Monday, April 10, 2017

Some surprises in the box

You can read about the box I am talking about HERE. The first group of papers I dealt with were papers that belonged to my grandfather. You can read about him HERE and HERE. My mother took possession of these papers when her older brother died and now I have them.  My mother is not a genealogist so she never really looked at the papers and until now I hadn’t really looked at them either.

My mother thought that her father and his family fled from the Łódź area in what is now Poland right before World War I because of the tension between the ethnic Germans (my grandfather’s family) and the ethnic Poles. My mother believed that they came straight to the Köln area but that isn’t true. Her father’s papers tell a different story.

I already had my first clue, August’s mother Emilie’s citizenship papers, I just didn’t realize it. On 10 Jan 1922 August’s mother swore her allegiance to Prussia.1 She and her two minor children were living in the Marienwerder District which was part of the Province of West Prussia. This was AFTER World War I. The Marienwerder District was 274 km north of where they had been in Zdunska Wola (in the Łódź area) so they did move, just not to Köln. I don’t know if they moved before or after World War I but I can say that they moved between 23 January 1913 when Emilie’s husband Heinrich died in Zdunska Wola2 and 10 Jan 1922 when Emilie was in Marienwerder. My mother did know that her grandfather did not go with them to Köln.

Here are the clues I found in August’s papers. This was the first time I had really looked at these papers and they give me a new timeline.

August was an apprentice cooper (barrel maker) from 01 January 1925 to 01 January 1928 to Friedrich Budow in Stolp. On 14 January 1928 he passed the apprenticeship test and became a journeyman cooper and a member of the coopers guild. The guild was out of Stettin.3 Both Stolp and Stettin are in present day Poland.

August then moved to Germany proper. He was a journeyman from 08 Jan 1928 to 20 Apr 1929 in Lückenwalde,4 and a journeyman in Magdeburg from 15 May 1929 to 19 Jun 1929.5 His first appearance in Köln was 03 Aug 1929 to 31 Jan 1930 where he was now a cooper.6 August married Theresia Glaentzer on 18 November 1930 in Köln.7

My mother last saw her father in 1941 when she was only 7 years old. He was captured and never came home. Her mother died in 1945 when she was 11. Her recollections are from her childhood and the stories she remembers are hazy.  I am happy to have documents that shed some light on the true sequence of events.


1 Marienwerder, Prueßen, Optionsurkunden (declaration of citizenship), Emilie Weichert geb. Fiege, 10 January 1922,  Deutsche Reinstaatsangehörigkeit. 

2 Hans Joachim Weichert, "Die Familie Weichert"; report to Michele Lewis,  (Harlem, Georgia), 27 January 2009. Weichert did not provide the death certificate and I have written to the Polish Archives in Łódź to get it.

3 August Weichert Lehr-Brief (apprenticeship document), 1925-1928; privately held by Michele Simmons Lewis Harlem, Georgia. 2003; This document was in the possession of August's son Karl until Karl's death in 2003. At that time August's daughter Emma took possession and then passed it to Lewis (Emma's daughter).

4 Richard Schütze (Lukenwalde, Germany) letter of recommendation for August Weichert (no recipient), 20 April 1929; privately held by Michele Simmons Lewis,  Harlem, Georgia, 2003.

5 Albert Nübel (Magdeburg, Germany) letter of recommendation for August Weichert (no recipient), 20 June 1929; privately held by Michele Simmons Lewis,  Harlem, Georgia, 2003.

6 Mathias Hollmann (Köln, Germany) letter of recommendation for August Weichert (no recipient), 31 January 1930; privately held by Michele Simmons Lewis,  Harlem, Georgia, 2003.

7 Köln III, Germany, Heiratsurkunde (marriage certificate) no. 638 (1930), Weichert-Glaentzer; Standesamt, Köln. 


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! I am sure that you are doing a very well deserved happy dance with all that information your grandfather's papers contain. I know I would be ecstatic if I had something like. Now, if I could only find something similar from my Irish great-great-grandfather. I would die. :-)