Ancestry Family Europe to America

My Family Ancestry Journey Ronald L Fake

March 2021

Welcome to stories about our European German families settling first in America- the province of New York and finally in the Province of Pennsylvania. In the home country of Germany, my grandfathers were tailors. In the American colonies, they were mostly successful farmers and businessmen for their families. In America, they obtained their primary desire of owning a homestead that could be passed onto their children.

On my father’s  (Nathaniel Edward Fake (1916-1999) side of the family, their ancestry links are traced back eight generations over 400 years to 1621  in Mainz, Germany.  The small city of about 220,000 is located 20 miles east of Frankford, Germany on the Rhine River. Mainz is known for its medieval market square, Romanesque Mainz Cathedral, and Gutenberg Museum that honors the inventor of the printing press.

Ancestry Grandfathers

Last names were mostly (Schneider, Veeck, Feg, Faeg, Fake).

  •  Johannes Schneider (1621-1724), 8th great-grandfather, was born on June 19, 1621, in Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.  Johannes passed at the age of 103 In Germantown, Columbia County, New York.
  • Johana Nicholas Veeck Feg (1648-1724), a 7th great-grandfather, was born on September 28, 1671, in Birkenfeld, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Having lived a life of 78 years he passed in Birkenfeld.
  • Johann Peter Schneider Feg (1672-1744), 6th great-grandfather, and family arrived in America at Nutten Island ( today Governors Island) in 1710. Johann passed at the age of 72 in Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pennsylvania.
  • Johann Leonhardt Feg (1717-1758) 5th great-grandfather born in Weiserdorf (today Middleburg), Schoharie County, New York. Johann Leonhardt left this earth at the young age of 41 in Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pennsylvania.
  • Johannes Faeg Fake (1745-1821) 4th great-grandfather born in Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pennsylvania. He died at the age of 76 in Lower Windsor Township, York County, Pennsylvania.
  • George Fake (1787-1865) 3rd great-grandfather born in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. He died at the age of 78 in Lower Windsor Township, York County, Pennsylvania.
  • Peter Fake (1813-1887) 2nd great-grandfather born in Lower Windsor Township, York County, Pennsylvania. At the age of 74, he passed in Lower Windsor Township, York County.
  • Nathaniel Fake (1851-1924) My 1st great-grandfather born on July 10, 1851, in Lower Windsor Township, York County, Pennsylvania. At the age of 73, he passed in Lower Windsor Township, York County. 
  • Kurvin Edward Fake (1887-1959) Paternal grandfather born in Lower Windsor Township, York County, Pennsylvania. At age 72 his final resting place was Canadochly Cemetery in Lower Windsor Township, York County.
  • Nathaniel Edward Fake (1916-1999) My father was born in Lower Windsor Township, York County, Pennsylvania. At the age of 83, he passed where the final resting place is the home church cemetery- Canadochly. 

Every one of my grandfathers and father listed above will have their family story expressed in this Ancestry Blog soon or later. When this effort began in mid-2018, the decision was made to write stories with more details than a list of genealogical information.

My Mothers Family Witmer 1470-1977

In my mother’s (Mildred Elizabeth Witmer 1916-1977) family the last names ( Whittmer, Witmer) changed infrequently from 1470 in Hamburg, Germany.  My mother’s family came to America in 1727 through the port of Philadelphia. They mostly settled in Northumberland County found in central Pennsylvania. For my mother’s family, the ancestry research is almost complete. Stories about her ancestry family will be available later in 2021.

Beginning of My American Ancestry Story 1710-1744

Summary of New Homes for Johann Peter Schneider-Feg and Family

Nuttin Island Province of New York

 A quick overview will serve to provide continuity for their early American journeys. First, they made the enormous sailing cruise across the Atlantic in 6 months from London. This English-sponsored fleet consisted of 10 ships with about 3,000 German Palatines. They arrived on 16 June 1710 at Nutten Island ( today Governors Island located at the Southern tip of NYC ) for a one-year quarantine.

Nutting Island 1710
Governors Island,
New York City

It is difficult to grasp the thought of families living in their British-supplied tents especially during the winter. In addition, each family received a survival package consisting of basic tools and cooking pots. My ancestor relatives were very fortunate to survive this hurdle where diseases were rampant. Visit the complete story German Palatine Migration to America, August 2018.

West Camp Province of New York

Their second tent home was at West Camp located in Ulster County (Province of New York) about 100 miles north of NYC on the Hudson River. Here, Queen Anne of England promised each German Palatinate that was the head of household  40 acres of land to build a home, farm, and raise a family. Each family began to work down their debt of ten thousand pounds sterling for passage and provisions. They cleared roads and cut down thousands of pine trees for the production of pine tar to ship back to England. The project was a complete failure in large part due to mismanagement. The Province of New York and politics squashed support arrangements when the British parties changed from Tory to Whigs. Visit our published story First Settlement in America 1710, October 2018.

Schoharie Valley Province of New York

The second attempt at a land deal from Queen Anne was sought when some 40-50 families made a tough Winter sled trip to Schoharie Valley in 1712. This area is located about 60 miles northwest of  West Camp near Schenectady, NY. They named the settlement area Weiserdorf.

Middleburg, New York
Weiser’s Dorf Settlement

Here they settled on land that had title issues from the very beginning. My ancestors and others cleared land, built houses, and farmed land that they thought the Queen controlled. This time they were given options by the local British authorities- buy, lease or move.  Some stayed and many sought other land and settlement opportunities in the Province of Pennsylvania. Read more about the Schoharie Valley settlement Ancestry Family Moves to Schoharie Area 1712-1722.

William Penn Helps Family Settle in Pennsylvania 

With the support of the Penn family, Pennsylvania  Provincial Governor Keith reaches an agreement for land with my German ancestors in the Tulpehocken Valley about 10 miles west of Reading, Pennsylvania. The major draw to this area was not the fertile land but the principles of law initially established by William Penn’s Charter of Liberties. They stated for the new colony “ creating a political utopia guaranteeing a free and fair trial by jury, freedom of religion, freedom from unjust imprisonment and free elections”. 

In 1723 the first group of German settlers from Schoharie settled claimed land near the intersection of the Tulpehocken Creek and the Mill Creek near the present-day Boro of Womelsdorf. The city of Philadelphia is located about 70 miles southeast of the Tulpehocken area.

Plumpton Manor, Heidelberg Township
New Home for Peter Feg and Family

 Johann Peter Schneider Feg (1672- 1744) my 6th great-grandfather claimed a parcel of land consisting of approximately 192 acres. This parcel located next to the Tulpehocken Creek near the first iron forge-Charming Forge. The land was part of a larger surveyed development know as Plumpton Manor. Their deed was recorded on 5 December 1739 showing payment of 76 pounds for the land. The great part of this story Johann legally obtained land to distribute in his estate. On the less positive side is that it took 29 years to get to land ownership that was promised by Queen Anne of England. Read complete story William Penn Helps Family Settle in Pennsylvania 

Independence July 4th, 1776.

We are celebrating the event of Independence from Great Britain for the remainder of 2021. One day in July is not sufficient for the magnitude of the journey to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. 

My ancestors and thousands of additional arrivals from the European countries made the journey to the new America for several basic reasons- freedom of religion, freedom from constant wars, and own land to build a homestead for their families. Additionally, the English government was promoting and offering incentives to populate this new world. You need to read our story Independence July 4th, 1776. Here you will discover what freedoms were not found in the Providence of New York and the freedoms that William Penn made available in colonial Pennsylvania.

The United States of America was formed by the founding fathers of the original 13 colonies declaring our independence from Great Britain over 240 years ago. Following the Declaration of Independence more substantial tools for governing were created by colonial officials. They include the Articles of Confederation (1777) which was replaced by the United States Constitution (1787). Examine the politics and deal-making process to finalize the Constitution. Philadelphia Founding Home U.S. Constitution.

Research and Discover Trips

Research for this effort began about 12 years ago and continues today. I am very fortunate that my father, Nathaniel Edward Fake (1916-1999), was into the ancestry hunt long before computers. In his files are hundreds of handwritten forms, scraps of paper with family info, and certificates of birth, baptism, and graduation. In addition, this inherited information base includes original ledger books with handwritten wills, deeds, estate settlements, personal and business accounts. They provide detail that one would never find in a Google search.

Most of the continuing research and updating is done with searches at  Pennsylvania State Genealogy  Archives, Ancestry.Com, and local Historic Societies. These efforts involve many visits to farms and land which was owned at one time by an ancestry family. In addition trips to churches and their cemeteries are part of the necessary duty to get the best genealogy information.

My father worked with Earl E. Fake (1932-1996) from Reading, Berks County in compiling the Fake family tree for York County, Pennsylvania.

Comments Welcomed

All relatives or interested individuals can make contributions by clicking the Comment link found under the title for each story. Stories about your personal experiences would add an extra dimension to this journey.  These experiences are always welcome at Ancestry Europe to America.

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 We present researched stories about our European German families coming to America in 1710. They first settled in the Province of New York and In 1724 the Province of Pennsylvania. 

We create stories about ancestry heroes like William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, George Wilson, and the family Indian peace negotiator, my 6th great uncle Conrad Weiser Jr. These individuals of integrity and many more helped to push America to become the United States of America in 1776.