Were we French or German?

by Shana Jent
(Tucson, Arizona)

Hello and thank you so much for helping me out.

I'm trying to find any further ancestry on my father's side and also determine if we are French or German. I have traced my ancestry to seven grandfather's and unable to find any more. My last name is Jent, however, I'm finding in records that the last name was possibly spelled Gent and maybe pronounced as "yent".

Antoine Gent: Date of birth unknown. Born in Barr, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France. Death about 23 May 1766. He was married to Marie Madeline Elsaesser and they had a son, Jean Jacques Gent. He was born 22 November 1750 and died 31 March 1795.

Are you able to tell me when we might have come to the USA? As time marched on, the ancestry moved to St. Meinrad, Spencer County, Indiana. Seemed to be devout Catholics. Some of my relatives are buried in the St. Meinrad Cemetery.

Thank you again for your help. I appreciate your time.

Kindest Regards,

Shana J.

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Interesting question
by: Suzele

Hi Shana,

There can be so many different spellings in a family name.

It's kinda interesting and at the same time nerve wracking.

Jent would be pronounced Yent because J has a Y sound in germanic languages.

The Gent version could have something to do with Alsace being part of France.

French spelling and Germanic spelling are different.

They don't naturally pronounce everything the same so it can change a bit.

That would be my guess.

G in germanic languages is the same G as in English by the way.

And your family if they are from Alsace is Alsatian. Neither French nor German.

Germanic yes, French nowadays yes mostly.

But 100% Alsatian all the time.

Happy hunting,

St Meinrad
by: Anna

My father (88, still living) has a connection to St. Meinrad as he was a priest prior to the late 60s. If your ancestors overlap the 40s, 50s or 60s, maybe he can add something to your story.

Jent, Kent
by: Jeanne Marie

Hello, My husband attended St. Meinrad Abbey and I have visited many times throughout the years. Beautiful country! We both grew up on the Ohio River in Indiana. There are no better cooks than the Monks at St. Meinrad.
I have a question: Would not the name of "Gent" be pronounced "Kent"? Just a suggestion when searching. All of my ancestors who have names that begin with the letter "G", the sound is a hard "G" which sounds like a "K".

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