Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Herman and Caroline Sonnenberg

These are my grandparents. They were the brave souls that came from Europe to start a new life here in America. I think the child in Grandpa's arms is my uncle.

Grandpa came over first, possibly from Ukraine, around 1911. We are still trying to figure out all that mess. (Seems he sneaked over under someone else's name... ) Grandma came over from Poland (or was is Prussia?) about 1920 or so. Yes, it's all very confusing. When they came over, boundaries were changing on a regular basis, and alliances were also changing.

They settled in Ohio, found each other, and married. No, they did not know each other in Europe. And I really don't know how they met. But that may be a story for another time... I guess I need to talk to Daddy...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Finding Carl Krueger

Krueger... such a simple, elusive, and confusing surname. I have followed my great grandfather in the Cleveland area with much ease. However, I have found that he did not come here directly, as my mother's maternal grandparents did. Carl is my mother's paternal grandfather and the proverbial thorn in my side.

Arriving in America in 1882, he apparently went to Wisconsin. I have some documentation showing one of my grandfather's sisters having been born there. However, I have no idea just where in Wisconsin.

Once upon a time, I got really lucky, or so I thought, when the Wisconsin Historical Society put their birth records online. I found a birth record for Emma Krueger, one of my grandfather's older sisters. It showed Karl Krueger as the father. Ok, spelling changed so many times, I wasn't concerned about the spelling. I've gotten used to checking different spellings. The date was just off by a week or two, and even that was acceptable.

So, being the wonderfully lucky person I felt I was, I sent off my $15.00 to the historical society for this wonderful find. It would show me where they were in Wisconsin, and give me more information... Or so I thought...

Weeks went by, and finally, the birth record arrived!! I was all a-flutter with excitement! My first new find in years! Oh Joy, oh Rapture! The wonder of all wonders, that elusive piece of information that was going to solve the mystery for me! I could hardly breathe!

I tore open the envelope, eager to see the document. I started reading the record... Father: Karl Krueger; the name of the child was Emma Krueger; the mother (which would make it official) was BLANK!!!! Accckkk!!! How could this be??? Where the mother's name should be was a blank line! Well, not actually "blank", there was a line drawn through the space where the mother's name should have been!

How could this be?!?! How could the Wisconsin Historical Society do this do me? How could they send this knowing that I needed this information so desperately?

We know the Society didn't do this to me... But it's easier to blame them than to blame the person that failed to fill out the record back in 1885. I still have no clue as to where in Wisconsin my great-grandfather decided to go first before moving to the Cleveland area. Or even why he came to Cleveland to begin with. My Kruegers have been a bit of a total mystery to me, as none of them had much to do with my mother in later years.

My grandfather was Louis Elmer Krueger. I'm still hunting them, and eventually, I think I will find them... but it's just a matter of time...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Angel

When I was a little girl, I would spend a week with my maternal grandmother in the early summer. (Didn't understand about work vacations back then. Had to do it when Gram was on vacation, too!)

The best part of those times were cutting peonies from the back yard (she had a zillion of them it seamed!) and taking them to the cemetery, for her to put them on her parents graves. We would get a 1lb. coffee can out (back then they were actually metal!) and wrapping it up with "tin" foil to make it look nice. Then we would walk to the corner (almost a mile, I guess) and catch the bus. The bus would stop right in front of Lutheran Cemetery and we would make the walk to the back of the cemetery where her parents were.

On our way, we would pass "my angel". She is a beautifully larger-than-life angel, standing in front of a cross, with her hands outstretched. I fell in love with her then, all those years ago. And I still love her.

Only now, as I look at her, I realize she really isn't an angel. And it's amazing that after all these years, I never really noticed that before. You see, she has no wings...