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jeudi 23 octobre 2014

No 12

My new hypothesis and my last one
Recently, my DNA test result at 23andME reveals that my ancestors are from Central Europe, which include the area of Germany and surrounding countries. This test alone is largely sufficient to redirect my search for Philip’s birthplace towards Germany. This orientation was first given to us after Gilles Long had such a test around 2008: this was the turning point of our research. That decision of Gilles in 2008 is the most important « find » since the discovery of the death certificate of Philip by Mgr Ernest Lang. 

Philip could have lived in another country besides Germany and Switzerland in the 18th century. My DNA result doesn’t say that my ancestor Philip lived at a specific place and at a specific time. It says, roughly, that my ancestors lived in the area of Germany in the last five centuries, to be conservative. 

It is extremely revealing that I found genetic relationship with an individual born in Poland, and no relationship whatsoever with individuals from the British Isles. Could we go as far as saying that Philip could have been born in Germany, but his own ancestors are from farther East, like Poland or Russia? We don’t choose our ancestors through our modern values. We search for them for what they are, and not according to what we prefer them to be.
In fact, there are many Longs in the British Isles, especially in Britain and Ireland. It is then possible that these Longs are descendants of the Lang/Long/Lung of Germany. That’s a definite possibility. But, while there were Longs in England, there were Langes and Langs in Germany. It is clear for me now that my German ancestors were Langs or Langes and not Longs.

NOTE. I don't have a census showing the number of Langs and Langes in Germany in 1750. But, sifting through HETRINA, the military base of the Hessians, I found that were not Longs, four Langs and over 60 Langes listed as Hessians in the ARW.

I wasn’t able to find a serious contender in England or in Ireland. We might just as well forget about Scotland, since the number of Langs/Longs/Laings is minimal.

From another DNA test, that of Gilles Long at FTDNA, we learn that Darl Long from USA is closely related to us. We know now that he had ancestors in Pennsylvania before the turn of the 19th century. His family  and ours share a common ancestor somewhere in the last 300 to 500 years to be conservative. This « genetic relationship » could be even stronger than we think, but some more testing would have to be done. The actual results are more than sufficient for me, at least.

Moreover, the family of Darl Long still speaks German.

By the way, do we have candidates in Germany who could fill Philip’s shoes like Cinderella? The genealogical sources on the Web are more and more efficient to help us find an ancestor in the comfort of your living room. Not all people, though, born in the last few centuries are part of these genealogical monsters, not yet. The task of entering millions of records is far from over. It seems also that these experts have not visited certain regions of the world yet. Don’t be surprised if you don’t find any birth certificate from a village or a whole area.

The question that lead me to Philip Long, 
the German soldier
During the first month of research, and with the assistance of Leslie Bucher, I realized that I was concentrating my efforts at a single area, Pennsylvania. My « best guess » was leading us there. When I decided to change my research strategy, a few hours later, I formulate the following question:
How could an individual enter a country
« undetected »
during the 18th century?
I came up with two possible ways:
(1)  Children under 16 years old were not recorded on the vast majority of passenger lists. Philip could have been a young child when he arrived in Pennsylvania or in another Atlantic port.
(2)  A soldier traveling with his regiment. 

From 1725 to 1775, 30 000 German civilians immigrated to America. My ancestor doesn’t seem to have been part of that sample. But, from 1775 to 1783, Germany sent over 30 000 soldiers hired by Britain: the German mercenaries. It hit me like a ton of bricks! I was aware of this fact years ago, but I didn’t thought at that time that Philip could be of German descent and a Hessian mercenary. 

A few minutes later, I had the name of Philip Long as a German mercenary in the following book online:
Register of German Military men who remained in Canada
after the American Revolution.
Author: Johannes Helmut Merz
I knew at that moment that it was about my ancestor. Right away, I contacted a German genealogist to start a search for his military file, if it existed at all, at the Marburg Centre where they have been storing all the information about the German regiments for centuries back. I was confident that this search could be done in a short period of time. Why? Germany has had a refined bureaucracy for many centuries, not only in the last century.

Before any professional genealogist could provide me with answers, I had found many documents that prove to me beyond any doubt that Philip was a German mercenary during the ARW.

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