The Pioneers of the Pioneers: ironwork innovators

A common mission could bring ancestors together, as could religion or ethnicity. The former encourages diversity, whereas the latter two encourage sameness. Though it is human nature to have divisions between groups, diversity brings innovation. This is displayed in my lineage—a lesson discovered.

Americans identify with our immigrant ancestors—the pioneering progenitors. Yet, these courageous souls were the products of many earlier ones. For example, the Thirty Years War of the early 1600s, redefined the European social structure. It was like wiping the chalkboard and writing new topics. Genetically, the loss of population had great effect. Founding families became established.

Rebuilding after a war takes heroic effort. Survivors are defined by dramatic change and must begin a new life from devastation. “Ore and Origins: pre-industry pioneers” explores this evolution.

Most people study European history via the war portrayals. But there is a bigger story to be told in the rebuilding process. A personal level makes it more understandable. It is perhaps the major reason I am fascinated with genealogy: through the stories of everyday people, and how they coped with societal dictates, history becomes clarified. It is through understanding where we have been that we discover where we are heading.

As a gift to my family, in constructing our Family Reunion Book, I created this map to express the events that created a new economic foundation. This group of ancestors stands out because they assembled in one place around 1700, to rebuild an industry, and stayed there for generations to do it. This is unusual.

There is a funneling down of proximities because, eventuality, ancestors must converge to procreate! But my immigrant great great grandfather who came to Milwaukee from Züsch, brought with him a consistency where all his ancestors worked at the same enterprise for hundreds of years. Their story of convergence is a tale of opportunity, contribution, and planting seeds for the industrial revolution.

The ironworkers who assembled after multiple war devastations were pioneers in a different way than the honored Atlantic-crossers. They constructed from the ruins of the past despite the challenges of the present. They set the stage for industrial progress, which may be credited later to the British, but evidence shows, began in Germany.  I call them unsung heros of progress.

—always inspired, Liane

Please see the overview of the series Ore and Origins: A Biography.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain in the late 1700s, manufacturing was often done in people’s homes, using hand tools or basic machines. Industrialization marked a shift to powered, special-purpose machinery, factories and mass production. The iron and textile industries, along with the development of the steam engine, played central roles in the Industrial Revolution, which also saw improved systems of transportation, communication and banking.”


Liane Sebastian wears an artist’s hat, designer’s coat, and editor’s shoes.



About wisdomofwork

I have a passion for publishing: I wear a designer's hat, editor's coat, and publisher's shoes. See more about my work at
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