In over fifty years (yes, 50!) of pursuing my genealogy interests there have been many delightful finds and experiences. But along the way there have been a few that “top the charts” in terms of highlights. In the past few years there have been two such occasions of making connections that could only be described as superlative. (And even that word probably doesn’t give an accurate description.)
The most recent such event was this week when our good friends Jens and Jane Delger visited my husband Jim and me. This was their second visit to see us and it was wonderful to see them again. Jens grew up in the same parish (Apen, Germany) as my grandfather, Fred Schwans. Jane is Jen’s wife, originally from Minnesota.
With a time period of approximately 100 years separating them, Jens isn’t exactly a contemporary of my grandfather. But geography is a common factor linking them. In addition, Jens has been analyzing the church records of Apen and working toward publishing a compilation for the years 1650 to the late 1800s. A few years ago, Jens provided me with nearly ten pages of my ancestors. (One line of my family lived in the Apen parish area, Vreschen-Bokel, for several hundred years!) He probably knows more about my ancestors than I do!
Jane and Jens have a relative buried at Marshalltown, Iowa and we visited the grave. Lawrence Hoffbuhr was a third cousin, once removed to Jens. We also stopped by the new Marshalltown Public Library and were quite impressed with their genealogy section.
And, a visit to Iowa would not be complete without a trip to Wellsburg, Grundy County where so many of the Ostfriesen people settled in the mid-to-late 19th century. Warren (my third cousin) and Dee (my seventh cousin) Lindaman, along with granddaughter Emily (a very bright young lady!), joined us for lunch and great conversation.
To complete our Wellsburg visit, Dee gave us a tour of the beautiful new library, including the Ostfriesen Heritage Room with the fantastic resources for Ostfriesen research. And, finally Jens and Jane showed us some new resources on the Internet. They are experts on all things Ostfriesen! Time sped by all too quickly … and we could have spent many more hours learning from them!
Unfortunately, all good things must come to a conclusion as Jane and Jens left for the next portion of their travels. But it truly was a wonderful visit with very good friends.
We look forward to their next visit!
(And Jane and Jens were gracious to translate four obituaries for a friend of mine!)