Der Stammbaum

Finally, after more than three years of on-and-off work, I’ve completed revisions and published the 2015 edition of Der Stammbaum der Familie Brunnemann.    The Stammbaum traces my Brunnemann family from 1640s Pomerania to 1905 in Flatonia, Texas.

This is the type of genealogy I enjoy the most – it’s literally history in your hands.  It also has a unique history of its own.  The original version was compiled in October 1862, in Cöln, Germany by my third great grandfather, Friedrich Wilhelm August Brunnemann. The information for the Stammbaum was provided by his aunt, Henriette Wilhelmine Elizabeth Brunnemann in the 1820s.

Friedrich Wilhelm August Brunnemann
Friedrich Wilhelm August Brunnemann – Compiler of the Stammbaum

It made its way to Texas with my second great grandfather, August Julius Eduard Brunnemann. It was translated into English in the 1940s by a Jewish friend of my great uncle who had fled the Nazis in the 1930s. It was augmented by my grandmother and her cousin in the 1980s, and then by me in 2015.

august brunnemann military uniform0001
August Julius Eduard Brunnemann – Pharmacist in Flatonia, Texas

Based on my very limited experience, German genealogies appear to be quite different than American ones. In most family accounts of my ‘American’ ancestors – mainly Methodists and Primitive Baptists – the primary interests were when the person had first ‘come to Jesus’ or how much they’d tithed or some other such religious fact. This Stammbaum is decidedly different – and quite German. First names for men are usually replaced with the individual’s occupation, e.g. ‘Federal Prison Inspector Brunnemann,’ or ‘Book-Seller with a Royal Warrant von Mätsch.’ Descriptions of battles and war honours are quite in-depth.

Also of great interest appears to have been one’s state of mental health. Rather worrisome to me, a sizable minority of my ancestors are generally described as ‘feeble-minded,’ ‘weak-minded,’ ‘mad,’ ‘insane,’ or just plain ‘crazy,’ (I prefer the original German verrüct). One poor soul died at the young age of 22 because of a growth spurt in adolescence that apparently brought on epilepsy. At 15, he was the ‘gargantuan’ (gigantische) size of 5 foot, 11 inches.

This year, I was able to go to Pomerania and actually visit some of the places where my ancestors came from.

Klein Rischow - October 2014
Village of Ryszewko, Poland, formerly Klein Rischow, Brandenburg-Prussian Pomerania. October 2014. Home of Christian Daniel Brunnemann from 1795 – 1811.

Anyroad, I’m happy to have this one done so I can move on to the next. I’ll probably focus on my Smith and Staunton families – Puritans and Brownists who left Norfolk England in the 1630s for the environs around Boston. I’m sure they’re going to be a barrel of laughs

3 Comments Add yours

  1. plumdirt says:

    I received a Christmas present this year of my family history in photos, keepsakes, and stories. I’m so glad to have it, especially now with a child of my own extending the family history into the future once more. It’s difficult to fathom the lives involved in such short blurbs about each person. Knowing their birthday, their job or hobbies, or any other snippet does nothing to say if they fought with their brother over the same love, or if they were a talented cook, or if they had a beautiful singing voice. I find that as grateful as I am for knowing the history that I do, it simply fuels the curiosity.

    1. Indeed yes – facts and figures are important, but that can be two-dimensional without the essence of who these people were.

      P.s. I am really enjoying your writing – I always look forward to your next post.

      1. plumdirt says:

        Thank you. It feels strange and also right to do so a little again.

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