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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Callie's Family History and Travel Blog: Emanuel Family from Merrill Wisconsin

Callie's Family History and Travel Blog: Emanuel Family from Merrill Wisconsin: "Imagine, if you will, one of your grandparents, along with one of their siblings passed away, leaving you with very few clues about their pa..."

Emanuel Family from Merrill Wisconsin

Imagine, if you will, one of your grandparents, along with one of their siblings passed away, leaving you with very few clues about their past life as an immigrant to the USA. As you go through their belongings in both of their houses, you find a treasure trove of things from the past, documents written in the German language, a letter written by a sibling of a parent who passed away, prayer books written in the Polish language, pictures of people that you don't even know. What does one do? How overwhelming can this be?
Luckily for me, I did write to the grandparent about life from long ago, and managed to ask the questions that at least gave me a basic time frame of his life, even though he was the youngest of the family, and rarely kept in touch with extended family.
I had wrote a letter to my maternal grandfather a few months before he died in 1984.The year before, I had been told that the Albert Erdmann/Erdman family had stopped in Worthington, MN. However, my grandfather stated instead that his family stopped in Montevideo MN before moving on to Hutchinson MN in 1902. This is where their naturalization and citizenship to the USA was completed. My great-grandfather bought a house, and worked as a tailor. They paid pew holder fees to St. Anastasia's Catholic Church. The children, or at least the four youngest, attended school in Hutchinson. My great-aunt Agatha Erdman, was a graduate of Hutchinson High School.
However, the Erdman Family decided that Minneapolis was the place to be, and relocated there in 1911.
The nice thing is, when I received photos last year from my cousins, several photos of their time spent in Hutchinson survived, including my great-aunt's high school graduation picture, and two family photos taken outside, one with just the Albert Erdman Family, and one with people who are unidentified. The ironic thing is, that one other photo taken of my great- aunt, Tress Erdman is with a girl next to her, and that same girl is in the extended family picture as well. And the photos were both taken in Hutchinson. I have to find out who that young lady is.
As it turns out, the Albert Erdman family was able to meet up with a multitude of relatives and friends from St. Paul, Hutchinson, and Merrill, Wisconsin. While quite a few correspondance from the early 1900's did not survive, one letter to the Albert Erdman Family did survive being transported from my great-grandparents house on 22nd Ave N in Minneapolis, to my parents farm in Little Falls.The letter was written by Mari Emanuel of Merrill, Wisconsin.
 According to my letter from my grandfather, he stated that his mother, Rosalie Robicek Erdman, had two sisters, and one of them lived in Merrill, Wisconsin. He also stated that his mother and sister, Tress, took the train to visit them, and this particular family would do likewise as well. Unfortunately, my grandfather could not remember their names.
When I first looked at this particular letter, I did not make any connection with the surname of Emanuel, because the word "emanuel" is actually a religious term that means, "God with us". On top of that, the letter was written in the German language, and nobody in my family could even read the old German script. Unfortunately, Adolf Hitler changed the German language structure, and I needed someone to translate the letter to figure out who this Mari Emanuel was, and how and why did she know my great grandmother. It took me until the summer of 1996 to figure out if there really was a surname of Emanuel that existed.
However, I had to backtrack even further than that in order to get a German police document translated as well, because that held the clues of where the Albert Erdman Family came from.
Thank God for the GenForum web site! This is where I had the German Police Document translated, and where I received a history lesson about the border changes between Germany and Poland.
However, I am digressing a bit.
It took me a few more years to have this particular letter translated. How sad to allow apprehension to get the best of you when you want to solve a mystery!
Anyhow, this is the written translation of the letter written to my great-grandmother. It states:
"Mari Wisconsin (I think she meant "Merrill, Wisconsin".)
October 27, 1921
Praise to Jesus Christ. Dear brother in law and Sister and Children Be so good and come and visit us because we  would be very glad because I am not very healthy and our Dad on Sunday fell into a hole and almost broke the rib he saw the doctor yesterday. Dear brother in law and sister and children our two dear daughters are already married. Martha's dear husband's name is Oskar Mo and Klaera's dear husban's name is is Wilhelm Schuster. They both have good husbands and dear daughter Mary goes to nursing* school and she learns very good.and we haven't got many potatoes this year and we bought us  20 bushels and we paid 1 dollar per bushel are big potatoes. Dear sister brother in law and children we had here in our church the 40 hours praying and here were 10 priests and we all were in church and the church was very filled with people. What else to write I don't know. (we) greet you all many times Amen Mari Emanuel."
I put an asterick by "nursing school" because according to a 1920 census, the younger Mary Emanuel is listed as 8 years old, and I think Mari meant "nursery school" instead.
Anyhow, I did finally post a query regarding this family on both the GenForum and Rootsweb web sites. And, I did get a response regarding the family, even though it was not from a relative of the family. People are nice enough to help you out when it's requested.
 It turns out that after Mari Emanuel died in 1922, her husband, who's name was Frederick, moved with his daughter Martha and her husband Oscar Moe to Milwaukee. They are listed in the 1930 census along with Oscar and Martha's son, Philip, and Martha's youngest sister, Mary. I also have a birth and death date for Philip, who moved to Kewaskum Wisconsin later on in life.
Now, before I thank the person who gave me this information, I have to let you know one other thing.
Among the pictures that I received from my generous cousins, is a wedding photo taken in either the 1930's or 1940's, and the photo was taken by Carter Studio of Berlin, Wisconsin. Could the groom be Philip Moe, or, could the bride be the younger Mary Emanuel? :)
Well, at least I have narrowed it down to which branch of the family tree that this particular picture belongs to. Now, in spite of what's presently going on in Madison, Wisconsin, I am even more motivated to research this particular branch of my family tree! Happy trails everyone!