Friday, March 11, 2011

Rosenberg bei Danzig

During my genealogy research, I found that my mother's father's family originally came from Rosenberg bei Danzig, and Langenau bei Danzig. Danzig (or Gdansk) was a German Free State on the coast of what is now Poland. "bei" means "near" (Rosenberg and Langenau were smaller towns to the south of Danzig).

For many years, I would look at several old photo albums my mother kept and wonder about all the people and places depicted in the photos; many had no names or descriptions and some had German writing I couldn't read. I recently located Peter, a German relative, who has helped me translate some of the writing on many old items, including the post card (from about 1915) shown here. (Click on any photo to enlarge)

Some introductions: my grandfather had 11 brothers & sisters; two of the women married brothers with the surname Gehrt and moved to America around the turn of the 20th century. One of his other sisters, Anna, stayed in Rosenberg and had a daughter, Alma (my grandfather's niece); Alma had three children including a girl, Kate. My grandmother's name was Franze and my mother's was Lena (diminutive name is Linchen).

The translation:

“Dear Uncle Otto. Herewith I’m sending to you your native city. This picture was taken from the church tower by Kate’s teacher. In front there is the school. The street goes to Langenau. Can you see anything on the street? That is mother, I, and the kids. We are going to the station.

Where I made a cross there is Gehrt’s tavern. It’s newly built. The old one you will remember. Otherwise we feel tolerably. We are all healthy. Last week (unclear name) Gehrt visited us. She tells almost nothing, you have to ask for everything.

Mother will write on Sunday.

Best wishes to aunt Franze and Linchen

and warm regards to you from your niece.

Alma and family.”

So, I had an actual photo of the town my grandfather came from, and one in which my relatives are visible on the road (granted, they're just tiny black dots) and, all along, I had no idea what it was.

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