Title: Jones, Henry Z., Jr., The Palatine Families of New York (A Study of the German Immigrants Who Arrived in Colonial New York in 1710) (Universal City, CA: 1985)
Note: RonFMiller@aol.com March 21, 2007 Dear Barbara, Thank you very much for your prompt and interesting email about Johannes Hess. It confirmed that Johannes Hess of Herkimer County was indeed from Bleichenbach. I come by this family history in a rather round-a-bout way. You see, I started my research in Hesse and spent over a month in and around Bleichenbach working on histories of many of the families there. I am not descended from Johannes Hess, but rather his uncle, Heinrich Emrich. (Emrich is still a very common name in that area and the modern spelling of the name is “Emrich.”) The earliest reference to an Emrich at Bleichenbach I found was from the mid-1500s, however, because the church records don’t start until the 1650s, I couldn’t trace a direct line back before then. The Hess family can be traced back to Bergheim, the village just northeast of Bleichenbach. Augustin Hess was born there on 20 July 1656 and became a blacksmith. His parents and siblings moved to Bleichenbach in 1677. The Hess name around Bergheim was everywhere, so it was difficult to research the early ones because there were so many, with the same names repeating. I had lost your ancestor Johannes Hess after his 1699 confirmation, so you can imagine my surprise when I did an Internet search on him and he showed up in New York. As a note of great interest, in the churchyard at Bleichenbach there are only a few tombstones from before the 20th century. (The German custom is to remove the tombstones after a generation.) One of the few ancient monuments there is for Augustin Hess and his wife Kunigunda Emrich. Carved in the stone are depictions of the father (Augustin), mother (Kunigunda), four sons, and three daughters. It also shows that one son (Heinrich) and one daughter (Catharina) died before their parents as indicated by an “X” over their depiction. Also written on the stone is a long description of the family. You have no idea how lucky you are to have direct ancestors in Germany who actually had their tombstone saved by the church. Thanks for the link to your information on Rootsweb. Now, I have another question. I see where you have shown Johannes Hess’s uncle, Johannes Hess (born 1664) also in Herkimer County. He was another one who “disappeared” from the Bleichenbach records. Can we be sure that he was the one in Herkimer County? He seemed pretty old to be marrying and having children at the same time as his nephew! Again, thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Ron Miller
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