Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sacramental Significance

After discovering the Carnival of Genealogy, hosted on Creative Gene, I decided to write this post.

Our family is a mix of Roman Catholics and various protestants. My maternal grandmother and my paternal grandparents (all of whom are still living) are Roman Catholic. My maternal grandfather, William Theodore Morgan (1916-1983) was Presbyterian. When he married my maternal grandmother, she raised the children Catholic. In researching the various Catholic sacraments, I have discovered a few very interesting items.

I have found a photo (too large to scan) of one of my paternal great-grandmothers in a white, lace-trimmed dress. Mary Catherine Hermes would have been about 12 years old in the photo, dating the photo to about 1907. Because of the dress color and style, the gold cross necklace she wore and the formal nature of the photo (inside at a studio, with her hand resting on the back of a chair), our family suspects this is either her First Eucharist photo or Confirmation photo. We also have a certificate for her First Eucharist, that would confirm the date and event of the photo. The unknown is whether or not at that time, the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation were received together.

Another document that I have seen is the marriage certificate from Italy (written in Italian) for my maternal great-grandparents. They were born in 1882 and 1888, and married in Italy before they immigrated to the USA. This is also unavailable to scan tonight.

I have been raised Catholic, having this faith handed down to me from both my mother's and my father's families. I was baptized at 5-6 weeks old, made First Reconciliation and First Eucharist in 2nd grade, was Confirmed in 10th grade, and married my husband a little over 3 years ago. After our daughter was born, we scheduled her baptism to pass our faith on to her.

"Katherine Elizabeth, I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Four generations of baptized Catholic women! :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why Bergschneiders?

I'm sure you are wondering about the title I chose for my genealogy blog. Everyone who studies their family history has a starting point. Here is my story, how I am related to the Bergschneiders, and a really cool old photograph.

I was walking through my grandmother's house one time a little over 10 years ago. My grandparents had moved into town (Springfield, IL) from the family farm out near New Berlin, IL. Gramma Fuchs had many old photographs lining her walls, and there was one in particular that caught my eye:

I always asked Gramma, "Which one am I related to? I know you've told me before." The answer was always the same. She smiled, told me I was actually related to all of them, but the one man, the second from the left on the back row, is the one I was thinking of, and his name is Theodore, just like his father.

This family photograph is what got me asking questions, writing things down, learning how to research different documents and censuses, and figuring out my story. The story began with me, and worked its way backwards very quickly with every question I asked. This family, a mother, father, and fourteen children, all of whom survived to adulthood(!), is as follows:

Theodore J Bergschneider was born to Franz Joseph Bergschneider and Elizabeth Thomasmeier near Thuele, Germany on 14 October 1829. Theodore J immigrated to America in 1851, with his brother Henry. A brother, Stephen, joined them in 1854, and his parents and the remaining 3 children plus a son-in-law immigrated in 1857. They all settled near Jacksonville, Illinois and farmed. Theodore J married Gertrude Nelle, born 25 December 1839, also in Germany, called Prussia at that time, and they had the following 14 children:

Elizabeth S, 1859
Joseph L, 1862
Mary J, 1863
John Joseph, 1864
Theodore H, 1867
Magdalena Ann, 1869
Henry John, 1871
Gertrude T, 1873
Anton E, 1875
Minnie J, 1877
Godfrey Martin, 1880
William H, 1882
George H, 1885
Francis J, 1889

Based on those birthdays, and that Francis (Frank) looks about 2 in the photo, I'm guessing the photo is circa 1891. Comments?

Theodore H Bergschneider is my 2nd great grandfather. He married Sophia Wetterer. This photo is Theodore, Sophie and their three children, (l-r) Harry, Eda, and Rosella (my great-grandmother). This was taken at their home/farm.

Rosella was born in 1893, Harry in 1895, and Eda in 1900. This would date the photo to about 1904. Again, comments are welcome. :)

As I began to delve into the Bergschneider family of 14 children, I began to find out there were more Bergschneiders, and MORE Bergschneiders! Theodore J was one of the original family of 6 children that immigrated. He and his wife had 14 children, as we saw in the photograph. How many grandchildren did Franz Joseph and Elizabeth end up with once all 6 of their children had married? To the best of my current research, there are 66! The breakdown? Theodore, 14; Henry, 10; Mary, 9; Stephen, 13; Joseph, 6; and Antony (married twice), 14. Eventually, I'll blog a breakdown of each family, complete with any photos I've been able to access. Until then, stay tuned!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Naming Traditions

When I began working on researching family history about 9 years ago, my mother asked me to research her father's family. No one in our family knew much about that side of our family, and my grandfather, William Theodore Morgan (1916-1983) didn't ever speak much about his family background. I began writing up names and dates that my mother and grandmother remembered, and started putting the tree together:

William Theodore Morgan 1916-1983 and his brother David Nant Morgan
---Their parents were: Florence Evelyn Nant and Theodore William Morgan (1887-1934)

We knew that name swapping took place for a few generations in my grandfather's family: He was born William Theodore, his father was Theodore William, and Theodore's father was William Theodore again. Or at least that's how the legend goes. I have yet to prove or disprove the middle name of William Theodore "the elder." How ironic then, that I married my husband, Ted. His full name? Theodore William!

My mother named me Elizabeth Morgan, after her maiden name, since that had been a tradition in her family. Looking back, I found a few instances of this:

David Nant Morgan (Mother: Florence Evelyn Nant)
William Hilber Morgan (Mother: Amelia Hilber)

I, in turn, named my daughter Katherine Elizabeth, after my name. I didn't feel that my maiden name would be a suitable middle name for a girl. Katherine Fuchs Kehl? Well, it just doesn't sound that great, so I chose to break with the literal tradition. I did try to keep the spirit of the tradition though!