Can you help clarify this confusion/dispute about Palatine migrant Anna Maria Zöller?

+5 votes

Help! Another member ("Jim") has concerns about the profile of Anna Maria Margaretha (Zoeller) Schaeffer (abt. 1697 - 1768), a 1710 Palatine migrant to New York who has numerous descendants. He initiated discussion on the profile page, but after I replied with a request for clarification, he moved it to my profile page and email inbox. I am (together with the Palatine Migration project and another member-contributor) one of the profile managers. However, I'm hardly the only contributor to this profile; this discussion should not be a personal one between Jim and me; and Jim is asking me to explain and defend statements I don't believe I ever made and opinions I don't believe I've ever held.

I've copied the exchange thus far into this question so that other Project members and descendants can see the whole exchange in one place and participate in trying to sort things out. Below this G2G question, I'll add some G2G comments related to Jim's messages.

Jim posted (on the profile):

According to subsistence data:

1. Johann Henrich was accompanied by a child under 10 when he arrived at New York in 1710.

2. Jones quoted that Anna Catherina Zeller, daughter of Zoller and Weller had an illegitimate daughter 1715 in New York,

3. Jones quote that a different Lutheran minister baptized an illegitimate child for the Anna Maria Zeller who married Johannes Schaeffer.

Schaeffer's wife was the only documented single Zeller female Palatine immigrant and she was NOT over 10 when they arrived at New York. It seems logical that his wife was Henry's daughter and that the five Zeller immigrants departed Helmershausen Germany with the Batdorf family that included Anna Catherina Zeller, Peter Batdorf's second wife. 

Zoller Weller Anna Catherina was born 1695 making her 15 in 1710.

I asked (on the profile):

Jim, could you please provide a source for your information more specific than "subsistence data"?

And I infer that statements like "Schaeffer's wife was the only documented single Zeller female Palatine immigrant and she was NOT over 10 when they arrived at New York" are based on someone's analysis of evidence from multiple sources, not merely "subsistence data." Could you please identify the source for that?

Jim replied (to me):

The Subsistence List is the only record from the Palatine immigration. Jones writings on the Zeller immigrants does not match the subsistence records. He totally neglected that Johann Henrich had a child under 10 when he arrived.

Where and when did the two Zoller daughters of the Etcbach Zollers arrive and live in New York. One was 13 and the other 15.

And how about this for a coincidence: Jones writes the 15 year old daughter when she arrived in New York, had an illegitimate daughter with a Negro in New York.  Then he writes that Johannes Schaeffer's wife also had an illegitimate child. These two are supposedly daughters of the Etzbach Zoller family. 

How can you managers ignore the only documentation and believe the made up Jones info?

And a few minutes later he wrote (in a PM to me):

I erred. Jones never stated the 1697 daughter of the Etzbach  Zeller family was Schaeffer’s wife, you managers did. Jones did state that Schaeffer’s wife had an illegitimate child baptized by pastor Berkenmeyer at

And Jones stated the 1695 daughter of the Etzbach Zeller family daughter’s illegitimate daughter was baptized by Rev. Kochertal  in New York.
Do you really believe this? 

Where else are either one of these two documented as having come to new York except in Jones' books. I know it must be difficult to even think of jones cooking the books because where else has he made up lies. 

It seems possible that Schaeffer and wife had a child before they were married, happens all the time, but the only documented Zeller wife possible was Henrich's daughter who was not yet 10 when they arrived New York.

WikiTree profile: Maria Margaretha Schaeffer
in Genealogy Help by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
edited by Ellen Smith

Note: The current profile does not directly cite primary sources, nor the works of Henry Z. Jones, but references other sources that cited primary sources (subsistence lists) and Jones. I don't have access to any of the books by Jones.

The questions I posted on the profile relate to subsistence data. I've seen several different renderings of the subsistence lists (there was more than one list) that name the migrants who were living in work camps in the Hudson Valley. I think it's important to refer to the specific list(s) and specific transcription/interpretation of the list(s) that we are citing. Also, because the list entries typically name the head of a household and give a count of the other household members by age class and gender, and because of spelling variations and similarities in different people's names, some interpretation (often a lot of interpretation) must be done to create a list for any specific family. If we are citing "subsistence data" and disputing someone else's interpretation of the data, it seems important to identify which list entries are being cited and what those list entries said.

Another project member created the free-space page Entries for Zellers and Anna Battorfin on the Hunter Sustenance Lists (1710-1713), which I believe has bearing on this question.

I think the unpublished document A Collection of Research about the Zeller Family in Berks County Pennsylvania During the 17th& 18th Centuries (the hyperlink is to a PDF uploaded to WikiTree) probably also has bearing on the issues that Jim is concerned about.

I note that much of the information in the profile is not derived from the subsistence lists, but rather comes from church records, probably from Schoharie, that aren't currently cited in the profile (which is based on secondary sources), or possibly from sources such as family bibles. Is there a dispute over the identifications of people named in those records?

The statement about the "illegitimate child" reads:

Pastor Berkenmeyer mentioned Johannes Schaffer often in "Albany Protocol". In 1736 on p. 190 he wrote: "After the service we returned to the home of Hannes Scheffer. The first thing he said was to ask me why I had bpt. the child b. out of wedlock, without having the mother first do penance in the church. It was he who had said to Van Diren that he would not come again if he were willing to bpt. the child. When I remonstrated in a kindlly way, I received the answer that I had put blame on the Luth. congregation and that if the Amsterdam Consistory did not adhere closer to the Luth. doctrine, then he would have nothing to do with it. There was no way of calming him down until his anger had spent itself. Then he asked me to have dinner with him, but I refused and said I should be happy to do so tomorrow after the first service."

It's not clear to me that this refers to a child of the family of [Jo]hannes Sch[a]effer (it appears to be about some other child who was baptized in the church), nor what relevance it has to questions about the birth family and marriage of a woman born circa 1695-1697.

I agree, Ellen, that the child must be that of another family.  Otherwise he would not be so aggrieved.

The Immigrant Palatine Zellers by Jim Baucom, husband of Betty Jo Zellers


Sources  The first two chapters in John F. Vallentine’s book The Tulpehocken  Zellers and Their Descendants which includes the subsistence list of Palatine immigrants, Found at the LDS website.

Peter Batdorf’’s profile at Wikitree and Henry Jones’ notation found at:


The subsistence list is somewhat like an early US census, listing children under 10 and others. 

Documented in two first entries: Johann Henrich Zeller and a child under 10 who could have been his sibling or child, Johannes Zeller and his father Johann George Zeller living with widow Batdorf and 2 others over 10. 


Peter Batdorf’’s biography on wikitree has church records of Peter and his first wife and their children listed by name and date of baptism at Helmershausen Germany. After his first wife died in 1702, he married Anna Catherina Zeller. Records show that Peter, his wife and five children departed Holland in 1708 for England. Peter and three children died in England or during the six months at sea. The two Batdorf children are later Identified as Johannes Martin Batdorf born about 1695 and his sister Catherina Elizabeth Batdorf born about 1697, both in Helmershausen Germany. Like most caring families in at a time when disaster has struck, Johann George and his son Johannes joined Anna Batdorf who had been a member of their family before she married Peter Batdorf, when they arrived at New York.


 Some have posted that Anna was an Anspach who married a Zeller at a different location who that his widow somehow came to Helmershausen Germany and married Peter Batdprf. That requires a lot of travel and why would Johann George Zeller and his son Johannes come to the aid of a widow whose maiden name was Anaspach? Consider this: Johann George and his son Johannes had known Peter Batdorf and his children at least after 1702 and even before if they were close enough neighbors. Had Peter Batdorf not died and made it to New York with Anna and the children, Johann George and Johannes would have not been listed in the household with Peter and Anna, making it more difficult to prove that Anna was related to them.    


The fifth and final documented Zeller immigrant is Johannes Schaeffer’s wife Anna Margaret Zeller who has to be the under 10 years of age person with Johann Henrich Zeller in the 1710 subsistence list. She could be his sister or daughter. There is no way to prove either, but she was a descendant of John George Zeller as a daughter or granddaughter, Jones notes in his writing about Johannes Schaeffer’s wife:

NOTE: "An Anna Maria Zeller md. Johannes Schaffer by 1717 and remained in the Schoharie Valley; she was sp. in 1717 there by Johannes Zeller. Anna Maria obviously was related to the emigrating Zellers, perhaps a sister to Johannes and Henrich Zeller".


I believe that this clearly describes the relationship of the five Zeller immigrants. It would be difficult to prove otherwise.  My final conclusion is that the Batdorf and Zeller families left Helmershausen Germany to go to England together or not, but had at least known of each other’s plans as neighbors and relations. Had the two families lived a large distance apart there could be no communication.


Questions and comments welcomed and I ask you this: Author Dr. John F. Vallentine who was an assistant professor at BYU, a professional genealogist after he retired and Director of the Utah Genealogical Assoc for six years, fail to come to this same conclusion? At the end of chapter two he states that he is leaving it in the hands of the reader to draw his own working conclusion.


Jim Baucom

Hello Jim,

One of the most confusing aspects of figuring out the close relationship between the Zeller and Batdorf families in New York is the disparate geography of their supposed home villages in Europe.  

The Zöller family originates from the areas in and around Etzbach, on the Sieg River. This includes nearby Hamm and Wissen.  This is not 100% proven, but there is both direct and indirect sourcing that strongly supports the idea.

By striking contrast, the Batdorf family is said by Jones and Klaus Petry to have originated in Helmerhausen, Thuringia—located more than 250 km away.  This lineage is supported by primary sources found in church records.  Any hypothesis that claims that Anna Battorfin (widow of Peter Batdorf) is a blood relative of the Zellers has to explain how Anna “Zeller” could have married a widower with family living so far away from her home village in/near Etzbach.

One other important bit of information is found on the Rotterdam Departure Lists to London, where on 3 July 1709, Peter Petturf, his wife and 5 children are recorded on Francis Warren’s ship in Holland.  Obviously, Peter Batdorf was still alive when the Batdorf family reached Rotterdam, with 5 children in tow (only 2 survived the voyage to New York).  If one proposes a hypothesis that the Zellers and Batdorfs met during their travels, this did not occur until after Rotterdam departure. But remember also that many of the Palatines spent almost a year in London before departing for New York.  I don’t think any Zellers appear on the surviving Rotterdam Lists or London Lists. 

The other info noted by HZ Jones is that the Batdorfs are listed on the Rotterdam Lists near other families who originated in or near Darmstadt.  This led Jones to speculate in his 1986 book that perhaps the Batdorfs were also from Darmstadt.  However, if the Batdorf family is actually from Darmstadt instead of Helmerhausen, the geographic problem remains because Darmstadt is only slightly closer to Etzback/Wissen/Hamm than is Helmerhuasen.

Based on Jones’ suggestion of Darmstadt as the origin of the Batdorfs, there is indeed a different lineage from Darmstadt that is sometimes connected to a professor Jacob Peter Batdorf—a man educated in religious scholarship.  This Batdorf family originates in Wesphalia, but the grandfather moved to Switzerland—then later immigrated to the Palatinate (perhaps a Swiss Anabaptist?).  Whenever you encounter the family name Anspach associated with the Batdorf ancestry, that is because the Anspachs were also from Darmstadt and the Darmstadt Peter Batdorf married an Anspach daughter.  I don’t think this is a favored hypothesis for Batdorfs, but perhaps it should be revisited.  I don’t know the exact primary origin of this information.  I found it in “The Batdorf Family” (1984) by Maxine B. Bennett.

To fix the geographic problem, we somehow need to somehow place an Anna “Zeller” in Helmerhausen or Darmstadt.  Alternatively, we might assume that the Batdorfs from Helmerhausen and Batdorfs from Darmstadt are BOTH different from the 1709er lineage—and that the Batdorfs we are looking originate from a location very near Etzbach.  That location might be Betzdorf, located just upstream of Etzbach on the Sieg. This would nicely solve the geographic problem (which must be explained if Anna Battorfin’s family name is Zeller).  Problem is, nobody every found marriage or baptismal records to support this model.  By contrast, The Helmerhausen Batdorfs are well documented with primary sources.

As for the arguments you make about the Hunter subsistence lists, You can play the subsistence list game different ways to suit you hypothesis.  Everybody agrees that both Zeller families and the Batdorfin family were somehow connected by the time they reach New York.  But the Hunter Lists are not 100% internally consistent.  Some entries support certain hypotheses, while other entries fit better to others. We don’t know why the 2 oldest Zeller entries on the list account only for Johann Henry Zeller and one child under 10.  As you point out, a Maria Catherina Zoller born in 1695 would be “over 10” in 1710, so that presumed child of Johann Henry cannot be her.  Then, on the 24 July 1711 entry Anna Battofin appears with 5 people over 10 in the family unit.  After accounting for Anna and her two Batdorf children (or step-children)—you still have to account for 2 more people over 10.  That could be other Batdorf children who survived the trip but died soon thereafter.  Or, it could be Zeller family members—including Maria Catherina born 1695.  Or, it might include the “father” Johann “George” Zeller who died soon thereafter.  Also, Johannes and his children if he had any.   The basic data in those lists is incredibly informative, but—as Jones and Vallentine agreed—the Zellers and Batdorfs get the “confusing award.” 

According to the 1716 Simmendinger register Maria Catherina Zoller (not Anna Catherina) from Etzbach had an illegitimate daughter named Anna Maria with Jan, a negro from Martinique.  This is not a made up story, it is sourced data.  Furthermore, birth records in Etzabach record a daughter, Maria Catherina, born 1695 to Henrich Zeller and his wife Anna Maria.  I am surprised that there is no Wikitree profile for Maria Catherina, and I wonder what happened to her mulatto daughter Anna Maria.

400 years before the 1680 Zoller that you say originated in Wissen, Ulrich Zeller lived in Esslingen Germany, 334km from Wissen and 267km from Helmershausen. Thousands of Zeller/Zoller families were all over Germany What evidence do you have that shows Johann George and his sons Johann Henrich and Johannes coming from Wissen? I noticed that Zoller was not listed as a connection in this document. Is there a difference?

(obd.), häufig: zu den ON (öN) Zell, Zella (lat. cella »Klosterzelle; Zweigniederlassung, Wirtschaftshof«, wie Paulinzella/Thüringen, Probstzella, Appenzell, Zell am See usw.). Ulrich Zeller 1282 Esslingen. Appenzeller, Oberzeller, Zellhuber, Zellmeier (verschliffen Zellmann, wie Sellmeier: Sellmer).

Is there any other than evidence besides Johann George Zeller and son Johannes living with widow Batdorf that makes her a Zeller before marrying Peter?



Fellow Palatine Researchers:

Mea Culpa,  I will be 89 next month and I have failed to follow my usual procedure that has worked for me for over 50 years. I must be getting old, do you think?

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX ! This became obvious when I reviewed passenger ship arrivals.

Anna Battorffin arrived before Johann Henrich Zeller. No details were given for others in their group.


My ah ha wakeup call came when I found the later arrival of Hans Simon Haas that included others in his group; including Anna Rosina Zoller  a child 4. So the Anna Catherina Zoller who had the illegitimate child with negro Jan  whose age does not fit  our  Johann George Zeller group on the subsistence listing, could have arrived in a group with a different name. Her age eliminates her from being directly related to Johannes and Henrich, as the only child in their group was under 10 in 1710 who married Johannes Schaeffer.


Ship arrivals

Anna Battorffin

Johann Henrich 4th ship Baltimore


Hans Simon Haas
Anna Rosina (Zöller)
(child), 4
Johann Nicolaus, 3


Clever Henry Jones listed three possible conditions:

1 Our Johann Henrich Zeller was the son of a Wissen Zeller;

2 Peter Batdorf’s wife Anna Zeller, was a sister of Johannes Zeller;

3 The under 10 years old in 1710, Anna Zeller who married Johannes Zeller Schaeffer was a sister of Johannes and Johann Henrich Zeller. (Or in my opinion, perhaps a daughter of Johann Henrich.)

Two out of three is ok, but not perfect.


In my mind this input clears the way to allow me to assume that John George Zeller, sons Johann Henrich, Johannes, daughter Anna Zeller Batdorf  and Anna Zeller Schaeffer (daughter or granddaughter) all were living in Helmershausen Germany by 1702, if not before. So far no record has been found stating how many were in the Zeller group, we only know those who survived the trip.


Jim Baucom


The Anna Rosina Zöller who married Hans Simon Haas (6th 1710 ships list; Hunter Lists #256) was the daughter of Franz Zöller from Mackenbach (located just NW of Kaiserlautern).  Here we have a different 1709er Zeller Palatine who originates from none of the locations proposed for the other 1709er Zellers.
What Jones says about the baptism of the illegitimate child is this. Writing about Maria Catharina "It was this d/o Henrich who had the illegitimate child bpt. by Kocherthal in 1716 at West Camp Luth. church (HJ)." Henry Z. Jones, Jr., ''Palatine Families of New York: A Study of the German Immigrants Who Arrived in Colonial New York in 1710'' (Universal City, California 1985) p. 1131. In Jones's notation (HJ) means that this is his opinion based on the review of the evidence, but that there is no direct proof. So Jones should not be taken as asserting more than he actually is.

Also, Jones has pointed out that he has found the published Hunter lists to be inaccurate, and he published corrected versions in his Even More Palatine Families.

1 › zollers-family-crest

German state of Bavaria is the ancestral home of the Zollers family. ... Chronicles first mention Ulrich Zeller of Esslingen in 1282 and Dietrich Czelleman of ..

Using the Wikitree input for calculating descendants as 2 sons per couple and four generations per century there were 16 generations of Ulrich Zeller descendants from 1282 to 1682.

2 to the 16th power=65,556  total male descendants.

One half of the total were in the present generation 1n 1682, or about 32,000, and there could be even more due to some Swiss and Austria Zellers relocating in Germany,so who knows just how many with that name were living in the region of interest?

The 1709 immigrants have been studied as a population, and more than half of the original 847 families have been traced to their home villages.  In his book, “Becoming German,” (2004), Philip Otterness mapped the home villages of 426 of the 847 1710 New York Palatines.  He added to his map 18 families that immigrated to Carolina that same year.  Of these 444 families, only 5 originated outside of his map #2 called, “German origins of  the 1709 emigration.”  The map shows a stretch of the the Rhine River that begins in Baden and ends at Cologne and the main tributaries that drain intro that stretch of the Rhine—namely, the Neckar, Main, Nahne, Lahn, Mosel, Wied, and Sieg.  These are the regions to be looking in for 1709er Zellers.

So no, not Bavaria.  Far too many Wikitree Palatines are already mis-assigned to Bavaria in their profiles; let’s not create another fiction.  That family crest thingy has absolutely no relevance to this discussion, nor does the math.  In this specific case of  understanding the origins of a 1709 emigrating family, we have much better information to work with.

Of course the family crest is a myth, poor palatines, like all poor immigrants do not have them; The date for Ulrich was what I was trying to convey. The math number was mentioned only to show just how many Zellers descended from this one person in 400 years. Without pbt.. data  naming the children of John George it is only a guess as to location the Zeller Palatines except for what can be determined by using the known  American data.

Let's cut to the chase with the Zeller Palatines. Peter Batdorf and his second wife Anna, who became the Widow Anna Batdorf and his children were Palatines from Helmershausen Germany.  American records show a very close relationship between Anna Maria Zeller Schaeffer, Anna Batdorf, Johann Henrich Zeller, Johannes Zeller and  Johann George Zeller as their father. Henry Jones notes that Anna Maria Zeller Schaeffer and widow Anna Batdorf are probably related to Johannes. If this is true Peter Batdorf and the Johann George Zeller family were acquainted and both departed Helmershausen for England.

Where is the flaw in this logic? If Anna Batdorf was not related to Johannes and Johann George they would have not shared housing together for a year.
In the "collaborate" section of Peter Batdorf’s profile at FamilySearch, Professor Vallentine added copious notations, comments, and speculations about the origins of the Batdorf family.

The church records found near Helmerhausen by Petry and Jones are an excellent primary source that confirms the origins of Peter Batdorf.  But no Zöller/Zeller has ever been found in church records from this area, nor was there a marriage recorded between Anna and Peter Batdorf.

Vallentine notes that Peter Batdorf left Helmerhausen area after 1699, and “spent some time in the Rhineland-Pfalz area” (presumably he was traveling with his children).  Vallentine speculates that Batdorf might have married Anna after leaving Helmerhausen.  I like this model because it implies that Peter Batdorf may have moved to a location much closer to the Zeller home villages on the Sieg (Etzbach), in Rhineland-Palatinate, neatly solving the geographic problem of the Batdorfs and the Zellers having home villages so far apart.  Unfortunately, no marriage record has been found for Peter and Anna in the church records.

Additionally, Vallentine discredits the family story about Professor Peter Batdorf, who came from Switzerland, then later Darmstadt in the Palatinate (and married Anspach).  This lineage is widespread on the internet.  The source is the book The Batdorf Family” (1984) by Maxine B. Bennett.  Bennet wrote a number of family books, including one on the Walborns.  Her work is in the LDS library, but  I have never seen where she obtained her information about Professor Peter Bardorf from Switzerland.

The bottom line on the Zeller-Batdorf connection is that we don’t know for sure.  The available sources can be interpreted to fit various models.  Thus, the relevant profiles on Wikitree must be written to reflect this.  If we don’t solve the remaining mysteries, at least others will be able to understand the various theories proffered.
Your correct, some of our assumption are unproveable with no real evidence. We have a friend in Frankfurt Germany that I am going to see if they can find a professional genealogist to search for Zellers at Helmershausen from 1675-1705.

1 Answer

+5 votes

Before getting too deep into the details, some background about sources may be useful in getting to the bottom of the various points raised by Jim and others:

1.  On the Zeller-Battorfin free-space page I created, I have added background information about organization and history of the Hunter Lists themselves, as described by Lewis Bunker Rohrbach, CG.  If we are going to be discussing data in these lists, it is important to keep in mind which lists we are talking about, and which one is being cited in the secondary sources.

2.  The very thorough and readable secondary compilation of the work of the genealogist John Vallentine is linked in Ellen's post above.  This was posted by Dan Zeller, a Wikitree contributor.  Dr. Vallentine published and republished reiterations of his research over decades, and along the way he revised some of his conclusions (and some of his speculations).  When referring to his research, it is important to use the last version that he published before his death.  The link to that (2013) version at FamilySearch is  John Vallentine Zeller Research.  Note also that Dan Zeller created a number of freespace pages related to Zeller research that may be helpful in getting to the bottom of things.  

3.  The issues raised by Jim about the ages and numbers of the Zeller children are probably explained by how one interprets the Zöller family research carried out in Germany and published in the 2002 book by Lewis Bunker Rohrbach, CG and HZ Jones (Even more Palatine Families).  I have transcribed a small portion of this research into the Research Notes sections of the various Zeller Wikitree profiles, but there is much more there.  It is perhaps relevant to note that this research is NOT part of the main sections of the 2002 volumes by Rohrbach and Jones; rather, it was research carried out by Klaus Petry, who I believe was (is?) a German academic historian who collaborated with Rohrbach and Jones.  If you believe the research of Petry to be correct, you can draw certain conclusions about the Zeller origins (and ages of children and size of the family in Europe). If on the other hand you discount this research--and there are some geographical reasons to justify, at the very least, viewing it with skepticism--then you reach different conclusions, which would be based (solely) on the Hunter Lists.  Note that Professor John Vallentine himself never did any Zeller origins research in Germany.  His expertise was in understanding and documenting the genealogy of the family once they reached America.  Note also that Vallentine and Jones corresponded for decades and although they sometimes differed in their interpretations of the sources, they largely agreed on most things.  

4.  It might not be possible to determine a definitive conclusion based on the sources at hand.  Both Vallentine and Jones speculated considerably about this family when they extended their thinking beyond the sources--and both actually changed their interpretations over time, as evidenced by comparing what they wrote in earlier versus later versions of their research.  The best we can do at Wikitree may be to rely on the later versions of their speculations, with the caveat that they are indeed (merely) informed speculations, based on decades of study.

by Michael Schell G2G6 Mach 2 (22.3k points)
edited by Michael Schell
Currently, there are no profiles on Wikitree for the European Zöller genealogies that were researched by Klaus Petry.  Perhaps the place to start is for me to create profiles for these people and add sources.  Once those profiles exist and are available to everybody at Wikitree, we all can focus on how they should best be interpreted in conjunction with the Hunter Lists.

Thanks for all that information, Michael!  smiley

Let me try to explain the "geographic" factors relevant to this discussion.  First, the Zellers.  There is overwhelming evidence that the Zeller 1709ers came from villages on the Sieg:  Etzbach, with the parents having been born in nearby Wissen and Hamm.  Furthermore, there is a hotspot of modern Zöllers living in exactly that region. Issues having to do with the Zeller children should be addressable from the extensive German church records uncovered there by Rohrbach and Klaus Petry.  

Because of the presumed close relationships between the Zellers and the widow Anna Battorfin (based on the Hunter Lists), HZ Jones speculated that the village of origin of the Battorf family (Peter Batdorf died at sea during immigration)--would be Bettorf, a small village located a mere 14 km from the Zeller home villages.   In his second book, "Even More Palatine Families (1991), Jones provided considerable but circumstantial evidence to support his arguments; he encouraged people to keep searching that area, but said, "nothing concrete has turned up" on the Batdorfs.  Meanwhile, Klaus Petry began looking at an alternative location for the Batdorfs, that is, Helmerhausen, Thuringia, where there are villages called greater and lesser Bardorf.  There, Petry hit pay-dirt in the church records.  Further research there only seemed to shore up arguments that indeed, the Batdorfs came from Helmerhausen, Thuringia. 

So this leaves a rather difficult geographic problem:  Since the Zöller home village is about 250 km distant from the Batdorf home village, how could it be that the two families became so closely intertwined on the Hunter Lists?  There are two possibilities, which are, for all purposes, mutually exclusive:

1.  Possibly, the lineage uncovered by Klaus Petry in Helmerhausen, Thuringia belongs to a different family.  Petry traced the family exhaustively, going back well into the early 1600s.  However, according to my reading of it, there might possibly be some shoehorning of the 1709er generation to fit the birth records in Germany.  Certainly it's not cut-and-dried.  If this is the correct village of origin for Batdorfs, we must still speculate that during immigration to America, soon after Anna Battorfin lost her first husband Peter in London, she quickly remarried to a Zeller ("Brady Bunch Style") before she and her children + step-children reached New York and were recorded on the Hunter Lists.

2.  An alternative explanation is that Jones was actually right about speculating that the village of origin of Batdorfs is in or near Bettorf, near the family home of the Zellers.  Problem is, nobody ever found any record of a birth, marriage, or child for a Peter Bettorf/Batdorf there, which would validate the speculations of Jones. Nor did he find any record of a marriage between a Bettorf and a Zöller.  Of course, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence...

One additional point worth making is that chapter 2 of the 2012 version of the Vallentine Zeller compilation is devoted to various speculations by Vallentine, based largely on the research of Jones and colleagues.  Vallentine proffered 8 hypotheses, (i.e., interpretations of the available primary data), ranking them according to his opinions on their likelihood.  Not all the hypotheses exclude the others.  After having just re-read what Vallentine wrote, I think that these hypotheses have been carefully thought out, and I doubt that Wikitree genealogists will be able to come up with anything more conclusive unless new primary sources emerge.  In that context, the profiles need to be written with finesse, avoiding absolute statements about how to interpret the (imperfect, sometimes contradictory) primary data from the sources.

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