Week 11: #52 Ancestors – Luck
By Eilene Lyon
I would never deny that I’ve had very good fortune in life. Living in America has been a real blessing, and is a circumstance of my birth for which I can claim no credit – I’m just lucky! I grew up in a solidly middle-class family, setting me on a path to a decent education and opportunity.
I live in a beautiful land with many freedoms and abundance, not found everywhere in this world. I have my immigrant ancestors to thank. It seems some people have developed a negative attitude about immigration, based on fear, not reality. We are all sons and daughters of immigrants in this country. Yes, even Native Americans – they just got here a long, long time before anyone else!
If your parents were the first generation in the United States, you have just two immigrant ancestors. My forebears began arriving so many generations ago that I have loads of immigrants in my tree. I can’t even identify them all at this point. My last foreign-born ancestor arrival occurred in 1881.
Following is a list of my known ancestors who made the bold move to leave the known behind and risk everything on a new life in a faraway land where they might not speak the language or know the customs. I’m humbled and grateful for their courage and adventurous spirit.
I’ve listed the earliest person or couple, and if their foreign-born child is also my ancestor, they are listed with their parents. Then their origin, if known, and their arrival date, if known.
- Samuel and Elizabeth J (Sorby) Drake, Robert and Eliza Jane (Drake) Halse, Richard Halse. Killyleagh, County Down, North Ireland. May 22, 1850. (Robert Halse may have arrived at a different time than the rest of the family.)
- Richard and Magdalena (Breckner) Delle, Margaret Mary Delle. Mainz-Kastel, Wiesbaden, Hesse, Germany. April 2, 1852.
- Elder John Crandall. Westerleigh, Gloucestershire, England. 1635.
- Richard and Rebecca (Marbury) Maxon. Manchester, Greater Manchester, England. 1634.
- Mathias and Dorothea (Sandring) Nordt, Mary Frederica Nordt. Beyendorf, Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. November 5, 1881.
- Robert Orme. England. 1673.
- Richard Pell. England. 1737.
- George Tobias Paul. Germany. 1753.
- Eva Barbara Dockenwadel. Germany. 1754.
- Johann Caspar and Susannah (Scheible) Hepler. Germany. 1748.
- Hans Jacob Wagner. Germany.
- Robert and Margaret (Hammond) Zane, Nathaniel Zane. Yorksham, Devonshire, England. 1670s. (Margaret may have died on the passage over.)
- William and Grace (Wyron) Rakestraw, Grace Rakestraw. Cornwall, England.
- Nathan Shenton (unknown spouse). Grosly, Leicestershire, England.
- William and Elizabeth (Griffith) Jenkins, Stephen Jenkins. Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales. 1686.
- Phineas and Phebe (Harrison) Pemberton, Abigail Pemberton. England. 1682.
- Thomas Bedford. Old Sampford, Essex, England. 1786.
- John Annable. Derbyshire, England. 1774.
- Carl and Dorothea (Groth) Gaszow. Mecklenburg, Germany. 1856.
- Sophia (Hauser) Springer (widow), Charles Springer. Heidelsheim, Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. March 31, 1854.
- Johann Joseph and Anna (Wiskirchen) Tils, Adolph Dills. Germany. 1850s.
- Johann Carl Brimmer (unknown spouse), Louisa Mary Brimmer. Mecklenburg, Germany. 1855.
- Manus McElroy (unknown spouse), William and Mary Jane (Redmond) McElroy. Ireland. ~1850.
- Jean George and Magdaline Marguerite (Wagner) Arbogast, Louis Arbogast. Strasburg, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France. June 4, 1840.
- Christian and Julie (Berthoud) Baumgartner, Roseanna Baumgartner. Bremergarten, Berne, Switzerland. 1840s.
A few things strike me about the list. First is that half came from Germanic parts of Europe and were all Lutheran/Evangelisch, not Catholic. Another is that many of the early-day immigrants from England and Wales were Quakers. And the McElroy line is probably my only truly Irish family so far, because the Halses and Drakes were of English origin.
Feature image: Mary Frederica Nordt (right), my great-great-grandmother, and the last of my immigrant ancestors. She is with her mother (my 3rd great-grandmother) Dorothe (Sandring) Nordt and sister, Agatha. Mary Frederica was born in Beyendorf, Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, on September 18, 1866. She arrived in Baltimore with her family on November 5, 1881, aboard the ship Hermann which departed from Bremen. The photo was probably taken either shortly before they left Germany or soon after their arrival in the U.S.