Ancestors of Marie Payard

For some years now we have been uncertain about the ancestors of Marie Payard (b. 1785 in Briest, Brandenburg, Prussia). Her parents are given as Isaac Payard and Elisabeth Bettac, but the problem is that there were two Isaac Payards and two Elisabeth Bettacs. See our earlier post on the Payard-Bettac marriage.

Now we have come across a web site that indicates a more likely set of ancestors, and shows the older, rather than the younger Isaac Payard and Elisabeth Bettac as the parents of Marie Payard. This means that we would lose the Berthe, Devantier and Gombert ancestors that we thought were in the family tree.

The Ückermark Huguenot familties were so intertwined that it would probably turn out that many of the Devantier descendants are still related, but the relationships would have to be recalculated. The older Elisabeth Bettac was an aunt of the younger one, and the older Isaac Payard a cousin of the younger one, so they have many of the same ancestors. The younger Elisabeth’s grandparents were Jean Micheè Berthe (1695-1748) and Judith Devantier (1701-1748) while the older one’s parents were Jacob (or Jacques) Bettac (1710-1779) and Elisabeth Veillard (1716-1793). If anyone reading this has any of these in their family tree, please get in touch with us.

 

 

 

Schultz, Koch and related families of the Eastern Cape

Last week I had a phone call from someone in the USA, asking about the Boyle family of the Eastern Cape.

I said as far as I knew we had no Boyle ancestors, but we did have a relative who married a Boyle. It was so long ago that we had looked at that branch of the family tree that I had to look it up, and yes, it was Phyllis Elaine Witte who had married Denis Richmond Boyle. We had no record of Denis Boyle’s parents, so I promised our caller that I’d try to contact people on that side of the family, and let her know. Most of the addresses we had were out of date, but I searched the web, and managed to find the daughter of Denis Richmond Boyle and Phyllis Elaine Witte and sent her a message, and she told us that her mother had died the previous day. That seemed terribly sad, somehow, and yet that so often happens in family history. You try to make contact with a relative, for the first time ever, or for the first time in many years, only to find that they have died the week or even the day before.

Phyllis Elaine Boyle (nee Witte) was the daughter of Albert Witte and Amy Amelia Koch (1885-1966), and there the story gets complicated, because Justine (Jessie) Schultz and her daughter married two Koch brothers. I’ve told the story more fully on our Posterous site here, where it is possible to illustrate it by means of family group sheets.

When we started researching our family history we spoke to Val’s grandmother, Emma le Sueur (born Decker) and she told us that her mother was Jessie Falkenberg, and so was her grandmother. But her father died when she was 8 years old, and the kids were all split up, and she was brought up by her grandmother on her father’s side, Mary Nevard Decker, who ran the Waverley hotel between Queenstown and Tarkastad, so she knew little about her mother’s side of the family. She did know that her grandmother Jessie Falkenberg had remarried a Koch when her first husband died, and told us that “the Kochs got all the money”.

On a trip the the Cape in 1975 we visited archives and looked at church registers to get more details. Among other things we found that it wasn’t true that the Kochs got all the money — Charles John Koch’s will was scrupulously fair in the way he divided things between his children and stepchildren, and Val’s gran had signed for her share, which was a fifth of a sixth of a third, and was a little over £43.

On the way back from Cape Town we visited relatives we had discovered in the Eastern Cape, and during a lengthened sojourn in East London due to a car breakdown we found and chatted to Lil Falkenberg, Val’s gran’s first cousin, and the same age (born 1900). She had lived in the Eastern Cape all her life, and knew most of the family there, and told us about them all, and promised to write to those she hadn’t been in touch with for a while and get up-to-date information on all of them, which she did.

So Lil Falkenberg’s information was the basis of most of what we have in our family tree, and some of the cousins she wrote to later wrote directly to us, and so expanded the information.

But that was 35 years ago, and families don’t stand still. The older generation die. Lil Falkenberg died in 1977, two years after we met her. Val’s gran died in 1980, 30 years ago. Meanwhile the younger generation, the cute toddlers we were told about in letters from Lil Falkenberg and other cousins, have grown up and married and/or had kids of their own, and so we’re losing the older generation and losing track of the younger generations.

So we’re trying to do catch-up, and ask all descendants of Justine Wilhelmine Schultz (1849-1927) to get in touch and let us have news of their side of the family, especially since about 1975-1980. Justine Wilhelmine Schultz (alias Jessie Schultz) married first Michael John Christian Falkenberg, and then Charles John Koch, by whom she had another four children. And her daughter Emily Falkenberg married John Daniel Koch (Charles John Koch’s brother) and had nine children. There is more information about them on our Wiki pages. So it’s their descendants we are looking for to update the family tree. And to those who are keen family historians among them, we can give information on earlier generations, going back to the Huguenots. You can see what we have already on our Posterous site, where you can download the last of descendants we have. If you know of any that aren’t listed, please let us know so we can add them.

Payard, Bettac and Devantier families

We’ve been looking at our Brandenburg Huguenot families again, as a number of researchers have  been interested in these, and some have recently updated their web pages.

One result of this has been to show up a discrepancy in a Payard-Bettac marriage, which needs further research to resolve.

Quite soon after we got interested in family history, back in the 1970s, we discovered that Val’s Decker and Falkenberg ancestors came from East Germany, which was then isolated from much of the world by the Cold War, and there was no possibility of South Africans visiting it. Then there was an announcement in the newsletter of the Genealogical Society of South Africa that a Mr Hans-Georg Bleibaum was interested in South Africans of German descent, and was willing to gibe help and advice to South Africans who wanted to follow up German ancestors.

We wrote to him, and explained our research problem, and asked for his advice. We heard nothing for several months, and then he replied with an ancestor chart going back for several generations. He had contacted a researcher in East Germany, one K-A Jung, who was a member of a local health committee, and sent him a parcel of groceries, in return for which he asked him to look up our family. Mr Bleibaum asked us to refund the cost of the groceries by paying R25.00 into his South African bank account, which we gladly did.

Mr Jung had looked up the ancestors of the Decker and Falkenberg families. He could find little on Christian Falkenberg, but his wife Jessie Schultz had a Huguenot grandmother, Marie Payard, born in 1785 in Briest, in the Ückermark region of Brandenburg. He looked in the registers of the French Reformed Church, and found ancestors going back another four generations. Her earliest Payard ancestor was a Samuel Payard, a tobacco planter from Calais. Her mother was an Elisabeth Bettac, and there were several generations on that side too.

In 1989 the Cold War ended, and Germany was reunited, and records became more accessible, and several other people have been researching their Huguenot ancestry in Brandenburg, and more recently have been putting the results of their research on the web, where it was possible to compare them, and find links between different families.

The links could be confusing, because the Huguenots seemed to like naming their children after biblical patriarchs, and in many families the first three boys were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the fourth was often a Jacques for variation. If one died, then a later child was often given the name of the dead one.

Anyway, in comparing the results of different peoples’ research, we came across a possible discrepancy in the information sent to us by Mr Jung — there were two Isaac Payards, one born in 1740 and the other in 1743, in different towns, and two Elisabeth Bettacs, one born in 1752 and the other in 1765. Mr Jung had given us the younger of each as the parents of Marie Payard, but he had not been able to find a marriage for them.  There  is a marriage of an Isaac Payard to an Elizabeth Bettac in Briest in 1765, but Mr Jung either did not see it or did not include it because the younger Elisabeth Bettac would then have been only 11 years old. The older one (the aunt of the younger one) would have been 23.

So Mr Jung was probably right, but it would be nice to be more certain. If anyone would like to know more about the problem, see our wiki article on the Payard-Bettac marriage.  If Mr Jung was wrong about which Elizabeth Bettac it was, then the Berthe and Devantier families would not be part of our ancestry (though they would be related by marriage).

Huguenot ancestors from Brandenburg

A little less than a year ago I blogged about the Falkenberg branch of Val’s family, where we discovered a couple more generations after more than 30 years of searching. But Val’s great-great grandfather Christian Falkenberg married as his second wife Justine (Jessie) Schultz, who was 9 years old when they came out on the ship together from Germany.

Back when we first started we found that the Schultz and Falkenberg ancestors came from what was then the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and we thought that that branch was a dead end. But a Mr Hans-Georg Bleibaum in West Germany said he could find a researcher who would look for us, if we would send him some cash for a parcel of groceries. So we sent the cash, and he sent the groceries over to East Germany, and several months later came a letter saying that Val’s ancestor Martin Schultz had married a Marie Payard, and he had traced her cancestry back several generations — all of them descendants of Huguenot refugees from France who had fled to Brandenburg after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

And for several generations they had lived in the same area, the Ueckermark, and married French, so their records were all in the registers of the French Reformed Church. And so we had the families: Payard, Bettac, Bevierre, Berthe, Varembourg, Devantier, de la Croix, Peronne, and several others. One thing that surprised us was that the earliest ancestors were tobacco farmers from the French/Belgian border.

For a long time it just remained a list of names until we made contact with Barry Alexander in Australia through the Fidonet BBS network. He was descended from Devantiers, and had a book about the family. Many of the Brandenburg Huguenots had gone to Denmark and from there to other places. So we had not only a list of remote ancestors, but had made contact with real live cousins as well.

There were so many in these families that we found quite a number of other people researching them, and have managed to compare notes. I’m trying to get all the ones related to us in one file, but they intermarried with each othert so much that it is sometimes hard to work out the relationships, and I keep discovering another researcher who has found some more somewhere.

Devantier family

A few years ago Deborah Devantier posted this on a message board, and I must have missed it at the time:

I am researching my husband’s family tree and know that his gradfather Otto Wilhelm Devantier arrived with his mother and 6 siblings in Queensland Australia in 1874. Unfortunately his father died on the voyage out and all we know was that he was Carl Wilhelm Friedrich Devantier born 1834 in Schonermark. Other names that are given on marriage and death certificates are Schwedt, Angemunde, Niederlandin and Uckermark. I realise there was a large Devantier family in this area, and have seen the family trees posted on the web. Would very much like to connect Carl Wilhelm Friedrich.

I do have a link to this family, and can give information on ancestors, and hope to get some on descendants. So I hope Deboarh (and other Devantier researchers) will get in touch.

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