Celebrating Oktoberfest in my tree!

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My personal family tree is quite built out, extending in some cases tens of generations. However, as is the case in some families, I am actually estranged from my biological father’s family including him. It’s ok, I’ve moved on! That part of my tree for some time has lacked “shaky leaves” on ancestry.com or any potential leads as I knew very little about that side or any maiden names. What I could recall since childhood was the German name Eichler (my paternal grandmother’s maiden name I thought) which for me helped define my “mixed bag of ethnic make up” of being part-German. When asked about my ancestry, I would say “I am Irish, Scottish, French and German”, in the order of what I believe the percentage of that makeup is.
In my own tree research I tend to focus on the brick walls and uncovering interesting nuggets of historical significance or colorful stories. I haven’t tended to the other side of the tree so it in itself hit a brick wall. If it weren’t for my mom bringing to attention an Eichler obituary from back home, I might not have done anything until I had some spare time—that would be a while.
At first I couldn’t understand how the obit fit in, was she my grandmother’s sister or Aunt? My mom shared another surname Nash that I vaguely recalled hearing. Once I plugged those names in to my tree on ancestry.com, those shaky leaves started appearing. I kept checking and verifying each new discovery. Coupled with an online historical newspaper site I use frequently, I was able to piece together the Eichler history and what I found was amazing.
The first Eichler immigrant came from Neustadt, Prussia (where it’s wine not beer being celebrated!). This Eichler (my 3rd great grandfather) married a Barry from Ireland and started both a family and a family bakery in Utica, NY. With my penchant for pastries and cake (and celebration of wine), this explains a lot. {Quick historical note for family still in NY, the bakery was on Bleecker Street in the location where Chanatry’s eventually built their first grocery store.}
From the Eichler/Barry union came a son who married a Servatius. It was tracing the Servatius line back that I discovered additional immigrants from Prussia and Baden (Schrempf married Servatius). Familiar to my New York family (those old enough to remember ), the John J. Servatius Sons wallpaper and paint (hardware) store at 1036-38 Whitesboro St.Columbia Square was this family’s economic contribution to Utica.
So as I wrap up another October, it’s been quite exciting to learn about a previously unknown family tree branch and be able to honor all that is German (perhaps only 25% or so) in my DNA. I will raise my my glass of wein as I celebrate our own October fest of Halloween and candy!
What interesting discoveries have you made recently about your family?

2 thoughts on “Celebrating Oktoberfest in my tree!

  1. Nancy Robert

    I am intere d ted in Servatius family gyneology. My grandfather was George Servatius, he was one of the original sons that ran the wallpaper and paint store. Would like to find out more family history.

    Like

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