Monday, November 1, 2010

Religious Rites in my Family

Religion has played a major part in my life and in the lives of my family and ancestors. Throughout my 35+ year mission of tracing my family history I have discovered diversities of faiths and church affiliations but a definite pattern of religious lives.

Dating back to the 1600's in Bavaria, my paternal Bauer and Feucht ancestors were definitely of the Evangelical Lutheran faith and continued that pattern when arriving in the US. Once in Detroit, they attended Trinity Lutheran Church (now Historic Trinity) and my great-great grandparents, Johann Jacob Feucht and Magdalena Helena Bauer were one of the first couples married in that church on February 20, 1859. All of their children were baptized and confirmed at Trinity as well.

My paternal Schulte family from Beckum, Westphalia, Germany were of the Catholic faith while in Germany, and according to records found from those years, they were members of St. Stephanus Catholic Church. There still remains a church in Beckum with that name, and whether that is the same parish that served my Schulte ancestors, I don't know. Upon arriving in the US, though, some of the family switched to following the Lutheran faith while others remained Catholic.

My paternal Wellhausen/Schluessler family, with information that I have found dating back to the early 1700's, continually practiced the Evangelical Lutheran faith while in Germany and continued that when arriving in this country.

On my mother's side, we also had a diversity of faiths. My mother's paternal line were Polish and Roman Catholic and continued that in this country. Her maternal line, from Bütow, Pommern, were Evangelical Lutheran and remain that to this day.

Here are some examples of my family members during their various confirmations, with one baptismal example as well.

My paternal grandfather, Elmer M. Schulte, was born on August 4, 1894 in Detroit, MI. Here he is at his baptism in his Lutheran church later that same year.

Elmer Schulte
Baptism - 1894
Detroit, MI

My paternal grandmother, Ella A. Wellhausen, was born on November 15, 1896 in Detroit and was confirmed in the Lutheran faith in Fraser, MI.

Ella Wellhausen
Fraser, MI

My maternal grandfather, Joseph Kijak, was born on August 3, 1892 in Bay City, MI and was baptized as a Catholic at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, also in Bay City. After marrying my grandmother, he took confirmation lessons to become Lutheran and was confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Joseph, MI as an adult on March 26, 1920.

Joseph Kijak
Confirmation - 1920
St. Joseph, MI

My maternal grandmother, Ella A. Kolberg, was born on August 8, 1895 in Stevensville, MI and was confirmed in the Lutheran faith at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Joseph.

Ella Kolberg
St. Joseph, MI

My maternal grandparents raised their 4 children in the Lutheran faith, all were baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Joseph, MI where my mother and I still belong. I am the 5th generation of my mother's family to have been a member of this particular congregation. My mother was confirmed at this church in 1939 and she organized a 60 year reunion of her confirmation class in 1999 where many attended from around the country.

Eloris Kijak
Confirmation - 1939
St. Joseph, MI

My paternal grandparents raised their 3 children in the Lutheran faith as well and attended both First English Lutheran Church in Detroit and later Mt. Zion Lutheran also in Detroit. First English has now relocated to Grosse Pointe, MI and Mt. Zion was disbanded some years ago. My uncle and my aunt are shown here at their respective confirmations.

Melbourne Schulte
Detroit, MI

Marilyn Schulte
(with parents Elmer & Ella Schulte
and brother, Melbourne Schulte)

Detroit, MI

My father, also, was confirmed at First English Lutheran Church in Detroit. I do not have an individual confirmation photo of his but do have this fantastic group photo of his entire class including the minister. This always draws a laugh when I see the photo because of the "unique" expression on my father's face. Take a look and see if you can pick him out of this group.

Confirmation Class of 1937
First English Lutheran Church
Detroit, MI

Mylen Schulte
Bottom row, far right

That's right, he is indeed the young boy in the bottom row on the far right. Guess he wasn't having a good day that day. I would bet he wanted to get home and listen to the Tigers on the radio!

Above photos from personal collection of Cheryl Schulte


Jasia said...

Great article Cheryl! I love your collection of photos, especially the one of Eloris. She is such a beauty!

Janet Iles said...

The confirmation photos are great to have. Thanks for sharing them with your article.

Cheryl said...

Jasia & Janet - thanks for the comments; I have so many other confirmation photos that it was hard to choose which ones to use.

Nolichucky Roots said...

I completely agree. These are wonderful photographs and you've done a lovely job placing them in context.

And I love the lighthouse reference in your header. Eloquent on so many levels.

Cheryl said...

NR - thanks for your comments. I appreciate it.

J.M. said...

Great post. Loved the pictures.

Cheryl said...

JM-thanks for the comments; I appreciate it.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Cheryl - I enjoyed your post very much. Great photos all around. I particularly liked the photo of your mom. A timeless beauty...

Cheryl said...

Cynthia, thanks for the comments; I'll have to tell my mother your remark about her confirmation photo and she will be pleased.