Backgrounds of My Families

This is some background information for the eight families (mine and my wife’s) of my grandparents’ generation.

Harris

Our Harris family is of English decent. Their ancestry can be traced back to the earliest days of our country. John Earl Harris was born in Greenfield, Saratoga Co., NY in 1798. He married Nancy Ormsbee in 1820. The Ormsbee family originally came to America in the 1630′s, settling in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Nancy’s father Joshua fought in the Revolutionary War and travelled to Greenfield with his family around 1796. John Earl, Nancy and their descendents moved on to Pierpont Ohio, Town of Morgan Indiana, and eventually Cato, Manitowoc Co., WI. There, they engaged in the mill business. Related families include Seybold, Protz, Cleveland, Ormsbee, Benjamin, Newcomb and Bradford.

Harvey

George Harvey and his wife Elizabeth (Louden) were married in England in 1859. Soon after, they came to America and settled in Leoni Twp., Jackson Co., Michigan. Their son and grandson farmed on Harvey Road in Waterloo Twp., Jackson Co., MI. Related families include Musbach, Louden, Notten and Kruse.

Hau

Came to America from Prussia in the early 1860′s. According to family stories, Wilhelm Hau was a land owner in Prussia. He settled in Russel Twp., Sheboygan Co., Wisconsin. He married Kathrine Tuepper in January of 1869. Her family was also from Prussia and settled in Marshfield Twp., Fond du Lac Co., WI, where they farmed. Wilhelm and Kathrine’s descendants remained in the county, with our family owning a restaurant in Fond du Lac. Related families include Fuhrmann, Tuepper and Michels.

Heim

Our Heim family came to America in the 1840′s. Damian Heim was born in Steinbach Germany in 1815. His wife, Regina, was from the same area. They settled in Sylvan Twp., Washtenaw Co., Michigan. Related families include Gage, Hoppe, Parker, Knight and Lombard.

Hela/Heller

Laurentius Hela, his wife Elizabeth (Fleming), and their five children arrived in America from Prussia/Poland in May of 1866. They settled in Princeton, Green Lake Co., Wisconsin. Their grandson, Francis (Frank) married Catherine Jackowski in 1905. Her family was also from Prussia/Poland. Frank worked in the granite quarry in Montello, WI. Related families include Jackowski, Soda and Swiderski.

LeVan

The LeVan family was among the German-speaking French Huguenot refugees who fled from France to Holland, probably after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Family tradition says they were manufacturers of brocade and taffetas in their native country, and that they were of considerable wealth.

Jacob LeVan was born about 1702 in Amsterdam. Records indicate he came to America around 1717. Jacob married Mary about 1725 in Maxatawny Twp., Berks Co., Pennsylvania. The family lived for many generations in Berks Co. They moved to Logan Co., Ohio and eventually to Waterloo Twp., Jackson Co., Michigan. Related families include Robison, Winner, Leymaster and Leidigh.

McConnell

Our McConnell family can only be traced back to the early 1800′s. Charles Russell McConnell was born in New York in 1828. He married Sophia Laib in Kent Co., Michigan in 1859. She was born in Ohio in 1837. They farmed in Carmel Twp., Eaton Co., MI. Related families include Bradley, Laib, Blackmer, Kimball and Lankton.

Voiland/Weller

Originated from the town of Essert in the Territory of Belfort, France. Charles Xavier (Jean Baptiste) Voiland, his wife Adelaide (Perrin) and their children arrived at Castle Garden in New York City in December of 1857. His son Joseph Voiland and wife Felicitée Marie (Sadie) Romond arrived in New York City in May of 1857. Sadie’s family was from the town of Urcerey, also in the Territory of Belfort. Joseph and Sadie traveled to Buffalo, NY, and then settled in Little Wolf Twp., Waupaca County, Wisconsin.

The family name was changed to “Weller” when their children started school in Wisconsin. Their German school teacher couldn’t pronounce the French name “Voiland” and so it was changed to reflect the German pronunciation “Weller”. Their descendants remained in Waupaca County, with our family living in Clintonville and owning a hardware store. Related families include Heinke, Romond and Eglin.

There was also a Voiland family that came from Cravanche, another small village in the Territory of Belfort, France, in the 1850’s. Thibeau (Tebo) Voiland, his wife Marie (Frossard), and their eight children arrived in America on October 15, 1852, and settled in Macomb Co., Michigan, just north of Detroit. The homestead was located a short distance west of Gratiot Avenue between what is now Fourteen Mile Road and Masonic Boulevard.

We are unable to connect the Michigan Voilands to our Wisconsin Voilands. Since both families came from the same region in France during the same time period, we are hoping to find a connection!

Tuesday Treasure | September 14, 2010

A couple of months ago, my wife’s Harvey family had a family get-together. Her grandfather, Wayne Harvey, died last December, and there were lots of old photos being passed around. As we were leaving, I gathered most of the photos to take home and scan. I also grabbed an old scrapbook.

I finally pulled the photos out yesterday and spent some time scanning. I then began to leaf through the pages of the scrapbook. It appears to have been put together by my wife’s great grandmother, Martha (Musbach) Harvey, Wayne’s mom. It contains page after page of family and friend-related newspaper clippings from the early 1900′s to the mid 1940′s. The Harveys and Musbachs lived in the areas between Jackson and Chelsea, MI.

What a treasure trove of information! Articles announcing weddings, deaths, anniversaries and family get-togethers. I spent the next several hours adding dates and places and other facts to people in my family tree, and also discovering some new names and stories that I knew nothing of.

I’ve really enjoyed leafing through the scrapbook and immersing myself in the happenings of the Harvey and Musbach families, and their friends, as they went about their daily lives during the first half of the 20th century.

Streets and Signs

It’s neat to come across streets that were named in honor of my families’ ancestors. It’s adds to their stories and certainly indicates that they were well thought of in their communities! He are some pictures of the street signs I’ve found.

The first one is located in Plymouth, MA. Bradford Street is named after one of my most famous ancestors, Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony. He is my ninth great grandfather.

My wife’s maiden name is Harvey. Harvey Road, in Jackson Co., MI, is named after her great grandfather Herbert Harvey, who farmed there.

Another ancestral line of my wife’s is Notten. Her third great grandfather, Ehlert Notten, came to America from England and farmed in Waterloo Twp., Jackson Co., MI.

My 4th great grandfather, Isaac Ormsbee, settled in north of Greenfield, near Porter Corners, Saratoga Co., NY in 1796. The old family cemetery is along Ormsbee Rd.

Musbach Rd. in Washtenaw County, MI, is name after my wife’s Musbach family, who farmed nearby.

Hienrich Heinke, my 2nd great grandfather settled and farmed in Royalton Twp., Waupaca Co., WI.

My wife’s 2nd great grandfather, Damien Heim, came from Germany and settled in Sylvan Twp., Washtenaw Co., MI

This last one wasn’t exactly named after one of my family members (at least we haven’t proven it yet). Thibeau Voiland came to America from Cravanche, Belfort, France and settle in Erin Twp. (Roseville), Macomb Co., MI.

I also descend from Voilands who came from an area very close to Cravanche, but we haven’t been able to connect the two families! Maybe the addition of the sign here with help to prove or disprove the connection.

Surname Sunday | HARVEY

Our Harvey family emigrated from England about 1860. George Harvey and his wife, Elizabeth Lowden, settled in Leoni Twp., Jackson Co., MI, on property located at the corner of present day Wooster and Seymore Roads. Their son, Herbert, who is my wife’s great grandfather, bought the Musbach farm on Harvey Rd., Jackson Co. The farm remained in the family until their son Wayne sold it in 1970.

This Week’s Family Anniversaries | April 19 – April 25, 2009

Joseph Benjamin II – Born April 19, 1673 in Yarmouth, Plymouth Colony. He died in June 1738 in Preston, New London Co., Connecticut Colony. Joseph married Elizabeth Cooke on August 25, 1698 in Preston. He is my 7th great grandfather.

Katarzyna (Catherine) Cujak – Born April 20, 1823 in Pozen, Poland. She died on March 28, 1914 in Mecan Twp., Marquette Co., WI and is buried in St. John the Baptist Cemetery, Princeton, Green Lake Co., WI. She married Stephen Soda in 1840 in Poland. Catherine is my 3rd great grandmother.

John Jacob Musbach – Died April 22, 1905 in Waterloo Twp., Jackson Co., MI and is buried in Salem Grove Cemetery, Grass Lake, Sylvan Twp., Washtenaw Co., MI. He was born on May 30, 1839 in Wurtemburg, Germany. John Jacob is my wife’s 2nd great grandfather.

The above is based on information from several sources and isn’t fully verified at this time.

Tuesday Treasure | April 14, 2009

This hand corn planter belonged to my wife’s great grandfather, Herbert Harvey. Herbert’s farm was located on Harvey Rd. in Waterloo Twp., Jackson Co., MI. He bought the farm from Elhert Musbach, his brother-in-law, in the early 1900s. Herbert’s initials are carved in the back of the planter.

Hand Corn Planter - Herbert Harvey c.1900

Hand Corn Planter - Herbert Harvey c.1900

Herbert Harvey's Initials

Herbert Harvey's Initials

This planter was patented in the 1890′s and manufactured by the Sheffield Manufacturing Company of Burr Oak, MI. Earlier in his career, George Sheffield built gasoline and battery powered passenger cars for street, interurban and steam railways with his company, the Sheffield Velocipede Car Company.