Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Palatinate

Before I started researching my Nace family genealogy, I didn't know much about the Palatinate. But questions arose: What was this region? and Why did so many leave it? Beside the Naces, their relatives— Zirkles, Fringers, Noffsingers, and others—also left, as did their Ruble in-laws. 
Fortunately, the Internet provides many resources for learning about the Palatinate. This blogpost, "Pennsylvania Palatine Research" at A3Genealogy  is a good starting point.

So is this article from Olive Tree Genealogy:
[This article may be reproduced as long as it is not changed in any way, all identifying URLs and copyright information remain intact (including this permission), and a link is provided back to Olive Tree Genealogy]


by Lorine McGinnis Schulze
Olive Tree Genealogy 
Copyright © 1996
[This article has been published, with my permission as
Irish Palatine Story on the Internet
in Irish Palatine Association Journal, No. 7 December 1996

The Palatinate or German PFALZ, was, in German history, the land of the Count Palatine, a title held by a leading secular prince of the Holy Roman Empire. Geographically, the Palatinate was divided between two small territorial clusters: the Rhenish, or Lower Palatinate, and the Upper Palatinate. The Rhenish Palatinate included lands on both sides of the Middle Rhine River between its Main and Neckar tributaries. Its capital until the 18th century was Heidelberg. The Upper Palatinate was located in northern Bavaria, on both sides of the Naab River as it flows south toward the Danube and extended eastward to the Bohemian Forest. The boundaries of the Palatinate varied with the political and dynastic fortunes of the Counts Palatine.

The Palatinate has a border beginning in the north, on the Moselle River about 35 miles southwest of Coblenz to Bingen and east to Mainz, down the Rhine River to Oppenheim, Guntersblum and Worms, then continuing eastward above the Nieckar River about 25 miles east of Heidelberg then looping back westerly below Heidelberg to Speyer, south down the Rhine River to Alsace, then north-westerly back up to its beginning on the Moselle River.

The first Count Palatine of the Rhine was Hermann I, who received the office in 945. Although not originally hereditary, the title was held mainly by his descendants until his line expired in 1155, and the Bavarian Wittelsbachs took over in 1180. In 1356, the Golden Bull ( a papal bull: an official document, usually commands from the Pope and sealed with the official Papal seal called a Bulla) made the Count Palatine an Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. During the Reformation, the Palatinate accepted Protestantism and became the foremost Calvinist region in Germany.
After Martin Luther published his 95 Theses on the door of the castle church at Wittenberg on 31 October 1517, many of his followers came under considerable religious persecution for their beliefs. Perhaps for reasons of mutual comfort and support, they gathered in what is known as the Palatine. These folk came from many places, Germany, Holland, Switzerland and beyond, but all shared a common view on religion.

The protestant Elector Palatine Frederick V (1596-1632), called the "Winter King" of Bohemia, played a unique role in the struggle between Roman Catholic and Protestant Europe. His election in 1619 as King of Bohemia precipitated the Thirty Years War that lasted from 1619 until 1648. Frederick was driven from Bohemia and in 1623, deposed as Elector Palatine.

During the Thirty Years War, the Palatine country and other parts of Germany suffered from the horrors of fire and sword as well as from pillage and plunder by the French armies. This war was based upon both politics and religious hatreds, as the Roman Catholic armies sought to crush the religious freedom of a politically-divided Protestantism.

Many unpaid armies and bands of mercenaries, both of friends and foe, devoured the substance of the people and by 1633, even the catholic French supported the Elector Palatine for a time for political reasons.

During the War of the Grand Alliance (1689-97), the troops of the French monarch Louis XIV ravaged the Rhenish Palatinate, causing many Germans to emigrate. Many of the early German settlers of America (e.g. the Pennsylvania Dutch) were refugees from the Palatinate. During the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the Palatinate's lands on the west bank of the Rhine were incorporated into France, while its eastern lands were divided largely between neighbouring Baden and Hesse.

Nearly the entire 17th century in central Europe was a period of turmoil as Louis XIV of France sought to increase his empire. The War of the Palatinate (as it was called in Germany), aka The War of The League of Augsburg, began in 1688 when Louis claimed the Palatinate. Every large city on the Rhine above Cologne was sacked. The War ended in 1697 with the Treaty of Ryswick. The Palatinate was badly battered but still outside French control. In 1702, the War of the Spanish Succession began in Europe and lasted until 1713, causing a great deal of instability for the Palatines. The Palatinate lay on the western edge of the Holy Roman Empire not far from France's eastern boundary. Louis wanted to push his eastern border to the Rhine, the heart of the Palatinate.

While the land of the Palatinate was good for its inhabitants, many of whom were farmers, vineyard operators etc., its location was unfortunately subject to invasion by the armies of Britain, France, and Germany. Mother Nature also played a role in what happened, for the winter of 1708 was particularly severe and many of the vineyards perished. So, as well as the devastating effects of war, the Palatines were subjected to the winter of 1708-09, the harshest in 100 years.

The scene was set for a mass migration. At the invitation of Queen Anne in the spring of 1709, about 7,000 harassed Palatines sailed down the Rhine to Rotterdam. From there, about 3000 were dispatched to America, either directly or via England, under the auspices of William Penn. The remaining 4,000 were sent via England to Ireland to strengthen the protestant interest.
Although the Palatines were scattered as agricultural settlers over much of Ireland, major accumulations were found in Counties Limerick and Tipperary. As the years progressed and dissatisfactions increased, many of these folk seized opportunities to join their compatriots in Pennsylvania, or to go to newly-opened settlements in Canada.

There were many reasons for the desire of the Palatines to emigrate to the New World: oppressive taxation, religious bickering, hunger for more and better land, the advertising of the English colonies in America and the favourable attitude of the British government toward settlement in the North American colonies. Many of the Palatines believed they were going to Pennsylvania, Carolina or one of the tropical islands.

The passage down the Rhine took from 4 to 6 weeks. Tolls and fees were demanded by authorities of the territories through which they passed. Early in June, the number of Palatines entering Rotterdam reached 1,000 per week. Later that year, the British government issued a Royal proclamation in German that all arriving after October 1709 would be sent back to Germany. The British could not effectively handle the number of Palatines in London and there may have been as many as 32 000 by November 1709. They wintered over in England since there were no adequate arrangements for the transfer of the Palatines to the English colonies.

In 1710, three large groups of Palatines sailed from London. The first went to Ireland, the second to Carolina and the third to New York with the new Governor, Robert Hunter. There were 3,000 Palatines on 10 ships that sailed for NY and approximately 470 died on the voyage or shortly after their arrival.

In NY, the Palatines were expected to work for the British authorities, producing naval stores [tar and pitch] for the navy in return for their passage to NY. They were also expected to act as a buffer between the French and Natives on the northern frontier and the English colonies to the south and east.

After the defeat of Napoleon (1814-15), the Congress of Vienna gave the east-bank lands of the Rhine valley to Bavaria. These lands, together with some surrounding territories, again took the name of Palatinate in 1838.

Permission to reprint is granted provided the following terms are followed: This article may be reproduced as long as it is not changed in any way, all identifying URLs and copyright information remain intact (including this permission), and a link is provided back to Olive Tree Genealogy

After learning about the Palatinate, I'm thankful that Matthias Nehs and his family made it to America.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Matthias Nehs

The early Naces spelled their last name in various ways: Nehs, Näss, Neass, Noes, etc., which has made researching them difficult. Even first names vary—Matthias, for instance, is sometimes Mathias. Thanks to the Internet, though, I’ve finally been able to trace our Nace line back to the first one of our line in America. Our Nace family comes from the Palatinate.

Matthias Nehs, a blacksmith, was born in 1673 at either Mitschdorf or Preuschdorf, Bas-Rhine, Alsace, France—which is on the German border. He married Mary Barbara Barba, daughter of Joseph Barba and Anna Marie Winterman, in 1699 at Bavarn Pflaz, Germany.

In the fall of 1731, he arrived in Philadelpha aboard the Britannia with his wife, six sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. According to the passenger list, this was the family: Men 16 Years & Up: Mathias Nace (58), Johan Nehs (26), Dewald Nehs  (24), Hans George Nehs (21), Matthias Nehs, Jr. (27), Michael Nehs (30), Jacob Nehs (31). Women 16 Years & Up: Maria Barbara Nehs (60), Ana Katherina Nehs (28), Dorothea Neahs  (27). Children Under 16: Magdalena Nehs (7), Hans Jacob Nehs (5), Michael Nehs, Jr. (1), Katherine Nehs (2).

The Britannia, captained by Michael Franklyn, originally sailed from London/Cowes, but it picked up passengers in Rotterdam before sailing to Philadelphia. Soon after the ship landed in Philadelphia on 21 September 1731,  the passengers went to the courthouse to take an oath of allegiance to Great Britain.

By 1727, the influx of these foreigners into Pennsylvania assumed such proportions that the authorities became alarmed and the Provincial Council adopted a resolution requiring that all masters of vessels importing Germans and other foreigners should, before sailing from the European port, make a list of the names of all passengers, particularly the males over sixteen; though often the names and ages of all passengers, including women and children were set down. Then, upon reaching Pennsylvania, the foreigners were obliged to sign a declaration of allegiance and subjection to the King of Great Britain and of fidelity to the Proprietary of Pennsylvania. This oath was first taken in the courthouse at Philadelphia, September 21, 1727, by 109 Palatines. From The Strassburger Family and Allied Families of Pennsylvania, by Ralph Beaver Strassburger, 1922

The family remained in Pennsylvania for a time. Matthias’s first wife must have died not long after their arrival, for he married a second time to Anna Barbara Hoerter at Skippack, Montgomery, Pennsylvania, on 28, November, 1733. They had two sons, John Henry and Johan Owldrick (or Ulrich), before Matthias died on 31 Jan 1741 in Phildelphia, PA. He is buried at Little Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery, Earlington, Montgomery CountyPennsylvania.

Matthias’ son Hans Georg (who had been born in 1710 in either  Mitschdorf, Alsace, France, or Ittlingen, Heilbronn, Baden-Wuertemberg, Germany) married Anna Maria “Mary” Eichelberger on 13 March 1744 at the Lancaster Pennsylvania Moravian church in Lititz. Hans Georg died in 1785; his wife in 1814.

Their son George Nace was born in the 1740s—probably in Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania. He served in the Revolutionary War on the Pennsylvania line and was for a time in Count Pulaski’s regiment. For his service, he received a land grant for a hundred acres in Maryland. His Maryland plantation was called “Nace’s Tavern.”

George and his wife Mary (maiden name unknown) had the following children: George, Mary, William, and John. George died around 1808-1809 in Baltimore. His son William inherited the farm, and his son John (1760-1852), who had married Catherine Filston 1764-1855), received a land grant in 1782 for 170 acres in Botetourt County, Virginia.

This John would have been the first John Christian Nace—the founder of the Botetourt County, Virginia Naces. See “Nace Family Introduction,”  the first post in this blog.