From Switzerland/Germany to America: One family’s journey.
I was born in a small town in Pennsylvania in 1935 when my father was 53 years and my mother was 44. When I was growing up people often thought my white-haired father was my grandfather. My Catholic relatives were Swiss-German and came to America for religious freedom, but found much discrimination in the new world. My father James Henry Riffle ran away from home at 16 and fought in the Spanish-American War in 1898. He climbed aboard a military train for San Francisco at 16 and was welcomed by the soldiers as their mascot. His family came from Somerset County, Pennsylvania.My relatives fought in the Revolutionary War, the French and Indian War, and the Civil War. A relative named Hilligas was the Secretary of the Treasury during the War for Independence.
My brother started this quest for family roots in the 1970s and when he died the search was given to me. Along with doing much research on the web, I have been to Germany twice and will return in September to follow up on clues. Many people in Europe have large family trees on parchment that they shared with me, but I have not been able to make a connection.
I am 76 years old now and hope to find my ancesters’ roots to pass on to my children. I am hoping you can help. Thank you. (Dorothy) Priscilla Riffle Johnson