Jewish Roots: Surnames & Locations

We’ve always been aware that my husband, Alan has some DEEP Jewish roots – in fact, his AncestryDNA results came back with a whopping 96% Ashkenazi Jew heritage. One of the problems I am running into while trying to trace his history is the lack of information. A lot of the records of his family – at least the ones who came to the United States – just say “Austria” or “Hungary” as the place of birth. Some – like his Great Grandfather, Jacob’s Naturalization papers – list a town perhaps, but it’s hard to read and is impossible to find out about. Especially since I am really lacking in my historical knowledge/geography of the areas in question.

As I find locations & surnames, I’m going to list them here. Hopefully, I will be able to share this information with “cousins” and figure out these mysteries.


  • Bernstein
  • Brandt
  • Cagan / Kagan
  • Karp
  • Lipkin
  • Sonnenschein
  • Spegal / Spiegal
  • Zweigenbaum


  • Austria
  • Hungary
  • Russia
  • Stuchie, Russia
  • Brest-Litovsk, Russia
  • Zsofiafalva

Conquering my Genealogy to William (the Conqueror)

It’s one thing to claim ties to royalty – or Vikings – and it’s a totally different thing to actually prove it (as well as something thousands of years can be, that is.) According to my family tree – which is fairly well sourced up until the early 1600’s, I am either the 27th Great Granddaughter of William. Yes, that one. I’m going to break down those lines and see if I can actually prove it. Hopefully, triangulating “cousins” and using DNA mapping will help. My connection is through my maternal “PELTON” surname line. Honestly, most of my really cool ancestry comes from that line (thanks, Mom!)

Keep reading for the information … Continue reading

Distribution of the surname WETZOLD in Germany

Distribution of the surname WETZOLD in Germany:

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  • In Germany there are 60 phone book entries with the surname Wetzold and approximately 160 persons with this name.
  • They live in 36 cities and counties . Most occurrences are in Muldentalkreis reported, namely 9.
  • Other counties / cities with lots of occurrences are Unna (5), Lower Silesian and Main-Kinzig-Kreis with 2 entries.
  • Rainer Wetzold comes in Germany is most commonly found. Helga and Ursula are the next often found first name, followed by Theodor Michael , Michael , Brigitte , B√§rbel , Uta , Harald and Bernd.

Information via

Abraham ZWEIGENBAUM and Fanny KARP


I *finally* have a family photo from my husband Alan’s family to share! I’m tracing my husband’s Jewish roots and I asked one of his uncles to send me scans of any old family photos he might have. So, he took a few snapshots with his phone and sent them via email – but he is also scanning them and sending better copies (and more photos as he finds them!)

His mother Gail (who is my husband’s Grand-Aunt) just turned 100 years old this year!

This photo is of my husband’s Great Grandparents; Fanny KARP and Abraham ZWEIGENBAUM. According to some records they were married in 1908, but according to an Uncle they were married in 1906. Very close so I’m not worried about it right now. I’ll eventually order their certificate.

Abraham was born 03 Mar 1888 in Russia and died bef. 1978 in Woodbine, New Jersey

Fanny/Fannie was born around 1886 in Russia and died aft. 1949 in Bronx, New York

My husband, as well as his father (and uncle) alllll look like Abraham! So exciting to see photos ūüôā

Did My Ancestors Fight in the American Revolution?

With Independence Day coming soon I figured I would do a little in-depth research as to who in my family served in the American Revolution. I know there were some on my Mother’s PELTON side because I’ve come across an application for both “Sons of the American Revolution” and “Daughters of the American Revolution.” I’d love some more details about who they were and where they fought! and Fold3 are the websites that I used for the information I’ve gathered. I will cite the actual sources later in the post. The easiest way to start your own research is to figure out which relatives lived in the general time period of the war. In the case of the American Revolutionary War (also known as the American War of Independence) the years of the war were¬†1775‚Äď1783. ¬†The average age of the soldier’s varied according to this demographics survey – but generally speaking it was around the early to mid-twenties.

The colonies required militia service, generally, of males between sixteen and sixty, excepting clergy, college students, slaves, and, often, free blacks. In Virginia, service by Catholics was forbidden. [source] There were a few outliers of course –¬†Israel Trask, son of a Lieutenant who volunteered and served as a cook’s helper and messenger was 10 years old and¬†Samuel Whittemore was 78 years old.

So, one could assume that, if an ancestor was in between the ages ~16 to ~60 between 1775 and 1783, there was a very high chance they were in the military and therefore, fought in the Revolutionary War.

My Personal Revolutionary War Ancestry

Ithamar PELTON (my 5th great grandfather)
Birth 22 Nov 1740 in Saybrook, Essex, Connecticut
Death 16 Mar 1826 in Middlefield, Hampshire, Massachusetts

According to the D.A.R. Lineage Book (vol. 5) “Ithamar Pelton turned out at the Lexington Alarm and was a sea captain commanding privateers and taking many prizes during the struggle for independence.”

More about the Lexington Alarm

The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut

Do you have a Revolutionary War ancestor? Please share!



Plan of Boston Showing Existing Ways & Owners 1630-35-40-45

These four maps of Boston, Massachusetts (MA), were published in 1905 by the Boston Municipal Printing Office, in a small booklet entitled “Series of Plans of Boston showing Existing Ways and Owners of Property 1630 – 1635 – 1640 – 1645.” Compiled by George Lamb, from Town Records, Book of Possessions, Massachusetts (MA) Bay Records, Savage’s Winthrop, Lechford’s Diary, Aspinwall’s Notarial Records and Suffolk County Deeds. Property owners’ names are shown as of 1630, 1635, 1640, 1645.

Continue reading

Pelton’s in Leicestershire, England circa 1600’s

“Calendars of wills and administrations relating to the county of Leicester, proved in the Archdeaconry court of Leicester, 1495-1649, and in the Peculiars of St. Margaret Leicester, Rothley, Groby, Evington, and the unproved wills etc., previous to 1801. All now preserved in the Probate registry at Leicester” (full text¬†ebook)

Series II Transcripts of Wills 1500 Р1558 (pdf ebook, non-searchable)

  • 1551 – Pelton, John ; Wigstone
  • 1587 –¬†Pelton, Wm. ; Leicester 46
  • 1636 –¬†Pelton, Wm. ; Peathnge parva 121
  • 1642 –¬†Pelton, Wm. ; Leicester 3


John PELTON – Crossing the Pond

There are some mentioned of the Pelton surname originating in Essex, England – but there is no proof as to whether our first ancestor in America – John Pelton – actually came from Essex. So, in order to figure out his origin we need to look at the facts that we already know. If you are researching this person please feel free to leave a comment and share what you know! Remember – facts only! We want cited sources.

John Pelton

Birth: circa 1616 in England

Immigration/Emigration: Between 1620-1650 from Leicestershire, England (source 3)
*** work-in-progress: Pelton’s in Leicestershire, England circa 1600′s

Marriage: Susannah Way(e) in 1645 (source 2)

Death: 23 JAN 1681 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts (source 1)


  1. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 for John Pelton (document)
  2. U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700 for John Pelton (document)
  3. Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England, 1620-1650 (document) (ebook)


“A genealogical dictionary of the first settlers of New England showing three generations of those who came before May, 1692, on the basis of Farmer’s Register (1860)” by James Savage (ebook)

PELTON, JOHN, Boston, very early, had est. describ. in the book of
possns. rem. to Dorchester, his eld. s. John was bapt. 2 Mar. 1645.
In his will of 3 Jan. 1681, pro. 10 Mar. foil, he names w. Susanna, s.

“Genealogy of the Pelton family in America : being a record of the descendants of John Pelton who settled in Boston, Mass., about 1630-1632, and died in Dorchester, Mass., January 23rd, 1681” by J.M. Pelton (ebook)

“Records relating to the early history of Boston .. (1876)” (ebook)

“Records of the First Church at Dorchester, in New England, 1636-1734” (ebook)

More Information:

  • WikiTree Page for John Pelton
  • First Parish Church of Dorchester, Massachusetts (website)


Countries of Origin

All my life, my mother has told me that our family is “English, Irish, German and Holland-Dutch” …. Funny thing is, my father says the same thing.

Thanks to research (most of which done at I’ve found the English (both sides, although Mom’s is more documented), the Irish (I have a Great-Grandmother on Dad’s side who was born in Ireland – but no other information), the German (mostly documented on Dad’s side but I have some records on Mom’s side) and PLENTY of Dutch (Holland) on Dad’s side (but nothing from Mom’s side yet).

English – Pelton, Way(e), Mann

Irish – (wife of) Mann

Germany – Wetzold, Fleischhauer

Holland – Blauvelt

Those are the MAIN surnames I am looking into. There are obviously plenty of offshoots though. ¬†I realized recently that I really don’t know ANYTHING about Holland.

Holland¬†is a region and former province located on the western coast of the¬†Netherlands. The name¬†Holland¬†is also frequently used as a¬†pars pro toto¬†to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. This usage is generally accepted, but some individuals, particularly from the other parts of the Netherlands, dislike the use of “Holland” as a substitute for “the Netherlands”.[2]

From the 10th to the 16th century, Holland proper was a unified political region within the Holy Roman Empire as acounty ruled by the Counts of Holland. By the 17th century, Holland had risen to become a maritime and economic power, dominating the other provinces of the newly independent Dutch Republic.

Today, the former¬†County of Holland¬†roughly consists of the two Dutch provinces of¬†North Holland¬†and¬†South Holland, which together include the Netherlands’ three largest cities: the¬†capital city¬†of¬†Amsterdam; the¬†seat of government¬†of¬†The Hague; and¬†Rotterdam, home of¬†Europe’s largest port.

Thanks Wikipedia!