Voices from down the Brandenburg line.

I have received a couple letters from Lara Day of Wisconsin, a vet and a genetic genealogy fan. I have an autosomal connection to her of 33 centimorgans, and using that and our public tree, found that we are related through the Brandenburgs. Elias Tidwell Myers, son of Charles Myers (1789-1857), married Nancy Ann Brandenburg on the 28th of November, 1839, in Lafayette Missouri.

I tend to think that the payoff for doing this kind of genealogy are the stories you receive, and in this case, Lara has a great one.

I didn’t know about Nancy Ann Brandenburg until I saw her on your tree and looked to see if others had her in the extensive Brandenburg line. I have matched other distant Brandenburg cousins, so we either have sticky segments that get passed down intact through the generations or we have a genetic disposition for genealogy research (or all both). The Brandenburg family has a lot of interesting history, some fact and some fiction. As a child, I remember my Grandmother telling me we were German royalty. As I got older, I found out we were supposedly descended from the Hohenzollern line (Frederick I and Frederick II “The Great”). During the late 1800s, a large number of the Brandenburg family met to plan on how to get their part of the estate in Germany. There are letters upon letters how money was collected for the supposed legal fees to get part of the estate supposedly worth $10,000,000. Sounds like the old fashioned version of the email scams we get in Spam. The scam was restarted in the 1900s, so more people gave money hoping for riches. Who knows how this rumor of Royalty got started, but it isn’t true, but the belief persists today. The truth is Matthias came over from The Palatinate sometime before 1764 when he married Hester Wolgamot (differing spellings) in then Frederick Co Maryland. They proceeded to have a large family and moved to VA then KY. Matthias was not a soldier in the Revolutionary War, but did supply leather goods to the Continental Army, so many have used this in their applications to DAR. Your ancestor, Samuel Brandenburg, was Matthias and Hester’s 6th child, born in VA and followed the rest of the family to KY. A younger brother, Solomon, started a ferry service in KY to cross the Ohio River. This ferry service prospered and a town was formed which became the Meade County seat. Matthias had died after a fall from a horse, and his widow Hester, moved with her son Solomon. She is buried on a hillside overlooking the Ohio river and her tombstone is in remarkably good condition.

The Jacob Myers + Margaret Gerster connection. Why I’m not convinced.

It was very popular for a while to assign Jacob Myers, supposedly a Rev War veteran, who married Margaret Gerster, to be the father of Charles Myers. In a letter from my uncle Thomas to one of those folks on Ancestry, the reply was..

Thomas wrote: Dec 23, 2010
I am curious as to how you tied Jacob Myers to Charles Myers. I have been looking for the father of Charles for 50 years and have been unable to make a connection. This is the first time I have seen a connection. One family member told me she thought the father of Charles was named Fredrick. I could never make a connection. 

XXXXXXXXX wrote: Dec 23, 2010: I totally hear you on the difficulty of the connection. I inferred this by the circumstantial evidence in favor of Jacob. He like many myers was a blacksmith, he was a revolutionary war veteran, which has been hinted at by others, and he was about the right age to be Charles father. Additionally he resided in Charles hometown. It would not hold up in a court and probably not to too much scrutiny but felt it was solid enough to warrant connection.

Thomas wrote: Dec 24, 2010
I totally agree with your assumptions. I have just about given up on doing any further research. My brother and his son have done the DNA thing with absolutely no results.  Have you come up with a relationship between the two Charles Myers who lived in the same areas of Tenn and Mo? I think they are cousins but have no proof. I saw one reference to them as Big Charlie, and little Charlie. Big Charlie was ours. Let me know if you discover anything new, Tom Myers
Okay, this is what I know about Jacob and Margaret, mostly taken off Ancestry nodes (this node is typical). Jacob is born in Maryland in Feb 1739, moves to Pennsylvania. Along the way he marries Margaret. Most of the trees, though, have him in Kentucky by the time Charles is about to be born, and I’ve grown suspicious of folks who give birth across state lines.
There is also a time factor, as Charles is by this account, born in April of 1789 in Pennsylvania, while another Jacob Myers is being born in October of the same year, in Kentucky. Jacob dies in Pleasant Run, McCreary, Kentucky, on the 9th of May, in 1814.
Now some of this may be dirty data, but the Kentucky to PA issue is large, as is the simple question of how you get Charles to Tennessee in the first place, if dad is settled somewhere else.
By contrast, John Myers and William Myers can be found on the Pennsylvania census in 1786, in Lehigh County. To throw out a scenario, it’s a lot less fanciful to think that Charles has a father who dies. Charles’s guardianship would have been picked up by William Jr or Sr and he heads down to TN along with the migration of the William Myers pair.
Not only that, but this link notes that 18th century Germans in PA named their kids after grandfathers.  I know it’s the thinnest of possibilities, but Elias Tidwell Myers, Charles’s son, names his first son William. Charles Myers Jr, whom we believe is a son of William Jr, names a son William (I’m lacking a good list of Charles Myers Jr’s kids tbh). This is evidence in favor of another hypothesis, which is that William Sr is the father of both William Jr and Charles Sr. In this telling Charles Sr is then the uncle of Charles Jr.
Update 6/19/17: I’ve grown suspicious of the assignment in 1786 of William to Lehigh county. For one, Lehigh County doesn’t exist in 1786. Second, the tax rolls of 1786 and 1788 assign William and John to Penn Township in Northampton. Testimony on behalf of John Myers’s widow in MS has statements to the effect John moved into east TN in 1790 and into west TN in 1804. Copies of the testimony are on the Ancestry tree of ldking423.

“our” Charles is Charles Myers Sr

This is a mistake I’ve been laboring under, in part because of mislabeling on the part of Ancestry on the 1840 census (they give Jr the 1789 birth date without any particular reason), and in part from not taking a good look at the best resource for separating the two.

It turns out that both men are buried in the same cemetery, and the right virtual look just about gives both away. But you need to make that look.

“Our” Charles is born in 1789, is married to Rebecca Williams in 1811 and passes in 1857.

“Little” Charlie is born in 1792, is married to Holly Hill (Polly Hill) in 1814 and passes in 1876.

I began to wonder when in the 1830 US census, Charles Marwen turned out to be Charles Myers Sr and the ages of children made more sense to be “our” Charles than the “Jr” down the page. The fact is they’ve got Charles Jr’s ages wrong in the 1840 census, which didn’t help, but you have to plan on bad data mixed in with these old stuff.


Marriage records, despite the bad birth dates and the misspelled Holly Hill, also made it worthwhile to find some double checks.

This doesn’t affect the DNA analysis much. William Jr and Charles Sr are thought to be brothers, because Charles Sr is made administrator of William’s estate. This makes Charles about equally distant genetically from William Sr as his brother. If we go with the theory that William Jr fathered Charles Jr, Barney and all, then William Jr is much older than Charles, at least 15 years older.

When did the families head south to TN? The earliest date I’ve seen is buried in Ancestry data on John Myers, William Sr’s son. This entry in a Ancestry tree says 1790. One account of the Girdner’s entry into TN, along with a Myers brother in law, happens in 1792. They have to be in Tennessee by 1795, because Barney says he was born then (1850 census). So Charles Sr was on the move sometime between the ages of one and six, and Charles Jr could have been born on the move.

Finding a living descendant of “Little” Charlie or Barnabas could help our narrative immensely.

Update: more specific on the Williams.


The Feicht connection, and a possible census timeline of Charles Myers

A cut out of my closest Y-DNA matches are below.


The importance of Peter Feicht is not to be underestimated. He can be shown to be a German immigrant, and other information indicates he is from Würrtemberg Germany.

This is important because there are a ton of German immigrants from Würrtemberg to Pennsylvania in the 18th century, and the migration of their names from the original German to ‘Myers’ can also be documented.

For example, the book “Pennsylvania German Immigrants 1709-1786” talks about one Georg Balthasar Mayr from that part of Germany. By 1786, the name has mutated to Baltzer Myers, and he’s noted to be in Westmoreland County, with wife Martha, and children James, Ely, Jacob, Lewis, and Christian. The last two names are indicated as single. Balzer is not hard to find in the 1790 census.

Westmoreland is adjacent to Somerset county, where Charles is supposed to be born (in 1789). There are no Myers in Somerset in 1790, but there are three in 1800. A Henry Myers Sr and a Jacob Myers have male children in the right age range to potentially match Charles.

By the way, it needs to be understood that before 1850 or so, the names on the Federal Census list generally consist of men with property. Everyone else is just a number.

In terms of census information on “our” Charles Myers, this is what I see. We know that Charles is down in Green County TN by 1811, because he marries his wife there, and for now, that’s the first real record we have of the man. Then there is service in the 1812 war, and the land grant in Missouri in about 1819. Then in the 1820 census Charles Myers Jr and Charles Myers Sr appear in Giles county. To note, this is half a state away from Green County. Giles is on the Alabama border, while Green County is on the Tennessee border with North Carolina. That noted, Charles’s children are said to have been born in Giles County.

The pair disappear completely in 1830. In 1840 in Missouri, a pair of Charles Myers appear again, in Big Creek, Van Buren, Missouri. The “Jr” is said to be born in about 1789 (Jr and Sr can be seen in the document reproduction itself) and is 51 years old.  The Senior is not matched with a specific age, but there is a male 50-59 in the household. Note that in 1848 Van Buren is renamed Cass County, and it is interesting to speculate on the relationship between these two men. Brothers or cousins, perhaps?

“Our” Charles is in the 1850 census. Married to Rebecca, born in Pennsylvania, With Nancy and Charles W as children. He passes in 1857, and there are photos of his tombstone around.

So many questions abound. Do the Myers of Westmoreland and Somerset counties, PA, have DNA tests? Who is Charles Myers Sr, and are there any known relatives of the man? Do they have DNA tests?

Update -> Southerland to Somerset. The latter really exists.

Update 2 -> Actually, Charles Myers Sr does appear in the 1830 census, but the bots that figured out his name transcribed it into ‘Charles Marwer’.