As soon as a new book is published I am back to being asked the same old question everywhere I go, "Are you writing another book?" Since Aaron's Civil War hit the market last December the answer to that question has been "No. I'm just doing short stories and historical articles." The short stories are a series for children 6-8 and are being published in our church papers. I can do one of them in a day when it fits into my schedule. The historical articles are a different story.
Last fall I started tracing the first four generations of the descendants of Ulrich Burkholder. I got stuck and dropped it for a couple months. This spring I got a tip that was the breakthrough I needed to continue so I picked it up again. Developing a genealogy is an on-going process that takes months and/or years to complete. There are a few blanks that need to be filled in yet but I am getting close to completing it.
Ulrich Burkholder was born in Switzerland in 1737. He arrived in Philadelphia on the ship Phoenix on October 1, 1754 with his widowed mother and five siblings. He had two younger brothers, Peter and Christian. Peter later moved to Virginia and Christian became a well-known bishop in the Mennonite church in Lancaster County.
Ulrich settled in the "backwoods" of Lancaster County in the 1760s and married Anna Musselman. He was ordained minister for the Mennonite churches in the Muddy Creek area, which later became known as Bowmansville. His will indicates he had six children but mentions only three by name. Very little was known about Ulrich and Anna's children and no one ever troubled themselves to trace his descendants. Therein lay the problem.
Another Ulrich Burkholder immigrated on the ship Samuel in 1732, which was twenty-two years before Ulrich of Bowmansville arrived. The first immigrant Ulrich was married to Esther Sherer. They lived in Lancaster County but then moved northwest a bit into what is now Lebanon County. They lived there the rest of their lives. Their descendants moved south to Cumberland and Franklin counties and later some migrated to the Midwest. If someone from Franklin County has a Burkholder ancestor they are most likely a descendant of Ulrich and Esther, not Ulrich and Anna.
These two Ulrich Burkholders are constantly being confused. I've had more than one person tell me they are a descendant of the Bowmansville Ulrich when I know they are from the "other" Ulrich. I am hoping my outline of the first four generations of the descendants of Ulrich of Bowmansville will help resolve the confusion. When will it be finished? I don't know. The last blanks are the ones which are most difficult to find the information to fill. And as long as I'm working on it I can honestly answer the annoying question with "historical articles" even if I do start another book.