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.
Often when events occur that change our world we remember where we were and what we were doing. I distinctly remember the events of November 9, 1989 – the night the Berlin Wall fell. I was an undergrad at the University of Missouri in Columbia. I was taking political science classes and we were discussing events unfolding in East Germany and the Soviet Bloc countries as the signs became clear that the authoritarian regimes were in trouble.
I am one of those people who love to see what happened on this day in history. I often wonder did something happen of global importance or something seemingly minor in the life of one of my ancestors that changed his or her – or even my destiny? Today there one event is of particular interest; a death, not of a person but of an empire. On February 25, 1947, the state of Prussia was formally dissolved. Much of my family heritage is tied to the Prussian empire.