Our ancestry is now very well documented. Of course, the European members are not quite so well
documented. Our Senft ancestor is now the only missing link. Not sure what could have happened
except that it appears there were epidemics all over the USA during the early 1850s as can be seen
in early child deaths in this ancestry. I guess this will be our one mystery.
This site contains persons primarily born in the area of Lancaster County in Pennsylvania. The
oldest ancestors lived in Europe, of course.
The Mast family began in Guggisberg,Switzerland. The earliest ancestor identified was Hans Mast.
There is information on the internet that implies that he was probably catholic or Lutheran.
At some point, our Mast ancestor joined the anabaptist movement. These Anabaptists were persecuted
in Europe and began to move into the Palatinate as refuge. It is even
believed our ancestor who is listed as unnamed here was murdered in the pulpit and caused the
immigration to the palatinate and subsequently the United States. Many of our ancestors came from
Switzerland and converted to either the Amish or Mennonite faith initially here in the United
Our Senft ancestry is not well documented upon its beginnings in the US. George Senft and Dorothea
Fisher are listed as entering New York in 1850. Their destination was listed as Williamsburg. This
is a small city in western Pa. George took an oath of allegiance in 1851 but there are no further
records of his existence after that. Dorothea (Anna) married John Helwig and had their eldest child
in 1854. Her name was Mathilda. That second family is listed in the 1860 census for Blair County,
Pa but the family name is spelled Helling. Apparently John enlisted in the Union Army and it is
logical to assume that he was killed in the war since the family moved to Columbia Pa where all
members are buried except John Helwig. Blended families of Helwig and Senft existed in Columbia, Pa
Our Nestel ancestry was started in Europe although little is known about them other than what is
shown on an internet site listing the family. Sebastian Nestel came to the US and is found in the
1850 census for Millersville, PA where he lived the rest of his life. He was a Lutheran and the
family apparently experienced the early deaths of two boys who were buried in Millersville. Our
direct ancestor, Franklin was born in 1858 when Sebastian was 31. I have listed an older daughter
named Eliza who was with the family in 1850 according to the census but I can find no further record
The Forney line is probably as well established as any of these lines although there is no clear
record of that family in Europe. It appears to be the first line to arrive in the US since Peter
was here before 1700. Our grandmother was born a Forney in Lancaster County PA and worshiped as a
member of the church of the Brethren her whole life.
This list was created from many different sources. I have death certificates for most of my great
grandparents, grandparents and my parents. These are definite proof of a persons life span.
Another primary source I have used is the find a grave website which contains pictures of
tombstones. I also possess genealogy family books for Masts, Martins, Forneys and Hoovers. A book
was written on the History of Salisbury Township in Lancaster County which also lists some
genealogical information on my ggg grandfather, John Myers. The book lists a child named Nathan
but that is incorrect since my gg grandmother, Sarah was the youngest according to his own will.
A trace exists for the Mast name back to 1570 according to european records.