Family History – Daniel Witt


I have been researching my family history on & off for a while, but with homeschooling the kids, it has become a bit of a project for me to do with them. I love it. I did a family history project about 30 years ago in school & found it fascinating & now that I am older & can appreciate it even more, it’s even more exciting. It’s the perfect time to pick up the quest to find more family too, both with COVID & living in the vicinity of so many relatives, something that I know won’t always be the case.

Not all the information I have found is readily & easily accessible to everyone, so I am going to share some of my research here, via my blog to make it easier. So “Hello” to the family reading this, including the blood relations that stalk the page, but don’t like to admit it. Hey there, hope you’re well. 🙂

This week, I came across this gem. This is my gggg grandfather. At this moment I am unclear what his name at birth was. Most of of my German relations changed their names, likely in frustration with others that could not pronounce their names. Although, for some it seems to have occurred due to transcription errors too. Witt changes a few times to Vitt & there are more examples.

Daniel Witt was Married to Sophie Thom (1802-1870)
He was born around 1794 & died 26 Mar 1892. He lived to the age of 98 years, which is pretty good, especially for that time. His death certificate/ record of death is rather interesting though. Have a look, he’s bottom middle.

Daniel Witt – Death

His profession of Farmer was pretty standard at the time, so many were farmers (look at all the other’s on the page) His cause of death is rather interesting though:

effects of La Grippe – one month

This is where knowing how to read cursive is a great skill, but I admit that it still took a while & several google searches to figure out it was La Grippe which was also known as the Russian Flu or Asiatic Flu. I actually tried several spellings & then added “cause of death 1892” to actually bring up anything of use, as La Grippe, on it’s own was absolutely useless.

So what was La Grippe/ Russian Flu? It was apparently the first recorded global influenza pandemic, something which I found interesting given our current state of affairs with COVID. The next major pandemic was be in 1918, the Spanish Flu. For more information about La Grippe see The Canadian Encyclopedia.

For my gggg grandfather to have died from La Grippe, is unfortunate, but given his age, probably not that surprising.

Then there was this;

Fought under Blorisher (sp?) at Waterloo

This last bit of information, at the bottom of his death certificate, was a huge bonus. I can understand why they wrote it too, it would have been very rare to find someone who had fought in the battle of Waterloo here in Canada. Something that I am very grateful that they noted, because I’m not sure that I would have found this otherwise.

I couldn’t find anything under what looked like Blorisher, but a search of the Battle of Waterloo & the Commanders/ Generals revealed a Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher with his Prussian army that defeated Napoleon & I know that was him.

How did I know that? Well, in researching your family history & sifting through hundreds of documents & reference materials, you become aware of how often names were sounded out & then transcribed with errors, so it isn’t hard to see how Blücher became Blorisher. Then there is the fact that so many of the documents I have for my family (including his children) list Prussia as their place of birth/ area of residence for a time, so it isn’t hard to see how my gggg grandfather did indeed join his fellow countrymen in the battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Finding pieces of history that you can link your family back to, certainly makes teaching the kids about those historic events a little more interesting. For those interested in a little more information about the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, here is a video that we watched, which depicts how the battle played out.

I am not 100% sure where he was laid to rest. Most of the Witt family has gravesites in Alice township, Renfrew/ Pembroke area, which is where they settled & the area that he died.

There are a couple of issues in finding headstones of people from so far back. One is that many of them sink over time, the other is that it’s harder it is to find records that remain from that far back. I may never find his exact grave, but I will certainly try to see what else I can find.

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3 Responses to Family History – Daniel Witt

  1. Shannon says:

    That’s so cool!!

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