Cousin meets Cousin – 42 years later

That was my tweet the next day following traveling with my Dad up north a bit from Lübeck to Fockbek to meet his cousin.

But let me tell you the story.

It was back in May 2014 that I found one of those shaky leaves on showing me that someone else had information on my paternal SCHMIDT line on his family tree.

I contacted the owner of the other tree and the same day I got a response which really surprised me… and of which I was very happy about. Günter (that’s his name) was married to the cousin of my Dad’s cousin wife.

Still following me? C’mon, for a genealogist, that is a piece of cake ;) So we mailed back and forth and he told me that he even had my Dad’s uncle’s “Ahnenpass”.

Of course I asked him, if he could provide me with a copy. He went back to Peter, my Dad’s cousin and came back with some very detailed questions for me to answer. To make sure that I really was who I told I was. Understandable, since otherwise everyone can come up and ask.

So, a few days later he sent me a copy of this Ahnenpass and instantly my family tree grew by a few generations.

The detailed story about that can be read here:

Again a while later I asked Günter if he had an email adress from Peter. I wanted to personally thank him for allowing me to get the copy.

And again some days down the road I finally managed to send this email. It took Christiane, his wife only a couple of days to reply. We had a very nice email conversation and curious me I asked her if she would be interested in reunioning the both cousins. In the meantime we actually found out when was the last time the two met: It was the funeral of their grandmother in 1972 – 42 years ago! And since Christiane was as curious as I was we had quickly set a date for two weeks ahead.

Correction: my Dad didn’t meet his cousin for over 50 years but “only” 43 ;) on Tuesday we gonna change that #genealogy sooo exited ;)

Watch out for my typo on twitter ;) 

That day I packed my Dad and our dog into the car, I was the driver and we took the short drive up north – about 90 minutes. 

Christiane was already standing in the frontyard to wait for us. She was as exited as I was. And the two cousins? Well, typical northern German Schmidts I would say. The greeting was rather short… guys, I would have expected some more emotions, please? But well, knowing my Dad, then again I wouldn’t. Not that he is not emotional and not that they were not happy to see each other again – but like I said: typical Northern German ;) 

But soon the chatting started. After a while I just told my Dad that he must be lucky to speak lower German again. Which he doesn’t use back home that much, since my Mom doesn’t really understands it.

I was prepared of course and brought my memory – meaning my iPad. Peter and Christiane took out the photobox and we took pictures from everything. They even gave us some  pictures they had duplicates from. Inbetween I just put the iPhone on the table, recording everything. 

It got really emotional when Christiane read out loud the letters with which Peter’s Mom got informed of the death of her husband in WWII. 

What a coincidence that during our stay my Dad received two phonecalls from one of his brothers and his sister. Of course we used that instantly to clear some names and dates. 

7 (in words: SEVEN!!) hours later, following lots of chattering, laughter, a long walk in the neighbourhood, great food and some hidden tears I packed my Dad and the dog again in the car – we had a big good bye and I am sure this was not the last time we met! I am very happy that my family got bigger again that day! 

And now I have a lot of pictures to sort, letters and recordings to transcribe, etc. 

August 9 – Paula Olga Anna Püstow

This blog is a “today in my family tree” meets “cousin bait”…

On August 9, 1792 Louis XIV. gets crowned as King of Bohemia.

And almost 100 years later, on August 9, 1890 does England transfer the island of Helgoland under German administration.

And additional two years later, we celebrate the birthday of Paula Olga Anna PÜSTOW.

She was born on August 9, 1892 in Kastahn in the parish of Diedrichshagen, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany.

She was the second oldest of four children (two girls and two boys) born into the marriage of the fee farmer Wilhelm Joachim Heinrich Theodor PÜSTOW and his wife Margarethe Henriette Magdalene née Ehlers.

church & cemetary Diedrichshagen

church & cemetary Diedrichshagen

She received her christening in the church of Diedrichshagen on September 4, 1892.

The same church she got confirmed into the lutheran religion on March 24, 1907.

And so far that is the last trace I have of her. That’s why I call on every PÜSTOW out there… any connections to Diedrichshagen?



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 – 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. 16 – Christine Dorothea Johanna Seemann

It is time for my next blogpost regarding the 52 ancestors challenge.


For those of you who don’t know this challenge yet, it sounds quite simple:

52 blogposts about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks.

But I have to admit, I have a lot of catching up to do, I didn’t blog regularly lately.

One of the few german speaking blogs taking part in this challenge is “A thing is going on” (yes, I know, it’s an English title.. but the rest is German ;))

And since I follow this blog I get all the new posts provided in my wordpress reader. So far all of her ancestors came from the Northwest of Germany compared to mine coming from the Northeast.

But then her blogpost no 21 in this challenge caught my eye.. it was a name I have in my family tree, too: Hedwig Westphal geb. Seemann (1889-1944)

It was the maiden name SEEMANN which was interesting to me. And when I went on reading the post and saw that this Hedwig SEEMANN was born in Bahlen, I got even more interested, because it would have been a real coincidence if there would have been a Bahlen in the Northwest, too.

The Bahlen I know is in the Northeast, in Mecklenburg to be exact. And with the other places that were mentioned in the post I was very sure that it was “my” Bahlen were Hedwig SEEMANN was born in 1889.

There was just a slight problem. The last SEEMANN I had in Bahlen was my 4th great grandmother Christine Dorothea Johanna SEEMANN born in 1797. Which means there was a 100 year gap. To be honest, I didn’t really dared hoping that this gap could be closed.

“How cool is that?”

But sometimes I should just have a bit  more faith. I left a comment telling that I had the name SEEMANN in Bahlen too, but 100 years before. I left the details about my 4th great grandmother and kept my fingers crossed.

And it didn’t take long and I got a reply from Katrin who wrote this post which sounds translated like “How cool is that? I descend from her brother’s line! Do you have the name of her parents’ parents? I would have those.”

What? But she was right, how cool is that? This would mean that Katrin and I are 6th Cousins since our 5th great grandparents were our shared ancestors.

I just love those days!

But let me tell you what I know about my 4th great grandmother Christine Dorothea Johanna SEEMANN.

She was born October 7, 1797 in Bahlen, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany. She received her baptism three days later on October 10, 1797 in Bahlen.

I don’t exactly know yet when she married my 4th great grandfather Joachim Christian Heinrich OLDENBURG but their first know child was born on May 17, 1824 in Diedrichshagen, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germay – “my” main parish. I would love to know how the two met, since the villages were roughly 20  miles apart.

I found four children being born between 1824 and 1838. But when I take a look at the gaps I have between them I guess there are more. I “just” have to find them.

Christine died in Diedrichshagen on April 12, 1878 and got laid to rest on the church cemetary on April 16, 1878.

death record Christine Seemann

death record Christine Seemann

And another coincidence: you remember my blog about finding relatives of my father’s cousin?

Christine can be found in the “Ahnenpass” I received from them, too.

And our 5th great grandparents are Katrin’s blogposts no. 23 and 24






January 18 – Henrica Elisabeth Dorothea Petrowsky

The Wars of Roses between the Houses of Tudor and York are finally ceased with the marriage of the English king Henry VII (Tudor) and Elizabeth of York on January 18, 1486.

Following the victory in the Franco-Prussian War, Wilhelm I. of Prussia is crowned Emperor of Germany in Versailles on Januar 18, 1871. That is the beginning of the German Empire or better the German Realm.

With one of my first blogs called “Go back to the data you already have” I told you how re-working a census record from 1900 helped me to find more information about my greatgreatgrandmother Henrica Elisabeth Dorothea PETROWSKY.

And since it is her wedding anniversary today, I want to tell you a little bit more about her.

Henrica was born June 10, 1845 in Neu Lüblow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany as an illegitimate child of the housemaid Elisabeth Maria Friederike PETROWSKY.

1875 she gave birth herself to an illegitimate child, a daughter called Frieda Emilie Sophie Caroline.

On October 28, 1879 she married for the first time. Her husband is my greatgreatgrandfather Gustav Bruno SCHMIDT, a carpenter from Güstrow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin. So far I found three children for the couple being born between 1880 and 1885. All of them in Güstrow, where the family lived.

So far I thought that they had lived happily ever after.

But then came the day when I found the 1900 census record I mentioned above. The full story can be read in the blogpost, but here the short version:

Due to malicious abandonment by him she got divorced from my greatgreatgrandfather on September 12, 1894. He is missing since then. And having three children to raise (her oldest daughter Frieda was already 20 years old), she actually just HAD to marry again.

I don’t know how she got to know him, but on January 18, 1895 she married the farmhand Wilhelm Johann Christian Ludwig DÜSE from Grubenhagen, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany.

The 1900 census shows her living in Bockholt, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany.

And that is the last trace I have of her. One of her daughters married in 1903, but in that record only the fathers of bride and groom are mentioned.

So, here my question: Does anyone have the PETROWSKY in their family tree?





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