Friday, September 18, 2015

By Jurgen! I Think I've Got Him!

We all have our share of genealogical brick walls, those ancestors who frustrate our every effort to learn more about their origins. Some we learn to live with -- or at least that's what we tell ourselves.

One of my thickest brick walls has been my 4th great grandfather, Justus Jurgen a.k.a. Justice George. He was one of many soldiers who settled in Nova Scotia after the American Revolution; in his case, the 60th Regiment (Royal Americans) was mustered out at Halifax in September 1783. Like Justus, many members of the regiment were of German origin.

Justus received a land grant in Guysborough County and eventually married Maria Reuter, daughter of one of his compatriots, Johann Henrich Reuter. Their marriage was recorded in the Manchester & Guysborough Township Book, as follows:

24th November 1795 - Justus Gurgeon was married to Mary Rider

"Gurgeon" was one of several variations on Justus' surname, which eventually settled into George. This particular variation was largely forgotten until recently.

Last month, during a search of the German Baptismal Records on FamilySearch.org, I found one near match:

Johann Justinus Gergens, christened 17th April 1757, Evangelical Lutheran,
Bad Durkheim, Pfalz, Bavaria, son of Johann Philipp and Anna Barbara Gergens.

Could this be Justus Jurgen?

Johann Justinus Gergens would have been 19 years old at the start of the American Revolution. But he was a Lutheran, while Justus Jurgen's children were a mix of Catholic and Anglican. However, religious options in the area were limited in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The Church of England was basically the only show in town.

Further research is required to determine if Johann Justinus Gergens stayed in Germany or if he did in fact join the 60th Regiment. I've been trying to reach another researcher who specializes in certain families, including Gergens, from Bad Durkheim, but I've yet to make contact. If anyone knows Gordy Gergen, tell him I'm looking for him. ;)