Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meine Großmutter (a little family history)

When I was home this past weekend, my brother and I ransacked the basement, looking for embarrassing photos of each other. Instead, we landed on my mom's collection of family photographs dating back to the early 1800's of our family in Germany. My favorites were the ones of my Grandmother when she was young. She grew up in Weilburg, Germany and after meeting my grandfather during WWII, moved to the states in the early 1950's. I love seeing these little snipits of her life, both during and after the war:
(she is the one wearing the wide-brimmed hat)
(middle row, second from the left, striped dress)
(on the far left- she was in a theatre group in Greenfield, MA- not really a can-can dancer)

(these two might be my favorites, in the forest in Germany helping her father and sister with an archeological dig)

("C" is my grandmother, Charlotta. I love this photo as well, the house in Weilburg was damaged by bombs several times, my mom has a painting that was hanging in the house during one of the bomb strikes and it still has shrapnel lodged in it)

My mom and I really need to sit down and catalog all of these photos, before no one is left to ID them. When I was younger we visited my great-aunt in Weilburg, and I really hope to go back someday to rediscover where we're from.

Do you know your family history?

40 comments:

Ashley said...

how neat! One of my dad's sisters has traced that side of the family back really far (I think to my great x7 grandparents) - she gave each member of the family a book with it all written down, plus stories from old relatives, copies of letters and pictures. It's SO neat. My mom and I were actually just talking the other day about how we don't know much about her side of the family, other than they were German immigrants who came down to Missouri via Canada in the '50s.

Hanna said...

Oh there's nothing better than going through old photos like that sometimes :)
My grandmother is from a little village near Weilburg as well, but also moved when she met my grandfather.
do you speak a little german? or just the little 'hallo. wie geht es dir? gut, danke.' snippets? ;)

Rachel said...

This is so cool! I love looking through old family photos, even one's that aren't my family. We have my mom's family traced back to before they came from England in the early 1700's. My 7th great grandfather was a colonel in the American Revolution and built the oldest standing house in the county I was born and raised. I think it's neat to know where we come from and I wish I knew more about my family before they came to America.

lauraa said...

Those are great photos, definitely to be treasured. I wish I knew my family history. We are a huge bunch of mongrels from Germany, Italy and France but my Opa, the only one who could tell us anything, refuses to. Families huh!
xxx

sparkle is a color (Katrina) said...

I love old family pictures! Your grandmother is beautiful. The ones of the woods in Germany are amazing!

Merle said...

I'm from Germany and happy to read a german title on one of my favourite us blogs!
Beautiful post.

http://www.schnuersenkelrolltreppentod.blogspot.com

Orchid Grey said...

Hanna, wow! so cool that you know where Weilburg is! Unfortunately I only know the basics (and barely that) my mom is fluent though

the morose bee said...

these are amazing! i love the stories behind old photos!

kate gabrielle said...

These are fantastic photos!! wow! I love the first one especially! :)

My mom has recently become hooked on Ancestry.com (we joke that she should join an Ancestry.com Anonymous group.. that's how obsessed she is) and she was able to trace one part of our family back through the 1600's. You know in the commercials the people always say "my grandparents lived next to the Wright brothers!" or "my great grandfather was the first doctor in his town!" ... well we found out that my ancestor was the town rat catcher. lol!

Michal said...

This post is amazing. I love family history stuff. In fact, when I was just in Slovakia we managed to find out where my Great Uncle lives and visit him. My grandfather had never met his cousin, and it was precious to see them meet, and they even discovered they were born only one day apart!

All of my great-grandparents were immigrants, from Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Ireland. I recently found the ship log from when Papa came over from Germany, and I also found the census records from when Grandpa Benik was a window washer in Manhattan. Finding things like that are like finding gold to me! :)

Hanna said...

yes, all those little Hesse villages ;)

kori said...

Wonderful photos! The last one is my favorite. :) I dug through my grandmother's photos on both sides of the family and treasure them so much. Thanks for sharing!

Hope said...

How wonderful! I love looking at old photos of family. Your grandmother was stunning! I love that sassy look she has in the first photo. :)

-Hope
www.aflatteringtale.com

clementine* said...

Oh, I love these photos! Your grandmother was so beautiful. I'd love to see early pictures of my grandmother. I remember seeing an old picture of my grandfather holding my mother on her 4th birthday, and a picture of my other grandparents holding my cousin right after she was born. I looked at that for a long time because they died soon after that in a car crash and I haven't really seen a lot of photos of them.

I don't know too much about my family's history. My dad's family is from the North and my mom's family is from the South, but that's about as far back as I can go. I don't categorize myself after my ancestry, I was born in California and I am a Californian. But my maiden name is dutch (One of those "Van" names) and if I had to go far back I'm pretty much a mix of northern Europe.

Well anyway, thanks for your wonderful post today! :)

http://pendingroot.blogspot.com/

Eli said...

This is so awesome. I feel like our family photos are scattered everywhere across families that we dont have any in ours! Our family is from Mexico, they were farm people so there arent many photos to begin with. I'm going there this summer with my family tree in hand hoping to discover more about my family and make the tree bigger

Rebecca said...

One of my relatives found my great-great-grandpa's journals and had them translated and bound. i think that is the most interesting piece of family history that my family has.

Sage said...

your grandmother was so beautiful! these pictures are amazing.

joelle van dyne said...

your grandmother is so beautiful! the photos are amazing- you're so lucky to have them all! i do know quite a bit of my family history. my dad's parents' house had a fire when he was young, so most of the photos are ruined. i still love to go through what's left though.

Nikki said...

i don't know as much as i would like. not much was documented in mexico back then. well, for poor people it was mainly like that. but i know a few crazy stories about my grandparents and how them came to america.

Orchid Grey said...

Nikki, sometimes crazy stories are even better than photographs!

Honor said...

These photos are wonderful, you seem to have a very lively family. Thank you for sharing them.
xxx

femkejohanna said...

I love these family photos, reminds me of the pictures we have of our own family - luckily we've already cataloged them... It was a lot of work, so good luck with that!

Julie said...

Wow! So neat! I love old family pictures. We have a family tree that goes back to 2 brothers in Ireland in the early 1800's. I was the last family member to make the tree!

wildchild said...

oh wow. those pictures are beautiful.

Lauren Hairston said...

These photos are amazing! Looks like your grandmother knew how to have fun!

I recently came home with a stash of photos of my great-grandfather (my dad's paternal grandfather). He was a farmer in Arkansas, but we also have photos of his time in Germany durning World War I. Most of my family can be traced back to England, Scotland, Ireland or France. The Hairstons came to America in the 18th century from Scotland and started plantations in Virginia and other parts of the South. My dad's still doing a bunch of research!

Stacey said...

These are so wonderful! My family doesn't have a lot of old photos, but we do have a family tree that shows our Swedish ancestors going back to the 1600's.

Terri said...

I do know some family history, but I am forever hearing new bits and pieces. It appears that your grandmother was not only beautiful, but quite spirited.

SomethingDutch said...

I'm such a geek for family history! This is awesome!
My mother's side of the family can be traced to a Bohemian tribe who then moved to France and eventually came from Yorkshire, England to settle in Canada.
My father's side is mostly Dutch, and we were magistrates and dike reeves (controlled the canals) until the turn of the century and then emigrated to the USA.
My grandmother's family came over on the Mayflower, too, and were German, which I thought was neat- something like my great^8th grandmother married a fellow colonist in the colony there at Plymouth!
Awesome post! The past has so much to offer!

Melanie said...

These are really great photos. She's so pretty and had great fashion sense. A trait obviously passed on : )

sarah said...

Those photos are amazing! I love the archaeological dig ones, too. Your grandmother looks like she was a fascinating lady! I wish I knew more of my family history. I did a lot of research on it when I was in high school, but I hit a lot of roadblocks. Unfortunately most everyone on my paternal side is gone now except for my dad and aunt, so I feel a responsibility to try to learn and document as much as I can. I do love genealogy, though - it is so fascinating to learn where you came from!

Hailey said...

I was very excited to see the title of your post because I speak German! The photos of your grandmother are lovely, they make me curious to see what photos of my family I can find!

Jamie Rose said...

These pictures are all so fantastic! I love the one with your grandma's awesome hat. She had great fashion sense!

NodToStyle said...

what amazing pictures! the first one is fantastic. i am really interested in my family history and have slowly found some old pictures. i'm part native american and love learning that side of my story.

Mandi @ make it dear said...

awww how fantastic!

chelsea said...

Great Post! Your Grandmother was so stylish!

Penny said...

amazing pictures!in my case it is really easy as my family has stayed in the same place more or less for generations :)

Anonymous said...

wow, thats a great collection of photographs! and your grandmother looks really beautiful:) im very interested in the war period in germany. do u know what happened to your grandparents during the war? was your grandfather in Wehrmacht?

Orchid Grey said...

Anon, My grandfather was part of the American Armed Forces

Elise of Argyle Whale said...

Woooow! I love the archaeological dig pictures! What a neat lady.

poet said...

This is awesome. One of my great uncles did some genealogy going back to the 1700s, I believe, but since my family were peasants before the war and refugees after, there aren't many photos up until my mom was a kid. Those that exist show my grandma was a stylish lady, like yours!

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