About This Page
All genealogy seems to be a work in progress, and this page is no exception. We are listing here links that we have found to be useful in our research. We leave the task of compiling comprehensive lists to others, and simply provide links to the fruits of their labors.
Many of our ancestors were Pennsylvania Dutch, a term that itself demonstrates a problem of Germans living in an English-speaking land. The Anglophones, upon seeing the German word for German, "Deutsch" (properly pronounced doitch), misinterpreted it as "Dutch." The Pennsylvania Dutch aren't Dutch at all, but of German extraction.
English-speaking officials don't deserve all the blame for changing the spelling of immigrants' names, either. As we look back to the spelling of the surnames of our old-world ancestors, we observe that changes from generation to generation are common. We ask how the person spelled his own name. But let's not forget that universal literacy is a recent phenomenon. In an agrarian society there was often time for school only when there was no work to be done in the fields. So the answer to how the person spelled his own name may frequently have been "X." What we see is often how the parson wrote the name in a baptismal record based on how it was pronounced by a parent.
We have observed mutations of our ancestors' names and have a few to share:
We obtained the following information about the LANGENBACH surname on the Web, but sadly have lost the source:
There is useful information about German names at the Berks County Registry of Wills web site, including a list of Anglicized German names. The author points out that among the Pennsylvania Dutch the letters "p" and "b," "t" and "d," and "k" and "g" were sometimes used interchangeably. Also worthy of note is the frequent appearance of the name Johann as the first name even though the individual was never referred to by that appellation.
A very useful source of information regarding German naming conventions is Charles Kerchner's 18th Century PA German Naming Customs. Also note the links at the bottom of this page. Mr. Kerchner has a more extensive page about his surname. It contains additional interesting links, with personal links at the top and general links at the bottom.
Longswamp Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania
Several of our ancestors settled in eastern Pennsylvania, particularly in Longswamp Township, Berks County, near the town of Mertztown. Following are links that may be of interest to others researching this area:
The following genealogy sites include individual in our family tree or include information that we have found particularly relevant in our research:
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