This door symbolizes the research done on the immigrant Johann Jacob RUPP of Oberhoffen-lès-Wissembourg, Northern Alsace, France. The first door is open showing a passageway leading to another door that is closed.
The First Door Opens
Theron A. Rupe found records in the 1990s for RUPP individuals in the Family History Library’s International Film #775041:
Parish registers, in German, of baptisms, marriages, and deaths for Steinselz, Elsaß-Lothringen, Germany; now Steinseltz, Bas-Rhin, France, including Oberhoffen-lès-Wissembourg were filmed in the Strasbourg Archives. Note: As of 20 July 2010 these records are browsable online at the Archives Départementales du Bas-Rhin.
Theron’s research opened the first door. We corresponded by postal mail as he did not have internet access and a few emails were passed along by his son-in-law. In 2001 he shared photocopies with me of the records he found showing Johann Jacob RUPP b. 1723 was the son of Johann Jacob RUPP Jr. This, in turn, led him to Johann Jacob RUPP Sr. who he found had remarried and was fathering children at the same time as Johann Jacob RUPP Jr.
At the time I was more concerned with proving my grandmother’s ROOP line back to RUPE and the RUPP immigrant. Theron was “satisfied with information we have on family in America” and would “appreciate only information relating to Oberhoffen.”
I visited Steinseltz and Oberhoffen-lès-Wissembourg on a day trip in December 2001 but did not have the time to visit and/or do research at the archives in Strasbourg. This put an end to our collaborating as I did not have access to the records needed to satisfy his interest in the family of Oberhoffen-lès-Wissembourg.
A Second Door Opens
Fast forward a dozen years, in June 2013 I learned the church records were online in the Bas-Rhin Archives. I learned later they had been online for several years as noted above. I’d canceled my Ancestry.com subscription the previous month and had plenty of time to delve into the church records.
I searched the baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths beginning in 1685, the earliest records available, until 1752 the year my 6th great-grandfather Johann Jacob RUPP (b. 8 March 1723) came to America. I found about 130 church records for RUPP related individuals in Oberhoffen-lès-Wissembourg and Steinseltz. This included any record with a RUPP mentioned, for example, as a godparent on a baptismal record. Here a name, there a name, and before you know it you are connecting the dots and can see the whole picture.
What I found completely changed the RUPP family tree. I attempted contacting Theron with the new information however he is no longer doing genealogy. Without a subscription to Ancestry®, I wasn’t able to contact the people who had trees with the wrong information which I felt responsible for.
Why did I feel responsible?
In 2001 I entered the information found by Theron into my family tree. At the time, with the few photocopies of the old church records he shared with me, it looked good [to the new to US genealogy researcher] as the information was also included in Louise Roop Anderson Akers’ book The Family Rub, Rup, Rupe, Roop, Roope (2001 Printed by Jamont Communications, 339 Luck Ave., Roanoke, VA 24016). Although many other genealogists researching the family also bought the book I was one of the first to share the information online.
On 6 December 2002, I uploaded my GEDCOM file to RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project for the first time and it included the Roop information. A few years later I discovered my file had been included in the Ancestry Family Tree (later becoming a part of the OneWorldTree). Over the years dozens of owners of family trees on Ancestry.com have merged the incorrect information into their trees.
Yesterday I was looking at some of the trees and was reminded of why I do not want my family tree on Ancestry.com. I wish a user’s license was the prerequisite for using the family tree feature as well as reviewing and accepting hints. I can understand how people new to genealogy will make mistakes but there is no need to accept all hints without question.
What has changed in the RUPP family tree?
After sleeping on it, I’ve decided against contacting owners of trees with the incorrect information. My 1752 immigrant was not the only RUPP to come to America. Others came before and after him which only adds to the confusion seen in the trees found online.
To begin I plan to write about my 5th great-grandfather Heinrich Thomas “Henry” Rupe Sr. 1765-1845. There are several aspects of his life I would like to discuss in separate posts. They may not be done in this particular order but will include the migration from Maryland to Virginia, his life in Virginia, his children, and his siblings.
A post on how the connection was made between the immigrant and the ship he came over on will hopefully clear up the “it cannot be” comment I found on one of the “stories” attached to several trees on ancestry.
Once the ship has sailed I’ll write about the three RUPP generations found in the French archives who changed the family tree. Hopefully, by writing their stories I will no longer feel responsible for mistakes seen in other people’s family trees.
© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.