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       Our Vanishing Heritage
       The Information Age
The Future

UPDATE, 2007











JANUARY, A.D., 1900.



 The Rosenkrantz Seal or Coat of Arms.
Schleswig-Holstein, 1325 A.D.
Amsterdam, 1584 A.D.







Dirk Roosecrans, Captain of the Civil Guard, Amsterdam, 1584 A.D.




Our Vanishing Heritage

Nearly a century has passed since Allen Rosenkrans published The Rosenkrans Family In Europe And America. We need to update our family database so that our own children may be able to read about their forbears as we have been fortunate enough to do.

In my own case, my great grandfather, James Post Rosenkrance (642), and my grandfather, James P. Rosenkrans (832), were living when the book was published in 1900. I never knew either of them, as both had died by the time I was born in 1936. My father, James P. Rosenkrans III, was born in August 1900, after the book was published, and therefore he does not appear in it at all. He died in 1991, a few weeks short of his 91st birthday.

The youngest (and therefore the last) family member mentioned in the book was Clifford Calvin Rosecrans (928). He was born in February 1899, and he would be 98 years old today if he were still living. It is doubtful that many, if any, of the people mentioned in Allen's book are still alive today.

So the trail back grows longer and colder with each passing year. I intend to complete the histories of my grandfather and great grandfather from obituary notices and from stories I heard about them from my father. And I can write about my own father from close personal knowledge. I plan to leave the knowledge of their recent heritage as a legacy to my own children. The rest of our fascinating family history is available to them in Allen's book.

Our family is growing at an exponential rate. There are probably as many of us alive today as are mentioned in Allen's entire book. If our family knowledge base is ever going to be updated, we must get started on it now, while the linkages back to persons mentioned in Allen's book are still within living memory. It is much easier to build the history of a person from living memories than it is from old church, land and court records. In another generation (generally assumed to be 33 years), much of this resource will be lost forever.

The Information Age

The personal computer has, within the last fifteen years, completely revolutionized the way we manage information. A generation ago, I would have written, polished, and edited the story of my immediate forbears by hand, and typed it on a manual typewriter with carbon copies for each of my children. Fifteen years ago (in 1982), I would still have typed it by hand, but I would have had xerographic copies made.

I bought my first personal computer and word processor in early 1983. This expanded my horizons again, and forever changed the way I write and manage data. I will always have to compose and type in my information — there is no getting around that. But now I could edit, modify and rewrite the text with ease. No more multiple rewrites by hand on paper before typing. I could now compose directly at the keyboard, eliminating the handwritten text. And, I could not only print multiple original copies of the text, but I could even give them electronic copies on diskette which they in turn could add to and duplicate as necessary in order to pass the information to the generations which will follow.

Even then, I could not foresee how far or how fast electronic data processing was going to progress. Developments in mass storage, graphics, relational databases, textual databases, scanners and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) were still to come. I was well aware of ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet, but this was a research tool accessible only to people in universities and government laboratories that owned mainframe computers.

By the early 1990's, this exotic (or so it seemed at the time) technology was not only available, but it was rapidly improving and dropping in price. The concept of making Allen's entire book available electronically to my family was now beginning to take shape. In 1991 I bought my first scanner, which came bundled with an early OCR program. Scarcely three years later I upgraded both the scanner and OCR software to much-improved versions of each, and the possibility of providing my children with electronic versions of Allen's book became real. In 1994 I began scanning in the text and graphics from Allen's book, a task which took two years to complete, working part time. This text is the result of that effort.

About three years ago, software advances began to open up the Internet to the public. I got "connected" in early 1996. It was now possible to make the text freely available to anyone who wanted it.


I own one of the original copies of Allen's text, which I used to scan in the text and graphics. I have made every effort to make this text as accurate a reproduction of the original text as possible. It is not possible to set down every change that I made, but you should be aware of the major modifications and the general philosophy behind them. I made no changes that would cause a loss of information. They were mainly corrections and improvements to increase the readability.

The major parts of this text which were not in the original book are this Foreword, the Table Of Contents and everything which follows the "Errata", which was the final page of text in the book. The purpose of this Foreword is to provide a setting for the text: why and how it came to be.

There was no Table of Contents in the original. Allen's chapter headings and sub-headings were inconsistent. I changed a couple to make them consistent with the majority, and added a few sub-headings where they appeared to be needed for clarity and for ease of locating information.

The entire text appears to have been printed to use as little paper as possible. The listing of names is by generation. They occur in one huge chapter which occupies over two thirds of the book, with the generations divided by sub-headings. I promoted the generation sub-headings to chapters. Even so, the first generation chapter occupies only a few pages, while the sixth generation seems to be oversized.

Another paper saving device seems to have been the lack of space between paragraphs. The only way you can tell paragraphs apart is by the indentation at the beginning of the paragraph. Perhaps that was standard at the time the book was published. Today, we add a blank line between paragraphs, and I did this.

I corrected spelling and punctuation errors where I found them. It was not possible to correct orthography errors without re-researching the names, and so any errors Allen may have made will be carried forward. The spelling checker on the word processor was invaluable here.

I have tried to preserve the flavor of the original text to the maximum extent. What we would consider long, run-on sentences today were apparently the norm when the book was written. They are hard to read, and can sometimes be ambiguous. Nevertheless, I resisted a very strong urge to chop them up into clearer, more manageable sentences. On rare occasions, I added or removed a comma when it made the meaning clearer, but that was all.

The grammar checker in my word processor went berserk when I tried to use it on Allen's text, and I had to disable it. It marked large blocks of his text as being too wordy. I did use it on this Foreword, however.

I had two reasons for correcting the spelling errors. First, I assumed that they were unintentional, and that Allen would have corrected them had he been aware of them. Second, and to me more important, is that I use a search engine on the text. I have the entire book indexed, and I can find any word or phrase in a second or two. Although the search engine is clever, it won't find misspelled words.

I expanded abbreviations where possible, both for clarity and for readability. For example "b. 1845" becomes "born 1845", "m. 1868" becomes "married 1868", and "Rev." becomes "Reverend." In my opinion, this makes the text easier to read. Organizations, in particular, tend to come into and go out of existence over time, and expanding these abbreviations preserves some indication of that individual's interests and activities. Examples of these include F.& A.M. (Free And Accepted Masons) and G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic.) You will still find abbreviations in the text that I could not decipher.

The page numbers in this book will not match those of the original. Both books start with the title page as page 1; the original book has 330 pages, while my choice of font and page dimensions in my word processor leaves me with 307 pages. This edition has extra pages (e.g., the Table of Contents, this Foreword) but leaves out the graphics. Addition of the graphics will greatly increase the number of pages. Full page graphics were not given page numbers in Allen's book; my word processor insists on doing so.

The locations of the graphics in the text are indicated by angle brackets that look like this: <G004/{caption}>. The G stands for graphic, the number refers to the sequence number of the individual with whom the picture is associated. If more than one picture is associated with an individual, the pictures are enumerated by a, b, c, …, etc. Full page graphics are denoted by an underscore character at the end. Due to their size, the graphics have been bundled separately.

The Future

There are a lot of questions and opportunities for research about our European ancestors that are still open. The biggest questions are the connection between Erik the Knight's descendants and the Holland branch, the connection between the Holland branch and the Norwegian branch, and Harmon Hendrik's Norwegian ancestry.

A century has passed since Allen Rosenkrans researched our probable (possible?) European roots. Not only has time distanced us from these older records, but the two World Wars that have devastated parts of Europe undoubtedly took their toll on a lot of physical evidence which might have existed a century ago. All of the countries that we believe to hold evidence of our heritage - Denmark, Germany, Holland, and Norway - have been involved in at least one of these wars.

On the other hand, Europe is much more easily accessible than it was in Allen's time. We can jet there and back in a matter of hours instead of having to make a seven to ten day trip by boat in each direction. Allen had to depend on friends who were making the trip, the U.S. legations in the various cities (this resource would not be available today), paid researchers and translators for his data.

We are a much more numerous family today. America in general has become much more cosmopolitan and involved in world affairs than we were a century ago. It is likely that some of us have already visited or even lived in the countries in question, and can speak their languages. For someone who has the time and the money, it would be an interesting project to try to find some of the "missing links" in Allen's book. And perhaps some of us already have, and would be willing to share their findings with the rest of us on the Internet.

Allen's book is about the descendents of Harmon Hendrik Rosenkrans, a soldier of fortune from Bergen, Norway, who left a Dutch ship in New Amsterdam sometime around the mid 1600's. He married a widow there in 1657, and started a line whose descendents number in the hundreds in the United States today. We know now that Allen's book is incomplete; several of the lines of descendents of Harmon's children and grandchildren were never followed up. The Church of the Latter Day Saints has since followed up many of these lines, however.

Allen also noted several family members who were not Harmon's descendents and did not follow up on them. They are, I believe, family members whose ancestors immigrated to the United States later. More research into the European family would be needed in order to establish such a connection. However, I have heard of no other origins for the name Rosenkrans, and I believe that the name is sufficiently unusual that it would not likely have arisen spontaneously during the historical period when people were adopting surnames. Compare the origin of our name with the many unrelated blacksmiths who adopted the surname Smith or barrel makers who took the name Cooper. Perhaps there was a florist whose rose wreaths were renowned!

James Post Rosenkrans, IV
Frederick, Maryland
19 March 1997


From Text to Hypertext

Developments in computer hardware and software have continued at a furious pace. It seems futile to comment on the advances which have occurred during recent years in word processing, scanners, OCR, graphics software, printers and Internet technology  in a document which I hope will be useful twenty, fifty, or even a hundred years from now.  Unlike the preceding Foreword, which will remain static, I have updated this one several times already, and I will continue to update it periodically to reflect changes in the progress of and my vision for this project since its inception.

The "Foreword To The Electronic Edition" was written in March, 1997,  when I envisioned making Allen's book  in Rich Text Format (RTF) and the graphics in TIFF format available for download . This has now become a reality, due  in large measure to the rapidly dropping cost of hard drive storage.  At that time, Internet Service Providers (ISP's) were generally allowing 5 MB of disk space without extra charge.  My current allotment is 200 MB.  The compressed text and TIFF graphics files available for download are almost 18 MB, and the unedited graphics are another 16.6 MB for those who want them.

The HTML text had to be broken up into over 30 sections in order to make download times reasonable when most of us used 28.8 or 33.6K modems.  Today, most people use a 57.6 modem, and that appears to be the limit to which our phone lines may be pushed.  But broadband is on the horizon, and may well become the standard 10 years from now.

I have replaced the thumbnail graphics from a preceding release with full size ones which are fast downloading.  This is a reflection of my own improving  knowledge of how to make things work, and not necessarily an advance in technology.

Tracing Your Line With Hyperlinks

I added a Table of Contents to the front of my word processor edition in spite of the problems this presented.  Nobody's pagination would have matched mine, which doesn't match Allen's book either.  But at least there would have been a complete list of names which could have been edited (or re-created with your own word processor.) I dropped the master Table of Contents in the hypertext version.

Instead, I added a short Table of Contents at the beginning of each section.   These are hyperlinked to the sections or persons listed in the write-ups below.   Individuals are listed under their fathers, whose name appears in the section heading above.  As an example, I can locate my grandfather, James Post Rosenkrans, Jr. (#832) in the Table of Contents at the beginning of the Eighth Generation, Part C.   Clicking on his name in the Table of Contents, I can hyperlink to his history in the text below.  The Table of Contents at the beginning of each section contains Anchors (in HTML parlance) or Bookmarks (Microsoft's jargon for the same thing.)   These are links to a location  within the same document.

Each of the names appearing in a section heading is hyperlinked to his history in the preceding generation.  After reading my grandfather's history, I can Page Up to find his father, James Post Rosenkrance (#642.)  Clicking on this link, I can jump to the seventh generation to read his history.  Proceeding in this fashion, I can move all the way back through the sixth (Daniel Rosenkrance, #327,  who married Jane Post and provided us with our middle name), fifth (James, or Jacobus Rosecrons, #128), fourth (Captain Daniel Rosencrants, #59), third (Jacobus Rosenkrans, #28), and second generations (Dirk Rosenkrans, #9) to Harmon Hendrick Rosenkrans (#1).

Frederick, Maryland
February 2002

Update, 2007

I moved the Web site from my Rosedale Software Consulting business to a new domain, rosenkrantz-genealogy.org, which better describes what the site is about. Rosenkrantz is the most probable original spelling of the family name. It is the spelling in use today by the family in Denmark, and genealogy describes what the site is about. It is not a commercial site, so dot com did not seem right. At the time I registered the domain name, the only other options were net and org. Net is generally associated with network activities, and org would fit if indeed an organization of some sort develops around it. Today there are more choices; info or us might be equally appropriate.

Technology has indeed significantly improved in the last five years, although the information that is on the site was essentially complete as of 2002. I am no longer planning to add updated material to bring Allen's book up to date. Not only is the task much greater than I thought it would be, but I got very little useful input from others. And what I did get was not in final form. It would have had to be written up and possibly researched further before adding it to the site. I also got a lot of queries about lines that I would have no way of knowing about. So my current recommendation is to access http://genforum.genealogy.com/rosencrance/. There may well be other, similar sites on the Internet.

I may re-do the graphics at some future date, although I don't know when that will be. One of the major problems I had to deal with was the Moiré patterns that arose because the resolution of the scanner was different from the dot density of the halftone originals. TWAIN technology, which manipulates the signal from the scanner before it is written to disk, now has a feature called de-screening which is supposed to reduce Moiré patterns. This was not available at the time, and it required a lot of painstaking editing to smooth out those patterns. In addition, Photoshop has been through four upgrades, and it now provides a lot of new tools that will make the editing better and faster. I will have to do a lot of experimenting in order to work out the best scanning resolution and other parameters in order to get a useable image.

The page sizes and download files were all sized to accommodate the 28.8 and 57.6 dial-up modems which were in widespread use at that time. Although many of us now have broadband DSL access to the Internet, there are a lot of people who are still using the older technology, so I didn't change the sizes. It will take time, but the book with all of its graphics can still be downloaded one 1.44 MB diskette at a time. If you have DSL and a CD burner, the entire book including the graphics can be downloaded and burned onto a CD in a few minutes.

Frederick, Maryland
February, 2007


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This page was last updated on February 26, 2007 .
Copyright © 1997 - 2002 by James P. Rosenkrans, IV.  All rights reserved.