The families on this page reflect the Jewish heritage in the Stevens family, including those with roots in Germany (the Lehmans) and those with French roots (the Dalmberts). The Dalmbert side of the family married into the Scots-Irish Hart family whose ancestors included German and Swiss roots.

See all links in Lehman Family Tree

The Lehman Family

The Lehman family is of Ashkenazi Jewish German origin and includes teachers and rabbis.

How We're Related

Jeanette Lehman married William Stevens on June 26, 1912 in Columbus, Indiana. When they married the local paper said, "A romance dating back to school days reached a happy consummation this morning in the marriage of Miss Jeannette Lehman and Park W. Stevens."

Jeanette was probably named after her father's mother Jeanette Pessels (Besselsohn). You could say that she was a lady who paced herself and, as a result, lived to be 100 years old. She offered my mother some advice when Doris was a newlywed, "If you tell them that you can't do, they'll do it for you." And she followed that advice. For example, she never learned to drive. She was a small woman and there are stories that when her kids were old enough they would pull her in a wagon.


Lewis Lehman married Emma Dalmbert in Indiana on February 16, 1887.

My great grandfather Lewis Lehman (1856-1939), an Ashkenazi Jew and son of a Jewish teacher and the grandson of a Rabbi, emigrated from Germany in 1871. Johann Ludwig Lehmann became Lewis (or sometimes Louis) John Lehman when he arrived. Lewis was preceded to America by his half-brother Charles Lehman. In 1877 he renounced allegiance to Frederick William Emperor of Germany and became an American citizen.

Lewis married Emma, who was herself the daughter of a Jewish immigrant, Adolph Dalmbert, who came to this country in 1854 and married a girl with a Scots-Irish/German heritage. So Lewis become both a business partner with Adolph Dalmbert and also his son-in-law.

At age 21, Lewis when was working as the bookkeeper at the Woolen Mill owned by Adolph Dalmbert traveled back to visit his family in Germany. He sailed aboard the Abyssinia on a trip that cost him $500. The form he had to fill out tells us that he was 5 feet 9.5 inches, had a high forehead, brown eyes, a prominent nose, a medium mouth, a pointed chin, brown hair, a fair complexion, and a face that was "long and spare."

Lewis was apparently totally secular and did not follow the religious tradition of his parents. He and Emma married in an Episcopalian service. This was also evidenced by a 1908 local newspaper article that described a fire that started in the Lehman family Christmas tree and noted that Lewis lost a "perfectly good pair of Santa Claus whiskers in the fire."

A Lehman image

Lehman Dry Goods ad 1885

By 1900 Lewis and Emma and Estelle and Jeanette are living on Sycamore Street and have a hired girl living with them for housekeeping. By 1905 business must have been good because he had an impressive home built on Pearl St. An article about the construction noted that it was "modern in every detail and will be completed with a furnace and a bath." Lewis owned retail enterprises in Columbus selling shoes and dry goods store, a skating rink company, and sold securities. He started with a small dry goods store that went to a large department store in his own business block with a branch store in Hope, Indiana. Lewis was the first president of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce in 1890 and stayed active in it until late in his life. He was a member of the local Masonic Lodge.

Although most of his life was spent in Columbus, in 1900 he bought a half interest in a department store in St. Louis and moved his family there. Then just as quickly they moved back to Columbus the next year.

As successful as Lewis was, he also had his setbacks. In 1902, he declared business bankruptcy. In 1909 he and Emma went through a very messy and public divorce. After the divorce the census report shows the two girls living with Lewis on Seventh St.

A feature article in the paper in 1907 lauded his business acumen then went on to say that he "takes a keen pleasure in doing fancy stunts on roller skates. he apparently also had a reputation as a good golfer.

We know from letters that the Lehmann family wrote that Yiddish and German was spoken in Lewis' home in Germany. He mastered English and one of his objectives was to read the Great Books. I know this because they were passed down to my family and I now own his set of Joseph Conrad novels. It seems a fitting author for a man, like Conrad, who spent his life communicating in a foreign tongue.

Lewis spent his last three years living with his daughter, Estelle, in Florida.


Ignatz Lehmann married Jeanette Pessels on December 25, 1854. The Lehman family has a double connection to the Pessels family: Ignatz brother, Jonathan, married Jeanette's sister, Rosalie.

1836 letter to Ignatz Lehmann
Access full size image

Lewis' father Ignatz Lehmann (1812-1875) was a teacher and a Palatine school pioneer of the 19th century. He was co-founder of the Palatinate school sheet (1842) and founder of a boys' College that was to become the trade educational institution Institut Gombrich in Neustadt am Haardt. I found the following three ads in the German publication "Allgemeine Zeitung of Judaism" and Google translated them.

October 4, 1852: "Israelite boarding Young people who are dedicated to the Business, find me conscientious teaching of all subjects for their work necessary and useful articles. English and French are the conversational languages of the house and it is achieved by method and constant application of rapid skill in it. Careful, paternal serious education will replace the pupils of the parental home as possible. My apartment is very friendly, open situation, in issued one of the most charming places in Germany. For more, certainly satisfactory in every respect information: Ignaz Lehmann, teacher at the grammar-school at Neustadt ad Haardt (Bavarian Palatinate). "

October 10, 1859: "The trade-establishment of J. Lehmann a.d. to Neustadt Haardt (Rhine Palatinate), licensed in 1857 was visited 1858/59 of 60 pupils and owes such a result the efficient performance of their teacher who truly motherly love and care with which Mrs. Lehmann decency and physical care of the pupils managed, and the lovely and very healthy situation of our city, which, at the close of a beautiful valley, protected by mountains from northern winds, located to the east in the plane, rarely a fever or chest patient has in their field and have never been hit by any epidemic.

It will allow us to know you, to make an institution, which, united in the more complete way all the conditions for physical and spiritual welfare of their pupils in itself, and perhaps we should mention it as a good sign of the times that Catholic here learn Protestant and Israelite pupils and boarders in a run by Israelites Institute in best harmony and live together. Salomon merchant.”

September 18, 1860: "I am looking for a capable teacher for my boys' boarding knowledge of French and Hebrew would be desirable is the case of a corresponding benefits. Assured in every respect pleasant position. J. Lehmann in Neustadt an der Haardt (Pfalz)."

A series of letters written in Yiddish, German and French are archived at Yeshiva University. They represent communication among the family in the 1830’s, including from Ignatz’s brother from New York City and from Ignatz’s family in Markt Erlbach, Germany, while Ignatz was living and working in another German city (first Worms and later Mussbach). Ignatz’ position as eldest child is apparent in the letters.

Ignatz’ father writes “Why are you traveling around the world?” (Ignatz is 200 km from home.) He is given traditional advice from his mother, “Take care that you don’t mingle with bad company.” “Please mend your shirts and socks often.”

Brother Julius wrote Ignatz in 1832 and admonished him to “…continue to be thrifty and when you have money to spare, send it to the dear parents.”

Brother Jean wrote in 1834 asking for career advice. “I beg you not to lay down this letter without considering that practically my whole life’s fortunes depend upon it.”

Julius writes to Ignatz in early 1836, “I…beg you…not oppose my firm intention to travel to America.” Julius left Germany for New York City in 1836. The first letter he wrote back to his family in Markt Erlbach (original in German) . “We departed on the morning of June 11 from the port of Bremen with favorable winds and made good progress for 12 days; then we experienced 15 days of stormy weather and were repeatedly blown backward, so that we arrived here only on August 10 after 61 days.” Julius got a job his first day looking as a jeweler (although he apparently was trained in the textile trade). After two months he says “I make the most beautiful broaches and rings.” He is surprised at the status and opportunities for women. “…the female sex stands in extraordinarily high esteem in this country. The man must fetch the water, carry the basket to market and buy the groceries…you would find unbelievable the rights that women have here.” He went on to say “I believe that nothing could move me to marry here.” Julius married Hannah Meyer, a girl who had immigrated to New York a year before Julius, also from Bavaria, in about 1841. They had eight children.


Levi Lehmann married Babette Gerst in 1811 in Markt Erlbach, Bavaria. Levi was born in Kunreuth 1772, prepared for teaching by studying in Prague. His first teaching assignment was in Gleicherwiesen, Hessen. His second assignment was in Lenkershem, Bavaria in 1811. When he married Babette Gerst in Markt Erlbach he began a dry goods and hardware retail business. He assumed the permanent family name of Lehmann in 1813.


Rabbi Isaak Yitzchak Levi was born in 1747 in Kunreuth, Bavaria. His wife is unknown but he had seven sons and three daughters.

Eugenie Lehmann

A Lehman image

Theresienstadt concentration camp

There are always at least two stories with families that leave their homeland to start a new life in another country. I have been telling the stories of those who left home, but there are also the stories of those who stayed and continued their lives in the native land.

A more shocking contrast can be found in the case of my great grandfather Lewis Lehman. Lewis became a successful businessman in America. His sister Eugenie, who had stayed behind in Germany, while her brother emigrated, died in 1942 at the hands of the Nazis at Theresienstadt concentration camp, in what is now the Czech Republic. The son and daughter of Eugenie (Lehman) Schloss, Werner and Gertrude, died at Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944 and 1942.


The Dalmbert Family

The Dalmbert family can be traced back to their French-Jewish roots in the Alsace region of France. The immigrant was Adolph Dalmbert who came directly to Indiana in the 1850s.

How We're Related

bee and deedee

L to R My great aunt (Pinky), grandmother (Jeanette), and great grandmother (Emma)

Emma Dalmbert married Lewis Lehman on February 16, 1887 in Edinburg, Indiana. Their marriage united two families that had also had ties back in Europe. Caroline, the mother of Emma's father, Adolph, was also Lewis' father's first wife (but not Lewis' mother) and Adolph had undoubtedly been instrumental in getting Lewis to immigrate to Indiana. Adolph was a well-established businessman in the Columbus, Indiana area and, as the wedding write-up said, Lewis was "one of the most promising and successful young business men of Columbus."

Emma led a long and interesting life. An article in the local newspaper in Aug 1908 said that Emma was a capable driver and is "capable of driving a machine on almost any kind of road" as shown in the photo above.

In 1907 Emma worked as the secretary in the City Skating Rink Company.

But by 1909 the marriage had fallen on hard times and in October Emma filed for divorce. What followed was a long, nasty, and very public proceeding that was eventually settled in November 1910.

Emma married Edgar Rickmeyer, a Columbus optometrist, in 1919. He died in 1924.

Emma lived to be 96 having lived most of her life in Columbus.


A French image

French connection

Adolph Dalmbert married Estella Hart in 1865. After Estella died in 1896, Adolph married May George in 1903.

Adolph's family's roots are in the Alsace region on the German/French border. Adolph, immigrated to America in 1854. He was apparently following his older sister Emilie who emigrated earlier and married Joseph Zeiler who was a merchant in Rising Sun, Indiana. Adolph worked for Joseph in Rising Sun and when Joseph relocated to Cincinnati, Adolph moved to Edinburg, Indiana and opened a dry goods store there.

Adolph later became a merchant in the Columbus, Indiana area. He operated a dry goods store and also ran the Columbus woolen mill that made jeans, blankets flannels and yarns that was destroyed in a fire in 1881.

Previous to Adolph’s emigration, his father, Joseph, died and Caroline remarried Isaak Lehmann. They had a son, Charles. Back in Germany, Caroline died and Isaak remarried and had a son, Lewis Lehman. Adolph was responsible for the later immigration to the Columbus area of both Charles Lehman and , and Lewis Lehman as well as another relative, Max Dalmbert. At various times during his life, Adolph was involved with business partnerships with all three men.

A dalmbert image

Adolph remembers having voted for Lincoln, and having shaken hands with Lincoln in Cincinnati when a young man. But in a local newspaper interview in 1879, he remembers Grant as the best president in American history. Adolph was himself involved in local politics in Columbus and was a city councilman in the late 1870s.

Adolph Dalmbert passed away at age 97 at his home in Hope, Indiana in 1932.


Joseph Dalmbert married Caroline Gottshalk in Mannheim, Germany on May 4, 1829.

Joseph was born in 1793 just after the French Revolution in Mutzig, France, part of the Bas-Rhin or Lower Rhine area. This area went back and forth between Germany and France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but during Joseph’s life was part of France. However, Joseph seems to have lived most of his life in Germany. In 1825 he was a jeweler in Mannheim, Germany. But he was married in 1829 and his son, Adolph, was born in Magdeburg which is 500 kilometers northeast of Mannheim. Joseph died at 43 years of age.

Records show that Joseph was the son of Mathias Dalmbert and Josephine Mayer. There is also significant DNA evidence to show that Joseph was connected to the family of Mathias Zadoc Lazare Dalmbert.

Caroline Gottshalk married Joseph Dalmbert in Mannheim, Germany on May 4, 1829. Their son, Adolph, immigrated to America in 1854 and became a merchant in the Columbus, Indiana area. Previous to his emigration, Adolph's father, Joseph, died and Caroline remarried Isaak Lehmann. They had a son, Charles who presumably at Adolph's invitation also immigrated from Germany to Indiana in 1858 and became a partner with Adolph in the dry goods trade. Back in Germany, Caroline died and Isaak remarried and had a son, Lewis Lehman. He also left Germany in 1871, again presumably at Adolph's urging, and also became a partner with Adolph in Columbus.

Caroline's parents were Abraham Gottschalck and Gertrude Stern from Worms, Germany, just north of Mannheim. During the first decades of the 19th century Jews were forced by law to take on full civil names. Abraham's surname was changed from Alsens to Gottschalck.


Mathias Zadoc Lazare Dalmbert married Josephine Merlé Mayer

In Napoleonic France of 1804 to 1814, Napoleon decreed that all Jews would have to conform to social codes, including using family names, not patronymics, meaning Jews would not use names derived from their fathers. On July 20, 1808 Mathias Lazare officially changed his name to Mathias Lazar Dalmbert. Where that name came from seems to be lost. One possibility is that he chose the name of a famous French mathematician who died in 1783 named Jean le Rond d'Alembert.

Mathias was born in Mutzig in the Alsace region of France. His youngest children were born in Mutzig and Strasbourg, France. Mathias worked as a contractor of animal fodder in Strasbourg. Records show that he was a controller of military supplies in the Kingdom of Westphalia, a short-lived vassal state of the First French Empire that only existed from 1807 to 1813. In 1809 is family are all living together in Mannheim, Germany where he is recorded in 1825 as a merchant. He died in 1830.


A Dalmbert image

Synagogue of Mutzig

Lazard Aron Mayer married Pesselé in 1754 in the Alsace region of France. He was a banker in Mutzig. He was also a rabbi, a Talmudist scholar, a director of the Jewish school in Rosheim (near Strasbourg), attendant (gabbai) for synagogue services. The family of Aron Meyer of Mutzig was one of the grandes familles. In 1784, the Jewish community in Mutzig counted more than 300 members. A synagogue was built at the request of Aaron Meyer, deputy general of the Jewish nation in Alsace. A complaint filed with the authorities on September 23, 1694 for vandalism "in the Synagogue" suggests that an older temple may have existed before the current building.


Aaron Mayer married Kendel Moch in 1730. He was General Counselor of the Jewish nation and Attendant of Haute-Alsace, Jewish Agent of Mutzig.


The Pessels Family

The earliest location for the Pessels/Besselsohn family is Fürth in northern Bavaria, Germany in the mid-19th century.

How We're Related

Jeanette Pessels married Ignatz Lehmann on December 25, 1854.


Sussman Besselsohn married Babette Wedeles on November 19, 1828.


Jakob Bessels married Rachel Bruell on February 6, 1783. This was Jakob's third marriage. Together they had six children, three boys and three girls.

Stevens/Lehman/Pessels /Bruell

The Bruell Family

The Bruell/Brillin family can be traced back to a 17th century rabbi in Worms, Germany.

How We're Related

Jachet Bruell married Jakob Bessels on February 6, 1783.


Wolf Bruell married Delze


Sussman Brillin married Roesle Loeser


Simon Wolf Brillin married Hannah


Isaac Brillin married Sara Oppenheimer in 1655. He was a rabbi who died in Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg.


Meschullam Ben Isak Brillin married Hindchen. He was a rabbi in Worms from 1637 to 1652 and in Fulda from 1652 to 1660. Worms has one of the oldest Jewish communities in Germany. Rabbi Brillin's time in Worms would have been during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) that devastated Central Europe. Worms suffered severely. During the war the Jews of the city were compelled to pawn even the silver of the synagogue in order to raise the contributions exacted from them.

Fulda had a significant Jewish population; there were 75 Jewish families living in Fulda in 1633 (compared with 292 Christian households). Jews of Fulda dealt in wine-retailing. The whole community, apart from five families, was expelled in 1677.

Meschullam's brother, Asriel, was also a rabbi, in his case in Heidingsfeld from 1657-1659. When in 1565 the Jews of the nearby bishopric of Wuerzburg were expelled, many settled in Heidingsfeld.

Stevens/Lehman/Pessels /Bruell/Oppenheimer

The Oppenheimer Family

The Oppenheim(er) family was a very old family with branches throughout Europe.

How We're Related

Sara Oppenheimer married Isaac Brillin in 1655 in Worms, Germany.


Simon Wolf Oppenheimer married Edel Bacharach


Loeb Joseph Iehuda Oppenheimer married Frumet Ballin. He died here in 1655, was head of the church and was marked on the tombstone as "the God-fearing, wise one".

Frumet is of possible Davidic descent via Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, 1040-1105) i.e., the lineage of King David.


Moshe Oppenheim zum Schwert married Hindlen Friedberg. He was a cloth merchant (silk, laces and fabrics) and in 1590 was one of the highest taxable persons in the Jewish community. His fortune was estimated at 90,000 guilders.

The town of Friedberg is north of Frankfurt, and was for many centuries the home of a large Jewish community which always maintained close links with the community in Frankfurt. Numerous Jewish families and individuals migrated from there to Frankfurt, as had Hindlen's parents, and many like them retained the Friedberg family name.


Juda Oppenheimer married Rivka Cahn after 1537 in Worms, Rhineland-Palatinate. The Frankfurt branch of the Oppenheimer family was founded by Löb (Juda) Oppenheimer. He and his wife moved to Frankfurt from Heidelberg in 1531. They had three sons.

Originally Cahn, Cahen, Cohen or Katz was not the name of an individual family but the Hebrew term for the tribe of priests, and thus of every Biblical Jewish family which belonged to the priesthood. The name Katz derives from a contraction of the Hebrew title Cohen Zedek ("the righteous priest").

While the Cahn family name always indicates descent from the original priestly tribe, the majority of priestly families have over the years adopted other family names.

The Cahns were amongst the wealthiest members of the community in 1555.


A Oppenheimer image

Rotes Schwert, Frankfurt

The Jewish population was forced to live for over 400 years in Frankfurt' s Judengasse (literally, Jews' Alley or Jew Street). It was located outside the city walls in the East End of the city of Frankfurt. It was about 330 m long, 3-4 meters wide, and had three town gates. These were locked at night and on Sundays and (Christian) holidays; when they were closed, the Jewish population was essentially locked in.

One of the houses in the Judengasse was called the "Rotes Schwert" or Red Sword. From 1550 to 1700 the house was occupied by members of the Oppenheimer family and the founder of a branch of the family, Mosche zum Schwert. ********

Meir Oppenheimer married Gutlin Weisenau.

Gutlin's father, Simon von Weisenau, was considered the richest representative of Frankfurt Jews. At the end of the 15th century he built a house named the Red Deer or Roter Hirsch. There he led a very lavish lifestyle, as is evident from a report on the brilliant wedding feast that he organized for his granddaughter in 1504. Many foreign Jews were invited who were dressed in precious robes, even some counts, i.e. Christians, took part in the celebration. Simon himself wore a fur. With this display of magnificence, he violated the general clothing and luxury regulations that existed at the time, which allowed each class only a certain amount of luxury granted to them. The spiritual court in Mainz even had the representatives of Frankfurt Jews summoned.

Simon Weisenau played a certain role in the fight against Johannes Pfefferkorn, a German Catholic theologian and writer who converted from Judaism and actively preached against the Jews. This earned Simon, together with other Jews, a summons to the imperial court.

On March 3, 1523, Simon Weisenau's house and two neighboring houses burned down. Much of Simon's precious and luxurious possessions fell into flames. Apparently, Simon couldn't cope with this stroke of fate. He died shortly afterwards.

Stevens/Lehman/Pessels /Bruell/Oppenheimer/Bacharach

The Bacharach Family

The Bacharach family name comes from the town of this name on the Rhine. Together with Heidelberg, this had long been a major center of the Palatinate Jews.

Jews with the name Bacharach lived in Frankfurt even before the creation of the Judengasse.

How We're Related

Edel Bacharach married Simon Wolf Oppenheimer


Schmul Bacharach married Hindel Brusel


Mendlin Bacharach married Edel Weissenburg about 1548.


Isaac Bacharach married Brendel

Stevens/Lehman/Dalmbert /Hart

The Hart Family

The Hart family can be traced back to the Irish immigrant Patrick Hart. His descendants migrated west from Virginia to Indiana.

How We're Related

Estella Hart married Adolph Dalmbert on April 3, 1845 in Indiana. Estella is the granddaughter of Scots-Irish immigrants (Patrick Hart and Lewis Forelander) who had moved to Indiana in about the 1840s from Virginia and the great granddaughter of German immigrants. Adolph and Estella spent most of their adult lives in Columbus, Indiana, alongside the Stevens family.


James Hart married Elizabeth Forelander on September 6, 1826 in Nicholas County, Virginia (in 1863 the western regions of Virginia split with the eastern portion politically to form West Virginia). In about 1830 he and his brother, Andrew, were apprenticed as saddlers in Liberty, Indiana.

He relocated to Greenfield, Indiana in 1833. The 1850 census listed his occupation as painter. He owned a tavern in Greenfield that was considered a prime stop along the old National Road (now US 40). Greenfield is known for being the birthplace of the "Hoosier Poet" James Whitcomb Riley.

James was the commander of the Indiana State Militia and was active in politics being the Justice of the Peace in Hancock County. In 1838 he was a delegate at the Indiana Whig Convention. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for Indiana state senator in 1851 as in Independent Democrat, the party that stood opposed to opening the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska to slavery. He died soon after that race at the age of 48.


Patrick Hart married Isabella Rollyson in 1794 in Monroe, (West) Virginia.

According to Minnie Belle Mitchell, Patrick Henry Hart sailed to America on his uncle’s ship from Limerick, Ireland. He settled in Virginia and became a merchant. He married Isabella, the daughter of John and Isabella Rollyson in Monroe County, Virginia.

Hart image

Patrick Hart in Lt. Col. Darke's regiment

Patrick's son, Andrew, later claimed and document's like the one at right substantiate that Patrick had been a soldier under General St. Clair during the Indian Wars that followed American independence. On November 4, 1791, along the banks of the Wabash River (just 50 miles south of present-day Fort Wayne, Indiana), the United States suffered the greatest defeat ever inflicted upon it by American Indians. During this two-hour, hard-fought action, nearly 2,000 regulars, levies (conscripted soldiers) and militia were utterly routed by a force about one-half that number. This large alliance of American Indians, led by Shawnee chief Weyapiersenwah (Blue Jacket) and Miami chief Mishikinakwa (Little Turtle), was comprised of seasoned volunteer warriors from nine different American Indian tribes, including the Wyandots, Seneca, Cherokee, Ojibwe, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Shawnee, Delaware, and Miami. Lieut. Col. William Darke's 1st regiment of levies, including Patrick, suffered largest defeat ever inflicted on the United States Army by American Indians. Patrick must have had a bit of the luck of the Irish. Of the 1,000 officers and men that were attacked, only 24 escaped unharmed.

Stevens/Lehman/Dalmbert /Hart/Forelander

The Forelander Family

The Forelander progenitor in America, Lewis, is often described as having come from Holland but it seems more likely that he was from Ireland like Patrick Hart.

How We're Related

Elizabeth Forelander married James Hart on September 6, 1826 in Nicholas County, Virginia.


Lewis Forelander married Susan Spahr in Monroe, (West) Virginia on June 12, 1804. He was described as a wealthy tanner.

A year before her death at 95, Minnie Belle Mitchell and longtime resident of Greenfield, Indiana and a biographer (and friend) of James Whitcomb Riley wrote a genealogy of the Hart and Forelander families.[1] In it she says that the Forelanders were of Scots-Irish descent (many sources state that Lewis Forelander emigrated from the Netherlands). According to her the Harts and the Forelanders came from Limerick County Ireland. Both immigrants, Lewis Forelander and Patrick Henry Hart, settled in Monroe County Virginia (today West Virginia) in the late 18th century. The family came to Johnson County, Indiana in 1839 after Lewis' death.

A story about Lewis says a lot about the western expansion of settlement in the new Republic. In the early 1800s Lewis purchased 2,000 acres in a tax sale in what was then Virginia without any knowledge of where it was located or its value. Soon after purchasing the land Lewis moved farther west, leaving his land behind. About 1875 some of Lewis' heirs were informed that they had title to a large tract of land in West Virginia. They subsequently subdivided and sold the property, a true windfall.

DNA evidence shows a strong connection with Joshua Lowe (1813-1896). But I could find no family tree connection to Joshua. One intriguing possibility is that Joshua is the illegitimate son of Lewis Forelander who lived in Monroe County, Virginia (now West Virginia) at the time of Joshua’s birth. We know that Joshua’s nominal father, Thomas’s land "more or less" joined the land of Lewis Forelander. Lewis would have been about 30 at the time of Joshua’s birth. Maybe Lewis and Thomas’s wife Rachel took that secret to their graves. If this is true, then Joshua’s mother Rachel is the daughter of the sister of Lewis’ wife Susanna (Spahr) and Joshua is both Lewis’ son and nephew.

Stevens/Lehman/Dalmbert /Hart/Rollyson

The Rollyson Family

There are many possibilities for the origins of the Rollyson family but all are unproven.

How We're Related

Isabella Rollyson married Patrick Hart on May 13, 1794 in Monroe, (West) Virginia. It is quite likely that Isabella is the sister of John Harwood Rollyson who was also in the same region of Virginia at that time (and named a daughter Isabel).


John Rollyson married Elizabeth. He is said to have died in the Revolution serving in Capt. Samuel Lapsley's Company of the 12th Virginia Regiment.

There has been speculation that John Rollyson is descended from William Roleston and Elizabeth Skinner of Boston or John Roulston, I but there is no confirmation.

Stevens/Lehman/Dalmbert /Hart/Forelander/Spahr

The Spahr Family

The Spahr family and many of the families that they married spent at least 250 years in the Württemberg region around Stuttgart, Germany before coming to the United States around 1750. Descendants have spelled their names Spahr, Spawr, and Sparr.

How We're Related

Susan Spahr married Lewis Forelander in Monroe, (West) Virginia on June 12, 1804.


John Spahr married Mary Niedback on November 4, 1781 in Salisbury, Pennsylvania. John was a Revolutionary War veteran and fought in the battles of Monmouth Court House and Princeton and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. John was also a Virginia slave owner where he had relocated in 1797. In his will, he left "my black man Davie" to his wife, Mary. He is given "liberty to choose his master at the decease of my wife."

Mary is the daughter of German immigrants Jacob and Mary Neidback (sometimes shown as Neidhawk) who settled in Brecknock Township, Pennsylvania. The first tax list in 1752 in Brecknock Township contained 36 names, all of German, Alsatian, and Swiss origin. There is a Niedhawk Lane there today, presumably where they lived.


Johann Frederick Spahr married Anna Schnaeder on October 16, 1750 in New Holland, Pennsylvania. Johann Frederick arrived in America with his parents around 1737.

A note on German names

When baptized, children were usually given two or more given names. Which name they actually went by can vary by location and time period. In many areas, however, it was common for the child to be called by the second name. For example, if the first two males born in a family were named Johann Christoph and Johann Friedrich, they were usually called by their second given names. I'll use that convention here.


Johann Georg Spahr married Catherine Kauffman on June 23, 1723 in Waldenburg, Germany. In 1737 the family came to America and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, later moving to York County, Pennsylvania which still today is Pennsylvania Dutch country. The expression "Pennsylvania Dutch" refers to the German settlers, known endonymically as Deitsch (in the principal dialect they spoke, (Palatine German) or Deutsch (in standard German); it does not refer to people from the Netherlands.

Georg was a wheelwright and wagon maker, later a farmer. Georg and his wife Catharine were members of the Strayer's Church in Dover Township. Georg was one of the first elders there. They had 17 children - 10 sons, 7 daughters. Both Georg and his wife are buried at the old Strayer Church cemetery.

Johann's wife, Maria Catherine Kauffman, was apparently a very robust woman. Not only had she had born ten children before immigrating to America, withstood the rigors of a dangerous ocean voyage, traveled into the wild interior of a relatively pristine and hostile frontier, she also bore another seven children after arrival, and lived until just after America declared its independence from Great Britain...July 16, 1776.

A historical note

Germans were lured to Pennsylvania by founder William Penn. They were mainly from the southwestern Palatine region of Germany, where the soil was similar to that in central and eastern Pennsylvania. Penn provided the Germans a place to farm and a haven to escape religious persecution. When Penn offered those who are now known as Pennsylvania Dutch a new life in 1683, Germany was still forming its boundaries and government as a country.

Stevens/Lehman/Dalmbert /Hart/Forelander/Spahr /Schnaeder

The Schnaeder Family

The Schnaeder family has Swiss/German roots. The surname has been spelled many ways: Schnaeder, Schneider, Snader, Snyder, among others.

How We're Related

Anna Maria Margaretha "Margaret" Schnaeder married Frederick Spahr on October 16, 1750 in New Holland, Pennsylvania. She had immigrated to America as an infant with her parents in 1729.


A Swiss image

Swiss connection

Johan Christian Schnaeder married Susanna Ranck in 1727 in Neckarau, Germany. Christian's connection to Switzerland is tenuous since he was born there (near the German border) but was married and died in Germany. Christian and Susanna, along with 57 other Palatinates and their families including Christian's two brothers, sailed from Cowes, Isle of Wight in the ship "Allen" landing in Philadelphia on September 11, 1729. They made their way to Weberthal, Pennsylvania (now Weaverland) where their friends, named Weber, Swiss Mennonites, had settled a few years earlier.

They were followers of Huldrych Zwingli, a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland from the early 1500s. Followers are associated with the Reformed Church in America.

Stevens/Lehman/Dalmbert /Hart/Forelander/Spahr /Schnaeder/Ranck

The Ranck Family

The Ranck family may have had French Huguenot origins.

How We're Related

Susanna Ranck married Johann Christian Schnaeder about 1727 in Neckarau, Germany. Susanna's two older brothers, John Michael and John Philip, also immigrated to America in 1728 and 1729.


Hans Valentine Ranck married Margaretha Philippes on February 17, 1699 in Neckarau, Germany.

A note about bogus genealogy

History s full of people trying to make their family seem more important by fabricating bogus family histories or making imaginary ancestor connections to famous people. In American history tracing the family line to Mayflower passenger is a classic example.

The Ranck family is a good example. The majority of the “known” history of the Ranck family that has been circulating for over 100 years is based on made up stories.[2] In this case by Gustave Anjou, a noted purveyor of genealogical fraud. He has been characterized as a "charlatan operating on a relatively large scale," selling fabricated genealogies to Americans over three decades and advertising complete genealogies for a $250 fee. Although this history of Jean Valentine is probably false, I include it below.


A French image

French connection

Jean Valentine Ranc married Louise Casperson in the 1660s probably in Paris, France. He was reputed to be a Huguenot pastor who immigrated to Baden, Germany in 1685.

General History


Relations with Native Americans







The Pequot War

King Philip's War


Schleswig-Holstein immigration

Scots-Irish immigration

The Headright System

German Immigration

Great Migration

Massachusetts Bay Colony

Plymouth Colony


General Layout


[1] The Hancock Democrat Greenfield, Indiana 09 Feb 1956

[2] What do we really know about …The Origins of our Ranck family?


Thanks to André Convers for his help in tracking down Dalmbert ancestors.

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