Study Compiled Genealogies and Family Histories

Finding origins of European families who come to America and settle in the South can be a difficult task. With the work of numerous genealogists, studying their own ancestors and trying to link back to Europe, it is becoming much easier–because of their publications. There is a great need for this kind of research: in-depth study of the families, their kinship networks, and the context in which they lived their lives. Here are just a few:

  1. Apart from the World: An Account of the Origins and Destinies of Various Swiss Mennonites who fled from their homelands in remote parts of the Cantons of Zurich, Aargau, and Bern as well as Alsace, the Kurpalz, and later along the edges of the American Frontier in Pennsylvania and Virginia; Namely the Families Bachman, Bar, Bruppacher, Houser, Hiestand, Leaman, Ringger, Schmidt, and Strictler, 1495-1865. 1997. J. Ross Baughman. Also available on microfilm, FSLibrary #2055473. Includes pedigrees, migration routes into Kentucky and the deep south, and many other families who intermarried with (and perhaps traveled along with) Baughman’s ancestors.
  2. The Chain Rejoined; Or, The Bonds of Science and History Amongst Family, including Many Attempts to Recover Ties Across the Atlantic Ocean to Ancestors and Cousins of Baughmans and Bachmanns. 2005. J. Ross Baughman. Shenandoah History, PO Box 98, Edinburg VA 22824. Includes an extensive glossary of terms found frequently in records dealing with German and Swiss background ancestors.
  3. Harvest Time: Being several essays on the History of the Swiss, German, and Dutch Folk in Early America named Baughman, Layman, Moyer, Huff, and Others; Across New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Four Centuries. 1994. J. Ross Baughman. Shenandoah History, PO Box 98, Edinburg VA 22824.

These three volumes by J. Ross Baughman include copious footnotes referencing some very interesting emigration-immigration sources not usually consulted in the compilation of what is basically a genealogy study of specific families. These volumes also include numerous maps showing where the people come from, where they settle, and where they migrate to. Land ownership maps have been drawn for several families and their neighbors.

If you have a German or Swiss background ancestry, you will benefit from reading these volumes–whether your ancestors are listed in the indexes or not:

  1. From the Rhine to the Shenandoah:       Eighteenth Century Swiss and German Families to the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and their European Origins. 3 vols. 2002. Daniel W. Bly. Genealogies of many families.   Available from the author, Box 242, Mt Sydney VA 24467. (Printed by Gateway Press, Inc., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202-3897.)
  2. Kentucky’s German Pioneers by H. A. Rattermann. 2001. Translated and edited by Don Heinrich Tolzmann. Heritage Books 100 Railroad Ave, Suite 104, Westminster MD 21157-4828.       Based on articles written by Rattermann in Der Deutsche Pioneer (1877-1880).   These writings are 3-4 generations closer to the actual settlement period—within the span of human memory–and they include names and migrations not found in other sources!
  3. They Trusted and Were Delivered: The French-Swiss of Knoxville Tennessee. 2 vols. 1988. David Babelay, etal. Vaud-Tennessee Publisher, 2914 LaVillas Drive, Unit 1203, Knoxville TN 37917. Includes a history of the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland; maps and place-names in French, German, and Italian. The migration to Tennessee begins in the 1840’s. Caution: Swiss-German families traveling through Pennsylvania, into Virginia, then finally settling in eastern Tennessee and Kentucky will carry some of the same surnames as those arriving with this, much later, migration.       Although they may ultimately be related in the original countries, and may even know that they have relatives already in America, they are not the same families. Do not combine them.

Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS Each of these books has unlocked a pedigree that was stopped for a longtime. Try it—you may find answers you did not think existed too.


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