A couple nights ago, I was sitting in my office after helping Jeffrey with some homework. Jenna came in, and had an interesting question.
Dad, what country do we come from?
I thought I knew where she was going, but I said,
Well sweetie, we come from the United States. I was born here, your mom was born here… your whole family was born here.
She wasn’t satisfied.
No, dad… like Grandma and Grandpa and their grandma and grandpa.
Which is a very interesting question.
For years, I had no answer whatsoever. But my dad had been doing some research recently, and had spent some time finding some information about our ancestors.
Enter ancestry.com. Just after the new year, he and I were sitting around talking about our genealogy, and I went online to look up his grandfather online. Ancestry.com had him. And his parents. And their parents. And their parents before. All the way back to Benedict Stockli and Anna Glaus in the late 1600’s.
Benedict was born in Switzerland, and died in Holland. One of his sons, Hans Stockli, immigrated to the New World. He died in Virginia just after the Revolutionary War in 1770, and was known at the time as John Stickley (apparently the phonetic translation of Hans Stockli).
The big question, though?
Why the movement from Switzerland to Holland and, eventually, on to Virginia?
The answer makes for a very interesting story (coming soon), but the short version?
Religious persecution. Our family came to America because they were persecuted for worshipping Jesus as they desired.
Now that’s a topic to talk about with your nine year old, especially when your number one goal as a Christian parent is to teach your children to have unwavering faith in the only one that saves, Jesus.
But that’s our family history. The first “Stickley” came to America because of religious persecution.
Now, was that faith history passed on generation after generation, on to me?
Well, if it was, let’s just say I’d have an epic beard… not the fairly average beard than I currently do.
The Swiss Brethren, the group from which Benedict Stockli and family were known, well… they were Anabaptists, known also as Mennonites.
And this particular line? They were pre-cursors to the modern Amish.
So let’s put it this way: not only is my beard not nearly epic enough to indicate that faith was passed on, but I’m blogging.
And you just don’t see many Amish doing that.
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