Monday, June 30, 2008

Independent Spirit

With the upcoming July 4th holiday, there is no more perfect time to honor someone from your family whose life can be summed up in one word --INDEPENDENT! Do you have a relative who was feisty, spoke their own mind, was a bit of a free spirit? Anyone who most people might consider a “nut” on the family tree but you know they really just followed a “different tune?” We all have at least one person whose character and habits may have made them seem “ahead of their time” and now is the chance to tell us their story.
Considering the theme for this issue of the Carnival of Genealogy I decided after some thought that the nuttiest thing anyone can ever do is leave family and friends behind and move to another country, or continent. Even moving across several states in the US was pretty nutty until recent generations. Which, of course, means most Americans have a family tree filled with these nuts, unless you are 100% Native American, or all of your ancestors were brought here against their will.

For the most part, it doesn’t matter what was happening in the country of origin. Even when pogroms occur nearby, rational thinkers will often assure their neighbors “it won’t happen here.” However, once it arrives, escaping isn’t the same as immigrating by choice. Still, the rational thinkers often stop escaping once they cross the border into the nearest city/country they feel safe. They don't go any further.

So here are my known direct ancestors who were nutty enough to leave everything behind. I include some who fled, but who went a little further than most, or were pioneering in some other fashion. The list results in a collection of intersecting geographical trails.

1. Barnabas Horton (1600-1680). At some point between 1633 and 1638, Barnabas Horton traveled from Mowsley, England to America. He settled in Southold, Suffolk County, NY, on the east end of Long Island.

2. Myndert Fredericksen (1636-1706), along with brothers Carsten and Rynier, left Holland and arrived in New Amsterdam prior to 1656. They were the sons of Frederick Van Iveren, and their surnames followed the Dutch patronymic tradition. Their children returned to the surname Van Iveren, which later morphed into Van Every.

3. Henry Rosenberger (1685-1745) left Germany and arrived in Franconia, Pennsylvania prior to 1729.

4. Hans (Weaver John) Fretz (1704-1772) left Alsace, Germany and arrived in Bucks County, Pennsylvania approximately 1720.

5. David Van Every (1757-1820) and his wife Sarah Schauer, along with their parents McGregor Van Every and Michael Schauer, helped settle the Canadian side of Niagara. They fall in the category of ‘escapees’; however, they may have been the first United Empire Loyalists to settle the land.

6. Israel Swayze (1753-1844), the grandchild of Barnabas Horton's great granddaughter, Penelope Horton, made the trip from NY to Ontario in 1789. Due to the year, I have unconfirmed suspicions regarding the impetus of his journey.

7. William Denyer (1794-1848) traveled from Hampshire, England to Bucks County Pennsylvania, prior to 1821 when he married Elizabeth Sliver, a second great granddaughter of Henry Rosenberger, and a great-granddaughter of Hans Fretz. The Denyers, along with their son, Ebenezer, then journeyed to Texas.

8. Samuel Van Every (1820-1888), born in Dumfries, Ontario, made the trek to Michigan between 1852-1855. His son, Melvin (1863-1929), went further south to Texas, where he met Ebenezer Denyer’s daughter, Margaret.

9. Moshe Leyb Cruvant (1857-1911), along with his wife, Minnie Mojsabovski, and two children arrived in St. Louis, Missouri from Cekiske, Lithuania about 1886.

10. Selig Dudelsack (1860-1915), his wife Anna Perlik, and their children came from somewhere near the border between Russia and Poland. They arrived in St. Louis in 1890.

11. Morris Blatt (1862-1926) arrived in St. Louis from Losice, Poland, with two daughters prior to 1893.

12. Samuel Newmark (1862-1940) and his wife Rose (possibly Cantkert) first journeyed from Warka, Russia in 1892 and arrived in London, England. In 19041907 Samuel and his 1821-year-old son, Barney spent 3 years2 months exploring Canada and the US, retuning to England in 1907 – apparently with the advice that the family should move again, because they did in two waves in 1908 and 1909.

13. Samuel Deutsch (1861-1938), his wife Helen Lichtman, and seven children left Nagyalmas, Hungary in 1913 and settled in Chicago, IL.

14. I will include my grandmother, Myrtle Van Every (1900-1951), in this nutty bunch, because she left both parents and several siblings behind in Texas, and moved to St. Louis in the 1920s. Not a new country, but a fair distance. She would meet up with Martin Deutsch, son of Samuel and Helen, in 1933 when he moved from Chicago to St. Louis following a job offer.

It wasn't until 1933 that all the branches of my family had arrived in St. Louis. 36 years later I was born, uniting all the disparate threads together. (Though the threads had united twice prior with two older siblings.)

There are also several unknown threads. For example, I don't know what areas of the world Sarah Hartley's ancestors originated. Her daughter Margaret Denyer has the middle name McAlpin suggesting the possibility of some Scottish or Irish heritage. And Sarah claimed to be 1/8 Native American.

1 comment:

wendy said...

Interesting "twist" you put on the Independent spirit topic! I like how you did that post. I wish I had that much information on folks who left or "escaped" from their birth countries (unfortunately I haven't even been able to locate some of them!). Thanks for sharing.