Discovering our American, Canadian, Mexican & European Ancestors

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Welcome™ is dedicated to the families and pioneers who emigrated and settled in North America and to our European ancestral roots.

The KinshipTree is an enduring history of strong relationships and high spirited personalities. Branches of these ancestors encompass American Presidents to the Kings and Queens of England, France, Germany and other European countries. The lineage of KinshipTree reaches back into our roots in Europe and even into biblical times.

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George Washington

George Washington was an American Founding Father, general, politician, statesman and 1st President of the USA. He commanded the Continental Army who led Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolution and called the 'Father of the Nation.'

George Washington

Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone was an American pioneer and frontiersman whose exploits made him a folk hero of the United States.
In 1775, Boone blazed the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky, against American Indian resistance.

Daniel Boone

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ of Nazareth was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity, the world's largest religion. Christians believe Jesus is the messiah, the incarnation of God the Son, the Christ that is prophesied in the Hebrew Bible.

Jesus Christ

American Ancestors

  • Presidents
  • Spouses
  • Icons
  • Governors
  • War Heroes
  • Generals
  • Officers
  • Judges
USA Presidents
The presidency of the United States is a position of immense significance. Since its establishment in 1789, 45 men have served as presidents in 46 presidencies. The first president, George Washington, secured a unanimous vote from the Electoral College.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, served during the Civil War and efforts to emancipate enslaved people have cemented his place as one of America’s greatest heroes. Notably, Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, making him both the 22nd and 24th president. Throughout history, American politics has been shaped by political parties.

USA Presidents
President's Spouses
Throughout American history, presidents have been accompanied by remarkable spouses who played pivotal roles in shaping the nation. From Martha Washington, the devoted partner of George Washington, to Dolley Madison, who exemplified grace during the War of 1812, these first ladies left indelible marks. Some, like Abigail Adams, were astute political advisors, while others, like Mary Todd Lincoln, faced personal tragedies.
Eleanor Roosevelt is considered by many to be America's most inspiring and influential first lady. Each presidential couple contributed to the fabric of America, their stories intertwined with the nation’s journey.

President's Spouses
Famous People
Remarkable individuals left indelible marks on American history and culture:
Daniel Boone a legendary frontiersman, Boone is celebrated for his exploration and settlement of Kentucky.
Samuel Colt an inventor of the Colt revolver, industrialist, and businessman.
Walt Disney the visionary behind Disneyland and Walt Disney World, Disney transformed entertainment with his animated films and theme parks.
Elvis Aron Presley known as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Elvis captivated audiences with his electrifying performances and iconic voice.
Noah Webster a lexicographer and language reformer, Webster authored the first American dictionary.

Famous People
USA Governors
In the United States, governors hold significant roles as chief executives of states and territories. Their selection methods vary: some are chosen by ruling monarchs in colonial times, while others are elected by citizens.
William Bradford was one of the first Governors. He was a significant figure in the early history of the Plymouth Colony.
As of January 2024, there are 27 Republican and 23 Democratic governors across states. Notably, Jay Inslee of Washington has been the longest-serving governor since 2013, while Jeff Landry of Louisiana is the most recently inaugurated. Governors often serve as a stepping stone to the White House, with over 2,300 having held this office in U.S. history.

USA Governors
USA War Heroes
The American Revolution and Civil War witnessed the rise of iconic heroes who shaped the nation's course. In the Revolution, George Washington's leadership as Continental Army commander secured victory, establishing him as the first president. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln's unwavering resolve preserved the Union and issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
General William T. Sherman's strategic military campaigns, including the famed March to the Sea, played a critical role in defeating the Confederacy. Beyond the battlefield, Harriet Tubman's courage as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and Union spy, and Frederick Douglass's powerful voice as an escaped slave, abolitionist, and author, left an indelible mark on the fight for freedom.

American Revolution Heroes Civil War Heroes
USA Admirals & Generals
There are currently 45 active-duty four-star officers in the uniformed services of the United States. Among them, 14 serve in the Army, three in the Marine Corps, eight in the Navy, 14 in the Air Force, three in the Space Force, two in the Coast Guard, and one in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps1. These high-ranking officers play crucial roles in national defense, strategic planning, and military operations.
Ulysses S. Grant was commanding general that led the Union Army to victory in the American Civil War in 1865. The five-star rank is the highest attainable, and it has been held by distinguished leaders such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Marshall, and Douglas MacArthur during wartime.

USA Admirals & Generals
Military Officers
Lieutenant colonels in the U.S. military hold a significant position between junior officers and senior commanders. These officers are responsible for leading battalions, regiments, or other sizable units. They bridge the gap between tactical execution and strategic planning.
Colonels, on the other hand, are even more seasoned leaders. Colonel Robert Rankin was a veteran of the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and of the Republic of Texas.
Lieutenant officers play crucial roles in their respective branches, with responsibilities ranging from leadership and training to tactical operations. The distinction between 1st and 2nd lieutenants lies in their experience and seniority.

Military Officers
The judicial branch of the U.S. government plays a crucial role in interpreting laws enacted by the legislative branch and enforced by the executive branch. Initially, the Articles of Confederation did not mention judicial power or a federal court system. However, the Judiciary Act of 1789 marked a significant step in shaping the judicial branch. It established the federal court system, outlined guidelines for the U.S. Supreme Court, and created federal district courts across states.
Under Chief Justice John Marshall, the Supreme Court gained its most vital power: judicial review, allowing it to assess the constitutionality of laws. This pivotal role ensures a system of checks and balances in our nation’s government.


Texas Ancestors

  • Texas Pioneers
  • Texas European Immigrants
  • Texas Revolution Heroes
Texas Pioneers
Texas pioneers were a diverse groups of people seeking land, opportunity, and refuge. From European empresarios like Stephen F. Austin to Tejano families, and formerly enslaved people, they faced harsh challenges. They battled nature, Native Americans, and political turmoil, building communities and forging a unique Texas identity through grit, resilience, and a blend of cultures.
German pioneers played a pivotal role in shaping Texas. Fleeing political unrest and economic hardship, they arrived in the 1800s.
One such pioneering family is Henry & Mary Francisca (Rumpf) Gerdes and their children: Peter Otto Charles, Joseph E, Benjamin Franklin, Casper Lawrence, Mary F, Henry, Maria Elizabeth.

Texas Pioneers
Texas European Immigrants
Texas has a rich history of immigration. Germans were the largest European group, arriving in the mid 1800s seeking religious freedom and economic opportunity. They established communities with a culture of brewing traditions and architecture. Czechs and Poles also added to a diverse heritage.
American immigrants played a significant role, with many coming from the Southern states after the Civil War bringing agricultural knowledge and traditions. Mexican immigration was also crucial forming the largest immigrant group today.

Texas European Immigrants
Texas Revolution Heroes
Texas Revolution heroes weren't a single cast. From frontiersmen like Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett to Tejano leaders like Juan Seguín, their reasons and roles varied. Bowie and Crockett, though iconic, died at the Alamo, while Seguín fought for independence and led the only Tejano unit at San Jacinto, the decisive battle. Remember heroes like William B. Travis, who rallied Alamo defenders, and Deaf Smith, a crucial scout for Sam Houston's victory. Each played a part in the complex tapestry of the Texas struggle.

Texas Revolution Heroes

European Ancestors

  • English Royalty
  • Knights Templar
  • European Royalty
  • European Nobility
English Royalty
The British Monarchy, a constitutional form of government, has seen a lineage of kings and queens who have shaped the nation’s history. From Athelstan, the first king of all England, to George V, who renamed the royal house during World War I, these sovereigns have left an indelible mark on Britain’s governance and culture.
Today, the core of the royal family includes King Charles III, Queen Camilla, Prince William, Catherine, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and their spouses, who dutifully carry out their royal responsibilities.

English Royalty
The Knights Templar
during the medieval era carried out military operations and protected European travelers visiting the Holy Land. Founded in 1118 by French knight Hugues de Payens, they were initially known as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.
These devout Christians established their headquarters on Jerusalem’s sacred Temple Mount, where they vowed to safeguard Christian pilgrims. Their austere code of conduct, white habits adorned with a red cross, and unwavering commitment to Christianity continue to captivate us today.

Knights Templar
European Royalty
European monarchies have a rich history that spans centuries. While many monarchies were prevalent during the Middle Ages, the early modern period saw the rise of republicanism. Today twelve sovereign monarchies continue to exist in Europe.
Among them are seven kingdoms, including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Additionally, there are three principalities—Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Monaco—and a grand duchy, Luxembourg. The Vatican City also operates as a theocratic, elective monarchy led by the pope. Most of these monarchies are constitutional, with the monarchs having limited political influence.

European Royalty
European Nobility
European nobility, a social class found in many societies, ranks below royalty. Historically, membership was hereditary and patrilineal, often granted by monarchs or governments. Nobles held land or office in exchange for allegiance and services.
Titles like “Duke” or “Lord” distinguished them. While legal recognition varied, nobility played a crucial role in shaping medieval European society12. Today, formalities persist, and the hierarchy of aristocratic titles remains a fascinating relic of the past.

European Nobility

Christian & Biblical Ancestors

  • Christians Icons
  • Christian Leaders
  • Biblical Icons
  • Biblical Royalty
Christians Icons
Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, was a Jewish teacher and healer who lived in Roman Judea around the turn of the 1st century. His followers, including the Twelve Apostles like Peter, spread his message after his death and resurrection.
Virgin Mary, revered for her role as Jesus' mother, holds immense significance. Her unwavering faith and obedience are seen as exemplary.
Paul, a missionary, journeyed through the Roman Empire, establishing communities and writing influential letters. Mary Magdalene, another follower, is variously depicted in Christian traditions.
Early Christianity emerged from Judaism, with figures like James, Jesus' brother, leading the Jerusalem church. These iconic figures helped lay the foundation for the diverse Christian faith we know today.

Christians Icons
Christian Leaders
Christian leaders encompasses a vast and diverse group, spanning centuries and continents. From historical figures like Pope Francis of Assisi and Martin Luther King Jr. to contemporary pastors, activists, and scholars, these individuals influence communities through religious guidance, social justice initiatives, and theological interpretations. Their leadership styles and areas of focus vary greatly, reflecting the multifaceted nature of Christianity itself.
Missionary David Belden Lyman, arriving in 1832, opened a boarding school in Hilo, shaping education and influencing Hawaiian society for over 50 years
Some emphasize spiritual guidance and inward reflection, while others advocate for social change and outward action. Regardless of their approach, Christian leaders play a significant role in shaping the faith and its impact on the world.

Christian Leaders
Biblical Icons
The Bible brims with iconic figures who have left an indelible mark on history and religion. From the steadfast Abraham, father of monotheism, to the courageous Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt, these individuals embody enduring themes of faith, leadership, and resilience.
Noah, builder of the ark, embodies hope and survival in the face of devastation. King David, the valiant slayer of Goliath, exemplifies courage and humility.
Adam and Eve, the first humans, represent the origins and complexities of humankind. And Ruth, the Moabite convert, stands as a beacon of loyalty and faith. These are but a few of the many iconic biblical figures who continue to inspire and intrigue readers across generations.

Biblical Icons
Biblical Royaltyy
The Bible tells the stories of many kings, from Saul, the first anointed king, to the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, each with their own dynasties.
Some, like David, are celebrated for their piety and military prowess, while others, like Ahab, are cautionary tales of corruption and idolatry.
Solomon, famed for wisdom and temple-building, each reign brought triumphs and struggles. After the kingdom's division, figures like Rehoboam and Jeroboam led separate nations. Spanning centuries and over 40 rulers, these kings' stories offer enduring lessons about leadership, faith, and the complexities of power. Their reigns are marked by triumphs and tragedies, shaping the course of the Israelites and their relationship with God. Though their earthly rule eventually faded, their legacies continue to resonate in scripture and tradition.

Biblical Royalty

Col Robert Rankin

Colonel Robert Rankin was a veteran of the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and of the Republic of Texas and is buried in the Texas State cemetery in Austin Texas. He served under George Washington and was a neighbor and friend of Sam Houston.

Col Robert Rankin

Elvis Presley

Elvis Aaron Presley also known as Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Known as the King of Rock and Roll, he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century.

Elvis Presley

Queen Victoria

Queen of England and Ireland from 1837 until 1901. Her reign, known as the Victorian era, lasted 63 years. During this period, the United Kingdom had significant industrial, political, scientific, and military changes, along with a remarkable expansion of the British Empire.

Queen Victoria I

Discover Our History

Our Texas Family Ancestors

Robert Carl Leffke
Benjamin Franklin Gerdes Sr
Elmer Walter Hilliard Jr
Elmer Walter Hilliard Sr
William Daniel Coffey 1923
Maurene Lee (Rankin) Gerdes
Henry Jacob
Raymond Paul Franz
Weiss Fredericke (Bluhm)
Leonard Ben Gerdes Jr
Franz Annie (Weber)
May (Ward) Rankin
Dorothy Evelyn (Franz) Hilliard
Annie Isabelle Belle (Lenz) Hilliard
Alice Ann (Jacobs) Gerdes
Pantaleon Jacobs
Mary Alice (Willicoxson) Coffey 1923
Edith Jacobs
Maria Nola Pura (Rodriquez) Cantu
Henry Gerdes
Baldemar Abel Salinas Cantu Sr
Kenneth Stalkner Colvin
Dorthy May (Porter) Leffke
Helen Dove (Skidmore) Colvin
Helena (Meyer) Gerdes
Weiss Kasper
Agathe (Sifferlen) Jacob
Maria Francisca (Rumpf) Gerdes
Edna Marie (Weiss) Franz
Priscilla (Howard) Coffey
Justina (Voelkel) Jacobs
NO Jacobs
Leonard Ben Gerdes Sr
Robert Thomas Rankin

Our Families

Gerdes Families

Hilliard & Franz Families

Jacob(s) Families

Rankin & Coffey Families

Lenz & Weiss Families

Cantu, Leffke & Colvin Families

KinshipTree Top Surnames

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