Dixie Peach: Coming Full Circle

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Coming Full Circle

I have a headache. I'm seriously about to throw up. It's almost exactly like the feeling I get when I contemplate the universe and how vast it is and how we're just an insignificant speck compared to the enormity of it all. My tiny brain can barely grasp how far I've reached back and it fairly nauseates me.

Yesterday I was poking around online and found myself on a genealogy website. When my father was living he worked on some genealogy stuff tracing his roots through his...wait...let me think about this. His father's father's mother's father - who, incidentally, is buried in the same cemetery as my father. It was interesting. I found a census from 1850 showing Levi W. Beene and his first wife, Rachael Walden. They had a daughter named Martha Elizabeth who was my father's grandmother. It was things I'd already heard from my father's research into the Beene line of the family but seeing it again in print impressed me all over again.

I then noticed that one can look at family trees that people have already been working on and I took the chance that one of my cousins had started one. Now let me say that I barely know my first cousins on my father's side and know their children and grandchildren...well...not at all. My poor grandmother started having kids (at least according to the census forms I saw!) when she was 17 and she had her last child when she was 41 and she died in the process. Anyway, my father was way, way younger than his older siblings and so many of my first cousins are as old or are older than my own parents and so I very, very seldom ever saw them - and even then I was very young. I don't know these people from Adam's off ox but evidently some distant cousin made this family tree tracing back from one of my father's sisters.

This guy evidently did a lot of work on it because, going through that Beene limb of the tree I could trace back to ancestors living in Virginia in the early 1700s. Then I looked at my grandmother's side of the family and traced through her father. I had no idea it would go on and on and on the way it did. I could trace back through my grandmother's maiden name of Gann five generations until the information ran out but then I could go on further picking up with the woman, Amelia - born in 1729, who married Johannes Gann (who was born in France in 1696). I could go back through Amelia's father a couple generations and then when it ran out, I could pick up with her grandmother who was born in 1669. And it still kept going. Generation after generation rolled by until it finally reached the last name - Hennectin Kressetman born in 1384.

And where were all these generations living? All these distant ancestors of mine? Pfungstadt, Germany.

Holy smokes! I'm not just German in name only after all!

I have no idea if this information is correct. I have no idea how the information was gathered and I can't tell if it's accurate or not. But it's still fascinating to me. To see name after name roll by me. Seeing when they were born and in some cases, what year they died. And to think that in some tiny way, I am part of them. Or they are part of me. Nearly 600 years separates my birth from Hennectin Kressetman's and yet, if this family tree is correct, we're still bonded by the thinnest line.

And here I am - back in Germany. It's like returning to the mother ship.



Blogger Mahala said...

I luuuurve digging in the family tree :) It's amazing the things you thought you knew about yourself.. but didn't!

1:14 AM  
Blogger sari said...

That's truly amazing!

8:08 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Wow, you HAVE come full circle. How cool!

12:18 PM  
Blogger Martina said...

Pfungstadt's right around the corner from me :-)

3:57 PM  
Blogger UmmFarouq said...

Fascinating! Hey, send us a link to that geneology site. I'd love to go digging in my roots!

7:38 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

You know I did think that it wasn't too far from you, Martina.

The place where I found this was at They have a thing where you can have a free 2 week trial and your credit card won't be billed if you cancel a few days before the two weeks runs out. If anyone joins, read the conditions carefully. When you look at the site without joining you can see a few things but if you want to see documents or look at family trees, you have to join the site with at least the free 2 week trial.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Sirmelja said...

Totally and utterly cool!

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Certainly a solid link can be made in Pfungstadt for family back to around 1550 but records older than this are really hard to come by. Records evidently moved around 1500 to Mainz?

Certainly interesting an folk in Pfungstadt seemed to stay in that area.

Fred Cressman,

3:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


My name is Russell Gann and I have found that I am apart of Johannes Gann's descendants. Since you live in Germany if by chance you run across any information about Johannes, would you please shoot me an email at I am just an Alabama boy trying to find his roots. Thanks for any help you might give.



11:16 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Also if you run into any Ganns living in europe it would be nice to know.



11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would also like to know what site you went to to see all of this information. I am a Gann also, and I found all the way back to Amelia's grandparents...but back to the 1300's! WOW! You may email me at Thanks!

8:05 PM  

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