There are several family trees online that give a form of this information. They all indicate that someone, or several someones, have tracked down a few generations before our Johan Jacob Ries. http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/1938268/person/- 618809783, for example, gives us information on ancestors as far back as Johan Jacob Ries great grandparents who were thought to be Theodosious Ries and Barbara Mueller. They were from Southwest Germany. And as one web page puts it “the ministers in Württemberg not only kept track of births (christenings), marriages, and deaths (burials), but also kept family book registers which list the vital records for each person in the family, the parent's marriage, birth, and parent's names” (Source: http://www.progenealogists.com/germany/baden-wurttemberg/index.html) but I need to do more research should be done in this area when time allows.
When I went looking some more, I located Johan Jacob Ries’ possible great grandparents. They were Theodosious Ries and Rodenbucher. (Source: www.oocities.org/greglisareece/gregahnen.txt .2009), This is a web page was a geocities archive and may no longer accessible. But this set of names appears in more than one family tree. I have not tracked this information personally, but offer it so that you can decide for yourself if you get to researching it before I do. Theodosious and Maria Rodenbucher Ries only had one son, Tobias Ries. Tobias Ries married Maria Englert. Tobias and Maria should be Johan Jacob Ries’ parents. They are also from Wuerttemberg Germany. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg Tobias and his first wife, Maria Englert Ries, had 6 children: John, Maria, Paul, Jacob, Anna and Johan Jacob Ries. I went looking around some more on Ancestry.com and did find information that backed up what the other pages said. I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg, but they do agree.
As I looked around for the earliest members of our Reece family, I keep running into terms like Moravian and Palatine. It seems that the early German Ries/Reece family came to America for religious reasons. Yet another avenue to explore. Does anyone know the Bethabara Moravian connection? This was so long before any censuses were taken in the United States that I am having difficulty locating information on these folks. Once we get into the mid 1700’s I can find our Johan Jacob Ries and his son, Johann Valentine in court records and land grant data. But before that, it’s tough. I will continue to search and update the website if I find anything.