The fifteen hundred and twenty first note in a series on the Germanna
A few weeks ago, it was mentioned that Carol Ann Burdine, after publishing
her findings on the Burdine family, had difficulties convincing some people of
the validity of her research. I have encountered the same difficulty with Lewis
Fisher (Ludwig Fischer) who some people claim was a baron, etc, etc. In this
note, I thought I would start the history of another person, Johann Peter
Gudelius or Gutelius. Many of you from the Siegen area may, in fact, be related
to this person. [Another member of the Gudelius family did leave the
Nassau-Siegen area with the intention of joining the Germanna Colonists. He was
unfortunate in his choice of a ship, the Oliver, which was lost off the coast of
Virginia, almost in the harbor. He did not survive the trip.]
The Gudelius family originated with Wendel Gudel who enrolled at the
University of Heidelberg on 19 Dec 1586. In doing so, he took the name
Wendelinus Gudelius, a Latinized form which was popular with academics at that
time. [The Crecelius family in the Germanna colonists did the same thing.]
Wendel Gudelius became a chaplain at Herborn about nine miles to the southeast
of Siegen. His descendants lived in this general area. By 1700, there were six
Gudelius families, as a search of the census and parish records show, and they
can all be traced to the originator of the family.
The family of Johann Peter Gudelius lived at Niederholzklau (a few miles west
of Siegen). They had no church in the village but there was a church at
Oberholzklau nearby. There are some gaps in the parish records, but the limits
on the birth of Johann Peter Gudelius are 1708 to 1711. His father was Christoph
Gudelius born at Dirlenbach about 1664 and his mother was Elisabeth Magdalene
Baum born at Eisern about 1674. The birth of Johann Peter Gudelius is confirmed
by census and sponsorship records in other parishes. He was old enough to be a
sponsor of a child of Johann Wilhelm and Maria Wirths at Wuerdon on 30 Sep 1736
(in the parish records of Freusburg).
Johann Peter Gudelius was the father of an illegitimate son (Johann Henrich
Gudelius) born at Wuerdon on 6 Sep 1743. Again, Johann Peter Gudelius was the
father of an illegitimate son (Johann) born at Meiswinkel on 5 May 1745 by
another mother. Johann, the son, died two years later. This is the last record
for Johann Peter Gudelius in the Nassau-Siegen region.
He, Johann Peter Gudelius, sailed from Rotterdam on the ship Nancy and
arrived at Philadelphia on 31 August 1750. Several other people on the ship can
be identified as having a Nassau-Siegen origin, including Joh. Jacob Brumbach,
Christian Giebeler, Johannes Jung, Tilman Creutz, and Dilmanus Weissgerber (look
the Nancy shiplist).
Next, I will look at some of the history of Johann Peter in America.
The fifteen hundred and twenty-second note in a series on the Germanna
The individual we are following, Johann Peter Gudelius, arrived at
Philadelphia on 31 August 1750 and registered as Johann Peter Gutelius. This is
a perfectly natural spelling of the name. As we know, the letters t and d are
often interchanged. When he signed his name, he used typical German letters, not
Roman letters. Then eleven years later, Peter Gudelius in Lancaster County, PA,
took out his naturalization (29 March 1761).
He was a sponsor of Johann Peter Engel in Manheim parish on 14 March 1772. He
wrote his will, 5 August 1773, with his name as Gudelius. The inscription on his
gravestone is written in the German language. The township of Manheim where he
had lived is very German and oriented to the Reformed religion.
Now I want you to take a guess as to what nationality many of his descendants
say he was.
This is a man who writes with German letters, travels with Germans, has a
perfectly good German name, writes his will in German, lives among Germans, and
has the inscription on his tombstone carved in the German language.
Very strangely, many of his descendants say that he was French. They add to
the story that he was a doctor in the French army who was banished because he
married outside his station in life. They have no facts to support his French
origins or presence except someone out of the thin air said so.
Faced with the facts that I have recounted, one wonders how the descendants
could hold to this story. Probably a century or more ago, a lot of guessing took
place and for some reason the toss of the coin showed "France." But
one very telling factor is that the published genealogy of the family was
published in 1916. If your memory goes back this far, you will remember that
sentiment in 1916 was very much against anything German. Schmidts became Smiths.
Berlins became Berwins. People did everything they could to deny any connection
to Germany. Probably this influenced the author of the Gudelius genealogy.
My information comes from Jost Gudelius who, with his family, are good
friends by now. We visit them on our trips to Germany. The family's web page is
www.gudelius.de for more information in both English and German.