I expect that subsequent posts will share more detail than this summary of my background. Likely, if subsequent postings follow any order, the order will be reversed. The remainder of this first post will focus on my most recent enthusiasm, genealogy. I hope that the writing of all my posts may be of good quality and of some interest to you.
Recent Genealogical Work
In the last five years, I have been successfully researching my ancestors, with the most focus on several branches from my paternal line.
- The first branch--the Ohnsat family--leads from my father's mother, Louise Katherine Ohnsat-Kohn, to her father's origins in the Oberschlesien administrative district of Preußen and what is now the county of Niemodlin in south-central Poland. My great-grandfather John Robert Ohnsat and his brother emigrated from there around 1872. Some of his brother's Elliott, Magee and Rahnkamp descendants live in Pittsburgh PA, and I believe one male descendant lived in Detroit MI around 1900, whose daughters married into the Bargo and Priemer families. The name has very nearly disappeared in both America and Germany, although it may be that related branches with different spellings of the name (perhaps Ohnezeit, for example) still may be discovered.
- The second branch--the Reinert family--leads from my grandfather's mother, Susanna Reinert-Kohn, to her father's origins in the extreme eastern edge of Luxembourg and in the river towns along the Mosel and Saar Rivers in what is today the state of Rheinland-Pfalz in Germany. Susanna, then 19 years old, came to America in 1867, along with her parents John and Katherine (Blasius) Reinert and four younger siblings.
- I believe--without substantive information yet--that Susanna has the most romantic story of the family. Her family arrived in the U.S., settled soon thereafter in Houston county MN, and resettled near Tipton KS after her father had died in Minnesota. In Kansas she found and married John M. Kohn, who in 1865 at the age of 26 had emigrated from Wasserliesch Germany, which lay on the opposite bank of the Mosel from Susanna's hometown, Igel. I suspect that Susanna and John M. had met while they both still lived in Germany, and the Reinert family emigrated at Susanna's urging, after she had heard of John M.'s emigration. I surmise her desire to find John M. was so great that she urged the family's resettling to Kansas at the first opportunity, having heard that he was living there. --Of course, it could have been pure chance that they met in America, their common Mosel River background making a shared Weltanschauung.
- I have recently found that members of other branches of the Reinert family had also emigrated to America, and that several of their descendants live in Minnesota. Descendants of Susanna's brothers and sisters still live in north-central and north-western Kansas, including the family names of Arendt, Bach, Boberg, Boden, Deges, Feldt, Geerdes, Gillen, Holdforth, Neff, Rohlman, Schandler, Schuetz, Schwinden, and Thummel in the first generation of America-born members.
- The third branch--the Blasius family--leads from Susanna Reinert-Kohn's mother, Catharina Blasius, to her parents and grandparents who lived in Igel. Catharina was not the only member of the Blasius family to emigrate to America. Her brother Nicolaus settled in Winnetka IL in 1863, a married and subsequently widowed sister Anna Catharina settled nearby the same year, and a brother Johann settled in Chicago sometime between 1855 and 1867. Nicolaus was a farmer, and Johann was a tailor. A short history of the Kohn family includes a mention of Susanna's uncle John and his expertise as a tailor in Chicago. This Blasius family has dwindled to just two male descendants who carry the name in America, although the name still continues in greater numbers in Igel and along the Mosel River. Other Blasius family in America are not likely tied to the Igel Blasius, as the name was fairly common in Catholic Germany through the Nineteenth Century.
In the past two years, I have been developing a book of fairly broad scope, whose primary focus is the family of John Reinert and Katherine Blasius. At this point, the main text covers about 100 pages, and supporting appendices provide another 600 pages of material. It is far from complete, and in constant revision. I have told many family members to expect it at various points in 2004 and 2005, and I have lately stopped giving any expected completion date. Doubtless, some portions of the text may make their way into this weblog.
Perhaps in this weblog I will be guided often by a muse that will also be of interest to you, my reader. With some craft, I may make some powerful impression on you, but not so wonderful that you dash upon rocks in the Dämmerung, as Heine related in his poem.
Heinrich Heine, 1797-1856
Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten,
Daß ich so traurig bin;
Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.
Die Luft ist kühl, und es dunkelt,
Unruhig fließt der Rhein;
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt
Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
Dort oben wunderbar,
Ihr goldenes Geschmeide blitzet,
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar.
Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme
Und singt ein Leid dabei;
Das hat eine wundersame,
Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe
Ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh'.
Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
Am Ende Schiffer uns Kahn;
Und das hat mit ihrem Singen
Die Lorelei getan.
See Brindin Press for a good translation by A.S. Kline.