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Posts Tagged ‘Noffke surname’

My maternal grandmother’s mother’s family emigrated from somewhere in Prussia. Ancestry has further refined some of the ethnicity findings, and now they are showing me with 6.1% Eastern European (this has been there in varying amounts both here and on 23andme from the beginning). What is different is that Ancestry now believes that this small portion of my ancestors came specificially from an area right around and including Krakow. Their prediction is considered “strong.”

None of my ancestors were supposedly Polish, but approximately 12.5% were Prussians living in an area that is now considered Poland. They spoke German. The descendants of ancestors who stayed behind in Europe were probably relocated after WWII when the Poles expelled the Prussians. Some Prussians also fled the area on their own. I find this an interesting fact of history. I studied history throughout college and even did some graduate work in history, yet I never learned this information until I was researching my own family history. Have we swept the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans under the carpet because it came during the complete revelation of the extent of Nazi atrocities? Was it “payback” for what the Nazis did?

What might this Krakow DNA result mean?

I don’t know!

I started to go through the calculations and comparisons with my mother’s DNA again, but that really leads nowhere as they still have not refined things enough. For example, they haven’t found Krakow in my mother’s results. I checked my father’s just to see, and he has zero Eastern European DNA, so all this EE I have comes from Mom’s family. Interestingly, both my parents have DNA from Norway and Sweden, and mine shows up as all Swedish, but we know that means very little. What all this can mean is that Krakow is probably a clue to the Prussians.

More importantly, can this DNA result help me find my Prussians back in the days when they lived in Prussia?

I had it figured out that my Prussians might have come from Schwetzkow, Pommern (Pomerania), Prussia, based upon one record that I found that might apply to one of my Noffke relatives.

Where is Krakow in relationship to Schwetzkow? Krakow is at the south end of Poland, very near the border with the Czech Republic. It’s about 432 miles south of Schwetzkow (which was in Sweden at one point, although it’s on the continent).  I guess Krakow is just another clue I have to stick in the back of my mind for possible later use, I guess.

Or maybe Ancestry will take away Krakow when they update their results next time. Who knows.

Here is what I would like to learn: what does Prussian DNA tend to look like? Does it look German? Because German DNA according to Ancestry is spread out in rings around what we think of as Germany today. This includes a large portion of Poland. Does it look Scandinavian? Some of Prussia was, in fact, in Sweden, as I mention above. Does it look Polish, since so much of it was on the land that later became Poland? I have not really gotten a straight answer about this from anybody. Maybe they don’t really know yet!

In the meantime, I think DNA is not going to help me find my Prussian ancestors. I need RECORDS for that. Something I still do not have.

Back to the drawing board.

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On another note, I often write about my Dutch ancestors. Here is an interesting article that relates to the first wave of Dutch immigrants to the United States. It’s about a church building in Brooklyn that is over 200 years old–the church itself, a Reformed Church, was first founded in 1677. Can a Church Founded in 1677 Survive the 21st Century?

 

 

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After reading the tragic story of August and discovering that maybe, just maybe, he was born in Schwetzkow, Pommern (Pomerania), Prussia, I decided to do a little more digging.

I started with the family reunion notes. The Waldeck-Noffke family held regular family reunions, had officers, and kept notes. Imagine people doing that today!

The junction of the two families was the marriage between Gottfried Waldeck and Alwine Noffke, both of Prussia, my great-great-grandparents.

At the beginning of the notes is an attempt to sum up the “pioneers” of the family in the United States.

The first person who immigrated–or as I think of him, the canary in the coal mine–was August himself, the man who I wrote about last week, Alwine’s older brother. He was born in 1841 or 1842 and left Schwetzkow in 1869 at age 28.

INFO FROM PASSENGER LIST

August Noffke

Male

Age 28

Tischler (carpenter)

DOB abt 1841

Residence: Schwetzkov, Prussia (Germany)

Departure Date: 7 May 1869

Port of Departure: Hamburg

Port of Arrival: Hull (New York via Liverpool)

Ship: Roland

Captain: Paulsen

Shipping clerk: Louis Scharlach & Co.

Shipping line: H. J. Perlbach & Co.

Ship Type: Dampfschiff (steamboat)

Ship flag: Deutschland

Accomodation: ohne Angabe (without indication)

Volume: 373-71, VIII B 1 Band 015

Household members: August Noffke, age 28

Hull might be a port for “transmigrants” in England. I wish I knew what “Hull (New York via Liverpool)” really means.

The family notes say that his “parents and family” followed him “in about three years.”

The notes also say that August first went to Chicago, then resided in Caledonia township (Kent County, Michigan) with his parents, before returning to settle in Chicago. Also written is that the family doesn’t know when the pioneers (being August and his parents) died. So he was written off to Chicago.

There are records for an August Noffke in Chicago, but then there are quite a few August Noffkes. It apparently was not a rare name.

The Grand Rapids city directories show August living in Grand Rapids in 1872 (and throughout the 1880s), marrying Maria Mueller (Mary) of Big Rapids, Michigan, on 2 November 1875, and having children subsequently, all in Grand Rapids.

The passenger list shows that August was a tischler, which means carpenter. The article in the paper at the time of his death mentioned that he was a cabinet maker.

I do wonder why he left Prussia at age 28. Wouldn’t he have been married already? Why wait until that age?

More questions than answers, as usual!

Apparently, August was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Grand Rapids. I’ve requested a photo of his headstone through Findagrave. Amberly at The Genealogy Girl suggested I look for the divorce filing since the newspaper article indicated that he had tried to file for divorce and then had stopped because of the children. I am awaiting news from the Western Michigan University archives on that matter.

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This postcard belonged to the Mulder family. As you can see from the reverse side, it was addressed to a Mulder, but which one? What is that bizarre looking letter in front of the surname? Is it C for Charles? For Clara? Is it CC for Charles and Clara? My great-grandparents were Charles and Clara Mulder. Or is it a weird M for Mister? N. Boltwood Street, City. But what city? If I could read that postmark, I would know, but I can’t.

When I look at the 1910 census, I can see that Charles and Clara Mulder lived on Boltwood Street in Hastings, Michigan! They boarded with another young couple, Otto and Mildred Jahnke. Great-grandpa was a machinist at the time–not yet a farmer with his own farm.

It almost looks like a self-addressed card. But not necessarily. If it is, I can take a guess at who the new arrival was: my grandmother! Lucille Edna Mulder was born April 17, 1912. It is also possible that a friend had a baby that same year, and that this was their birth announcement, but I like the idea of it being my grandmother’s.

It was amusing to see that the stork brought the baby through the roof. I’ve never noticed that idea before, figuring that Santa had the roof market to himself. But it makes sense. Storks, with their nests on the roofs of the buildings, are part of the folklore of the Netherlands. That said, the card was printed in Germany, and the family of Grandma’s mother Clara was German, whereas the Mulders were Dutch. So I looked up storks in Germany and, while they do have storks in Germany, they are more common in Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Belgium.

Note: this postcard uses the same way of addressing that the one last week did: using “city” instead of the name of the city itself. The assumption is that it’s used for intra-city correspondence.

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From being in touch with some Noffke cousins, I now have a lovely copy of one of the Noffke families.

 

My great-grandmother’s brother was Charles Noffke (who married Louisa Rutkowski). If you recall, this was the woman whose death was public and unexplained. I wrote about her death in How to Explain This Death.

They had a son, Herman (1871-1944). This is Herman with his wife Mary Morganer Finkbeiner (1881-1971). These are some of their children.

BACK ROW: Floyd is on the left. He was 1906-1959. On the right was George, born 1901 (died 1990). He was the oldest child.

MIDDLE ROW: Wilbur is the boy in the middle with glasses (1903-1986).

Alfred is the handsome young man on the right (1905-1963).

Roy is the boy on the left (1911-1991).

Carl, as I mentioned, is the little boy (1917-1970).

It has been wonderful to meet Waldeck and Noffke cousins, but they are all wondering the same thing I have been: where in Europe did these people come from? To be clear: both lines apparently came from the same place in Europe. On one death certificate, I do have a town name. But I can’t find this town any place, and I have asked in genealogy Facebook groups to no avail.

Any ideas on this location of origin?

But I guess I have made strides. After all, we used to think the family name was Neffka . . . .

 

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Before I took a DNA test, I didn’t know anything about DNA. Now that I’ve taken two DNA tests, maybe I know even less than nothing.

First I took 23andme, as it had been recommended to me. When I got the results, I was tickled to get some health information, but I didn’t take it too seriously. After all, it was fairly general, and it wouldn’t catch any of the thousands of rare diseases lurking out there in some of our genes. It certainly didn’t predict that rare tumor discovered in my foot eight years ago. Nor did it foretell the hereditary lymphedema I have (thanks, Grandma). Then I also found out that even if you have a particular gene, it often takes a certain “something” to happen to trigger an illness.

So I turned the virtual page on the health information and looked at the information which shows what areas of the world my genes come from. A few genes were identified as coming from particular places, such as one gene that 23andme insists is a Polish gene. I also learned that a lot of my genes are “unidentified Northern European.”

They identified my Haplogroup, which is the mitochondrial DNA I inherited through the maternal line, meaning from my mother and her mother and my grandmother’s mother, all the way back. Interesting, but what do I do with that info? The exact classification they gave me I can’t even find online.  Am I the only person with this mitochondrial DNA–well, are my mother and I the only people with it?

Should I order this from 23andme?

Should I order this from 23andme?

Remember how we thought Neanderthal were a totally unrelated species that died out? Apparently they didn’t really die out. I was told that I am 2.6% Neanderthal. The average European is 2.7%. Kind of hard to put your mind around that. I don’t have a lot of Neanderthal traits, having a high, rather than low, forehead, a narrow frame, and am not particularly strong. I’m sure my husband has some joke in this somewhere. But he doesn’t have the guts to take the test himself.

After I got the results of this test, I realized that it wouldn’t “mesh” with the Ancestry.com test results other people have taken. I didn’t know why they couldn’t be meshed, but I accepted that as fact. It seems that it’s because different companies test for different things. I decided to take the Ancestry test as well because I wanted it as part of my family tree on Ancestry in case I had any DNA matches with people whose trees could provide me with leads.

When I got the results of the Ancestry test I was really disappointed. It doesn’t provide anything except general regions your ancestors came from. Not even any specific countries. No medical information.

And the areas my genes come from are quite different according these two different tests. Ancestry claims a large percentage of my genes are from eastern Europe and about a quarter from Britain. Um, no. Their explanation is that this analysis might represent the location of my ancestors thousands of years ago. So what good is that then?

The one good thing that came from my very overpriced Ancestry test was finding an actual Waldeck relative through our matching DNA. Pretty cool, yes? And the fact that we both have a big chunk of eastern European DNA coming up on the Ancestry test points us in the direction of Prussia, so that was helpful. Unless I spend too much time looking back at my 23andme test, which shows a tiny percentage from eastern Europe. Confusing?

Something interesting about both DNA tests: the results continue to change as the companies get more and more information. They collect knowledge from people. This seems pretty hit or miss to me. But it’s kind of cool to watch things change every so often.

Finally, both test results netted me hits from 4-6th cousins, and most of them have absolutely no surnames in common on their family trees. So how is it possible that they are 4th-6th cousins?

Hmm, this science is still in its infancy, methinks.

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Update:

On the Ancestry Facebook page, somebody posted this information about using your raw data from Ancestry to compare outside their site:

On your DNA page top right is an option to download your raw data. You need to select and then they will email a link with the address on file. Once you have that, you can go to GEDmatch and follow the instructions to upload. Unfortunately, they are not accepting new data until on or about August 15th. FamilyTreeDNA also has the transfer function. Go to their page and scroll down to almost the bottom. FTDNA charges, GEDmatch is free.

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