Tuesday, September 29, 2015


As I've blogged previously, a long time ago, Jacob Hummel had 13 children.  I descend from Jacob's son Daniel. I've discovered family members previously from Jacob's son David, who settled in MO.

About a year ago, quite out of the blue, I received a phone call.  The person on the other end asked if I am Todd Hummel; I answered yes (I was thinking I was talking to a customer).  The person then asked if I am the one who writes this blog!  He had my attention.  His name is Jeff, he's about my age (not telling...), and he is a descendent of another of Jacob's sons, Isaac.

Isaac Hummel was the last surviving child of Jacob Hummel, of Robeson Township, Pennsylvania, he settled in, and died in, Stephenson County, IL, in 1904.  Daniel Hummel, my 3rd great grandfather, was the second-to-last surviving child, passing December 9th, 1899.  Jeff and I are 5th cousins.

Thus began a dialogue, starting with a letter Jeff had to share, written by Daniel to Isaac's son, Daniel's nephew, Benjamin Franklin Hummel.

Earlier this week, Jeff was able to come across the country, to make a pilgrimage to the site of Jacob's farmstead, from whence this great Hummel Family spread across the country, and to pay his respects to Jacob at his final resting place.

Proud of my Hummel Family, it was a privilege for me to spend the day with my cousin, to show him sites of historical family interest, and then to invite him to my dad's place for a family party.  The last known contact between these two branches of the family was about 130 years ago, when Daniel wrote that letter to Benjamin Franklin.

Both of us share a vision of finding more family, and hopefully, not too many years hence, have a big Hummel Family Reunion, the kind of vast family reunions that used to be not uncommon.

Are you a member of this Hummel Family?  If you are, I'd like to invite you to join the conversation. Please feel free to contact me:

Todd Hummel
7 Red Tail Ct. 
Hamburg, PA 19526

I hope to hear from you.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Interesting 1900 Census

The 1900 Census, enumerated June 1, 1900, can look confusing to one who is not completely familiar with this family.  First, a look at the Census record:

There are two inaccuracies with this Census: 

1.       At the time of this Census, while this was his official residence F. Pierce Hummel was a fugitive from justice.  He was missing from December 1899 to September, 1900, when he was captured in Allentown.

2.       Pierce’s wife, Bertha (Kepner) Hummel, is not listed.  She was in fact living in the home at the time.

Also missing is Wayne Hummel, Pierce’s son, Annie’s husband, “Charles” father, and George’s brother, making it look as if George S. was Annie’s husband.  According to this census Wayne was in Berks County Prison at the time.
It is interesting that A. Monroe Moser and his daughter, Irene were boarders in the Hummel household: 5 years later Bertha divorced Pierce and married Monroe Moser.
Among other points-of-interest in this Census lies this point: 

This Census indicates that Wayne Errol Hummel was originally named Charles Pierce Hummel. 

The person in question here is my granduncle Wayne Errol Hummel.  Wayne was my Pop-Pop’s older brother, born March 19, 1900. No Wayne E. Hummel shows in this census, though.  Nor has there been any other record of a Charles P. Hummel.  What’s up with that?
There are clues, though, to be found in the census records:
§  First, Annie, his mother has been married 1 year
§  Annie has had 1 child; there are no twins
§  Annie’s 1 child is living
§  This child’s name is Charles P. Hummel –the middle name is probably Pierce, named after both grandfathers, Charles Snyder and Pierce Hummel
§  The child was born March 1900
Since no other mention of a Charles P. Hummel can be found, and since every other record for a Hummel boy born March 1900 is Wayne E. Hummel, either of two things can be safely assumed that Charles was renamed Wayne.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Back to Blogging, With Stories to Tell

When I found what appears to be my original Hummel ancestors I kind of didn't know what to blog after that; however, I didn't stop researching my ancestry.  I've uncovered a lot of leaves for the tree, stories and tidbits of ancestors, great uncles, great aunts, and cousins various-times removed.  Much of it Hummel, but some that isn't.

In the process, I have also come into contact with distant relatives, mostly Hummel relatives.  There are some stories there, too.  I probably won't blog much about them, since they're living and deserve their privacy, but they may find these stories interesting, which is why I'm back to blogging.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why I Believe I Have Found the Correct Ancestors of Jacob Hummel

While I still need to do more research to solidify the connection that the Michael Hummel who died in 1792 is the same Michael Hummel who was born in 1755, I am 90% sure that he is, and that these early ancestors are the correct ancestors of my family:

Based on several United States Census records, Jacob Hummel was born in Pennsylvania in 1778. As I have blogged before, I have found, through Jacob's 1866 funeral record recorded by Reverend Aaron Leinbach, Jacob Hummel's parents were named Michael and Mary (Ziegler) Hummel. However, it has been very difficult trying to find any Michael Hummels in colonial America.

The big breakthrough on Michael Hummel was the 1792 probate document addressed “To Jacob Ziegler brother-in-law of Michael Hummel, late a Soldier in the service of the United States.”

This was huge, because in my research I have found only one Revolutionary War record for one Michael Hummel.  He served in the 6th Company, 2nd Battalion, Berks County Militia, at least from 1777-1778.

The 6th Company, 2nd Battalion, Berks County Militia was formed in Richmond Township, Berks County, PA, where a Johan Michael Hummel (all of his brothers were born 'Johann' something) was born and baptized in 1755, the son of Georg Philip Hummel. At this time little is known of this Michael, but he would have been in 21 when Pennsylvania authorized the formation of the local militia.  Each militia company was formed in the local townships.  The closest for Michael, if he moved from Oley Township to Windor -and his family- would have been this Richmond Township militia company.

(This record has been previously subscribed to a Michael Hummel who was born in 1723, who left Birlenbach, Germany with his wife Anna Maria Margaret (Unknown), and settled in what is now Lower Brunswick Township, Schuylkill County. I believe this is incorrect: if that Michael Hummel enlisted in the militia, he would have been in either the 1st or 2nd Companies, 3rd Battalion, which were formed in Brunswick Township.  As a large landowner, he would have also probably been an officer, not a private.)

Anecdotaly,  it seems to have been a very strong tradition to use common family names such as Jacob, Daniel, Philip, Peter, Maria, when naming children. I find these names in the families of Jacob Hummel, Georg Philip's nephew, who settled in Windsor Township, Berks, then Snyder County, and the family of Jacob Hummel (my 4th great grandfather) who settled in Robeson Township, Berks County. The naming patterns are so similar that I have had to be very careful not to confuse the two families.

If I am correct -and I believe I am- then Michael Hummel’s father was Georg Philip Hummel.  Philip Hummel (as he was known) was born in Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany, in 1724, the 2nd-oldest son of Johannes Jacob Hummel. 

Jacob  Hummel (as he was also known) traveled down the Rhine with his family, left Rotterdam and arrived in Phildelphia in 1743.  Based on what remains of his will, he settled in Windsor Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania probably near what is now Lenhartsville, PA.

According to will records, When Jacob Hummel died, he willed his farm to his son Jacob.  Philip moved and settled in Exeter Towhship, probably near Oley Township, in Berks County.  He died in 1758.  According to will records his older brother, Jacob Hummel from Windsor Township found a guardian (looks like named Knab) from Oley Township to raise his 3 children, one of whom was Michael.

This also means that we descendents are all the children of Jacob Hummel, my 7th-great grandfather, the ancestor who first settled in the New World.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Zollernalbkreis, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

In 1743, the ship Rosanna, James Reason, master, arrived in Philadelphia from Rotterdam, carrying the family of Johannes Jacob Hummel. Why the Hummels left Zollernalbkreis, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany is unknown, I would like to believe for the freedom worship God as they believed, because Johannes must have already been highly successful in Germany; it was a huge financial undertaking to move a family of 7 from Germany to America. Legend has it that Johannes died enroute, but his family, along with his son, 19-year-old Georg Philip.

The family of Johannes Jacob Hummel settled near Moselem Springs, in Richmond Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania.

In 1749 Georg Philip Hummel married Maria Barbara Seb and they had the following children:

Maria Elizabeth
Johan Jacob in 1751
Johan Michael in 1755
Johan Philip in 1756

In 1758, Georg Philip, like his father, suffered a premature death, leaving his young family behind.

In 1777, as the American Revolution escalated, Michael enlisted in the 6th Company, 2nd Battalion, Berks County Militia, under Captain Michael Vogue. Sometime prior Michael married Mary Ziegler, and in February 1778, Jacob was born.

Like his father, and his father before him, Michael died prematurely in 1792, leaving his wife and 14-year-old Jacob.

Jacob grew to manhood and fathered 13 children with his wife Elizabeth. His 10th child was Daniel, who was a successful merchant, who had 2 sons, one of which was F. Pierce Hummel of Reading, PA, who had Wayne Hummel, who was the father of Monroe Hummel, my grandfather.

These are my ancestors.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Michael Hummel, My 5th-Great Grandfather, "A Soldier in the Service of the United States"

Over the years I have leaned that I should follow my gut-instinct; it seldom lets me down.  This was one of those times:

Colonial-era records of anyone named Michael Hummel in Pennsylvania are hard to come by; hard enough, in fact, that I had begun to have doubts that the Robeson Lutheran Cemetery's records were even correct naming his parents as Michael and Mary (Ziegler) Hummel.  However, recently, in trying to confirm the Robeson Lutheran Cemetery's type-written record, I discovered photocopies of the original hand-written records of a Rev. Aaron Leinbach, who performed Jacob Hummel's funeral, and confirmed that Jacob's parents were indeed Michael and Mary (Ziegler).

There are plenty of records of a Michael Hummel, born in 1723, who came to America in 1753 and settled in the mountains north of Port Clinton, PA and who's descendents still live in Northern Berks and Southern Schuylkill Counties.  However, what I know about him doesn't mesh with what I know about Jacob, so my gut instinct told me they probably aren't related, unless there is a Michael in-between (which is still possible).

I recently blogged about a record of a Michael Hummel who died in Lancaster County, PA, in 1792.  I discovered this record a while ago, and my gut has been nagging me to search for the substance behind this 1-line record.  So I finally sent en email to the Lancaster Archives for whatever record they have.  On Saturday I received the Letters of Administration, addressed as follows:

The magnitude of this breakthrough cannot be overstated!  Through these two records I have now confirmed, at least to my satisfaction:

  • Jacob Hummel was indeed the son of Michael and Mary (Ziegler) Hummel
  • Michael Hummel served in the United States (Continental) Army
  • Michael Hummel settled in Lancaster County, PA
  • Michael Hummel died in July 1792, when Jacob was only 14

Now I can focus my search for my 5th-Great Grandfather, Lancaster County resident Michael Hummel, Revolutionary War Veteran.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Royal St. John

This is another neat little gem!

Based on the two biographies I have of him, I have learned that my 3rd-great grandfather, Daniel Hummel, was an agent for the Royal St. John Sewing Machine Company, at 850 Penn St., Reading, after his term as Berks County Recorder of Deeds.  I have also learned that the Royal St. John Sewing Machine Co., for marketing, used to print trading cards which their agents could pass around. 

Well, in doing some random research I discovered that the Smithsonian has a digital image of a Royal St. John trading card from Daniel Hummel's store!

While I have the catalog reference record, I don't have library access to the Smithsonian's system, so I can't get the image myself.  I emailed their library staff; hopefully they will be helpful in obtaining it for me.

UPDATE: Courtesy of the Archives of the Smithsonian Insitution, here is the front of Daniel Hummel's Royal St. John sewing machine trading card: