One of the advantages of having your own family history website is cousin-bait. That’s when a distant cousin searches the Internet for their ancestors and finds their family names at your website. This often results in new information and leads for both parties.
I’m excited to say it’s happened again. This time I’ve heard from cousin Heather J. on my paternal grandmother Rademacher’s side of the family. Heather generously shared several old photographs she inherited from her grandmother, Evelyn Earl.
Amazingly, I now have pictures of my great-grandfather Lorenz Rademacher, great great-grandparents Gerhard Rademacher and Appolonia (Büchel) Rademacher, and great great-grandmother Anna (Gross) Schneider. There are also new photos of my grandmother Emma (Rademacher) Voisin and several other cousins. Here’s what’s old that’s new again. (Click on a picture below for an enlarged view.)
Lorenz Rademacher (1872-1928) was my great-grandfather. Here he is pictured as a young man. He was born in Westphalia, Michigan, married in Beal City, Michigan, lived for a time near Portland, and then finally settled in Deerfield Township in Isabella County, near Mt. Pleasant.
His parents, my great great-grandparents, were Gerhard and Appolonia (Büchel) Rademacher. Gerhard (b. 1844) was born in Germany and immigrated to America as a child with his family and settled near Westphalia, Michigan in 1846. Appolonia (b. 1848) was born in Westphalia, and was the daughter of Anton and Anna Büchel, who immigrated from Germany in 1841.
Lorenz Rademacher married Louisa Schneider (1872-1960) in 1896. Here is a fascinating view of four generations: My great-grandmother Louisa (Schneider) Rademacher, standing left, and my grandmother Emma (Rademacher) Voisin, standing right. Seated is Louisa’s mother, my great great-grandmother Anna (Gross) Schneider (1840-1925). She is holding my father’s older sister, Nora May (Voisin) Downing. This picture was taken probably in December 1922.
Along with the above photographs of direct-line ancestors were other portraits to help fill in the family tree. Here are three siblings of my great-grandfather Lorenz Rademacher. Anna Gertrude “Gertie” Rademacher was Lorenz’s oldest sister, while John Rademacher was one of his brothers.
A surprise addition to the family tree was Carrie, the youngest sister of Lorenz. Her existence was previously unknown to me. I immediately searched state birth records and lo and behold, found an entry for Caroline Mary Rademacher, who matched the “Carrie” written on the photograph. She was born October 31, 1891.
Seeing the picture of Carrie was like meeting someone in person prior to finding evidence of them through normal genealogical records research.
There were also photographs of some of my grandmother Emma (Rademacher) Voisin’s siblings. At left Emma poses with her two older brothers Anthony and Gerred in 1909. This appears to be a first communion or perhaps confirmation photograph.
Her brother John Rademacher, right, is using a stereoscope, prior to the invention of television and video games.
Sadly, John died by age 14. Their sister Loretta Rademacher, below, also died young, at age 5.
These photographs highlight the existence of similar genealogical treasures lurking in many family closets. Unfortunately most will never be shared or seen again unless there happens to be a family historian in that branch of the family. I’m sure many such items are eventually thrown out in “boxes of useless stuff” by unknowing or uncaring family members.
Take advantage of the digital revolution. Look what’s in your closet, and share those old photographs and documents with others in your family and especially with other branches in your family, like cousins, uncles and aunts, and nephews and nieces.
Thanks cousin Heather!