July 31 – Bertha Hermine Friederike Dorothea Schmidt

23 years ago, on July 31, 1991 Michail Gorbachev and George Bush sign the START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) between the  Soviet Union and the USA for reducing strategic atomic weapons.

On July 31, 1948 opens the New York International Airport which is known today as John F. Kennedy Intl. Airport since December 24, 1963

In my family tree we move back to my father’s paternal side.

We meet my great grand aunt Bertha Hermine Friederike Dorothea SCHMIDT, the oldest child of the master carpenter Gustav Bruno SCHMIDT and his wife Henrica Elisabeth Dorothea PETROWSKY.

Yes, you remember correctly.. he is the one that just vanished.

Bertha was born on July 31, 1880 in Güstrow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany and received her christening on at the Pfarrkirche in Güstrow on August 22, 1880. One of the godparents is given with “Elisabeth Schmidt née Klinckmann, carpenter’s daughter here”. I wonder if this COULD be her grandmother, but I’ve already seen cases where the relationship was mentioned in the churchbook entry.

After her father left the family and her mother remarried and moved to Grubenhagen, Bertha got confirmed there in the church on April 7, 1895

The 1900 census of Mecklenburg-Schwerin shows that she moved back to Güstrow, working as a domestic servant.

And that was the last trace I have of her.




July 29 – Johann Heinrich Friedrich Schaper

Olav II. Haraldsson dies in the battle of Stiklestad on July 29, 1030. But not before defeating the heathen chieftains and therewith rescuing the norwegian kingdom.

With appearing at Lizard Point south of Plymouth on July 29, 1588 the Spanish Armada is seen at the English coast for the first time.

On my family tree we meet my 1st cousin 4x removed.

Johann Heinrich Friedrich SCHAPER was born on July 29, 1860 in Mustin, Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg, Germany.

Johann was the fifth of six children born into the marriage of the weaver Johann Jacob Hinrich SCHAPER and his wife Catharina Maria Sophia née LEHMANN.

He received his baptism on August 5, 1860 in the church of Mustin.

church Mustin

church Mustin

Unfortunately, he was one of three children of the siblings suffering an early death.

He died on August 23, 1861 barely being one year old of “cramps” and got laid to rest on the cemetary of Mustin on August 26, 1861.

Where in New York is Harry Koppetsch?

Okay, I used a gameshow as an inspiration but at least I got your attention ;)

I have the following “mystery” or brick wall.

passenger list 1929

passenger list 1929

According to the passenger lists Harry Koppetsch was 7 years old when he arrived at New York City in April 1929 with his mother Else and his siblings Wilhelm (5 yrs old) and Eva (3 yrs old). Their father Paul already lived in New York. He arrived in the US in October 1928.

Harry was born in Koenigsberg, East Prussia and received his visa in Berlin before leaving the German Reich.

1930 census Koppetsch family

1930 census Koppetsch family

The 1930 census shows him living with his parents and his siblings at Stony Ave. in the Bronx.

The family name is given with “Kopeck”.

And on every other document I have on the family following the 1930 census he is vanished:

  • Paul’s Petition for Naturalization from February 1936 only mentions Wilhelm and Eva as children (incl. birthdates)
  • the family returned to Germany in November 1936. The passenger list only provides Information on Els(i)e, Paul, Wilhelm (William) and Eva
  • the 1940 census only shows Paul, William and Eva – Else being absent is another mystery I try to solve here

So, where is Harry? One family anecdote tells the story that he got killed by a drunk hit-and-run-driver in the Bronx in either 1934 or 1936 – which matches the period, but I just read this story once in an email I received from a distant cousin. And unfortunately, I’ve never heard from her again.

I definetly need help on this one. Where would I start to look for a possible death entry? Sorry for such a newbie question, but that would be the first death record I am looking for in the US ;)

I checked newspaper databases for anything on a car accident in that time, but no success.

Ideas anyone? Please? :)

Can’t believe I missed my blogiversary!

But I have a good excuse.. I was on vacation ;)

Happy belated blogiversary to me!!

It was on July 19, 2013 that I decided to start this blog. Without giving it a second thought, I have to admit. I attended a webinar concerning “cousin bait” and thought blogging about my family research would be a great way to start.

No wonder, it looked quite chaotic in the beginning ;)

My first blogpost was about my great grand aunt Else Nicolaus who emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1929. Take a look at it here.

And what happened in the meantime?

Well, first things first, via this blog I found “news on Else“. I wouldn’t have found the information without some helping hands I met via this blog.

I told you about another emigrant in my family tree: Friedrich Ludwig Heinrich Ulmer from Bremen. He took his family and his belongings and set sail to Australia in 1952. And guess what by sharing his blogpost via google+ I got in contact with his son. My first success when it comes to “cousin bait”.

I shared some of the censuses I use as a resource… more to come, promised!

And since reading about an unknown region I shared mine with you via maps. I would like to think they help you a bit to find your way around.

52ancestorsI joined the “52 ancestors” challenge from Amy Crow at “No story too small” and was in for another surprise. It turned out that another German blogger taking part in this challenge is a distant cousin of mine. Quite amazing to read familiar names. I could feel my heartbeat increasing :) Read the story here. 

But not only was I the happy recipient of help from other bloggers, I was also able to help my readers.

Read the story of the “Haf brothers” overe at ginisology.com – or take a look at the Goesch family imigration from Larry’s group here.

I shared daily events from my family tree with you. Births, weddings or deaths.. all there as well as my confusion about “conflicting information” – including solving the mystery ;)

And I found a new hobby named “Corporate history”. It was like finding “A whole new world” which I discovered via my “Working Out Loud” coaching.

I wrote 245 posts in eight categories, 334 people decided to follow my blog. I had visitors from 65 different countries – from Austria via Nepal to Ukraine coming from 85 different referrers.

If I would have to choose one favourite blogpost it would be the one about my greatgrandfather Gustav Bruno Schmidt. It is telling the story of my adventure finding myself in a totally new region.

And I can’t wait for more blogging adventures to come. Get on board and join me ;)




#52ancestors No. 19 – Sophia Maria Wilhelmine Warnke

This is my 19th post for the 52 ancestors challenge from Amy Crow over at “No story too small”.


This time it is about my 2nd great grandmother Sophia Maria Wilhelmine WARNKE who was born on July 18, 1860 in Kastahn, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany.

She was the oldest of ten children of the farmer Johann Friedrich Gottlieb WARNKE and his wife Maria Elisabeth Wilhelmine née OLDENBURG.

church & cemetary Diedrichshagen

church & cemetary Diedrichshagen


On July 29, 1860 she received her christening in the local church of the parish in Diedrichshagen. In the file below her baptism entry is the one No. 21

Warnke Sophia Maria Wilhelmine 1860 baptism

In the same church she got confirmed into lutheran religion on March 21, 1875 and she married the mason Joachim Heinrich Gottlieb FREYTAG from Diedrichshagen on December 7, 1883.

civil wedding certificate Warnke - Freytag

civil wedding certificate Warnke – Freytag

The couple had three children I know of so far:

  • Emma Wilhelmine Elisabeth (* July 26, 1884 + November 11, 1972) – my greatgrandmother
  • Christine Sophia Dorothea (* August 27, 1885 + 1973)
  • Gottlieb Hans Heinrich (* June 20, 1888)

While checking my sources for this post it striked me that I didn’t have any entries for her for the censuses 1867, 1890, 1900 or 1919. I checked those online today again – but nothing. I wonder where she is. And her family, too.

I haven’t found a death entry so far for her.






July 17 – Werner Joachim Hans Hermann August Freytag

Due to the political pressure in Great Britain during World War I. King George V. adopts the family name Windsor after the Royal Family’s place of residence in favour of “House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha” the original German descendance on July 17, 1917.

And one year later, on July 17, 1918 Lenin orders the assassination of Tsar Nicholas II., his wife, their four daughters and the crownprince Alexej in Jekaterinenburg.

On my family tree we meet my 3rd cousin 2x removed Werner Joachim Hans Hermann August FREYTAG.

He was born on July 17, 1912 in Kastahn, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany as second oldest of five children into the marriage of Richard August Joachim Johann FREYTAG and his wife Berta Wilhelmine Elise née WARNKE. One of my many FREYTAG-WARNKE combinations, I might add ;)

Werner received his christening on August 11, 1912 in Diedrichshagen, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany. Barely one month before he died on September 9, 1912. His father registered his death with the officials on the same day.

death certificate Werner Freytag

death certificate Werner Freytag

Werner got laid to rest in Diedrichshagen on September 12, 1912.

July 16 – Magdalena Maria Dorothea Kort

The islamic calendar starts with the emigration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina on July 16, 622

The 10 years old Richard II. gets crowned as King of England on July 16, 1377.

And on my family tree?

We celebrate the birthday of one of my in-laws.

Magdalena Maria Dorothea KORT is born on July 16, 1849 in Welzin, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany.

Her father Johann Joachim Heinrich KORT was a fee farmer in Welzin and married to Magdalena Sophia née ISENHAGEN.

On November 18, 1870 she married the blacksmith Johann Friedrich Gottlieb PÜSTOW from Groß Eichsen, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany in Damshagen in the same grandduchy.

I found six children for the couple so far, five sons and a daughter – born between 1872 and 1886. All the children have been born in Upahl, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany where Johann already lived when they married.

Magdalena died on November 6, 1918 in Upahl of the flu. She got laid to rest in Diedrichshagen on November 12, 1918.

death certificate Magdalena Kort

death certificate Magdalena Kort