I ought to post about a long-lived ancestor, but I couldn't find any that were particularly interesting, so I'm back with the German theme this week. My other German line (I'm assuming it's ultimately German) dead-ends in Pennsylvania with a man named Joseph Kauffman, born in 1765. I simply can't find his parents. I can't find that he was an immigrant, either.

Maybe Pennsylvania Dutch
His name is unfortunately common in German-settled Pennsylvania of the time, so there are a dizzying bunch of records with that name. None of them, *not one that I have found,* has the right birth date. Because I know the name of his wife, the mother of the next generation of better-documented Coffmans in Ohio, I can say with confidence that he got married in Shenandoah County, Virginia in 1798, to Isabella Lindsey. That's actually the earliest real record I have of him. The information that he was born in Pennsylvania comes from a book documenting Kauffman descendants of early Mennonites, but he did not fit in their lines, so the author stuck Joseph in the appendix, saying he "was said to come from Penna." I don't know what source he was reading at the time. The book was written in 1940.

(This Coffman lineage book was written by a man named Charles Fahs Coffman who really, really, really wanted everyone to understand that the Coffman name is DEFINITELY NOT JEWISH, and those Jews who go around using the name should darn well know better than to appropriate it like that. Written in 1940. Creeeeepy. But I digress.)

My pretty coat of arms
The thing about coats of arms is that they generally don't really belong to a family, like we like to think they do. They belong to a man (usually), and it's reasonable that his son might adopt a crest that used his father's in it, but it was still unique to him. A records search of Coffman/Kauffman coats of arms turned up a dozen different ones from three centuries and three different countries. The company doing the search didn't even always know who had originally held them. At least they didn't pretend to me that there was any guaranteed connection to my ancestors. They just asked which one I'd like to have framed on my wall. I picked this one:

It's a figure of justice, and the cursory research they provided me said it probably belonged, not to a noble, but to a judge or magistrate. Interestingly, it's not from the continent, where most Germanic names are found, it's from pre-Norman England. Which was Saxon-speaking, after all, and the spelling of the name, as received, was with a C, not a K. The motto translates to "Fearless and True." All of which is cool, but I chose this one because how often do you find a coat of arms with a woman holding a drawn sword? Heh.

DNA to the rescue?
I have had genetic matches with distant cousins at ancestry.com confirm or question a lot of my genealogical mysteries and assumptions, so I was hopeful that DNA would help with this puzzle. Where was Joseph Kauffman's family from? Who was the original immigrant? Who were his relatives? I entered a surname project at FamilyTreeDNA and matched perfectly with a woman who also didn't know where her Coffman line came from. Her earliest known Coffman ancestor was born even more recently than Joseph, and his earliest record was in Belmont County, Ohio. He had the most awesome name. Reason. Reason Coffman. Isn't that a great name? From the list of virtues to name your child for, "Reason" is a first-rate choice. Now I wish I could have a son, just so I could name him Reason. Anyway, Reason and Joseph were undeniably related. I just don't know how. In 1830, the township of York, Ohio (Belmont County) listed four Coffmans as heads of households. Joseph Coffman, John Coffman, James Coffman and Reason Coffman. The first three are my Joseph and two of his sons, and then there's Reason. Anyway, it's quite intriguing, but doesn't really help with origins at all. Maybe someday someone who knows their Kauffman family origins will get DNA tested and provide a match with me and Reason's descendant. But it hasn't happened yet.

The Hessian connection
Tonight I read a response from the moderator of the surname project to my request for advice. He said the Mennonite Kauffman lines have been well documented, and even lots of DNA fingerprints have been identified for them. My data is different, so he suggested my Joseph Kauffman might have descended from a Hessian. This is kind of exciting, because it's a source of German names in Pennsylvania that I never considered. There were Hessian mercenaries hired by the British Crown to fight colonial rebels, many of whom stayed here. They wouldn't show up in immigrant records. So now I'm hunting around to find where there might be a record of them. I'm thinking they would have kept their heads down for a generation, depending on who their neighbors were, which might explain no one popping up as a local community organizer, religious leader or civil servant type.

EDIT TO ADD: Aaand now they're looking Irish
I had my uncle's Y DNA sequenced further, and now we're not a perfect match with Reason Coffman's descendent; we're off by one marker. There's a man at FTDNA whom we are a perfect match with, and his name isn't Kauffman, it's Coughlin. Interesting! His earliest known ancestor hails from Ireland. Coughlin could have sounded like Coffman in German-speaking Pennsylvania, or someone might have preferred to fit in more and adopted the German sounding name. Though I'd expect that more with a more exotic name than Coughlin. I've always assumed that Joseph Coffman was born in America because the Pennsylvania Dutch peoples were recruited as settlers at least two generations earlier than his 1765 birth date. But if he wasn't really named Kauffman/Coffman, I needed to revisit that. The census didn't ask where you were born until 1870 and he didn't live that long. However, in 1880, they asked where your parents were born, so I looked for a child of Joseph's who lived to 1880 and I found one. His youngest daughter Eliza was enumerated in 1880 and gave her mother's birthplace as Virginia and her father's -- Ireland. If I ever saw that before, I probably dismissed it as anomalous. Suddenly I remembered my own grandfather, when I asked him about the Coffmans' history, telling me they were Scotch-Irish from West Virginia. I later dismissed his info, too, because Kauffman was clearly not either a Scottish or Irish name and the paper trail led to Ohio, not West Virginia. However, the place in Ohio that Joseph's son settled in was literally on one bank of the Ohio river and West Virginia was on the other bank, so I've cut my grandfather some slack on that subject. Now I'm kind of stunned to realize he may have casually known the family's ethnic origins all along! While Joseph's children (that I know of, OMG I should look for some more children using Coughlin, shouldn't I) all used the name Coffman, it appears that the name change was no big secret. His youngest daughter knew he was born in Ireland and even my grandfather received the family memory of Irish origins. Well. This is a fine thing. ;-) Anyone want a lovely Coffman coat of arms?
nicki: (Default)

From: [personal profile] nicki

Interesting. My group is the Mennonite Kauffmans. I have a Joseph Kauffman born in 1764 but he's listed as dieing in 1815 and he's married to a woman named Mary. That line is Swiss and ended up in Bern Twp, Berks co PA. (it's a branch off line from my bunch, so I don't have much more info than that). There are soooooo many Kauffmans in my bunch. So many.
nicki: (Default)

From: [personal profile] nicki

Hate it when they are all tricksy like that. :P

It wouldn't be surprising if he were from the Penn bunch. John Snively, on the next page of that 1820 census, probably belongs somewhere on my chart, and my guess without further research is that his family probably originated in Penn. (there were only two Snively families that arrived in the US, one came to Penn, I think the other- not mine- ended up in Virginia some where, but I'm not sure).

Another thing that I suspect happened in Mennonite families sometimes is that if a child ceased being Mennonite, they, er, disappeared from the family records. I'm pretty sure that happened with my G-G grandfather, based on information that the other branches of the family had up on-line (everyone in his sib. group except him :P ). We had the info, but they didn't.
Edited Date: 2015-05-02 07:27 pm (UTC)
nicki: (Default)

From: [personal profile] nicki

The Snively family arrived in "the colonies" in 1714, they eventually settled in Antrim Twp PA in 1731. My 6th gr grand father (Jacob Snively 1695-1766), however, appears to have had 21!!! children with 2 wives between 1720 and 1765. I haven't traced most of their families. :P So, best guess, someplace around Antrim PA.

Possible, or Reason could be a nephew or cousin as well, who was coming "out west" to try his luck but wanted to be near family.
nicki: (Default)

From: [personal profile] nicki

It might be possible, and if you have kind of a group around your Joseph who all came from the same place, you might have your origin.
nicki: (Default)

From: [personal profile] nicki

Re: Kauffman surname project

Interesting. I have no idea how to read it, though, so it'll take some research for me. :P


genealogy: Cover of the Register for Alameda County 1904 (Default)

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