Should be a movie: The Roth Redd Rhoades

52 Ancestors

Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of [living] individuals. Cha Chung.

Ok, so maybe this shouldn’t be a movie…but then maybe it would make a great historical period piece; a commentary on the old world to new world immigration and changing of a family’s identity through generations.

What am I talking about!?

In the past year or so, our Y-DNA FTDNA account has connected us to several DNA donors whose surname is recorded as Redd. I looked at the trees that were posted by some of these DNA matches and could not figure out the connection. I am pretty confident that our Rhoades/Rhoads/Rhodes/Roth (the progression of our surname spelling in order) can be cleanly traced to John Henry Roth/Rhodes of Bucks County b. 1754 probably to Jacob Roth b. 1717/18.

Was there a little funny business going on? Did I miss something? Were the Redds wrong? There were too many independent matches to cling to a “researcher gone down the wrong path to Redd” theory. But, I looked and found no family named Redd living in the immediate vicinity or doing business with the Roth’s/Rhoads’. Awright, awright… within the limitations of only online records. Regardless, Redd just wasn’t popping up on any radars prior to these DNA matches. And no, it didn’t occur to me to cast my net further than Bucks County. Sometimes I am a victim of narrowmindedness. Fine, OK, I am often…

And since Y-DNA traces son to father to grandfather lineage exclusively there must be some error. I mean, how many name changes can one family make? And surely none of our good hard-working German-Lutheran mothers would cheat, right? Inconceivable!

Enter Cousin Redd. His family is from Pennsylvania too. Hmmm…

Anyway…Cousin Redd. He reached out to me via FTDNA and says he would like to collaborate and thinks the Redds and the Roths are related, though he is not exactly certain how Rhoades fits into things but has come across other Rhoades DNA matches (our other Y-DNA match I mentioned in here, and here). He and 5 additional Redd DNA matches teamed up and hired a genealogist in Germany to track down their Redd ancestors in Germany. This genealogist has located a potential common ancestor, George Redd in Oppau, Germany (in the Rhineland-Palatinate state/region) who fathered three brothers, whom they variously descend through. Some Redd subjects bounce back and forth between Redd and Roth. Well…there you have it.

Chart showing the Redd descent from Oppau and the Roth descent from Frankenthal. I have not posted yet about this origin theory for Roth because I can not currently validate the theory. This was presented by another genealogist as his theory into the origins of Jacob Roth from Bucks County. It just so happens that his theory places Jacob in Frankenthal which is the larger town northwest of Oppau. And since we have several DNA matches to Redd descendants, this makes his theory a little more plausible.

Our surname means red!

But…how do the names Redd and Roth relate? Cousin Redd filled me in. You see, the German word for red is rot (hear the pronounciation here) and pronounced the same way as the surname Roth (hear the pronounciantion here). I filled Cousin Redd in on the second part of the morphing. Once in the United States where most clerks were of English descent they heard “Rhodt” which sounded similar to the English Rhoads. That is when the duel use of Roth and Rhoads started. In German church records it was Roth, and in Census/probate records it was Rhoads.

So, this could be one of those epicly long Dances with Wolves-type movies about a family of Redds in Germany and their lives.

…fast forward to cousins named Redd still living in the same village and one sets off to the nearby larger town because of some hardship or opportunity.

…fast forward to distant cousins living in two nearby German villages where one starts to use Roth. One family subcribes to the Lutheran faith, while the other family discovers the progressiveness of the Society of Friends (Quakers) from social connections returning or visiting from the Netherlands. Trouble is starting in the region and people are being treated poorly by the government. Religious persecution is taking an ugly turn.

…fast forward to two different families who immigrate to America after hearing about the social experiment of William Penn. Follow these families through two more generations as the United States is formed. One family remains Redd and the other becomes Rhoads.

…culminating in the reconnection of the family’s descendants in present day genealogists.

A commentary on old world to new world immigration and changing of a family’s identity through generations. A movie that only history buffs with the surnames Redd, Roth, and Rhoads in their family tree would be interested in seeing – everyone else would fall asleep before they reached the second act.