The New Year is an occasion to look back and reflect on the past twelve months and, from a genealogy perspective, these were the top events my husband, Jim, and I experienced:
*Gaining a wonderful son-in-law on November 19 when our daughter Naomi married Ryan Meeks. The wedding was wonderful and we expect the marriage is and will be even more so.
*Visiting the land of our ancestors, the Schwans and the Lohrs, in Germany. Researching them has been the impetus for this blog. I stood on the land where my grandfather Fred Schwans, and great-grandfather, John Schwans were born and lived.
* Visiting the village of Nettesheim-Butzheim where my husband’s great-grandfather, Mathias Löhr, was born and raised. We were overwhelmed with the reception we received from the local historical society and the townspeople. The impact of visiting the church, seeing the baptismal font, vestments, and the organ concert cannot fully be described with words. All I can say is there are some truly wonderful people in what is now Rommerskirchen!
*Meeting Anna, Maria and their families, cousins we had never known about! How kind and welcoming they were. We hope they and their families can visit us someday in the U.S.A.
*Seeing the actual birth record of Mathias Löhr.
*Touring with Jane and Jens, Anke and Hinrich who have to be the best guides and hosts we could ever have. The planning they did for the trip was without a doubt a top experience. Now we need them to return to visit us in Iowa. (But I don’t think we can show them the centuries of history they made available to us!)
*Searching on an online database and locating the convent where my great-aunt Sister Julitta (Mary) Naescher professed her vows and served as a nun. Some followup correspondence with the archivist at the convent yielded an autobiography and surprising insight into Sister Julitta’s response to losing her mother (my great-grandmother) at a very young age. (More on this find in future blog posts.)
*And, then a stunning discovery in a museum in Cloppenburg, Germany, of nearly sixty years of correspondence and documents involving my great-grandfather Johann Schwaans. This came to light in an unusual set of circumstances shortly after our return home from Germany. The documents are in the process of being translated.
With these genealogy treasures, I do indeed feel very blessed!
Happy New Year to all my readers. (Thank you for your encouragement!)