But life, in the words of the immortal John Lennon, is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Life brought me a few awesome tidbits this week which have sent me spinning off into my German families. It's so much at once that I'm afraid I'll have to post more than once about it.
I've spoken before of the ridiculously small amount of knowledge I have about my mother's Prussian roots. Her family didn't share information or pass down much in the way of history and anything that my great-grandmother Minna Anna Louise (Papstein) Depperman ever had was lost when it was all placed in a sale to help fund her last days in a nursing home.
|Johannah Amelia (Papstein) Hoff|
Out of the blue a few nights ago I get an email from Marie's elder brother. He sent me a map of the Pommern area of Germany and mentioned that our common ancestor (my g-g-grandfather and his grandfather August Karl Papstein, b. 6 Sep 1864 in Neu Labenz, Kreiß Dramburg, Hinterpommern, Prussia (which is now Poland) had a much older sister named Johannah Amelia Papstein, born in June of 1848. The news itself didn't surprise me because I've always assumed August had siblings (and his obituary said he had a twin sister) but I was surprised to learn that he was one of the younger siblings in his family. I was also a bit surprised because I didn't figure I ever would know any of his siblings. I assumed many of them were still in Germany and were lost to me.
While I scurried to Ancestry and finally found Johannah Amelia Papstein after a rather diligent search, I received another email from my cousin who'd told me about Johannah. He sent me a few pictures, one of which I was especially thrilled with! My next post will be all about this picture and some of the things he and I have spoken about and I can't wait to share that. This post, though, is about Johannah.
When I learned that Johannah was born in June of 1848 it occurred to me that, as incredible as it may seem, my cousin Marie (and her brother, the cousin I just mentioned who sent me the picture) has an AUNT born 164 years ago! Wow! They have me beat. My eldest aunt was only born in 1887.
Anyway, I learned that Johannah Amelia was born in or around Labenz in Kreiß Dramburg, Hinterpommern, Prussia (which is now Poland.) I began a correspondence with the author of the tree containing Johannah and Albert and their descendants. Turns out she and I are 4th cousins since our great-great-grandparents (August and Johannah) were siblings. We exchanged info back and forth - she let me know that Johannah had married Albert A.J. Hoff there around 1870 and they had at least three children that she knew of - and then they decided to emigrate to America.
|Wilhelmina (Koplen) Papstein|
On the lists were the names of three additional children my cousin did not know about! I looked at the 1900 census for Albert and Johannah in Kankakee Co., IL and it stated she was the mother of nine, with six of those still living. By the time we put the passenger list together with the census records, we determined that their chidren were Anna (1872), unknown (c1874-bef 1885), unknown (c1876-bef 1885), August (c1877), Emma (1879), Bertha (1881), Martha (1883), unknown (c1886-bef 1900), and Albert (1887).
But I'm sure by now you've noticed the pictures. Oh my! This was the best! She sent me the picture of Johannah that you see posted here but not only did she have a picture of Johannah, she had a picture....of her MOTHER!
I know I squealed. Hah!
Up until now, I have had no information about Friedrich Papstein and his wife Wilhelmina Koplen/Kopplin/Koplin, other than their names. Yet there Wilhelmina was on my cousin's tree, austerely peering at me from underneath her great white bonnet. I see my g-grandmother Minna in her eyes. I asked my cousin about the pictures but she doesn't know if they came from Germany or were done here in the states. However, she did say she obtained them from her great aunt and that all of them were huge 16x20s, 'seemingly done at one time.'
I post them here hoping that one of my readers will take a look at these and help me date them. I 'think' I have a relatively good idea as to the date of Johanna's picture (the one posted at the front of this post).) Firstly, she is wearing a memory charm housing a picture of a child, perhaps a young boy. Her collar is high and her dress mourning black with a simple stripe of decorative gathering along the sides. It's hard to judge by her hairstyle since she likely wears it as she did when she was younger but the age she looks (in her 40s) the dress and the high collar makes me want to date this in the early to mid 1880's. She might've had it done prior to leaving for America or when she arrived to send back to family.
Now to the picture of Wilhelmina. I've studied this one and the more I look at it, the more it seems that this is an older picture, re-done. Perhaps Johanna took it with her when she left to remember her mother by? Though I don't know.....even though the ornate white tightly looped bonnet, severe hair, and large criss-cross tie make me think this is a picture from the late 1850's-early 1860's, Wilhelmina's age (she was probably b. c1828 or so if Johanna was born 1848) makes me believe it is quite a bit later. Perhaps the 1880's? My cousin wondered if it could have been taken at the same time as Johanna's (therefore giving us a clue that Wilhelmina ALSO came to America!) and that is certainly possible, but I really don't know.
What do you all think?
Oh, more pictures soon!