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About Thomas Aaron & Elizabeth Reinsel Descendants
WHO WAS THOMAS AARON AND WHERE DID HE COME FROM?
 (Source: The Aarons of Crates PA compiled by Catherine and Paul Shannon)     The names of the founding parents of our American clan of Aarons are found on one document: the baptismal record of George Aaron, in Father Helbron's Greensburg Records (published by the Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia).  "1801 Aaron (Ahren) George, of Thomas and Elizabeth Aaron, Born 9 September, baptized 1 November.  Sponsors: George Ruffner and Mary Brown."     Family tradition supplies Elizabeth Aaron's maiden name - Elizabeth Reinsel - of Lebanon County, Pa.    There are various stories passed down from generation to generation, as yet, there are no facts to accurately tell us which is the true story.  Here are but a few accounts:

#1     Aaron Genealogist James McDonald wrote August 14, 1946, "Now a Father Wursch, who was at Crates, told Tom Aaron he didn't spell the name right.  It should be Ahren, and said if he lived in Germany he would be very proud of the name!  I am rather inclined to agree with him as I could find no Aarons coming over on any boat, but I did find Ahren!  
 Now here is the dope! This first Aaron, Thomas, ran away from his father and without permission of the German Govt., came over here to get out of serving in the army.  He landed in Philadelphia without money or friends and got a job with some surveyors who were surveying the wilds of Pa. at that time.  This may account for the "pack on his back" that he carried?  He was the son of a Bavarian Baron or landowner!?  Well he married a woman from Lebanon Co., Pa., an Elizabeth Reinsel, and I am trying to find out if he was married in Lebanon Co. or Philadelphia or Germantown.      --------------------------------------------
 #2     Information about Aaron heritage as told by Gertrude Susanna Aaron Coyne, aged 88 years, at San Antonio, Texas, June, 1961:     My great, great grandfather (Thomas Aaron) came to this country with Prince Galitzen, who later studied in Baltimore and became a priest.  He was a Russian who migrated to America for religious freedom, bringing with him families from Bavaria and France.  The town of Galitzen, Pa. is named for him.  Thomas Aaron and his wife, Elizabeth, came from Bavaria to Pennsylvania.
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 #3     Father Thomas Middleton, an Augustinian historian, states a belief that the Germans who settled Crates originated along the Rhine river.  A descendent of George Timothy Aaron and Ellen Hanrahan tells that she grew up believing that the Aarons had a castle on the Rhine - The Castle of Ahren.
 There is an Ehrenberg Castle (Ruins) just outside of Ruette, Austria. The castle was built in 1290 and is over 700 years old.
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 #4     One myth concerning Thomas Aaron is that two brothers came to America.  Perhaps James Joseph Arentz was the other brother.
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 #5     A belief exists, particularly strong among the mid-western and western relatives, that Thomas Aaron was of Jewish origin and that he converted to Catholicism in America, perhaps at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth.  At the time of the conversion, he changed his name from Solomon to Thomas.  Don Aaron, of Leavenworth, Kansas, tells that his grandmother had a bible  which was shown to him to prove that he, Don, had Jewish blood in him.  The only problem is that the Bible has disappeared and cannot be used for proof.  It is possible that such a Bible could have been carried  west by Thomas' son George, when he and his wife Margaret Ruffner Aaron, migrated to Kansas with several of his children.  George and his wife returned, but the children stayed to make new homes for themselves.
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 #6     James McDonald, of Boonton, N.J. says the name Aaron is Hebrew meaning "scholar", and that our Aarons were originally Jews but converted to Christianity in 1546.    ------------------------------------------------
 #7     Another tale told is that Thomas Aaron was the son of a German Baron, and that he came to America at the age of 17 years, perhaps incognito, without the consent of his parents, or the German government, to avoid military service.  Assuming that Thomas was about 20 years old when his son, Joseph, was born in 1783, then Thomas was born about 1763.

Thomas and Elizabeth Aaron lived for a time in an area called Goshenhoppen, Berks County, Pennsylvania (today Bally, PA).  They moved west in search for frontier land. Their search ended, for a time, at a place in western Pennsylvania known as Redbank, later Aarondale, and still later Crates.  The land was just opening up for settlement, and they and their friends and neighbors from Westmoreland County came and formed a Catholic community.  The community centered around their Church, St. Nicholas of Tolentino, and the cemetery.  Both were established on land donated and deeded by Aarons and Crates.  Church records have proved to be the most fruitful source of information about the Aarons and are the primary sources for the first four generation of this genealogy.  
   
 -Source-AARONS  OF CRATES, PA. 1820 T0 1980, COMPILED BY CATHERINE AND PAUL B. SHANNON

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