PREFACE
 
The study of family history and genealogy is an exceptionally fulfilling and rewarding endeavor.  One acquires a sense of gratitude towards our progenitors and a realization of the significance and purpose in our lives.  Reflection on our heritage also prompts us to focus on answers to the four great questions of life: Who am I?, Where did I come from?, Why am I here? and Where am I going when I die?
 
Familiarization with one’s family ancestry produces a realization that our heritage extends markedly beyond the isolated memories of our parents and grandparents.  The Fertig-Fertich-Ferdig family ancestors came from a different land, in a different culture, in a different age.  There were many reasons to come to this newly formed land of freedom.  Some came to escape the chains of tyrants and gain religious and economic freedom.  Others came to this country to simply enjoy the good land, good laws and good order of this Constitutional Republic, in which our rights are unalienable and granted to us by our Creator.
 
Reflection on genealogy also produces the realization that our lives have both design and purpose.  We are alive today as a result of the countless decisions and actions of our procreators, which have occurred for thousands of years.  It would have only taken one minor decision to be wrong, and our birth would not have transpired.  The providence of Almighty God is unfolding before our eyes.  The Lord is fashioning the hearts of men and women to work all things after the counsel of His will, including His perfect plan for our individual lives.  "all things were created by him, and for him: (17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." - Colossians 1:16b-17
 
Study of our predecessors also helps us to think and act generationally.  Our earthly lives will come and go quickly.  We can preserve our values and beliefs only if we plant them in the heart of our future generations.  Just one person can impact countless other individuals in this life and the life to come.

 

In addition, we are reminded of the utter brevity of our earthly lives and the certainty of our death.  Our lives on earth are so very brief, compared to the time frame of eternity.   Earthly life is going, going and almost gone.  Our lives are merely a dash between two dates, which will be etched in our tombstone.  All that we get on this earth is a dash of time.  “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” - James 4:14

 

Our German born relative, John Joseph Fertig, maintained an eternal perspective, setting his affection on things above.  In 1907, nearing the final moments of his earthly life, John Joseph put it this way “As you count time you may call me "old;" but 'tis but the minutest fraction of eternity!”.

 
The length of eternity is a very difficult concept to grasp.  The following illustration may prove helpful:  A bird picks up a grain of sand in his beak and flies at bird speed to the sun, 93 million miles away.  The bird drops off the grain of sand and flies back to earth.  In the length of time that it takes the bird to fly each and every grain of sand from the earth to the sun, one grain at a time per trip, eternity will have just begun.
 
This book is especially written to pay tribute and honor to the lives of our progenitors, whom God has assigned as His special agents to shepherd and instruct us in the ways of life.  As we explore the lives of our ancestors, may we also examine ourselves and reflect upon the memories we will leave behind for others.
 
“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;” - Psalms 103:17  
 
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