Monday, May 1, 2017

Knocked Down a Brick Wall (Part II)

See Part I for the beginning of this story.

After leaving the Martin Fast family for five years since I didn't know what to do on it, I recently decided to take another look at it.  Whenever I find records of Fasts in West Prussian church books, even if they don't seem to be related to me, I put them in a database.  I'm always adding new records to this database, so I have a giant Excel spreadsheet with over 1100 records that I can sort by first and last name. 

A couple months ago, I took another look at the database, and I found something very interesting:
I had a bunch of records related to Martin Fast living in villages that were not Mennonite villages (highlighted in yellow).  The village name is the rightmost column, the child is the column to the left of that, and then the father Martin Fast is the column to the left of that.  I didn't know if they all the same Martin Fast or not, but it seemed possible.  I was especially intrigued because my 3-greats-grandfather Isaac Fast was a son of a Martin Fast from Schlobitten, and here was a Jacob Fast who was a son of Martin Fast from Grafschaft Schlobitten (line #598).  Could my Isaac and this Jacob be brothers?

So I checked the locations of the villages in Kartenmeister and plotted them in Google Earth using the latitudes and longitudes from Kartenmeister.  The villages of Kurau, Schönbaum, Schlobitten, Windeck, and Robach turned out to be widely scattered in East and West Prussia, but they were all out of the main Mennonite area.  (I couldn't identify a village called Gross Stein - line #594.)  Here's a map of the villages:

Based on the dates of the baptisms and marriages from 1801 to 1820, the father Martin Fast could be the same person.  Intriguing, but still not very strong proof.

I asked Glenn Penner what he thought of this, and he had just recently extracted records from the Schönbaum Lutheran church book on LDS microfilm #208392.  He gave me a couple records that related to Martin Fast!  Read on to Part III to see what I found next.

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