|About The Wandering Wittings
"Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still
they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands." (Linda Hogan, Native
"Those who know not their past are as children": Cicero
“The farther backwards you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”: Sir Winston
Note: The family photos contained within this web site have been generously shared by family
members. They may not be duplicated or posted on any other web site without written permission
of the web site administrator. Thank you.
Dedication: My husband, Mark Ippolito, is a direct descendant of Jacob Witting and Eva
Bank (Jacob's first wife). This site is dedicated to the memory of his mother, Frances Lillian
Witting. As a small child, Frances spent time in an orphanage in Newark, Essex, New Jersey.
While she was eventually reunited with her mother, she always wanted to know more about her
father's family. Thus, my quest began to assist her.
How You Can Help: Our goal is to have an heritage tree that is alive with stories, photos
and updated information on all branches of our family. No information has been included for
which there is not supporting documentation. If you have a question on the source for a
specific fact, please don't hesitate to contact me. Uploading information and photos you
provide is a priority!
Heritage: The flag shown above is the official flag of The Kingdom of Prussia at the
time of Jacob's birth. The flag was adopted in 1803. (Source: Wikipedia) Note: Prussia also
had a separate "war flag" that was used at this time. The black eagle, commonly called the
Prussian Eagle, is holding a sword on the left (the symbol of military power) and a scepter on
the right (symbol of noble rule). The crown above the eagle represents the Emperor. The
Emperor at the time of Jacob's birth was Wilhelm I, also known as Wilhelm the Great (William
Frederick Louis, German: Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig) (22 March 1797–9 March 1888) of the House of
Hohenzollern was the King of Prussia (2 January 1861–9) and the first German Emperor (18
January 1871–9 March 1888).
Under the leadership of Wilhelm and his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the
unification of Germany and the establishment of the German Empire.
In many ways the history of the Jacob Witting family enables us to share in the history and
development of the United States of America. The spirit of adventure and opportunity that made
Jacob Witting and his family emigrate from Rehhof, Prussia in 1852 is a reflection of the
turbulent times in which he lived. As a small child in Prussia he experienced Prussia's war
against Napoleon I and the developing tensions that led to the Franco Prussian war. The dream
of freedom and opportunity that was represented by the United States of America lured him into
making a nine (9) week journey with his family on a 124 foot sailing ship from Hamburg, Germany
to Castle Garden, New York. Today's cruise ships are more than 1,100 feet long! From there,
the family took a train to Chicago, Illinois and then went by ox pulled covered wagon to Black
Earth, Dane County, Wisconsin and later to Monroe County in Wisconsin.
From Internet research, I have learned that the name Witting emerged from the lands that formed
ancestors (including the names of his parents). Some people who carried this family name in
Prussia emerged as members of a noble family of great influence who participated in social,
economic and political affairs. For Jacob to leave Prussia with his 2nd wife and four
children, pay for passage to New York; then travel by train to Chicago and then travel by ox
pulled wagon to homestead in Wisconsin, he had to have some financial security. He would have
had to have had sufficient funds to pay for this journey and support his family for at least 3-
4 months until they settled in Wisconsin and began to earn income.
Jacob and his descendants have proudly contributed to America. They homesteaded first in
Wisconsin and later across our broad nation and into the Canadian wilderness. They served in
the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam and today in Iraq. Some
have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the freedom we enjoy today.
While numerous family members have contributed to the information contained in our history, my
research partnership with Judy Schellenberg Valckx must be acknowledged. Prior to her passing,
we enjoyed sharing our Witting genealogy discoveries. Judy, you are remembered with affection!
Please note that while it is not possible to list every source for the records included herein,
no information has been recorded for which there is not available documentation. If you are
interested in a specific resource for a certain fact, please contact me and I will be happy to
share this information with you.