Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Persistence definitely pays off..........

I haven't written much about ancestors that I don't have a lot of information on but a package arrived in the mail today that made me decide this was a good topic.

I wrote last year about my maternal grandmother's family tree and her handwritten tree.  One of the pages was just a drawn out tree that showed that her mother's (Minnie) mother Augusta Muche Comstock (wife of George Delmer Comstock) - it lists that Augusta's mother was "Minnie Schuman" and her father "August Muche".  I had nothing further until I found what I figured was the ship log (based on age and families in Allegan MI):
"Ann & Lizzy 06/15/1866" - Schumann family bottom right

I found a researcher in Allegan that was willing to do some lookups for me (in the link I wrote a little about her).  In 3 packets of information she found so much information for me regarding the Schumann family, even getting information about my 3rd great grandmother "Minnie", proving her mother was Beate Monties Schumann.  I started researching the descendants of Beate and traced several of the families, eventually finding a woman named Nancy in Maryland, who's great grandfather William Frederick Schumann was one of Minnie's brothers.  I emailed her in early 2006, letting her know how we were distantly related, and asking her if she had any photos.  I got a response back 4/29/2006 indicating that she had photos from when her grandparents house was cleaned out but that her grandma's 2 sisters lived there for awhile and all the photos were mixed together.  She wasn't sure how much help she could be but when she had time she'd be in touch.

Fast forward to 7/21/2012 and I get an email from Nancy with the photo of William Schumann and also a photo of Beate!  This sure cemented my reasoning when I tell people why I won't leave my current cable provider (losing this email address that's out there on so many genealogy tangents would cost me).  Writing on the back proves the connection and adds the name of a son Michael that I hadn't been able to track:
Beate Monties Schumann 1806-1887
 This gives me a photo of a 4th great grandmother that I don't have a photo of their child (Minnie, my 3rd great grandmother).  I blogged before about unidentified photos that I believe to be of the Schumann family and may even have Minnie in them but so far nothing.  I even emailed the photo to the Allegan County Historical Society and got no response (which is a shame, a response would have been nice).

Other than the ship log and the 1870 and 1880 census Beate doesn't exist.  She has a headstone at Oakwood Cemetery in Allegan but Viola couldn't even find a death record. 
During the 6 year gap between emails I'd been in contact with another Schumann descendant named John in Arkansas.  His great grandparents were William and Emma Tiefenthal Schumann.  They lived in Allegan as well but I hadn't been able to make the connection to my Schumann line, in spite of the fact that Emma's father Frederick's 2nd wife Julia was also one of Beate's daughters.  I sent him this photo to which I got a quick reply that HE also had a copy of the same photo.  He said it was somewhere in his basement in a really old frame and that he'd gotten it out of his great-uncle Arno Schumann's belongings.  Arno would have absolutely no reason to have this photo unless Beate was also his relative which leads me to believe that the son Michael that I'm missing was William's father, who probably died in Prussia prior to the family coming to America.  I'll never be able to prove it as Arno's father abandoned the family and simply vanishes but it's a very plausible explanation.  Even without proving this I've got 100% proof that Beate is definitely my direct ancestor.

I asked John if he could send me a scan of his photo (hoping it was in better shape than the one I got) but didn't hear from him for quite awhile.  A couple months ago I got an email from him that he was driving through Michigan for a trip and wanted to know if he could drop the photo off to me.  He wants the photo with someone that will appreciate it and hold on to it so I of course said I would.  When the trip was made the photo was accidentally left behind so when he returned he called me and made arrangements to mail it to me.  It arrived today, complete in a frame that I can only guess is from the 1880s.
 The damaged part of the photo (her right shoulder) is the same in his copy as in the one Nancy sent me.  The photo (I pulled it from the frame and put it in my acid-free album for the time-being) is a reprint but looks extremely old (I've never seen a photo printed on this kind of paper).  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the frame yet as I want to keep it but it's not in great shape.  Either way I truly appreciate having the photo and the 6 and then 3 year gaps it took to get them prove that you never know when something will find you! 
Sure would be nice if Beate and her family would give me something to let me know where in Prussia to begin looking for their records!  The photo will have to do for now.  :)

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