Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Three Sisters Knofts

Anybody who knows me and my cousin Janice knows that we're both rather obsessively dedicated to researching the Mann line. And why not? It's been so full of brick walls and if you're curious enough and stubborn enough (as apparently we are) then the challenge becomes invigorating. And see how invigorated we are??

One of those brick walls has been the wife of Ernest Mann II, Catherine Knofts. The Knofts name has been making us crazy for years. Nobody in America has or had that name, which might not be exactly true, but it's very nearly true. So what to do? Well, cousin Janice just keeps looking, day after day after day, even when it seems that surely we must accept never knowing. And what happens? The brick wall might be starting to wobble.

For the sake of keeping our research discoveries out for everybody to find, I am including here parts of a write-up posted by Janice on her MyFamily.com website. (If you're interested in seeing her tree there, let me know and I will put you in touch with Janice.)

This family has been a challenge as difficult to solve as the Mann family line has been. I found Knop, Knopeck, Knopf, Knoph, Knopman, Knopr, Knopp, Knops, Knopt, Kanoff and even Caganovsky listed as possible alternatives to the same name!

In New Jersey Marriages, 1684 to 1895, there were 3 Knofts women married between 1796 and 1797:

1. Wife: MARY KNOFTS [born about 1778 in Pennsylvania]
Husband: ABRAHAM FINEKBONAN [Abram Fangboner] Executor of his will was Earnest Mann.
Marriage: 25 Oct 1796 - Sussex, NJ [she was age 18]

2. Wife: DERNETHA KNOFTS [born about 1773 in Pennsylvania]
Husband: DAVID CUTCHOLEN [David Cutcheler]
Marriage: 6 Nov 1796 - Sussex, NJ [age 23]

3. Wife: CATHARINA KNOFTS [born November 15, 1770 in Pennsylvania]
Husband: EARNEST MAN [Earnest Mann]
Marriage: 1 Mar 1797 - Sussex, NJ [age 27-seems old for a first marriage]

All married by John Cline.

We've seen the original marriage documents, which is where we get the Knofts spelling. But it seems likely these women would not have known how their names were spelled because they were most likely illiterate. But the man who wrote the information down gave us a great clue by spelling the names exactly the same. These girls were sisters! All married within five months of each other! Two of them ended up relocating to the same area in Michigan, as did several of the children of the third.

The thing is we've always suspected these women were related. Janice's recent discovery was finding Dernetha (aka Dorothy) Cutchler in Waterford, Michigan! And now Janice is chasing the possibility that there was a fourth sister, Easter NOFE married to John NETCHEY/Nitchie on October 30, 1796 in Sussex Co., NJ, listed with the same marriage records as the other girls.

Finding Dernetha (for which Janice deserves all the credit!) has renewed our interest and resolve to figure out this Knofts surname. Even as we continue the research, we've ordered several death certificates of the descendants of these women thinking that one or all of them will list their mother's maiden name. I'm running out to my mail box every day with high hopes. So stay tuned - there might be light at the end of this tunnel yet!