I cannot remember how old I was when I saw this picture for the first time in a photo album from my mother. I think it is fair to say that apart from those family reunions on my fathers side, this picture always pulled me into family research. I wanted to know everything about this woman!
This is my greatgrandmother Hedwig Agnes Clara Ribbe, born October 8, 1878 in Staßfurt, Saxony-Anhaltina, Germany as daugther from Gottfried Ribbe and Johanne Lorenz.
I have always been fascinated by this picture. Maybe because from this angle, she looks almost exactly like my mom… or my mom looks like her. My grandfather told us once that her personal hair dresser came once a week to do her hair. When it was let loose it would reach her knees. Well, actually I think he exaggerated a bit, but I believe that it would reach at least her hips, taking a look at the picture.
She married my greatgrandfather Karl Albert Julius Nicolaus August 15, 1918 in Halle, Saxony-Anhaltina, Germany and gave birth to two children: my grandfather Wolfgang Albert and my greataunt Annemarie.
Hedwig and Karl
On her wedding registration record I found the information that she was widowed when she married my greatgrandfather. She was named “widow Rockenstroh genannt Traxdorf”. When I found the first trace of another family, my greataunt Annemarie was still alive and she confirmed that her mother already had 2 children out of this marriage: Charlotte and Hans
Well, how common can this name be, right? So, I again used the help from Auntie Google and came up with exactly 3 people by this name in Germany. For one I found an email adress and with nothing to loose I wrote him an email. And yes, he was my mother’s cousin. He was very helpful in filling the first gaps but unfortunately, he never replied again to any of my emails. But that is also the fate of a genealogist: not everyone we contact is so eager to dive deep into the family history as we are.
Unfortunaly, the four children out of her two marriages never really had any contact. Charlotte and Hans were much older than my grandfather and his sister. They were already 18-20 years old when the two were born. That is a lifetime!
I have to live with it and find new sources to find out more about this fascinating woman. She died much too young September 16, 1925.