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Friday, April 25, 2014

Family History Tour

After two days of being private family history tour leaders, I'm taking an R & R break today. Four years ago we stayed with Ed & Marge Harms when we were in Kansas. They returned the visit this week, spending two days and three nights with us.
Ed's ancestors were from the Ukraine and are commonly known as the Russian Mennonites who immigrated around 1870. Marge can trace at least two of her ancestors back to Pennsylvania--Peter Good and Melchoir Brenneman. So we spent two days touring Lancaster County seeing the places where her ancestors lived.
We do not know where either of these men are buried but we do know where they lived. Our stops during these two days included Bowmansville, Weaverland, Groffdale, Sporting Hill, New Danville, and Willow Street. We also visited Landis Valley Museum and a few other places as well and attended a singing where we heard Amish and Old Order Mennonites singing in German.
On the second day we visited the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society where we were able to see the Patent which Melchoir Brenneman got from William Penn for 500 acres of land in 1717.
The round metal can setting on the bottom of the patent is the wax seal of the Penns which was tied with a ribbon to the bottom of the patent to make it official. Many of these original patents were given by William Penn's sons and contain their signatures. This one was granted to Brenneman by William himself but it does not contain his signature. Instead, it was signed by James Logan who was in charge of selling the land.
At another place I found a couple Taufschein (birth and baptism certificates) for people I could identify. I was really pleased with those too. This one is for Susanna Hoffman, born in 1807 and baptized in the Mennonite church in 1828. These certificates were common among Lutheran and Reformed families who practiced infant baptism but are more rarely found for Mennonites who practiced believer's baptism.

This one is for Barbara Musselman who was born in 1785 and baptized in 1806.
We packed a lot into two days and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My next private family history tour will be in June for a lady from Missouri who wants to see her Burkholder roots. I think I can handle that one.

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