Monday, March 11, 2024

2024 Prompt - Language - Johann Nicholas Deck

 *Nancy Simmons

   *Paul Simmons

     **June Putman

       ***Cora Wilson

          ****Catherine Deck

             *****Jacob Deck

                ******Christian Deck

                   *******Johann Heinrich Deck

                      ********Johann Nicholas DECK 1725-1761

                                                      My 6th great-grandfather


Several years ago, a very dear friend asked me to start a German special interest group (SIG) for our Louisville Genealogical Society. I hesitated for several reasons. I had not drilled that deep to discover where in Germany my ancestors hailed from, German surnames can be difficult to research because of the many spelling variations, and the big reason, I was not acquainted with the German language. Because I love a challenge and I just couldn’t say no to this friend, I decided I would be a co-leader with John Bondurant and start our German SIG.

The very first thing we did was to buy a German dictionary and then we started learning basic German research terms; birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial. Then we had to learn how each set of records was organized, how to recognize your surname in German script, and then use those basic German words to help translate the record. My research skills were about to be challenged!


Translation of English terms to the German language

During my many years of research, I have discovered many ancestors with German surnames. My maiden name Simmons is German and both my father's paternal as well as his material lines are heavy German. Until recently, I had not drilled into Pennsylvania and German research. Researching before 1850 is difficult and many records of German ancestors in this period are church records written in German.


DECK Family Pedigree Chart
Catherine Deck 4 generations to Johann Nicholas Deck 

The first German surname I drilled into was Deck. My great-great-grandmother was Catherine Deck born in 1841 in Vermilion County, Illinois. She is my grandmother's grandmother. My research took Catherine’s family back four more generations to our immigrant ancestor Johann Nicholas Deck born about 1687 in Lachen-Speyerdorf, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Nicholas is my 6th great-grandfather.

Speyerdorf-Lachen, Neustadt, Pfalz, Bayern, Germany
Birthplace of Johann Nicholas Deck in 1687
Map from Meyer Gazeteer: 

As I researched Catherine Deck, I found her father, Jacob Calvin Deck, born in 1800 in Rockingham County, Virginia, and he died in 1864 in Vermilion County, Illinois, and was buried in Rose Cemetery near his daughter. Jacob’s father was Christian Deck born 1763 in Augusta County, Virginia and he died in 1828 in Harrison County, Kentucky. His father was Johann Heinrich Deck born in 1725 in Germany and died in 1774 in Augusta County, Virginia.


Jacob Deck 1800-1864 Tombstone
Buried in Rose Cemetery, Bismarck, Vermilion, Illinois
Find A Grave Memorial # 23012611

Heinrich Deck immigrated to America and arrived in Philadelphia on September

12, 1734, on the St. Andrew galley. Heinrich traveled with his father, Nicholas Deck, his mother, Anna Barbara, his sister, Anne, and his brother, Johannes. The family probably lived a short time in Philadelphia and then moved to Berks County. Johann Heinrich Deck married Catarina Barbara Froelich in 1747.

Passenger list for St. Andrew 1743
Nicholas Deck (Dek) listed with the men on board
Others listed as women and children
Pennsylvania German Pioneers, Volume 1, pages 139 & 141

Nicholas Deck, my 6th great-grandfather, was born about 1687 in Lachen-Speyerdorf, Neustadt, Rhineland-Palatine. His baptismal record, written in German, states he was baptized on June 4, 1687, and his father was Veit Deck and his mother was Anna Margaretha Schuster. I also found Nicholas’ marriage record to Anna Barbara Laugen. They were married in Essingen, Landau, Bavaria on February 3, 1722.


Johann Nicholas Deck and Anna Barbara Marriage Record

"Deutschland, ausgewahlte evengelische Kirchenbucher 1500-1971, FamilySearch

Translation by Ulrich Neitzel
FamilySearch, Communities, Germany, Discussions

Nicholas and his family settled in Berks County, Pennsylvania where they joined Christ Church in Stouchsburg, Pennsylvania. He was one of the witnesses to the placing of the cornerstone of Christ Church, in 1743.

It is assumed that Nicholas and his wife, Anna Barbara, died and are buried in Berks County. Some of Nicholas and Barbara’s children married and stayed in Berks and the surrounding counties in Pennsylvania. Others like his son Heinrich moved to Virginia and then headed into the Northwest Territory where my great-great-grandmother Catherine Deck was born in 1841.

Catherine Ellen Deck Wilson
Rose Cemetery, Bismarck, Vermilion, Illinois
Find A Grave Memorial #23012611

Since 2021 when I started our German Special Interest group, I have learned so much about German research. Unfortunately, my co-leader, John Bondurant, passed away in January 2023. I am forever grateful for his gentle way of urging me to work with a new language so that I could discover many of my German ancestors.

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