20 March 2014

How much more German can it get?

Marriage certificate for my great, great grandparents-Carson & Clara Ewald, 1895.
If you haven't figured it out, I'm sticking with a family history theme this month.  My oldest roots in the county are deep in the soil of German Township.  During the early 1830s a few of my German-immigrant ancestors began to settle in the township that would ultimately bear their fatherland's name.  The following generations did what cultural anthropologists tell us runs counter-cultural to most immigrant groups.  They held on to their native traditions, and tongues.

Birth certificate for my great grandmother, Edna Ewald Hochstetler, 1896.
From my ancestors the Roths (later changed to Rhodes), Schwiesbergers, Walmers, Ewalds, Bargers (later changed to Bergers), and Geyers descended German traditions tied most tightly to the Lutheran and Methodist churches in Bremen.  St. Paul's Lutheran and Salem United Methodist both continued the tradition of preaching sermons in German well into the first decades of the 20th century.

Not long ago my great aunt gave my mother color copies of marriage and birth certificates belonging to the family.  These were printed in their native tongue.  Aside from the rich color graphics of two of the documents, and the gold-leafing of the other, it's the German lettering on the documents that make them great vestiges of family history.

Birth certificate from my great x3 grandparents, 1871.

The oldest document is a birth and baptismal certificate for George Roth and Catherine Schwiesberger (my 3x great grandparents), from 1871.  Their daughter, Clara, married Carson Ewald in Bremen in 1895, which is the certificate with the oval-shaped design.  Carson and Clara Ewald had my great grandmother, Edna, whose birth certificate is dated January 15, 1896 and has the image of a dove, rainbow, and Easter lilies.  I find it interesting that by the time Edna was born, the branches of families had been living in the United States for not less than three generations.

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