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The Beehive - not so commonplace

My first encounter with Pastorius family history came in August of 1991 when I received an invitation to attend the 1st Pastorius Family Reunion in Amherstburg, Ontario. A 'Pastorius Clan Certificate' was promised to those in attendance. Who wouldn't want to go?

Not only did I learn of the esteemed career of Francis Daniel Pastorius, the founder of Germantown, Pennsylvania (1683), I also heard of a United Empire Loyalist connection through Abraham Pastorius, the great grandson of Francis Daniel Pastorius. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Today in this first post to my Beehive I'd like to introduce the original Beehive, a three volume, one thousand page commonplace book begun in 1696 by Francis Daniel Pastorius, my 7x great grandfather.

This handwritten 'commonplace book' contains poetry by Francis Daniel Pastorius, his thoughts on religion and politics, and lists of books he consulted, along with words of wisdom intended for his children. Inside the parchment cover he wrote, "This book saith thus to my two Sons: Part not with me! I'm excellently good, If rightly read and rightly understood."

In 1908, author Marion Dexter Learned described The Beehive as, "the Magna Charta of German culture in colonial America and a veritable speculum scientiarum of the seventeenth century." That's something. The Beehive also includes genealogical materials and added entries recording family births and deaths to 1865. My family tree! The manuscript is currently held in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania, the gift of Charles Sharpless Pastorius (1866-1950), and has recently been digitized and made available to the public at Penn in Hand: Selected Manuscripts.

In 2008, while visiting Philadelphia, I had an unexpected invitation to view the original manuscript in person. Turning the pages of this remarkable historical record was an emotional experience and one that convinced me to continue researching and sharing our family history. So here we are, with a few hundred years and many family stories to uncover. I hope you join me as I explore and share the character, strength, and hope found within my family tree.


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