Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fearless Female Blog Post...A Little Late (Surprising Fact!)

Julia K. Sommer & Maria Elisabetha Rusch Sommer
ca. 1880
photo owned by M. Devers
Within the last year and a half, I have discovered a number of my German ancestors and have written about them in several posts. Through a distant cousin I have even acquired a few photographs as well. One fearless woman I have continued to research is my Great Great Great Grandmother Maria Elisabetha Rusch Sommer. According to her daughter Catharina's death certificate (my GG grandmother) Catharina was born in Neckargemund, Germany. Wow, with that little tid bit of information, I started my "Mission Possible". Here is what I have discovered through church and village records about Maria Elisabeth Rusch Sommer.
Maria used the name Elisabetha throughout her life, she dropped the Maria. She married Johann Gottlieb Sommer March 30, 1841. They had at least ten children...
1) Johann Daniel Sommer, 1841
2) Friedericka Jacobina Johanna Sommer, 1843
3) Martin Sommer, ca. 1844
4) Jacob, 1844
5) Fredericka, 1846
6) Catharina Julia, 1849 (my GG grandmother)
7) Julia Catharina, 1851
8) Georg, 1852
9) Johann Gottlieb, ca. 1858
10) Johann Michael, ca. 1859
Unfortunately, quite a number of these children died in infancy or before the age of five. I believe Gottlieb died in 1863, I recently discovered his death record and need to send it in for translation. That left a widowed Elisabeth with at least several children to care for. I have a major blank in the history at this point in time, until she immigrated to the United States in September of 1881. She arrived with her daughter Julia, her cousin Phillipina and her granddaughter Julia K. Sommer (Daniel's daughter). At this time I do not know why her grand daughter was permitted to come with her. She lived out her last fourteen years here in Chicago, Illinois. She is buried in Oakwoods Cemetery with the simple inscription on the headstone that reads "Grandmother".
I had believed that Elisabeth was born in 1816. That is the age that corresponds to her death certificate, however, I recently had her birth and baptismal records translated and they indicate she was actually born on July 30th, 1814 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE....ding, ding, ding....wasn't that date the SAME date that Gottlieb was born???
Yes it was! According to church records, Gottlieb was born on July 30th, 1814 at 8 o'clock in the morning. What are the chances of these two people born on the same date, in the same town of Neckargemund, marrying each other? Hmmmm, was this an arranged marriage? I have no idea at this point in time. I can't wait to continue my research on this wonderful and fearless woman!

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The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Genealogy Pox, author unknown


SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.


TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!