Friday, December 1, 2023

Genealogy - Master list of all my known Direct Ancestors

Here I have assembled the basic list of the people whose genes contributed directly to mine.  No siblings or cousins or aunts and uncles are listed here, just my direct ancestors.  Eventually I hope to write family history stories (biographies and historical sketches) of most of these people, perhaps even making an attempt at my own.  Wherever a name appears as a hot link, that is the link to their story.  Please check them out!

Without further ado, here we go.  I list them by generation starting with parents and grandparents, who are shown in the image above, which is a screen shot from my Wetzel Family Tree on Ancestry.

* * *

VERSION 2.3 (created 23 Dec 2022, last modified 2 Dec 2023)


B. PARENTS (2 of 2)

1. Roland Herman Wetzel (1923-2016) – See 3. and 4.
2. Muriel Evelyn Auler (1923-2019) – See 5. and 6.


3. Georg Willi Julius “William” Wetzel (1886-1971) – See x. and 7.
4. Bertha Anna Augusta “Betty” Uber (1883-1971) – See 8. and 9.
5. George Gustav “Dutch” Auler (1899-1976) – See 10. and 11.
6. Erma Ivis Helene Uecke (1903-1992) – See 12. and 13.

I am fortunate to have photos of many of my great- and 2nd-great grandparents:

The mother and maternal grandparents of my paternal grandfather Bill Wetzel

Parents, grandparents, and one great-grandparent (because I have her photo) of my paternal grandmother Betty Uber Wetzel

Parents and grandparents of my maternal grandfather George "Dutch" Auler

Parents and grandparents of my maternal grandmother, Ivis Uecke Auler


x. Unknown --------------------------------------------------------------------- ORIGIN: POTSDAM, Brandenburg
7. Anna Marie Wilhelmine Wetzel (1864- ) – See 14. and 15. --------- ORIGIN: GREIFENBERG, Pomerania
8. Oswald Isaac Uber (1848-1930) – See 16. and 17. -------------------- ORIGIN: WOLMSDORF, Silesia
9. Bertha Charlotte Amalie Butzow (1852-1939) – See 18. and 19. --- ORIGIN: KRITZKOW, Mecklenburg
10. Jacob Auler (1861-1917) – See 20. and 21. --------------------------- ORIGIN: SIMMERN, Rhine-Palatine
11. Anna Emilie Elisabeth Schmidt (1872-1961) – See 22. and 23. --- ORIGIN: KAMNITZ, West Prussia
12. August “Sandy” Uecke (1867-1921) – See 24. and 25. ------------- ORIGIN: ZOLDEKOW, Pomerania
13. Auguste Christiane Baumann (1867-1918) – See 26. and 27. ------ ORIGIN: GRAPEN STIETEN, Mecklenburg

All of my great grandparents except Jacob Auler were born in Germany (and Jacob's parents were born there).  Yes, I'm one of those rare Americans who is not a blend of cultures from 'The Melting Pot'.  I'm of 100% German ethnicity. Furthermore, all of these German great grandparents except Anna Marie Wetzel left the home country and settled in the vicinity of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  My grandpa Bill Wetzel immigrated from Germany too, and also settled near Milwaukee.  So, all my roots are firmly planted in the rich soil of a few counties in southeastern Wisconsin.

E. 2nd GREAT-GRANDPARENTS (14 of 16)

14. Julius Friedrich Wetzel (1840- ) – See 28. and 29.
15. Caroline Wilhelmine Luise Goetsch (1833- ) – See 30. and 31.
16. Friedrich “Fritz” Uber (1821-1888) – See 32. and 33.
17. Eleanora Johanna Burkhardt (1822-1884) – See 34.
18. Johann Friedrich Gustav Bützow (1801-1902) – See 35. and 36.
19. Sophia Dorothea Wendt (1812-1893) – See 37. and 38.
20. Mathias Auler (1821-1903)
21. Maria Eva Bauer (1821-1893)
22. Carl Ludwig Schmidt (1848-1933) – See 39. and 40.
23. Johanna Theresa Bahr (1849-1941) – See 41. and 42.
24. Wilhelm Uecke (1834-1909) – See 43. and 44.
25. Caroline Dahms (1835-1916)
26. Christian Joachim Hartwig Baumann (1834-1907) – See 45. and 46.
27. Christina Maria Sophia Lühnburg (1843-1905) – See 47. and 48.

F. 3rd GREAT-GRANDPARENTS (21 of 32)

28. Georg Samuel Wetzel (1800- ) – See 49.
29. Dorothee Louise Henriette Charlotte Seefeld – See 50.
30. Johann Friedrich Goetsch
31. Christine Sophie nee Goetsch
32. Johann Siegismund Uber, Jr. (1795-1853) – See 51.
33. Marie Anna Rosina Tham (1800-1879) – See 52.
34. xxx Doris Bergmann (PROBABLY NOT - Hannover to Silesia???)
35. Ludwig Köhn Hans Joachim Bützow (1763-1847) – See 53. and 54.
36. Maria Elisabeth Jalass (1764-1842) – See 55. and 56.
37. Johann Carl Wendt (1785-1854) – Father named only as ‘arbeiter Wendt’.
38. Anna Maria Dorothea Bölckow (1787-1825) – See 57. and 58.
39. Johann Schmidt (1808-1895) See 59. and 60.
40. Louisa Behnke (1821-1901) See 61. and 62.
41. Friedrich Bahr
42. Carolina Zastrow
43. Johann Uecke
44. Dorothea Wagner
45. Hans Joachim Baumann (1781-1865) – See 63. and 64.
46. Sophia Dorothea Luise Roseland (1789- ) – See 65. and 66.
47. Christoph Adam Lühnburg (1813- ) – See 67. and 68. – two known siblings.
48. Sophia Dorothea Kölzow (1807- ) – See 69. and 70. – four known siblings.

G. 4th GREAT-GRANDPARENTS (22 of 64)

49. Johann Wetzel (1772- )
50. Ernst Gottlieb Seefeld (1763-1829)
51. Johann Siegismund Uber, Sr. (1804- )
52. Johann Friedrich Tham
53. Christopher Bützow (1740-1771) – See 71.
54. Elisabeth Anna Gresmann (1735-1816) – See 72.
55. Casten Jacob Jalass (1737-1794) – See 73. and 74.
56. Eva Catharina Wiese (1729-1804) – See 75. and 76.
57. Jacob Bölckow (1751-1821)
58. Sophia Maria Schumacher (1756-1830) – See 77. and 78.
59. Daniel Schmidt (abt 1777-1857)
60. Marie Tesmer (1783-1865) – see 79. and 80.
61. Martin Behnke
62. Eva Rosina Tham (not to be confused with 33.)
63. Jochim Heinrich Baumann (1736- ) – See 81. and 82.
64. Catharina Elisabeth Bibau (1749- ) – See 83. and 84.
65. David Christoph Roseland (1772-1834) – See 85. and 86.
66. Eva Liesch Rath (1771- ) – See 87. and 88.
67. Johann Christian Lüneburg (1769- ) – See 89. and 90.
68. Clara Ida Stapelman (1774-1843) – See 91. and 92.
69. Georg Gideon Friedrich Kölzow (1772- )
70. Anna Maria Magdalena Blohm (1777-1836) – See 93. and 94. – two known siblings.
H. 5th GREAT-GRANDPARENTS (24 of 128)

71. Jürgen Hinrich Bützow (1706-1783) – See 95. and 96.
72. Christian Gresmann
73. Jochim Jalass (1693- ) – See 97. and 98.
74. Maria Fastenau (1696- )
75. Johann Hinrich Wiese (1676-1757) – See 99. and 100.
76. Eva Catharina Hildebrand (1693-1780) – See 101. and 102.
77. Johann Hinnerich Schumacher (1726-1799)
78. n.n. Schippenhaner (or Schippenhauer)
79. George Tesmer
80. Christina Strehlow
81. Hinrich Bauman – See 103. and 104.
82. Greth Bibou – See 105.
83. Jochim Bibau (1720- ) – See 106. and 107.
84. Greth Baumann (1722- ) – See 108. and 109.
85. Joachim Friedrich Roselandt
86. Agneta Sophia Fohten
87. David Christopher Rath – See 110. and 111.
88. Anna Margarethe Meÿer – See 112. and 113.
89. Adam Lüneburg
90. Sophia Christina Vogt
91. Christian Stapelman
92. Ilsch Dorthie Haacker
93. Hartwig Albrecht Blohm (~1740-1800) – See 114.
94. Sophie Elisabeth Wendland (~1745-1803) – See 115.
I. 6th GREAT-GRANDPARENTS (21 of 256)

95. Hans Jacob Bützow (1678-1723)
96. Ilse Claßin (1685- ) – See 116. and 117.
97. Hanß Jalaß
98. Ilse Groden – See 118.
99. Jochim Wiese
100. Catharina Jeßen (1631-1697)
101. Barthold Hildebrand (1664-1731)
102. Anna Elisabeth Nieman (1678-1755) – See 119.
103. Casten Bauman (also no. 108. – appears twice)
104. Dorothea Platow (1677-1713)
105. Hans Bibou
106. Drefs Bibau
107. Maria Trensen – See 120.
108. Casten Bauman (also no. 103. – appears twice)
109. Gret Rötgers – See 121.
110. Johann Rath
111. Lucie Stapelmann
112. Heinrich Meÿer
113. Fieck Schilling
114. Jochim Hinrich Blohm
115. Christoph Wendland
J. 7th GREAT-GRANDPARENTS (6 of 512)

116. Lorenz Claßin ( -1684)
117. Maria Groten ( -1721)
118. Jochim Groten
119. Jochim Nieman
120. Jochim Trensen
121. Johann Rötgers

K. 8th GREAT-GRANDPARENTS (0 of 1024)

And that is it.  Unlike my children, whose ancestry I can trace through their mother back to Kings of England and pre-medieval times, the German common people, who were my ancestors, maintained no systematic records until the churches in every town and hamlet were ordered by the government to start keeping records in the early 1600's in most places.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Harvard Physics Professor shatters Women's speed record running across America

Screen shot of the Outside Magazine article published Nov. 21, 2023.

Jenny Hoffman is an over-achiever.  She's both a record setting ultra-marathon runner and an award-winning PhD professor of Physics at Harvard.  She just completed a certified Fastest Known Time transit of the US via the same route that Pete Kostelnick ran in 2016.  Here's a link to the Outside Magazine article covering Pete's record, written by the same author as above (Martin Fritz Huber).

Jenny has unwittingly managed to combine two of my core interests—quantum physics and traveling continuous long distances on foot, and this post is as much about her accomplishment as it is about her reaction to it vis-a-vis her Physics career.  In an online Physics Today article covering the achievement, she offers the following quote:

“Running is a good balance for physics,” says Hoffman, who got into running in seventh grade and into ultrarunning—covering distances longer than marathons—when she was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. In physics, she explains, luck plays a large role in success and failure: “Does your cryostat leak?” for example. In running, she says, “there is more correlation between hard work and success. The numbers are what they are. You finish in a certain time. And there is no anonymous peer reviewer who will undermine that. It’s good for my mental health to have a pursuit that is more clearly merit based and fact based.”

This floored me, and it bears repeating: Traveling on foot is more Merit-based and Fact-based than the study of Physics.

The scientific process that establishes 'facts' is indeed a pretty tortuous one.  I know this first-hand from my own 25-year career at NASA writing and publishing peer-reviewed papers for scientific journals.  Traveling on foot is just simple, pure, raw, and easy to prove.  The FKT certification of Jenny's run required her to provide a GPS track, some photos and other documentation, but the GPS track is by far the most important.  Anything can be faked, but, as Jenny says in the Outside Magazine article: just asks for the specific GPX files and, frankly, I think that’s the strongest evidence you can have. Guinness imposes these additional requirements, like written witness statements. I got them all, but that would be really easy to fake. Just make up some names. Guinness also requires ten minutes of video every day. Again, that’s easy to fake: I could video myself leaving the RV, get ten minutes of video, and then sleep in the RV all day. So I don’t think that those additional requirements actually add anything to the evidence.”

GPS tracks can be faked, too.  But it's a helluva lot of work to fake GPS-tagged photos if they are regularly taken and also contain visual cues about the location, and personal daily accounts posted in real time.  I have my own certified FKT record for my double thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, which combined GPS tracks and tagged photos with daily posts on this blog.  Jenny went the extra mile and also carried a live tracking device and is jumping through all those hoops that are required to establish her feat as a Guinness World Record.  

Peer review in the world of Science goes far beyond what Guinness requires for a world record.  Yes, the system can be flawed, and fake science results sometimes get published.  But over the long term, such frauds are almost always caught.  The review process is the best method humanity has come up with to establish what we call 'facts' or 'truth'.  ***And yet ... 

Here on this blog, I have been discussing Physics topics at great length, many in the same field (the bizarre world of quantum mechanics) that Jenny works in, and I try to take pains to identify what I believe can be tested through experiment and ultimately peer reviewed and published.  ***But ... the amazing thing about Quantum Physics and the frontiers of modern science and mathematics these days is that there is a fundamental blur at the end of the scientific and logical process.  Facts and Truth, it turns out, do not stand on a firm foundation that we can call 'Reality'.  Rather, our own experience plays a critical role.  Even Einstein, late in his life (in an article he wrote for the April 1950 issue of Scientific American [Vol. 182, no. 4, page 17]) has confirmed this:

Experience alone can decide on truth.

This utterly fascinates me, and I've spent a lot of time exploring this.  I do not go those further steps to do the proposed experiments or to submit papers for peer review.  I'm simply having fun in my retirement years with the Philosophy of the origins of or universe and of reality in general.

So ... I'm posting this remarkable news about Jenny breaking the women's record by more than a week over the previous record-holder's time as much because I dream of achieving such epic feats myself, but because her life resonates with me in a much bigger-picture sense.  I wonder if she ever dabbles in Genealogy.  She has three children, and obviously a remarkable genome.  What I can attempt to prove (the free WikiTree web site is especially good for this) is whether there is a provable connection between Jenny and me, and if so, how many degrees of separation.  I bet there is.  We are, in the end, all related.

Genealogy requires no specialized degree or peer review, but there's plenty of rigorous research, even science, at the root of good quality Genealogical work.  Because of its intrinsic factual basis, yet also because it touches on the origins of reality itself (the origin of life), Genealogy is the third of my recent trifecta (or Triathlon) of active interests.

Ultimately this post is to serve notice that nearly all blog posts coming from me from now on are likely to focus on one of these three topics:  The philosophy-science interface, Family roots and the origin of life, and long-distance travel on foot.  All three are worthwhile journeys and I envision each of them as a heroic quest.  I hope you'll follow along.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Fall 2023 in pictures and videos


The most bizarre sunrise of my life, complete with sunspot (look in the upper part of the haze band, right of center).

My 75th birthday has come and gone.  2023 has been an eventful year.  As I've posted, I published my long-delayed AT memoir in April, and then my long-standing mega-novel in August.  Between those two projects I traveled to New England, where I spent a month and a half hiking, including touching base with the New England National Scenic Trail and extending my personal continuous footpath to the state of Rhode Island (connecting my 27th of the 50 US continental 'states' [counting DC]).

I also had the distinct privilege of helping the Dartmouth Outing Club maintainers repaint the summit sign on top of Mount Moosilauke.

I even got a stripe of orange paint on my hiking stick as a 'souvenir'.  Here's the video I posted at the time:

Since July, I've mostly been sticking close to home enjoying the sunrises and fall color.  The bizarre sunrise shown in the headline photo ought to be made into a video.  I took a couple dozen photos as it evolved.  It happened on November 8th, and not only provided an amazing distortion, caused by multiple stable layers in the atmosphere, but it was also the first time I've 'seen' a sunspot (with the aid of my 40x Canon Power Shot point and shoot camera).  Here's a look at a later image, with the sunspot very apparent, having moved above the haze layer:

The sunspot was a big one, at least twice the size of our whole planet Earth. When I noticed the spot on the images, I went to the internet to check.  Real time sunspot data comes from NASA's SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) satellite.  At that site, you can customize a video of this huge sunspot moving left to right - at least until the Nov 8-9, 2023 data are taken off the site and archived.  Here's the procedure:

  1. Go to the SOHO Movie Theater link.
  2. In the 'Image' menu box, select "hmiigr"
  3. 'Resolution' 512 or 1024, take your pick.
  4. Click on 'Dates' and a drop-down calendar appears.  Click first on November 8, 2023, then click again on November 9, 2023.  That fills the form with the start and end dates.
  5. Click 'Generate' and the first of the images in the sequence appears.
  6. Beneath the image click the 'Play' button and the animation scrolls repeatedly.  Customize as you wish.

The 'authorities' give each sunspot a number.   This one was number 3477, and here's's image with each sunspot annotated with its number.  I've rotated the image to appear as the sun appeared in my photos taken at about 40 degrees north latitude (i.e., with the north pole at the 10:20 o'clock position.)

The venue where I witnessed this exotic sunrise is the same one where, on the exact date of my birthday, I was treated to this spectacular display--one of the most outstanding sunrises of my life:

It truly was a special day.  Here are the two videos I took this day, no editing, just raw:

And as reported in the second video, I had just learned a few days earlier that I was going to be a grandpa for the first time (assuming I live until June 2024.)

At my age, I make no such assumptions.  Just look at this:

Falling (tripping, stumbling, losing my balance, etc.) has become an increasing part of my 'repertoire'.  This recent fall with face-plant on the ground gave me the honor of the first full black eye I've ever had.  It looks a lot worse than it feels.  But I've always said, with the miles of hiking I do on rugged rocky trails, and especially this time of year with the new-fallen leaves obscuring treacherous 'holes' and obstacles, that the way I will eventually die is by falling and cracking my head open on a rock.

The new Social Security Actuarial Life Tables tell the story.  We 75-year-old men are a dying breed.  And it is getting worse.  Covid has accelerated the process.  I thought I'd compose a little 'doomsday' message to myself, compiled from the stats on that site, just for fun:

But on a happier note, speaking of the new-fallen leaves.  The display here on the Blue Ridge of Virginia did not disappoint, as can be seen in the videos.  Color is all but gone now, as of the date of this post (which is the first day of firearms deer-hunting season).  Yesterday I went out and cherry-picked some of the last of the best:

Still life with purple wood aster and acorn shell on red maple leaf

And finally, I did do one walk that didn't feature autumn leaves or rocky trail.  It was a walk on water; and I've done it once before.  

Love that Chesapeake Bay Bridge 10K run.  It's the one day of the year when the American Discovery Trail can be walked between Annapolis, MD and Maryland's Eastern Shore.  In my new 75-79 age group, I finished 20th.  And there were 15,503 finishers (in all age groups combined).  It was a chilly day, and the hassle of waiting in line for transportation to the start and from the finish diminishes the experience.  But I will probably come back next year and try to beat my time.  Or maybe I'll be walking it with my new grandchild.  Never too soon to start the hiking life!

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The story behind Eden's Womb novel, just released on Amazon.

There are many ways to tell a story. Oral traditions are the oldest and still the best--with the listener an integral part of the experience, and acting as the 'recording device'. Modern story telling has taken full advantage of advances in technology, to the point of Virtual Reality and the interactive experiences of Video games, particularly the role-playing ones where the player participates in creating the story. The leap to the real world, and the stories we tell ourselves and others is not a big one. Think of politicians and religious leaders as your 'Dungeon Masters' vying for your confidence in their ability to define and oversee your reality to greater or lesser degree.

The novel, Eden's Womb, is written as a transcription of the 'ultimate' story, told to mankind by the wisest, most ancient and advanced alien beings in our universe. And it's not what you think. This is hard sci-fi, taking advantage of everything we know about physics and extrapolating it into speculative realms that adhere to the rule that they have been shown to be possible (and what is possible HAS happened somewhere at some time).

At the same time, Eden's Womb is just a fun and rousing tale of an epic quest to save the world. The protagonist, Adam Timberfell, is sent on this quest by a newly arrived 'spirit being' who is no supernatural entity, but the physical embodiment of the universe itself. Adam's travels bring him to discover the nature of this hidden physics and science as he also encounters the unexpected purpose behind his world--our reality. These highly advanced aliens are actually in charge.

The story is long - 55 to 60 years in the making.  Much more on the background and philosophy underlying the story is compiled at this link.  The entire 650,000 words can be purchased as a single fine-print book of 780 pages, or as an eBook, see link above.  The 'read sample' button on the eBook sales page provides a very generous preview--almost all of Book One!  Please have a look.

Each of the seven individual titles can also be purchased separately in larger print. Below are the covers, first the front and back of the full 780-page novel in one volume, then the seven separate titles.  Each have links to the (US) sales page.

Return of Naja: Eden's Womb, Book I: Wetzel, P.J.: 9798859178520: Books

Lonely Lessons: Eden's Womb: Book II: Wetzel, P.J.: 9798859362004: Books

The Copper Curse: Eden's Womb: Book III: Wetzel, P.J.: 9798859391066: Books

Three Crosses: Eden's Womb: Book IV: Wetzel, P.J.: 9798859396177: Books

The Preserve: Eden's Womb: Book V: Wetzel, P.J.: 9798859401598: Books

Through Heaven's Gate: Eden's Womb: Book VI: Wetzel, P.J.: 9798859405633: Books

The Navel of Time: Eden's Womb: Book VII: Wetzel, P.J.: 9798859415526: Books

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Appalachian Trail thru-hike memoir - Live! on Amazon

Front cover

Back cover

Big news - nearly twelve years in the making. I've finally published the memoir of my Appalachain Trail thru-hike. The actual hike began January 1, 2012, and I've been promising to publish a book ever since.

I also submitted the documentation of this hike to and it has been recognized as a record setting accomplishment--fastest known AT double (yo-yo) thru-hike. I'm very proud of that.

The book is 260 pages ALL in COLOR, with 150+ color photos and maps printed in 'premium color', so it is not cheap, but Amazon is offering it for sale at a pretty good discount as of the time of this post, so it might be a good time to order.

If you do order, and like the book, I would very much appreciate if you take the time to post a review at Amazon.

Also please pass the word (share this post) to any hiking friends and colleagues who might be interested. Thanks in advance!

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Quantum Physics in a nutshell, parts 2 and 3 of 3

Quantum physics addresses life's most fundamental questions with really simple answers, backed by straightforward scientific experiments and proven results.

A quick summary of lesson one put a different way than was presented in the video, is that "the mice only play when the cat's away". Physicists like to call it the 'Measurement Problem'. It is not actually a problem (except for Physicists who insist on trying to get something that they themselves have proven they CAN NOT have.)

Here in the second of three lessons, quantum physics solves the problem of 'God' i.e., the conundrum of "Infinite Regress vs. the Uncaused Cause". They exist together, in superposition. Just like pairs of quarks in a meson, you CAN NOT take them apart. The universe started from nothing because 'nothing' (a vacuum) is a roiling froth that is just brim-full of unrealized 'stuff'.

Added 13 September 2023: If you've been waiting for part 3, it does not require a video. The third and final lesson can be stated in four words -- "All meaning is emergent". In other words, quantum physics tells us that reality is dependent on the observer, and so the meaning of reality comes not from some absolute or fundamental subjective underlying 'truth' but is only 'made' when an 'observer' takes a 'measurement'. Meaning and purpose are in the eyes of the beholder.

Thanks for waiting, thanks for reading!

Friday, December 9, 2022

Quantum Physics in a nutshell, part 1 of 3

In the Theory of Quantum Mechanics 'things' have fields that extend everywhere; and 'things' do not even have properties until they interact with other 'things'.  It's all about the interactions.  Space and time themselves are just manifestations of the web of connectedness between things.

'Stuff' like our conscious mind exists only because of this connectedness.

The scientist's natural urge to take 'things' apart to find out how they work met its Waterloo when we discovered Quantum Mechanics.  A hundred years later the greatest minds still declare that "nobody really understands it" (That's a Richard Feynman quote.  See the video linked below).

"... Forest for the trees" says the Hiking Hermit.

Stuff Exists.  Things?  Not so much.