walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

P(f)lan(t)z

I love unusual surnames. Plantz is not the most unusual surname in my family tree, but it's not bad. One of my collection of surnames is so unusual I can say with some confidence that if someone in the United States has that surname, I'm related to them -- and I probably already know how. Others, I can be reasonably certain I'm related to, but equally certain that I'll likely never find out exactly how, because of the way the record keeping happened.

When I was working on my great-grandmother Amy Maria Plantz, I found a really great online tree that checked out well, so I wound up copying large sections of it and then searching for more detailed evidence in support of it. In the course of researching one of the immigrants at the top of the file, I found other people (not the tree I was looking at) claiming the guy went from Germany to Pennsylvania and then to New York State. I found this wildly implausible.

Turns out it wasn't true. In the course of trying to better understand the person by understanding the surname, I stumbled across this:

http://www.plantz1.de/emigration-en.html

This is also approximately the time frame that I became hopelessly enamored of Hank Jones' genealogical work (including his highly entertaining, light-hearted books about serendipity in genealogy).

I signed the guest book, made a half-hearted effort to contact the State-side Plantz who had worked on this website and then meandered elsewhere in my family tree.

Recently, however, I received e-mail from the gentleman I was trying to reach and he included a telephone number. I gave him a call and we had a really pleasant hour long conversation about the Plantz family. We had both run across the young Plantz researcher with extensive tragedy in her immediate family, and we had also both discovered the Mormon branch of the Plantz's. I had not at all developed his branch; he had good familiarity with mine. We agreed that it was always enjoyable to get a chance to compare notes with strangers who are "family" and are in the process of exchanging more detailed information. In the meantime, I'm putting together what I can find on his branch.

So if you are doing genealogy, and get a chance to share your contact information with an n-th cousin, I urge you to do so. I've only had good experiences. While it will be nice if I get a chance to see the letter he has from a person on his branch to someone on mine, I was super-excited to get a chance to share the 62nd wedding anniversary party article with someone who could enjoy it as much as I had.
Tags: genealogy
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