Monday, April 12, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 15 "Brick Wall"

KRAMP FAMILY MISSING DOCUMENTS

In the realm of genealogical "brick walls" I've been very fortunate.  Over my 45 years of genealogical research I have been able to eliminate many of the brick walls that had occurred.  When I began my research there were no personal computers, no Internet, certainly no Ancestry and most of my research was done sitting in Library genealogical rooms, writing letters to Germany and Poland, waiting months for answers and encountering many, many brick walls.

Now that we have all the amenities that make research quicker, with the addition of countless records put online, I have been able to solve many of my brick walls.

Some do remain, however, and a portion involve my maternal Kramp family. 

My 2nd great-grandfather, Albert Ludwig Kramp, was born September 22, 1834 in Kathkow, Kreis Bütow, Pommern, Germany.  

His wife, my 2nd great-grandmother, Emilie Friederike Rott, was born December 16, 1840 in Borntuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern, Germany.

Both of those dates I have been able to secure from church book records of Kathkow and Borntuchen now found online.  It is an amazing good fortune that a major portion of the church books for these areas have been indexed and are available for online searching.  But gaps occur and as luck would have it some of those gaps leave brick walls in my research:

1.  Marriage of Albert Kramp and Emilie Rott  I have not been able to ascertain the date and place of their marriage.  The clues that I have amassed include the date of birth of their first child (1857 in Borntuchen, Kreis Bütow).  Since this village was Emilie's birth place as well I can perhaps assume that their marriage took place in Borntuchen.  But there is no absolute proof of this. Marriage records for this time period are not available - YET (!)

2.  Birth/Baptism record of child #1 of above couple, Pauline Kramp, - From her marriage record, immigration record and death record I was able to learn the date of birth of Pauline as December 30, 1857 in Borntuchen.  However, without the actual birth/baptism record from Borntuchen I am unable to prove the birth date is accurate.  There are birth/baptism records available for Borntuchen but they are not available for the years before 1860.  

3.  Birth/Baptism record of child #2 of above couple, Bertha Kramp, (my great-grandmother) - As with her older sister, Pauline, birth/baptism records for Borntuchen were not available at the time of Bertha's birth of July 26, 1860.  Amazingly the availability of birth/baptism records became available as of the beginning of August, 1860 - just not in time for the record I was searching for.  Again, from her marriage record, immigration record and death record I was able to ascertain the date of birth of Bertha.  However, without her actual birth/baptism record I am unable to prove the authenticity of her birth date.

In an interesting discovery for both Bertha and Pauline - they were married in Groß Tuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern, Germany in a double wedding on October 4, 1878.  Pauline married Heinrich Gersonde and Bertha married August Kolberg.  Later both families immigrated to the US, settling in Berrien County, Michigan.  I do have both marriage records as well.

Following the births of Pauline and Bertha, the remaining 8 children of Albert Kramp and Emilie Rott, all have birth/baptism records available for searching and I have been fortunate to find all of them.  Their third child, Robert Ernst Berthold Kramp, was born July 27, 1862 in Borntuchen and birth/baptism records were available for discovery which I was able to obtain.

4.  Birth/Baptism record of child #4 of above couple, Albert Carl Ludwig Kramp, was available in the church books of Borntuchen but for some reason showed only the year of birth as 1864.  His baptism was listed as Nr. 124 of Borntuchen, telling me from knowledge gained from reviewing in depth these church books that his birth was undoubtedly toward the end of the year.  The baptism record showed his godparents as well so it was nearly a complete record albeit without the actual month and day of birth.  Without his actual birth/baptism record, I am unable to ascertain the accurate date of birth.

Between the birth of Albert Carl Ludwig Kramp in late 1864 and late 1866, the family of Albert Ludwig Kramp and Emilie Rott relocated a short distance from Borntuchen to the village of Klein Tuchen where their remaining 6 children were born and, again, those church books are available for searching and I do have all their birth/baptism records which I received in the early 1980's by writing to the Priest in the village of Groß Tuchen where the church was located.  

(These German villages were part of Pomerania during the time my ancestors lived there and the Evangelical Church was the church in which they worshipped.  After WWII when the Germans were expelled from this area it then became part of Poland and the Evangelical church books were transferred to the neighboring Catholic Church and the village was given the Polish name of Tuchomie, Poland.  It was from the wonderfully cooperative priest in Tuchomie that I received reams of valuable documents.  We had a correspondence that lasted nearly 10 years until he was relocated to a different church in Poland.  His cooperation was a blessing.)

The remaining children of Albert Ludwig Kramp and Emilie Rott, all born in Klein Tuchen and baptized in Groß Tuchen are:

Ottilie Friederike Mathilde Kramp - born December 16, 1866.

Emilie Jakobine Catharina Kramp - born November 13, 1868.

Otto Wilhelm Hermann Kramp - born December 3, 1870.

Alwine Marie Wilhelmina Kramp - born January 18, 1873.

Hugo Max Kramp - born April 2, 1875.

Louis Conrad Kramp - born April 27, 1877

In reality I have done exceedingly well with uncovering valuable documents on all the members of this family.  

Albert Ludwig Kramp passed away in 1880 in Klein Tuchen.  Following his death, in stages over the next few years, his wife, Emilie Rott Kramp and her children all immigrated to the US and eventually settled in Berrien County, Michigan.  The only exception to this was their son, Albert Carl Ludwig Kramp, born in 1864 in Borntuchen, who remained in the area where he passed away in 1887. 

Once in the US, after first living in Freeport, Illinois, Emilie Rott Kramp married Ernst Zorr on February 22, 1884. They relocated shortly after to Berrien County, Michigan as well.  This is a photo that I do have of Emilie Rott Kramp and Ernst Zorr taken in approximately 1890 in St. Joseph, Michigan:

I continue to check availability of church books for the above 4 people hoping that the missing years will be discovered and put online.  Time will tell but they are my brick walls in any case.

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte


Monday, April 5, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 14 "Great"

EASTER MEMORIES ARE THE GREATEST

Today is Easter Monday and a perfect time to write about my favorite yearly holiday - Easter.  While other holidays were special in their own way, Easter was the holiday that I have the most intense memories of.

I was born in St. Joseph, Michigan.  My mother was from St. Joseph as well where she grew up while my father was from Detroit.  When I was a young girl we moved to the Detroit suburbs where I grew up and where my brother was born.  We took summer vacations back to St. Joseph to visit my grandparents and all my mother's many relatives and they were fun times.

Easter was the special holiday every year where we always went back to St. Joseph to celebrate.  Two of my mother's brothers and their families also came from the Chicago area to spend the holiday as well.

We had traditions that never failed to excite me even as the years went by.  We always dressed up and went to church as a family group and my grandparents were so proud to have their family together.  Even after my grandfather died in 1960 we continued to gather as a family with my grandmother and church was a special occasion.  The church was always crowded on Easter and one year the uncles were dragging their feet about leaving the house and when we arrived at the church there were no pews left.  The service was also being played through the speakers into the basement and we had to sit in the basement fellowship hall for the service.  The uncles never made that mistake again!

My grandmother always had Easter decorations around the house.  A glass hen candy dish was always filled with chocolate covered eggs and it sat on the buffet in her dining room.  I have this candy dish now and continue to fill it with Hershey's chocolate eggs each Easter:


There was always a lamb cake as the centerpiece of the dining room table; a white frosted cake my grandmother made from a lamb mold and which was covered with coconut.  I have this mold today and my mother and I have made the cake a few times over the years.  It is not the easiest to maneuver when removing the lamb.  Those little ears don't seem to want to stay on and we have been known to use toothpicks under the frosting to keep them in place; we just need to remember not to bite into the toothpick:


The centerpiece on the buffet, however, was my grandmother's home made Easter egg tree.  In the 1940's she boiled eggs and colored them, poked holes in the ends and blew out the insides, cut a small opening in each egg, filled with artificial flowers, etc and with the insertion of pipe cleaners hung them on the tree using branches she collected from the grounds around Lake Michigan.  This was displayed in a large vase every year without fail.

Today the eggs are down to 23 which is amazing given they are over 80 years old.  I treasure these eggs and wrap them carefully.  A few years ago I had them on my buffet in my living room and the windows were open with a nice breeze blowing in.  Suddenly I heard a big crash and when going into the living room I was horrified to see the Easter egg tree had fallen onto the carpet.  Amazingly not one egg was broken!  I know that was my grandmother in heaven making sure that her decoration was still safe:


This Easter I again had my grandmother's Easter decorations on display and though Easter is much different now I still have the greatest memories of this holiday as well as great memories of my special grandmother.  

This is Easter, 1961, the first Easter after the death of my grandfather when my family and the families of my two uncles gathered again in St. Joseph with my grandmother. 

This picture shows my Uncle Leslie Kijak, my grandmother Ella Kolberg Kijak, my mother, Eloris Kijak Schulte and my Uncle Harris Kijak:


All are gone now but the memories remain!

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte

Monday, March 29, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 13 "Music"

ANCESTRAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

Music has always been an integral part of my family.  My mother played the piano and had a beautiful Soprano voice.  She sang with her younger brother at church performances in their youth and progressed to singing in church choirs her entire life.  Her singing always filled our home.  

Going back in my ancestral history I learned early on that two of my great-grandfathers owned interesting musical instruments which came with interesting stories.

My mother's paternal grandfather, John Albert Kijak, was born May 20, 1861 in Taniborz, Poznan, Poland to Thomas Kijak and Balbina Korcz.  He immigrated to the United States, via Canada and into Bay City, Michigan on June 19, 1882.  Even with this exact date, which my grandmother recorded in her journal, I have never been able to find a passenger list containing his name.

In any event, when he came to the US he brought with him this tiny flute which according to my grandparents he had used in Poland to herd sheep.  Years later I learned this instrument is actually called a "recorder":


In Bay City, Michigan John Kijak had a career as a butcher and he also lived for a while in Detroit, Michigan where he worked as a butcher as well.  Here is a photo of John, with his fellow butchers in 1913, while living and working in Detroit, Michigan:


John Kijak in later years when living with his son and family in St. Joseph, Michigan:

My great-grandfather, John Albert Kijak, passed away on August 19, 1945 in St. Joseph, Michigan and he is buried in Resurrection Cemetery also in St. Joseph.  I never knew him as he died just three years before I was born. 

I still have his flute/recorder, however, which by my estimation is at least 150 years old.  It is a treasured keepsake!

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In other musical news, my father's paternal grandfather, Rudolph Myer Schulte, was born October 24, 1869 in Beckum, Westfalen, Preußen, Germany to Joseph Meyer Schulte and Alvina Tobian.  Together with his parents, Rudolph (aged 2 1/2) arrived in the United States on April 24, 1872 after two weeks at sea going directly to Detroit, Michigan.

As an adult Rudolph was a Detroit City Fireman and a Wayne County Sheriff and in later years he was an insurance salesman.  

As an insurance salesman Rudolph took payments from his customers for their premiums.  At one point in the 1920's a customer did not have the money for his premium.  He suggested a swap to Rudolph of a German violin and Rudolph accepted this and evidently paid the man's premium out of his own pocket.

The violin was passed down in the family over the years and eventually my father received it.  My father, a great jokester, would always tell me that (1) it was a Stradivarius and (2) that he could play it himself.  Both were big jokes.  He definitely could not play it and it certainly was not a Stradivarius though it was truly a German made violin with a date inside of 1850.

I have the violin in my home now and have had it appraised and repaired.  It rests in my china cabinet and is a treasured keepsake from my great-grandfather:

Here is a photo of the Detroit Firefighters Group with Rudolph Schulte in the bottom row, far right:

Rudolph at 21 years old:


Rudolph Schulte passed away in Detroit on April 1, 1940 and he is buried in Elmwood Cemetery also in Detroit.  I never knew him but I have many photos and have learned many interesting stories about him that are special to me.

Monday, March 22, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 12 "Loss"

LOSS OF CHILDREN

In studying the history of our ancestors it is quite common to find couples who suffered the loss of multiple children.  There were many causes for infant mortality in the 1800's and early 1900's.  In Germany infant mortality was very high with one out of three newborn infants not living past the age of 1.

In my research on my maternal Kolberg family I found two such instances of multiple deaths of children born both in Germany and in the US.

My great-grandfather, August Kolberg, and his 6 brothers all had large families.  August and 4 of his brothers came to the US bringing their children born in Germany with them and continuing to have children in this country.  His two brothers who remained in Germany also had large families.  Together these 7 brothers had over 70 children between them.

The oldest Kolberg brother, my 2nd great uncle, Friedrich-Wilhelm Kolberg, Jr. and his wife, Hermine Augusta Melchert, however, suffered the great loss of all of their children as infants.

Friedrich-Wilhelm Kolberg, Jr. was born September 28, 1852 in Klein Tuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern, Germany.  On January 7, 1881, in Reinwasser, Kreis Rummelsburg, Pommern, Germany, he married Hermine Augusta Melchert.  As was common in those days they immediately started a family, however, all 7 of their children died as  infants or young children as follows:

Martha Marie Franziska born May 28, 1882 and died July 19, 1882 at 1 month, 22 days old.

Paul Willi born December 25, 1883 and died August 3, 1886 at 2 years, 7 months old.

Fritz Wilhelm born May 27, 1885 and died April 21, 1886 at 10 months, 25 days old.

Erich Ernst Franz born November 12, 1886 and died January 24, 1887 at 2 months, 12 days old.

Ernst Friedrich Paul born January 17, 1888 and died February 5, 1888 at 19 days old.

Max Friedrich Adam born November 1, 1889 and died November 20, 1889 at 19 days old.

Clara Maria Emilie born in 1893 and died February 10, 1893. Death record only shows exact date of death.  Birth is shown as 1893.

I was fortunate to be able to obtain the birth/baptism records for each of the children along with their death records which verify the above information.  As was typical in that time period Hermine Kolberg was giving birth in rapid order through the years.  After giving birth to these 7 children, and losing all of them, Hermine herself passed away on January 5, 1898.  

In the near 17 years that Friedrich-Wilhelm was married to Hermine he lost all of his children as well as his wife.  These would have been very sad and depressing events for him to shoulder.

During these years, 4 of Friedrich-Wilhelm's brothers were already living in the US and growing their families.  I often wondered if the brothers stayed in touch with Friedrich-Wilhelm by mail and knew of the tragedies he was experiencing.

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On to the next generation in my Kolberg family and a similar experience of multiple losses of children.  My great aunt, Hedwig Johanne Auguste Kolberg, was born June 2, 1880 in Klein Tuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern, Germany to my great-grandparents, August Kolberg and Bertha Kramp.  On November 25, 1883 she and her parents arrived in New York on their way to southwest Michigan.  She was 3 1/2 years old at the time.

On November 4, 1899 Hedwig married Emil Fred Kuse in St. Joseph, Berrien County, Michigan and they immediately started a family which would consist of 10 children.  They would lose 8 of their children as infants and even as young adults, lose a 9th child as an adult due to the effects of WWII and only one daughter, their 10 child, would live a full life:

Norma Kuse born September 5, 1900, died January 26, 1928 due to tuberculosis at the age of 27. She had already married and had two young children ages 7 and 5 when she passed away.  Her husband never remarried and raised the children himself.  

Arlie Kuse born July 12, 1902 and died March 20, 1903 of convulsions.  He was 8 months old.

Edna Kuse born February 5, 1904 and died November 8, 1949 of acute myocarditis.  She also was married and had two sons when she passed away.  She did live to the age of 45 years but predeceased her parents which was another loss for them to bear.

Elsie Helen Kuse born April 19, 1905 and died November 13, 1924 of pulmonary tuberculosis at 19 years old.  She had been married just a little over 1 year and was yet another child who predeceased her parents.

Lawrence Kuse born May 27, 1909 and died August 17, 1909 at 2 months of cholera infantum.

Clarence William Kuse, twin brother of Lawrence, born May 27, 1909 and died July 21, 1910 at 13 months of congestion of lungs and convulsions.

Robert Kuse born January 16, 1913 and died January 18, 1913 at 2 days old of spontaneous hemorrhage and prematurity.

George Kuse born November 19, 1914 and died March 24, 1923 at 8 years old of diphtheria.

Earl Eugene Kuse born February 13, 1917 and died January 13, 1972 at 54 years old.  While he did outlive his parents he spent most of his adult life, following his service in WWII, in a VA Hospital for what would be referred to today as PTSD. This was a continuing heartbreak for both his parents for the remainder of their lives.

Doris Laverne Kuse born July 20, 1920 and died April 7, 2005 at the age of 84. Doris was the only one of the 10 children of Hedwig and Emil Kuse who lived a full life, married and had children and grandchildren. 

I remember my great aunt, Hedwig, very well despite the fact that I was not quite 8 when she passed away.  Whenever I was able to visit with her she was always sweet, pleasant and upbeat.  She had a great faith which certainly carried her through the tough times of her life.

I remember my great uncle Emil a bit less as I was only 5 when he passed away but I do know that he appeared gruff and a bit scary to a young child.  Perhaps the losses he and Hedwig had in their life made him appear so.

Losses were certainly a huge part of the life of my great aunt Hedwig and her husband as well as HER uncle Friedrich-Wilhelm Kolberg and his wife.  Despite the losses I do know that my great aunt Hedwig did manage to rise above the pain and provided love for her great nieces and great nephews.

Here is a photo of myself as a newborn with great aunt Hedwig and great uncle Emil, the only photo I have of him:

Hedwig and Emil Kuse
with Cheryl Schulte
ca 1948

On second glance at this photo, I don't think my great uncle Emil looks all that scary!  


Monday, March 15, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 11 "Fortune"

MY GRANDMOTHER, THE LANDLADY

This week's topic in the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge is "Fortune".  My post will be a different take on the word "fortune".

My maternal Kijak grandparents had many homes in their life.  Most of the homes were rentals; they purchased a home and farm property in the early 1920's, and my mother was born in this home, but during the depression they lost the home and property.  It wasn't until later that they were able to purchase their own home in St. Joseph, Michigan.

The home was large - it had 2 bedrooms and a bath, living room, dining room, kitchen on the main floor but another 4 bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor.  At first my mother's 3 brothers each had a bedroom on the second floor and my grandfather's father, who lived with them, had the 4th bedroom.  But as their sons grew and left home and my grandfather and his father passed away, my grandmother decided to rent out the upstairs rooms to make a little extra money.  "Little" is the operative word here!  I will say that there was a separate entrance to these rooms so that nobody passed through the house itself on their way to their rooms.  

These rooms were offered strictly as sleeping room with no meals offered.  The rooms each had a bed, dresser, closet and the shared bathroom down the hall.  Because of the shared bathroom she only rented to men. My grandmother made the beds each day, changed the linens and towels and cleaned the rooms.  For that work she charged the mammoth price of $1 per day or $7 per week.  I will say that she always had all 4 rooms rented.  Many of her renters remained for the 10 years that she did this until she sold the home and moved into a senior citizens complex.  When her family would come to visit, such as on Easter, she would inform her renters that her family was coming for x amount of days and they would find other accommodations for those days and then would return after we would all leave.  

Yes, the cost of living was much lower in the 1960's but $7 a week per room did not add much to my grandmother's income.  She was a hard worker and a pleasant landlady and she never had any issues with her renters.

UNTIL...one tenant came and stayed quite a while with no issues.  He was agreeable and followed the rules.  However, when he chose to leave he left behind something that caused a big concern for my grandmother.

In cleaning his room after he vacated my grandmother noticed a box left behind on the shelf in the closet.  In looking through the box she was perplexed - what were all these apparatuses?  She asked the husband of one of her nieces and he told her that it looked like coin counterfeiting equipment and he advised she call the police. 

The police were called and indeed it was equipment used in counterfeiting coin.  My grandmother answered questions and this progressed to a federal case.  She eventually had to go to Kalamazoo, Michigan to the Federal Court Building to testify in this matter.  

Whatever happened to the perpetrator I don't know.  But I do know that it frightened my grandmother to think that such activity was going on in her own home without her knowledge. 

Fortune - My grandmother certainly never made a fortune in her lifetime despite hard work and dedication.  But she did have the experience of seeing somebody else's interpretation of fortune albeit in a felonious manner.

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte 

Monday, March 8, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 10 "Names The Same"

GRANDMA'S ELLA

When I was growing up it seemed that everyone referred to their grandparents as "Grandma Smith" or "Grandpa Jones" and never used their first names.  In recent years I have noted that my godchildren and their children refer to THEIR grandparents as "Grandma Elsie" or "Grandpa Joe", etc.  That would never have worked for me!

My maternal and paternal grandmothers both had the name "Ella".  It was never confusing as I always referred to them as "Grandma Kijak" or "Grandma Schulte".  As a child I can remember thinking that everyone's grandmothers were named Ella!  While they may have had the same name they were very different.

My maternal grandmother was born Ella Emma Louise Kolberg on August 8,1895 in Stevensville, Michigan on the southwestern side of the state.  She grew up on the family farm and attended the local Lutheran church.  She had two older sisters and three older brothers and was the youngest in her family.  Her parents had lost three other children earlier.


  Robert, Ella and Hugo Kolberg
ca 1900

On March 10, 1910 she was confirmed at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Stevensville.

Ella Kolberg, 1910

On June 17, 1914, at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Joseph, Michigan, Ella married Joseph Kijak.  They were to have 3 sons and 1 daughter (my mother).

Joseph Kijak and Ella Kolberg Wedding
June 17, 1914

The locket she wore on her wedding day contains two small photos of both herself and her new husband.  That locket, now 106 years old, has been handed down to me and I cherish it.

On August 8, 1945, Ella's 50th birthday, a formal photo was taken of my Kijak grandparents.


Ella and Joseph Kijak
August 8, 1945

I was very close to my Kijak grandparents as this picture shows, even though I grew up in the Detroit suburbs, a good 200 miles away from St. Joseph and only visited them several times a year. 


My brother and myself with my Kijak grandparents
1958

My grandfather passed away in 1960 and my grandmother in 1973. They are buried together in Lincoln Township Cemetery in Stevensville, Michigan. My grandmother was an excellent seamstress and did crafts as well and my home, today, contains many keepsake items from her that are very special to me.

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My paternal grandmother was born Ella Anna Helene Wellhausen on November 15, 1896 in Detroit, Michigan. She grew up in Macomb County, Michigan and attended the local Lutheran church in Fraser.  She had an older sister and a younger brother.  Her parents ran a local general store.  She was close to her older sister, Gertrude, and they won a contest in 1900 which was covered by the local paper.


Gertrude and Ella Wellhausen
"Dancing Darlings of Macomb County"
1900

She was confirmed at St. John's Lutheran Church in Fraser, Michigan.  I marvel at her hairstyle; definitely a style I never saw years later on my grandmother!

Ella Wellhausen Confirmation

On December 24, 1917, at First Lutheran Church in Waco, Texas, Ella married Elmer Schulte as he was preparing to serve in France in WWI.  They were to have 1 daughter and 2 sons, one of which was my father.


Elmer Schulte and Ella Wellhausen Weddinig
December 24, 1917

I have been blessed to have received the original of their wedding photo which is a cherished possession of mine.  It was displayed in an oval frame in their home for their entire marriage.

My Schulte grandparents were blessed to have 50 years of marriage and celebrated this anniversary by renewing their wedding vows.




Elmer and Ella Wellhausen
Golden Wedding Anniversary
December 24, 1967

My grandfather was to pass away nearly one month after this anniversary in 1968.  My grandmother passed away in 1989 and both are buried in Gethsemane Cemetery in Detroit.  I do have my grandmother Schulte to thank for my interest in genealogy as she was to assist me at the beginning of my journey.

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Having both grandmothers named "Ella" did not really cause much confusion.  One set of grandparents lived in Detroit and the other set in St. Joseph, Michigan.  I would say "never the twain did meet" but that was not true.

In a twist of fate my maternal grandmother, Ella Kolberg Kijak's brother, Hugo Kolberg, (as seen above in their childhood photo) would have a career in Detroit where he settled.  He would meet, fall in love with and marry my paternal grandmother, Ella Wellhausen Schulte's sister, Gertrude Wellhausen, (as seen above in the 'Dancing Darlings' photo).  The two families would be forever merged and would be the impetus for my own parents meeting.  

But that is a story for another time!

Monday, March 1, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 9 "Multiples"

THE SCHLUESSLER TWINS

In all my years of genealogical research I have not uncovered evidence of many multiple births in my direct line.  Recently I did learn from newly released church books from Tangen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern that my 4th great grandfather, Joachim Kautz was a twin.  Joachim and his twin brother, George Kautz, were born August 12, 1759 in Tangen to parents Joachim Kautz and Anna Marie Jarke. This was an interesting discovery for me and only the second set of twins in my direct line.  Definitely more research will be needed on these twins to see if I can flesh out more information on them.

For the purposes of this post, though, I am featuring my great-grandmother and her twin brother.  As I have written before about this great-grandmother and her Valentine, 1895 wedding, Emilie Auguste Christina Schluessler and her twin brother, Albert August Christian Schluessler, were born November 25, 1876 in Sterling Township, Macomb County, Michigan to parents Wilhelm Schluessler and Emilie Schauer as their 4th and 5th children.  As I was 16 when my great-grandmother passed away I did know her well and she often discussed the fact that she was a twin.

Both Emilie and Albert were baptized on December 3, 1876 at St. John's Lutheran Church in Fraser, Macomb County, Michigan.  It is interesting to note that their two middle names mirrored each other.  Each baby had 3 godparents but none of their godparents were family members.  

Eventually Emilie would marry George Wellhausen on February 14, 1895 at St. John's and twin brother, Albert would marry Anna Auguste Quandt (Annie) on September 4, 1909 in Detroit.  Both families settled in the Utica/Sterling Township, Michigan areas and raised their respective families there.  

Albert Schluessler passed away on November 7, 1944 in Utica and he is buried in Utica Cemetery.  His wife, Anna (Annie), 14 years younger than him lived to the age of 102 passing away on February 25, 1993 in Utica, Michigan.  She is buried with Albert in Utica Cemetery.

My great-grandmother, Emilie Schluessler Wellhausen, passed away on May 25, 1963 in St. Clair Shores, Michigan and is buried with her husband, George Wellhausen, in Utica Cemetery as well.  George Wellhausen died on April 8, 1938 in Utica.

This is the only photo I have that includes Albert Schluessler:


Left to Right:  Emilie Schluessler Wellhausen, Annie Quandt Schluessler,
 Albert Schluessler, Helena Schluessler Herz Rine and son Edward Herz,
Catherine Quandt, mother of Annie
Picture taken before 1928

This is all pretty much dry material in the research of one's family.  While names, dates, places are vital pieces of information adding some flavor to the story adds quality.

When I began my research in the 1970's I questioned my grandmother, Ella Wellhausen Schulte, about her family.  She mentioned to me one day that she still had an aunt living.  This surprised me as my grandmother was then 82 years old herself.  She explained that the wife of her Uncle Albert (her mother's twin brother) was still living as she had been much younger than her husband.  In reality Annie Quandt Schluessler was only 6 years older than my grandmother.

I suggested that we go and visit her aunt but my grandmother didn't feel inclined to do that.  She made excuses such as "Aunt Annie won't remember me", "I haven't seen or talked to her in years", etc.  I took it upon myself one day to just telephone Aunt Annie in Utica.  I explained who I was and she was very gracious and pleased to hear from someone in the family.  Of course, she knew who my grandmother was and she invited us to come visit her.  She also mentioned another niece, Helen Steffen, and wondered if she could come with us to visit her as well.  I set it up with her and THEN told my grandmother!

Once everything was arranged and my grandmother was assured that her Aunt Annie was eager to see us my grandmother was on board.  We contacted my grandmother's cousin, Helen Rine Steffen, who was also excited to pay Aunt Annie a visit.  

We found Aunt Annie, at 88 years young, to be gracious and pleasant.  She had baked a cake and served us cake and coffee.  She had a beautiful home where she still lived independently and showed us her beautiful flower gardens that she tended herself.  Her daughter had come to visit as well and we had a wonderful afternoon:

Aunt Annie Schluessler in center with nieces,
Ella Wellhausen Schulte on left and
Helen Rine Steffen on right
1978

Not long after my grandmother gave me a box of old photos and what did I find but a photo of these same 3 women, standing in the same position, dated 1918 - 60 years previous:


Ella Wellhausen Schulte, Aunt Annie Schluessler,
Helen Rine Steffen,
1918

Undoubtedly they had seen each other during the 60 year interval but it was an interesting photo in any case and another example of "multiples"!  Multiple photos of the same trio.

Copyright 2021, Cheryl J. Schulte