Sunday, May 6, 2018

A-Z Blogging Challenge - The letter G is for Germany!

In 2017, there was a challenge. I heard about it from jillballau blog and more information can be found out about it on the A-Z Blogging Challenge (which was at page itself. However, as I was testing links I found the A-Z Blogging Challenge link is no longer working *frown*

Many people had done this challenge in April 2017, but I’m a rebel and do things when I have time, so I’ll do mine now. I’ve been working on it over many days, and was hoping to get it all done before posting BUT it’s taking me a lot longer than I expected. I’ll do a few posts now and work on the rest. I know I have about ½ of this challenge done in draft format, so not too bad.  J

What can I say – I’m an original. So, here I go…

The letter G is for Germany!

Germany is country in Europe my paternal grandfather, Mathias Schmitz, was born in. From the information I have, he grew up in Mendig or Niedermendig. This is from my father’s cousin, but on some of the paperwork I have he lived in Koblenz and another says Niedermendig

This is where Niedermendig and Koblenz are on the map.
If we zoom in on this point in the map, we can see how the names come up. 
Showing Mendig, Neidermendig, Obermendig and Fallerstrabe in Germany.
Credit - GoogleEarth
My grandfather, Mathias/Mathew, lived here until he was in his late teens when he set off to the US to live with his Aunt and Uncle in Brooklyn. He arrived and lived there for a few years before filling out his application for naturalization to the USA. Notice the place he was leaving from, the names of whom he was living with and who he was going to see.

April 1926 Ship Manifest for my Grandfather (line 16). It clearly shows his father's name and area he came from and where he's going in the US. 
Credit Ellis Island.

April 1926 Ship Manifest for my grandfather on line 16. It shows who he's going to stay with and other things about him.
Credit Ellis Island
May 1930 Ship Manifest for my grandfather (line 15). It shows again where he stayed when he was in Germany.
Credit Ellis Island.
He did go back to Germany, twice, before returning to the US after each time. The 1930 was his last recorded travel to Germany – I've been able to find. Notice the place he was leaving from and the name & address in Germany.
Part of the manifest in his May 1930 when he was returning from Germany.
Credit Ellis Island. 
This the last time, that I've been able to find, that he came back to the US from Germany. After this he refiled the paperwork for his naturalization to the USA again. The number of years lapsed, so he had to redo the application again. This time he did get his US Citizenship awarded to him.
Mathias/Mathew's first declaration in 1926
Credit INS

Mathias/Mathew's second declaration in 1934
Credit INS
1939 when he was able to swear the Nationalization oath and become a citizen
Credit INS
Over this time he met my grandmother, Jean, and they got married – twice. Once in the court’s office (in January) and the second time was in the Catholic Church (in March of the same year) and both were in New York City.  Notice where he lived and my great grandparent’s names.

First marriage in Jan 1934 in NYC offices page 1
First marriage in Jan 1934 in NYC offices page 2
First marriage in March 1934 in St Monica's Church in NYC page 1

First marriage in March 1934 in St Monica's Church in NYC page 2

If you look at his mother’s last name on the certificates, it's Kelperich. I've found the Kelperich name comes from Hausten in Germany. As you can see, its not far from Niedermendig and Hausten really. 

The map shows Hausten and Niedermendig which is not really that far.
Credit Google Earth
 Then in August of the same year, they welcomed their first child, and my father, Matthew.

When my father was about 18 months old, my grandfather’s aunt and uncle took him back to Germany to visit and meet his relatives there. Only for once they got him there, they decided to keep him. It took the US state department to get him back home as he was a US citizen.
1935 My father in the front, with his uncle (who was to sign his marriage certificate) and his aunt who my grandfather mentioned on his ship manifests. Copyright of picture Jo Ann Fitzgerald.
Now comes World War 2…  Because my father says my grandfather served in the military in the medical corps during the second war. However, I’ve found no records about it so far. So is he wrong or maybe his parents lied to him? We will only know when we find proof, which we haven't yet.

What I do know, is where the death records have my grandfather dying is Castle Point, NY. My father says he visited him there and my grandfather was getting medical treatment there due to serving. Castle Point has a VA hospital because I’ve been there to visit another friend of mine.
This  shows my grandfather's birth and death and where his last residence was in 1981.
Credit SSDI and
Could reading this force my grandfather's hand at enlisting to the US Army? The article goes on for a few pages
(Find My Past).
Credit: 1936 March 7 Syracuse Herald Hitler moves into Rhine Page 1
However, questions remain – Did he serve? If so, where did he go? 

Or was this how he served?

1945 WW2 Nuernberg list cover
Credit Fold 3

1945 WW2 Nuernberg list
Credit Fold 3
I need to put on that investigating cap again.

What else?

When my uncle died, he had my father’s cousin visiting – from Germany. This is where I met them when we came to the ceremony for my uncle.

Schmitz Reunion in 2002 after my uncle passed away. The man and woman on the left are from Germany.
Credit Helmut Schmitz
He showed us the house that’s apparently been in the family for hundreds of years.

The Schmitz house in Mendig Germany. Its been in the family for hundreds of years.
Credit Helmut Schmitz

The Schmitz house in Mendig Germany. Its been in the family for hundreds of years.
Credit Helmut Schmitz
The Schmitz house in Mendig Germany. Its been in the family for hundreds of years.
Credit Helmut Schmitz
The problem is now, no matter what I try, no one returns my emails which is sad. I hate losing the connection I wish I knew more about.

If you want to read a tiny bit about some history of the area, this is covered under another blog topic