Prince/Printz Family History

From "Brentz" in Duehren, Germany to "Printz" in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to "Prince" in Ohio and Beyond

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I post new information or answers to questions I get on this blog.  You can either browse through them or enter a search term in the box below.  Unfortunately because of spammers, I have had to limit comments on these blog posts to site members and I have to approve them before they get posted.  Sorry for the inconvenience. - Victor

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Capt. George Printz House Destroyed by Fire

Posted by Victor Prince on July 31, 2017 at 10:10 PM

I have to report heartbreaking news I recently received from one our our distant Prince/Printz family who still lives in Virginia. The house in Stony Man, Page County, Virginia that Captain George Printz (1742-1834) lived in was recently destroyed by a fire. That house had been in the Printz/Prince family at least into the 1950s or so, I think, based on my memories from my conversations with the late Charles Printz, Sr..


My first reaction when I heard the news was to ask about the family cemetery at the entrance to the house. That graveyard is where Captain George, his wife, and other Printz's are buried. Captain George's tombstone says he was an aide to General Washington at the Battle of Yorktown.


Here are the reports I received:


"On Saturday morning June 24 fire destroyed the Capt George Printz home on Walnut Road near Stony Man, Page County, Va. The Sheriff's office determined that the fire was incendiary in nature and a reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible. Everything in the house was destroyed. Only the brick walls remain standing. (See Page News and Courier, July 6, 2017, Front Page.)"


"Attached is a picture of the destroyed Capt George Printz house. The graveyard that is located near the public road and entrance to the property was not affected. It is about 300 feet from the house. In past years the cemetery has been maintained. I will check next weekend when I go back to Luray. It has a stone fence around it, as I recall. The local newspaper, Page News and Courier in its original article did not mention that it was the historic Capt George Printz house. I have not seen any additional articles in the local paper about the house. No one was living in the house. I think that the woman who owned it only used it on weekends. The house had been broken into several other times. A neighbor farms the land. There remains a large barn on the property, but I don't believe it is very old. One must remember that any barn that could be found was destroyed during the Civil War."


If any Printz/Prince family members can stop by and check on the graveyard and take pictures, I would be most thankful and share them with the rest of the audience for this website. It would be a nice way to make a point that, even though the house is destroyed, the graveyard is especially worth maintaining because it contains a Revolutionary War veteran and his family. Contact me if you are interested. If you are really ambitious, you can clean off the gravestones from the moss and such that gathers on them. Here are some https://www.iscga.org/how-to-clean-a-gravestone.html" target="_blank">instructions on how to do that. 


Thanks,

- Victor Prince

The Authorship Gene Must Run in Our Family

Posted by Victor Prince on April 8, 2017 at 11:10 AM

In 2012, I made my first visit to the Brentz/Printz/Prince family ancestral hometown in Duehren, Germany. While at the Sunday service at the village’s only church, the pastor made me stand as he announced my visit as a Brentz descendent to the rest of the audience. I was a bit embarrassed, but was glad he did when a woman came up to me after the service to say we were related. A female ancestor of hers married a male Brentz ancestor of mine in the 1600s, which was the furthest the Brentz line was documented. She knew because her family line was exceptionally long and well-documented, going back to the 1300s. My ancestor was a missing link on her family tree she never expected to meet.

That initial meeting turned into coffee and homemade schnapps at the 500 year old family homestead in the village with her father. We didn't speak the same language, but we bonded, with the help of the English-translation of a local history professor who joined because he was as excited about our meeting as we were.

That meeting also introduced me to my German counterpart, who does the family history of the Wolfhard line. By meeting the Wolfhards, that meeting extended our Brentz/Printz/Prince ancestral line by about three centuries. Since that meeting, our families have met three more times, both in Germany and the US.

A different meeting with a Wolfhard that gave me physical chills was one that didn't involve any living relatives. By meeting my German family history counterpart, I learned that one of my distant grandfathers published a book in the 1500s while earning a masters degree at the University of Tubingen. On my next trip to Germany, I made a side trip to Tubingen to visit the archives of the university. When I arrived, they had all of my ancestor’s papers out for me to see in a special reading room. They had a copy of the book he wrote and was printed, When I touched the same piece of paper that my g*grandfather touched 500 years before, I literally got the cold shakes. I feared a drop of sweat would fall onto that piece of paper.

That feeling inspired me. I published my first book, Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide their Teams to Exceptional Results, the next year. When the publisher told me I should include an ‘Acknowledgments’ section, I put this in: "To Alexander and Charles - for blazing the trail for authors in the family." Alexander Wolfhard was my ancestor from the University of Tubingen. Charles Printz Sr. wrote the book on our family and inspired this website. 

My next book, The Camino Way: Lessons in Leadership from a Walk Across Spain, comes out in July 2017. I weave in a few stories about how my ancestors inspired me and I hope my writing leaves a legacy for future Princes. 

Wolfhard Ancestor Biking Across USA this Summer

Posted by Victor Prince on June 12, 2016 at 12:55 AM

One of our distant cousins from Germany is biking across the USA this summer. Yannick Wolfhard is from the Wolfhards who are in Germany. We are related to via a marriage between Hans Melchior Brentz and Anna Dorothea Wolfhard in the 1600s in Germany. Hans Melchior Brentz was one of the earliest documented ancestors in the Brentz line that became Printz and Prince after emigrating from Germany to America. The Wolfhard family is documented back to the 1300s, which is extraordinarily long for any family tree that is not a royal line.

 

I met Yannick on my trip to Duhren, Germany in 2014. He visited me last year in Washington DC and visited me again this week in my new Indianapolis, IN home.

 

You can follow Yannick's trip at his blog - http://90daysamerica.blogspot.com/2016/06/flatter-faster-furtherand-wind.html

 

Also, I am launching a Facebook group of people who are from this Brentz/Printz/Prince family line. Send me a note or look me up on Facebook if you want to join that. I will use that as a place to post an update when I have new information on this site.

All the best.

Victor Prince

www.victorprince.com



Ancestors Posted on Geni.com

Posted by Victor Prince on February 15, 2016 at 12:00 AM

I just entered this family tree line into the genealogy website, Geni.com. I found that site to be quite useful even without paying a subscription fee. Like any website that has user-generated content (e.g., Wikipedia), be wary and question the validity of information you find on there before you take it as fact. 

Best of luck with your research.

Victor

Wolfhard Family History Website

Posted by Victor Prince on April 25, 2015 at 1:20 PM

Manfred Wolfhard is the historian of the Wolfhard family, the German family line that married with our Brentz family line in the 1600s before our ancestors came over to America. (See earlier blog posts to see the link.) I have been in contact with Manfred since we met each other in November 2014 in Duhren. He has built a wonderful website on the Wolfhard family, complete with many illustrations and photos. His website is in German and is at www.wolfhard.info. If you want to see the website translated into English, try this link - https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=www.wolfhard.info" target="_blank">https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=www.wolfhard.info


Wolfhard Family Tree in Geni.com

Posted by Victor Prince on December 30, 2014 at 5:05 PM

The Geni.com website has a family tree that shows where the Brentz family and the Wolfhard family got connected by marriage. It is available here. Clicking around on the names of our ancestors can provide some interesting information. For example, here is information on Georg Johann Wolfhard, one of our direct ancestors.

"About Georg Johann Wolfhardt - Pastor in Euchtersheim in 1626 in Neydenstein in 1633 in Duhren in 1637-------------------- He was pastor in Duehren, and his father was the Lutheran abbot of the Alpirsbach cloister in the Black Forest and Councilor to the Duke of Wuerttemberg (around the year 1600). In our oldest church record book there is a hand written diary of thirteen pages by the Pastor Wolffhart covering the year 1664! Regarding Duehren the following may be said: it's a very old place! Archaeological remains from the pre-Christian era (celtic graves), excavation of a Roman villa that dates from 300 B.C., ,,villa Durmina" in 769 A.D., first church built in 827, Lutheran since 1552. There is a book of regional history concerning Duehren by Prof. Karl Schumacher, Ph.D., director of the Romano-Germanic Central Museum of Mainz. About fifteen houses four hundred years old are still standing here. The church was set afire in 1945 by fire from the American tanks and thereby destroyed. (Don't interpret this as a complaint). Nevertheless, the magnifcent Choir room from the year 1494 (Gothicc style of architecture) with all the valuable paintings on the ceiling that date from the same year are intact. In this Choir in 1681 Jost Schwab was married to his Anna Katharina. I remain at your disposition for further advice, to the degree that I can obtain such information for you, and remain with kindest regards, Yours, Gerhard Niemann, Pastor"




Duhren, Germany Visit in November 2014

Posted by Victor Prince on November 28, 2014 at 6:45 AM

I just visited Duhren, Germany for the second time in two years. Duhren is the small village near Heidelberg that the Brentz family emigrated from in 1751 to start the Printz/Prince family in America. In my first visit, I went to a Sunday service in the church in Duhren and met up with members of the Wolfhard family, who are direct ancestors of the Brentz's. We met up with them again this year and had a wonderful visit with them, including visits to their homes and a very nice luncheon. A highlight from this trip was seeing the original registry from the 1600s from the Duhren church that listed marriages and such. It was amazing to see the entries from the 1600s that showed when the Brentz and Wolfhard families became connected through a marriage.

The following day, I went to Tubingen, Germany to visit the library of the University of Tubingen, which reportedly contained original papers from our ancestor Alexandar Wolfhartt. See the Photo Albums to get the update on the results of that visit.

Best,

Victor

Good archive on Emigration from Our Area in Germany

Posted by Victor Prince on November 19, 2014 at 11:25 AM

I just came across a new resource that gives interesting information about emigrants from the German state (Baden Wurtenberg) where our ancestors came from. It is in the Stuttgart Archive library at this link - http://www.auswanderer-bw.de/auswanderer/index.php?sprache=en&suche=1



Upcoming trip to home village of Duehren

Posted by Victor Prince on October 21, 2014 at 11:20 AM

In the next few months, I will be going on my second trip to the village in Germany where the Brentz/Printz/Prince family lived before coming to American in the 1700s. I am planning on going to a couple of the other villages nearby where our Wolfhard ancestors were mayors, religious leaders, etc.. Stay tuned for more pictures.

-- Victor

History of Mount Calvary Church in Stony Man

Posted by Victor Prince on March 24, 2014 at 12:15 AM

The following is from an application to the US Department of the Interior to designate Mount Calvary Church in Stony Man, Virginia to be on the National Register of Historic Places.  This is the Historical Background section of that application and has an interesting description of how the Page County area was very German in its early settlement.

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Mount Calvary Lutheran Church can trace its origins back to the first German settlers in the Page Valley area. In 1726 Adam Mueller led a group of families to the vicinity of present-day Luray. This early group of Germans from Pennsylvania was of the Mennonite, Lutheran, and Reformed denominations. It was known as the Massanutten settlement and is considered to be the first group of German settlers to locate in the Shenandoah Valley area.


It appears that the Massanutten Lutherans managed with difficulty to retain their denominational identity. A group of Moravians in the 1740s visited the community and noted the presence of Lutherans and German Reformed in the area. The Moravians found them disorganized and noted that "nearly all religious earnestness and zeal is extinguished among them." No record is known of any formal Lutheran organization during this period. The early Lutherans in Page County were simply referred to in early records as the Lutherans living in the Massanutten Settlement.


John Caspar Stoever, George Samuel Klug, and Johannes Schwarbach, three early pastors of Hebron Church in present-day Madison County, are credited with being the first pastors to serve the Massanutten Lutherans. At the time the Hebron pastors were virtually the only Lutheran clergy in the Virginia colony and ministered to the needs of a number of Shenandoah Valley congregations. These ministers came to the Massanutten Lutherans only a few times a year to conduct baptisms, and perform marriages. A communion chalice from Mount Calvary Church dated 1727 suggests that communion was provided by the Hebron pastors as well. No documentation has been found of a house of worship or a particular location for services.


Over time the Massanutten Lutherans were able to organize on a more secure footing. The earliest indication of a formal Lutheran organization is a deed from 1765 from Pastor Johannes Schwarbach to Peter Panter and Jacob Schafer, who were apparently trustees of the Lutheran Church. The land was specifically deeded for the use of a "congregation". How Rev. Schwarbach came to control the land is unclear.  


A church building was formally constructed on the site shortly thereafter. No information has come to light as to the appearance or materials of this structure. It may be assumed that it was log structure. Like many churches in the Shenandoah Valley it was a union church shared by German Reformed and Lutheran congregations. The church appears to have been known interchangeably during this period as Comer's (also spelled Comer, or Comber in the 1765 deed) after the family that owned the adjoining farm, or Hawksbill (originally Hoxbiehl) after nearby Hawksbill Creek.


The predominance of German immigrants and the relative isolation of Page County allowed German culture to thrive in the area. German was the first language and in many cases the only language of the community until the early nineteenth century. This cultural environment also allowed the retention of traditional German crafts including painted interiors, painted furniture, and fraktur. In addition, German was the language of worship and music in the community until the mid-nineteenth century. At Mount Calvary, the records of the congregation were kept in German until the 1860s. The oldest English-language hymnals discovered in the sanctuary bear the date 1860.


Starting in the late eighteenth century pastors from Woodstock and New Market began to serve the Hawksbill Lutherans. Notable among these were Peter Muhlenberg and members of the Henkel family. The closer proximity of these pastors implies that worship was held on a more regular basis during this era.


In the early nineteenth century a number of notable changes occurred in the Hawksbill Lutheran community. By 1817 the congregation had named itself Mount Calvary, an appropriate reference to its setting. By 1822 the property had come into the exclusive use of the Lutherans. It was at this time that the congregation constructed a second church building on the site. After being affiliated for much of its history with the Pennsylvania Ministerium, the short-lived Virginia District of the Pennsylvania Ministerium, and the North Carolina Synod, the congregation joined the Virginia District of the Tennessee Synod in 1820. The meeting of the Virginia District was held at Mount Calvary in May, 1860. The congregation did not become a part of the Virginia Synod until 1918.


Over the course of the nineteenth century the Hawksbill settlement slowly started to prosper. Large barns and farmhouses started to appear across Page Valley. The town of Luray was established in 1812, and it became the seat of newly created Page County in 1831. The descendants of the Massanutten settlers over time became successful farmers. The construction of a number of substantial farm complexes in the middle and later decades of the century reflected this. By the early nineteenth century iron foundries and the related charcoal industries also became an important part of the local economy. The Shenandoah River and later the Sperryville Turnpike provided a means of transporting the commodities of the area to market. During this period of prosperity, the congregation constructed the present building. The third church building on the site was completed in 1848.


Page County continued to grow and prosper after the Civil War. In 1885 the Shenandoah Valley railroad came to the community, providing growth to the town of Luray and a ready market to the farmers of the community. During this era Mount Calvary Church launched an expansion program under the direction of Rev. J.N. Stirewalt.


Stirewalt was apparently the first full-time pastor in the history of the congregation. This expansion movement reflected the growth of Mount Calvary (which had been the only Lutheran church in the area) and the need for churches that would better serve the widespread Page Valley Lutherans.

Starting with Morning Star on Dry Run near Stony Man in 1873, the new churches included: St. Mark's in Luray (1875), Grace in Ida (1878), St. James north of Luray (1882), and Beth Eden east of Luray (1896). Rev. Stirewalt served most of these churches until his death in 1906. Over time most became large successful congregations.


The group of congregations (less St. James, and St. Mark's) would become known as Stony Man Parish in reference to the general neighborhood. Stony Man Parish built a large parsonage in Luray in 191 1. The success of the daughter congregations would prove to be the end of Mount Calvary as an active congregation. After the size of the congregation dwindled, regular services ceased to be held in 1959. Since that time the use of the building has been restricted to occasional homecoming services. At the bequest of the Trust of Mr. Claude E. Dofflemeyer of Luray, an effort was initiated to nominate the building to the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. The owners of the buildings, the Mount Calvary Lutheran Trustees, are considering how to best use the building. The Mount Calvary Lutheran Church property was listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1998. With restoration underway, in an effort to use the building again, Reverend Dr. Alice Davis has provided current photographs in an effort to finally list the resource in the National Register of Historic Places.

George Printz's Land Grant signed by President James Madison

Posted by Victor Prince on March 13, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Thanks to Gary Summers for sending in this copy of the land grant George Printz received in 1812 for his service in the Revolutionary War.  The land grant was for land near Steubenville, Ohio.  It is signed by President James Madison and Commissioner of the General Land Office Edward Tiffin.  The Madison signature looks more like initials than a signature, but the M is Madison has the same distincitve slant that can be seen in other Madison signatures.

Jacob Prince and Gottfried Printz and Elizabeth Evaline Prince

Posted by Victor Prince on March 10, 2014 at 7:25 PM

QUESTION - This is all very interesting. I feel like I am related some way. My 3 great grandmother was Elizabeth Evaline Prince. Born 1820 died about 1897 in Indiana. Her father was Jacob Prince and his father was Gottfried Printz that served in the Revolutionary War. I would love to hear from someone who has these same ancestors in their tree.

ANSWER - Here is what might be your line if Elizabeth was Eliza, she was born a few years after 1820, and she died in VA not IN. That's a lot of "ifs" but here goes.  It's a bit complex, as there are Printzs on both sides:

1B3D11B. Eliza Printz, born June 13, 1825(Feb 29,1823) in Page Co., VA; died there on May 13, 1866. She was christened at Mt. CalvaryLutheran Church on Nov. 13, 1825. She married on Aug. 3, 1844 to Isaac Printz, born July 27, 1823; died Aug. 16, 1892, son of Abraham Printz and Anna Mary Miller (1B3H5). They had seven children. For children see (1B3H5F).

Eliza Printz was married to:

1B3H5F. Isaac Printz, born July 27, 1823 at Printz Town, VA; was killed on Aug. 16, 1892 when struck by a falling tree which he was attempting to fell. He was pinned to the ground and died about an hour afterwards. He married (1) on Aug. 3, 1844 to Eliza Printz, born June 13, 1825; died May 13, 1866, daughter of Jacob Printz and Catherine Somers. 

Isaac Printz's father was:

1B3H5. Abraham Printz, born in May 1789 in Printz Town, VA; died there on June 15, 1876. He married Anna Mary Miller, born 1786; died Mar. 5, 1856, daughter of John Miller. Abraham was a soldier in the War of 1812, serving from Aug. 31, 1814-Dec. 6, 1815 under Capt. Joshua Ruffner and Col. David Cole. He received a land grant in Iowa and a pension for his services. He was a successful farmer, and, in partnership with his brother, Peter, with his sawmill, but he withdrew and built one for himself further down the creek. However, this was not successful. Abraham assisted in the building of Grace Church and he and his wife were active members of this church.

Abraham's father was:

1B3H. Gottlieb Brentz aka Godlove Printz, was born on Sept. 20, 1752 in York Co., PA; was baptised on Nov. 5, 1752 at Christ Lutheran Church, York Co., Pa; sponsors, Gottlieb and Anna Marie Gunkel; died Dec. 15, 1806 in Shenandoah Co., VA. He married Magdalene Crumm (?), born ; died after June 7, 1811 at which time Magdalene and her second husband, John Roller, born ; died ; (whom she married on June 15, 1808), deeded land to her children by her marriage to Godlove. Godlove Printz, whose name had been anglicised from Gottlieb Brentz, came to Virginia with his parents and upon the death of his father in 1794 became "Governor of Printz Town" by purchasing the interests of his siblings. The second record of Godlove, also known as Cutlip and Godlip, is on Nov. 2, 1775 when he is mentioned in Gwathmey who reported him in the Virginia militia and paid at Romney. He was a private in Capt. Joseph Borman's Co., of Virginia Militia, soldiers in the west. Godlove was taxed for 300 acres of land in 1782, however, there is no record of his obtaining this land—but he continued paying taxes on the land until 1789. During that year, he was granted 74 acres of land and he was taxed on that amount until 1799 when that land apparently was transferred to Christian Smith; there is no record of such a transfer, but Christian Smith began paying taxes on the land in 1800. In 1794, he was taxed on the 217 acres of land that he received from his father's estate. This was reduced to 167 when he transferred 50 acres to his brother, Philip. On Oct. 8, 1804, Godlove and Mollie Prince sold 288 acres of land to Mark Finks and joined the exodus of settlers from Virginia heading for the fertile lands of Kentucky. They and some of their sons went down the Shenandoah Valley with all of their goods and cattle and passed through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky, settling in Bourbon Co., KY. Godlove's stay there was not long because of the wildness of the country and his failing health. He is listed as a householder in July 25, 1805 and June 23, 1806 in Bourbon Co., KY. According to family legend, Godlove begged his sons to take him back to his home in Printz Town and when he saw the old homestead again he died. There was apparently an agreement with Mark Finks concerning the 288 acres of land that Godlove had sold him as Mark Finks and his wife, Eve Finks, sold the land back to Magdalene Prince, widow of Godlove, on Sept. 24, 1807.

Gottlieb's father was Johan Philip Brentz, and there is a whole page about him on this site.

Eliza's father was:

1B3D11. Jacob Printz, born c!797 in Page Co., VA; died 1846 there. He married on Jan. 21, 1820 to Catherine Somers, born Dec. 13, 1803; died Feb. 2, 1889, daughter of Philip Somers, Jr. and Barbara Sours. Jacob was a farmer and his farm was near Stoney Man, VA. During the winter months, he was a butcher and exposure at this type of work caused his death. He sold land on Piney Mountain given him by his father on Feb. 8,1833 to Michael Blosz. Jacob and Catherine were members of the Lutheran Church.

Jacob's father was:

1B3D. Johan Georg Brentz, born Dec. 8, 1742 in Duehren, Baden, Germany; bp Dec. 9, 1742; died May 8, 1834 at Stoney Man, Page Co., VA. He married (1) c!764 to Elizabeth Henry, born ; died c!785-86; it is probable that her name was Elizabeth Crum, daughter of Henry Crum as the land that George Printz' home place is located on formerly belonged to Henry Crum; (2) on Aug. 5, 1787 with the Rev. Paul Henkle, officiating, to Mary Magdalene Shaffer, born Apr. 4, 1760; died Oct. 20, 1823 in Shenandoah Co., VA. George came to America with his parents in 1751. The earliest record that has been located concerning George Printz is contained in a deed recorded at Frederick Co., VA Court in Winchester, Va. on July 26, 1771. This deed conveys to George Printz 92 acres of land, "lying on the drains of the Great Hawksbill", that being part of a 387 acre tract granted Henry Crumb by the Proprietors. It is probable that all of the Printzes came at that time as that is the date that George's father also patented land in Shenandoah Co., VA.(At that time, Shenandoah Co., VA contained present day Page Co., VA). In 1775, a militia regiment was established in Dunmore Co.(the county name was changed to Shenandoah Co. in 1777) with Col. Thomas Marshall in command. It is possible that George served from the beginning since on Apr. 30, 1778, his name appears on a list of lieutenants sworn in as officers of the county militia. This commission was probably signed by Governor Patrick Henry, the Governor of Virginia at that time. George was promoted on Oct. 11, 1780 to Captain and his Commission was signed by Governor Thomas Jefferson (this Commission is now in the possession of the son of the late John L. Printz of Grand Island, NE). Part of the Virginia Militia served with the Continental Army. David C. Mclnturff declares in the pension application of John C. Aleshite, that "Aleshite marched in August 1781 from Shenandoah Co., VA under Capt. George Printz and served at the battle of York"; previously, he had been drafted for three months under Capt. George Printz and had marched from Shenandoah County to Newcastle on the Pamunkey River. At Newcastle, George Printz became ill and was releaved from duty. (VA Revolutionary War Pension Applications. Vol. 1. Dorman. 1959). Joseph Printz, George's son, when erecting his tombstone, had inscribed, "Aide to General Washington". A great grandson, John David Printz, of Stonyman, stated in a newspaper article published several years ago in the Page (Co.) News and Courier, that Capt. George Printz was present at the surrender of General Cornwallis. George was also found on a list, dated Baltimore, MD, July 29, 1778, on General Nelson's Corps of Light Dragoons. Whether the Virginia Militia was a part of this group or not, has not been ascertained. George's name is enscribed on a brass plate at the Valley Forge Memorial Bell Tower dedicated by the NSDAR to patriots of the Revolutionary War. There are no further records of his activities during the Revolutionary War or that he served in an official capacity in the local government. However, in 1792, his name appeared on a petition along with 25 or 30 fellow citizens of Shenandoah Co. to the General Assembly to establish a new county separated from Shenandoah and Rockingham Counties. This petition was denied by the General Assembly, but 39 years later, Page County was established (Virginia Valley Records. John W. Wayland. Strasburg, Shenandoah Publ. House. 1930. p91). In October, 1797, George represented the Hawksbill Church at the Lutheran Special Conference in Woodstock, VA. In 1806, he attended the Lutheran Conference at Roeders Church. In 1809, he was listed as a church officer of the Hawksbill Church. In 1789, 1798, and 1819, George obtained a total of 260 acres in the Hawksbill. He received a land grant of 80 acres on July 18, 1812 signed by President James Madison for his services in the Revolutionary War in Stark Co., Ohio and later he visited the area. However, he did not stay, probably finding the area too wild. When he returned to VA, he offered to give it to any of his sons who would live on it. George's will was drawn in March 1823, and was probated on Sept. 22, 1834. However, he had two codicils added to it in 1827 and 1829. In this will, he gave the Ohio lands to his sons George and Reuben to be equally divided between them. The codicil stated that son, Joseph is to give to son George, $700, and that Joseph would receive the quarter section of land originally given to George. Each of the children were mentioned by name and each of the children received a portion of their father's estate. He mentioned, also, three grandchildren, David, Christianna and Magdalena Baker, children of his deceased daughter, Magdalena Baker. George's nickname was "Hooneyarick".


I hope that helps! - Victor

Printz's of Liberal, Kansas

Posted by Victor Prince on March 9, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Question  - "My Great Grandfather was John Rockefeller Printz, and I think he was from Liberal, Kansas. At least I know he was there when my Father and Grandfather built houses in Liberal after WWII. John was old at that time. Do you know if our family is part of your clan?

Answer - Bad news, good news.  Bad news - The book does not have any mention of the name "Rockefeller."  That could have been nice on so many levels.  Good news - the book does mention a "John Rockwell Printz" in Liberal, Kansas, so I am guessing that is probably a match.  Good luck with your research and let us know if you find anything interesting. - Victor

1B3H6J5. John Rockwell Printz, born Jan. 9, 1859 in Cooper Co., MO; died June 9, 1949 in Liberal KS. He eloped and was married on Sept. 25, 1879 to Agnes Hough, born Mar. 28, 1866 in Westmoreland Co., PA; died Sept. 30, 1949 in Liberal, KS, youngest daughter of Daniel Hough (1803-1884 and buried in Tipton, MO) and Elizabeth Hepler. The Hough Family was a direct descendant of Richard Hough and his wife Margery Clowes who had emigrated from Hough, England and settled in Bucks Co., PA in 1683. John and Agnes Printz remained in Cooper Co., MO for some time after they were married; going to Council Bluffs, IA sometime after 1881 and to Beaver Co., OK in 1887. In 1888, they went to Meade Center, KS but returned to Cooper Co., MO in 1890; then to Moniteau Co., MO in 1894 and back to Beaver Co., OK in 1900. In 1900, they settled in Liberal, KS. He was a farm

1B3H6J5A. Dessie Nevada Printz, born 1881 in Cooper

1B3H6J5B. Miles Rockwell Printz, born 1889 in Meade

1B3H6J5C. Earl Bismark Printz, born 1891 in Cooper

1B3H6J5D. Martha Elizabeth Printz, born 1894 in laborer and a builder. Children:Co., MO; died Center, KS; died Co., MO; died Montieth Co., MO; died 1894 there.

1B3H6J5E. Lloyd Ammerman Printz, born 1898 in Montieth Co., MO; died

1B3H6J5F. Velma Agnes Printz, born c!901 in OK; died

1B3H6J5G. Agatha Marian Printz, born c!903 in OK; died

1B3H6J5H. Ruth Printz, born c!906 in OK; died She married Black, born ; died


 

George Printz to Anna Shaffer to Philip Miller Line

Posted by Victor Prince on March 9, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Question -

"I am doing research to join the the Sons of The American Revolution. My line goes from George Printz to daughter Anna Maria Shaffer to Phillip Miller who was my 2nd Great Grand Father. I have no documentation on these people such as birth or death records. If anyone could help secure this information I would be thankful."

Answer - Here is what the book has on that line:

1B3D5E. Anna Maria Shaffer, born c!805; died c!899. She married on Sept. 8, 1821 to Philip Miller, born c!796; died 1873 in Page Co., VA. In 1860, he was a farmer and had real estate worth $2000 and personal estate of $886.00. They had a Thomas E. Miller, born 1851 and a William P. Broyles, born 1856 living with them. Children:

1B3D5E1. John Miller, born June 9, 1822; died after 1880. He married on Aug. 23, 1866 with the Rev. James F. Finnell, officiating, to Sarah Ann Pettit, born 1843; died , daughter of William Pettit and Catherine Pettit. In 1870, he was living in Page Co., VA; was a farmer and had property worth $500. Children:

1B3D5E1A. Mary Catherine Miller, born 1868; died. She married on Jan. 18, 1893 with the Rev. Samuel Spitler, officiating, to Charles Abram Sours, born 1870; died , son of William S. Sours and Elizabeth F. Printz.

1B3D5E1B. William I. Miller, born c!870; died

1B3D5E2. Andrew J. Miller, born Apr. 21, 1824; died after 1880. He married Louisa C. Comer, born1835; died . In 1870, they lived in Page Co., VA. where he was a farmer and had real estate worth $1000 and personal property worth $300. Children:

1B3D5E2A1. Charles C. Miller, born 1862; died

1B3D5E2A2. Mary Elizabeth Miller, born 1863; died. She married on Apr. 5, 1888 with the Rev. J. N. Stirewalt, officiating, to William Benton Sours, born 1866; died , son of Simon Sours and Eliza Ann Printz (1B3D3B5B).

1B3D5E2A3. Virginia B. Miller, born 1866; died

1B3D5E3A4. Noah Siram Miller, born 1868; died He married on Aug. 25, 1895 with the Rev. Samuel Spitler, officiating, to Lelia A. Nicholson, born 1876; died , daughter of Jordan Nicholson and Polly A. Nicholson. Noah was a farmer.

1B3D5E3. Susanna Miller, born Dec. 29, 1825; died after 1880. She did not marry, but had a son, Thomas Miller, born 1850/51.

1B3D5E4. Philip Miller, Jr., born Oct. 22, 1827; died after 1880. He married Mary Ann ,born ; died . Children:

1B3D5E4A. Paul J. Miller, born Oct. 13, 1852; died Mar. 30, 1935. He married on Jan. 12, 1882 with the Rev. J. N. Stirewalt, officiating, to Emma Susan Moyer, born July 1, 1858; died Apr. 8, 1931, daughter of George Moyer and Rebecca Moyer.

1B3D5E4B. Solomon Peter Miller, born Jan. 22, 1855; died . He married on Sept. 9, 1880 with the Rev. J. N. Stirewalt, officiating, to Annie Virginia Griffith, born 1859; died , daughter of John E. Griffith and Isabel Griffith.

1B3D5E4C. Benjamin Franklin Miller, born Oct. 6, 1867; bp Mt. Calvary Church on Mar. 15, 1868; died . He married on May 23, 1895 with the Rev. J. N. Stirewalt, officiating, to Barbara Catherine Judd, born 1870; died , daughter of Pierson Judd, Jr. and Christiana Judd. (1B3D3D8).

1B3D5E5. Henry Miller, born Sept. 23, 1829; died after 1880. He married Rebecca , born 1833; died . In 1860, he was listed as living in Page Co., VA and was a shoemaker with assets of $65. Children:

1B3D5E5A. Martha A. Miller, born July 12, 1853; died Apr. 30, 1926 from the effects of an heart attack the previous day. She married on Feb. 16, 1875 with the Rev. J. N. Stirewalt, officiating, to David P. Fox, born Nov. 10, 1853; died May 12, 1931, son of Peter Fox and Barbara Sours (1B3D3B4). David was a bricklayer. He also wrote for the Page News and Courier. Martha's obituary mentioned that "She was known all over Page Co., VA as a weaver of home-made carpet and her services being in great demand She was a woman remarkable for industry and thrift, was kind-hearted and useful in the neighborhood". Mrs. Fox was a member of the Lutheran Church. They are buried in Morning Star Cemetery, Luray, VA. Children:

1B3D5E5A1. Daughter Fox, born ; died after 1926. She married Mann W. Nichols, born 1877; died 1949.

1B3D5E5A2. Daughter Fox, born ; died before 1926. She married Casper Fox, born ; died

1B3D5E5B. Susan F. Miller, born 1857; died

1B3D5E5C. Mary A. Miller, born 1859; died after 1926. She married on Feb. 21, 1878 with the Rev. Samuel Spitler, officiating, to Edward L.

Houser, born Oct. 23, 1852; died , son of Elias Houser and Elizabeth Printz (1B3D5C1). For children see 1B3D5C1A.

1B3D5E5D. Victor Miller, born ; died . In 1926, he lived in Alberaarle Co., VA.

1B3D5E5E. Hubert C. Miller, born Nov. 12, 1867; died Jan. 10, 1949. He married on Sept. 9, 1897 to Sarah Elizabeth Printz, born Oct. 20, 1871; died Feb. 21, 1967, daughter of Philip Monroe Printz and Isabel Sours. In 1926, he lived in the vicinity of Ida, VA. For children see 1B3D11F1.

1B3D5E5F. William H. Miller, born ; died In 1926, he lived in the vicinity of Ida, VA.

1B3D5E5G. Daughter Miller, born ; died . She married William Richards, born ; died. In 1926, she lived in the vicinity of Ida, VA.

1B3D5E5H. Daughter Miller, born ; died She married C. B. Miller, born ; died In 1926, she lived in the vicinity of Ida, VA.

1B3D5E6. Lydia Miller, born Nov. 23, 1830; died July 31, 1873. She married on Nov. 23, 1854 toSamuel D. Printz, born Aug. 2, 1822; died Aug. 6, 1888, son of Peter Printz and Frances Miller (1B1H6) For children see (1B3H6F).

1B3D5E7. Rebecca Miller, born Oct. 9, 1833; died after 1870. She married John W. Broyles, born; died

1B3D5E8. Benjamin Franklin Miller, born Jan. 13, 1836; died after 1860.

1B3D5E9. Angeline Catherine Miller, born 1840; died after 1880. She married on Dec. 27, 1866 withthe Rev. Nathan Spitler, officiating, to John Middleton, born 1833 in Rappahannock Co., VA; died , son of Isaac Middleton and Joanna Middleton.1860.

1B3D5E10. James E. Miller, born 1842; died after

1B3D5E11. Mary Elizabeth Miller, born 1845; died after 1860.


I hope that helps!

Victor

 




Is my "Prince" Family part of this "Prince" Line?

Posted by Victor Prince on March 7, 2014 at 8:40 PM

We often get questions about whether a particular person with the last name Prince is part of this particular Brentz/Printz/Prince ancestry line. So unless you already have a link to the Printz family of Virginia or to the Brentz family of Duehren, Germany, the general answer is "it depends, but probably unlikely".  Here is why...

First, as an example, when I search my own "firstname lastname" on whitepages.com, it says there are 27 people named "victor prince" ... and exactly none of them are me.  The amount of information on the internet is amazing, but not quality assured.

Second, it seems from questions we have received that there were other Prince/Printz/Prinz families coming over to America from Germany, England, Sweden and elsewhere in the 1600s and 1700s. Any family coming coming over to America that early probably has a big amount of ancestors in modern America, so it's not surprising that they would find our website. 

Third, "Prince" is a relatively common name in the USA, as there were about 45,000 people in the United States with the surname "Prince" in 2000, according to the US Census that year.  "Prince" was the 700th most prevalent name in the USA, showing up right below Kemp and Mosley and right above Merritt and Hurst in frequency. (Related names Printz and Brentz don't show up in that data set since they were not in the top 1000 USA surnames.)  Also if you enter the last name "Prince" into the findagrave.com website, you get about 20,000 results.

So that begs the question on how many Princes in the US descended from this specific line of Brentz/Printz/Prince.  The short answer is that we have no idea. For fun though, let's do a math exercise to ballpark estimate it.  If Johann Philip Brentz (the single root in America of this surname line) had exactly three male children to carry on the name (which would allow for other children who did not carry on the last name because they were female or did not have children), and all those male children carried on the name by having exactly three male children that similairly carried on the surname etc., and all those male children translated the name to "Prince", math says there would be about 2000 offspring with the surname Prince from this line. According to this exceptionally loose, sloppy and assumption-filled math, that would suggest maybe 1/20th (5%) of people with the last name "Prince" in the USA are from this line.  

I hope that helps, and I am very very open to comments... particularly on my math :-).  The closest thing to data I have is the the 2000 US Census raw data on last names and it is pasted below.

Victor



Pre-Brentz Family Tree and History back to 1375

Posted by Victor Prince on February 17, 2014 at 7:05 PM

During our trip to Duehren in 2012, we met some members of the Wolfhardt family who are our distant relatives.  They shared a bunch of documents with me on the family tree and history.  Here is the family tree that documents ancestors all the way back to 1375. To put the year 1375 in perspective - this was the last part of Middle Ages and the eve of the Renaissance. Black Death just wiped out 1/3 of Europe’s population 25 years earlier. Edward III is King of England in 1375 and Gregory XI is the 201st Pope. The Ming Dynasty has just begun in China, Aztecs are thriving in Mexico, and the 1100 year old Byzantine Empire is just about to fall. The Incas will build Machu Pichu 75 years later. Columbus will be born 75 years later, Michelangelo and Martin Luther about 100 years later, and Shakespeare about 200 years later. The printing press will be invented 64 years later. The American Revolution will begin 400 years later.  


Here is that family tree.

In addition, they shared a Wolfhardt family document that had a lot of information on some of these people.  Here were the highlights:

  • The first located Brentz was P. Jacob Brentz, a school attendant in Althausen, Germany. He and wife Maria had son Hans Melchior Brentz, who became a cloth maker and woolen weaver. In 1669, Hans married Anna Dorothea Wolfhardt, daughter of Pastor George Johann Wolfhardt and his second wife, Anna Burckhardt. Their son Johann Heinrich was born in Duehren In 1672. They had a 2 floor house and 16.25 acres of farmland. Johann Heinrich was killed when struck by a bolt of lightning while in a field in Duehren on August 6, 1727.
  • Alexander Wolffhardt received a Masters Degree from the University of Tublingen in 1575. One of his handwritten papers is still in the library there. He was in the clergy and worked in Cannstatt, Strümpfelbach, and Nürtingen. Several of his sermons in Nurtingen still exist. His biggest legacy was his Nürtingen church registry book - a priceless source of information for family researchers to this day.
  • Casper Graeter was a very senior official in the church.
  • Georg Johann Wolfhardt suffered a great deal from the Swedish invasion during the 30 Years War, losing his first wife and four children. 
  • Michael Wolfhardt was Mayor of Waiblingen.
  • Agnes Hunn’s father was the Mayor of Marbach.
  • Wolfhardts probably converted from Catholic to Protestant around 1534.
  • Heinrich Rentz’s eulogy is in Stuttgart library.
  • Anna Wolffartin of Frieburg, was executed for witchcraft in 1599. A plaque at Martins Gate honors her memory. Her son, Alexander Schell, was repeatedly involved in fights and adultery. In 1612, he was stabbed to death from behind by Anna Weckherin. Since Wolffartin is the feminine form of Wolffhardt and Freiburg is just 100 miles from Waiblingen, they may have been somehow related. 
Here is another visual of this family line with some of the history and context.


Hope that was helpful.  If so, feel free to drop a note on our Guestbook.

Victor Prince

Handwritten document from 1500s from an ancestor

Posted by Victor Prince on January 15, 2014 at 7:05 PM

Distant cousin Susan Halen shared the following discovery from her visit to Germany last year:

"Hello Victor, I thought you might enjoy having some documents written by Alexander Wolfhardt in the 1500s. These are stored in the Stuttgart Archives, which we visited on our tour. We actually we permitted to handle them and touch the sealing wax, which was still affixed to the envelope!"

(Note: Alexander Wolffhardt was the Great Great Grandfatherof Johann Heinrich Brentz, who was the first of this line to come to America.  For more information on Alexander, see a previous blog post.)

Thank you Susan!

Victor



Journal of Another Relative's Visit to Ancestral Homeland Village of Duehren, Germany

Posted by Victor Prince on October 4, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Our Visit to Duehren—Taking a Step back in Time

By Sue Halen

Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013

When I first saw the beautiful choir room in Duehren where our ancestors were married, I had the desire to attend a church service there someday. Today that became a reality! We first had breakfast at our nice hotel Wincent. The weather was quite pleasant, so we decided to walk the short distance to the Lutheran Church. When we arrived, two ladies greeted us and welcomed us to the church. They told us we could take photos since it was still early and the service would not begin for one half hour. We were introduced to Pastor Dietmar Coors. He pointed out some members of the Wolfhard family who were in attendance. We met Hermann Wolfhard and his daughter, Friedhilde. She then introduced us to her brother Jorg and his son David. The service was beginning so we sat with our Wolfhard famiily members. The pastor also welcomed us and mentioned that we were here because we were seeking the place where our Wolfhardt ancestors had worshipped. We sang several hymns, including the Communion song, Let us Talents and Tongues Employ! The first and third verses were sung in German and the second was sung in English. We then participated in Holy Communion. First, twelve church members gathered around the Communion table where 12 chalices of grape juice were arranged. The pastor passed around the plate of bread. Then each drank the juice from the silver chalice in front of them. The 12 held hands in prayer. Then it was our turn to come forward --Lowell, Marion, Randy and I were invited to partake. This was very meaningful to us to be able to take communion near the choir room in which our ancestors were baptized by our ancestor, Georg Johann Wolfhardt. After the service, we spoke with family members and we went into the Sacristy where we could see a list of the Pfarrars from the church dating back to 1554. We also saw pictures of what the original church looked like before the bombing during WWII. Then we went outside and Jorg pointed out the house in which the Wolfhards had lived during the 1600’s. There were several restaurants across the street in which church goers would dine following the service. We were then taken to Hermann Wolfhard’s home, which was attached to the barn. He was a bauer (farmer) and raised 10 cows and 4 pigs in this barn. The house dates back to 1517. We were given a tour of the house, including the attic where we could see the original beams and walls. There was an old sled made by a great grandfather as well as an old trunk in which the immigrants packed their belongings when sailing to America. Some returned to Duehren and the trunk remains in the attic for the past 400 years. This was really like taking a step back into the time of our forefathers! The family shared photos and documents of the Wolfhards as we gathered around their dining room table. We also saw a well and the root cellar in which potatoes and other produce would have been stored during the winter. After the war, Hermann gathered up weapons and grenades left by the American soldiers and they are at the bottom of this well. We were then invited to the Potato Festival, which is held once a year in this village. Marion enjoyed the homemade applesauce and potato pancakes while the rest of us enjoyed the potato soup with a sausage in it and dark bread. Randy had a beer and we had new wine. Following the delicious meal, we were told that the program was starting behind the barn. There was a demonstration of two different types of potato harvesters. The first one dug up the potatoes and some children gathered them and placed them in wire baskets. The second harvester had a basket apparatus on the back in which the soil and potatoes were spun around and separated before being placed on a conveyor belt. The children sat on each side of the conveyor and placed the potatoes in bins along the outside. Then the potatoes were dumped into large burlap sacks. Several mice scampered out of the potato patch as the harvester went through. It was quite interesting to see how this was done. After that, Hermann and his grandson, Jan took us down the lane to see his farm. We saw the machine shed and some orchards with apples, pears and nuts. He owns 14 hectars which includes 8 large fields. He raised tobacco until 1958 and had a small shed for drying it where Friedhilde had fond memories of playing and making mud pies. He also raised sugar beats and wheat. We have a photo of a photo with Hermann and his wife harvesting the beats. Some of the land was developed in 1970 and his son and daughter have new homes on that land. We were invited to the home of Friedhilde and her husband Gunter. Gunter and their sons, Jan and Alexander, showed us their garden in the private back yard. Friedhilde served us a variety of delicious desserts, including a plum pie which the four of us enjoyed! She also had coffee and apple and lemon juice. The Wolfhards were very hospitable and embraced us like long-lost relatives! Jorg and his wife, Magdalena met us en route to Friedhilde’s home and gave us copies of a Wolfhardt family tree prepared by Robert Trent from Midland, Michigan. Gunter made copies of some pages from a book which belonged to Hermann. We discovered that this branch of the Wolfhard family has done very well and are also well-educated!  It was indeed a very lovely and special day filled with many unexpected and pleasant surprises!

Useful Links for Family Research

Posted by Victor Prince on March 7, 2013 at 7:25 PM

If you are doing some genealogy research of your own, I have put up a bunch of useful links on the Other Links page on this site.  Some links are specific for this family line (e.g., link to the local library in Page County, VA).  Some are useful for anyone (e.g., link to a searchable database of all soldiers and sailors in the Civil War.)  You can see them all here.  Hope that helps.

Victor

Victor's Thanksgiving 2012 Visit to German Home Village

Posted by Victor Prince on November 24, 2012 at 8:50 PM

I finally made the trip to Duhren, Germany -- the Prince/Printz/Brentz home village in Germany - this Thanksgiving 2012.  My parents and brother and his wife joined me.  I had wanted to do this trip ever since I first found out about it from meeting Charles Printz and reading his book on our family.  To say it lived up to my wildest dreams would be an understatement.  I will give the blow by blow below, but I will mention the main point right now that any reader to this might be interested in- it got me documentation to take our line back another 100+ years from where Into the Valley has it - back to 1448.  Read on to find out more... 


I planned the trip a month or two in advance and had the benefit of learning from some other family line members that had taken the trip before.  (Thanks Charles Printz, Ralph P. and Michele E.)  I Googled around and found the emails to the Duhren church and to the Sinsheim (larger nearby city of Duhren) local history museum.  Those emailspanned out in two big ways, as I will mention later.


The luckiest/smartest thing I did with the trip was to plan to visit there on a Sunday in time to be there for a church service.  It was a special service centered on youth performing live music.  We got there right at 10am as the bells were ringing and doors were closing.  There were about 50 people in the church (it's a small church, so about 30-50 percent full) and we took the furthest pew back.  First thing that told me this would be a great day (I am not a big church goer) was that all the attendees were in casual dress, which was great for us as we were luggagely challenged since we packed for a week.  Second great thing was that the music that started the service was an acoustic guitar folk song - Where Have All the Flowers Gone -  from one of the pastors.  The third thing was that a gentleman seemed to be waiting for us and sat down in our pew.  This was a gentleman named Arnold that the local history museum had put me in email contact with, but I didn't know he would show up to meet us.  More on him later, but worth it to say he was absolutely priceless as a great interpreter.  The next thing that was that the pastor broke out into his first English right after the first song to announce that me and my family were here and had ancestors dating back to the 1750s.


The rest of the service was actually quite fun, even if it was in German.  Because it was Youth Music day, they had a few modern English songs sung by local kids in English.  (It was also their Memorial Day / Vets Day equivalent for their service, so all the songs were remembrance themed.)  It was a pretty surreal experience to be singing other songs along in German that I knew in English.  (I don't speak German, but can sound it out OK.)  Sounds corny, but I really did feel kind of like I was at home.


When service ended, a few people walked up to us to introduce themselves.  One woman that did was from the local Duhren family Wolfhard that had been in the area when our Brentz family was and one of our ancestors married one of theirs in the 1600s.  In fact, we later learned that the Wolfhard family was a bit famous for the area as the oldest family line still in Duhren.  While we went out to the cemetary behind the church afterwards, we ended up running into her father, Herr Wolfhard, and he invited us over to his house later that day and promised to show us some family history documents.  As part of their Remembrance Day, the town mayor and elders came to the memorial to German soldiers and sang a song of some sort.  It was quite a nice small town moment.


We then had lunch at our hotel, the wonderful Ratssube Inn in Duhren - the only hotel in the village, I belive. They had a fantastic restaurant and we had a great lunch.  Arnold joined us.  OK, so more on him.  He is a former professor from Heidelberg University (their most prestigious university) and has an interest in history of expatriots from the area over time.  He was a fascinating man in his own right, but was really enjoying getting to tag along with us on this local history trip.  In fact, he got very excited when we met the Wolfhard father and daughter, as he immediately knew the local historical significance of connecting the locally well known Wolfhard line to our line.    


OK, after a fantastic lunch at the Ratssube, we walk over to Herr Wolfhard's house a few blocks away.




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