Uldrich Winegar in the 1700s

June 24, 2009

At the end of the 1600s Ulrich and his family were located in Wurttemburg, Germany.  He and Anna had two daughters, Anna and Elizabeth, and a son Garrett, who were born between 1698 and 1705.

The Palatines

The Palatine region, where the Winegars settled, was torn by wars throughout most of the 1600s.  The Thirty Years War was from 1618-1648.  This was followed by other wars.  It is estimated that as much as 50% of the population lost their lives during these conflicts.  The ruler of the region broke with France, which infuriated Louis XVI.  He ordered the region burned to the ground, and two cities and 25 villages were reduced to ashes.  We don’t know if the Winegars lived in any of these areas.

At this time, the ruler controlled all the land.  Workers were heavily taxed to support the war effort and could only buy and sell through their landlord.  During 1708-1709, the region experienced a devastatingly cold winter.  The rivers froze and all the crops, including the vineyards, were destroyed.  Starvation was everywhere.

During this time, England was busy colonizing the New World.  Queen Anne saw the Palatines as a valuable source to populate the region and create wealth for England.  She had advertisements distributed throughout the Palatine region promising land in America.  Facing starvation in their own land, thousands responded.  The ruler prohibited migration and even threatened death to those caught leaving, but most ignored the threats.

To escape, the Palatines had to make a four to six week trip during the winter, up the Rhine River to Rotterdam, Holland.  The Dutch were unprepared for all the immigrants and quickly arranged to send them on to England.  England, likewise, was unable to handle so many sick and starving people.  As quickly as possible, they were relocated, many to the New World.  English sea captains were paid a “bounty” by the crown to recruit and transport colonists to America.  The Palantines who spoke only German signed English language contracts which commited them to pay for their passage perhaps from their labor in the new world where they were promised land. 

Most of the Palatines were sent to Pennsylvania, and they became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.  Ulrich and family were on the List of Palatines leaving England in June of 1709.  They went to New York.  On the list, Ulrich said he was 41 years old, of the Catholic Religion and gave his occupation as Husbandman and Vinedresser.  Being Catholic would have been unusual in that most of the Palatines were protestants and oppression by the Catholic Church was another reason for escaping from Germany.  We have no record of the family being Catholic in New York.

Conditions on the voyage were terrible.  Approximately one-sixth of the passengers were buried at sea.  When they arrived in the New World, the local population was so afraid of all the sickness on board that the passengers were quarantined on Governor’s Island for six months.  This was the first case of a quarantine of immigrants in America.

Eventually, in 1710, they reached the area where they were to settle.  The Palatines lived in camps across from each other on the Hudson River – the East Camp, where Ulrich lived with his family, and the West Camp.  The East Camp came to be called Germantown, New York.  It is said that, although people in the two camps could see one another across the river, they were unable to meet face to face except in the winter when they could cross on the ice.  Even with today’s modern roads and bridges, the distance is 17 1/2 miles between the two camps.  The campsites are memorialized in monuments, one bearing the names of the residents of the camps.   

East Camp Marker.  Photo by Sandra Winegar.

East Camp Marker. Photo by Sandra Winegar.

Note name "Winninger" in East Camp list, last name on second row from bottom.  Photo by Sandra Winegar.

Note name "Winninger" in East Camp list, last name on second row from bottom. Photo by Sandra Winegar.

View from East Camp to West Camp across Hudson River.  Photo by Sandra Winegar.

View from East Camp to West Camp across Hudson River. Photo by Sandra Winegar.

 Although we have no real information on life at Germantown, we do know they became tenants to the lord of the manor, Robert Livingston.  The colonists had been promised land but did not receive it until 1724, 14 years after arriving.   Ulrich, bitter that others had profited unfairly from his labor, sold his land the same year and relocated to the Oblong, which is now Amenia, New York.


Map showing Amenia and Germantown

Map showing Amenia and Germantown

Ulrich, his wife, and son Garrett moved from the East Camp (Germantown) to Amenia, a distance of about 50 miles,  in 1725.  At the time, there was only one other white person living in the area.  Ulrich obtained land from the Indians and built a house.  Later, when the area became part of the colony, he was able to purchase this land at a reasonable price.  Apparently, they got along very well with the Indians in that they had no need for blockhouses or forts although other nearby communities required them.  We know little about Ulrich’s life in Amenia, but he was known as being a very laborious man, possessed of an iron constitution and of great muscular power.

Anna died in 1735 and Ulrich in 1750.  They are buried in the family cemetery in Amenia.

Jim Winegar at Ulrich's grave.  Photo by Sandra Winegar.

Jim Winegar at Ulrich's grave. Photo by Sandra Winegar.

Winegars in the 1600s

June 23, 2009

Ulrich Winegar was the patriarch of the Winegar in America.  Almost all of the American Winegars descended from him.  We know very little about his early years.  He was born in 1668 in Zurich, Switzerland, and moved to the Wurttemburg region of Germany along the Rhine River (in the vicinity of Stuttgart and Heidelberg on the map).  Ulrich and Anna lived in the Palatine region where residents were called Palatines.  His first child Anna was born about 1698.

The name Winegar probably comes from Ulrich’s occupation as a vine dresser or worker in the vineyards.  The name may have been pronounced something like Vine-ak-er.  For at least the first four generations there was no uniform spelling of the name.  Since the family spoke German, it was as likely to have been spelled and pronounced with a V as with a W.  Early records show the name also as Weyniger, Winniger, Viniger, and even Von Wegener.

A vinyard on the Rhine River

A vinyard on the Rhine River

Coming to Wacousta – 1600s

June 22, 2009

During the 1600’s, European colonies were founded in the New World.  Among the earliest families to arrive in New England were the Daniels who settled in Dorchester and Milton, Massachusetts, and the Blisses who settled in Springfield, Massachusetts.

 The first Winegar in our records was Ulrich who was born in Switzerland in 1668 and by the end of the century was living in southern Germany under extremely harsh conditions.

 Our earliest record of the Stephensons was Henry who was married in 1691.  The Stephensons lived in Lincolnshire on the east coast of England.

Maps of England and Germany in the 1600s

Maps of England and Germany in the 1600s

Coming to Wacousta Intro

June 22, 2009

My grandparents, the Winegars, the Stephensons, the Daniells and the Blisses all settled in Wacousta, Michigan, a very small farming community.  The Winegars originally came from Switzerland and Germany and the other three families came from England.  How they all ended up in Wacousta has always been interesting to me.

I have genealogical information on all of the families dating back into the 1600’s.  What I propose to do is to trace the four families from my earliest records up to the present time, sharing not just genealogy but other facts of interest that I may have.  I am calling this history, Coming to Wacousta.  I plan to look at each century and to share where my ancestors were and what they were doing.  I did this on a web site about 15 years ago but unfortunately the site was lost and I have to reconstruct most of it.  I will be posting it as it is developed.

Ancestors of Donald Stephenson Winegar and Mary Daniells Winegar

June 20, 2009
Ancestors of Donald Stephenson Winegar

Ancestors of Donald Stephenson Winegar


Ancestors of Mary Daniells Winegar

Ancestors of Mary Daniells Winegar

These charts are included so that viewers can see who my ancestors are and have an understanding of what family lines I have information and pictures on.  The first pictures I posted on flicker.com are from a family photo album of Carey Reed Daniells and Catherine Stowell Daniells the grandparents of Mary.

As I add more pictures, I will provide information here as to what has been added.

Welcome to my genealogy blog

June 20, 2009


Daniells Mill, Wacousta, Michigan

Daniells Mill, Wacousta, Michigan

 I am the son of Donald Stephenson Winegar and Mary Daniells Winegar.  Both grew up in Wacousta, Michigan.  I have recently retired and have time to devote to genealogy.  My situation is quite different from most people getting involved in genealogy.  I am not seeking information on my ancestors but looking for a way to share and organize the information that I have.

On both sides of my family, a genealogist/historian preceded me.  My father, Donald S. Winegar, spent much of his retirement collecting data on the Winegars, the Stephensons and anyone who married into these families. My aunt, Betty Daniells, traced the Daniells genealogy back to the royalty of England.  Both of these historians collected their data in the era before the Internet, traveling to genealogical libraries and writing letters.

I inherited all of the data that that Donald and Betty collected.  I have an incredible amout of family information.  In particular, the Daniells saved everything related to their family.The majority of the data they collected has been entered into Family Tree Maker into a very large file.  I have a wealth of family pictures from the Winegars, Stephensons, Daniells, Blisses, Plowmans, and many others. 

My plan initially is to publish many of these pictures on the internet so they are available to those interested.  I am not familiar with the various internet tools so how I provide information will change as I get better. Right now, I am putting pictures on flickr.com under jswinegar.  They are tagged with Wacousta and Daniells.  I have 32 pictures on flickr that come from a family album of Carey Reed Daniells (1845-1912)and Catherine Stowell Daniells (1844-1923).

More information will follow.


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