“Conundrum”—story in Mennonite Family History

Note: This story (written by “yours truly”) published in most recent issue of Mennonite Family History (January 2019).


My life has been quite boring for many months. Relocation has forced me to spend hours attempting to “get settled” again. The genealogy project was abandoned; the Digitized Library of Family History ignored. I confess that “I love genealogy.”  When I’m on Ancestry, or Family Search, I lose track of time; I spend hours adding records to the Frantz family tree.  Very unexpectedly I launched into another project simply because I received a brief email message complimenting me on Tepid Turkey,”  a story published in July 2018 Mennonite Family History.

First I answered the email and informed the individual of another story in the forthcoming issue of Mennonite Family History. Then I double-checked the link to Digitized Library. That prompted me to check other links within the Library (for validity) which led to the Millersville University  website and the Frantz Family Letters.  I don’t remember previously visiting that resource and I’ve never seen the Frantz letters. I read them with interest and recognized surnames that belong to my “tree.”

Next:  A search in Ancestry for the name “Letitia Frantz.” Quickly I had valuable information about her parents, siblings, her birth (1858), death (1931), profession: physician, interred in Longenecker Reformed Mennonite Cemetery, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Documenting her parents, and grandparents, was relatively simple and, as I suspected, hinted a connection to Immigrant Christian Frantz, brother of my Immigrant Michael Frantz. 

All day at the computer; I didn’t stop to eat until a severe thunderstorm (3:25 PM) interfered with Internet reception. During the day I searched every available pertinent “leaf”  (hint) displayed in Ancestry. I’m very selective about the information I add to my database. I found “suspect” information and ignored it. I hasten to say we have repetition of given names in the Frantz family; many men named Christian, Michael, John, Jacob, Henry, David,  and Daniel. Frequently researchers list the wrong man on their tree.

Almost without interruption, twelve hours later, I was reading additional details about the correspondence between Letitia and her family. This is interesting and worth checking the Internet link to “Millersville Meets the Women’s Medical College” in Friends Folio Newsletter, Spring 2007.  My day started, and ended, with Letitia Frantz, daughter of Andrew M. Frantz and Esther C. Landis.

A second day was devoted to the project. One hour was deemed “wasted” on MyHeritage website. Letitia Frantz did not appear (or I missed her?) on fifty pages (with twenty per page) of really boring information. Many duplicates and scanty details; tombstones appear to be the source of a lot of the information (including my parents). Perhaps I missed valuable information but I didn’t want to subscribe to another genealogy website.  

Obsessive-compulsive: I couldn’t walk away!! I returned to MyHeritage and signed up for “free” entrance (but was forced to use my credit card). What a scam!! Their information was an Internet link that directed me to Family Search, a totally “free” website. With a tidbit of information I returned to Ancestry and did a couple searches. I found promising information (but not entirely substantiated). Later that day I became very emotional (sobbing) because I located a valuable article and I direct the reader to Pioneer John Frantz on my Ancestry tree. (Here’s the web link if you have a subscription to Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/51857223/person/252021725239/story.) Why was I sobbing? The article was written by “cousin” Dwayne Wrightsman and he made reference to information I published in Frantz Families–Kith & Kin. By the end of the second day my conclusion: Letitia Frantz probably is a leaf on the same family tree but no confirmation. Find her pedigree on Family Search (https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/9WDD-4S7).

Not content with lack of specific data about her Immigrant progenitor, a third day was spent searching for more information. Hours on Family Search but nothing “fit” the details I was working with.  I was cross-referencing information published in Frantz Families–Kith & Kin, Vol. One, pp. 49-51. Hours turned into days; I couldn’t walk away from the computer as I entertained  every possibility. Collateral lines were searched and documented; variation of surnames explored. An in-depth search of the enormous amount of information scanned and published on Digitized Library of Family History. My early research was helpful but no answer to this question: “Is  ‘Pioneer John’ related to Immigrant Michael Frantz, Immigrant Christian Frantz, and Immigrant Baltzar Frantz?”

Days turned into weeks!! Messages were left with researchers and one dear lady was extremely helpful. Nothing conclusive about the lineage of Pioneer John Frantz but this statement: “Y-DNA which is males only… connects our line, as well as the line of John (1720-1787), to the families of Christian and Michael.  The problem is, who is John’s father? Is it enough to know that the lines ARE connected?  Sometimes it has to be.  So you can say with confidence that Letitia descends from the Frantz family of Basel, Switzerland.”



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