Part I: Beginnings


Johannes Häner came from the Palatine region of southwestern Germany to the Province of New York in 1710, where he married his second wife and raised a family at East Camp, later known as Germantown, about 80 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River in (then) Albany, now Columbia County. The German and early New York background of our family is discussed at length later in this book. In the 1740s, several of the grandsons migrated about 40 miles northward to Rensselaer County, NY where, in about 1746, they were among the founders of Gilead Lutheran Church in Brunswick, NY, just east of Troy, NY. Regrettably, the first volume of the church records has been lost; records in the second volume begin in 1777. When hostilities began with England, a number of Johannes’ grandsons fought with the American side. A few of his grandsons went to Canada and enlisted in Butler’s Rangers or served in the engineers’ employ.  Here these Hainer and Hoener men, as the name became spelled in Canada, later received land grants for their services, and most became citizens and settled in Canada, principally in Ontario. Later, when the U. S. Government opened western lands for homesteading, some of them sold their Canadian properties and returned to the states, settling in Michigan, Iowa, and other localities.    

Soon the families in two counties of New York, separated by a considerable distance and busy with full, new lives, lost contact with each other. Those who went to Canada and the West were even more isolated. In time, close ties were lost and knowledge of the early family faded away. Many years passed until finally, in fall 1940, three Hayner women, from three different family lines, learned of each other and began to correspond. They found to their surprise that they were related and that each lived in upper New York State and shared an interest in early history. They were Jennie Hayner (Mrs. A. Hayner) of Center Brunswick, NY; Mabelle Hayner (Mrs. Rutherford McC. Hayner) of West Sand Lake, an area near Jennie Hayner; and Florence W. Hayner  (Mrs. Clifford N. Hayner) of Rochester. Letters went back and forth and enthusiasm grew as they learned of early migrations, new settlements, land grants received for war services, early church records, names of great-grandparents, even a common tradition of a remote female ancestor who lived to be 102.

Mrs. Jennie Hayner learned of early records in the Troy, NY, court house, and she and Mabelle Hayner went there to study these important papers. Other family members found records in the state library at Albany, NY, and noted early land transfers, deeds, and wills. It became apparent to everyone that Hayners everywhere, regardless of how they spelled their last names, were interested in family history and willing to study it and then report their findings. 

The Hayner Family Association

The three correspondents were surprised both by the interest of so many different lines and the volume of information that arrived almost daily.  They soon realized that no published history of this early Palatine family existed and that such a history was an important part of New York’s growth and development. They decided it was time for a general reunion of the family.

In the summer of 1953, some 150 Hayner and Haner descendants gathered at Center Brunswick, NY, in the historic Gilead Lutheran Church. This first family reunion was sponsored by Mr. and Mrs.  Hayner of Bald Mountain Road, Center Brunswick, who lived on the farm of his great- grandfather, an early settler of the area. Others who helped make it possible were Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Hayner of Rochester, whose forebear Andrew Hayner Jr., was born in Center Brunswick and moved in 1860 to Gasport, NY, some sixty miles from Rochester, where he purchased a large farm. Later, he built a cider mill and manufactured champagne cider from his large orchard of russet apples. Andrew Hayner’s farm passed to his grandson, Clifford N. Hayner of Rochester, who was very interested in the history of his family.  A third member who helped organize this first Hayner Family Reunion was Mrs. Rutherford Hayner of West Sand Lake, NY, a gifted historian who collected much early material. Her husband was a well-known newspaper editor in Troy, NY.  The reunited family held a business meeting, elected officers, appointed the three women correspondents to be the family historians, and asked them to continue collecting and preserving all possible records toward the eventual publication of a family history. Members were urged to become active in research and report their findings to the secretary. The family voted to call itself The Hayner Family Association and to continue holding yearly reunions in the Center Brunswick, NY, area.  Currently, reunions are held in odd-numbered years, in various locations.

The publication of a small quarterly family bulletin called The Hayner Family News, sent to all members, many libraries and historical societies, began in March 1954. Florence Hayner was the devoted secretary of the association and editor of the news for 35 years from 1954 until her well-earned retirement in 1989. It is a clearing house of information on rediscovered family lines, church and cemetery records, bible entries, and material from county histories, genealogies, and similar publications.  A comprehensive Index to The Hayner Family News, 1954-1986, was published in 1987. Since 1987, the Secretary and news editor has been Diane Anderson.

Our first history of the Hayner family was published in spring 1967 and sold by subscription to members and to libraries and historical societies country wide.  It begins with our ancestor, Johannes Häner, who came to America in 1709-1710 from Germany, where he was born in 1675. It contains the names of nearly 2,000 Haner men and women and their families under some ten different spellings of the name, a section devoted to service of the family in the Revolution and in the Civil War, names in unconnected (supplementary) lines, and an index. It contained all that was known of our Haner/Hayner family at that time.

The Family Name

The descendants of Johannes Häner, who came to America with the Palatine emigration of 1709-1710, spell their names in many different ways. Most prevalent are Haner and Hayner, the latter adopted in 1813 or 1814 by some Haner men in the Center Brunswick, NY, area, probably to ensure a pronunciation that would rhyme with “day.” As many as 22 spellings are found in churchbooks and in various issues of the Hayner Family News. Surnames now used by living descendants of Johannes Häner include Haner, Hayner, Hanor, Haynor, and Hainer. Early documents also list  Heiner, Hener, Hoener, Hoenner, Hohner, Hainor, and others.  The earliest known record of our ancestor as an adult is a 1703 German church-book marriage record for Johannes Häner. The earliest preserved signatures of the immigrant (1740) and of his eldest son Bernhardt (1741) were spelled Hoener, but this spelling did not survive. In America, church and government officials had a hard time interpreting the strange sound of the German ä and oe into English. One pastor would consistently use one spelling; another pastor would use a different spelling. To a German-speaking person, “Hoener” would indeed be pronounced approximately as “Hayner,” but to an English-speaking person, it may have seemed like a garden “hoe.” Häner would differ only slightly from Hoener.

In our genealogical chapters, we give the names exactly as spelled in church records, mostly baptismal records with names of parents and godparents. We do not attribute much significance to the multitude of different spellings. Some of the early spellings that did not survive are indexed as Heiner and Hoener, fairly common early variants of the family name.

A Note on Coats of Arms

Only one Heiner coat of arms is found in the Wappenbuch by Siembacher, in the section allotted to Saxony; none is found with other spellings of the name. According to research by Dr. Alfred Jaeger of Munich, Germany, Siembacher does not designate which Heiner family carried the shield or at what time, so every Heiner family is entitled to use it. Nevertheless, we have no firm proof that the family of our Johannes Häner used this shield at any time. In this and other Haner/Heiner arms, a cock or rooster is prominent; the German word for a cock is Hahn. The cock is described as in gold in a book by John Hensell and others of the Hühner/Heiner/Hayner line given in our Supplement M. Laura Rosnagle gave a technical description from Reistop’s Bürgerliche Geschlecter in which the cock is silver on three green hills on a blue field. The three red flowers are stated to be “roselike.” The three hills seem to be related to a place of origin of some Heiner family. The two-volume work in French, Armorial General by J. B. Rietslap states that “le coq” is the distinctive feature of coats of arms of 63 members of the Hahn family, wherever found and however spelled. Miss Lena Doty of Melrose, NY, brought a somewhat similar coat of arms, inherited from Conrad P. Hayner of Center Brunswick, to the first Hayner reunion in 1953. In this version, the cock is perched on top of the knight’s helmet.

Hayner descendant Howard Woodin of Middlebury, VT, found an entirely different coat of arms in Burke’s General Armory under the spelling Haner. It is described thus: “Or, on a fesse Sa, three millrinds Ar.” Here Or = gold, Sa = sable (black), and Ar = silver.  A millrind is an iron toggle or washer used to hold a top grinding stone in place. A huge nut is screwed down on top to vary the pressure, thus adjusting the texture of the flour. This reference to the art of milling does not appear to be related to the milling background of our immigrant ancestor, whose family only rented a mill.

A Dutch Family Origin Not Likely

Some traditions indicate that the New York Haner/Heiner family originated in Holland, not Germany. We believe these traditions cannot be substantiated. Of course, the German immigrant Johannes Häner came to a region just recently in possession of the Dutch, and there were many established Dutch families into which the second and third Haner generations married: Van Etten, Van den Burgh, Vandercook, Van Veghten, to name just a few. Some youngster may have heard a grandparent say that he or she had a Dutch ancestry; but the reference might well have been to a female ancestor. The Palatines did in fact embark at the Dutch port of Rotterdam on their way to London in 1709. There was confusion between the “Low Dutch” (from the low lands of Holland) and the “High Dutch” (from Germany); the German word “Deutsch” means “German.” No one has ever suggested a name or place of origin for a Dutch immigrant ancestor. On the positive side, there is an unbroken chain of names and places for the history, as outlined in this book, from Storndorf and Birstein in Germany to the German settlement at East Camp and the German churches in Dutchess County, NY. The history of Germantown includes mention of a migration northward from there to Brunswick, NY, where the German Gilead Lutheran Church was founded by our family, among others.  All the church records and the few Bibles that have survived are in German, not Dutch.  Finally, the German immigrant and his wife Catharina Monsieur were godparents at the baptisms of several of those who went to Brunswick.

Of course, there were other Haner families in New York, some even before 1700, and they may well have come from Holland. We cannot explain the statement made by Moses Senderling Hayner, born 1831 in New York State, who wrote “We are Dutch, from Holland.” His father, Andreas Haner, baptized in Gilead Lutheran Church, later took the spelling Hayner. The grandfather of Moses Senderling Hayner was a grandson of the immigrant, Johannes Heiner, and was baptized in Red Hook Lutheran Church in 1746 with the immigrant himself and wife Catharina “Mussier” as sponsors. The grandmother of Moses was Catharina Dater, who came from Holland about 1750.

The Second Family History – 1991

The authors of History of the Hayner Family, published in 1967, were the three Family Historians: Jennie A. Hayner, Mabelle B. Hayner, and Florence W. Hayner. They produced a tremendously valuable book, but they were aware that it was only a start. New data would come, and new families would be found. From the beginning, they were thinking of a second family history.  The possibility was discussed at the 1987 reunion at Troy, Ohio, which was the first one Franklin Miller Jr. attended. Franklin was born in 1912 in St. Louis, MO, where his father, Franklin Miller Sr., was a lawyer and judge. His grandmother was Anna Haner Potter of northern Missouri, daughter of Henry Haner of West Sand Lake, NY. His father never knew of the New York origins of his Haner family, and it was not until Franklin Miller Jr. attended a national meeting of physics teachers at Troy, NY, in 1980 that he became aware of the Hayner Family Association and its widespread group of loyal members.

Miller retired from teaching physics at Kenyon College in Ohio in 1981. In 1985, he published the second of two books on his mother’s families. Then he continued work on his own branch of the Haner family. At the 1987 meeting, he was glad to volunteer to become book editor for an expanded family history. For three years, he worked full time at this project and enjoyed every minute of it. The second edition of the Hayner history was published in 1991, a volume of some 540 pages.

The Third Family History – 2001

When the 1991 edition was distributed at the reunion in Wayne, Michigan, we realized that a great deal of family history remained to be discovered, and we planned for a new edition after ten years. The third edition was the realization of those plans.  It was substantially larger, and for the convenience of the readers, we subdivided the material into two volumes.

The Scope of the Book

Since the spelling Hoener used in America by the immigrant did not continue, we have given this book a title reflecting the two most commonly used current spellings of the family name.  The male descendants in this “main line” family of Johannes Häner are followed in detail, out now to the eleventh generation with some children in the twelfth generation. Normally, we follow a female line only down to the children of a woman who was born a Haner, Hayner, etc. We have made an exception for some remote descendants of female lines who have shown a continuing interest in their Haner/Hayner family and who would not otherwise be listed. Only an outline of the descent of that person is given, down to the present time. This is perhaps a more comprehensive treatment of female lines than is customary in books of this sort. Even so, we cannot follow all lines of every name through so many generations. The numbering system is explained in a separate section.

Military Service

Many of our family have served bravely in our nation’s armed forces. In general, we have not listed such service except for career men and women and those who made the supreme sacrifice. This is not from lack of concern, but because we lack complete information. It would be a monumental research task to properly identify each of these names with the corresponding family member.

College and University Attendance

For similar reasons, we have not attempted to list the many colleges, universities and technical schools attended by our family members, or the degrees attained. However, when we have it, information is included about careers and occupations.

Supplement of Unconnected Lines

This book is primarily a record of the descendants of Johannes Häner, who came to New York in 1710 as a Palatine emigrant. The first generations were in the Hudson Valley north of New York City up to the vicinity of Albany. Nevertheless, we know that there are many unconnected families in North America bearing similar names of Haner, Hayner, Hanor, Hainer, Hiner, Hanner, to name only a few.  Families listed in the supplement, parts A through Z, fall into two categories.

          (1) Several Haner and Hayner families were in Colonial New York at the right place at the right time, but we cannot make the exact connection. These families are given in the supplement for possible use by later family historians. Because of our Hayner DNA project, some of these families have been shown to have a genetic link to Johannes Häner. Genealogists in those lines continue to look for the source of the link.  

          (2) Other families named Haner, Hayner, Haynor, Heiner, Henner, Hiner are certainly not descended from Johannes. Some of them came to America as Hessian soldiers, some as Pennsylvania “Dutch” settlers (German immigrants after 1720), some from Prussia in 1840, some from Alsace ca 1800, others about Revolutionary times to Virginia and to the Mohawk valley in upstate New York.  We include most of these lines in the supplement at the request of interested descendants who may some day be traced to a connection in 17th-century Europe. 


During more than 50 years, we have sought our roots and recorded our present-day family lines. An ongoing newsletter is distributed to a growing group of loyal family members. We published the first edition of our family history in 1966, the second in 1991, and the third in 2001. This new version represents an enhanced version of the third edition and contains corrections and additions provided since the last publication. 


On the southern slope of the Vogelsberg region in the tiny hamlet of Unterreichenbach, the protestant preacher wrote one sentence on page 181 of his church register: “Johannes Häner, son of Conrad Häner, nobleman’s miller and resident of Storndorf, and Anna Catharina, legitimate, Christian daughter of the late Johann Schneider of Fischborn, were joined in holy marriage 17 Januarius MDCCIII.”  This entry, made on 17 January, 1703, was found about 270 years later by Carla Mittelstaedt-Kubaseck, a researcher sent by Henry Z. Jones of Universal City, California. It proved to be the key to our forebear’s German origins.

          The village of Fischborn is about 4 kilometers north of Birstein, which, in turn, is 12 kilometers north of Wächtersbach.  A 1699 list of Mills and Millers in the judicial district of Reichenbach shows nineteen functioning water-run flour mills (down from a peak of twenty-three before the disruption of the Swedish War of 1618-1648, known also as the Thirty-Years War).  The fourth mill in Fischborn was listed as “Velten Kemps modo Johannes Schneiders Mühle,” which translates into “Velten Kemp’s now Johann Schneider’s Mill.”  Records show that Johann Schneider was obligated to pay a yearly fee of 12 shillings (buying power unknown to us) for the use of the Count’s water; he paid 3 Achtel Korn (3 eighths of rye, about 600 pounds) and 2 capons for the use of the ground on which the mill stood.  His income consisted of roughly 6 percent of the grain brought in for grinding.  This was a private mill; those who ran the Count’s mills earned more, for farmers from certain designated communities had to bring grain to the Count’s mill.  The single mill in Birstein was such a mill, and probably the site of Johannes Häner’s work as a hired hand.  These details about the economics of 17th-century milling give a flavor of the times and were probably typical of the mills at Storndorf where Johannes Häner was born in 1675.

The Old Mill at Storndorf on the Schwalm River

Just over three hundred years ago our ancestor, Curt Häner, father of Johannes who came to America, was a miller in the village of Storndorf, which is a few minutes’ drive from the medieval town of Alsfeld in the state of Hesse, about 60 miles northeast of Frankfurt.  The Schwalm River supplied water power for three mills in and around Storndorf.  The mill established by the ruling von Storndorf family in about 1500 was known as the Herrenmühle, meaning the mill of the masters. It was leased from the noble Seebach family by Curt Häner, who died in 1713 at Storndorf. 

          The Herrenmühle where our forefathers lived was a large, long L-shaped building with living and working quarters constructed so that water in the mill race flowed along the rounded corner of the “L” and 

to the Schwalm.  The mill wheel was removed in this century, and only the ancient masonry along the watercourse retains its original form.  The long rounded corner was built with large unhewn stones, and then each row was leveled with small unhewn stones row on row upwards.  According to Dr. Dietrich Wohlfahrt, engineer and expert on old buildings, this type of masonry was typical of the period around 1500, and written records prove that the mill was constructed before 1550.  Although the building itself was large, the mill was small, and had only one millstone.  Another one was not allowed because the water resources of the Schwalm scarcely sufficed to run the three different mills that stood and operated in the village of Storndorf. The building had attractive paneling on the exterior; dark-stained oak beams alternated with white plaster made of a watery mixture of finely chopped straw and lime.  In the middle of the 20th century it was (alas) covered with modern plastic shingles, part white, part green.  The roof of the old mill has also been altered.

          The water wheel was located on the west side of the mill, toward the south end. Water from the mill pond spurted down the millrun and over a wooden chute and fell from above over the wooden wheel, which was constructed with pockets.  The weight of the water in the wooden pockets turned the wheel, which ran the mill machinery.  When the mill was not grinding grain into flour, the miller, his son, or a helper ran over to the flood gate by the pond and closed it, probably with the help of a kind of screw that had to be turned by hand until the water flow stopped.  The gate at the pond was only about 200 meters southwest of the mill.  The Schwalm River was a mere stone’s throw away to the north from the rounded corner of the mill.  Water nowadays moves sluggishly through the millrace, which is partly filled up through disuse.  The millpond itself has reverted to a wet, meadowy area since 1967, when the last water wheel ceased turning in Storndorf.  Today, very little grain is ground in local mills. People in Germany, as in America, buy most of their bread in stores.

The Storndorf-Seebach Connection

In German, the prefix “von” designates a noble family (but the corresponding “van” in Dutch designates a place of origin).  As a microcosm of the economic and political climate of the 16th and 17th centuries, we can consider the “noble” families where Curt Häner’s mill was located.

          The ruling family in Storndorf for several centuries was the “noble” von Storndorf family.  They were neither noble nor rich and tended to steal from others what they thought they needed.  As early as 1332, one Gerlach von Storndorf was given a fief for the castle in Romrod near Storndorf.  About 1520. two brothers von Storndorf started quarreling violently about the “lowest” mill (i.e., lowest on the Schwalm River), called Schneidmühle.  The village and surroundings were divided between the brothers and their descendants after this episode.  For the greater part of the 16th century the quarreling continued.  But in the year 1600, the resident nobleman of the upper half of the village was so hopelessly in debt that he was forced to sell his holdings to his Landgraf (or Landgrave, as the ruling prince was called) in order to pay his debts.  The other von Storndorf family in the lower half of the original fief lost many young men in the 30 Years’ War. Others died of natural causes, and that line died out by 1713.

          Meanwhile Landgraf Georg, the ruling prince to whom the upper half of Storndorf village had been sold, was in dire financial straits. His administrator or magistrate (Amtmann) was Hans Ludwig von Seebach, member of a noble family from the town of Seebach in Thuringia near Langensalza (east of Storndorf, from 1945 to 1990 in East Germany).  Von Seebach was “Amtmann zu Otzberg, Umstadt und Habitzheim” in a considerable area of Hessen-Darmstadt and was rarely in Storndorf.  But his wife and children lived in the upper manor of Storndorf, where the Herrenmühle was located.  In 1634, unable to pay the salary of his magistrate, Landgraf Georg gave the upper half of the village to Hans Ludwig von Seebach as a fief, in lieu of back salary.  The “castle” and other buildings (including a baking house, a still, and the Herrenmühle) were in pathetic condition, but they were better than nothing at all. The eldest daughter of Curt Häner had no less than three “noble” baptismal sponsors, one of them being a von Seebach child only about 3 to 4 years old, of the same age as the eldest son Hans Häner (Hans 1).  When our forebear Hans 2 was growing up in Storndorf, there were two noble families there. 

The Curt Häner Family at Storndorf

Our immigrant forebear’s father Curt Häner is mentioned at least twenty-two times in the churchbooks for Storndorf, Hesse.  His name is given as Conrad in one church record and Conradt in another, but he was usually known as Curt, the short form of Conrad.  The last name was, and is, spelled in various ways; a large portion of the occurrences of our name in German church records between 1670 and 1730 used the spellings Häner, Hainer, and Henner.  There is some speculation that the Curt Häner family’s origins were in the low countries, perhaps Belgium.  We believe that Curt was born between 1643 and 1650 at Nieder-Moos or its predecessor village.  Parish records give no information before 1694. Earlier records, begun in 1324, were considered so precious that they were taken for safety to the castle at Darmstadt, where bombs destroyed them in World War II.  Nieder-Moos (Low moss) is a village about a mile from Metzlos, home of two of Curt’s sisters who were baptismal sponsors of his daughters.  Nieder-Moos was a replacement for Kirch-Moos, an older village a mile or so away, which was obliterated around 1650 by a devastating plague.  We think that Curt’s father was the Johannes Häner who died in Nieder-Moos in 1694.  It is likely that Kobald Häner, who died there in 1713, was Curt’s brother; his wife Margaretha died in 1699 in Nieder-Moos and a daughter died there in 1685.  Lorentz Häner was probably a younger brother.  Rather complete church records in Freiensteinau state that Lorentz Häner was from Nieder-Moos when he married (1st) Elisabetha Seypelin from Fleschenbach in 1688. Their five children were born in Fleschenbach. He married (2nd) Margarete Zapf from Holzmühle and their two youngest (of five) children were born in the Holzmühle (literally, wooden mill). The term referred both to the mill itself and the hamlet, then of perhaps five houses. Lorentz married (3rd) Anna Margarethe Muth, no issue.  

          When young Curt Häner set out by foot to find a mill where he could earn a living, he found the Herrenmühle in Storndorf, some 18 miles north of Nieder-Moos and Metzlos.  There he met and married his wife about 1672; surviving church records for Storndorf (kept in Ober-Breidenbach) begin in 1673, the year of birth of their eldest child.  Curt Häner was buried on 18 Feb 1713 at Storndorf.  His wife, whose first name we do not know, was the daughter of Hans and Ottilia Schauben. Their ten children are listed in the Storndorf churchbooks. The names of the baptismal sponsors show some early relationships and friendships. 

Children of Curt Häner of Storndorf, Hesse:

          1. Johannes, bp Dom. 1 Trinity, 1673 (1st Sunday of Trinity, which was June 18 in 1673); sp Johannes —   from Vadenrod.  He married 22 Nov 1703 Storndorf Juliana Jost, dau of Caspar Jost from Meiches. He d 16 Apr 1738. He was a Herrenmüller (i.e., he ran the mill belonging the local nobility) and a glazier, who made and installed windows. This is the ancestor of the Hainer families in Germany with whom we are now in contact.  See below for more on this family, and a genealogical summary in the appendix to this chapter.

          2. Johannes, bp 22 Jan 1675; sp Johannes, son of Hans Matthes.  This is our ancestor who came to America in 1710.

          3. Sophia Catharina, bp 27 Dec 1677; sp Debora Sophia von Seebach, Sophia Maria Eleonora von Bobenhausen, and Henrich Christophel von Hanssen.  There were three sponsors, since Debora Sophia von Seebach was only about 3-1/2 years old at the time.

          4. Margaretha, bp 2 May 1680; sp Margaretha, wife of Johannes Möller from Metzlos (Curt Häner’s sister who d 13 Mar 1718 in Metzlos).

          5. Anna Margaretha, bp 5 Feb 1682; sp Margaretha, wife of Johann Decher.

          6. Ottilia, bp 28 Mar 1684; sp her grandmother, Hans Schauben’s wife.  Died at age 19.

          7. Anna Gela, bp 26 Sep 1686; sp “my sister” Gela from Metzlos (Curt Häner’s sister).

          8. Anna Maria, bp 3 Nov 1688; sp Anna Maria, wife of Anthoni Riehl.

          9. Johann Walther, bp 22 Feb 1691; sp Walther Schmid from Storndorf, d before 1729; son Johann Christian b 1712.

          10. Anna Sophia, bp 5 Mar 1693; sp Frau Anna Sophia von Utteroth, cherished wife of the master of the hounds (chief ranger in charge of hunting), the honorable Hans Reinhart von Utteroth, Hessen-Darmstadt.

          11.Henrich, bp 15 May 1694, d Jul 1753. Information from a German relative of Dr. Karl Hainer of Frankfort, Germany, who sent this in an email to Franklin Miller, Jr., in 2001. There is no documentary evidence of this other than the unnamed relative as a source.

          It was somewhat unusual that Curt Haner had two sons named Johannes, with no distinguishing middle names. In this case, one may have been named for one grandfather, supposed to have been Johannes Häner, and one named for the other grandfather, Hans [Johannes] Schauben.  The elder Johannes, who stayed in Germany, was called “Hans,” and the second Johannes, who went to America, was called “Jors.”  Note that Johannes is pronounced with Jo as in “yoyo,” han as in “wander,” and nes as in “nest.”  The name “Johannes” is equivalent to John, and “Hans” is equivalent to Jack.  The nickname “Jors” was apparently often used for John at that time.  In this family were no less than four girls named Anna.  It seems possible that the mother’s maiden name had been Anna Schauben.

The Spelling of the Family Name

In the last part of the 17th century, when our family lived at the Herrenmühle in Storndorf, the science of linguistics was non-existent.  There were no tape recorders to preserve pronunciations, and the language itself was changing.  Although we use Häner as the family name at that time, the way it was written and spelled is uncertain because of the difficulty of reading ancient script.  The vowel sound in the name was a diphthong, possibly with the sound of “eye” as in “light.”  The churchbooks in which the baptisms are recorded used (among others) the spelling Häner, for which the spelling Haener is equivalent if one does not wish to use the umlaut ä.  Present-day descendants in this area of Germany use the spelling Hainer, pronounced “High-ner”; this spelling first appears in the records of one pastor in about 1730.  The letter “y” is rarely used in contemporary German, but earlier it was common.  Martin Luther in his biblical translations and writings around 1500 often used “y” in place of the vowel “i.”  The month of May was then spelled “May” in German; now it is “Mai.”  Our English word “by” was in earliest times spelled “bey” in Hesse, and in contemporary German is now “bei” — all of these pronounced to rhyme with “high.”  We get an idea of how old the Hayner name is from the fact that a university graduate in Saxony born in 1612 spelled his name Petrus Hayner.  There is no indication of a connection with our family, but it does show an ancient use of that spelling.  Most of our American forebears wrote their names as Haner, Heiner, or Hoener, but many other spellings were used.  In court records regarding Frederick Heiner (1756-1840), a grandson of the immigrant, his name is spelled in six different ways in two related documents!

          In this book we have tried to give the spellings as used by the persons involved. Ten different spellings are in the index to our first edition published in 1966: Haner, Hayner, Hanor, Hainer, Heiner, Hiner, Hener, Haynor, Hanner, Hanners.  The first two spellings account for about 80 percent of the names. Other spellings found on various pages of The Hayner Family News include Hainor, Haener, Henner, Heaner, Heyner, Hehner, Henor, Hoener, Hohner, Huiner, Huener, and Hyner.  Many, but not all, of these spellings are for families of our immigrant forebear. We have chosen the title of the book to go back as nearly as possible to the spelling in 17th-century Germany, recognizing that a substantial number of family members in America use “Hayner.” We call it “A” Haner/Hayner family because there are dozens of other families of similar spelling not yet connected. By “America” in the title we mean to include both the United States and Canada. 

Friendly Contact with German Relatives

Beginning in 1981, a member of our American Haner/Hayner family living in Germany was in touch with Hainer families in Storndorf and elsewhere in Hesse, descendants of the first Johannes who remained in Germany when his brother Johannes came to America in 1710.  She was Marjorie Hayner.  Born and educated in the U.S., she married Dr. Walter Cappel, a retired professor from Elmstein, West Germany. She waa fluent in both German and English and was a frequent and valued correspondent for our family newsletter.  What follows is mostly reproduced from some of Marji Cappel’s reports in the news.  First, she described a drive made with some American Hayner cousins who were visiting in Germany.

          She wrote: If you are driving from Elmstein in the southwestern part of Germany over the Rhine, past Frankfurt, you follow a four-lane highway that was once, in the Middle Ages, a trade route.  Turn off at Alsfeld, one of Germany’s most beautiful medieval towns, probably founded at this very point to protect the trade route where it crosses the Schwalm River, a spring-fed river that rises somewhat south of Storndorf.  A few minutes’ drive from Alsfeld through gently rolling countryside and well-tilled fields brings you to Storndorf, a clean, quiet little village of approximately 900 inhabitants, with many homes built before 1800, homes you would not suspect were that old, for they are covered with new stucco and bright with window boxes filled with blooming geraniums.

          In a few of these homes, and in the lovely village of Allmenrod, located nearby, we met direct descendants of Johannes, eldest son of the miller Curt Häner, father of our ancestor.  His second son, also named Johannes, at age thirty-four emigrated to America in 1709-1710.  Let us call them Hans No. 1 and Hans No. 2, to keep them apart.  Hans No. 2, baptized in Storndorf on 22 Jan 1675, was our first generation in America, father of the children numbered 1 through 12 in our second generation in America.

          In Germany, the descendants of Hans No. 1 spell the name Hainer (pronounced “high-ner”). Hans No. 1 took over the mill from his father, Curt  Häner.  This was the Herrenmühle (the noble’s mill) that was leased from the noble family of von Seebach, who at one time owned half the village of Storndorf.  The Herrenmühle, described earlier in this chapter, was very large and had both living and working quarters; all the children of Curt Hainer were born in this building housing the old mill.  In early times Storndorf had enough water to run three mills. The Fritzenmühle (Fritz Mill) had been built directly on the Schwalm River.  About 1848, a Hainer married into the Fritzenmühle, and Hainers stayed in the Fritzenmühle until the present time.


Brief genealogy of part of the family of Hans Häner No. 1

Thanks are due to Pastor Reinhard Helm of the “castle” town of Romrod, just southwest of Alsfeld, who searched the records for data on our Hainer families. We also thank Pastor Rosenbaum of Nieder-Moos, who has been generous with his assistance, and Franz and Elise Hainer of Heuchelheim, who searched in Nieder-Moos for further clues. We are grateful to Marjorie Hayner Cappel from Elmstein for additional research.

For this edition of our book, the following list was compiled by Dr. Karl Hainer of Offenbach, Franz and Elise Hainer, and others.  Generation II is the children of Johannes (Hans No. 1), numbered 1 through 6. The + sign before No 5 indicates that his children are listed in Generation III, and so forth for later generations.  What follows is only a sample from what might some day be a complete family history, comparable in size with that of Hans No. 2 who went to America in the winter of 1709/1710, the subject of the main part of this book.

Generation II

Information on this family and its descendants was provided by Dr. Karl Hainer of Offenbach, Germany, prior to 2001, in email messages to Franklin Miller Jr.

JOHANNES HÄNER, first of two sons of Curt Häner to bear this name, was baptized 8 Jun 1673; married 22 Nov 1703 in Storndorf Juliana Jost, daughter of Caspar Jost from Meiches.  He died 16 Apr 1738, at age 64.  He was both a Herrenmüller (ran the noble’s mill in Storndorf) and a glazier who made and installed windows.  He was the ancestor of many who bear the Hainer name in Storndorf, Ockstadt, Giessen, Allmenrod, Schlitz, Marburg, Offenbach, Westerwald, Speyer, and other places in Hesse.

          1. Lina Elisabeth, b 26 Sep 1704

           2. Andreas, bp 28 Feb 1706, m 1729, d 1778. He had 4 children who kept the name Häner; descendants at Nürnberg.

           3. Anna Elisabetha, bp 9 Feb 1710

           4. Anna Gertrud, bp 5 Aug 1714

    +    5. Ernst Ludwig, bp 8 Mar 1716

           6. (another son, died at age 4)

Generation III

5. ERNST LUDWIG HAINER, bp 8 Mar 1716, d 9 Dec 1785; m 7 Mar 1741 Maria Dorothea Linn, (b 30 Mar 1712); master glazier in Storndorf. In addition to his three sons, Ernst Ludwig had many daughters, whose names are unknown.

           7. Johann Konrad, b 1741, m 1768, d 1812.  Descendants in Bingen.

    +    8. Johann Ernst Ludwig, b 13 Feb 1745  

    +    9. Johann Paul, bp between 28 Aug and 16 Oct 1756 

Generation IV

8. JOHANN ERNST LUDWIG HAINER,  b 13 Feb 1745, d 2 Jan 1826 in Schlitz;  m 30 May 1770 in Schlitz Anna Maria Schnabel (b 11 Jun 1752, d 30 Nov 1802). He went in 1770 to Schlitz, was a master glazier, and was the ancestor of the Hainer family in Schlitz. 

           10. Georg Heinrich b 1772, d 1813; m 1796 Anna Christine Weiland. He was a master glazier in Schlitz.

           11. Johann Friedrich, b 1777, d 1818; m 1800 Anna Margarete Sippel; a master glazier in Schlitz.

    +    12. Johann Paul, b 15 Aug 1789

9. JOHANN PAUL HAINER,  bp between 28 Aug and 16 Oct 1756, d 15 Mar 1797; m 27 Jun 1784 in Storndorf Anna Juliana Ringel (b 4 Dec 1761, d 27 Nov 1834). He was a master glazier and the ancestor of the Hainer family now in Heuchelheim and Storndorf. Several children; more are in the church records, but not reported to us.

    +    13. Johann Heinrich, b 26 Jul 1794

Generation V

12.JOHANN PAUL HAINER, b 15 Aug 1789, d 3 Mar 1845; m 24 Apr 1821 Elisabetha (Elise) Otterbein (b 16 Feb 1786, d 19 May 1867); master glazier in Schlitz.

    +    14. Georg Christoph, b 26 Aug 1821

           15. Friedrich, b 1824; m(1) 1856 Elisabeth Pfifferling, 2 daughters; m(2) Marie Niepoth, d 1891; he was a watchmaker in Schlitz.

    +    16. Georg, b 15 Nov 1826 

13. JOHANN HEINRICH HAINER, b 26 Jul 1794 Storndorf, d 20 Nov 1862; m 5 May 1822 Maria Catharina Scheig (b 7 Feb 1798, d 5 Jun 1858); d/o Abel Scheig, a hosiery worker in Kestrich, and Maria Elisabetha Neeb. Johann Heinrich Hainer was a linen weaver.

    +    17. Johannes, b 14 Aug 1820

    +    18. Johann Heinrich, b 2 Jul 1822

           19. Lorenz, b 23 Jul 1825, d 13 Nov 1902                                    

           20. Anna Maria, b 16 Jan 1828, d 2 Apr 1828

           21. child, name not known

           22. Juliana, b 30 Mar 1837, bp 12 Apr 1837, d 13 Jan 1903

Generation VI

14. GEORG CHRISTOPH HAINER, b 26 Aug 1821, d 14 Dec 1903; m 9 Apr 1855 Anna Martha Elisabetha Schrön (b 14 Jun 1821, d 14 Apr 1882); He was nicknamed the “little veterinarian of Schlitz (Tierärtzchen)”

    +    23. Wilhelm, b 19 Dec 1845 (he was born 10 years before his parents married.)

           24. Friederich, b 1855, d 1923

           25. Jakob, d 1889

           26. Katharine, b 1857; m Conrad Zöll, who was a joiner.

           27. Johannes, b 8 Oct 1861 in Schlitz, d 21 Jun 1935 Bielefeld; m Emma Lübke (b 20 Oct 1871, d 31 Aug 1933); 2 sons, 2 daughters.

16. GEORG HAINER,  b 15 Nov 1826, d 19 Mar 1910; m 5 Feb 1860 Anna Elisabeth Weber (b 28 Dec 1825, d 5 May 1898); a master glazier in Schlitz. A granddaughter is Ursula (“Uschi”) Winkler, who m John F. Moyer and lives in Portland, Oregon.

           28. Wilhelm, b 1855, d 1877

           29. Georg Christoph, b 1859, d 1934, m Karol Donges

           30. Friedrich, b 1861, d 1902; m Kath. Leifs

    +    31. Albert, b 1863, m Katharina Höller (?)

           32. Friedrich Leonhard, b 1868, d 1943; m Auguste Worbs (?)

           33. Johannes Conrad, b 1870 

17. JOHANNES HAINER, b 14 Aug 1820, d 30 Mar 1885; m 29 Jan 1848 Katharina Wacker (b 14 Aug 1830, d 12 Feb 1892). He was a glazier in Storndorf.

          34. Anna Maria, b 1 Oct 1847

           35. Johannes, b 27 Jan 1849, d 1 Jun 1881 in Storndorf

    +    36. Heinrich, b 2 Mar 1851 

    +    37. Ludwig, b 12 Jan 1853

           38. Anna Elisabeth, b 24 Feb 1857

           39. Georg Adam, b 22 Feb 1861; lived in Giessen

           40. Johann Georg, b 9 Sep 1863; lived in Giessen

           41. Katharina, b 28 Apr 1866

           42. Georg Wilhelm, b 20 May 1869; lived in Giessen

           43. Elise Christine, b 4 Apr 1872; lived in Giessen

18. JOHANN HEINRICH HAINER, b 2 Jul 1822, d 28 Jul 1882; m 15 Oct 1848 Anna Maria Georg (b 8 Feb 1825, d 30 Jun 1901); d/o Johann Georg, the miller at the Fritzenmühle at Storndorf, and his wife Elisabeth Eckstein. The Fritzenmühle came to the Georg family through marriage with the Ecksteins, and then it came  into the Hainer family through marriage with Anna Maria Georg.

           44. Heinrich, b 18 Nov 1848, took over the mill from his father.

           45. Child, name unknown

           46. Johannes, b 27 Oct 1851; married the daughter of a miller at Gemünden über Westerburg; was called the Hessenmühle since Johannes was from Hesse. Descendants are  in Gemünden and Speyer (Palatine).

           47. Ludwig, b 10 Oct 1855; took over from his brother Heinrich.

           48. Stillborn daughter, b 18 Jun 1858; in this record is found the occupation of the father as a miller.

    +    49. Christian,  b 28 May 1859

           50. Elisabetha, b 5 Jun 1861

           51. Stillborn son, b 29 Sep 1863

           52. Juliana, b 14 Nov 1864

Generation VII

23. WILHELM HAINER, b 19 Dec 1845, d 20 Apr 1913 Offenbach; m 2 Apr 1872 in Schlitz Eloise Caroline Heil (b 6 Apr 1849, d 8 Aug 1921). He was school master in Offenbach at a girls’ middle school.

    +    53. August Wilhelm, b 24 Mar 1873

           54. Sophie, b 1875, d 1907; m Rudof Jüling.

           55. Fritz, b 2 Sep 1880 in Offenbach, d 28 Nov 1947 in Krombach; a clerk. He m(1) Margarete Ruschitzka (d 1907),  1 dau;  m(2) 10 Oct 1910 Rosa Hartmann (b 4 Sep 1885, d 5 Oct 1976), 3 dau.

           56. Johannes (Hans), b 29 Dec 1887 Offenbach, d 25 Feb 1966 in Frankfurt; railway official;  m 5 May 1918  in Bad Salzschlirf Luise (Lucie) Karoline Elise Bertha Emilie Dönnges (b 26 Mar 1890, d 16 Nov 1977); 1 dau.

31. ALBERT HAINER,  b 1863, m Katharina Höller (?) b 1863.

           57. Friederich (Fritz) Leonhard Georg, b 1891, d 1984; m Johanna Heinemann (b 1893).

           58. Elisabeth (Elise) Katherine, b 1892, m Joh. (Hans) Wissmann

           59. Georg Christoph/Christian, b 1895, d 1910

           60. Friedrich Wilhelm Albert, b 1899, d 1984; m Katharina  Fehr.

36. HEINRICH HAINER, b 2 Mar 1851; m 22 Apr 1878 Elisabetha Wöll

    +    61. Johannes, b 25 Nov 1878. He was a joiner in Storndorf.

37. LUDWIG HAINER, b 12 Jan 1853, d 24 Jan 1924; m 24 Oct 1880 Elisabeth Hofmann (b 13 Dec 1853, d 16 Mar 1923); first lived in Giessen, then in Heuchelheim.

          62. Katharine, b 26 Feb 1881, d 3 Nov 1945

    +    63. Ludwig II,  b 28 Oct 1885

           64. Marie, b 22 Jun 1892, d 29 May 1953

49. CHRISTIAN HAINER, b 28 May 1859, d 27 Nov 1933, a joiner. He m 26 Dec 1888 Anna Barbara Elise Katharina Bellinger (b 2 Jan 1865, d 22 Jan 1945).

    +    65. Wilhelm, b 9 Jun 1891

Generation VIII

53. AUGUST WILHELM HAINER, b 24 Mar 1873, Offenbach, d 18 Dec 1958; m 9 May 1901 Elisa (Elise) Sophia Christina Haas (b 11 Aug 1878, d 26 Nov 1947). He was a post office clerk (“the little white man from the post-office”).

           66. Elisabeth (Else, Elsbeth) Karoline Katherine Helene, b 30 Jan 1902 in Worms, d  9 Apr 1922 in Offenbach.

    +    67. August Wilhelm Emil, b 18 Jan 1904

           68. Luise (Lina), b 6 Jan 1907; unm.

          69. Henriette (Henni), b 21 Sep 1912 Offenbach; d 5 May 1985 Hanau; m 17 Aug 1940 Gustav Fricke (b 9 Dec 1913, d 30 Oct 1983.

           70. Kurt, b 16 Feb 1916 Offenbach, d 28 Jun 1996;  m 22 Feb 1940 Elfriede Gertrud Hildegard Kadasch (b 6 Aug 1915).

           71. Hans Ernst, b 1 Feb 1920, d 11 Apr 1922 in Offenbach.

61. JOHANNES HAINER, b 25 Nov 1878, d 17 Apr 1952; m 29 Feb 1909 Maria Faust. He was a bricklayer in Storndorf.

           72. Johannes, b 6 Mar 1910, d 24 Dec 1957, m 13 May 1934 Maria Greb. He was a bricklayer in Storndorf.

63. LUDWIG HAINER II, b 28 Oct 1885, d 9 Aug 1952; m(1) 12 May 1907 Wilhelmine Schmidt (b 11 Sep 1885, d 10 Oct 1925).

           73. Eduard, b 2 Nov 1907, d 10 May 1963

           74. Therese, b 21 Apr 1909; m Karl Steiss

    +    75. Franz, b 24 Aug 1919

63. LUDWIG HAINER II, b 28 Oct 1885, m(2) Helene Hofmann.

           76. Willi, b 11 Feb 1928; married.

           77. Friedel, b 28 Aug 1929

65.WILHELM HAINER, b 9 Jun 1891 Allmenrod, d 26 Apr 1964; m Bertha [Berlau] Kircher  (b 9 Mar 1888, d 13 Oct 1957). He was a joiner.

    +    78. Karl, b 13 Apr 1926

Generation IX

67. AUGUST WILHELM EMIL HAINER, b 18 Jan 1904 Erbach, d 11 Nov 1983; m 22 Oct 1932 Wilhelmine (Minna) Emilie Veith (b 14 Apr 1907, d 8 Jun 1978).  He was a bank director in Offenbach.

          79. Kurt Ernst, b 28 Mar 1936

75. FRANZ HAINER, b 24 Aug 1919; m 12 Oct 1949 in Heuchelheim Elise Margarete Sack, b 6 Jun 1925.

78.KARL HAINER, b 13 Apr 1926 Allmenrod; m 9 Apr 1950 in Allmenrod Emilie Roekel, b 12 May 1928; factory director.

Generation X

79. KURT ERNST HAINER, b 28 Mar 1936 Offenbach; m 28 Oct 1961 Ursula (Ursel) Döring, b 22 Dec 1937; engineer at telephone central office.

Chapter 3  THE 1709 – 1710 PALATINE EMIGRATION

In summer or fall 1709, Johannes Häner, ancestor of our American family, cast his lot with what became known as the Palatine migration to America.  It is a complex history, which can best be studied through the references at the end of the chapter.  By mid-1710, he had survived the voyage across the Atlantic (his first wife was not so fortunate), he had remarried, and he had settled in upstate New York.

    The Latin word Palatine refers to Palace (in German the word is Pfalz, or Palz in regional dialect) and was used to denote territory owned by the king.  After the devastating Thirty Years’ War ended in 1648, the Electoral Palatinate was ruled by the Elector Karl Ludwig.  Strictly speaking, the Palatinate refers to the region bounded on the west by France, on the east by the Rhine, on the north by Hesse, and on the south by Switzerland and France.  So our Häners at the mill in Storndorf were in Hesse, not the Electoral Palatinate, and only later were known as Palatines.

    During the Thirty Years’ War, the Palatinate had lost 70 percent of its population and, therefore, welcomed settlers.  It had become a region of religious tolerance for French Huguenots, Flemish Walloons, Swiss Mennonites, and others.  By 1660, some French Huguenots of the DuBois and other families had emigrated to America from their generation-long refuge in Mannheim in the Pfalz; later, in 1677, twelve families moved a few miles southward along the western bank of the Hudson River from Esopus (Kingston) to establish a second settlement called New Paltz in remembrance of their good times in the Palatinate.  Religious tolerance in the Palatinate was eroded after 1685, when the new government of the House of Neuburg openly favored Catholicism.  The armies of Louis XIV were warring in the Rhine provinces; there were religious quarrels among the princes themselves; and the Protestant Palatine people suffered religious persecution. French troops ravaged the countryside during the War of Spanish Succession, which began in 1701.

    Times were hard in Hesse as well as in the Electoral Palatinate. Workers were bound to the soil and restricted by guild regulations.  Many families in southwestern Germany decided to emigrate to America for various reasons.  Historians give four motivating causes: freedom from burdensome taxes, security from devastating wars, religious freedom, and desire for land of their own.  For some, the deciding factor was a bitterly severe winter in 1708-1709.  A key figure in the migration was Rev. Joshua Harrsch, a first-rate entrepreneur who did, however, take his pastoral duties seriously in later years in the New York settlements of the Palatines.  In 1706, for reasons still not entirely understood, he changed his name to Joshua Kocherthal and became an agent for landowners in British North America.  At first, it was intended to settle the Palatines in “Carolina,” where several powerful members of the British aristocracy had large land holdings.  Kocherthal circulated a remarkably effective pamphlet called “Report on Carolina,” known as the “Golden Book” because its title page had letters in gold.  In this pamphlet Germans were encouraged to emigrate to “The Island Of Carolina,” which was pictured as a land of milk and honey.  In May 1708, Queen Anne changed the goal to New York.  The British aims were now threefold.  First, the government, again Protestant after the rule of Catholic James II, wanted to support the “persecuted” Palatines.  Also, settlers north of New York City would provide a buffer against the French in Canada, who threatened to split the empire by driving a wedge between New England and New York.  Simultaneously, the new settlers could serve in a Naval Stores project through which the pine trees of the new land could provide tar and pitch and masts badly needed for the ships of the British navy.

    Kocherthal took a small group of colonists to America in 1708. In 1709, they founded present-day Newburgh on the west side of the Hudson River.  Returning to England in summer 1709, Kocherthal found that a large number of Palatines, Hessians, and others had come to London to ship out to the New World.  Many came by way of the Dutch port of Rotterdam. Others were on their own.  The very harsh winter of 1708/1709 was a deciding factor for many.  The mass emigration started in the spring of 1709, and by autumn a horde of emigrants, estimated to be as many as 13,500, camped on Blackheath south of the Thames, on Greenwich Heath on the Thames north of Blackheath, and at other sites near London. 

    The British found the mass of Palatines on their doorstep more than they had anticipated or could handle.  Living conditions were shockingly poor.  Records show that 3,498 people were resettled in Ireland, but without the free land they had been promised.  More than 3,000 Roman Catholics were sent back to their homes in Germany, at British expense.  About 650 went to South Carolina, and a few made their way to Jamaica and the West Indies.  About 3,000 were chosen to go to New York, to work in the “Tar Project” — among them our Johannes, Hans No. 2, son of Curt Häner of Storndorf.  They boarded ten ships (some say eleven ships) about December 25, 1709, but the first ship did not sail until April 10, 1710. Food and water on the ships were bad, and 470 of the emigrants, many of them children, died on board or soon after arrival in America. 

    It was at the time of this 1709 emigration that the term Palatine was broadened to include all German-speaking emigrants, not limited to those from Electoral Palatinate.  Thus, our ancestor Johannes Häner became a “Palatine,” although he was actually from Hesse.  The British were fed up and disillusioned with the whole project, which had been begun at least partly altruistically to help the “starving Palatines,” and the term came to have a pejorative meaning in the early 18th century.  Later, of course, when the wave of “Pennsylvania Dutch” began to swell in about 1720, “Palatine” again became a respectable and universal appellation, although most were not from the actual Electoral Palatinate. 

Livingston Manor

    Palatines arriving in New York City in 1710, including our ancestor Johannes Häner, were treated by the British authorities as faceless, nameless commodities.  After a quarantine period in tents (brought from England) on Nutten Island (now Governor’s Island), 1,874 Palatines were sent in early October, 1710 into service on Livingston Manor, a huge tract of land on the east side of the Hudson River, across from and south of Albany.  The Manor and its proprietor are a fascinating chapter in the history of Colonial New York.

    Robert Livingston (1654-1728), son of a Scotch Reformed Church minister, had been a merchant in Holland as early as age 15.  He went to New England in 1673, but less than two years later cast his lot with the Crown Colony of New York, beginning with a sojourn in Albany, center of the lucrative fur trade.  The Dutch New Netherland, only recently restored to British rule, had been granted by Charles II to his brother the Duke of York, later to be James II.  Now called New York, the colony still had many Dutch-speaking citizens, and Livingston’s early experiences in Holland gave  him a decided advantage; he could speak the language and understood the customs of the Dutch. He secured an appointment as Secretary of Rensselaerwyck, a  huge colony or manor surrounding Albany extending over to the east side of the Hudson.  This tract of about 800,000 acres was strategically located to control the fur trade with the Mohawk Indians. In 1679, Robert Livingston married Alida Van Rensselaer, the proprietor’s attractive young widow, a woman who through 48 years of marriage to Robert, helped her husband’s career in many ways.  She was an astute business woman and managed much of the day-to-day affairs of commerce at the manor.

    Unsuccessful in securing a partition of Rensselaerwyck, Livingston purchased from two groups of Mohican Indians 2,000 acres on the east side of the Hudson on Roelof Jansen’s Kill near Cats Kill.  In 1685, he bought more land from Indian owners of the Taconic area to the east.  Eventually, through processes not fully recorded, Livingston Manor embraced 160,000 acres, bounded on the north by the southern part of Rensselaerwyck called Claverack.  (The residents of the town of Claverack in present Columbia County pronounce it with a broad “a”: Clah’vrick.)  Not until 1767 did Robert Livingston’s grandson and Henry Van Rensselaer agree on Catskill Creek as the boundary between Livingston Manor and Rensselaerwyck.

    The troubled decades 1688-1710 involved internal political struggles in New York.  By 1700, Livingston was Lord of the Manor, a prominent merchant and an important public figure.  By 1710 he had become a survivor — he had dealt with no fewer than nine Governors appointed by the Crown during a period of twenty-two years.  Livingston was a shrewd, capable, and energetic man of his times, seemingly able to bounce the right way during times of vicissitude, a political man who at heart was a merchant.  The arrival of the Palatines in 1710 was, for him, both a problem and an opportunity.  Livingston was able to turn his sparsely settled manor into a profitable investment.  He was appointed Inspector of Palatines and also secured the victualing contract (signed November 1710), by which each settler was to have one-third of a loaf of bread and a quart of ship-beer per day.  They also got some salted meat of dubious quality and quantity.  There is no doubt that Livingston had little regard for the Palatines as persons, and it is said that he was the only person who made any money out of the Palatine affair.

    Many of the Palatines lived on the manor itself; others on 6,000 acres bought back in 1710 from Livingston by the Crown.  In 1724, Queen Anne granted the 6,000 acres to four Palatines in trust for the sixty-three families remaining there. Johannes Hoener (Heiner) was one of these four leaders, and he was the sole surviving trustee in a deed dated 1758.  The first Palatine settlements in New York were at West Camp (on the west side of the Hudson) and at the larger East Camp (present Germantown) on the east side of the river.  The villages or “dorfs” in West Camp were Elizabethtown, Georgetown, and Newtown (the present Saugerties).  The East Camp comprised the villages of Hunterstown, Queensbury, Annsbury, and Haysbury.  Soon after 1710, many Germans were in Claverack and the rest of Rensselaerwyck.  By 1750, the Palatines had spread out into other areas in present Columbia, Rensselaer, and Albany counties. 

    The Naval Stores project was a failure. The pine trees in the area were unsuitable, and the Palatines were not well instructed in the tasks they were to perform because the supervisor was incompetent. Soon hunger and misery dwelt in the poor log cabins of the Palatines. Reverend John Frederick Haeger, Reformed Church, wrote, “they boil grass and the children eat the leaves of the trees.”  Each immigrant had been promised 40 acres, to be given when the debt of transportation and maintenance had been paid, but the amount of labor expected was not specified, nor was the time limit of servitude.  Many felt cheated because the contract finally offered was not the same that had been read to them in London. In May 1711, many emigrants were dissatisified, leading to open revolt. In 1712, Governor Hunter left the Palatines on their own, withdrawing even the previous meager support.  Fortunately, many Palatines had trades, such as cooper, baker, tailor, and miller, and were able to fend for themselves as tenant farmers for Livingston, who retained title to the 6,000 acres.  After the 1711 revolt, only about 200 Palatine families, including our Haners, remained on the banks of the Hudson.  In fall 1712 and spring 1713, about 150 families, with Indian help, moved 40 miles west of Albany, where they founded new settlements in the Schoharie Valley and further west into Mohawk territory between present Amsterdam and Utica.  Their land titles were clouded, and some of these Schoharie families settled in northern Pennsylvania upon invitation of Governor Keith, notably in the Tulpehocken Valley of Berks County. Although the Schoharie settlers were numerous and mostly Palatines, only a few of our Haner family were among them.

    In 1710–1712, Governor Hunter several times drew up “Subsistence Lists” of the Palatines who were to be supported in the project.  These Hunter Lists, which serve as censuses, are not error free, but they show a total of 847 New York German families who arrived in 1710.  So far, thanks to the dedicated efforts of Henry Z. Jones Jr., and others, 550 of these families have been documented in churchbooks and other records in their German places of origin.  In the 1718 census, there were 126 Palatine households (with 499 persons) on the east bank of the Hudson. The attrition was due to several causes.  Some had moved to the Schoharie area and on down to Pennsylvania.  Others were lost during a 1711 military expedition against Canada, which failed.  Most of those on the east side of the Hudson were settled by 1718 on lands purchased from Robert Livingston by the Crown, but they remained in Livingston’s economic orbit and were self-sufficient farmers and tradesmen — truly a new life for the desperate Palatines who suffered such hardships in 1709 and 1710.  The Palatines were pleased with their lot, which was so much better than it had been in Germany, and they wrote enthusiastic letters to their friends and relatives urging them to emigrate.


One of the best and most readable accounts of the Palatines is contained  in pages i through xvi of Hank Jones’ monumental work (Reference 3 below), in which he traces the German origins and first generation in America of more than 500 of the 847 families who were on Governor Hunter’s Subsistence Lists of 1710-1712.  This two-volume, 1,298-page book can be purchased from Mr. Jones at P.O. Box 8341, Universal City, CA 91608; it is available also in libraries. It is highly recommended. Our Johannes Haner/Heyner family is listed on pages 360-365.

    1. 300 Jahre Pfälzer in Amerika (300 Years Palatines in America), Roland Paul, Ed., Pfälzische Verlaganstalt, Landau/Pfalz (1983).

    2. Robert Livingston 1654-1728 and the Politics of Colonial New York, Lawrence H. Leder, University of North Carolina Press (1961).

    3. The Palatine Families of New York, Henry Z. Jones Jr., Universal City, CA (1985).

    4. Palatines Along the Mohawk, Ada L. F. Snell, privately printed, South Hadley, MA (1948).

    5. Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration, Walter Knittle, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD (1965).


The immigrant ancestor who arrived in America in 1710 was Johannes Haner, baptized 22 Jan 1675, the second son of Curt Häner, the miller at Storndorf in Hesse, and the second son bearing the same name. (We spell the German ancestral name as Häner, but we drop the umlaut in spelling names in the American branch.) The baptismal sponsor was Johannes, son of Hans Matthes. Curt Häner had two sons named Johannes, both of whom survived. The pattern was repeated when the second Johannes (our ancestor) named two of his sons Johannes. On 17 Jan 1703, the second Johannes married Anna Catharina Schneider, daughter of the late Johann Schneider of Fischborn (near Birstein). Johannes and Anna evidently lived in Birstein, 12 km north of the town of Wächtersbach. At the time of his second marriage in America in 1710, he was listed as a widower of Birsen in the sovereignty of Offenbach. (The town was incorrectly spelled by Rev. Kocherthal.)

    We do not know why our Johannes decided to emigrate, in addition to the hard winter of 1708/09 and unrest in the war-torn countryside. He probably worked as a miller in Birstein (some 40 km south of Storndorf), not necessarily in the mill of his father-in-law. It is possible that Johannes (“Jors”) and Anna Catharina and perhaps one or two very young children started out in 1709 with the Palatines, headed for Holland, then to London and eventually, in 1710, to America. It is written that the Palatine emigrants traveled down the Rhine in an intrepid mood, even with bagpipes playing, ready for a great adventure. They probably had little real knowledge of where they were headed. Maps of the New World were not common even in advanced circles and were practically nonexistent in the village schools of Hesse.

    We do not know when or where Anna Catharina died — whether in Germany, in England, or on board ship. Living conditions were incredibly poor, and hundreds of emigrants died of sickness or malnutrition during the trip. Nor do we know the name of the ship on which Johannes Häner came, but it must have arrived in late June 1710. One of ships that left England was wrecked off Block Island on 7 Jul 1710 with a loss of goods and arms, but no loss of life. Johannes was remarried at West Camp in July 1710.  The records are in German script and hard to decipher. We are indebted to John Dern, translator of the Albany Protocol, who studied the record of 27 July 1710, which is reproduced here. It reads: “Johann Haner, von Birsen Offenbachisher Herrschaft, Witwer: mit Catharina, Johann Jacob Mussiers von Steinfort im Creichgau ehelichen Tochter.” 

Dern translates this as follows: “[On July 27, 1710] Johannes Haner, from Birsen, in the Offenbach sovereignty, a widower, was married to Catharina, legitimate daughter of Johann Jacob Mussier from Steinfort in the Creichgau.” He writes that Steinfort is actually Steinsfurt bei Sinsheim. The Kraichgau, as it is now spelled, is a region of Germany best described as lying east of the Rhine and south and west of the Neckar River. Birsen is none other than Birstein bei Wächtersbach. Many other Palatines had lost their wives on the long and difficult journey to the New World. On just one page of Rev. Kocherthal’s marriage record in July 1710, five of the six men who were being married were widowers, including our Johannes Haner.

    It required a search of many years for our family historians to learn that Catharina was born 3 Oct 1693 as Catharina Monsieur, daughter of Hans Jacob Monsieur and his wife Anna Catharine, daughter of the teacher Tobias Bohmer. Her birth record is in the state Evangelical Church, Rohrbach. The family home was at Steinsfurt, Germany, where she and her parents were citizens before coming to America with the Palatine immigration. The Monsieur family must have been acquainted with Kocherthal (then known as Joshua Harrsch), who was pastor at Eschelbronn, just 5 miles north of Sinsheim, before he went to America. Rohrbach and Steinsfurt are about 1.5 and 3 miles southeast of Sinsheim, respectively. Catharina’s maiden name in New York records was listed as Mustirr, or Mussier, and has so continued.

    A contemporary New York source is the 1716-1717 ULRICH SIMMENDINGER REGISTER: A True Register of Persons Still Living Who in the Year 1709 Journeyed from Germany to America, prepared by a pastor who returned to Germany in 1717 carrying greetings from Germans in New York and New Jersey to their families back home. In this list is Johannes Hoenner, with a wife and children, then living in Quunsberg (Queensbury) NY (i.e., in East Camp, later called Germantown).  Johanes Hener was a Palatine Debtor in 1718 and 1721 (Livingston Debt Lists). Johannes Heener was a Palatine willing to remain at Livingston Manor 26 Aug 1724. Johannes Hoener was one of four trustees to whom Governor Hunter in 1725 granted the 6,000-acre Germantown tract of East Camp for the use of the Palatines. Johannes and his wife Catharina appear in several church records as sponsors at the baptisms of their grandchildren, as described later in this book. The 1743 baptismal record of Catharina Hener, daughter of Bernhardt, shows as sponsors “Johan Mussier and Catharina”; this entry may refer to the immigrant’s wife, but we cannot place exactly Johan Mussier, who must have been a close relative.

    Lists of Palatines prepared by Governor Hunter as part of the feeding program are not always easily interpreted. The Hunter Lists show Johannes with only one person over 10 years of age (himself) on 30 Jun 1710. The family had increased to two persons over 10 years by 4 Oct 1710 (he had remarried on 27 Jul 1710), and by 24 Dec 1711, there were three persons over 10 and one person under 10, presumably a child of the second marriage. There is no record of any children by the first wife Anna Catharina Schneider.

    There were so many disputes over boundaries and ownership in Germantown and elsewhere that a law was passed on 5 Jul 1715 requiring those who wanted to become property owners to become citizens. The record shows that on 3 Jan 1716 Johannes Heiner, his father-in-law Jacob Moussier, and his brother-in-law Hans Georg (Jury) Moussier became citizens of New York. But there was no land ownership on the 6,000 Palatine acres. Title to the land remained with Livingston, and the Palatines were assigned lots for houses and separate strip farms. The Manor lands were leased for one or more lifetimes. The Palatines were, in effect, tenant farmers with credit at the Manor store, a place to sell farm products and barter for life’s necessities. 

    In 1717, a line was surveyed so that the southern boundary of the Palatine acres became the northern boundary of Dutchess County, and the Palatine acres were, thenceforth, in Albany County instead of in Dutchess County as previously bounded by Roeloff Jansen Kill. We speculate that Johannes moved from the Manor to Rhinebeck in Dutchess County so that he could own land. In 1740, a survey of all of Germantown was made and a map drawn showing lot 133 (a large lot well back from the river) assigned to Barent Hainor (presumed to be eldest son of the immigrant, our #1 Bernhardt Hoener).  This lot was later assigned to a John Hainor in 1788, possibly Bernhardt’s nephew, #29 in our list. (Bernhardt’s son Johannes was a member of Gilead Lutheran Church in Rennselaer County by 1779.) Barent Hainor was a tenant on four other lots in 1741 and on an additional one in 1783. 

    Johannes Hoener was a respected member of the Palatine community. He was chosen as one of four trustees to hold the 6,000 acres on behalf of the Palatines. Alida Livingston ran the daily operations of Livingston Manor. Her letters to her husband, Robert Livingston, were translated from the Dutch in 1987. The first winter the Palatines spent in New York, 1710/1711, was very severe; the grist mill on Roeloff Jansen Kill (the site of Livingston Manor) was crushed by an accumulation of ice that was nineteen feet thick. Alida Livingston wrote that she employed Hanor, Zipperle, and Rau to help her rebuild the mill and the brewhouse. His background at the mills in Germany made Johannes Hoener a useful person in the community. The immigrant Bernhard Zipperle had been a blacksmith in Germany, and Nicolas Rau (Row, Rauch) was probably a carpenter and was later a surveyor. Heener, Hener is also mentioned in Alida Livingston’s letters in 1717 and 1720.

    We believe that Johannes Haner lived his later years in or near Rhinebeck, about 12 miles south of Germantown, in Dutchess County just south of the present Columbia County line. According to Documentary History of Rhinebeck, by Edward M. Smith, Rhinebeck precinct was formed in 1734 and includes St. Peter’s Lutheran Church (the old Stone Church) at Rhinebeck and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at Red Hook. Many Haner family members were baptized in these churches. In the earliest census of Rhinebeck precinct, we not only find the name of Hans Hayner but also many surnames connected with our family, including Van Etten, Trevor, Sipperly (Zipperly), Bonesteel, Row, Moul, Snyder (Sneyder), and Osterhout.

    In 1741, Jury Mosseer of the West Camp and Johannes Heaner of Rhynbeeck purchased 660 acres on the west bank of the Hudson River, just a mile or so from West Camp. The two brothers-in-law purchased this land for 400 pounds in New York currency from Vincent Mathews, the original Patentee of the Crown. We do not know what they had in mind, perhaps an investment. It does show that Johannes Haner was in Rhinebeck in 1741, or at least by 1751 when the indenture was confirmed and recorded.   

    An important early document dated 15 Jun 1740 authorized the surviving trustees, Johannes Hoener and Christopher Hagedorn, to divide land in the Camp among the Palatine families. The signature, in a clear, steady hand, is that of Johannes Hoener. Several documents allow us to place the death of Johannes Hoener/Haner in about 1759, at age about 84. His son George married Anna Catharina Hagedorn, daughter of Christoffel Hagedorn, who, with Johannes, was one of the four trustees for the 6,000-acre Germantown tract held in trust since 1725 for the Palatine settlers. In a document dated 15 Aug 1758, Johannes Hoener stated that he was the sole surviving trustee of the four original trustees — that the other three trustees, Jacob Sharp, Johannes Kollman, and Christoffel Hagedorn, were all deceased — and he confirmed the use of 40 acres for a Palatine church. In a document signed on 10 Oct 1759, the “High Dutch Reformed Church” and the “Lutheran Church” agreed to share the church land, 20 acres each. Mention was made in the agreement of “Johannis Heanor, Christophell Hagedorn of the Camp and others Since Dead.” We interpret this somewhat ambiguous statement to mean that Johannes had died between August 1758 and October 1759.

    Aside from names and dates, we know little of Johannes Haner, the man. One account written by Pastor Berkenmeyer mentioned a visit with Johannes at East Camp on 3 Sep 1732 in his Albany Protocol, translation by John P. Dern:

Before the service began, Schumacher and Scheffer came to me, much upset, saying what a mishap it was that H. Heiner had come to the village. As I went to the church, Capt. Hagedorn came to meet me, saying that I should say nothing today about an election, because there was not enough time. I replied: That is a matter for the congregation to decide, not I. After the prayer I began a hymn, but Heiner immediately took it up. So I turned the singing over to him. After the sermon, the Lord’s supper, the baptism, and the marriage were ended and as Heiner passed the table, I grasped him by the sleeve. “Friend Heiner,” I said, “No one must leave here unreconciled. Since the whole congregation has been reconciled with God, come, I forgive.” He was so saddened by this that he did not speak two words. Therefore I gave him the chalice to bring peace to the whole congregation. On the way home, I called at Capt. Hagedorn’s to ask if Heiner would not eat with me or smoke with me after dinner. After some exchange of words with him about Saalbach’s house and people, he said, ‘What will people say about my running after the Pastor this way?’ Laughing, I said to Heiner this way: ‘Fiddle-faddle to that. Come and be at ease.’ So he promised to come, and he did come, too. He seemed to be vexed over Scheffer’s (approaching) marriage here (at the Camp) and the fact that it would take place secretly. He said that J(ohann Michael) Schut was going to bring a pastor, but that he did not have enough in his collection. Finally he left, since his wife wanted to go to bed. Such an excuse being unacceptable to the others, he added, ‘We shall certainly not make one another any wiser this evening.’ 

Later, Johannes Haner and Pastor Berkenmeyer became enemies. Berkenmeyer noted on 17 Sep 1734, in a letter to the Lutheran Ministerium in Hamburg, that H. Heiner was an evil man who by force wanted to have a pastor from England. We see from this account that the Palatines were capable of strong feelings about religion but also that our ancestor, like most Germans, was musically inclined and was able and willing to lead the singing of the hymn. 

    The only known signatures of Johannes, born Häner, are spelled Hoener. The signature is Johannes Hoener on the 1758 deed for the church use, although the name was written by the clerk of court four times in the deed itself as Johannes Heiner. The signature of his eldest son is on a bond dated 15 Jun 1741 given at East Camp in the (then) County of Albany to replace one that had been lost. Although the name is given several times in the deed as Barnt (Barent) Hener, the signature is clearly Bernhardt Hoener, in his own hand. It appears that the earliest spelling of the family name in America was Hoener, but that spelling did not survive.

    Johannes Haner and his second wife settled at East Camp on Livingston Manor — the present Germantown, NY, in Columbia County. He died at about age 84 about 1759. His second wife, Catharina Mustirr [Monsieur] Haner, who did not speak English, was married at age 16 and according to tradition lived to be 102. Their burial places have not been found. Johannes, our First Generation in America, had at least twelve children, whom we designate as the Second Generation in America. It is interesting that our Johannes Haner named two of his sons Johannes. Possibly one was named for his older brother back in Germany, and the other may have been named for his wife’s father, Hans Jakob Monsieur whose name is spelled “Jacob Musinger” in the 1710 Hunter List of 30 Jun 1710. In the 4 Oct 1710 entry, Jacob Munsinger was listed next to his son-in-law Johannes Heiner. 

    For the descendants of the children of our immigrant ancestor, see the following sections of this book.