Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Having distantly-related parents

Posted by Craig on 8/20/2008
Today marks my parents' 25th anniversary. They are in Hawaii as I write this. They're on the Big Island today, celebrating a tremendous achievement and glorious occasion. I find it appropriate to write a quick blog pertaining to them on this day.

You know, not long after I started doing genealogy, it was probably around 2000, I found a guy online claiming his parents were distantly related - 8th cousins or something like that. At first, I was amazed. Still relatively new to genealogy, the fact that such a relationship could be established - carefully documented and proven -, to the surprise of family members, amazed me.

That's what made my discovery the night of January 29, 2003 so remarkable.

I always knew there was a good chance my parents shared some common ancestry if you go back far enough - say, 12th/13th centuries far enough - because they both have family lines originating in southwestern Germany along the French border. But what I found on that wintry January night was nothing like I had ever expected.

Tracing my mom's French ancestry - in the RC Church Records for Rahling, Moselle, France - I uncovered that her gr-gr-grandfather Jean Klein (who settled in Williamsville, NY) was the gr-grandson of a Michael Bender and Christine Lambert. Funny, I thought, because those names sounded so, so familiar. I was almost certain I'd run across them before.

When I got home I punched the names into my database, and I found something very interesting. My father was also a descendant of a Michael Bender and Christine Lambert. What a coincidence! But they weren't in France, they were in Germany.

But then I looked closer. Jean Klein's grandmother was Anna Maria Bender, born about 1750. Michael and Christine on my dad's side had an Anna Maria Bender, born 8 Feb 1751 in Peppenkum, Bavaria, Germany. Hmm.. Then came the real shocker. I look under her 'family page' and learn she married a Heinrich Wuertz and relocated to Schmittviller, France. Bingo. Jean Klein's grandparents were indeed Heinrich Wuertz and Anna Maria Bender, and they lived in the village of Schmittviller, just outside of Rahling.

6th cousins, once removed was the exact connection. I checked it, and rechecked it, and made sure multiple times. It's a definite connection with 100% source documentation backing it up. Here's a diagram showing the exact relationship.

Since information on their common ancestors (and mine of course) Michael Bender and Christine Lambert is scarce on my website and elsewhere on the Web, I thought I'd share a little more on this couple I go back to through both my father and mother.

Michael Bender was born about 1710 in Peppenkum, Bavaria, Germany to Jean Bender and Margaretha Reuter. He was a laborer by trade, and his father had immigrated to Bavaria from Wittersheim, Alsace, France. His maternal grandfather Michael Reuter was the Mayor of Medelsheim. He had one sister, Anna Catharina Bender Motsch, who had 15 children in nearby Medelsheim. Michael died about age 48 on Sept. 1, 1758 in Peppenkum.

Christine Lambert was born Apr. 12, 1713 in Neualtheim, Bavaria, Germany to Johannes Lambert and Anna Maria Conrad. She had 10 siblings. This Lambert family is also believed to have originated in Alsace, France, but there is no proof at this time. Christine's maternal grandmother was Catharina Hinsberger, and her family is believed to be connected to the German royalty Von Heinsberg family. Christine died at age 54 on Feb. 9, 1768 in Peppenkum.

Michael and Christine had 9 children: 1. Johannes 1738, 2. Catharina 1740, 3. Nicolaus 1742, 4. Franziska 1745, 5. Balthasar 1746, 6. Johann Georg 1748, 7. Anna Maria 1751 (my mom's ancestor), 8. Margaretha 1754, 9. Maria Magdalena 1755 (my dad's ancestor). Of course, Anna Maria and Maria Magdalena hardly ever knew their father, who died when they were 7 and 3 years old respectively. It may have prompted their moves and marriages at a young age, off to Moselle, France in Anna Maria's case and the village of Bierbach, Bavaria in Maria Magdalena's.

And there you have it. It's hard not to think about these common lines on a day like today. Congrats to my parents! Here's hoping they'll have many more years together yet!

2 comments on "Having distantly-related parents"

Danny Mittleman on June 11, 2012 at 8:25 PM said...

So Craig Kannelly is what happens when cousins marry!

Sorry, bad joke. Craig, I found this entry after reading your DNA story on HP. I immediately forwarded it to my mother, who has been doing Jewish genealogy in Williamsville the past several decades. She read it and reported to me that my aunt and uncle recently did DNA testing and are awaiting results.

Thanks for greasing all these connections.

Craig on June 11, 2012 at 9:16 PM said...

Haha. No worries, Danny. It is funny, and true :) Though 6th cousins is distant enough so this isn't totally freaky. In fact, in smaller villages in Europe, 2nd and 3rd cousins (much closer relationship) would marry all the time.

Thanks for forwarding it!! Cool connections. Always love the Buffalo connections :) I hope your aunt and uncle find really interesting results.


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