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National group to host Germanna Colonies genealogists
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National group to host Germanna Colonies genealogists

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Two genealogists who’ve plumbed the proud impacts of Virginia’s 18th-century Germanna Colonies will share some of their stories with the nation’s most prestigious genealogical group this summer.

Cathi Clore Frost and Barbara Price have been invited to present at the National Genealogical Society’s 2021 Family History Conference, held annually in a different city. Richmond was to be host city, but with COVID travel and crowd-size uncertainties, this year’s conference will be held as a virtual event starting June 15.

Their presentation, titled “Identifying the 1714 and 1717 Germanna Colonists of Frontier Virginia,” will describe the settlement on Colonial Virginia’s western frontier—now Orange County—and share examples of documents found in Virginia, Germany and England they used to identify the two sets of settlers who emigrated from Germany to Virginia’s royal colony.

Frost and Price will discuss the two groups of German indentured servants settled by Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood—the namesake of Virginia’s Spotsylvania County—in the 1714 (First) and 1717 (Second) Germanna colonies at or near Fort Germanna off what is today’s State Route 3 west of Lake of the Woods.

“My ancestors ... were Germans who joined them soon after their indentures ended or were the first couple of generations of their descendants and my only ancestors to live in that part of Virginia,” Frost told the Culpeper Star-Exponent. “My line migrated to Boone County, Ky., in 1811, where a large number of Germanna descendants settled. From Kentucky, my family went to Indiana, then Iowa, then Colorado. My grandparents lived in Colorado, Texas and California before finally settling in Oregon.”

Frost lives in St. Helen, Ore. One of her ancestors, David Lowers, served in the 124th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War and was wounded at Culpeper County’s Beverly Ford during 1863’s Battle of Brandy Station, she said.

Price lives in Atascadero, Calif., between Santa Barbara and Monterey.

Both women serve as volunteer genealogists for the Germanna historical foundation, researching and writing about the colonists and their descendants, the foundation said this week. They pen articles about Germanna women for the MISSing column in the foundation’s newsletter and give presentations at its annual eunions.

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Price leads the foundation’s annual trip to Germany. Frost maintains the Germanna Database of Descendants (GermannaFamily.org). The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia Inc., a nonprofit, tax-deductible organization, was chartered in 1956.

Sponsored by the Germanna historical foundation, the talk by Frost and Price will be pre-recorded and delivered as part of the conference’s on-demand portion. It will be part of the Sponsored Bonus Sessions; see the confernce’s online program.

The session will be sponsored by the Germanna historical foundation with others, including Ancestry, New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and FamilySearch.

In 2014, Dr. Katharine L. Brown—another Germanna descendant—presented “300 Years in Virginia: The Germanna Colonies and Their Legacy” to the NGS Family History Conference, held in Richmond.

Founded in 1903 as America’s first genealogical organization, the NGS is one of today’s largest such groups. Its annual conference normally lasts four days and attracts about 2,000 registrants.

For details on the conference or to register, visit conference.ngsgenealogy.org.

The foundation, which is headquartered in Orange County, preserves a nationally significant handful of historic sites in Virginia’s northern Piedmont. It conducts archaeological exploration and conservation, genealogical research and publishing, and historic preservation and interpretation.

Its sites and facilities include the Fort Germanna Visitor Center, Museum & Genealogy Library, Germanna Memorial Garden, Siegen Forest Hiking and Nature Trails, Fort Germanna and Enchanted Castle archaeology sites, and historic Salubria Manor in Culpeper County.

To learn more, visit germanna.org or the foundation’s Facebook page.

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Clint Schemmer, a journalist since 1980, has worked at papers in California, North Carolina and Virginia. He’s been a bureau chief, editorial-page editor, copy desk chief and local news editor. Now a staff writer at the Culpeper Star-Exponent.

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