Sunday, November 20, 2005

Palatine Germans to America, Hank Jones,FASG, Eula Lapp, Happy Thanksgiving!

Do you have Palatine Roots? If so, give thanks to the Indians this Thanksgiving.

The area of the Palatinate is a section in the South Western region of Germany that has become a common name for many German immigrants to America, even those that were not from the Palatine region. In 1709 and 1710 there was a mass migration out of this region due to many different sets of circumstances, some of which were hunger, poverty, results of too many wars in the region, and so on. Queen Anne of England was sympathetic to these extremely poor families, most of whom migrated in whole community groups and many of which that were inter-related and of the same Protestant religious faiths, (the Catholics were forced to return to Germany). Anne allowed the borders of England to open, to accept these people and to give them care and sustenance. Well London became overwhelmed with thousands of poverty struck families that just overburdened the resources to care for the already massive poor of England, and London in particular.

There were two different main areas that the new influx of poor Germans were allowed to populate, one was in America where a colony was set up on both sides of the Hudson just a little North of New York City and became known as Germantown, East Camp and West Camp. These two communities ostensible were going to work off their passage by “Collecting Pitch and Tar and Making Masts for Her Majesties Navy”, however the support that had been promised the settlers in the new land was not forthcoming and many of these early immigrants perished the first winter. As this is the Thanksgiving season it would be well to remember that the Native Americans did take pity on these poor people and helped to shelter many of them and taught them ways to plant corn and other crops to be able to survive on their own in the new world. These early German families started out in the lower Hudson River communities and then spread out all up and down the Hudson, over into the Schoharie region and then throughout the Mohawk Valley communities.

The second area that these people were sent to from London was to Ireland in various counties such as Limerick, Kerry and Clare, to populate the plantations of the rich landowners. The Germans did keep in tight communities; some of them acquired Anglicized names, but usually kept to their old ways and still spoke German for many years to come. One of the little family groups in Ireland was preached to and influenced by the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, and were to become the converts that first brought the Methodist religion to America in the 1750’s. Most people that study early religion in America would commonly think that the Methodist religion in America would have been brought by the English settlers. Well it was but by a German speaking, Irish born immigrant, Philip EMBURY (EMBERGER) that first settled in New York City and then came up the Hudson to the EMBURY – WILSON Patent, in what is now White Creek in Washington County, NY., to a land grant that he had acquired from the Crown. After arriving at his new property he discovered that it was covered by mountains and would be hard to establish a farming community, so he leased a large tract of land in the Camden Valley which is an excellent farm land in the nearby Town of Salem, NY., from James DUANE, an Attorney of note in New York City.

Philip EMBURY died relatively young while having a hay mowing contest with the other men of the valley, and most of his relatives and religious followers were displaced from the Camden Valley at the time of the Revolutionary War because they desired to remain Loyal to England. Many of these people went to several various Loyalist communities in Canada.

Henry Z. “Hank” Jones, Jr., FASG, is an expert on the Palatine immigrants, which were some of the earliest settlers in the Province of New York. His “The Palatine Families of New York – 1710” is a two volume classic that won the Donald Lines Jacobus Award for Best Genealogical Book of the Year. Hank was a child movie actor and appeared in eight Walt Disney movies, is a very capable singer and used to appear on the old Tennessee Ernie Ford show. (Try to get him to tell you why Ernie would only let the cameraman shoot them from the waist up at the close of one of the tv shows.) He is one of the best lecturers I have ever had the pleasure to hear, and I have been to at least a half dozen seminars where he entertained the crowd greatly. His personal website is .

While you are at it, a membership in The Palatines to America Society will benefit your research greatly also. They may be reached at .

A couple of very good books that covers the subject of the Palatine families of Philip EMBURY’s group are: Eula Lapp’s “To Their Heirs Forever” and also Hank Jones’s “The Palatine Families of Ireland.”

Happy Thanksgiving!


cshaw said...

Looking for information on the strauss family (Jewish) who lives in Bad Mergentheim or Markelsheim.

Their names were Lora (nee Elkan) & David Strauss (our grandparents).

Any suggestions for finding more about our family would be appreciated!

Lora Schroeder & Charlotte Rich
Atlanta, GA
Please email us at either (Charlotte) or (Lora)

unyg said...

Lora & Charlotte,

I know almost nothing about modern era research in this location. My grandfather left in 1885 and I have never visited Markelsheim, though I do hope to some day.

I have used an old Gazetteer from the 19th century that is called Meyers-Orts at the Family History Library. It is printed in old style German characters and very difficult to use, but it does describe the villages and towns and as I recall from about 25 or more years ago, I think I remember that there was a Synagogue listed in Markelsheim.

Now knowing that, I suspect that the terrible times of Nazism most likely would have destroyed records, but I do not know that for sure.

If you are working on Holocaust victims research then that is indeed a very serious field that requires someone with far greater knowledge that I have.

Have you checked with the Jewish Genealogical Society? I do have some friends that are members that I would be happy to refer you to.

Wish I could be more helpful, but perhaps someone will see this and offer some suggestions.

Sincere regards.

Dick Hillenbrand