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1st and 2nd GERMANNA COLONIES Family History (Madison Co., VA; Emigration Dates, 1714 & 1717)
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(This Page Was Last Modified Saturday, 01-Aug-2009 13:45:29 MDT.)

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General Information for GERMANNA-Related Web Sites:
(To skip all this and get right to the heart of the BROYLES/BRILES information, just click here.

The 1st & 2nd GERMANNA COLONIES Family History Web Site, which is the "mother site" for this BROYLES web site, was first established, and maintained, for the descendants of the immigrant Johannes BREYHEL (or John BROYLES, Johannes BREUEL, and other variations of the name).  (The original web site was named the "BROYLES Family Web Site".)  Since the original web site's inception, we were asked repeatedly to include other Germanna families on it.  Thus, we renamed the original site "Germanna Colonies Family History Web Site", and split off the BROYLES/BRILES section as a separate page.

The main web site's purpose is to allow Germanna Colonies researchers to have a place to access contributions from other researchers, and have a place to deposit their own GEDCOM files.  This particular sub-site is for BROYLES/BRILES researchers to do the same.  (Don't forget that BROYLES and BRILES have many more spelling variations.)  We would like for you to drop us an e-mail.  Let us know if you find anything of value here.

We have many links to GERMANNA families, and GERMANNA-related families on the pages of this web site.  Just navigate through the links at the top to see what is available.

(Note:  If you have GEDCOM files that you would like to place here, we will be glad to add them; if you have photos, we will add them also; regardless of the subject, or the size of the submission, we WILL accomodate you and add your contribution to this site.  All you have to do is send an email to SgtGeorge, explaining what you want, and we will do our best to add it.)

If you click on the "GEDCOM Databases" button at the top of this page, you will see the databases that we have added to date.  If you want your's added, all you have to do is send it to us.

If you click on the various buttons, you will also see links to articles, pages, photos, etc., of other Germanna Colonies families.

One thing you don't want to miss is "Researchers' Web Pages" and "Reserchers' Email Addresses".  These pages allow you to find others who are researching the same SURNAMES and lines/branches that you are researching.

Index to Articles on This Page:

  1. The Story.
  2. The Researchers.
  3. Myths and Fallacies.
  4. GEDCOM Central.
  5. Credits and Authors.

(If you EVER have any questions about these pages, have problems navigating around, find errors, etc., PLEASE let me know at  Where you see underlined references, you may click on them and navigate to pages dealing with these subjects.)

NOTICE !!!!!
In May, 2000, and again in May, 2002, John and Eleanor Blankenbaker traveled to Germany and Austria to visit some of the home villages of our Germanna ancestors.  They took many photographs of these villages and have agreed to have some of them published here for all of us to enjoy.  You may visit each of these villages by clicking here for the Index Page.  We have posted photos for many villages, and a page of maps showing the location of most of the villages from which our ancestors immigrated.

The Story

Tübingen, Germany

Johannes BREYHEL,(John BROYLES) son of Conrad and Margaretha (Schelling) Breyhel, was christened 1 May 1679, in Du�lingen (Dusslingen), W�rttemberg (Wuerttemberg), just south of T�bingen (Tuebingen) in present day Germany.  For reasons unknown he moved about 50 miles away to �tisheim (Oetisheim), probably around 1700, where on 6 Nov 1703 he married Ursula RUOP, daughter of a local grave digger.  It is in �tisheim that they raised their family.  A number of their children died as infants:  Conrad (who was a twin to Hans Jacob), Mattheus, and probably also Jerg Martin.  In the tradition of the times they used the name Conrad again for their fourth child.

Johannes and family emigrated to Virginia in the summer of 1717, with about twenty other families from nearby villages.  Gov. Spotswood of Virginia, who paid their passage in return for an indenture of seven years, settled them at "Germanna" where he had located an earlier group of German immigrants in 1714.  (Germanna is located where Virginia Rte. 3 crosses the Rapidan River west of Fredericksburg.)  (Added Note:  The "2nd Colony" arrived in Virginia on the ship, "Scott", whose Captain was Tarbett.)


Johannes proved his importation to America on 2 May 1727, as John BRYOLL.  It was about this time that many of the Germanna immigrants moved to present day Madison Co., VA, took up land, and founded the Hebron Lutheran Church.  John's son Jacob (Hans Jacob) was the progenitor of the BROYLES family, and son Conrad was progenitor of the BRILES family, while his daughter Catherine, through her marriage to Adam WILHITE, is a "grandmother", to a major portion of all the WILHITE/WILHOIT descendants in America today .

It is believed, though not proven, that Johannes and Ursula had additional children after arriving in America.  They were certainly young enough.  Based on the records of land sales, it is certain that Adam WILHEIT's (WILHITE's) wife Catherine was a daughter of Johannes and Ursula.  She would have been born circa 1720.  One probable son, "Christley Browel", is mentioned in the 1739 tithable list of Orange Co., VA. From this it would be expected that he was born circa 1718. He must have died or left the area by 1744, the year Jacob and Conrad sold their part of their father's farm.  Based on the order of tax taking and comparing it to the Carpenter map of original land patents in Madison Co. (nicely updated in a recent Beyond Germanna), Christley seems to have been living with Matthias Smith, or nearby.

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The Researchers


Pioneering work on the families of the second Germanna Colony, including the BROYLES/BRILES lines, was done by Dr. Arthur Leslie Keith, and published in several issues of the William and Mary Quarterly, early in the 1900s.  Dr. Keith was also the author of a full typewritten manuscript on the entire BROYLES/BRILES family.  Running to hundreds of pages, a copy of this work is found at the Mormon Library in Salt Lake City, and it is available on microfilm from the Library of Congress.  You may also obtain a recently published text version of the "typescript" from Ken Broyles, who is the recognized expert on BROYLES/BRILES genealogy.

In 1990, Johni Cerny and Gary Zimmerman, of Lineages, Inc., Salt Lake City, located the ancestral homes of many of the Germanna colonists.  They did this by searching the German church records of villages surrounding the known home of one of the immigrants.  Fortunately for us, they found Johannes and Ursula!  Booklet #6 of the series Beyond Germanna contains the information they found. To find out more about the Beyond Germanna, send an email to
John Blankenbaker.  He will be able to tell you how to purchase this Booklet, or any other Booklet you might be interested in.

Steve Broyles has verified and extended the work of Cerny and Zimmerman.  Be sure to check this out.  Here you can see copies of the original church records of our ancestors, in the original German, and translated into English.

John Blankenbaker is the recognized expert on Germanna History, for both the 1st Colony and the 2nd Colony.  There is no other researcher, or scholar, in the country today that knows more about Germanna than John.  Be sure to check out his "Germanna Notes" on this web site.

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Myths and Fallacies

The road to truth in genealogical research is seldom a straight course.  Over the years a number of mistakes and mis-interpretations have been made, some of which persist despite the presence of new information.

Myths & Fallacies

Some genealogies have John's wife as Ursula BLANKENBAKER.  This error was the result of undocumented conjecture by an elderly researcher, who has since passed away and her errors have been corrected.

Some researchers claim that a second John BROYLES proved his importation in November 1719.  James E. Brown has debunked the "second John Broyles" story in a recent article in Beyond Germanna (v.7, n.5, Sept. 1995).  He has given the results of his studies of the importation records, in which he tried to find the supposed 1719 importation of John 2; he couldn't find a second John.  Instead, he did find a JOHN BELL that sort of looked like JOHN BROYLES.  This was apparently misread as a John Broyles, and led to the John 2 theory.  (Another erroneous myth hopefully dispensed with, once and for all.)

Still one other mystery, concerns a name, or names, found on the Tithe Lists for present-day Madison County, VA (then Orange County).  On the 1736 Tithe List, there is listed a Cotley Broyle.  On the 1739 Tithe List, there are listed Christley (Christian?) Browel and Cortney Browel.  Some researchers think this is evidence of a heretofore unknown Broyles; however NO other written documentation of such a person has ever been found.  To further the mystery, Johannes Breyhel (John Broyles) had two known sons, Hans Jacob and Conrad.  A Jacob Broyle is listed on the 1739 Tithe List; Conrad does not show up.  Is it possible that the "Cortney" or "Christley" or "Cotley" Broyle/Browel is, in fact, Conrad Broyles?

Update on the Cotley/Christley/Cortney BROYLES Mystery:  Thanks to Steve Broyles, some of this mystery has been cleared up.  Here is an extract from a post Steve made to the GERMANNA_COLONIES Mailing List on 14 December 2000:

"It turns out that the name Curt is a nickname of Conrad.  This may be surprising to us English speakers, but it is no more strange than Dick being a nickname of Richard, or Bill being a nickname of William.

"Little Curt" is Curtle/Curtli and the like.  English speakers use a variation of this idea by adding an 'ee' sound to the end of a name, e.g., Billy, Stevie, Bobby, etc.  The name Curtli could be rendered any number of ways by English speakers.  Courtley is certainly among them, and it's only a tiny leap to get to Courtney or Cotley.

"Christley, on the other hand, is a distinct name.  I've examined the tax list handwriting and it is clearly Christley, and not some other name.  Christley looks to be a nickname for Christian, but I have not confirmed this.  In any case, I've assumed that Christley Browel was a son of Johanne and Ursula, born in VA after their arrival, probably 1718, based on his appearance in the poll list of 1739 when he was 21.  Ursula would have been in her 30's when he was born, and, generally speaking, we'd expect them to have had children on this side of the pond.  Christley's birth, c. 1718, also explains the fact that he doesn't show in earlier lists.  What happened to him is not known.  I'd love to know if he is found on any tax lists after 1739.

"Jacob and Conrad, sons of John Broyles, sell 200 acres of John's estate in 1744.  Since John appears to have owned 400 acres at his death, we might expect that he had four heirs.  One is certainly daughter Catherine.  The other is unknown, leaving room for a son such as Christley."

Steve Broyles

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GEDCOM Central!

We'd like to know which GERMANNA COLONIES family you are researching, and which branches/lines.  If possible, we would like to have your contributions in the form of a GEDCOM file.  You may attach the GEDCOM to an e-mail to us and we will convert it to an HTML and add a link to it on this web site.  Please include in your e-mail any information you would like to appear in the description for the link to your GEDCOM, e.g., your name, address, e-mail address, branch of the family, personal information, etc. For your convenience, we have provided the "Guest Book" so that you may sign-in and we may get to know you. (Any information you provide here will come directly to me, George W. Durman, and will not appear anywhere on the Web Site without your permission. It is for my information only.)

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This page is maintained by George W. Durman.  Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

PLEASE ! sign our Guest Book.

George's mailing address and phone number:

925 Kevin Rd.
Knoxville, TN 37923-2540
Phone: (865) 470-4853

(Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 George W. DURMAN.)

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