The upcoming blogs with focus on narratives of our ancestors. Each month we’ll visit a long, lost couple and bring them back to life. Detailing the challenges and successes of their daily lives. This is a detailed introduction to the info used to write the narratives.

If I were given the opportunity to live in any era, I would most assuredly pick the 1870s. The time was simple, and the people were honest. Folks worked hard and took pride in their families, their homes and their reputations. When I look into the eyes of our ancestors from that time, I feel a link; I would have fit nicely in their time.

Genealogy is a lifelong duty. The day we were born or the day we bore children, we became responsible for preserving our history. A wise Chinese saying quotes, “A family without a genealogy is like a country without a history.” We are responsible for the knowledge of our parents and of our grandparents and all their wisdom. Our duty, therefore, is our heritage—including the names and faces of our forefathers and mothers, the medical history and genetic backgrounds of their blood lines, the princes and the paupers, the photographs and historical places, the tragedies and the joys.

The ancient Scottish bards memorized their royal families, reciting the pedigrees of the Old Scot’s Kings regardless of the complexity. The Irish kings would pass down their regal history orally. They would recite a list of names—their kin—noting outstanding events associated with the forbearers. West African families passed down stories from generation to generation. On and on this preservation continued: the mnemonic Peruvians, the beads of New Zealand, the Indian Cera Kings, the ancient Japanese string of names. Argument could be said that ALL families have the need for knowledge of their genealogy.

Genealogy was created for people to know the history of their lineage, to discover their origins, and to prove blood-lines and royalty. This volume was compiled in response to a deep desire to understand and discover the past and in turn allow a better understanding of ourselves and of our relationships. It shall stand as part of the legacy of our ancestry. Through the research of these family histories, we have discovered we are related to some famous and infamous folks, and even found there are some areas of the world named for our families.

            Our notable direct-line ancestors include Charlemagne, King of Romans (b. 742), Valentine Neu line; General John Benfield of Normandy (b. 1025), Elizabeth Benfield line; Henri Basnage de Beauval of Rouen (b. 1657), Elizabeth Benesch line; Mayor Jean Guerne, of Eschert (b. 1695), Catherine Guerne line; Rev. James Anderson of Donegal (b. 1678), Mamie Anderson line; Rev. J. George Baugher of Winnweler (b. 1725), William Baugher line; John Thomson of Haddington (b. 1650), Robert Thomson of Cranston, Manager for Earls of Stair (b. 1771), and Alexander Thompson (b. 1805), Harper Thompson line; Professor Johannes Batdorf (b. 1585), Myrtle Batdorf line.

Our direct-line families include the Emmerich family of Delkenheim, the Gaukel family of Miltenberg, the La Hentzelle families of Lorraine, and the Lotz family of the Palatinate, all outstanding and notable in their European communities.

Additionally, these more recent ancestors prior to Generation 9 include Dr. and Rev. Lucas Raus of Hermanndstadt (b. 1723) of York, President George Washington hauler Peter Braun (b. 1743) of Berks, and Rev. Conrad Bucher (b. 1730) and Chief Burgess Henry Bucher (b. 1764) both of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

There are a few probable notable lines, which more research will uncover if it is our lineage or not. In Sweden, the Toordh Bonde (Tord Roriksson), Lord of Pennigby, the untitled noble Andersson, and the more doubtful is the van Collan (our van Coln) of Finland. A highly probable Dutch noble line, the van Rechteren and …

Our Revolutionary War Officers are honored through Captain Christian Enders, Captain Henry Bucher, Captain James Anderson, Sergeants Michael Garman, Jacob Servis, Frank Row, Corporal John Thornton and one German Torey, Peter Braun, who after the War, worked for George Washington. We boast an additional forty-one privates of our 1776 Freedom fighters, all direct-line ancestors. If we included collateral relatives, we’d number our soldiers in the hundreds.

Our War of 1812 servicemen include Adam Frantz, Andrew W. Hensel, Henry Swartz, William Row, and Joseph Workman and our Civil War servicemen include Andrew G. Hensel, Daniel Updegrove, Michael Keefer, Elijah Anderson, and Michael Layman. More recently, we boast National Guardsman James Keefer and WWII Navyman Robert Forsythe, Merchant Marine Percy Forsythe and Private Eddie Mazo.

We have some very notable collateral relatives such as botanist Thomas Thomson, musician George Thomson, Harper Thompson line; painter Wilhelm Hensel (husband of composer Fanny Mendelssohn), poet Luise Hensel, Gussie Hensel line; U.S. statesman Edward Biddle & Countinental Navy Captain Nicholas Biddle, Anna Margaret Bittel line; composer Les Brown, Peter Brown line; Rev. Conrad Weiser, Henry Bucher line; U.S. politician John Morton, George Culin line; actor Nancy Kulp, Jacob Culp line; actor Ralph Garman, Catherine Garman line; Geophysicist Nicholas Heck, Catherine Heck line; Soccer star Corey Hertzog, Paul Hertzog line; MLB pitcher Steve Kline, Henry Klein line; pres. William McKinley, Michael Layman line; Governor Samuel Pennypacker, Susan Layman line; US Army Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters, Samuel Peters line; Jesse Runkle, Jacob Oberlander line; actor Marlon Brando & Union General Galushia Pennypacker, Martha Pennypacker line; pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Balzer Romberger line; postmaster Jonas Row, Daniel Row line; footballer Wes Welker and journalist Kristen Welker, Elizabeth Welker line; footballer Michael Strahan, Neu/Charlemagne line; Rev. Michael Enderline, Jacob Wert line, aircraft manufacturer Wills Messersmitt, Elizabeth Messersmith line; Dr. Alexander Fleming, Isabel Fleming line; and Water Dr. Sebastian Kneipp, Catherine Neipp line.

Our ancestors’ names have been immortalized at these locations: the Bager Homestead, Abbottstown, Pennsylvania; the Chris Miller Homestead, North Lebanon Township, Pennsylvania; the Benfield homestead, Berks, Pennsylvania; the Livesey Homestead, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the Wirth Homestead, Dauphin, Pennsylvania; the Keefer Homestead in Berks, Pennsylvania; the Morton Homestead in Chester, Pennsylvania; the Herrold Homestead in Northumberland, Pennsylvania; and the Jacob Lehman Homestead in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Lastly, these place names were named after our forbearers: Bordnersville, Enders, Kelly Crossroads, Livesey Street, Livezey Lane Trail, Herrold’s Island, Herrold Run, Keefer’s Station, Deibler’s Gap, Deibler’s Dam, and Shoemakertown, all in Pennsylvania. In Europe, we have Livesay, England and Rechteren Castle, Dalfsen, Netherlands.

Last, there are some unproven legend relations which include: Rudolf I, King of Romans (b. 1218); Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor (b. 1503) & son-in-law William I, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg (b. 1516); Jacques de Sellaire, von Zeller of Castle Zellerstein (b. 1660) & wife Countess Clothilde de Valois de Reni (b. 1665), Clothilde a supposed descendant of the Philip VI, King of France, descending into our Anna Maria Saltzegber line.

            Our forty-year journey has led to the numerous genealogy volumes and updates of previous volumes. Many genealogies tend to trace a descendant line or the paternal line (single ascendancy). Our purpose was to trace all ancestors with equal perseverance back in time. This is a monumental—if not near impossible—task. We have compiled a pedigree, beginning with our children and with the current emphasis on generations one through ten, although we have completed research as far back as generation 21.

            We have a desire and we have a bond. We have a desire to know from whence we came. We want to know our history, our origins. We want to know what our ancestors did, how they persevered and how the spark of life made its way from Geoffrey Livesay, born over 600 years ago, to our latest cousin, born this spring 2019.

The following Family History genealogy, narratives and photographs are our heritage. With this information we can be proud of ourselves and our past and aim toward bright futures and better lives. If our duty is neglected, as each generation passes, so will our family history. Heidi Sapp reminds us “Generations pass like leaves fall from our family tree. Each season new life blossoms and grows benefiting from the strength and experience of those who went before.”

Our ancestors are not mere names or dates—they have tales to tell, journeys to document, lives to discover. They have accomplishments and setbacks, which in turn help us with ours. As mentioned, “Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from,” this book therefore allows us to know precisely where we’re from and who we are.