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.
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.
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.
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