I suppose I shouldn’t by surprised by it. And yet…
When I started researching Mennonite families in Lancaster County, it wasn’t because I thought I was related to them. I started researching the Hoovers of Lancaster, hoping that I’d find some clue, some information, some connection that would lead me to more information on my ancestor George Hoover and his father Michael. I wound up researching the Hoovers’ neighbors, associates and friends to try to learn more about the Hoovers.
Along the way, I discovered that the people I was researching were Mennonites. Kind of a stretch to tie them to my Lutheran Hoover ancestors—at least in the immigrant generation. But by then, I’d invested so much time in the research, had started to build a sense of the community and connections between people, and… well, I was hooked. My ancestors may not have been members of this community, but, nonetheless, I was starting to feel connected to it.
Then I started to find some familiar surnames. However, I recognized these names from my Hacker/Hocker family research. Not too surprising, I guess. After all my Hockers did initially settle in Lancaster County. What was surprising was finding that these were Mennonite names. Landis. Hershey. Frantz.
So, this community that my ancestors didn’t belong to? These families that I wasn’t related to? They did belong and I am related. Just not in the manner I initially hoped.
Small world, huh?