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Foutz Genealogy and Foutz Family History Information

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About the Foutz surname

FOUTZ Name Meaning and History

Americanized spelling of German Pfautz, a nickname for a self-important person.

PFAUTZ Name Meaning and History

South German: nickname for a bloated, puffing person, from a noun derivative of Middle High German phusen ‘to breathe hard’, ‘puff’.

Sources: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4, http://www.ancestry.com/facts/Foutz-family-history.ashx

ON THE SPELLING OF OUR NAME — From source documents and signatures on documents, including land patents and Michael Pfouts’s 1851 will, it would seem that the original spelling of our surname, at least once our ancestors landed in America, was Pfouts. This is how it appears in early censuses in Harrison and Tuscarawas counties (Ohio, USA), too.

But Gideon and Jonathan appear on 1875 maps as Pfoutz, and by the time Gideon is buried his death certificate indicates Fouts, while oldest son Jonathan is using Foutz, as is his oldest son, Sherman, in the Washington D.C. census and in several articles written about Sherman from that time period.

In any case, Vance Cleveland Foutz formally has dropped the P and the s by the time he moves to Dover, sometime after his father’s death in 1900. What is interesting is that several of Gideon’s brothers keep the Pfouts spelling. Most notably, his oldest brother, Michael Jr., and Michael’s son and namesake, Michael III, who moves the Pfouts family to Wood County, Ohio following his father’s death, sometime after 1870. They still use the Pfouts spelling today.

ON THE 9TH GENERATION AND EARLIER — It all comes down to whether 19-year-old Michael crossed the Atlantic alone, or did so in the company of a father or other ancestors, possibly also named Michael.

John Scott Davenport’s Pfauts-Fouts-Foutz newsletters establish Michael as emigrating in 1787 and coming to Washington County, Maryland before moving on to Harrison County, Ohio. But I’ve found no other mentions or details on our ancestor, aside from that initial accounting of immigrants in the opening of each newsletter from 1980 to 1987. There were newsletters before this — as far back as 1970, called Fouts Folks, but I haven’t been able to get hold of them.

According to other genealogies in the early newsletters, several Fouts families congregated in Maryland, and perhaps that’s what drew our ancestor there, to family. But these ancestors quickly sold off their land — as did ours, when you think about it — and moved on, most notably to North Carolina. We also don’t seem to be connected, at least after emigration, to the Foutses who made their homes in what is known as the Pfoutz Valley in Pennsylvania. This area is more than 100 miles north of where Michael Pfouts settled in Maryland, and seems to be the origin of many of the Pfoutses who became Mormons. So far, in my research, our families have mostly congregated to the Lutheran Church, most notably in Bowerston and Dover, Ohio.

But back to Washington County, Maryland. Censuses before 1850 do not list anyone but the head of household, and then list the number of males and females in the home, according to age group. I have found evidence of at least two Michael Pfoutses living near each other in Maryland (same census page) before 1811, when Michael’s son Jacob was born in Harrison County, effectively documenting the family’s move there. But until I find a death record, or a grave for this supposed elder Michael Pfouts, or something to trace them both back to the mother country, I can’t get to my fifth great grandfather and back.

ON WHERE WE’RE FROM IN GERMANY — Again, the Pfauts-Fouts-Foutz newsletters of the 1980s establish that Foutzes of all stripes — well, at least German stripes — came from the lower Neckar River valley in what is Baden-Wurttemberg today.

Just as the first Leys in America reported their German state of origin as Bavaria, an area that was later folded into Rheinland-Pfalz after World War II, the region the Pfoutses are from was made into Baden-Wurttemberg. What we don’t know is whether Michael Pfouts would have emigrated, back in the day, from Wurttemberg, or Baden, or Hesse, or some other German state that was active and governing and, hopefully, documenting all of this back then.

But for now, consider your roots originating in the Black Forest region. Home of Danube, east of the Rhine. Place of castles and cuckoo clocks and fast cars (Mercedes Benz and Porsche call the place home). The main cities include Stuttgart, Heidelberg, Rottweil and Rottenberg. Other Pfoutses have been connected to Mossenbach (possibly Mosbach today?) and Rohrbach.

Source: Colt Foutz's blog, Whispering Across the Campfire: http://colt76foutz.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/know-thy-patriarchs-8-foutz-generations/