor of mine!). Their family information still isn't clear, but this could be a great lead. Mennonite Congregation in Upper Mil ford Lehigh County A Short Historical Sketch BY SAMUEL STAUFFER THE first Mennonite congregation in Upper Milford Lehigh County was founded and organized as near as can be ascertained between the years 1735 and 1760 The founders of this congregation were Ulrich Easier Heinrich Schleifer Johannes Schwartz Conrad Stamm David Jansen Benjamin Meyer Abraham Funk Heinrich Funk Johannes Mayer Samuel Mayer Conrad Mayer Michael Mayer Johannes Gehman George Weisz Kilian Weisz Rudolph Weisz Jacob Weisz Jacob Hie stand Abraham Hiestand Daniel Greber and others
  • Then there's the Mennonite Cemetery of the Hereford Congregation in Bally, PA, where Killion and Catharine are buried. I could try to visit there.
  • Jacob Weiss, who according to the Berks County Book was Killion's brother, ended up in Weissport. According to, the town is actually named for Col. Jacob Weiss, described as a "wealthy Philadelphian who organized early coal company." So maybe that town has information on their namesake's parents.
  • The Random Page references "Record in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, by H. L. Weisz," so I should try to find that.
  • The bottom of the Random Page lists someone's name and address. Maybe it's the lady who provided the Random Page, so I guess if I got desperate I could try to contact her, Mrs. Narona Gebert.
  • Then of course, there's my grandpa who researched all of this for the Wise Book. He's still very sharp, but I can't expect him to remember all of his sources from a project he did 40 years ago. I probably won't remember all of this 40 years from now ... unless of course blogger is still around and I can look it up.