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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-08 > 0903123288

From: "David L. Carson" <>
Subject: Re: Catt/Katz
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 15:34:48 -0400


A large percentage of the Germanic people who immigrated before the
Revolutionary War were religious dissenters escaping the religious wars
fomented by the Holy Roman Empire (Spain and Austrian Kings) and the French
Kings in their attempts to stamp out the reformation. William Penn went up
the Rhine and met with the leaders of the various pietist, reformed, and
Lutheran groups and invited them to come settle in Pennsylvania.

To get there, these people came down the Rhine River to Holland--then a
safe haven for Protestants, as in the case of our Pilgrims, and then
departed via ship for PA. Often times the ships were of a variety known as
"snow." Since they were English ships, they were required to check in at
an English port for inspection, etc. In the case of your ancestors the
inspection occurred at the port of Plymouth, many checked into Cowes before
setting across the Atlantic.

Without checking, the lists consist of the Captain's manifest--a list of
all aboard, excluding women and those younger than 15; a medical
clearance--the ships were often held in quarantine at Lewes (now Delaware)
at the mouth of Delaware River until a physician could certify the
immigrants' state of health; and the Oath of allegiance often administered
in Philadelphia.

Please someone who has Strassburger or Rupp in hand correct me if necessary.

The various spellings of names continued into this century at Ellis Island
when the minor functionary who logged in the immigrants could barely often
spell let alone deal with languages other than basic English. The first
spelling, Catts, is an obvious Anglicization. We spell Cat today with a C,
the Germans with a K as in the form of the second spelling. The third
spelling, Kotz is probably a spelling pronunciation based on teh way your
ancestors pronounced the name. The English Corporal used a sound he was
familiar with (O as in cot) to come up with

In this English speaking place, non-English immigrants always had a
slightly inferior status until they acclimated. The German speaking
peoples, all of whom the English knew as The Dutch (from Deutsch)
experienced this prejudice early on; sadly it was perpetuated by massive
anti-German propaganda of WWI and WWII.

So there has always been a tendency from the beginning for Germanic peoples
to attempt to assimilate; a review of the spelling of immigrant names in
the 1790 census shows this. Zimmerman became Carpenter, Graaf became
Grove, Braun, Brown, Weiss, White, Gruen, Green, Schwarz, Black, and
probably Katz became Catts. I have great sport, at times, pointing out to
people who believe their heritage to be English their probable germanic
heritage. Frequently, offspring were never told they had German ancestors,
others were just not interested.

As my friend Ralph Ellison once wrote: "Americans are constantly
reinventing themselves." It is still true. Current estimates of the
germanic proportion of our population are usually as a result low (25%)
when in fact they probably make up on the order of 40%.
Hope this helps.

Kit Carson

>I just found info the origins of my Catt line in America (I'm so happy!). I
>now know that Michael Catts/Katz and his son Michael arrived in
>Philadelphia 10/12/1738 on the Snow Fox in the Palatinate immigration.
>There are 3 ship lists. THe first contains those above 15 years old
>imported, the second are those who qualified, and the third are those
>who "subscribed to Oaths to the GOvernment" upon arrival in
>Philadelphia. My Michael Sr is on all 3 lists with the name spelled Catts,
>Katz, and Kotz, respectively. Can anyone explain what these different
>lists mean?
>Also, I am now curious about the origins of Michael Catt. I believe the
>ship or its Capt originated in Rotterdam, Holland "but last from Plymouth in
>Old England." Oral family history says they were Scottish (my uncles
>look like big burley red-headed Viking Scots) and I happen to know there
>are Catts in England and read somewhere a couple of years ago they
>were in the lowlands of Scotland and northern England but now know
>there were involved in the Palatinate immigration (I now need to learn
>more about that too). I know they settled in Pennsylvania and later
>Finally, any info on the origins of Katz, Katze, or Kotz? (Poppa Joe,
>Linda?) I have the complete list of passengers and would be happy to
>share this info if anyone is interested. Sorry for the long message but I
>am so excited to have found this but know have more questions (you all
>know how that goes).
>Thanks a bunch!

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