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My Germanna Connection

Do you have a surname that has changed over time in your family tree? I’m sure that I have several, but the one that sometimes confuses people is my Briles line. It is this line that connects me to the Second Germanna Colony in Virginia. My ancestor Conrad Briles (Broil, Broils) was the son of John Broyles (Johann Breuel). The booklet, Before Germana: The Ancestry of the Broyles, Paulitz Moyer and Motz Families outlines the various surname spellings.

The Broyles surname is spelled differently in American and German records. It is most consistently spelled Breyhel and Breuel in German parish registers. Its variations in American records include Broil, Boil, Briles and Bryol, to list a few.

Before Germana: The Ancestry of the Broyles … Families

The immigrant, John Broyles, had six children: Hans Jacob, Mattheus, Conrad, Jerg Martin, Maria Elisabetha and Catherine. It is Conrad’s line that takes on the BRILES spelling of the surname after Conrad moves to Randolph County, North Carolina. The entry for Conrad in the Keith Transcript discusses this spelling transition.

3. Conrad Broyles (son of John Broyles, 1) was born in Germany and brought to this country in 1717. He was still under age in 1727. He died in Randolph Co., North Carolina, in the latter part of 1784. In the Virginia records his name is spelled Broil or Broyl. In his will his name is once given as Broil but is signed as Briles. His children are also called Brile. In later years his descendants have generally used the spelling Briles.

Keith, Arthur Leslie. The Broyles Family. Volume I, page 13.

So starting with my grandfather, Edward Osmund Briles, my lineage back to the Germanna colonies is as follows:

(1) Edward Osmond Briles (1891-1956) married Pauline Edith Mentzer in 1915.

(2) Edward Grant Briles (1869-1951) married Frances Artlissa Ricketts in 1890.

(4) Noah Washington Briles (1840-1879) married Sarah Jane Thompson in 1866.

(8) Alexander Briles (1817-1900) married Sarah Rush in 1836. Alexander left North Carolina about 1858 to settle in what would become Coffey County, Kansas.

(16) John Briles (1775-1855) married Nancy Ann Beckerdite

(32) Frederick Briles (abt 1744-1815). According to the FamilySearch tree, his wife was Mary Goodrich, but I haven’t verified this information.

(64) Conrad Broyles (Broil, Brile) (1709-1784). According to the FamilySearch tree, Conrad married Margaret Rausch in 1730 in Madison County, Virginia. I do not have a source for this marriage at this time.

(128) John Broyles (Johannes Breuel) (1670 – abt 1734) married Ursula Ruop in 1703 in Wuerttemberg, Germany. John, Ursula and their children were part of the second colony of Germanna.

Even though the spelling of the surname changed, there appears to be a pattern to the change. My research suggests that the BRILES surname traces back to Randolph County, North Carolina, while the BROYLES surname is found in Tennessee and traces back to Virginia. Both lines descend from our immigrant ancestor, John Broyles (Johannes Breuel).

Additional information about my BRILES ancestors can be found on my Ancestry tree, starting with Edward Osmund Briles. The top menu of this blog also has a page with links to my other ‘online trees‘.