Conner DNA

I was doing some digging in my Ancestry DNA matches and made a surprising discovery – that I have a number of fourth cousins from the Conner side! This helped to confirm that my maternal great-great-great grandfather, Charles W. Conner (who married Mary C. Dorwart), was born to Samuel and Lydia Conner (maiden name still unknown). Samuel and Lydia had several children: Samuel F., who married Margaret Mary Graeff (through which the cousin connections come from); Charles W.; Amos; John; Sarah; Lydia; and Joseph. Amos appears to have died in 1853 at the age of 25. Sarah married a Hukey/Hookey. Lydia married a Kautz.

This is a first for me to have been able to link any Conner DNA connections. If a DNA match includes a family tree, sometimes I can figure out the connections, sometimes I cannot.

My cousins have only gotten as far as Samuel and Lydia. I have found some additional unrelated trees on Ancestry that goes beyond them a couple of generations but I don’t believe the people in those trees are connected to my Samuel and Lydia. How do I know this? I have been in contact with a descendent who also did an Ancestry DNA test who had that same information and we are not matches – at least not at a farther point than Samuel and Lydia I mean. But at least I know who Charles’s parents are. More research to do!

Doing research on the Conner family has been interesting. Charles W. and Mary are buried in Lancaster Cemetery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where a lot of Dorwarts and some Conners are buried. I don’t have a photo of Charles’s tombstone but here is Mary’s tombstone:

Charles’s brother, Samuel F. and his wife, Margaret, are buried in the Hebron Moravian Cemetery in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. I watched a YouTube video of someone narrating his exploration of the cemetery, apparently it is a very old cemetery. The burials are in “choirs” based on status, married females in one group, married males in another, male children of a certain age in one group, female children of a certain age in another group, and widows and widowers are in separate areas. And there are numbers on the graves, not names, although there are separate names stones for Samuel and Margaret.

Hopefully I will be able to find more information on the Conner line as I dig deeper, lol, no pun intended.

Thanks for reading!

Hans Herr

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been researching my Dorwart line (maternal side). I am working on verifying that I am connected to a man named Hans Herr, this guy here. So far my research is correct, plus I certainly have a lot of DNA matches with his line.

His birth name was Hans Prefiot and he was born in Zurich, Switzerland on September 17, 1639. He became a bishop in the Swiss Brethren (later known as the Mennonites), and was the very first Mennonite bishop to emigrate to America. Because of religious persecution in Switzerland, and then later when he moved to Germany, he and others bought 10,000 acres of land, and colonized a portion of the western frontier of Pennsylvania, which is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Eventually they told their families and others that they should come and join them.

He married and had a number of children. There is a question about who his wife really was, and I will be reading about that during my research. How I am connected is through John Dorwart, the son of Martin and Maria (Spitzfadden) Dorwart, my maternal fifth great grandparents. I am not directly related to him as John’s brother George is my connection. But John married into the Herr family. Here’s a schematic to make it easier:

I’ve also seen some Nixdorfs thrown in his family history, so it’s very possible there is a connection through that line of mine.

In 1719, Rev. Herr’s son, Christian, built a stone house that is now known as the Herr House. It is the oldest surviving house in Lancaster County. According to the Herr House Museum’s website, it is also the oldest original Mennonite meeting house still standing in the western hemisphere, as it was also used to serve as a place for worship services. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here’s one of the inside:

Rev. Herr died on October 11, 1725 in West Lampeter Township, Pennsylvania at the age of 86.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday’s Child — Sarah Dorwart

Sarah Dorwart was one of George and Sarah (Nixdorf) Dorwart’s daughters, they are my maternal great-great-great grandparents. Sarah died from a boiler explosion while she was working at the Fulton Cotton Mill in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on July 13, 1867. She didn’t die right away, but eventually died from her injuries.

This is so sad. Sarah was only 15 years old. There was also an 11 year old killed. He was working because his father was unable to work.

Yes, the days before child labor laws, when children went to work to keep the family afloat and were killed on the job. Very sad.

Thanks for reading!

Martin Dorwart

I was starting to go batty with the East Galway/Irish genetic genealogy search and had to completely take my mind off of that and focus on other genealogical things. I know there are connections to that area, but the connections are most likely so far back and will take so much time to figure out, I just don’t want to focus on that right now. Instead, I began to work on the Dorwart side of my family, who are from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This has been easier because of records on Ancestry and Family Search websites. Today I will focus on Martin Dorwart.

Martin Dorwart was born in 1735 (supposedly in Alsace, France), to Martin and Elizabeth Dorwart, and is my maternal fifth great grandfather!  I am fortunate that I was able to verify my connection to him through my DNA matches and then records. His great-great grandson is Charles Conner, who married Anna Schadel, I’ve mentioned them before. Alsace is in northeastern France and borders Germany and Switzerland. It’s so close to the border that it has alternated between German and French control over the centuries.

Here is a current photo of Alsace, pretty!

According to records from the Latter Day Saints, Martin emigrated to America and landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the ship Banister in October 1754, and took the oath of allegiance in the State House of Philadelphia the same day he landed. At some point he settled in Lancaster. Lancaster is one of the oldest inland cities in our country and is 71 miles west of Philadelphia. German immigrants first settled the area, when it was known as “Hickory Town”. The city took the name of Lancaster and symbol, the red rose, from Lancashire, England. It was the capital of the US for a day in 1777, and during the Revolutionary War, was home to military stables and barracks where British and Hessian soldiers were imprisoned.

According to records from the First Reformed Church of Lancaster and the Latter Day Saints, Martin’s occupation was a shoemaker. He first married Elizabeth Grim on May 21, 1759, and they had one child, John Martin, born in 1765. After she died in 1771, Martin married Maria Joanetta Spitzfaden on April 30, 1768. They had nine children: Martin, born 1769/1770; Jonas, born 1771; Johannes (John), born 1772; Adam, born 1775; George, born 1781; Jacob, born 1783; Philip, born 1786; and Michael, born 1789. Not one girl in the bunch!!!

At some point, Martin joined the Revolutionary War. He is listed as a private in the 4th Company, 8th Battalion in Capt. William Wirtz’s Company during 1781. I have visions of the movie The Patriot, hahaha.

His name is incorrectly spelled as Darewart. On the Ancestry website, Dorwart is said to be a German occupational name which means doorkeeper, or gatekeeper. I have seen a resource that states his father is from Baden, Germany and the name is Dorwarth, so maybe Martin was actually born in Germany. I did see a short biography of his grandson, and it is mentioned that Martin is of German descent.

Martin died on May 2, 1797 at the age of 62. According to his will, he lived on Prince Street in Lancaster, and left behind his wife and eight sons.

One source says Martin is buried in the Lancaster Cemetery. According to Find a Grave, 42% of the tombstones have been photographed – there are 160 graves in the name of Dorwart alone. However, on the webpage for Revolutionary War Patriot Graves for the Sons of the American Revolution Pennsylvania Society, he is listed as buried in the 1st Reformed Church of Lancaster cemetery plot, which would be in here:

Dorwart seems to be a common name in Lancaster. There are two streets named Dorwart – Old Dorwart and New Dorwart, and they are, coincidentally, not far from Prince Street (an area known as “Cabbage Hill”), named in the 1880s I believe. There is also a park named after a recently deceased Dorwart. I’m hoping to find if my Martin or anyone in the family line is connected to these Dorwart-named places, odds are there is probably a connection.

Thanks for reading!!