Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ruchstein & Mengel

These are the last two lines of my paternal side for which I have information.  And even for these I have very little.  Part of the reason I don’t have as much on my dad’s side is that, mostly, the families came to the US much later than on my mom’s side.  The other reason is that I hit dead ends on my dad’s side in much earlier generations than on my mom’s side.  As I look at the big picture, I’d say there were more impoverished circumstances on my paternal side--the families just don’t appear in many local histories that typically include prominent families.

Catherina Ruchstein, my 3x great-grandmother, later married to Jacob Doll, was born in 1788 in Northampton County.  According to the Commemorative Biographical Record of Northeastern Pennsylvania, published by J.H. Beers & Co. in 1909, Catherine Ruthstine was born in Monroe County, but the name discrepancy likely stems from some mangled pronunciations (more of those to come) and the county discrepancy is likely a result of changing county boundries.  Monroe County was created in part from a portion of Northampton County in 1836.

The same Beers book said Catherine’s father was Frederick Ruthstine, but had nothing else on the family.  Going to the census I found a bit more information and in other records I found possible matches, but the name variation was more noticeable.  I found Frederick Ruston of Northampton County in 1790, Frederick Ruchstein of Northampton County in 1800, and a Frederick Rustay of Northampton County in 1830.  He lived near the Boyers and Dolls who would appear in the next two generations with a son-in-law and a granddaughter-in-law.  I think I might be able to find additional census records by doing a page-by-page search of Northampton County, but the spelling variations are an obstacle to a simple name search.  They have included:  Ruchstein, Ruchstine, Ruthstine, Rufstine, Ruhstein, Rustine, Rustay, Ruston, Rustag, and Rustey.

When I contacted the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society for information about my Doll line, the surname Ruchstein was part of the background information I provided to them--as mentioned above, Jacob Doll married Catherine Ruchstein.  Fortunately, part of the research results included translated and transcribed church record information on the Ruchsteins.  There was a Frederick and Magdalene Ruhstein as baptismal sponsors in 1794 and as the parents of Jacob Ruhstein at his 1789 baptism.  Much to my delight,  Frederick and Maria Ruchstein were in the translated and transcribed parish records of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church as the parents of Catharina, born Feb. 3 and baptized June 8, 1788.  Later, at the Hamilton Township Union Church, Friedrich and Maria were baptismal sponsors for Catherina's daughter, Maria.  Catherina and Jacob Doll appear quite frequently in this record in connection with Ruchsteins (including spelling variations), interchanging between being the sponsors or the parents.  I’ve not yet come across birth or death dates for either Frederick or Maria, nor do I know her maiden name.  I’m looking forward to exploring this line more at a later date.

And so I come to Mengel.  Because I know next to nothing about the Mengels, I decided not to do a separate post.  In Charles Boyer’s The American Boyers, I read only that another 3x great-grandmother, Barbara Mengel, born in 1780 in Pennsylvania, was married to a significantly older Valentine Beyer and was mother to Sophia Boyer, who later married Samuel Doll.  I won’t be confident in the information from that book until I can locate some alternate, confirming sources. I did some searches for early Mengels on and surprisingly few popped up.  I don’t know yet if that’s good or bad news.  I’ve been trying to turn up leads, but so far with no success.

Now my research will be focusing only on my mom’s side.  I have quite a few more surnames to explore there.  But, I feel pretty confidant that I will keep returning to the missing links on my dad’s side, hoping to find some clues and maybe even some answers.  And I hope that distant  cousins will find my blog and have wonderful new insights to share with me.


  1. In my Fathers words (Jack Rustine III), and the ancestry reports of others within the family, the family of Ruchstein.... Currently spelled Rustine, Rushtine, Ruestein, Rastein, and Rustyne.. we have no records of Mengle. but if youre a descendant from Catherine or her brother George, we are somehow related.

    look us up under Rustine (apparently ancestors came over and the census spelled names how they wanted). I am Josh. My father is Jack. and his father is Jack, and his father before him was Jack. just a heads up.

  2. I descend from Catherine, George's sister. I found a Rustine tree on ancestry with their parents listed, but I didn't see anything that documented the connection. I try not to include anything here for which I can't locate records, although I sometimes mention possibility of a relationship if other records are strong enough.