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My grandfather used to tell my cousin when she was little we were PA Deutsch. Due to world war two the family was not proud of their bloodline resulting in a lot of family history being lost. I am familiar with a lot of the history from Ohio but still lack a lot of what went on before that time other then that they were in PA area and recent lands from Germany. From what I can tell the best bet is to look into the records in Germany from this point on.
Interesting, I knew about the bricks as we have a few odd and end family things bibles, guns and such from his sons and something of his or at least my aunt did. I know the family is originally from Wittenburg Germany and were brick masons there as well. I am hopeing that next time I am in Germany I can go to Wittenburg and see what I can find there. There are still Houcks living in Springfield Ohio who up until recently could tell you which houses in town were made with Houck bricks.