Cousin Janice and I recently returned from a fun-filled week at the Family History Library in SLC. One of the highlights of our digging was finding the home village for our 6th great-grandfather, Johann Georg Sommer. Georg most likely came from the village of Freistett in Baden, Germany, just across the river and northeast from Strasbourg. His parents were Matthias Sommer, an innkeeper, and Anna Barbara Huebster. Georg had several other siblings, and we think two of his brothers, namely Johannes and Johann Martin, came with him to America. There is still some question about exactly when Georg came to Philadelphia, and specifically whether he married and had children before he emigrated from Germany or after. That part is still being researched.
Our second discovery was confirmation of something we already suspected, and that is that Hermann Sommer emigrated to America with five sons, namely Philip, Henry, Martin, Mattias, and Peter. There has been so much confusing and contradicting information on the internet about this line, but we believe we might have settled it! We did that by tracing this family to the village of Hoch-Weisel in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. A village genealogy we found clearly spells out the family of Hermann Sommer and his wife Anna Elisabetha Anschicks, and their six sons, one of whom remained behind in Germany. The youngest son, Peter Sommer, would end up marrying (and divorcing) Catharina Menge, thought to be the niece of our Ernst Menge.
So it appears, at least at this moment in time, that these two Sommer lines are not related except that they both married into the Menge family in America. This is all very exciting because it gives, finally, a much clearer picture of where these families came from and how their paths crossed in America.
See our article Differentiating Sommer Surnames, which can be found in the library on my research website.