April 17, 2009

Notes on Our Noto/Martynowski/Petz/Shock Family History

Back in the early 1970s, Grandma Lillian Martynowski, my mother's mother, whose maiden name was Lillian Petz, once told me that, when she was a little girl, her own mother's mother had told her that when she had been a little girl there were still Indians, Native Americans, that is, living on the outskirts of the city of Chicago.

I was amazed to hear her say that, as I had somehow assumed that all of my immigrant forbears had arrived in the New World around the same time as my father's Sicilian family, in the early Twentieth Century. I'm guessing, now, that the Petz clan, which my grandmother mentioned was from the Alsace region of Germany, the native land of the Alsatian, or German Shepherd dogs, came to North America as part of the Hessian army of mercenary soldiers that helped England's King George in his futile attempt to retain control of the American colonies. I've not yet heard any word of how they came to be in the Chicago area.

It is interesting that this is also how my wife's father's German ancestors, the Shocks, came to be on this side of the Atlantic. Carla Shock, my mother-in-law, has a copy of a genealogy that tells of three brothers travelling down the Ohio River on a raft, with one, my father-in-law's forbear, getting off around Evansville, Indiana.

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