Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Our Oma was Born 130 Years Ago Today

Anna Selma Gläser Graupner (29 April 1879 -24 April 1968)
In celebration of Oma Anna's 130th birthday anniversary, I am reproducing the following letter which she wrote while still living in Schlangenbad and sent to The Carl Graupner Family on 10 May 1958. Oma wrote to both respond to the congratulatory letters she had received for her 59th birthday and to acknowledge Jim Graupner's Confirmation, 18 May 1958. Philip Graupner did the transcription and translation. Oma's original letter (which will enlarge when clicked) and the photo from Jim's collection shows Grandma Anna Gläser Graupner a couple of years later in her new home in Bärstadt. JFG

(1958.05.10 Oma an Carl Graupners...German)

Schlangenbad, d. 10.5.58

Mein lieber Karl, meine liebe Gertrude u. Enkelkinder!

Ich sage Euch allen vielen, vielen Dank für Eure Glückwünsche zu meinem Geburtstag. Ich habe mich so gefreut, daß ich Briefe bekam, von allen meinen Kindern und auch von allen meinen Geschwistern, die noch leben. Wir haben schon Sonntag Nachmittag alle beisammen gesessen und Kaffee getrunken. Ich hatte einen Quarkkuchen gebacken und einen Stachelbeer und einen Kirschkuchen fertig gemacht. Auch Else, vielmehr Erika hatte noch eine Torte gebacken, die hat sie mitgebracht. Dorle und ihre Familie war hier, so waren wir eine schöne Tischrunde. Es war auch ein schöner sonniger Tag. Nach dem Kaffee wurde erzählt, haben Euch nicht die Ohren geklungen? Auch Elslein hat geschrieben, da kamen wir gleich auf Amerika zu sprechen. Wir haben so gutes Wetter, die letzten Apriltage waren schon sommerlich warm und im Mai ist es so weitergegangen. Es regnet auch mal, aber gleich ist es auch wieder schön, ein richtiges Wachswetter. Es steht nun auch alles in Blüte, der Wald ist mit einem mal grün geworden, das helle junge Grün, es ist eine Pracht, ich wünschte Ihr könntet einmal im Frühling hier sein. Eure liebe Mama hat auch wieder so einen schönen Brief geschrieben, da bin ich gleich wieder über alle und alles orientiert. Sagt der Oma vielen Dank und viele Grüße, auch dem Opa.

Nun wird auch Jimmy, Euer dritter schon Konfirmiert. Ich wünsche ihm und Euch viel Glück dazu. Es freut mich auch daß Eure Kinder gut in der Schule sind und daß auch einige Liebe zur Musik haben. Elses Jüngste die Ursel will dies Jahr, so Gott will, ihr Abitur machen, aber studieren wird sie nicht weiter. Liebe Gertrud, Du kannst gut und richtig schreiben, Deine Briefe können wir gut lesen. Auch Deine Mama schreibt noch immer gut Deutsch.

Gleich wird Elsa u. ihre Fam. rüber kommen, wir wollen bei uns Kaffee trinken, Du weißt wohl, daß wir Tür an Türe wohnen. Das ist schön.

Nun grüße ich Euch alle herzlich und wünsche Euch alles Gute...

Eure Mutter u. Oma.

Vergeßt nicht die Großmama u. den Großpapa zu grüßen.

(1958.05.10 Oma to Carl Graupners...English)

Schlangenbad, May 10, 1958

My dear Carl, my dear Gertrude and Grandchildren!

Many, many thanks for your best wishes for my birthday. I was so pleased that I got letters from all of my children and from all of my siblings that are still alive. We were already all together on Sunday afternoon for coffee. I baked a cheese cake and got a gooseberry- and a cherry-cake ready. Else too, actually Erika, had baked a tort which she brought along. Dorle and her family were here, so we had a nice group around the table. And it was a beautiful, sunny day. After coffee we started telling stories. Did your ears ring?* Elslein had written too, and so we started to talk about America right away. We have such wonderful weather; the last days of April were already summery warm and in May it just kept on so. It does rain once in a while but right away it is nice again; perfect growing weather. Now everything is blossoming and the wood turned green all at once, the bright, young green; it is magnificent. I wish you could be here sometime in spring. Your dear Mother also wrote such a nice letter again; now I am again up-to-date on everyone and everything. Tell her thanks and many greetings, also to Grandpa.

Now Jimmy, your third, will already be confirmed. I wish him and all of you a good time for that. I am pleased that your children are good in school and some are interested in music. Else's youngest Ursel will, God willing, make her Abitur this year but won't go on to study.* Dear Gertrude, you can write well and correct; one can read your letters easily. Your mother too, also still writes German well.

Elsa and her family will be here soon. We want to have coffee here. You know that we live directly next door to each other. This is nice.

Now I greet all of you and wish you the best...

Your Mother and Grandmother.

Don't forget to greet Grandma and Grandpa [Emma and Arthur Boock] for me.

[* "ears ring"...The Germans always say that if you talk about someone far away that they will notice, because their ears ring.

"Abitur"...the leaving examination of the preparatory high school called "Gymnasium", approximately equal to our high school diploma and two years of college. Abitur allows one to study at a German University toward a doctorate degree. Ursel did go on to study at a teaching college to become a teacher....not considered a "Studium". ]

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christian Frederick Boock Obituary: New Ulm Post

Darcy Kleeman Boock provided this German-language obituary for Christian Friederich Boock, who died on 9 December 1888. It is from the NEW ULM POST, Freitag, den. 16. Dezember. 1888, Page 8, Col. 3. I copied it several years ago at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. C. F. Boock died on 9 December 1888 in New Ulm, being 62 years of age. The obituary states that his marriage to Marie Albrecht produced three children: Mary (Mrs. August Friederich Raabe), George (m. Schriefer, who died in 1943 in California), and Gustav. However, a fourth child, Fred, who was their third child (between George and Gustav), who died when he was 14 [The Settler, 1982, p. 10).

Christ. Friedrich Boock, one of the founders of New Ulm, died last Sunday at an age somewhat more than 62 years, from a relapse of a nerve-fever (typhus), from which it was thought he just recovered. The deceased was born on 15 November, 1826 in Ostdorf in Schleswig. Later he learned the wagon-making trade and started his journeyman travels out into the wide world. At the beginning of the 50's he came to New Ulm. He married Maria Albrecht, a sister of Mr. Karl Albrecht of Lafayette, in 1856, who was taken from him by death in 1870. In 1871, he was married a second time, to Miss Wilhelmine Plath. She and 10 children, of which 3 are from the first marriage (Mrs. August Rabe, Georg and Gustav Boock) and 7 from the second marriage, mourn the so unexpected death of their husband and father. He was a ceaselessly active head of house, citizen and member of the Lutheran congregation, which held its first meeting in his house in 1865 and of which he was a founder. He often was an elder of the congregation and also proposed the founding of Dr. Martin Luther College, of which he was an enthusiastic supporter until the end. As a member of the town council too, he tried to promote the well-being of his fellow citizens.
His burial took place on Monday afternoon with many attending. An experienced and active life has now reached the goal what awaits all of us. May he find the rest of which he had so little during his life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christian Frederick Boock Letter: 25 December 1865

[Letter from Marilyn Boock Schmidt collection; typed by Darcy Kleeman Boock]
[Colorized detail of Christian Friederich Boock, taken on the occasion of his marriage to Wilhelmine Plath in 1857. jfg collection]

New Ulm, December 25, 1865

Dear Brother-in-law,

I have received your letter of April written by William, as well as the letter of November 26. The first one was a happy one, but the second saddened us very much. Although Christmas is a time of joy for every Christian, yet the news that my sister had died was like a funeral to us. It is true, we all have to pass through death out of this world, but I’m sure, your children will miss their loving mother who lived such an exemplary life at all times, instructed them well, here’s hoping her instructions will not have been wasted by careless living. She was a Godfearing and righteous woman and a loving mother. Everyone will observe whether the children will take after her and her living. A good, but terrible example you find in Frank Jönke, which is the result of the parent’s proud upbringing of their children who then believed they were better than any other children. He showed his vain character when he dealt with me as though I were his servent, after I had returned from my travels, I had a better look of life than he. He left home as s chest manufacturer and returned somewhat more stupid. When I left home, I knew nothing about chest building, but through experience I acquired knowledge sufficiently that I landed a job in woodworking in Berlin. He earned considerable monies, but squandered it, but when I returned, I brought about $100 along. He prided himself on his education, but of what use is it, if you live the life of a pig which everyone despises. I don’t like to brag, but here and wherever I have lived, I have always been considered a gentleman. At present we have founded an Evangelical congregation and decided to build a church. I have been selected as a member of the church council and authorized to supervise the building of the church.
Pride cometh before the fall, which is true, so it is necessary for us to remain humble, and not aim for superior goals, but be satisfied with the simple things in life.
Dear brother-in-law I addressed myself to your children whom I also love and wish to remind them with a warning which I know you will not be lacking to bring them up to become honorable citizens. It is very difficult for us to express our sincere sadness over the loss of your wife, and only the thought of the hereafter solaces us, when our time comes to leave this earth that we will again meet in a better place. Though her death is a terrible blow for us, we still will say “The Lord’s ways are wonderful and the earth is full of His makings.”
Concerning me and my family I can’t thank the Lord enough for our health which He has given us. And further I pray for continued health not for riches, because a healthy person is rich enough to be able to work while I can, my rule is this “Hard work makes life sweet.” We, too, have begun preparations for the Christmas season, as such as the sadness of sister’s death permits. The children above all rejoice the most for the simple gifts which they receive just like in Old Germany.
There isn’t much to write about our political problems. The war is over and everything is moving along in a normal way. Slavery has ended. This was one of the most despicable blemishes on the Republic.
In my last letter I mentioned that some children of my brother intended to come to America, but must have changed their minds and didn’t come. When I told my renter about their coming, he moved off the farm. So when they did not come, the farm remained empty, by which I lost considerable money. However I had others plant the cultivated land, so I did not lose all. I now have another renter.
Dear William, your portrait (photo) in the last letter made us all happy. I am sending herewith our portrait of my wife and me, which I hope, you will accept with the best of wishes and they may be found acceptable to you.
Many hearty greetings from me, my wife, and children to all of you and wish you a Happy New Year and hope all are well. Please answer soon.

Your beloved brother-in-law

Friederich Boock

The photographers here haven’t acquired the skill yet of producing good portraits like those in Berlin, as you have noticed in studying our portraits.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christian Frederick Boock Letters (1860-1873)

Christian Frederick Boock was born on 15 November 1826, the son of Elizabeth Johnke and Peter Boock, in Ostdorf Germany. In 1854, Christian emigrated to the United States; "he came to Chicago in 1855, then to Lafayette Township in Brown County in 1856, where he took a homestead. That was sold and in 1863 he came to New Ulm, where he bought a lot from the German Land Association of Minnesota." [Gertrude Boock Graupner]

Christian Frederick was first married to Mary Albrecht (1857), who died in 1870 in New Ulm, with four young children: Mary Boock (married August Raabe), George (married Schriefer), Fred, and Gustav. Christian Frederick subsequently married Wilhelmine Ernstine Plath, in New Ulm on May 17, 1871; to this union seven children were born: Ida (m. Adolph Klause), Emma Theresa (m. Ed Cordes, then William Ruemke Jr.), Albert Peter (m. Emma Ruemke), Friedricka (m. Hermann Hardt), Arthur Lincoln (m. Emma Aufderheide), Wilhelmine (m. Louis Broecker) and Oscar (m. Cora Custman). He died in the winter of 1888 in New Ulm, Minnesota. The first of the three letters is printed below. Letters from 1865 and 1873 will be posted later.

Recently, in planning discussions for a family reunion in 2009, Marilyn Boock Schmidt referred to a series of letters between 1860 and 1873 that C. F. Boock had written to family members in Germany:

Marilyn Boock Schmidt wrote:

" About Christian Frederick Boock's farm in LaFayette: I have copies of three letters he wrote back to Germany in the 1800's. Someone, somewhere translated and typed them. I've promised Wolfgang Boock (who collects old letters) copies but haven't done that yet. Perhaps some of you also have these.

In one addressed to Dear Sister and Brother-in-law, dated Lafayette, June 29, 1860, Christian writes "the government announced that a large section of land had to be paid up by the immigrants who were using it. Part of our land was included in that section. We had 160 acres and had to pay $200 for ownership. Many people wrote to the president and as a result, the dead line for payment was rescinded and I was able to pay my allotted payment. I have 20 acres under cultivation. I mentioned in a former letter that I joined a club which is planning to establish a city, well, that has materialized, the town's name is New Ulm. 5 years ago the first house was built and now there are more than 200 homes.

In New Ulm I also have some property, but at present there is no demand for it, even though its location is good, it is close to the boat landing on the Minnesota River. On the south side of the river on higher grounds you see summer houses already. In the wooded area I own 4 acres. My farm is only about 3/4 miles from New Ulm, I am able to see the town from my farm."In another letter Christian writes about his first wife dying and leaving 4 children and his remarriage 4 months later.

About his business he writes: " Dear Nephew, (headed New Ulm, May 11, 1873) I went into a partnership in a foundry and machine shop.We are 3 partners. I had to give up my old one which was in the best location on Main Street. I rented it to another and it was the same with my home. I had to rent it to another and built myself another home near the factory. Dear nephew, I could rent the old factory to you. Give my greetings to uncle Jonke on his golden wedding anniversary. Kindly tell me all about Henry and Amelia Jonke."

Perhaps these excerpts will help locate some of Christian Frederick's properties.We do know that his second wife, Great grandma Wilhelmine, ran a boarding house somewhere downtown. My dad, Norbert, would have known where it was, as he helped her with household chores after school.These letters are interesting reads."

[Historical Context of C. F. Boock's letter dated 29 June 1860:

Christian Frederick emigrated to the United States in 1854, Chicago 1855, and the Minnesota Territory in 1856. At that time, the Minnesota Territory included Dakota lands west of the Red River, territory from Wisconsin east of the Mississippi River and territory from Iowa south of the Minnesota River. As conflict was developing between the Northern States and the Southern States over issues of slavery and state's rights, the Enabling Act of 1857 was passed by Congress, C.F. took a homestead that same year (in what became Lafayette Township in Brown County in 1858). Christian Fr. was married to Marie Albrecht on 2 July 1857*.

A fierce debate had developed over the issue of slavery until the repeal of the Missouri Compromise of 1854 ensured that Minnesota would come into statehood as a Free State--in fact, Minnesota was so divided that two different State Constitutions were drafted and signed in 1857, leaving the door open for statehood on May 11, 1858. Within a year of C.F.'s letter, on 13 April 1861, Civil War broke out in the United States, into which Minnesota regiments from Fort Snelling were sent. In 1862 the Homestead Act was passed, facilitating land claims by settlers; the same year, with Minnesota soldiers fighting in the Civil War, the Dakota War of 1862 broke out, directly involving New Ulm. So, when Fred writes in 1860 that he's farming on land to which the title wasn't firm (allowed after of Dakota Treaty of 1853; they wrote to the President (Lincoln) to intervene so they could continue claim without outright ownership) until 1862. According to Gertrude Boock Graupner's account in The Settler (1982), "Fred" sold his farm in 1863 and moved into New Ulm, where he had property. *presumably under the auspices of Minnesota Territory [ jfg]

Lafayette, June 29, 1860

Dear sister and Brother-in-Law,

Since I have given up hope to hear from you, I am forced to write again to inquire about your health and how you are getting along. It seems to me you are not concerned very much about me and how i am getting along, otherwise you would have written already and answered my letter; probably you thought, I would be asking you for financial help as I had mentioned about sending along several large augers with Henry Jonck, but I had also stated in my letter that the beginnings here are quite difficult and, if you could not have helped at this time, you could have excused yourself, this was your duty to do that, and I want you to know that all blessings which I received from you, I certainly am not ungrateful to you, or perhaps you had the same thought that our brother Josias had, namely living so far away, make it impossible to help each other. The truth is, distance is the minimum of a problem, if the will to help exist[s].

During the past 44 years, probably you have heard about us from Josias. This is not a lie, but I have been in a very awkward financial predicament, so I didn't know which way to turn for help. I was absolutely broke and had no inkling where to obtain the money as the government announced that a large section of land had to be paid up by the immigrants who were using it. part of our land was included in that section. We had 160 acres and had to pay $200 for the ownership. And if we didn't pay up by a certain day, it would be sold to someone else. This made me very nervous and irritable, but fortunately many people wrote to the President and as a result, the deadline for payment was rescinded. In the meantime, my financial conditions have improved, so I was able to pay my alotted [sic.] payment.

I will assume that you are interested in my present living conditions. On July 2, 3 years ago, I was married to Maria Albrecht, 21 years old. Two years ago we had a daughter. My wife came from Kirgen-Kegel by Goldberg in Mecklenburg-Schwerin and came to America in 1855 with her mother and 2 brothers who live not far from here. They are all industrious farmers. Most of my work is farming, because wagon building isn't much in demand, there are plenty of these around. I have 20 acres under cultivation, 4 oxen to help do the work, 3 milk cows, 4 young pigs and some chickens. I plant rye, wheat, and oats. Corn is my main crop. Also I raise peas, beans, potatoes, and a variety of other plants. This land is the most productive and the climate is most favorable, very much like that in Germany. The grain grows well in Minnesota and I foresee a plenteous harvest, but the price per bushel is very low, never in my whole life, have I found such cheap prices, a pound of butter for 6-7 cents, 3 Groschen (about 30 Pfennig in Germany) worth of potatoes per bushel here for 20-25 cents, and so it is with everything else. There is very little money available, caused by the low prices. Even farm land has come down in price, some farms 3 years ago were bought for $1,500, can't find a buyer for $1,000. As I mentioned in a former letter that I joined a club which is planning to establish a city, well, that has materialized, the town's name is New Ulm. 5 years ago the first house was built and now there are more than 200 homes, about 1200 to 1300 inhabitants. in New Ulm I also have some property, but at present there is no demand for it, even though its location is good, it is close to the boat landing on the Minnesota River. This river is very much like the Spree in size and full of fish. The town is very romantic and is built on higher levels, the river movers along in snake-like curves with cliffs here and there. On the southern side of the river on higher grounds, you can see summer houses already, in the wooded area I own 4 acres. If those 4 acres would be in the vicinity of Berlin, I would be considered a wealthy man. But I am satisfied that it is close to New Ulm. My farm is only about 3/4 miles from New ulm, I am able to see the town from my farm. Although my whole belongings are very limited, yet I am satisfied for what is my own which my [wife?] and I have carefully managed and so consider myself fortunate. I don't begrudge a king on his throne for my freedom and joy in my family.

Dear sister and brother-in-law write soon as possible, and tell me all about the happenings of friends and relatives for the past, also descrive [sic.] your times you are living in, and do tell me whether many people are immigrating to other lands.

If any one wishes to move and would like to settle on a farm, I would advise them to come to Minnesota, with energy and ambition you can make it, but if someone thinks of getting rich quick, he'll find disappointment.

In closing I hope this letter finds all of you well, as I am, while writing this letter.

Many greetings from me, my wife, and child,

Your loving brother and brother-in-law,

C. F. Boock

Greetings to uncle (?) and family

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ancestral Families Visit by Marilyn Boock Schmidt and Darcy Kleemann Boock

Darcy and Jerry Boock and Marilyn Boock and Fred Schmidt, have reported on their return home of their visit to relatives in Germany several weeks in September and October, 2008. The first account is by Marilyn Boock Schmidt; following Marilyn's account is Darcy's account.

Ancestral Families in Europe

by Marilyn Boock Schmidt

I want to share with you thoughts of our wonderful ancestral families in Europe. Darcy and Jerry, correct me on errors and someone please forward this to Ken and Pat Graupner as a computer glitch erased their name from our list.

Our stays with Darcy's cousin Renate Marquardt in Bergkamen and her second cousin Ingrid Musial and extended family in Oldenburg were warm and loving, one house filled with books, the other with "schnick schnacks".

At Kattenvenne our great grandfather, Frederick Aufderheide's great grandfather, Johann Hinrich Johann aufr Heede ( 1749 -1816) was married twice. Our hosts Gerhard & Helga auf der Heide and brother Reinhold and Eliz. auf der Heide are from Johann's first wife, A Brewen and we come from the second wife's line, E. Oberdalhaff. Most of the second wife's children/grandchildren left for America at a time when half the population of that area moved away, devastating those remaining, we were told.

Great great great grandfather Johann (mentioned above) left a notebook containing his trading, which persons owed him money and what he owed others. He noted news and illness cures he heard of during his travels. In his wagon he took linen made from flax to the salt mines at the coast, to trade (smuggle?) for salt. Is that why Norbert would say on coming home from work, "Another day at the salt mines." Johann did well financially with his trading and was able to erect fine buildings on his property. We were given a few pages of translation along with copies of the original in old German script.

The brothers Gerhard and Reinhold are truly Aufderheides with their hair coloring, fair skin, light eyes, freckles, humour and inquisitive minds. How I wished that Grandma Emma, Norbert and Gertrude could have met them. Their wives are warm and loving. Reinhold was first born, is now 80 and was raised to become the next generation's farmer, lived his whole life on the original farm, was taught the rural German while his brother Gerhard, younger by 13 years was taught a city German (high, low, Platdutch?) Gerhard became principal of a large local school.

The first morning Gerhard took us on a long walk through a neighborhood of new homes built on property the brothers sold, on past the subdivision to point out the Middle Ages properties belonging to brothers Johann, Gerd, Dierk and named because of the growth of heather and of borderland/marsh. Thus our ancestor's name became "up de Hee" once last names were needed As we took photos of one old barn/house we were invited in and given a tour, the present owner being the attorney for the Catholic school board, a wise, learned old man. The attached barns have now become part of the living space. On our hike we could see in the distance Reinhold's farm house, surrounded by heather as this year he's being paid not to produce a crop. In the background are high voltage power lines sending power from the thousands of northern turbines to the country's electric grid, which also powers the many trains.

A country lane, 2 blocks in length separates the two brother's homes. As we walked the lane approaching the original family farm we made out the writing on the beam over the door: family name, year and a quote of blessing. (a common practise in those parts) Reinhold's gardens are beautifully neat, "Like my father kept the grounds", he said in German. Reinhold and his wife speak no English but they chatted to us and we to them not understanding each other, but enjoying the conversation anyway. We were given a tour of their home, also an attached barn/house made more recently into living quarters. The bottle of "schnapps" welcomed us to their home.

Reinhold and Eliz. have no children and younger brother Gerhardt & Helga's son is well educated, travels the world with his job and so has no interest in maintaining the family farm. The farm will now be going to Eliz.'s nephew and family who are already living in a house on the property. Their charming blond 9 year old son was busy pushing a wheelbarrow filled with straw for the animals.

Reinhold, with his bright red hair, has a sense of humor. When touring an outdoor museum of old buildings he cracked the teacher's ruler as we were too boisterous, he got the pump working, sharpened his pocket knife on the old wet stone. He brought me a bouquet of heather from his farm, which I've pressed, promising half to Darcy. He enjoyed our visit so much that he missed an afternoon of card playing to spend more time with us, unheard of behaviour! Twice he saluted with a "Hei Hitler" and a big grin. Unfortunately he has health problems which make it impossible for him to want to travel.

His younger brother, Gerhard, is retired from his teaching career, speaks English, is interested in family history and plans to come to Minnesota next fall with his wife, Helga. Last fall they visited Aufderheide's in Indiana, arrived home to be greeted with Darcy's message of their New Ulm connections. Their house, built on auf der Heide farm property, is filled with books. The family donated land for a large community centre which was a busy place when we toured it. Everyone knew Gerhard as they gave us a guided tour of Katttenvenne, Ringle, Lienen, Lengerich and Gehrde.

The brothers told a few WW 2 stories:

a bomb dropped on their land, destroying one of their houses and the Am. bomber crashed, The flyers parachuted to safety, but one of the survivors had the last name common to the area and so he was beaten by the locals.

When foot soldiers came looking for food young Gerhard pointed to where food was hidden and he was beaten by his father.

When the family along with their neighbors found shelter from bombs in the village, young Gerhard pointed with glee to planes passing overhead, thinking it great fun to see airplanes.

A photo and story of our visit appeared in the local news paper after we left. Today the locals ride their "comfort bikes" complete with baskets, into town for groceries, to the train station and to visit family members. It is a peaceful, rural setting and with tears we hugged our new found relatives goodbye and continued on our journey.

In Gehrde, the Schapekahm home town, the mayor himself arranged for an interpreter, gave us a tour of the church, the grounds and treated us to goodies of coffee, kuchens and schnapps at his chamber table. He's interested in genealogy and in promoting his village to tourists. He led us to the original Schapekahm farm and our visit with him was recorded in Gehrde's weekly paper. All this was the result of Darcy's inquiry of a key for touring the village church!

In Bordesholm Wolfgang and Ute Boock's home is filled with reference books and his ancient maps which he's found at flea markets and published into a booklet complete with descriptions and has also published a book of old family correspondence. He's a history buff and took us to sites of battles between Denmark and Germany over the centuries. They led us on tours of Osdorf, Neudort, Borghorst, Lubeck and Gettorf, just missing the Prince of Denmark attending a concert there. They introduced us to curryworst. How Grandpa Arthur Boock would have enjoyed the visit. We do have Danish blood in our veins, as Grandpa told me as a child. A direct connection between Ute Boock and our New Ulm Boocks is yet to be determined, yet their warm hospitality will not be forgotten.

Wolfgang and Ute also plan another trip to the US, promising to visit us in Canada and with New Ulm relatives.

My mother's ancestral homes of Meldorf and Ropersdorf were memorable as were our visits by train to Berlin, Wittenberg, Leipzig, Dresden, Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich and Aschaffenburg.

Needless to say we are tired but wake up at all times of the night with delightful memories, memories that need to be shared! Photos to follow.


Ancestral Families in Europe: Addendum
by Darcy Kleeman Boock

Marilyn, You sure have a flair for story telling. I couldn't have expressed myself as well as you did regarding the wonderful visits with our relatives in Germany.You didn't mention that we also heard classical music in Renate's house and that she is also an inventor and writer, and that "Schnick Schnacks" are actually knick knacks, but everyone probably figured that one out. Ingrid's husband retired from a military career after 31 years and was quite rigid when we first met him, but loosened up quickly. They said they would never consider visiting the USA, but by the second day were already making plans to visit in three years.Gerhard and Reinhold have retained the original Johann auf der Heide surname, at least Gerhard has. And when he answers the phone the emphasis is placed on Heide, not Auf as it has transpired in the USA. Johann Hinrich Johann aufr Heede's (1749 -1816) 1st wife was Anna Maria Brewe (Brewen was a typo) and his 2nd wife was Anne Marie Elisabeth Oberdalhoffs. I strongly agree with Marilyn that we had such a warm welcoming by Gerhard and Helga and also Reinhold and Elisabeth even though they didn't speak English. The funny story I remember about Reinhold is that for some reason we were talking about thieves in large cities and started mentioning the more dangerous cities in the USA and then Reinhold added, "and Cowboys". I'm sure he has seen a few movies with cowboys robbing trains, which prompted his response. We had a really good laugh about that one. Reinhold speaks Platt Deutsch and Gerhard Hoch Deutsch, but they easily understand each other.We also visited Fritz Beineke on his farm. He is a direct descendant of Sophie Beineke Aufderheide's uncle. While I was there I received a copy of the Beineke Family History (did you also Marilyn?) that Robert Rau of Cincinnati, a descendant of Sophie's brother, compiled in 1994. I have an email out to Robert now and am anxious to hear back from him. The Wiethoff farm was also pointed out to us as the neighboring farm to Fritz.Gerhard and Reinhold's father Gustav was also a writer and wrote a book about his days in WWI, which is of course in German. I am hoping that Philip will have time to translate it once he retires. What do you say Philip? I think you would find the story very interesting. Gustav was captured three times by the French, and escaped three times, the final time making his way home, which was especially difficult because he had to cross the Rhine River.It is Wolfgang Boock who ties in with our family, not Ute (she was a Witt), although she is the extractor of records and has helped us tremendously in both our Boock and Oelrich research. It is because the church records don't go back far enough that we can not prove the connection between Wolfgang and the rest of you Boocks. His ancestor came from the small village of Neudorf and so did Christian Friedrich Boock's ancestors, so there has to be a connection. We were also warmly greeted by Wolfgang and Ute and had a wonderful time touring with them. It was very difficult for me to say good bye to them as well as Gerhard and Helga. I am a real sap, so yes tears flowed.There are so many things to sort out yet from our travels and many photos to download to my computer and get copies made to send back to Germany and Thank Yous to write. But now I have time to do that, since I retired in June.So now we need to get busy and plan that Aufderheide/Boock and related families family reunion for next fall! Who all wants to jump in the boat with me?Darcy

Saturday, May 03, 2008

BallinStadt Genealogical Research Portals

Philip alerted me to the Ballin Stadt web site which might be helpful in researching German emigration records.

Genealogical research portals

Institutions that offer help in tracing emigrants (a selection):
Germany» MyFamily GmbH: http://www.ancestry.de/» National Archives Hamburg: http://fhh.hamburg.de/stadt/Aktuell/behoerden/staatsarchiv/start.html » Historical Museum Bremerhaven: http://www.deutsche-auswanderer-datenbank.de/» National Archives Bremen: http://www.passagierlisten.de/» Research Center German Emigrants in the USA: http://www.dausa.de/» Nordfriisk Instituut: www.nordfriiskinstituut.de/indexausw.html » Institute for Migration and Ancestral Research e. V. / Rostock: http://www.imar-mv.com/» National Archives Stuttgart: http://www.auswanderer.lad-bw.de/» Genealogie-Service.de GmbH: http://www.ahnenforschung.net/» Genealogical Society Hamburg: http://gghh.genealogy.net/

USA » Ellis Island / New York: http://www.ellisisland.org/» The National Archives and Records Administration: http://www.archives.gov/» Mystic Seaport: www.mysticseaport.org/library/immigration/intro.cfm

International Family History Portals:» MyFamily Inc.: http://www.myfamily.com/, http://www.ancestry.com/» JewishGen, Inc.: www.jewishgen.org/databases/EIDB» The Genealogical Society Library: http://www.familysearch.org/» Genealogische Gesellschaft: http://www.genealogy.net/

Emigrant Museums and Exhibitions in Germany (a selection):» Deutsches Auswandererhaus Bremerhaven: http://www.dah-bremerhaven.de/» Hapag Halle Cuxhaven: http://www.hapag-halle-cuxhaven.de/» Museen der Stadt Delmenhorst: http://www.auswanderungdelmenhorst.de/» Auswanderermuseum Oberalben: http://www.auswanderermuseum.de/» Haus der bayrischen Geschichte: http://www.hdbg.de/auswanderung/deutsch/index2.htm

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

First Post-WWII Letters to America: Opa to Ida July 1946

Translated by Philip Graupner

(1946.07.16 Opa to Ida...translation)

Schlangenbad, 16 July 1946

My dear Ida!

I take it for granted that you have received my letter and now know where we live. Not that it makes much difference in Schlangenbad if you write my name instead of August Dauer. The letter will still come to me; the street name is really insignificant where there are only about 70 households.
But now to you. Since I don't know how long a letter takes and your birthday is getting close, I wish in this manner to bring warmest best wishes to you for your cradle festival. May you be around for a long time for your family and hopefully it is granted me the chance to see you again. I had almost given up, for with our food one doesn't have much resistence to whatever comes along. I was very ill for 8 weeks and didn't believe that I would ever recover. I still am not completely over it and am very weak. One would now need to eat something nutritious but it isn't available. The doctor prescribed extra rations for me 4 weeks ago but I haven't seen anything yet. With 2 lbs.= 1000 gr. of bread a week it will take quite a while before I am really back on my feet again.
Mother and I intended to pick a lot of berries in the woods this year so that we had at least some preserves for our bread during the winter but then I got sick. Mother went one more time to pick raspberries but then got such a bad foot that she could no longer walk, so now we shall just have to see how we will get by. Carl wrote to us that he had sent a package but so far nothing has arrived. You shouldn't wonder about our stationery, that is no longer available, or only in limited amounts. It doesn't matter really, as long as we have something to write on.
Yes Ida, Mother and I no longer thought that we would have to live through such hard times again but we will have to make it through if we want to forget the ill-fated Hitler years. This will be difficult and will take a long time, for the wounds are deep and if nutrition was better, we would succeed. To be sure, Paul lost everything too, but he is still young and will rise up again eventually. It is different for us. We will probably have to make do with the few things we were able to save. Anna and Adolf too, have to set themselves low and would certainly not complain if they hadn't lost Rudi in the last minutes. Still, there is hardly any family in Germany that came through the war without some trace. Therefore, heads up and rebuild, for then we can probably also eat more and better. And now Ida, once again very hearty birthday wishes and many greetings to you , your husband and the 3 boys.


First Post-WWII Letters to America: Opa to Ida 1946

Translated by Philip Graupner

(1946.05.13 Opa to Ida...translation)

Schlangenbad, 13 May, 1946

Dear Ida and Willard!
Now that we can write directly to each other again, I will write once myself. I already wrote a letter to Hermann and hopefully it arrived there safely, or better said, that it will arrive there.
Yes Ida, we have hard times behind us and the worst is yet to come. Worst of all is the hunger but we can't complain because we deserve it; for this war didn't have to be fought and now the whole German folk will be held responsible for it. This last war can't be compared to that of '14 - '18, of which you three may still have a memory. It was much more radical and for that reason much more drastic for each individual. There are likely very few families in Germany that escaped without loss; either family members that were lost on the battlefield or their homes were bombed, or both. Our home in Mülheim is now only a pile of ruins and we lost almost everything, or what survived is badly damaged. I can't say how long we will stay in Schlangenbad but we will most likely be sent back to our home places, i.e. to Mülheim - Ruhr. I would already be back there if I could only find an apartment, even it were only three rooms. Yes, most people are happy to live in one room with 4 - 5 persons, or in some cases, more. But as I said, the worst is our nutrition. Until now it wasn't so bad but now starvation begins too. It must be acknowledged that America is making a great effort to prevent a famine. Will it be successful? To that end, America is allowing packages to be sent to family members here now, as you probably already know. This will be of great benefit to many German families, since almost every 5th. family has one or more relatives in America which could help them.
Hermann and Karl have already written. Karl also sent a photo of his 3 boys, which Else Jr. has taken possession of. Hermann's family has grown enormously. The Graupner name increases in America while it seems to be dying out in German, i.e. my line...the name won't disappear, there are too many.
I was often reproached, that I allowed you to go to America and I often worried about that but today I am pleased that you didn't have to experience this war in Germany. Karl and Hermann would perhaps no longer be alive, for they would have been among the first to be drafted. Germany is now at the bottom and won't so easily raise itself back up again and the final days of our lives will be terrible and all because of our big industrialists and the Junkers in combination with an adventurer. But, it is too late to complain about that. Now we must hold our heads up and work hard so that we are respected in the world again. The consolation that at least the three of you didn't have to live through this misery a second time will be a help to me. I am old and can no longer do much; still I don't wish to stand on the sidelines during reconstruction; it will take a long time until Germany is respected again and until at least some of the ruins are replaced with new buildings. One won't recognize many cities for a number of old familiar corners no longer exist. Until then, many a drop of water will flow down the Ruhr and the Rhine rivers.
With these observations, I would like to close my first post-war letter with the request to send greetings to Hermann and Karl and their families. Warm greetings to you, Willard and the boys.

Your Father.