This is a picture of a group of German children. I wonder how they got them all to sit so still. The only person I know is the girl in the back row who is holding another child. The older girl is my grandmother Anna Bartels, the girl she is holding is her sister Johanna Bartels Reimers. My grandmother is about 14 years old in that photo, because I know that she was 13 years older than her sister.
Anna had two brothers, one of which was August. He was born in 1902, Anna was born in 1900. There is another brother but I know nothing about him. I found August immigration record yesterday on Ancestry.com. I thought I had saved it on my computer, guess I have to look for it again. August came over in 1921 and on his application is stated that his destination was Duquesne PA. There were quite a number of steel mills in the Pittsburgh PA area. August came over to work in one, a few years later, my grandparents (Willi and Anna Schridde) came over with my mother (Gerda Schridde) in 1926. My grandmother said that her brother had a job waiting for Willi when he got here. On the first day in the USA they went to the local school for English classes.
I am wondering if August is the boy standing to the left of Anna and Johanna. The picture was taken circa 1913-1915
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
This is a picture of Anton Sperl. He was born 18 December 1860, in Bohemia, and died 4 August 1899. I had this picture in my basement. My husband brought it home when he and his brother cleaned out their grandfathers house.
His son, John Crist Sperl was born in May 1899, a few months before his fathers death. I suspect it was unexpected. I had always thought that Anton had emigrated to this country in the 1880’s. But, much to my surprise, I found him in a ships record as immigrating in 1869, from St.Catherines, Bohemia.
To every rumor is a hint of truth. It was the great great grandmother who was pregnant and she had Antons brother Thomas in Baltimore after they arrived. There was also a sister Margaret who was born in the USA also, I do not know where she was born. I also need to find out when the moved to PA. I can not find them in the 1870 census, but the 1880 census has them living in Shaler PA.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
This is my latest discovery. This is my husbands Great Grandmother, Katharina Rauscher Sperl Nosseck. Katharina was born 26 October 1864 in Rosshaupt, Bohemia. I have read in an entry that her fathers name was Frank, I emailed that person and did not receive a reply, guess she didn’t want to share information.
In the information I received from the Diocese of Pittsburgh it had listed a child Frank born 1 July 1890, Frank died 11 March 1891 from scarlet fever. So it leads me to believe that perhaps it is true.
Katharina emigrated from Bohemia in 1883, I do not know if she knew Anton, but it would have been when they were children. Anton and his family emigrated in 1869.
Katharina and Anton had many children, eight that I have documentation for and at least three died in childhood, and a few more died in early adulthood. The only one who survived to old age was John Crist Sperl, he had two half sisters Catharine and Josephine Nosseck.
Katharina died on 27 October 1947. There is much for me to discover about the family. About ten years ago my husband and his brother were cleaning out the house of his grandparents. At that time he brought home two pictures which were in the basement. I came across them recently, and I had an eureka moment…..I had him take off the backs and the one of Anton had 23 August ‘99. He had died on 4 August 1899. That is when I knew who the mystery people were. Being stored in his sons closet helped a lot with the deduction.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
When Becky left me a comment and said I should take it one item at a time I think she was correct.
Does everyone get frustrated when working on one topic/person and then bounce to someone or someplace else?
Does everyone else go back and re-read their notes/ acquisitions and discover something that was overlooked?
I am finding some answers or clues were hiding in plain site. The answers to the questions that I hadn’t even think to ask.
The people at the LDS Church are helpful but their comment was (and I have to agree) most of my trouble with reading the documents are poor handwriting from 150 years ago, and the poor quality of the ancient records.
I suppose I am envious of the people who can trace back their families to the Revolutionary War. My earliest people can here in 1872 and the latest being my mother in 1926. I am finding the records here in the USA but not in Europe. Maybe I am expecting too much too soon?
I must admit I am a person who expects instant gratification. But I have to retrain my brain to the fact that instant gratification doesn’t work in genealogy.
My mother Gerda SCHRIDDE Dowd and father Thomas Dowd, circa 1958 by me in one of my first attempts at photography, at least I didn’t cut off their heads.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Should it be names of my great great grandparents and beyond? Perhaps photographs of my ancestors. I have a lot and love pictures, should it be following the great Aunts and Uncles forward and meet second and third cousins? I have met a few but right now that is one of my Missions Impossibles. Honestly, back to the old countries of Ireland and Germany is Mission Impossible.
How do I get results out of the LDS microfilms? Everyone tells how they get all sorts of informaiton and I get nothing. How do I go about gleaning the informaiton? I know where they are from, studied the old Germany writing styles, but still can not find ancestors.
Does everyone have the same troubles and I? I must admit that I have only been doing this for two years, I started on the quest in January of 2007. I think what started my research was going thru the papers that my father had tucked away in his file cabinets. Really, I never knew he had such things. If I had known I would have asked about them.
So BlogImprove I hope to do.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
When my husband was cleaning out his grandparents house for sale, he came upon two pictures. A man and a woman. The pictures were stored in the bedroom closet of his grandfather, John Crst Sperl. This happened about ten years ago.
With my recent interest in genealogy I was intrigued about them...I had my husband take off the back of the mans picture and there was the date 23 Aug '99. (1899 that is) I realized that the two people were his great grandparents, Anton Sperl (b.18 December 1860--d. 4 August 1899.) My theory is that his wife Katharina RAUSCHER Sperl (b. 26 October 1864 d.27 October 1947) had the picture drawn of her husband after his untimely death. Did she have the picture drawn of herself at the same time?? They looked like they were copies of photographs, and the size the pictures are would not have been available as enlargements.
Back to the poster board. I want to place the drawings against the white poster board to serve a backdrop for the two pictures. I will take them as a couple and separately to make digital images. Of all the great grandparents I never thought I would find a picture of them. My husbands family house had burnt down in 1963 and all the treasures in the attic were destroyed. I will post them when I get them copied.
Anton came to the USA from Bohemia in 1869. It took me awhile to find the record, I had thought he came over in the 1880's. Katharina did come over in 1883, also from Bohemia. Some days are just eureka moments.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
After I had published a picture of my great grandmother Maria Korbach Bartels I received a comment from Cheri about the name Bartels in her research. So, here is the picture I promised. My great grandfather was Daniel Mathias Bartels from Celle, Germany. There are a few so I am researching the one closest to Jena, which is were Maria was from, according to my grandmothers birth certificate.
Daniel was a cigar maker and a cabinet maker. My daughter said they both look like they have on their “German” faces.
By the style of Marias hat I would guesstimate that the photo was taken circa 1920’s. As usual nothing was on the back.
This is a picture of my great grandmother, Anna Maria Johann Korbach. On the picture is says Jena, and on my grandmothers birth certificate it gives the place of her birth as Jena. Jena is in Thuringa, Germany. I have requested the Church records from the LDS Church for that city. I think she died some time about the early 1960's. My grandmother, Anna Bartel, had a picture of the grave, but I could not read it even though I had enlarged it with my photo editing software.
I keep trying to add a later picture but it won't put the picture where I want it to go. Guess I will have to post this and start another post. My grandmother Anna would send pictues of her grandchildren to her mother Maria, I guess there are a lot of pictures of my sibs and I in Germany with people wondering "Who are these people, not one put their names on the back?"
Maybe they ended up in some antique shop where people wonder about them. I know I do when I find a box full of old pictures. Who were they, where did they live, and what was their life like??
Friday, January 16, 2009
Since yesterday I had written about my mothers birthday I decided to publish a picture of a Family Portrait. My mother looks to be about two in the picture so I can estimate this was taken c. 1924-1926. I would think it was before they emigrated to the USA. I wonder if it was taken to give to the families as a remembrance because they were going to the USA?
I really do not know much about my grandfather. I have always felt a little cheated in life since I did not know either of my grandfathers. My fathers father died in 1921, I guess my father did not know him either. My father said the only thing his father did right was not to let his mother call him Malcolm..my fathers name was Thomas, I have to admit I like Thomas better.
My grandfather above died in 1937. He was closing the attic windows in an August storm when lightening struck the chimney and killed him. That is very sad.
I know nothing about Willi’s family although I have a picture of them. That is a treasure in itself. I found most of my information on my ancestors on this side of the Atlantic but very little on the family in Europe.
At the beginning of my research I did not know my great grandparents names but I did manage to find them. I have to keep on looking. I have posted on lists and hope that someday someone will respond to my inquiry.
Above Anna Maria Johanna Bartels Schridde, Willi Schridde, Gerda Schridde Dowd
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I guess it was the economy in Germany after the war My grandmother said that the Mark was worthless and they would go shopping twice a day because of the super inflation the prices were raising daily. She had said that people would carry the Marks in a wheel barrow and not be able to buy a loaf of bread.
My mother was an only child, her father died when she was about thirteen. Strangely I never asked why her parents did not have another child. She said she could remember bits of the voyage on the ship. One was she was on deck and eating a lollipop and there was a bee who tried to land on the lollipop. She said she scream and tried to get it to leave. The other memory she had was when they were on Ellis Island she had a cold and was coughing. Her mother told her not to cough because they would send them back.
Can you imagine how difficult it would be to be in another country and all of a sudden be a widow? I know she was employed by the school system and cleaned the classrooms in an elementary school. She would bring discarded library books for the grandchildren when the school would be throwing them away. My grandmother died in 1969.
I still miss her very much.
Emily told me that her grandmother, Gerda, had told her about watching the dolphins jumping in the water on her voyage to the USA when she was four.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
My recent finds have been on my husband line. His cousin Helen Jean had already did his mothers line, so I went to do the fathers. My husband was surprised, he said I knew more about his family than he did. I just laughed.
I have found on my short journey that sometime you just happen to stubble up all sorts of knowledge and facts. Then other times you will go for months of finding nothing. He had told me that his great grandmother was pregnant with his grandfather when she came to this country. I have always said "To every rumor is a hint of truth." I found this to be true because it was not his great grandmother, it was his great great grandmother who had a child the summer after their arrival in Baltimore.
I have met the most interesting people on the Roots Web List and Ancestry.com. People who are from the same town as my husband Before I started this research I had never heard of Bohemia as a country, but indeed it was. That is where his fathers line is from. When we were first married we had gone to the cemetery and their tombstone was written in German.
I could not read it, but many years later after in contact with Julie, a newly found cousin of his, I revisited and took the pictures. She had posted a family tree on Ancestry and I sent her an email. My husband remembered her mother as a babysitter from his childhood. Julie had email me information on the family, information that I did not have at that time. My part in it was the name of the great grandfather. She asked how did I know that, "It's on the tombstone" said I. "What tombstone?" asked Julie. Guess I should take a trip to the cemetery and take some more, and so my quest began.
I have met a few other relatives from his town Millvale PA. The town was settled by German Bohemians, and I am thinking his great great grandfather, Christof Sperl was one of the first to come to America. He and his wife and two children came in 1869. I have recently joined the German Bohemian Society. What was interesting is the fact that a lot of the same family names are in the families in Minnesota. I know there is a connection but at this time I do not know how. A few months ago I got an email from Ed who was at a Family Reunion and some cousin had an old (1880ish) picture of the Sperl Family. There were no names and no one knew who they were. I have tentatively identified some of the people. I guess after this work we could all qualify as detectives.....
I have met some Irish cousins researching the same two families. The Dowd and O'Rourke Families. The ones I am lacking are the ones in Germany. The Schridde, Hackmann, Korbach and Bartel. I am working on that but first I think I need to take some German lessons.
Guess that is enough for tonight, it is snowing and blowing and I will be glad to go home where it is warm.
Monday, January 12, 2009
I am still trying to work out the bugs on this picture posting. I want to put the pictures of my grandparents side by side, but I can not seem to achieve that design. I guess I need a tutorial on how to do that.
This is a picture of my grandfather Thomas Dowd holding my father Thomas Anthony Dowd. My father was born on 26 July 1918. His brother Richard Regis Dowd was born two years later.
They were the only two children my grandmother had because in November of 1921 my grand father died in an accident. My grandfather was about twenty six in this picture. He worked on the Union Railroad in East Pittsburgh PA.
This is a picture of my grandmother Gertrude O’Rourke. She is probably twenty six in this picture. After my grandfather died she moved back home with her parents. Things must have been really hard for her at the time, actually I think things were hard for her all her life. She had only complete five years of school, and she said she would go to school but she played “hooky.” I wonder what she did all that time? Guess they did not have any one check on them. At ten years of age she would not have gotten a job, at least I do not think so.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Where to start? Although I have started a genealogy blog where do I actually start. I guess the beginning is the most likely place.
The couple on the left are my parents, Thomas Dowd and Gerda Schridde. They were married on 4 February 1943 at Seymour Johnson Field in Goldsboro NC. My dad had been drafted and was going to be shipped to Europe, so he called my mom and asked if she wanted to come down and get married. She hopped a train and went. I guess that tale is typical of the time surrounding World War II. They spent a week together and he came home in January of 1946 and I was born In October.
They had met on a "blind date." My mother was five years younger than my dad and on their first date he decided she was too young. They met a few years later at a wedding of her best friend and his best friend. I have a picture of the wedding party, guess I should scan and post it. I think the wedding was the start of their relationship. Guess she wasn't too young then. They married when mom was 20 and dad was 25. It is sort of funny, but physically they looked like they could have been relatives. My dads ethnic background is Irish and my mothers is German. She had emigrated with her parents from Hamburg Germany in 1926.........I will save that tale for another posting.