"Wir Unterschriebenen machen mit diesem bekannt, an das Amt Hochheim, darunter wir wohnhaft sein, sofern es uns vom Amtsschaffner erlaubt kann sein und Gott es nicht verhindert, uns mit unsern Haushaltungen nach Holland zu transportieren, deswegen ist unser Ersuchen an den Amtsschaffner, daß uns eine Attestation möchte erteilt werden, daß wir ungehindert an den Zöllen möchten passiert werden, dann wir gerne mit einem Abschied von unsern Nachbarn und Bekannten gehen wollen. Verhoffen auch, daß wir uns mit ihnen und sie mit uns gehalten haben, daß niemand deswegen werde zu klagen haben, und verhoffen, daß uns möchte zugelassen werden."
Kriegsheim den 8 Mai 1685
"We the undersigned, with this make it known to the office at Hochheim, under which jurisdiction we reside, as far as it can be allowed by the Amtsschaffner, and is not hindered by God, (our desire) to transport ourselves, along with our households, to Holland, and therefore it is our request of the official, that he grant us an attestation, that we might pass through customs unhindered; then, with a farewell from our neighbors and acquaintances, we would gladly leave. We also earnestly hope that we have good standing with them and them with us, that no one therefore would have any grievances, and we hope that this might be granted to us."
Hans Petter Umstatt
Widower 60 years of age
"We, the undersigned, herewith make known to the Hochheim administration under which we reside, in so far as it can be permitted us by the administrator (Amtsschaffner) and not forbidden by God, to transport ourselves and our households to Holland; therefore it is our request that the administrator supply us with a certificate (Attest) permitting us to pass unhindered through the customs; for we would gladly depart in good will with our neighbors and acquaintances, and we earnestly hope (verhoffen) that we have conducted ourselves towards them and they towards us in such fashion that no one has any complaint to make on that account; and we hope that it may be granted to us."
Wir Unterschriebene thun hiermit
zu wissen, daß wir uns schon vor etlichen Wochen bey Amptschaffner
Schmal angewandt unnd ersucht umb Erlaubnuß, daß
[gestrichen: wir] man uns von hier mitt unsern Haushaltungen
ziehen dürfen lassen, aber bisher keine Erlaubnuß
bekamen, so ersuchen wir den Außfautt zu Altzey auff Amptschaffners
sein Bege[h]ren, ob nicht einge Nachricht da sey [gestrichen:
daß] von Heidelberg dem Amptschaffner, unsere Sachen nach
Heidelberg bericht[et] hat. Sollte aber nichts da seyn, so wäre
unser Ersuchen an den Außfautt, er werde uns einen guten
Rath geben, was bei der Sach zu thun währe. Denn wir unsere
Sach jetzt darnach gerichtet haben, weil wir Auch Vertröstung
gehabt, daß wir nicht auffgehalten sollen werden, so ist
unsere Bitt und Ersuchen an Außfautt so er etwaß
Kriegsheim, den 11. Juni 1685
Es sind die Verlangen, daß wir außzigen und sie unsere Häuser dürfen beziegen Nemlich die Käuffer so keine Wonungen haben
Kriegsheim, 11 June 1685
It is requested that we move out and that the buyers would be able to move into our houses because they have no place to live.
Copies of the original passport requests were obtained for me by a dear friend in Germany, Katrin Siegels, from the Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe, Nördliche Hildepromenade 2, 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany. I chased these documents for nearly five years, knowing that they existed, but unable to find a reference in any American published work that contained the exact information I needed. I am extremely grateful to Paul Michel for quoting the archive reference numbers for each item. They are item number 77/4337, Fol 51 and 57 respectively.
I have requested permission from the Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe to show both full original documents on this site. It would certainly be in the best interests of the documents that they be viewable on the Internet rather than being repeatedly handled and copied. If permission is received, they will be added separately.
Paul Michel, "Täufer, Mennoniten und Quäker in Kriegsheim bei Worms, Das Täufertum bis zum 30 jährigen Krieg" ("Baptizers, Mennonites and Quakers in Kriegsheim Near Worms, The Practice of Baptism Up Until the 30 Years War,") published in "Der Wormsgau," 1965. This article was included in Michel's out-of-print and very difficult to find book CHRONIC VON MONSHEIM (Chronicles of Monsheim).
"Der Wormsgau" 7, 1965/66, pages 41-52 (Michel article), obtained from Hessische Landes- und Höchschulerbibliothck, Schloss, 64283 Darmstadt, Germany. Schloss means castle and it is the street address.
William I Hull, WILLIAM PENN AND THE DUTCH QUAKER MIGRATION TO PENNSYLVANIA, Swarthmore College, 1935.
NOTE: Hull makes an egregious error in naming Hans Peter CASSEL, rather than Hans Peter Umstatt, as the third signer of the first request, quoting erroneous information from an earlier source, 1929 Hubben. This is discussed further in the Hans Peter Bibliography. Consequently, Hull's index shows Cassel instead of Umstatt, so someone researching Hans Peter would neither find the information nor realize the error. Hull's translation of the first request appears on page 289 of his book. Apparently Hull never reviewed the original documents himself.
Charles R Haller, in ACROSS THE ATLANTIC AND BEYOND, The Migration of German and Swiss Immigrants to America, 1993, does name Hans Peter Umstatt as the third signer and mentions that the land transaction was made in Rotterdam. I am grateful to Mr. Haller, as this information was largely responsible for my pursuing both issues.
James M Duffin's work, "The First Map of Germantown, A Neglected Source," and its major importance to this project will be discussed in the Rotterdam piece.
Both Haller's and Duffin's work were quoted in "Krefeld Immigrants and Their Descendants."
However, as always, it was Betsy Umstattd who originally brought the passport requests to my attention, and set me off on this long night's journey into day.
Various other books and articles reference the passport requests with varying degrees of correctness and error. See Hans Peter Bibliography for specifics, including those mentioned above.
Armin Roether is a professional church archivist who specializes in deciphering old German script documents in context with the time in which they were written. He agreed with Michel's transcript of the first passport request and transcribed the second for us. I have not seen the second request discussed in any published source so far, and I was surprised and delighted when the copy of the original showed up in the envelope along with the first request. Armin's help has been invaluable and we UMs all owe him a great debt of gratitude. I could have done NONE of this without him.
Adolf Scherrer, a Monsheim area historian, defines for us the two government officials addressed in the passport requests, both titles being not only archaic, but regional to the Palatinate (Pfalz):
An Amtsschaffner was one of the highest government officials of the sovereign, and the highest Palatine official of the Oberamt Alzey, the Alzey District of the Palatine electorate. Amtschaffner Schmal is the name of the official to whom they applied in the first request, and he wrote several memoranda, which are discussed in "Schmal Documents."
An Außfautt (Aussfautt) was the government official responsible for collecting taxes from those people who were not subjects of the Elector, but who lived in his territory. Those people had illegal status and were called "Wildfang," literally tanslated "wild catch"(poachers).
These passport requests are UNQUESTIONABLY those of OUR Hans Peter Umstatt who purchased his Germantown land, along with Peter Schumacher and Gerhard Hendrichs, in Rotterdam, and traveled with them on the ship Francis & Dorothy.
You will note a slight difference between my translation of the first request and Hull's. It's difficult to translate German into English verbatim, particularly with something written this long ago. Neither of us may have it exactly right, but the general concept as taken from both helps determine the petitioners' concerns as well as the cultural, social, and religious climate of the time. Lou Hueneke helped fine-tune my translations in an attempt to follow as precisely as possible the original wording and still maintain reasonable English.
We know for certain that our Hans Peter was a scrupulous man, concerned with doing things legally as well as with the esteem and well-being of those he left behind.
Krefeld was part of the Netherlands (Holland) from 1600 until 1702, when it became part of Prussia. Therefore, it doesn't make sense that Hans Peter, in 1685, would have petitioned the Palatine (Germany) government for permission to leave Germany and go to Holland, had he been born in Krefeld (Holland) or lived there prior to his departure.
The passport requests, having been written IN KRIEGSHEIM, and clearly stating Hans Peter's residency in that area, along with all three Germantown land transactions having been made IN ROTTERDAM just prior to sailing, would logically rule out Krefeld as having been the birth place of any of Hans Peter's family. Remember that the Bible notation does NOT state that Nicholas died in Krefeld.
It is important to note that the three men apparently owned houses in Kriegsheim and that they had sold them just prior to making the second passport request. They presumably used the proceeds to purchase land and journey to America. Although information in some of the sources listed in the Hans Peter Bibliography suggest that the "undesirables" did not own property, Evangelische (Lutheran) records in Monsheim allow us to speculate that the UMs at least had some deeper roots there and and if so, probably owned houses.
I have seen no document so far that shows when permission to leave Germany was officially granted, but it would have had to have been fairly soon after the second request was made, in order for the three families to travel north down the Rhine from Kriegsheim, which is near Worms, to Rotterdam, and to arrive there by August 16, 1685, the date on the land deeds. The last line of the second request says that they would stop seeking permission if they got no response, and it may be that they were forced to simply leave without it. Haller (page 15) says that permission was granted "shortly thereafter," but cites no document as a source. It is certainly possible that permission was in fact granted, in that it would have been difficult, even in those days, to cross borders and to board ships without it, as is suggested in the first passport request's referring to passing through customs unhindered.
The handwriting on the two requests differs, which suggests that they were not written by the same person. Armin Roether suspects that one or both may have been written by a scribe of some sort. He also suggests that, of the three men, Gerhard Hendrichs would have been most likely to have written at least one of them, since his signature appears first on both. Although none of the signatures appears with a mark, the handwriting in the signature section is similar to that in the body of the document in both requests, and the signatures differ sufficiently between the two documents to make it questionable whether the men actually signed either themselves.
It may perhaps be inferred by the signature Petter Umstatt on the second request that Hans Peter was also known informally, at least in Germany, as Petter (Peter), although that may simply have been an error on the part of the writer, particularly if Hans Peter did not sign the request himself.
On a March, 1692,Germantown Fry-Levering marriage certificate, Hans Petter Umstatt appears to have signed his own name, as shown below, whereas his son Johannes signed with a mark. This presumably actual signature is somewhat different than the signatures on the passport requests. This would indicate that Hans Peter was capable of signing his name.
On page 389 of THE STRASSBURGER FAMILY, Ralph Beaver Strassburger, 1922, is what appears to be the signature of Petter Shoemaker. If it is his signature, it does not match that on either passport request. The book is available on Family Tree Maker CD 193 - County and Family Histories: Pennsylvania 1740-1900.
HEIDELBERG, HOCHHEIM and ALZEY
The Duke of the Pfalz (Palatinate) had his seat in Heidelberg until 1720, and after that, in Mannheim.
When people wanted to leave their homeland, they didn't need to travel to the "capital." They could go to a local "Amt" (office) in their county. The original of the first passport request is very difficult to read, but the spelling seems to be Hocheim (with only one h). There is some confusion as to the actual location of the office of Amtsschaffner Schmal's Hochheim office in to the varying accounts of different authors. This is discussed further in "Hans Peter Bibliography" and as part of the original Kriegsheim document 1684 "Hochgebohrner," which is one of the "Schmal Documents."
Alzey is the county in which Kriegsheim is located today and the city of Alzey is not far from Kriegsheim. See Kriegsheim Area Map.
Please be sure to read Rotterdam Land Deeds, Schmal Documents, and the Hans Peter Bibliography.
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© Cris Hueneke 2001
last updated 12 December 2006