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Henry Bender is NOT the Son of Johann Georg Bender of Mount Joy Township

Henry Bender is NOT the son of Johan Georg Bender of Mount Joy Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania:

Hey, I said that's what I'd call it, didn't I? And, honestly, I can't say it's a 100% factual statement, but I'm confident that the preponderance of evidence backing me up will be enough to convince you, as it has me. As I mentioned at the end of yesterday's snorefest of my genealogical journey you undoubtedly needed toothpicks in your eyelids to finish, it was about this time (several years ago now) that I happened upon a message board and was contacted by a Mark Painter, a descendant of one of the old Bender families in colonial Pennsylvania. Mark and I have no shared ancestry, so far as we can tell, he belonging to a separate DNA Haplogroup than I do meaning any shared ancestry we have (on a direct father to son line that is) would be tens of thousands of years old (at least). Mark and a few of his genealogical cohorts have done painstaking research for years on the various Painter families of Eastern Pennsylvania in an attempt to maneuver the web of their own families, and as such were acutely aware of many of the flaws in Joseph Marino's posthumous project for which, again, I cannot stress enough, I don't judge the man. As the primary source of all my initial research, and probably the primary source of all of my cousins building a family tree which extends beyond Henry, it's the source I'll reference the most and point out the most errors. A fond wish of mine is that some distant grandchild, grandnephew or niece, or cousin many times removed of mine may care enough to do their own research, which may inevitably mean they eviscerate mine. I can only hope they'll appreciate my efforts and intentions, despite my misconceptions and failings, genealogical and otherwise.

Mark Painter had several records on Johann Georg Bender's family from the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, including this one:

December 25, 1771 - Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Elizabethtown, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Today, viz, Christmas day [1771] the following were confirmed and received the Lord's Supper the first time. 7 people listed.

#3. Joh. Geo. Bender and wife Elizabeth's son Henrich aged 15.

#4. Joh. Geo. Bender dau. Maria Elizabeth, aged 16.

#5. Joh. Geo. Bender dau Anna Elizabeth, aged 13.

You'll notice the discrepancy right away with Henrich's age here, putting his birth date about 1756. But I figured the only "proof" of my Henry's age was from his gravestone which documented his age at death. I had no other source of his birthday, and I assumed that's probably where Joseph Marino had gotten the birthdate as well. So, I figured this could still be our Henry, they just got his age wrong later in life. Given the census data before 1850 only gave the age range in increments of 5 or 10 years, there was no way to determine if Henry Bender should have been born 1756 or 1759 by those. The other thing I noticed was that Henry's mother was listed as Elizabeth. Per Marino, Henry's mother was Regina Kraemer who had died April 23, 1767 at Mount Joy, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Johann Georg Bender had subsequently married to an Anna Elisabeth (last name unknown). I figured that made sense that she would have considered him her son after being married to his father half his life, so it didn't bother me that she should be listed as Henry's mother. I'm not sure about the stringency of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in those times with regards to parental accuracy. In contemporary Catholic records at the time, I find mostly that any document about a person in the church will usually say child of deceased so and so, if one or more of their parents are deceased, even if the surviving parent of the child had remarried. What's more, there were records of the militia in Mount Joy Township during the Revolutionary War, including one Henry Bender from the latter 1770's (I'm too lazy to look it up again) until 1783. Given the militia would have been made up of men who were living within that township and that there are no Henry Benders besides the son of Johann Georg Bender listed within Mount Joy Township around that time, I assumed then, as I assume now, this was the son of Johann Georg Bender of Mount Joy Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Having learned that, and learning he was in the militia and had volunteered for at least one excursion, I was once again relieved that I had given life once again to my Henry Bender's Revolutionary War record.

I've suggested a couple days ago that when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. As I traded e-mails and research with Mark Painter, and he provided me with some copies of land records, and more research data in to Johann Georg Bender, the Pennsylvania tax records from colonial times were uploaded to the ancestry.com site, and I was able to locate Henry Bender in the tax records of Milford Township, Bedford County (now Somerset), Pennsylvania as early as November 1780. But... wait, how could my Henry be paying taxes as a resident of Bedford County when he's also being enumerated in the muster rolls of the Mount Joy Militia in Lancaster County, which, in case you were curious, or even if you weren't, is about 165 miles away, as the crow flies. In 1780, as the person walks or the horse trots, that wasn't a 3 hour journey. That was a several days, if not weeks, long and dangerous path (assuming there was an established road by that point) surrounded by all manner of dangerous persons and creatures which would probably very much like to shuffle loose the mortal coil of a witless pedestrian traversing back and forth in order to pay taxes one day and show up for militia duty the next. In other words, it didn't happen, nor would the militia roll be forged to make it look like Henry Bender was still living and enrolled there. These were two different Henry Benders, and the one in Mount Joy Township was not my 5x grandfather. That is not to say that he couldn't be the son of Johann Georg Bender, and the Henry Bender in the militia was someone else, relative or not, but it's hardly likely. The tax records and land records show a paper trail which leaves no doubt that the Henry Bender who appears in 1780 is the same Henry Bender who died in Fayette County, Ohio, 1845.

The nail in the coffin came when a descendent from Johann Georg Bender's son John, with a paper trail to back it up consented to a DNA test, in coordination with Mark Painter and I, Mark wanting to know how Johann Georg Bender may have fit into the other Bender families in Pennsylvania. The results came back that this individual had a completely different Haplogroup than I did, but that it almost certainly put Johann Georg Bender into some of the established Bender families from Kirchardt, Baden, Germany. Later another descendant of Johann Georg Bender, this time through is son William was a match for the descendant of John Bender. Neither of them were related to me through our direct paternal ancestors. This all but confirms that my branch of the Benders is not descended from Johann Georg Bender of Mount Joy Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

This new timeline, which also seemed to dispute the one established by Joseph Marino's book, had greater implications than just getting his parents wrong. As of now, I don't really know if my ancestors name was Johann Heinrich Bender. It's very likely he would have been Christened as such, but I do know that his name was at least Henrich or Heinrich Bender, as he signed his name as such in the old German script style called "Kurrent". I've attached an example of Henry's handwriting in this script style. Notice his wife, Elizabeth signs with an X. Next I'll challenge the marriage record of Henry (Heinrich) Bender as stated by Marino's book, and provide a bit more insight onto the pathway forward.

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