Monday, February 25, 2013

Palatine Family Roots

I have had my battles with common surnames.  I have Johnson, Smith, Jones and a few Allens.  Needless to say, research on these families can be a bit daunting.  There is an Allen line on my Mom’s side of the family that stretches back to New England…however, the Allen line on my father’s side of the family is a window into the German side of my great grandfather’s family.

Phoebe Allen Gage with grandchildren - around 1910.
Phoebe Ann Allen was born 7 Jan 1830 in Knox, Albany Co., NY.  She married Gilbert Gage in 1849, most likely in Knox, Albany Co., NY as well.  They were the parents of five children:  Orlando, Elizabeth, Juliette, Frank, and Gilbert Gage.  Phoebe was daughter of Elizabeth Zeh and John P. Allen.  It seems somehow unfortunate that I’ve never been able to taker Phoebe’s paternal line back any further than her father.  John P. Allen is much too common a name to differentiate him from other John Allen’s in the vicinity.  Perhaps someday when I have the chance to go to New York to research, I may find something interesting.  Here is what I know about John P. Allen.  He was born in NY on 24 Sep 1783 and died on 2 Apr 1868 in Knox, Albany Co., NY.  He was married to Anna Eva Weidman (daughter of William Weidman and Maria Chambers) sometime in 1807. (The Weidman family shows up often amongst these German families around Albany Co., NY).  She probably died in childbirth or shortly after childbirth in 1821 probably in Berne, Albany Co., NY (which was called Beaverdam at the time) They were the parents of seven children:  Asa, Hannah Maria, William, John P. Jr., James Ira, Sylvester, and Susanna Allen.  In about 1825, John P. Allen married Elizabeth Zeh.  She was born 24 Sep 1793 in Berne, Albany Co., NY and died on 14 Oct 1851 in Knox, Albany Co., NY.  They were the parents of Ann Eliza, Emma Elizabeth, Phoebe Ann (my 3rd great grandmother), Peter Zeh, and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Peter Jost Zeh and Annatje Truax. 

The Zeh family was a whole new kettle of fish for me.  I had had no idea that there had been such a strong German contingent in my great grandfather’s family.  When I initially learned of the line, I did what I normally did.  I posted queries on the appropriate news lists early and often.  Through email, I was educated on a bit of the history of the Zeh family in NY.  I may never make much progress on the Allen line – but there was a wealth of information on the Zeh family and they had been amongst some of the earliest settlers in the Schoharie river valley.    Johannes Zeh was born in Oppenheim, Germany in 1667.  He was married to Anna Magdalena in 1692 and they were the parents of Johann George, Johannes Gerhardt, Ignatius, and Johannes Petrus.  You can label the Zehs among many other families as Palatine Germans.  Germany at this point was essentially a bunch of small countries and one of these areas was Palatine.  It was a land that was battled over by the French, Dutch, Germans, and later the English.  There were numerous battles –but Queen Anne’s War which was between 1701 to 1713 was probably the biggest impetus for many to leaving the Palatine region along the Rhine.  In a short amount of time over 13,000 Germans left and headed to America.  Many arrived around 1710, but the Zeh family were first recorded in the Schoharie Valley in 1709.  Of the four children that traveled with Johannes and his wife in 1709 died within a few years after their arrival.  My ancestor, Johannes Zeh, Jr was born about 1710 near Germantown, NY.    Johannes married Maria Bellinger and Anna Catherine Bellinger – sisters who were the daughters of Marcus Bellinger and Anna Catherine Deckmann.  (Also German immigrants)  I’m not really sure which sister he married first, but it is Anna Catherine who he marries in 3 Mar 1738 and they have nine children.  Their third son, Jost Bellinger Zeh and Anna Barbara Wanner were the parents of Peter Jost Zeh and grandparents of Elizabeth Zeh…my 4th great grandmother.
I considered myself to be fairly well educated in United States history, however, I had never heard of the Palatine Immigration to America.  While living in their homeland along the Rhine River, these people had to live with repeated military invasions by French for numerous years.  They left their homes and headed towards England to escape the Palatine with the promise of land in the American colonies.  The British found out that very quickly couldn’t take care of this large group of people and started to find ways of sending these refugees to the American colonies and many of these families ended up in New York.   They were unlike the Huguenots of an earlier generation because they were not as well educated or skilled of laborers.  They were laborers who knew how to raise livestock, farm land or make cheese and wine.  Queen Anne’s government decided to provide a way for these German Protestants to make their way to the colonies.  They were booked passage on a ship and had to work in trade for passage. 
Many of these families were originally brought to New York but within the next five years they moved to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Carolinas but about 40 families went to the Schoharie area of New York and settled there.  I would estimate that just about all of Phoebe Ann Allen’s ancestry came from the Palatine families including names like: Zeh, Zeybel, Bellinger, Folmar, Wanner, and Deckman which are all direct ancestors of Phoebe’s and mine!  Here are some of the ancestors I've discovered along the way!

  • Phoebe Ann Allen m. Gilbert Gage
  • John P. Allen m. Elizabeth Zeh
  • Peter Jost Zeh m. Annatje Truax (See line below)
  • Jost Bellinger Zeh m. Anna Barbara Wanner (See line below)
  • Johannes Zeh Jr. m. Anna Catherine Bellinger
  • Johannes Zeh m. Anna Magdalena - Marcus Bellinger m. Anna Catherine Deckman
  • Nicholas Bellinger m. Anna Maria Margaretha Kuhn - Johan Conrad Deckmann m. Juliana Stroh
  • Willem Truax m. Anna Elizabeth Zeybel
  • George Seibel m. Anna Maria Reyin
  • Jacob Zeybel m. Anna Getha
  • Michael Wanner m. Elizabeth Folmar (daughter of Christian Fulmar)
  • Ludwig Wanner m. Anna Barbara Beisels
  • Hans Wanner m. ?, Hans Andres Beisels m. ?