Monday, March 28, 2011

A Family Gathering by the Car!

I love seeing old photos especially those that contain multiple family members in them. In the realm of genealogy research, an extra plus of connecting with distant cousins is the opportunity to share photos. I am always hoping for photos that are "the older, the better".

I was fortunate to receive many photos from my paternal grandmother, Ella Schulte, and many of the photos came to me via HER mother, Amelia Schluessler Wellhausen. My great-grandmother passed away when I was 16 and I knew her well. Many of my older photos are from my great-grandmother's Schluessler family and just as many are unidentified as to all of the people in the photo and the dates taken. Sometimes it is a bit easier to date a photo if children are included and one can go to their genealogy information and pinpoint a bit better a date that a photo was taken. In other cases, where no children are included, it becomes tougher.

How about dating a photo from the automobile in the snapshot? Maybe that would work. Here are some examples.

My Schluessler family obviously liked family gatherings as I have many group photos in my collection involving different time periods. They evidently also liked taking photos by their auto.

Wilhelm Schluessler, Sr. & Minnie Schluessler Bredow

This photo actually includes my second great-grandfather, Wilhelm Schluessler, so it was a real prize. Inside the car, sitting in the back seat is my great-grandmother, Amelia Schluessler Wellhausen. Next to her is her brother in law, Ellis Rine (married to her sister, Helena Schluessler Rine) and next to him is Vina Winegard, daughter of Minnie Schluessler Bredow.

Standing outside the car from left to right is Helena Schluessler (sister-in-law of my great-grandmother who was married to William Schluessler, Jr.), followed by Mrs. Charles (Wilhelmina) Bredow, and my second great-grandfather, Wilhelm Schluessler. Sitting next to him is his sister, Minnie Schluessler Bredow, followed by an unknown woman and on the end is Minnie Bredow's son, Charles Bredow.

Here is a different view with my second great-grandfather, Wilhelm Schluessler, and his sister, Minnie Schluessler Bredow.

Wilhelm Schluessler and sister, Minnie Schluessler Bredow

Wilhelmina (Minnie) Schluessler was born in March, 1842 in Fahrenwalde, Kreis Pasewalk, Pommern and her brother, Wilhelm Schluessler, was born on June 25, 1845 in Fahrenwalde, Kreis Pasewalk, Pommern. They were the children of Christian Frederick Schluessler and Wilhelmina Krumbach who were from the neighboring village of Neuenfeld, Kreis Pasewalk, Pommern. All came at varying times to the US and settled in the Macomb County area of Michigan.

While I am not knowledgeable as to what type of car this was and what time period this would have been from I do know that the photo was taken between 1913 and 1932. My second great-grandmother, Amelia Schauer Schluessler - wife of the above Wilhelm Schluessler - is not pictured and she passed away in 1913. Wilhelm himself lived until 1932. I am sure there are readers out there, though, who probably will recognize the car and perhaps would be able to estimate the type and year of the automobile. I am guessing the photo to be from the mid-1920's as I do have other photos of these family members with different automobiles in which children born in the late 20's and early 30's are included.

As an aside to this post, I visited the areas of Neuenfeld and Fahrenwalde in 1993 and took some photos of these ancestral villages which were most difficult to find. If not for my sister-in-law, with her GPS ability (before GPS was around) we would have missed the little paths leading to these villages.

Neuenfeld, Kreis Pasewalk, Germany - 1993

Fahrenwalde, Kreis Pasewalk, Germany - 1993

Fahrenwalde, Kreis Pasewalk, Germany - 1993

It was well worth the effort to search out these towns and walk the paths where my Schluessler ancestors walked more than 100 years earlier.

Above photos from personal collection of Cheryl Schulte

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Woman in History - Perpetua

The topic for the 103rd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is "Women's History" in conjunction with National Women's History Month. During the last month, since Jasia announced this topic, I have struggled with just what to write about.

I could certainly write about either of my two grandmothers who I knew well but I have written much about them already on this blog. I could write about any of my four great-grandmothers, one of whom I knew well, but I have also written about them in the past. While they were all great women in their own right, and they were certainly all part of the person that I have become, I could not get a strong vibe to devote this post to one of them.

I decided instead to write about a woman from history. Way back in history to be exact and somebody who was actually born in AD 181. While I would like to claim her in my heritage, I would be one very lucky genealogist if I could trace my family back that far. I will say, though, that her story qualifies her for recognition during National Women's History Month.

No matter your religious preference or non-preference, the Christian noblewomen, Perpetua's story should touch your heart and give you reason for pause.

Perpetua was born AD 181 in Tunis (Tunisia). She was a Christian martyr who wrote "The Passion of Saints" which is a journal recounting her imprisonment and trial and which was continued after her death as a martyr. Both her martyrdom and its account have been highly revered by ancient and modern Christians. This writing of "The Passion of Saints" is one of the rare surviving documents written by a woman in the ancient world.

In Carthage in the 2nd century there was a vibrant Christian community including this young mother, Perpetua, who was the daughter of a prosperous provincial family. Sometime after
AD 201, the Roman emperor of the time forbade conversion to Christianity or Judaism and in AD 203 the governor of Carthage enforced this edict. Perpetua, who was nursing a newborn son, along with four of her companions were arrested. In clear violation of the emperor's edict, all five people were preparing for baptism. They were tried, refused to renounce their faith and were condemned to death in the arena.

At this time, Perpetua began her diary with an account of her imprisonment and continued it with descriptions of her trial and her father's impassioned, but fruitless plea, for her to renounce her Christian identity.

On the evening before her scheduled death, Perpetua gave her diary to another Christian, who then continued the story of the martyrdom of Perpetua and her fellow Christians. He described how one of Perpetua’s companions—the pregnant slave Felicity—gave birth while in prison; he also wrote of the young Christians’ bravery in the arena when they were attacked by wild beasts and, finally, of Perpetua’s voluntary acceptance of death by the sword.

Perpetua’s diary was read annually in Carthage’s churches for centuries. It was so influential that it was praised by Christians and non-Christians alike and 200 years later sermons were still being written commenting on the young martyr’s words. Perpetua’s text, with its powerful, personal voice, continues to draw readers.

Her death on the 7th of March in AD 203 and the later granting of sainthood has assured that her memory continues to be honored.

During Women's History Month it is appropriate that this Christian Saint should be remembered for her courage, commitment to her faith and the lasting memorial she has left for women everywhere.

I will admit that I had never heard of Perpetua before this evening though I was raised in the Lutheran faith and attended 12 years of parochial school. I heard of her tonight at a church meeting where the minister gave a talk on a Woman Christian saint (in honor of Women's History Month) who is honored by the Catholic church, Lutheran church as well as in other denominations. His presentation on Perpetua touched me and gave me the vibe I was looking for to write this post.

How appropriate that my minister would choose to speak in honor of Women's History Month at the same time that I was searching for something to write on this very event!