Hello and welcome
descendants and researchers!
April 2, 2020
I have been researching the Knittle family genealogy for nearly 50 years. I have searched through German records, spent time in libraries going through Census Records, books, city directories, films and microfiche and exchanged information with many wonderful Knittle cousins. I have shared everything I found and am proud of my work. However, a few months ago, just after New Years Day, I discovered through DNA and newly discovered records that I have not a drop of Knittle blood or DNA in me. My grandfather, Harry Emerson Knittle was adopted by Emerson Ellsworth Knittle and Sophia Sponhouse. The story of how this was discovered and proven is as follows.
In 2013 Ancestry.com contacted me with an offer to do my DNA testing for only the cost of shipping because I was one of their original members since 2000. I jumped at the chance. After that, the testing was offered to the public at cost. (In the beginning, one was able to see their medical DNA mutations as well as their ethnicity and more. This allowed me to find my mutations for three forms of Periodic Paralysis and other medical conditions. They changed this shortly after they began doing the DNA testing.)
Several years passed before more and more people began to do the testing. As new people tested more matching people showed up in my data. Hundreds hooked up to my mother’s side but only a handful of tests seemed to connect to my father’s side. Still, others did not seem to match up at all. As time went on this pattern continued. Soon there were thousands of matches, with the same problem.
As I began to be concerned, I started to take a better look at the connections that I could not match up to my tree. I found many from Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania where my father, William Joseph Knittle and his family were from, but the names were unfamiliar, yet they had very close connections to me. I also studied the few that I did recognize. They had much closer connections to me than they should have had. I found no actual people with the name of Knittle that connected to me except my own close family members and another Knittle cousin, who was the grandson of my father’s brother James Knittle. I could not understand this and checked each day as new names were added hoping to discover someone with the Knittle name. The only people who connected to me on the Knittle side were people who descended from Harry Emerson Knittle, my grandfather, my father’s father. He and his wife Elizabeth Agnes Sommer had thirteen children.
When I was growing up, I had heard the story that my grandfather may have been adopted. Over the previous decades, I had searched for any information that could prove or disprove this. I was unable to find anything. The only clue I had was that my father’s mother once told my mother that it was true, but that Harry was born to a Knittle family member so the blood and DNA would still be Knittle. I searched through cousins, aunts and uncles, etc but nothing was uncovered that would solve the mystery.
Then one day right after the New Year (2020), a young woman contacted me. We had actually been in contact several years back. Her name is Rachel Rhoades. She is the half-sister of my cousin Matthew Knittle, who is the grandson of James Knittle, my father’s brother. She had been working on Matthew’s genealogy for several years and told me that she had been dealing with the same issues after he had done the DNA testing. She wondered if I knew anything about it because he had done another test, which proved he had not a drop of Knittle blood or DNA.
Over the next week or two, we exchanged messages and phone calls and shared our information and family stories. She had done some great work and had much to share. We were able to use all that we had compiled with some new research based on our shared family stories to discover the truth. This truth follows in the new information below.
Any information that you would like to share would be greatly appreciated. Please come back often. New data will be continually added.
July 11, 2010
Since April I have been creating this section of the website, including everything I could find and discover about the Fay and Miller families. After adding all of the information into the categories below, I realized that some big mistakes have been made in the genealogy links for both the Fay and the Miller lines in the data I found on Ancestry.com and have shared here. Both sets of parents for William H Fay and Catherine Miller are not correct.
What I did discover is that many researchers have attributed Edwin Fay to be William's father, but that is absolutely incorrect. Edwin Fay did have a son named William H Fay and he was indeed born in 1843, but he died at the age of 24. He had been college-educated. Our William Fay was uneducated, having received only a second-grade education. He could read some, but he could not write. He lived to be 80 years of age. While they may be distant cousins, Edwin is not the father of William H Fay who was born in Washington DC and died in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. There is more proof, but I will leave it at this for the time being. I will also leave the information I have put on this website until I can find the truth.
At this time, I have found the correct line, for the Miller family. They are from France. It will take some time to work on this line. According to the 1870 Census, her father was named John Miller and he was born in France and that she had a brother named Frederick. She and Frederick were both born in Indiana. They were, however, all found together in Washington DC along with William H Fay and William and Catherine's son John Henry Fay who was six years old and had been born in New York.
Other information indicates that William H Fay entered into the Civil War Volunteer Army and joined the 92nd Regiment Company E in June of 1864 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. John Henry was born in August of the same year, 1864. How is it that this family was in Indiana, Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before during and after the Civil War? Why did William leave Catherine in New York a month before their first child was born and traveled to Philadelphia to join the Regiment and remained gone for 100 days while traveling into three other states with that Regiment? Hopefully Time and research will answer these questions.
In the early 1870s, the family moved to Cambria County, Pennsylvania. They are found there in 1880. By 1890 they were in Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, when and where Harry Emerson Knittle was born.
It will take me some time to sort out these two families. Please check back often to see what I have discovered.
Susan Q. Knittle (Fay)-Hunter
May 24, 2021
About a month ago, the researcher Rachel Rhoades I am working with, contacted me with new information about our Fay and Miller ancestors. She found documentation that these families were Gypsies/Travelers. For the past month, the two of us have been working feverishly on this and have proved this information to be correct! I will be removing all of the incorrect information and be adding all of the new and correct information. I am excited to be able to share this new data and content with all of my family and my newfound family members!!!! Please return often for updates, documentation and photos.
Susan Q. Knittle (Fay)-Hunter
Fay-Knittle Photos and Data
Meaning and Origin of the Fay Name and Fay Family
Weasner Photos and Data
Meaning and Origin of the Weasner Name and Weasner Family
Weasner Coat of Arms/Heraldry
Weasner Allied Families
Weasner Genealogy Links