Ronnie -- I'm interested in following up on this, although I don't have a lot of information to share that directly connects us. The understanding that I have, and I hope Clifford can correct me if I'm wrong, is that we fall victim to the "three brothers" story, but in our case it appears to be true. One of the brothers settled in NJ, I believe, and one in Virginia and one in Georgia/South Carolina. My family is descended from the South Carlina end of the family, though we have one documented case of a marriage between a SC and a VA Merck, making one of my great-aunts a "double-Merck."
I am interested in your case particularly because of the name "Israel." I have some niggling suspicions that there may be some Jewish ancestry here, and that seems like it might be a clue in that direction.
Please feel free to email me if you'd like -- I'd love to see if we can tie anything together!
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