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My Germanna Connection

Well, it’s Saturday afternoon and I’m working on my genealogy while watching the K-State (Kansas State University) football game on TV. As the wildcats were winning their game, I decided to check out Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings blog to see what the ‘Saturday Night Genealogy Fun’ blogging challenge is for this week.

It’s Saturday Night again –Time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music):
1) Many of our ancestors migrated to a distant place.  Which one of your ancestors migrated the furthest?  Or the furthest in North America?  It could be in one big move, or in several smaller moves over their lifetime.  How far did they travel?  Do you know the route they took?

Thinking about these questions and my tree, I don’t have ancestors that traveled long distances across the United States. Since all of my second great grandparents settled in Kansas, my ancestors didn’t even migrate clear across the country.

Pedigree chart created in RootsMagic 8 (Preview) with color coding enabled

Thus, I have to turn to my immigrant ancestors to find the one who traveled the farthest. And I have to admit that I haven’t done much research of my immigrant ancestors. My tree can be divided into those ancestors who are included in published genealogies and those who are proving to be difficult to research in the pre-1850 records.

Since many of my lines came from England or Scotland, their distance of travel is similar. The branch of my tree that I think may have migrated the furthest is also one with a very interesting travel story: my Briles (Broils, Broyles, Breuel) line.

My ancestor, Johannes Breuel, his wife, Urusla Ruop, and children Jacob, Conrad and Elisabetha have all been identified as members of the Second Germanna Colony. Compared to other immigrant ancestors in my tree, their story is unique.

The We Relate web site includes the following information about the Second Germanna colony.

Second Germanna: Later, in 1717, a shipful of German immigrants bound for Pennsylvania, landed in Virginia with approximately 70 persons, and this second group of settlers (called “The Second Germanna Colony” or “New German Town”) arrived in Germanna (about 2 miles away from the First Colony at the fork of the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers, i.e. – “The Great Fork”) in the beginning of 1718. Whether their ship landed in Virginia due to weather (the Captain’s claim) or due to collusion (between Spotswood, his associates and the Captain) is not clear. This second group, was put to work by Spotswood in “naval stores” and were not involved in the iron mines. They were placed on 13,000 acres of land which Lt. Gov. Spotswood and Robert Beverley (and other partners), who needed settlers to move onto the land to lay claim to it. Since their transportation was paid for by these partners, they became indentured servants and were bound to locate to that area. This group of German immigrants, who originated from the Baden, Württemberg, Heidelberg and Neckar regions of Germany and Switzerland, was Lutheran by religion.


The ‘Second Germanna Colony‘ page on the Alexander Spotswood website tells a slightly different version of their story.

The Germanna Second Colony, unlike the Germanna First Colony, did not come to Virginia of their own free will.  Their ship’s captain, Andrew Tarbett, had  promised to take them to Pennsylvania – where we believe their friends and families were headed — on his ship Scott.  But Tarbett had gambled away their passage money in London.  He knew that the Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood in Virginia would pay the costs of their journey if the Germans were delivered to Virginia, as Spotswood was willing to pay to increase the supply of hard workers in his colony.  Captain Tarbett pretended that the Scott was blown off course and “accidentally” arrived in Virginia where he delivered his passengers to Spotswood.


The Germanna Second Colony‘s version of their story is similar to that posted on the Alexander Spotswood site:

The Second Colony, in contrast, came from the Palatinate and the Kraichgau area of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Its members did not come voluntarily to Virginia. These families expected to go to Pennsylvania with other Germans, but their ship’s captain, Andrew Tarbett, had been incarcerated in London for debt, and their money was used up while they waited. Tarbett must have known that Governor Spotswood was willing to pay the passage for another group of Germans, for when he got out of debtor’s prison, he transported these Germans on his ship, the Scott, to Virginia, pretending to be blown off course in a storm. There, lost and penniless, they became indentured servants to Spotswood.


According to the list of second colony members on the Germanna website, Johannes Breuel came from the area of Otisheim, Wurttemberg, Germany. According to Google Maps, Otisheim is almost straight north of Zurich Switzerland and northwest of Stuttgart, Germany.

The Breuel family likely migrated up the Rhine River. If so, they left Europe at Rotterdam to arrive in London before boarding the ship for the Americas.

Thus, my line that likely migrated the furthest also has one of the most interesting migration stories.