I know that I've spent some time lately reciting places and deeds and names and information, without the color. It was never my intention to let this blog become some dry recitation of fact. When I began it, I intended it to be a place where my family stories could come alive. It's just that I've been dwelling lately on John Browning and his connection to my Samuel because of my upcoming trip to Ohio. This too shall pass?
So, tonight I switch families for a bit. My mother's roots are in Germany. Her grandparents both "came over on the boat" in the late 1880's/early 1890's. Her family settled in Will County, Illinois, a very German-populated area. I've featured her father and her uncle (my grandfather Frank and his brother Freddie) on this blog before but I haven't done much research on their ancestry. To begin with, the family was fractured and it's been hard to gather information from all the various fractures. Then there's the fact that they're Germans, a recalcitrant bunch, and very unwilling to sit down and talk about family. I still mourn the fact that at my great-grandmother's death in 1985, her children were willing to sell many (if not most) of her treasures. I was only a teenager then and didn't realize what was going on or that it would someday give me such grief that it had happened like that.
The family bible her parents had brought over from Germany might very well have been one of those things -- it seems to have disappeared. I don't know if it's still in the family but all the avenues I've explored have come up empty. As a child I remember looking through it -- it was big, and in German, and it held a picture of my g-g-grandfather August Karl Papstein standing proudly amongst the Lippanzer stallions he trained for Kaiser Wilhelm.
Tonight I concentrate on the descendants of my g-g-grandmother's sister, Minna. Up until tonight I didn't even know her full name! My g-g-grandmother, Anna Marie Louise Koehn, was the daughter of Johann Koehn and Johanna Vierkow (Virikow?) Anna was born in 1868 and her younger sister Minna in 1875. All I knew about Minna prior to tonight was what had been printed in Anna Marie Louise's obituary (to the right) -- that Minna had married a man named Albert Salzwedel and moved to Minnesota.
I came across Minna's name again yesterday and thought to myself that I should look her family up on Ancestry. How hard could it be to find the Salzwedels? Sure enough, it only took about twenty minutes for me to find them in the 1900-1930 censuses as well as the Minnesota Birth and Death listings and locate their children, grandchildren and g-grandchildren.
Minnie's full name was Minna Mathilda Louise Koehn. She married Albert Salzwedel around 1892 and the couple settled in White Heron Township in Jackson County, Minnesota. They had at least four children: Albert Frederick Karl (b. Dec 1893), William Albert August (b. Nov 1895), Minnie (b. Nov 1897), and Walter (b. c1908). I also managed to trace a few more generations of Albert Frederick's family and William Albert's.
Minnie Mathilda died in June of 1971 in Jackson County. Her husband Albert had died there in October of 1946.
I think it would be interesting for me to do some cold calling to some of the Salzwedels that are descended from Minnie. I'd love to know what -- if anything -- they know about their German ancestry. I'd also hope to find out that they're a warmer bunch than that side of my immediate family!
I think I'll probably do that after I return from Ohio.
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