German Interest Group of The Eastside Genealogical Society (EGS) Meeting

The German Interest Group of The Eastside Genealogical Society (EGS)meeting

When: Friday, May 7, 2021 from 12:30 to 2:30 pm PDT – Virtually

Topic: “From Pikeman to Pennsylvanian: Swiss Ancestral Origins”

Investigating “Pennsylvania Dutch” origins can turn up fascinating stories. Claire Gebben’s maternal great grandmother, Annie Elizabeth Salome Line Lindsey, was a fifth generation descendant of Swiss emigrants Henry Carpenter / Zimmerman (1673-1750) and Maria Salome Rufener (1675-1743), both from the Canton of Bern in the Central Alps region of present-day Switzerland. Evidence of their story was at first conflicting and scanty at best, but a deeper dive uncovered an unexpected bounty of family history and the Swiss German legacy. In this presentation Claire shares often-untapped resources and glimpses of the adventurous lives and times of some of the earliest Swiss settlers to William Penn’s Pennsylvania province.

 Presenter: Claire Gebben is the author of an award-winning memoir How We Survive Here (2018) about the discovery of old letters in an attic in Germany written by Claire’s ancestors that propelled her on a transatlantic quest to learn the truth about their lives. Her novel The Last of the Blacksmiths (2014) is based on the true story of a 19th-century German immigrant blacksmith Michael Harm who pursues the American dream. Claire ‘s articles about family history appear in publications such as the Seattle Genealogical Society Newsletter, Northwest Prime Time, the Fiske Genealogical Society Newsletter, and German Life magazine. She holds an MFA and speaks on genealogy topics at numerous venues. More at

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