Monday, October 7, 2013

Our Own "Who Do You Think You Are?"

   Have you seen the television show entitled "Who Do You Think You Are"? A famous celebrity is invited to go on a genealogical adventure to find mysteries in their family tree. Aided by professional genealogists they make discoveries in data files and ultimately go to the their ancestral homes where they are emotionally brought to a discovery of "who they really are".

                                                                Minne Driver is on the show this season
    Our story would begin with "The Six Siblings", who endured the hardships of World War II. Losing Erich so early changed everything for his wife and little son Lothar. Helena and her daughter Renate, Kurt, his wife and  4 children, and the 3 younger sisters also survived but all survivors were forced to re-locate to West Germany as refugees.


     Enter the star of our show, Ingo, the youngest son of Kurt, who is a "celebrity" in his field of study.  Ingo would be interviewed and would announce that he is looking for the name of his great, great-grandfather. The Titze line research has been at a stalemate with Ernst Robert Titze, born in 1855 for years and he always wondered about who Robert was and where he came from. The show's genealogist would then ask what steps have been taken to get information from relatives.

                                                              Renate, Goetz, Peter, Lothar, Ingo, and Gaby
      Now, the saga of the cousins. The six Titze siblings produced six children who are "The Six Cousins", some in the USA and some in Germany.  Ingo would tell of the valiant efforts of continued connection between German cousins and American cousins. He would tell of the many visits to Germany and Renate's visits to America.
   At this point, the host would request a trip to Germany to meet Lothar again.  Lothar was visited for the first time by Ingo last year and Ingo shared some family history about his father Erich.  Ingo would hope to introduce  members of his family,  share a meal and more family insights.  To his delight, his cousin connected  with him in a deeper way than before.  The two, seventy something year old, men  shared personal experiences of being  refugees and their new life after war. After dinner, Ingo found out that the information he shared a year ago was deeply appreciated so much that it prompted Lothar to do research.  This time Ingo's cousin  was prepared  to share a box of picture albums, not seen before, given by his aunt.  He also filled out the fan chart given to him by Ingo as a gift the year before.  On the chart, Ingo and his daughter noticed "a gift "-  there were 2 names never before seen written in, as Roberts parents.   Gasps were heard and  tears starting to well up .  After a commercial break, a scene would open again with the celebrity’s daughter, Karin, explaining in tears that her Aunt Gaby spent hours looking for these names.  Ingo exclaimed with joy "I finally know who my Great Great Grandparents are!"   Could this cousin have the missing link? Alas, it is true. Upon arriving back on American soil the e-mails blasted the documents and translations across the sea. You can see the highly coveted birth record of Gustave Hermann Titze, son of Robert here.

  It reads something like this in english:
Birth Record
The undersigned civil officials hereby verify the the midwife Mrs. Anna Hauder nie Schmidt living in Johnsdorf reports a birth in the afternoon on 18 December 1881 to Henriette Tietze nie Kindler, Lutheran, wife of master Blacksmith Robert Tietze, Lutheran, living in Johnsdorf. The male child was named Gustav Hermann.
Civil record recorder  Barthsch
This copy was re-issued  in 1926.
A handwritten note on the left side reads:
A legal name change was made in Landeshut for this child pronouncing the surname Tietze instead of Titze. 

The second jaw dropping document was a marriage certificate between Ernst Robert Titze and Henriette Kindler. You can see that here. That document produced the mind blowing information giving us the next generation, Robert Titze's parents. Mind you, at this point in the show there are tears and moments of pregnant silence. 
  It reads something like this in english:

Marriage certificate No. 3 from Seiffersdorf on 11 May 1880. We hereby certify that blacksmith apprentice Ernst Robert Heinrich Tietze, born 10 March 1855 in Kammerswaldau, Kreis Schoenau, living in Seiffersdorf , Kreis Schoenau, son of renter and helper at the mill, Johann Heinrich Tietze and his wife, Johanna Luise nie Andretzky from Kammerswaldau 

and Ernestine Henriette Kindler, Lutheran, born 5 December 1857 in Kammerswaldau , daughter of the late, farmer and landowner, Christian Benjamin Kindler and his wife Christiane Juliane nie Simon from Streckenbach, Kreis Bolkenhain
The witnesses were Master Blacksmith Johann Wilhelm Schroeter 46 years old, living in Sieffersdorf and Landowner or Lord of the manor Christian Heinrich Haensch age 50 Living in Streckenbach.

Signed by Ernst Robert Titze and Henriette Kindler

Copy made in 1926 in Seiffersdorf

   After much rejoicing the genealogists go to work with the new info. Luckily the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Genealogical Library is a short drive away. Our celebrity's wife and daughter giddily go to find the microfilm associated with the place where Ernst Robert Titze was married. They begin to scroll through countless pages of black and white, old german script. Their stomaches get queazy as the pages scroll by. There is a bit of sheer insanity in these searches and often husbands and children lose their mothers into the depths of the library walls. But the luck of the Germans is with them, (whoops, is that the Irish?) and they recognize the Titze name and snag two more important documents.
  The image is e-mailed to our celebrity, who is a scientist, and painstakingly, translates these two new papers. Another marriage is discovered. This time it is the marriage of Ernst Robert's sister Louise. Hey he has a sister!
It reads something like this:

14 November 1881
Ernst Wilhelm Krause
Born 2 September 1857
Lives in Seiffersdorf as a servant
Son of servant Ernst Gottfried Krause and Johanne Beate Stumpe
Who lives in Kammerswsldau
Louise Auguste Pauline Titze
 born15 June 1857
Born in Kammerswsldau
Daughter of Johann Henrich Titze and
Johanne Louise Andretsky
Ernst Krause age 55 from Kammerswsldau
Robert Titze age 26 living in Johnsdorf in Kreis Landeshut

  Then our celebrity translates the last record and finds to everyones surprise that it is a death record for our initial discovery, Johann Henrich Titze. With some awe he finds his parents listed and another generation opens up. More drum rolls!!!!

It reads something like this-
Cammerswaldau, 11th of July 1882
Millworker Gustave Titze, from Maiwaldau, No.147, personally gives notice that his father, Johann Karl Heinrich Titze, age 55 years and 5 months, from Kammerswaldau, Lutheran religion has died. He was born in Gruebel, Kreis Jauer and is survived by his wife, Johanna Luise Andretzky. The parents of the deceased are Samuel Gotthilf Titze and Johanne Eleonore Kallert who died in Gruebel, Kreis Jauer. He died in Kammerswaldau on the 5 July 1882 in the afternoon.
Notice made by Gustave Titze on 11 July 1882

Well, the hour long show is over but aren't you just reeling? Who said genealogy is boring? In closing our celebrity is renewed and excited about finding new information and looks longingly at a picture of his grand-parents, Anna Hoppe Titze and Hermann Titze.

                                                               Ja, dass ist gut!

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