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The Palatine Families Project

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  • Wilhelm Sprenckel (1685 - 1772)
    Found on 10 31 16 Will filed January 16, 1772 Will proved on April 11, 1772 _SPINCKEL, William. York County. January 16, 1772 April 11, 1772 Executors: John Bushong, Henry and William Spinckel. Wife: C...
  • Johann Christopher Schweitzer (Scweitzer) (1686 - 1755)
    Immigration Year: (c) 1709- 3rd arrivals in England (London lists) • Occupation ((c) 1709) Husbandman & Vinedresser U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s Name ...
  • Solomon Teskey (c.1704 - 1760)
  • Rev. Joshua Von Kocherthal (1669 - 1719)
    Palatine immigrant His story (in part) "Twenty-one years after the close of the devastating Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), there was born at Landau on the left bank of the Rhine River, in what is now...


Prior to 1871, what is now Germany consisted of a number of separate states such as Wurttemberg, Prussia, Bavaria, etc., whose boundaries changed frequently as a result of war and other causes. The Palatinate (German: Pfalz) was one of these states, and was located along the Rhine, roughly corresponding to the modern German state of Rhineland-Pfalz.

Please add your Palatine ancestors to this project

About this project

The Palatinate families project is an opportunity to record all the families that were persecuted and driven from Germany in 1708/9 and were refugees in England, Ireland and the Americas and settled in those countries or used them as stepping stones to their final destinations and to discover how they were all interconnected.

If you think your ancestor was a Palatinate Refugee or family member then please add them or make contact.

Palatines in Ireland

In 1709 several hundred Palatine families settled in Ireland. A combination of economic hardship causd by war and a severe winter led to the exodus. Queen Anne received them in England and sent some to Ireland to the estates of sympathetic Protestant landlords. They established roots, mainly in the Rathkeale area of County Limerick, Ireland, where about 1,200 of them settled on the estate of Thomas Southwell. Other colonies were set up in Old Ross and Gorey, County Wexford and in Counties Cork and Dublin. Thought the Limerick Palatines spread out to other areas, particularly north Kerry and Tipperary, Rathkeale remained an important focal point.

At Killaheen

The site of the old Wesleyan Chapel where the Palatines worshipped may be seen today, also some of the old Palatine houses. A most interesting item is an old Palatine well. It consists of a trench cut into the ground deeper than the water table. The sides and the top are lined with stone and 18 stone steps lead down the clear cold water. Several such wells are to be found in the locality but some have been partly filled in for safety purposes.

At Courtmatrix

The earliest of the original colonies, the present occupiers of a house built in the Palatine style - long and low - which once longed to the Teskey family can be found with the interior which has been kept as close to its original condition as a modern lifestyle will permit. Behind the old Teskey home a carved stone cider press is still in position under an old tree, an interesting validation of the fact that the Palatines brought stone-cutting and winemaking skills with them from Germany.


The third of the parent colonies, ,is the place where the most famous Irish Palatines lived. Barbara Heck and Philip Embury were the founders of Methodism in the USA, a denomination which now has a following of several million. Barbara Heck's old home is (1996) occupied by the family of Walter Ruttle, a Palatine descendant and a member of the Irish Palatine Association. Nearby can be found a pear tree under which John Wesley used to preach and a plaque marking the site of Philip Embury's home, long since demolished. A visit to Embury and Heck memorial church contains a horn blown by the burgermeister or Palatine leader to summon general meetings in the early days of the colony.

Castle Matrix is the home of Thomas Southwell, the landlord who brought the Palatines to Limerick. This ancient Fitzgerald castle has been completely restored and is occupied by the O'Driscoll family.

Some of the German-speaking people that came to North America did not come directly. Some Palatines spent time (from a few months to a few generations) in other countries, including Ireland.

There is an Irish Palatine Heritage Centre in Rathkeale, (near Limerick and Adare),Co. Limerick, with extensive displays of artifacts, photographs, etc. associated with the Palatine families Irish Palatine Museum and Heritage Centre

Palatines in North America

In 1710, three large groups of Palatines sailed from London. The first went to Ireland, the second to Carolina and the third to New York with the new Governor, Robert Hunter. There were 3 000 Palatines on 10 ships that sailed for NY and approximately 470 died on the voyage or shortly after their arrival.

In NY, the Palatines were expected to work for the British authorities, producing naval stores [tar and pitch] for the navy in return for their passage to NY. They were also expected to act as a buffer between the French and Natives on the northern frontier and the English colonies to the south and east.

According to a lecture by Dr. George Schweitzer, a highly regarded genealogical researcher, ship owners were very actively recruiting German settlers to the colonies at this time. England was bringing large quantities of cargo back from the colonies and to make the process more profitable they needed cargo for the western-bound journey also. They weren't as concerned about bringing in money from this human cargo as they were about the weight and ballast they could provide to "speed up" the sailings. The faster they could make the return voyage, the more profits they could realize. The port of Philadelphia showed the impact of the German recruitment. In 1735 there were 268 German immigrants who arrived in the port. In 1736 it was 736, and it rose to 1528 in 1737. Expectations were for 1738 to see even larger numbers of emigrants. But even those high expectations were shattered by the huge numbers who arrived, beginning earlier in the season than usual. To meet the high demand shipping firms contracted for extra ships. The firm Hope provided eight ships of which the Winter Galley was one.

Palatines in Canada

In the 1830s, 185 families left Ireland and settled in Canada - mainly Ontario.

Over the years, their friends and family in Ireland started to follow them to Canada, and soon you had settlements in Ontario full of Irish Palatine names such as Barkman, Dolmage, Embury, Fizzell, Heck, Lawrence, Ruttle, Switzer, Sparling, and Teskey - to name a few.

Palatines in other countries

Palatine family names

Altimes/Alton, Armentrout/Armantrout/Ermentraudt, Baker, Barkman/Bartman, Barraban, Benner, Bickerin, Bonus, Bovenizer, Bowen, Bower, Bredhour, Brough, Cave, Cole, Cooke, Corneille, Cripps, Cronsberry, Delmege, Doupe, Drollinger/Trollinger/Trolinger/Trulinger/Drullinger, Embury, Everett, Filme, Fitzelle, Folker, Grouse, Guier, Hartwick, Heavenor, Heck, Haury, Hibler, Hifle, Hoffman, Hoopf, Hoost, Laurence, Legear, Lodwick/Ludwig, Lowe, Lower, Lowes, Mick, Miller, Modler, Neazor, Piper, Poff, Richardt, Rodenbecker, Ruttle, Rynard, Ryner, Schmidt/Smyth, Shallas, Sheafer, Shearman, Shimmel, Shire/Shier, Shoemaker, Shoneweiss, Shouldice, Siebert, Singer, Smeltzer, Sparlng/Sparling, Spingler, St. John, Steevell, Steepe, Stork/Stark, Stroud, Switzer, Teskey, Tettler/Detlor, Ushelbaugh, Young and Zigler.

External sources

this project is in HistoryLink