On this day in 1871 the Deutsches Reich, or German Empire, was proclaimed from a group of 26 disparate entities. My ancestors hailed from the western side of the Prussian empire near Coblenz, the Duchy of Nassau, the Kingdom of Hanover, and the Electorate of Hessen. Lately, I’ve been researching the 1920s, German immigration to the U.S., prohibition, and WWI. Most of my ancestors emigrated prior to unification and therefore, I don’t believe they ever identified with the German Empire as their homeland.
Several months ago, a friend from Florence, Missouri, asked if I knew about the deaths of three women in the United Church of Christ Cemetery. All three had been married but died as young wives. She wondered if I knew their stories. I knew one, and immediately went to work on the other two. May their stories never been forgotten.
Ever since I was a kid, I have loved postcards. I think my ancestors instilled in me a desire to travel and in previous centuries getting a postcard in the mail allowed one to get a glimpse of that faraway place. I have a collection of cards sent to other family members as well. When my grandmother Roma died, we found hundreds of postcards in her farmhouse. Recently I have been examining my collection for a new project and I have found several great genealogy nuggets! This one titled, “A Carload of Cucumbers.” For the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Oct 2-8  is one of my favorites.
All hail and sing happy birthday! Today is the 200th birthday of Johan (Johannes or John) Peter Siegel, my two times great grandfather. Johan was born on June 1, 1821, in Rüscheid, Rhineland-Pfalz, Germany (Prussia), the son of Anna Margaretha (Bur) and Johann Peter Seigel. He was baptized on June 11th of the same year, according to the Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche records in Rüscheid.
While we often think of history as the big picture what brings it home to us is every day life of everyday people. When looking back through our things its notable what isn’t there: photos of our favorite things and of our daily life. So today, try to answer the list of questions below, or make your own questions that remind you of funny stories with the people and animals in the places we love. Take pictures. Yep. Its a feel-good exercise!