Digging up the Past

Did some amateur genealogy work this weekend for a friend of mine.  He bet a bottle of bourbon I couldn’t find out something about his family that he didn’t know. Basically, as he explained, they just a bunch of German immigrant farmers in Southern Minnesota. Nothing to see there. I took his parents names and birthdates, parent’s names and did some digging. 10 minutes later I looked up from my computer “you know your Paternal great grand-parents didn’t immigrate from Germany right?” “Yeah they did, came from Prussia, my Dad said back in the day the spoke German and said they were from Prussia.” 

Well, they came from Odessa, they were part of a ethnic German population in Russia who emigrated to the upper Midwest in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Showed him a 1920 census where his great grandparent had told the census taker that they were born in Russia. Three references later WWI draft card showed listed Great Grandpas home as Odessa Russia, and his language as German. 

I like Bookers Bourbon BTW, nice and smooth. 

BTW, I went on, your mothers people are Plattedeutsh or low German speakers form Hannover, not the Netherlands. Good chance they were Mennonites too. I like Knob Creek two if you’re buying two bottles. 

So I spent the rest of Saturday morning working on his family tree for him, found a host of new reletatives and family history.. so much fun digging into stuff. 

I should have charged by the hour. 

Well, they came from Odessa, they were part of a ethnic German population in Russia who emigrated to the upper Midwest in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Showed him a 1920 census where his great grandparent had told the census taker that they were born in Russia. Three references later WWI draft card showed listed Great Grandpas home as Odessa Russia, and his language as German.

I like Bookers Bourbon BTW, nice and smooth. BTW, I went on, your mothers people are Plattedeutsh or low German speakers form Hannover, not the Netherlands. Good chance they were Mennonites too. I like Knob Creek two if you’re buying two bottles. So I spent the rest of Saturday morning working on his family tree for him, found a host of new reletatives and family history.. so much fun digging into stuff. I should have charged by the hour. 

 

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Digging up the Past

  1. I also have Mennonite ancestry and my mom’s family spoke Plautdeutch (yeah, I don’t know how to spell that) at home. My dad did an extensive history on the history of the Friesen (Von Reisen) family and found one of their homes in Russia. Interesting stuff. It was one of my ancestors that brought Turkey Red wheat to KS.

  2. I think your friend’s family must be related to my husband’s. Same Odessa roots, settled in North Dakota.

Lemmie know what you think..

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