Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Michael Krenz on the Bark Jenny

said to be the bark Jenny

Early in February 1869, the bark Jenny departed from the port of Bremen, Germany, bound for New York. It arrived on April 16, 1869. Among the passengers were my great grandfather, Michael Krenz, and his young family.

(click to enlarge)

Michael was 32 years old. He'd been a laborer in Prussia. His wife Anna Louise was 30. Their first three children had died in infancy. They brought with them their fourth child, Gustav Emil, who was two years and six months of age, and their fifth, Wilhelm Martin, who was just three months old when the trip began.

In the course of researching my ancestry, I've often wondered what would motivate families to leave their homeland, their kin, and their way of life to come to a new and unknown country. The Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980) is an excellent resource for researching this kind of question. In a 20-page entry about Germans, Kathleen Neils Conzen explained that in 19th century Prussia, the growing Industrial Revolution, agricultural reform, and rural overpopulation were changing the old ways of life. Some people migrated to the cities to find work, but for others, emigration to America offered an opportunity to retain their familiar lifestyle. Readers who have questions about their own ethnic group may want to look for this book at their local library.

The Jenny would have looked like this bark-rigged vessel.*


*A "bark" has three masts, with the foremast and mainmast square-rigged and the mizzenmast fore-and-aft-rigged. Barks were sometimes rerigged as ships or vice-versa. A bark-rigged vessel could sail with fewer crew members than a ship-rigged vessel. Click here for more information about ships from Norway-Heritage.

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Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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