The Origin and Name of the Hendershot Family
This is taken from "Hendershot Ancestors Genealogy" Revised 1988 by Wm. E. Hendershott page 4
Origin and Name of the Hendershot Family

The immediate forebears of Michael Hendershot(1674-1749) lived in the Rine Palatinate, but his father Wilhelm had come from the Old Duch of Berg farther north. Wilhelm was among many people, some of them relatives, who immigrated to the war-ravaged Palatinate to redevelop it's farms and towns about 1670. Nothing is yet known of his previous life except that he was a lapsed Catholic. He and his brother-in-law Mathia Krebs, a trained carpenter, tried their hands at various employments, and finally took on the lease for the larger part of a neglected hill-farm of 450 acres names "Naumburger Hof". Wilhelm married a Lutheran girl, Ann Maria Balter, and raised a family of at least eight children, in her religion. They experienced very hard times for warfare and plagues, bad weather and poor crops were normal at the time. Within 15 years Wilhelm died leaving his tough-minded widow to care for their children and run the farm. At this point the French were in power, and the Catholilc religion was in favour. A mixed marriage such as Wilhelm and Anna Maria's became a target for church intervention. Franciscans forcibly removed the four younger children from teh widow's home and placed them in Catholic surroundings until their conversion was achieved.

Michael was the eldest son of this family. In certain parts of Europe in thos days it was the custom for youngest sons to inherit family property. The reasoning was simple and practical, by the time the parents died the elder children would have readed maturity and moved out to earn a living for themselves while the youngest were just reaching that stage of maturity. However the inheritor was required to reach a settlement with his brothers and sisters so that each would receive a payment equivalent to their fair share. Long before this happened to Wilhelm's family howerever Michael had become independent, started his own family and had immigrated in debt to America.

We do not have to search far for reasons that inspired Michael to immigrate. Conditions in his own familiy, split by religious quarreling, the scarsity of good land, extremely bad climatic conditions in 1708-09, and constand threat of armed invasions, all combined to dreive many peopel out. Colonial developers, especially Wiliam Penn, visited the Rhineland singing the praises of America-cheap land, religious freedom, opportunity, etc. It is not surprivsing that thousands of Palatines and their neighbors paked up and left home. Under the sgernal label of "persecurted Protestant Palatine" all sorts of people floked to Rotterdam to England to gain Queen Anne's protection in 1709. Many then were shippedto New Yorke to earn their keep by working on a government project in the Hudson Vally. Michael and his famiily before long found themselves at a pine-tar camp where he seems to have acted as foreman or overseer. The project failed in a year or two and Michael with some friends moved southwest into New Jersey where the Quakers hald land and rented it cheaply to settlers. This is how it came about that the ancestral territory for America decendants is thought of as centered in Hunterdon County, NJ, where he finally put down roots.