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MYSTERIES OF FLORY GENEALOGY

 

     The purpose of this page is to have a little fun, combining research with speculation.  If you have any items to add to this list, please pass them on as soon as possible by calling up the following link (florey), and we will put them up. 

 

CHARLES FLORRIE--THE FIRST FLORY IN AMERICA AND THE MYSTERY OF THE LOST COLONY

   

       The first person in America with the Flory name appears to have been Charles Florrie, who arrived here in 1587 as part of the colony of Roanoke Island in North Carolina.  What may have happened to him and to that colony is discussed in a fascinating essay by Donna Flora O'Malley.  Because that mystery is longer and more complex than the other mysteries described below, we have decided to place it on its own page, which you can access by clicking on Charles Florrie. 

 

 

 

 WHAT WAS THE TRUE NAME OF JOSEPH FLORY'S DAUGHTER, WHO ALLEGEDLY WAS BORN AT SEA?

 

   

     Joseph Flory, immigrant father of the C-Line, may have had a daughter born at sea, but if he did,  her name may have been Eva or Katherine Eva and not Katherine alone.  The supposition that Joseph had a daughter named only Katherine comes from Walter Bunderman's 1948 book on the family.  Bunderman apparently used two sources for this "fact": (1) Naff family tradition (this "daughter" apparently married Jacob Naff), and a (2) birth record (which Bunderman termed a "baptismal" certificate) dated 1733 on which the name "Kathleen Florin" perhaps appears (at this point researchers only have access to a poor photocopy of this document).  On this document, the name of Eva does not appear in any form.

    Naff family tradition about an immigrant ancestor named Eva Flory alluded to in (1) above probably came from an unpublished autobiography by Isaac Naff, grandson of Jacob Naff and the woman whom Bunderman calls Katherine.  However, Isaac Naff, who knew his grandmother quite well even though she died when he was ten, never refers to her as Katherine but rather as Eva, as the following quotation from that autobiography indicates:

           My grandfather subsequently married Miss Eva Flora or Flohr, whose parents also   immigrated from Germany, but she herself was born on their passage across the Atlantic. 

    Later in the manuscript, Naff recalls

           My grandfather and grandmother both lived to very old age and died on the ground which they had selected as their home.  I have a distinct recollection of my grandmother, although so far removed in my nativity from her early days.  It was the first impression of death that was ever made on my mind, and the memory of it is vivid even to the present day.

    Naff talks about the religion of his parents and indicates that

          . . .they belonged to that somewhat obscure and perhaps misunderstood denomination called Dunkars, Dunkers, or Tunkers.  There was doubtless more of moral excellence and Christian rectitude in that denomination than amongst any of the other sects by which they were surrounded.  Their creed consisted of strict and unwavering rectitude between man and man based on the Golden Rule. . . .And how muchsoever they may have been traduced for their want of experimental religion, yet their lives in most respects, were beautifully conformed to the requirements of the Gospel of Christ.

       In unpublished family documents, now in the possession of Susan Naff Hessing, several family members talk about Eva, not Katherine, although they may be referencing Isaac's unpublished autobiography.  In one of those documents, for example, an unfinished letter by Josephus Augustus Naff, son of Isaac, Naff  likewise calls his great grandmother Eva, and adds that she was married at 18. However, since he places that marriage date at 1792, it is clear that he has misread Isaac's account and has confused Jacob Naff and Eva with their son and daughter-in-law, who did marry in 1792. 

    The name of Katherine Flory was perpetuated by John Boitnott, Naff family researcher, in his book Naff and Related Families, where he calls her Eva Katherine.  However, he cites Bunderman and Joel Flora (who, in turn, cites Bunderman) as his sources, and what Boitnott probably did was attempt to reconcile Bunderman's "Katherine" with the "Eva" of family tradition. 

    So, according to Naff tradition, then, Jacob married a woman named Eva Flory not Katherine Flory, but what about the birth certificate for a Katherine Flory that is photocopied in Walter Bunderman's book? Several questions that arise here are (1) What is its source? If it came from a descendant of Eva's, would this not imply that the name of the immigrant woman who married Jacob Naff may have been Katherine after all? (2)  The second problem is the photocopy is of such poor quality that any reading of it is partly conjectural. A German linguist, Dan Hagy, has recently reviewed the photocopy and believes the name to be "Kathrinna Florien" or "Florian."    To take a look at it yourself, see the end of Roxann Rhea's essay at ZodiacThe name that appears on the photocopy may indeed be a Kathrinna or a variant. It most certainly is not Eva. 

   Walter Bunderman obtained the photocopy of this certificate for his book on the Flory family from a Naff descendant, Blair Jones, who was the great great grandson of Jonathan Naff, Jacob's brother and husband of Katherine or Eva. Jones in turn obtained the photocopy from J.A. Naff (but not the original) and sent it on to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for analysis and translation.   In a letter to  Jones dated May 28, 1945, A. Hyatt Mayor, Associate Curator of the Museum,  transcribes the name on the certificate as "Kathrinna Florisin." If this reading is accurate, and others have questioned it, it presents a variant of the spelling of "Flory" that was previously unknown and may suggest that we are dealing with a different family entirely. It is unclear at this point where J.A. Naff obtained the photocopy of the certificate. If  J.A. Naff, who was a descendant of Katherine Eva (or Eva or Katherine) actually owned this certificate and it was not something that he came across in a museum or historical society, Joseph's daughter may have been named Katherine.  In an unfinished letter, however, to an unknown recipient, J.A. Naff refers to his ancestor as Eva, not as Katherine.  It seems clear, then, that the link between Katherine and Eva, if one does exist, was made by Blair Jones. This does not mean that Katherine and Eva were not the same person. It simply means that recent Naff tradition, until Blair Jones did his research in the 1940's, did not link the two.

     It is important to point out here that in German naming traditions, one went by one's middle name, not one's first name. A person named Katherine Eva Flory would have been called "Eva," not "Katherine." It was theoretically possible for a family to have had several children named Katherine just as long as they had different middle names.

     Blair Jones is Walter Bunderman's source for the idea that Joseph had a daughter named Katherine and not Eva, which Jones felt must have been a nickname.  In addition to this birth document, whose origin and ownership today still remain cloudy, Jones based his theory that the Naff ancestor was named Katherine on land documents that he had uncovered from Fredericks County, Maryland.  In these documents, Jacob Naff does have a wife named Katherine.  However, Jones confused two different Naff lines (the D and the E lines).  The Jacob Naff that he had uncovered was born in 1688 in Duhren, Germany, and his wife, Katherine, was born in the same village circa 1694. In other words, the Katherine on which he basis his conclusions that Joseph had a daughter with that name was not the right Katherine.  And Jones seems to have been Bunderman's main source about the existence of a Katherine Flory.

      Please note also that in his autobiography Isaac Naff never mentions who Eva Flora's parents were.  While her father was probably Joseph, there is no clear cut evidence to attest to this fact.   This is where we are at this point. The only real evidence, apart from the possibilities inherent in the photocopy of a birth document,  that Jacob Naff married a Katherine Flory and not an Eva Flohr is based on an incorrect interpretation of land documents. 

    A critical question here is where did J.A. Naff get the photocopy of the birth announcement of Katherine? If it was a family heirloom, then Joseph's daughter, if she was his daughter, was probably born Katherine. The name Eva may have been used as a middle name and added later. Please remember that Germans of this period went by their middle names and not their first names. This might explain why the Reverend Isaac Naff refers to his grandmother in his autobiography as Eva even though her true first name may have been Katherine. If Naff found the birth document elsewhere, outside his family, then Eva and Katherine may have been two separate persons. Until more information surfaces, however, it is perhaps best at this point to refer to the individual in question as Katherine Eva Flory and not as Katherine Flory. 

 

 

 

THE MYSTERY FLORY IMMIGRANTS

 

     

      After the death of Peter Meyer in 1735 (from Switzerland, probably Borschweil or Baerschwil in the territory of Solothurn) his property was divided between his and his deceased wife Catharina Flory's relatives, because the couple had no children.  Catharina Flory herself probably died around 1733. Catharina's relatives, mentioned in the will, are all her brothers and sisters, and here is where the story gets interesting.  These brothers and sisters include:

  • Franz Flory from around Donnersburg, who was probably a Mennonite.  From 1755 onwards he was a tenant of the Nachtsmuhle near Eisenberg, and from 1771 onward, he lived in Weismuhle, near Eisenberg also.  He obviously was very wealthy.
  • Magdelena Flory, wife of Ulrich Ellenberger, tenant of the Otterberger Hof in Russingen.  He died in 1766, and his farm was given to one of his sons in 1757.  Two of his other sons emigrated to America in 1749.  All were definitely Mennonites. See Footnote Below.
  • Anna Flory, who lived in the rear castle of Leyenberg or Lewburg in the territory of the Bishropic of Basel or in the territory of Oelsperg in Switzerland.
  • A brother Flory in "the new land," no first name given.
  • A sister Flory's children in "the new land," no names given.

       According to German genealogist Sabine Schleichert, who originally discovered this information, the phrase  "the new land," the then present home of Catharina's brother and her sister's children, definitely refers to America.  So here is a European record of an unnamed male Flory who emigrated to America prior to 1735 from Switzerland from a family that had strong Mennonite leanings.  Who was this Flory?  There are three early Florys who are possibilities, Joseph, Pierre, and Abraham, and for awhile, that was our mystery.

     After some exhaustive detective work, culminating after the original appearance of this mystery on this site, Shirley Gamble has discovered the answer.  It is Abraham Flury, founder of the B-Line.    If you would like to follow up on this, here are some references to check: (1) Landesarchiv Speyer, Best. F22, Nr. 45, Institut fur Pfalzische Geschichte, Rheinfalz, 27 Feb, 1963; (2) Friedrich Krebs: "Amerikaauswanderer des 18 Jahrhunderts aus der Nordpfalz" in Nordpfalzer Geschichtsverein 35 (1955), vol. 3, pp. 63-66; (3) 1200 Jahre Eisenberg, pp. 142-4.   This is the first of our mysteries to be solved.  May there be others.

FOOTNOTE--Magdelana Flory above, who was sister of Catharina Flory and wife to Ulrich Ellenberger, had two sons who immigrated to America in 1749.  We now know that these sons were named Ulrich and Peter respectively and that they arrived here in September of that year on the ship St. Andrew.  They married sisters, Veronica and Eva Bixler (Bichsel, Pixeler, Buchsler, Bickler, etc.).  Both sisters came from Manchester Township in York County, Pa.  Their father was Christian Bickler, son of Ulrich Bicksel and Verena Stucki, who was born October 5, 1706 in Sumiswald, Eggiwill, Switzerland.  York County was originally part of Lancaster County.  These two Ellenbergers are certainly Florys by genealogical descent, if not by actual name.

 

 

 

WHO WAS JOSEPH FLURI AND WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT HIM?

   

     According to the International Genealogical Index of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, a  Joseph Fluri, son of Jacob and Maria Fluri, was christened on December 4, 1682 in Matzendorf, in the Canton (state) of Solothurn in Switzerland.  Sometimes christenings took place a few days after the birth of a child, sometimes months.  In any event, this Joseph Fluri would have been approximately 51 years of age in 1733, the year that Joseph Flory, also 51, immigrated with his family to America. Moreover, Robert Livingston reports that there was another baby with the name Joseph Fluri born in Matzendorf in the same year, this one to  Johan Fluri and Ana Meister. This second Joseph, however, is recorded as having died in the parish.

      The largest concentration of Flory families in either Germany or Switzerland  in the eighteenth century was in Solothurn, where their proliferation was so extensive that when reviewing church baptismal, marriage, and death records it is difficult to keep one family separate from another .  James F. Flory, researching the Fleury Family of Fouerois, France, finds evidence that the Fouerois Fleurys emigrated from "Jura Bernois," in the Delemont Valleys (near the city of Solothurn in the Canton of the same name), which became part of Switzerland when the country was formed in 1815.  The Jura Bernois was governed for several hundred years by the Bishop of Basel as part of the Holy Roman Empire.  Flory notes that there are several books from the area about the Fleury family as well as historical landmarks that bear the Fleury name.  What is interesting about Flory's research is that it indicates that there was at least some movement of the early Florys westward into France as opposed to the other way around as has been traditionally postulated.

      Some of the early German Flory families were definitely of Swiss background, and there is no reason to suppose that they did not have their origins in Solothurn.  The most prominent Swiss Flori was, of course, Hans Flori, who migrated to Birkenau, Germany sometime prior to 1650 and who was the ancestor of the three brothers who came here in 1754.  Swiss immigrants to this country in the eighteenth century came on the same ships as did their Germanic counterparts, and those who spoke German were generally regarded as German not Swiss once they settled in America.

      Returning to  the Joseph, son of  Jacob and Maria, of Matzendorf in Solothurn.  Because children were often named after relatives (in Matzendorf generally after their godparents), certain first names consistently appear and reappear in particular family lines and are ignored in others.  At this point, the name of Joseph Flory (Fluri, Flori, etc.) is not present in any of the known German lines of the period.  However, the name is extremely common in Solothurn, particularly in Matzendorf.   Joseph Fluries were christened in that town on March 25, 1651, April 10, 1671, February 7, 1678, February 24, 1699, April 3, 1704, and January 5, 1712.  It is a distinct possibility that Joseph Flory of 1733 had connections somehow with the Solothurn Fluries.  

      No further church record from Matzendorf ties the  Joseph Fluri, born there in 1682 to the  Joseph Flory who came to America..   Still, as we have seen, there were several men with the same name who were born about this time, and one of them could have been the founder of the C-Line. Whether this was the case or not forms the basis of our mystery.

 

 

 

WHO WAS HANLIEY FLORIEY?

 

 

      The ship lists of "The Hope" record that a female named Hanliey Floriey, age 17, was one of the passengers.  There is no other information at all about her, and, once she lands in America, she disappears.  Presumably she was the daughter of  Joseph Flory, immigrant father of the C-Line, who was also aboard that ship. What is fascinating to some is her name.  The German genealogist Sabine Schleichert indicates that the name of "Hanliey" is unknown in Germany during this time period or any time period for that matter.  She believes that  Hanliey may have been  an affectionate variation of a more familiar name.  Compounding the problem is that "The Hope" was an English ship with an English crew.  Whoever recorded Hanliey's name on the list of passengers may very well have been English and set her name down in a distinctly English way.  Then, what might her name have actually been?  The "liey" at the end of her name could  be a diminutive ("little"), leaving the base of "Han."  An English recorder might have given the name an English spelling twist and gotten "Han" from "Ann" or "Anna," much the same way "Anna" and "Hanna" are, in fact, the same name.  Thus, Hanliey could be a variant of "Anna," (i.e. Hanliey="Little" Anna) one of the more popular names for a woman in Germany during the eighteenth century.  Sabine argues persuasively that the source of the name may actually be the Swiss Anneli, a traditional diminutive of Anna.  If this is so, then this would support a theory that Joseph may have been Swiss rather than German.

    

 

 

WAS MARY FLORY THE SECOND WIFE OF JOSEPH FLORY?

 

     

       There are only two known records in which the name of Anna Maria Bugh (Pugh) or Mary Flory, wife of Joseph Flory (immigrant father of the C-Line), appears. The first is that of the "A" ship list of the Hope, and the second is that of the Administrative Bond which she took out after the death of her husband in 1741, where she promised to bring to the court within six months a "true inventory" of his goods.  

     The ship list of "The Hope" also indicates that Joseph Flory came here with a Maria Flory, 21,  a Joseph Flory, 19, a Hanliey Flory, 17, and a John Flory, 15, all presumably his children.  To this list of four children, Walter Bunderman, in his study of the family in 1948, adds, via other sources, the names of Jacob Flory, born about 1727, Barbara, about 1732, Katharina,  1733, and Abraham, 1735. 

     Herein lies the problem.  If all of the above is correct, then Mary Flory had at least eight children (the mortality rate was high then, and she could very well have given birth to others), the first in 1712 and the last in 1735.  German women typically married during the age span of 21-25 and almost immediately began having children.  The Hope ship list gives Mary's age as that of 40 in 1733.  If Mary gave birth to another Mary in 1712, she would have been married at the latest in 1711 or when she was around 18, earlier than most women of her era.  Thus, when she gave birth to Abraham in 1735, she was around 42 years of age.  Certainly, women can give birth at 42 (even older), but what makes the scenario a bit problematic is the fact that, given this time frame, Bunderman credits her with having  children also at the age of 39 and at 40.  All of this is biologically possible, of course, but it fits the pattern more of a recently married woman rather than an original wife for the following reason.  Consider  that if Joseph had only one wife named Mary, that she gives birth at the approximate ages of 19 (Maria), 21 (Joseph), 23 (Hanliey), 25 (John) or one child every two years.  She then has another Jacob at 34 after a nine-year hiatus and then has three more children rapidly in her late thirties and early forties.  If Mary was Joseph's only wife, why only one child in fourteen years and then suddenly three within three?    

    Anna Maria Bugh (Mary) could have been Joseph's only wife, but it is unlikely. Until the facts about Joseph's identity have been firmly established, the number of wives that he had must remain a mystery.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                          

WAS JACOB FLORY REALLY THE SON OF JOSEPH FLORY?

 

 

      The name of Jacob Flory does not appear on the ship list of "The Hope" when Joseph Flory, immigrant father of the C-Line, came to America in1733.  The first public record of the existence of Jacob Flory in America comes from the baptismal record on May 1, 1748 of the Conestoga Congregation.  Since the Conestoga Church was a "Taufer" or "Dunker" church (Anabaptist), this Jacob would likely have been around 21 years of age at the time of baptism, although he could have been younger.  The Conestoga Congregation baptized children at their "age of maturity," which, for some, could occur as early as the beginning teens. Walter Bunderman in his 1948 study of the Flory families in America believes this Conestoga Jacob to be the son of Joseph Flory, even though his name does not appear on the 1733 ship list as an immigrant.  There are several compelling reasons for making this association:  there was a strong Dunker tradition among Joseph's children; several of his other children were baptized at Conestoga; the Conestoga Church was within a reasonable proximity of Joseph's home in Rapho Township; and there weren't any other Flory families in the area to which Jacob could be reasonably attached.  According to Bunderman, Jacob eventually migrated to Franklin County, Virginia, along with his sister, Katherine, who had married Jacob Naff.

     Still, Gladys Donson, co-author with Lawrence F. Athy of The Thomas Flora Family of London, Maryland, and Virginia (Donath Publishing, Houston, 1995), lists another  Jacob Flora of the same general time period and geographical area with the family of Thomas Florie (Flora), born in 1702 in England and transported over here as an indentured servant on October 20, 1720 on the ship "Gilbert."  The records surrounding Thomas in America along with those of his children are tantalizingly incomplete, but Thomas is definitely the immigrant father of the A-Line, and, according to Donson, had at least eight children, including James, Robert, William, Isaac, John, Thomas the Younger, Albright, and, the aforementioned Jacob.

     The placement of Jacob with the family of Thomas Flora is conjectural, but it is based on the fact that a Jacob Flora did own land in Maryland from 1766 to 1782 near land that was owned by other sons of Thomas.  Moreover, on April 13, 1795, a Jacob Flora witnessed the land sale of 37 1/2 acres from Lewis Throckmorton to  Thomas Flora of Hampshire Country, Virginia.  This Thomas Flora, the Younger, was a son of Thomas Flora, the Elder, and the witnessing of the deed by Jacob is strong conjectural evidence that he was intimately related to the family.  Donson elsewhere points out that this Jacob, while a resident of Maryland and Virginia, could very well have been baptized at the Conestoga Congregation, even though he did not live in Pennsylvania and even though he was English, not German.  In rural areas, preachers traveled great distances.  This would be especially true of the Dunkers.  The Reverend John Stoever, for example, had a parish that extended from Southeastern Pennsylvania, through Maryland, and on into Virginia.  And he was not the only one to travel that far.  Typically, when a preacher had a wide parish, he would perform many baptisms and some marriages at the residences of his far-flung congregation.  When he returned home, he would record these ceremonies in his registry alongside of records of people from his local parish.

    In other words, someone from the Conestoga Congregation could have baptized Jacob in Maryland or Virginia (he seems to have lived in both areas) and then recorded the ceremony later, when he returned to Pennsylvania.  Even though Conestoga was "German," German preachers did have considerable success among the English, and Jacob could have been one of those successes.

    Could the  Jacob Flora who Gladys Donson believes to be the descendant of  Thomas Flora be the same Jacob Flora  that tradition has placed with the family of Joseph Flory?  Has tradition been mistaken?  Is it possible that  Joseph Flory never had a son named Jacob?  At this point the evidence is extremely skimpy and all is conjecture.  Hence, the mystery.

 

 

 

WHO WAS CHRISTIAN FLOHRIG AND WHY IS HE MISSING? 

 

     

       In Strassburger's study of 18th-century ship lists, he records a "Christian Flohrig," probably illiterate, as having immigrated to the port of Philadelphia on a ship called "The Mascliffe Galley" on December 22, 1744.  Nothing further is known about Christian.  His absence from public record may be due to several factors.  He could have died early or, more probably, he was a Redemptioner.  German immigrants, who incurred debt from expenses resulting from their passage over here, had approximately ten days on arrival to come up with the money they owed.  If they failed to do so, they were then bound to the authorities and sold on the public auction block in Philadelphia.  They then were forced to work for their redempters for a period of from 3 1/2 to 7 years.  When their term of service was over, they were rather poor and often migratory.  Because of this, their names often slipped past public record.

    At any rate, there may be a connection between this Christian Flohrig and the three brothers of the E-Line, Johannes, George, and Adolph Flohri, who arrived here in 1754 from Birkenau, Germany.  The three brothers had a fourth brother named Christian, who was born in 1721.  He disappears from public record in Birkenau prior to 1744, so this Christian Flohri and Christian Flohrig could, indeed, be the same person.  In fact, he may have been the inspiration to his brothers to come to America.  Immigrants frequently came here after a family member had first paved the way.

    The pronunciation or spelling differences between Flohri and Flohrig not only do not present a problem, they provide additional circumstancial evidence that the two Christians were one in the same.  In Birkenau in the 1760's, the family name of Flori began to be recorded in the local Kirchenbuch as Flohrig.  The change in pronunciation of the family name may have occurred even earlier before it was reflected in the official spelling.  Today, the German descendants in Birkenau of the original Flori family spell their last name as "Florig," pronounced "Florik."

 

 

 

KATHERINE FLORY'S "BAPTISMAL" CERTIFICATE

   

      The photocopy of "Katherine" Flory's "baptismal" certificate in Walter Bunderman's 1948 book on the Flory family has caused problems for many Flory researchers, several of whom have challenged the reading of the name "Katherine."  One theory of why Joseph Flory decided to emigrate to America is based on religion.  Since several of Joseph's children were baptized into the Church of the Brethren or "Dunker"  faith in Pennsylvania, many posit that Joseph was also of that denomination.  However, if this "baptismal" certificate is a valid one, Joseph could not have been a Dunker on his arrival here, for that denomination did not believe in infant baptism. Some researchers, though,  have concluded that this document is probably a birth record and not a baptismal one.  There are other mysteries connected with that certificate, including possible Zodiac references.  Roxann Rhea discusses many of these mysteries in her essay on that certificate, which you can access by clicking on Zodiac. You can also see a photocopy of the document in question.

 

 

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