My wife is Kristi Diane Barton, a native Texan with deep Texas roots through the Schuch and Miller families and several patriot relations who fought in both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Her brother, Jack, received many medals from his Vietnam service and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
I recently turned 70 as so many of my fellow boomers are now doing also. The reality that there is more time behind me and not in front has also set in since my Mom died at 71 and my Dad died at 72. Both were sudden and although it was difficult, they both passed quickly.
Now, I sit in my home looking at all the stuff that Kristi and I have collected, saved, acquired over the years including photos, slides, movies and souvenirs. I thought this might be a good opportunity to share what I know about our families and share many of the pictures. I have gone to too many estate sales in which these things were just discarded and the history and storage lost! Oh, did I mention that I received my Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and History?
So on with the story! As an Air Force Brat, we moved frequently and I did not know many of my relatives very well. Besides, the 50’s and 60’s were the period following WWII and the Cold War and who wanted to be associated with being German or Russian in those days? Many of my relatives still had a German brogue in those days! And since my Dad was a career Air Force officer, that German Russian background was best left unsaid! About the only time that I really had to meet my relatives were on those few occasions between Dad’s duty assignments every three years and often not even that. Many of them lived in rural areas of North Dakota and I had lived in big cities. It was fun visiting but I was a city mouse for sure and one that loved Paris. I really thought there were only a handful of Gettes and my Dad had no idea where his Mother’s family (Koenig) had wound up–only in Canada someplace.
It turns out that there are thousands of Gettes and they spell their name in various ways including: Götte, Gette, Goetten, Gete, Geten, and Getten. My Uncle John wrote our name for me when I was younger and he spelled it as Götte. He said that when he arrived in the United States, they changed the spelling to Gette at Ellis Island because ö was not in the English language.
Our immediate Gette family has been identified as Germans from Russia and appear to be rather recent immigrants to the United States, Canada and Argentina (early 1900’s) and they spelled their name Götte until they got to the USA when it was changed to Gette.
The French Gettes immigrated to the United States and Canada much earlier. The first Gette appears in North America in 1653 and he was Urban Gette in Montreal, Canada. And I found many of my Koenig relatives in Canada too!
Before I continue, please note that I am still new at using WordPress so this site is still under construction as I figure out how to create links, edit etc. Thanks for your understanding!
We spent more time with my mother’s family, Nellie “Nannie” Cole in Southern California than with anyone else. After my Mom died in 1998 and Dad died in 1999, I started exploring our family genealogy and discovered that the Gette family was quite large and scattered throughout the world. I always knew that we were from Germany via Russia but had no idea that we came from an area on the Germany/France border so we are French also. In fact, when we lived in France from 1957-60, my Mother often said she felt like she was home when in fact we were so very close!
In the process, I also started studying all the families in my family and my wife’s too. While I have an extensive databases on Ancestry.com and My Heritage.com that goes back to Henricus Goetten in 1731 in Scherfede, Hoxter, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany on the Gette side, we also go back to Manuel Robidoux in 1620 in St Germain, Paris, Ile-de-France, France, on the Cole side. I have been able to trace even futher back on my wife’s side to Swen Debarton in 1030 in Lancashire, England, the War of the Roses and Henry Schuch Sr. in 1819 from Germany.
There are over 8,000 people in the database now and it grows daily! What started as tracing the Gette family had expanded to include not only Gette, but also on immediate relatives to our family including: Ahrens, Barker, Barton, Bean, Childs, Cole, Dura, Gette, Koenig, Miller (aka Steiler), Rubidoux, Russell, Schuch and Strain. More will be added when possible.
I invite other members of this extended family to send photos, stories or comments so they can be included on this site. I often wished that I had taken the time to record my Dad’s and Mom’s stories of their youth and families! With this site, I will try to remember what I can!
My own genetic background appears quite complex after having the DNA test run through Ancestry.com.
Only 23% Western Europe with 16% from Italy/Greece, 15% from the Iberian Peninsula, 14% from Great Britain and 11% from Eastern Europe.
The two biggest surprises were the 9% Native American and 3% European Jew!