FINE-L Archives

Archiver > FINE > 2008-03 > 1206853545

From: "Glen Fine" <>
Subject: Re: [FINE] Who has seen this: Johannes Fine
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2008 22:05:45 -0700
References: <><>

I'm late in reviewing the Johannes Fine and Dutch vs German discussion but I want to offer a few comments.

I administer the Fine DNA project at We have documented descendents of Thomas Fine of Virginia who are dna matches for each other. We have one documented Fine descendent of Johann Fine(Fein) of NC who matches another NC Fine descendant and also matches the descendents of Thomas.

We have not had dna testing of any known descendents of Johannes Fine (Fyn) of New York - we have not yet seen any documented descendents of the New York Fine(Fyn) family.

The research I've done leaves me with the firm conclusion that Thomas Fine of Virginia was of German descent. His family came to Colonial America before the country,Germany, was established. But, in Colonial America, the immigrants who spoke the German language were called Germans. They may have come from a variety of Germanic regions, such as Switzerland - but the majority of the early German immigrants came from areas now part of modern Germany (the palatines for example).

I have only recently, forced by research interest, come to an understanding that Colonial Americans had little trouble distinguishing the Germans from the Dutch. The language was different. (The German and Dutch immigrants could understand each other and shared protestant churches when necessary.)

A critical point about the recorded names of our Fines is that the spelling of the name depended on who was doing the recording. In 18th Century New Jersey they were recorded as Fein in German church records. Thats the way Germans spell the name. The same individuals were recorded as Fine in civil records. Thats the way the English spell the name.

In New York (New Netherlands) early 17th century, we have individuals recorded as Fyn and Fjn. Thats the way the Dutch spell Fine. The name apparently is pronounced the same in Dutch, German or English. The French apparently spell it Fine but pronounce it differently.

When the recorders were Dutch, seems to me they would have recorded our name as Fyn or Fjn (inter changeable use of y or j) regardless of whether the individual was a German Fein or a Dutch Fyn. Most of the settlers in New Netherlands were likely Dutch but settlers came from all over including Germanic areas.

Key thing is documenting our lineage. I'd sure give a lot to see any documentation of Thomas Fine (b. around 1725, NJ) parents.

YDNA testing is a great tool for confirming ancestry. I invite all with an unbroken male Fine lineage to join the Fine DNA project. More info by contacting me or checking out

Glen Fine

----- Original Message -----
From: Ched Fine
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 2:12 PM
Subject: Re: [FINE] Who has seen this: Johannes Fine

All of this discussion about Dutch and German is irrelevant. The
German word for 'German' is 'Deutsch'. Spoken by a German to an
American this is pronounced "Doich" so, if a German says he is German
you will hear him say he is Dutch. And so, without more information
no one knows or ever will.


On Mar 26, 2008, at 12:54 AM, Brenda Marler wrote:

The early spelling Wyanot(t) was probably pronounced Vinet, right?
Is that Christian name traceable to Dutch or German. To the
untrained ear, a Dutchman speaking English might sound German. I've
seen it in writing somewhere (not on the Internet; it was before the
Internet was so commonplace) where the Fines were called Finns, the
nationality. Those old records were, as you said, not reliable.

To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to with the word 'unsubscribe' without the quotes in the subject and the body of the message

This thread: