For all my fellow family history bloggers who are keeping up with Amy Johnson Crow’s #52ancestors challenge, the prompt for this week is “love.”
For me, the obvious relative to go with that prompt is my 2nd great-grandfather, Valentine Fitch, or Voitzsch, as his surname was known before he sailed across the pond.
Although, to my ears, Valentine for a man’s surname sounds strange, I’m told it was a common given name for Germans, Spaniards, and Scandinavians. It’s a swashbuckling, romantic name!
By many accounts, he was born in Prussia and emigrated to the US with his parents and some of his numerous brothers and sisters, and perhaps cousins. The parents settled in New York. Valentine and many of his siblings moved to the midwest and put down roots in Winnebago County, Illinois.
Ancestry. com has a cadastral map of 1886 that shows V. Fitch’s parcel of land in Section 9. His name is plentiful in historic records of the US in the 1800’s and 1900’s, not only documenting his life and times, but also his son’s, grandson’s, and nephews’ lives, who were given the same name as his! Alas, though, I’m still in the dark about his time of death. He is not buried next to his wife in the Cherry Valley cemetery. Where did he go? What did he do? His name might as well have been Ozymandias, for all I was able to discover about his death. But once, he was an immigrant, a pioneer in the promised land of America, with his whole life of opportunities ahead of him!