Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Karl Meng's Great Uncle and Cousin



Johann Christian Meng  (13-06-1762  -  07-03-1838)

Johann Christian Meng, known as Christian Meng was a resident of Hohen-Sülzen and the son of Johann Stephan Meng and Maria Catherina Gertraud (surname unknown).  He married Katharina Barbara Stahl in Hohen-Sülzen in 1780 and had  four children that we know of.  Johann Christian was a Great Uncle to the younger Karl Philipp Meng and lived in house number 26. 

One of Johann Christian’s sons was named Johannes Meng and was also a resident of Hohen-Sülzen. 

Johannes Meng (1795  -  13-07-1873)

Johannes (a first cousin once removed to Karl Philipp Meng) married Katharina Barth on 27-06-1830 in Hohen-Sülzen.  They lived at house number 31 3/4 (now Wormerstrasse 38).  On the building is carved in stone “Built by Joh and Cha Meng 1833”. 

Johannes was an Ackersmann (farmer) and in 1855 Johannes Meng, found in his fields a Roman coin (Konstantin), rests of lances and large iron rings from Roman wagons.  The lances were destroyed by touching them. 

Johannes Meng had four children still alive when he died in 1873.  Johannes Meng’s son Philipp Meng emigrated to America in 1886.

Karl Meng's Siblings



We know a little now about the Meng family in Hohen-Sülzen and this includes a couple of Karl Meng’s siblings and a cousin or two. 

Johannes Meng ( 05-08-1830  -  27-12-1870)

In 15 Jan 1865 Johannes Meng worked for Jakob Keil and caught something like meningitis according to the Meng letter from 1865.  He had leeches and strong medication and managed to survive.  Took him six weeks to recover.  Johannes died in 1870 aged 39 of “typhoid and nerve fever” and is buried with his parents Reichard and Maria Eva Meng and brother Jacob in Hohen-Sülzen.  We are not sure if he married.  “The Hannes had to drive to France (it was war time and he had to carry goods there for the soldiers). He was 7 weeks away. When he came back, he already didn´t feel well. He had the problem until 14 days before Christmas, then he kept on to lie in bed. Hannes lay first. Friday Jakob went to get the doctor for Hannes. He had the nervefever. Jakob and mother lay down Sunday. Marie lay in bed Monday, she was so ill with the nervefever, that she almost died. Marie is not yet healthy, but she is up again. Hannes died the 27th of December and was buried the 29th”

Christian Meng (29-10-1832  -  ?)

Christian must have died young as he is not mentioned in the Meng letters dated 1863-1873.

Margaretha Meng  (13-02-1836  -  09-03-1914)

Margaretha (known as Gretchen or Greth) married Adam Velde. Jakob Keil in his letter from 1863 was very happy in the company of Gretchen and her husband.  The Velde's have a son at this stage Luischen who can now walk and talk fluently and clear.  Gretchen was pregnant again.  In the letter from 1871 she was still standing along with Baweth to care for family members who were sick.  As eldest member of the family she now had notary authorisation on her parents estate.  She died aged 78 years old.  She is buried in the old Hohen-Sülzen graveyard with her sister Anna Maria. 

Catherine Meng  (12-06-1838  -  ?)

Catherine is mentioned briefly in the Meng letters.  She had to lie in bed for two days with  “nerve fever” in 1871 but survived.  We are not sure if she married

Wilhelm Meng  (10-04-1841  -  ??-06-1843)

Wilhelm died young at age two.

Jacob Meng (28-05-1843  -  03-01-1871)

Jacob died aged 27 and is buried with his parents and brother Johannes in Hohen-Sülzen.  We are not sure if he married.  He died of “typhoid and nerve fever”.

Anna Barbara Meng (04-04-1845  -  before 1902)

Anna Barbara (known as Babette or Baweth) married Philipp Stamm on 02-07-1870.  He then left for war on 21-07-1870.  According to her husband in the Meng letters she did lots of work on the fields with Katharin (presumably her sister) and a servant while her sisters Marie and Greth didn't do much at all.  This upset her husband.

In 1902 Philipp Stamm ( the first or second) was mentioned as father of the children Richard, Karl, Friedrich and Otto. Their mother, Barbara b. Meng was already dead in the year 1902 and the four children were not yet adult, when she died.  Philipp Stamm (in 1902) married a woman b. Keil and in the document are mentioned the children: Konrad, Adolf, Philipp, Eva Richard, Karl, Friedrich and Otto.

Anna Maria Meng (27-01-1850  -  08-11-1916)

Anna Maria Meng (known as Marie or Mari) married Jakob Umstadt on 02-07-1872 in Hohen-Sülzen.  She is buried with her sister Margaretha in the old Hohen-Sülzen graveyard.  One of her direct descendants Helmut Umstadt lives in Germany. In the Meng letter from 1865 Marie is mentioned as being very unwell over the summer.  She could not eat but could still work.  She recovered once the summer heat was over.  In the letter from 1871 Marie also got the "nervefever" along with most of her family and nearly died.  This may have been meningitis or encephalitis.  Her husband Jacob Umstadt was involved in a deal selling the Meng family mine.  He received the barn at the schoolyard and half of the cellar when Reichard and Eva Maria Meng died.

Luisa Meng (09-02-1853  -  02-08-1853)

Died at about six months old in Hohen-Sülzen.

Friedrich Meng  (05-10-1855  -  31-08-1903)

Friedrich (known as Fritz) was the youngest son of Reichard Meng and Maria Eva Dörrschuck and yet he was the one to take over his father’s house.  This was because his older brothers had either died or moved away.    In the estate Fritz received the following:  “Fritz received the house beside Kring and the garden. When everything was ready Fritz became manager of the Erdkaute [something like a ground mine.  The Meng’s had a sand and loam mine that was worth less than the clay mines in the area at that time]. Then it happened as it had to happen - to say it shortly – for boys who educate themselves and don't accept any advice from others. It didn't work any more with the ground mine, day by day it became worse and the factory couldn't get the material they needed, and the production stopped for a while; the workers stopped working for several days. The factory had big problems. The manager of the factory came and I asked him how the business works. The manager said, he wanted to buy the business (ground mine). I agreed at once.” 

Also about Fritz in this letter from 1873:  “Dear brother in law, I want to tell you something more about Fritz. Fritz worked as long in the ground mine as it existed, and came for the meals to our place. I always told him to learn a job or to go to join the army. He didn't want either. Sleeping long, not working at all and living easy, that was what he liked all the time. When the ground mine was sold he worked there a couple of weeks longer but he couldn't make it, then they fired him. After all this he decided to learn to be a baker. He went to Worms to a nice place and stopped learning after 2 days there. After that father brought him to Weißenheim am Sand to his uncle, there he wanted to learn to be a baker, and there he endured 8 days.  Now he came back home and wanted to work for the food at my place, but Baweht threw him out. He went to Mr. Umstadt and he took him. Mr. Umstadt may now wait until he recognizes the lazy bone and that he enjoys drinking his beer.”

Friedrich was listed as one of the citizens of Hohen-Sülzen and worked as a Landwirt (farmer).  In 1881 he had plans drawn up for a new house to replace the very tiny house he grew up in with his parents and siblings.  The new house had two floors and an attic area.  This house was called house number 74 (now Kirchstrasse, 17).

In 1898 there was an election for the town hall and only one person voted for Friedrich Meng.  It was a local joke that perhaps he voted for himself as this was the only vote cast.   The son of a former priest in Hohen-Sülzen by the name of Wilhelm Briegleb, wrote a small theatre book with the title "De Rothausreformader", which is translated: “the man who reforms the town hall”.  Some names in the book are the original names of the locals and some are changed. One of the persons “Sibille Müller”  aka Friedrich Meng gets only one vote.   In reality there was no female to vote for.  In the book that Briegleb wrote, the locals discuss the necessity of getting water for all houses. They fear, that this might be too expensive.  The village received water in 1909 and electricity in 1913.  Canalisation (to take the wastewater outside the village) finally came in the year 1989! Then the streets were renovated.
Friedrich married Elisabetha Stamm and had seven children as follows:

Magdalene Meng (abt. 1887 - ?)
Luise Meng (1889 - 1963)
Emelie Meng (? - ?)
Eugen Meng (? - ?)
Richard Meng (1896  - 1974)
Johannes (Hans) Meng (abt. 1898 - ?)
Elisabetha Margareta Meng (19-08-1903 - abt. 1921)

Friedrich Meng died on 31-08-1903 after committing suicide by hanging himself in the stable at the back of his house.  This was tragic as his daughter Elisabetha Margareta had only just been born.  This daughter died young at 18.

Friedrich’s son Richard went on to have five children, Hans and Kurt who were twins, Maria (Maya), Herbert and Richard.  The son Richard born in 1926 was the last Meng living in Hohen-Sülzen until he died in 1976.  His house at 17 Kirchstrasse, Hohen-Sülzen was sold in 1976.  Richard’s sister Maya Schneider (née Meng) is still alive in Germany in 2011.


The Meng Houses and Land in Hohen-Sülzen


The Meng Houses  and Land in Hohen-Sülzen

In the Hohen-Sülzen parish records it appears that Johann Stephan Meng was leasing land off the church as he is one of the names in a list from the 1760s.  Since then the Meng family has leased and owned land in the village.

There is a two page document from the archives in Worms which lists the land that the Meng family owned or leased.  It is dated 1886 and includes Reichard Meng and other Meng relations.  The word "Flur" is on the document and is still used today.  It describes where the field is exactly situated.  Flur 1 always describes places inside the village, Flur 2, 3, 4 and so on are outside the village. Reichard owned or leased many pieces of land inside and outside of the village.  The document is complicated and hard to translate into modern day figures but it basically states how many fields each person owned or leased (the fields were usually small) and the figures can also include gardens and cellars.  Sometimes the properties were sold or changed with neighbours or split when parents died and so on.  Germans had the measurements metres, square-metres, acres and hectares but also had a measurement called "Morgen."  This is translated to mean “morning” and was the size of a field, which a horse could work on, in half a day (in a morning). The Meng family owned pigs, rabbits and chickens but had no cows or oxen.  They did have one horse though to help plough the fields which was mentioned in the Meng letter from 1864.  At our place there happened nothing important, only our grey horse was ill, we thought it could die (give up the ghost). That would have been fatal, because we would not sell the guy for 500fl., to some persons we would not sell it for any price. It was something like a colic, but even such a grey horse animal has threat to fly away  and does it only if it must.”

During the "French period" from 1792 to 1814, all documents relating to Hohen-Sülzen were written in French and all the streets had funny French names with houses having a number in the village.  Members of the Meng family lived in house numbers 18, 22, 74, 31 1/4  and 26.  Three of the houses still exist. 

House number 31 3/4 (now Wormestrasse, 38)  -  On this house is a stone plaque with “bez. Joh u Cha Meng 1833” written in it.  It means Johannes and wife built the house in 1833. This was Johannes Meng and Katharina Barth.  Johannes Meng was the son of Johann Christian Meng (1762  -  1838).

House number 74 (now Kirchstrasse, 17)  -  Reichard Meng’s family lived in a very tiny house.  In 1881 they built a larger house in Kirchstrasse, the plans of which still exist.  Friedrich Meng (born 1855), son of Reichard Meng and brother to Karl Philipp Meng, had his name on the plans.  The last Meng in Hohen-Sülzen was Richard  Meng, living in Kirchstrasse in the 1970s. He was likely to be the grandson of Friedrich Meng, brother to Karl Philipp Meng who came to New Zealand. 

House number 18 (now  Hauptstrasse 25)  -  Members of the  Meng family also lived in this house at some stage but we don’t know which members of the family exactly. 

House number 22 (now Hauptstrasse 33)  -  This house was demolished in 1969.  A photo of the house taken before 1930 below shows the Rathaus and the Meng house down the end of the street.  It apparently had a big garden behind and then a dead end road.  The house was demolished and the road now goes right through where the house was.  We don’t know which members of the family lived there exactly.

House Number 26 (now Wormerstrasse 34 and 35)  -  This house no longer exists and on the site now stands the barn of Wormerstrasse 35.  It was lived in by a Christian Meng around 1810.  This is probably Johann Christian Meng (1762  - 1838) who was the son of Johann Stephan Meng.  In the French documents they call him “Chrestien”.

Karl Philipp Meng's Ancestors

Unproven Relations

Peter Meng of Oberstein
 
The first Meng that has been found in the records was a Peter Meng who had his daughter Anna Christina baptised in Monsheim, a neighbouring village to Hohen-Sülzen in 1675.  It was the first record to appear in the Monsheim parish records, before anyone else in the village!  The record read something like: 

1675  den 2. Juni 1675 hat Peter Meng zu Oberstein (?) ein Töchterlein taufen laßen Gevattern sind gewesen des ehrsamen Johann Nikolaus Kunert (?) Ehefrau Peter Harsch (?) Ehefraw und Wilhelm Reißer (?) ist Anna Christina genannt worden laut extracti des Oberbrunnischen Kirchenbuchs welches hiermit vermög attests glaubwürdig bescheine Mondius (?) (Pfarrer)
 
The record is hard to read but suggests that Peter Meng came from Oberstein or Oberbrunn.  Idar Oberstein was a town about 120kms away from Hohen-Sülzen with many Mengs including some named Peter and Johann Otto born in the mid to late 1600s.  Whether this Peter in the Monsheim parish records is related to the later Mengs of Hohen-Sülzen, we can't say at this stage although it may be possible, especially since there was a Johann Otto Meng in the village in the early parish records.  Peter may have been born around the 1650s or earlier.

Johannes Meng

Another Meng who appears in the records is Johannes Meng.  He was on a record from 1698 and was the only adult Meng in this year in this particular area of Hohen-Sülzen. Men were considered adult and a family chief at the age of 23 – 25.  He was probably older however as he was “Eiher Fath”, (or Eier Fauth). He was responsible for giving the right number of eggs on the right days to Sankt Andreas (a monastry), and eventually to Kurfürst and Graf too. He may have had to organise other things in the village but we don't know.  He could even have been the “Schultheiß”, the mayor of the village, but this has not been proven either.


Johann Otto Meng

A Johann Otto Meng appears as a godfather to many of the Meng children in the Hohen-Sülzen.  It is a possibility that he could be a father or grandfather to Johann Stephan Meng who was born around 1725 or earlier.  Johann Otto could also have been an uncle or great uncle.  The exact relationship can not be proven.  He was however involved with Johann Stephan Meng's family.

Johann Otto Meng died in Hohen-Sülzen in 1762 on St Laurent's Day

62. Auf Laurenty wurde Johann Otto Meng christl. zur Erde bestattet. Aetatis 75 Jahr 3 Monat.

Translation: At St. Laurenz-day (August 10)? was Johann Otto Meng ... buried to earth. age 75 years 3 months.

This means that Johann Otto was old, born around May 1687.  
He was listed as a godfather to Johann Stephan Meng's son Johann Christian when he was baptised on 12 June 1762, not long before Johann Otto died.

1 after Trinity or 13 June Stephen Meng and wife Maria Catharina a little son named Johann Christian born the 12th. Godparents were Johann Otto Meng & Christian Meng

Proven Relations


Johann Stephan Meng (abt. 1725  -  ?)

Johann Stephan Meng is the first proven Meng ancestor we know about, who had his family in the village of Hohen-Sülzen.  It is likely his father was a Johannes Meng, possibly Johann Otto Meng from Hohen-Sülzen, but this needs to be proven.  Johann Stephan Meng was an “Ackersmann” or farmer.  He married Maria Elisabetha Bohlander in about 1746 and had the following children:

Johanna Catharina Margaretha Meng (17-07-1747  -  ?)
Johann Peter Meng (04-12-1748  -  ?)

His first wife must have died as he married Maria Catherina Gertraud (surname unknown) in about 1757 and they had the following children:

Maria Christina Meng (11-01-1758  -  ?)
Johannes Meng (07-02-1760  - ?)
Johann Christian Meng (12-06-1762  - 07-03-1838)
Johann Martin Meng (17-03-1765  - ?)
Peter Jacob Meng (08-10-1767  - ?)
Karl Philipp Meng (07-06-1771  - 22-01-1859)
Johann Philipp Meng (20-03-1774  - ?)

Johann Stephan Meng had Meng relations who are Godparents to his children who could possibly be brothers or cousins or one of them even Johann Stephan’s father.  Their names were Johannes Meng and wife Maria Elisabetha from Heppenheim and Johann Adolph Meng and Maria Christina Weberin from Obrigheim and Johann Jacob Meng from Hohen-Sülzen. Johann Martin Meng and wife Anna Maria from Hohen-Sülzen and Johann Otto Meng of Hohen-Sülzen were also godparents to one of Johann Stephan Meng’s children and they also had family in Hohen-Sülzen in the 1760s.  There was also a Johannes Meng and wife Anna Maria who had children in Hohen-Sülzen from about 1738 to 1749 and are also in the Hohen-Sülzen parish records.

Obrigheim and Heppenheim may be villages that the family originated from, but further records would have to be looked at.

Karl Philipp Meng (07-06-1771  -  22-01-1859)

Karl (Carl) Philipp Meng was born in Hohen-Sülzen and was named after one of his godparents, Carl Philipp Blaufuß, a Lutheran schoolmaster from Hohen-Sülzen.  Karl Meng, an Ackersmann (farmer), married Maria Dorothea Schneider (born 24-06-1771 in Hohen-Sülzen, daughter of Johann Tobias Schneider, linenweaver master, and Ana Margareta (surname not found in the records)) in 1798 in Hohen-Sülzen, Germany.  They had the following children that we know of:

Johannes Meng (abt 1794 - 1799)
Reichard Meng (12-11-1799 - 22-01-1871)
Anna Maria Meng (abt 1802 - ?)
Catherina Meng (abt. 1811    - ?)
Elizabetha Meng (?   - ?)
Margaretha Meng (?   - ?)
Elizabeth Meng (? - 1808)

Karl died in 1859 aged 88 years old and it was listed that he had three children still surviving at his death (names not listed on the record).

Reichard Meng (12-11-1799  -  22-01-1871)

Reichard married Maria Eva Dörrschuck (born 03-09-1811, daughter of Johannes Dörrschuck, farmer, and Anna Barbara Diehl of Grossniedesheim) on 08-03-1829 in Hohen-Sülzen, Germany.  They had eleven children that we know of as follows:

Johannes Meng (05-08-1830  - 27-12-1870)
Christian Meng (29-10-1832  - ?)
Karl Philipp Meng (27-06-1834  - 19-08-1885)
Margaretha Meng (13-02-1836  - 09-03-1914)
Catherine Meng (12-06-1838  - ?)
Wilhelm Meng (10-04-1841  - ??-06-1843)
Jacob Meng (28-05-1843  - 03-01-1871)
Anna Barbara Meng (04-04-1845  - ?)
Anna Maria Meng (27-01-1850  - 08-11-1916)
Luisa Meng (09-02-1853  - 02-08-1853)
Friedrich Meng (05-10-1855  - 31-08-1903)

Reichard Meng was a farmer, and owned and leased a lot of land in Hohen-Sülzen, but apparently wasn’t rich by any means.   The Meng family owned quite a lot of land but in general most families had to share/split it in each generation, so they never became really rich.  A book states that in 1869 Reichard Meng found two stone coffins from the fourth century in his fields in Hohen-Sülzen (a place called Weil), each with a skeleton inside.  In one of these were Roman glasses from the third century.  One of the glasses is the famous "Vas Diatretum.”  The glasses were sold to the museum of Mainz.  The book also says that not far from this place there were a couple of graves from several centuries.  In another website about Hohen-Sülzen it says that:  “In 1869, a Dionysus bottle from the third century was unearthed in Hohen-Sülzen. The bottle is 42 cm tall and has figures ground into it. The image was cut into the glass’s outside surface in vividly effective deep grinding. The figures’ effect was further strengthened by engraving individual body parts. The scene with several figures stems from the wine god Dionysus’s milieu. The bottle has been ascribed to the same workshop that made the Lynceus beaker in the Romano-Germanic Museum. This glass was found together with a cage cup, which has been lost since the Second World War. The Hohen-Sülzen bottle now stands as the centrepiece of the Roman glass collection at the Landesmuseum Mainz (Inventar Nr. R 6111).”

K. Nasterlack, a local Hohen-Sülzen historian, sent me the following message “1855 J.Meng found the place (on his field) where a large roman villa was. Later there was a monastery. R. Meng found the roman and celtic graveyard, where the wonderful glasses were found.  The "netglass" disappeared after World War II, the Americans had to send them back, from a place outside of the town of Mainz, where the museum brought them, before Mainz was bombed down. The other glasses are lost or stolen too. Only " Die Hohensülzer Henkelflasche", called "Dyonissosflasche". which is the most important Roman glass or bottle from our region came back to the museum.  There are many figures on it. “

The Meng family owned a sand mine as early as 1832.  We know this because in October 1832 a boy aged eight years, and six month, Konrad Keil, died in the Meng sand mine, behind the church. According to K. Nasterlack people in the area mined different kinds of sand. Quartz sand was fireproof and the iron and glass industry needed it. He thinks th Meng family would have dug for loam too, to produce bricks. Bricks were only dried in the sun in those days. The first small "Feldbacksteinbrennerei" (field-brick-burning- place) was bulit in the year 1866. The Sitzler and the Feickert family built it outside the village, on the road to Pfeddersheim. They knew how to dry bricks by fire a long time ago, but it was more expensive than the sun. Kaolin to produce porcelain, was found in the second half of the 19th Century, 10 or more metres deep. By digging kaolin some families in the village made a lot of money. The Meng family sold their last mine in the year 1871, after 4 members of the family died including Reichard Meng. Perhaps this was a couple of years too early, to make much money!

In 1870 two boys died (age: 15 and 17) in the mine owned by Johannes Dörrschuck II, this is written in the 1871 Meng letter to Karl and is also in the local records.  Dörrschuck's mine was 40-45 Fuß deep (10 or 11 metres). Two years later the "building-office" in Worms wrote some instructions to the miners. The instructions were for Reichart Meng heirs, Johannes Dörrschuck II and Friedrich Feickert.  They had to dig 10 Fuß (2.5 metres) deep, 5 Fuß horizontally (1.25 metres) to avoid further accidents. The police had to inspect that this was done.

 
Maria Eva Meng (née Dörrschuck) died on 30-12-1870 and Reichard died less than a month later on 22-01-1871 both in Hohen-Sülzen.  They are buried with their sons Johannes and Jacob who all died over a period of a month in Hohen-Sülzen of typhoid and nerve fever according to one of the Meng letters. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Karl Meng's Friend Peter Schneider


Peter Schneider (22-09-1839 - 24-05-1920)

Peter Schneider was born in Hohen-Sülzen, Germany on 22-09-1839 to Peter Schneider, Linenweaver aged 39 and Christina nee Lott, aged 29.  They lived in a very small house in Hohen-Sülzen (house number 50) and Hohen-Sülzen historian Klaus Nasterlack cannot understand how Peter senior could do his weaving in the house and thinks their family must have been very poor indeed.

In the Hohen-Sülzen protestant churchbook it is written that Karl Meng, Georg (actually Franz) Schmitt and Peter Schneider left for Australia in the year 1863.   Peter Schneider and Karl Meng were friends and most likely not related.  The name Schneider is also in Karl Meng’s family but this is a very common name in Germany.  Also Peter Schneider senior was not born in Hohen-Sülzen, so the two men are unlikely to be related.

Karl left for New Zealand on the Sebastopol arriving in May 1863.  In one of the Meng letters from 1863 it is mentioned that Peter Schneider is coming to New Zealand in 3/4 of a year along with Franz Schmitt.  Peter was learning English, obviously to get ready for life in New Zealand.  Peter asked Karl in the letter about a tailor’s job in New Zealand.  It seems that if he had a job lined up his parents would pay for his trip out.

From the Meng letter of 1864 there is more about Peter Schneider.  On 03-09-1864, Jakob Keil, Franz Schmitt and Peter Schneider were studying the English letters (we are not sure if this means just studying the language or learning if from actual English letters (they probably didn't have books)).  In 1813, the German states fought and won against Napoleon Bonaparte in Leipzig and threw then the French out of the German states.  Peter and Franz both spoke at the 50 year commemoration celebrations for winning this battle on 18-10-1863 in the village of Hohen-Sülzen and were excellent speakers.  On 25-03-1864 Peter left for London to find out about travelling to Karl Meng in New Zealand.  In the Meng letters, a man named Franz Schmid died in 1865 and this may have been Franz Schmitt, just spelt incorrectly.  Franz had obviously left the village for his destination.  We don’t know if he got there or not, but he didn’t come to New Zealand as there is no death record for him here that we can find.  The Schmid or Schmitt family were more concerned about the possessions he took with him than his death, which shows the poverty at that time.

We don’t know what ship Peter took to New Zealand, but he did arrive here and set himself up as a tailor in Christchurch and was, we think, quite successful.
Elise Katharina Ellenberger collected notecards from people she met and there was one from Peter Schneider dated 14-07-1865 in Christchurch so it seems likely he had arrived by this date. The notecard read as follows:
bleib dem treu! Den Du erkoren                     
treu! In aller Noth                              
wenn gleich die Hoffnung ist verloren      
treu! biß in den Todt                          

von Deinem Freund P. Schneider Christchurch den 14.7.65  

English translation: 

Remain faithful to the one you chosen
faithful in all hardship 
even if the hope is lost 
faithful until the death

From your friend P. Schneider Christchurch 14.07.65




Peter was a witness on the marriage of his friend Karl Meng to Elise Katharina Ellenberger on 05-07-1866 at St Peter's Riccarton, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Peter married Elizabeth Anderson on 26-02-1868 at the Church of St John the Baptist, Christchurch, New Zealand and they had the following children:

George Peter Schneider (29-11-1868 - 20-10-1944) (also known as George Peter Raymond)
Thomas Alfred Schneider (17-10-1870 - 25-01-1939)(also known as Thomas Alfred Raymond)
William Henry Schneider (09-10-1872 -  01-04-1929) (also known as William Henry Raymond)
John Edward Schneider (08-09-1875 - 1962) (also known as John Edward Raymond)
Fanny Christina Schneider (14-05-1877  -   1966) (also known as Fanny Christina Raymond)
Charles Arthur Schneider (21-12-1878 -   31-07-1960) (also known as Charles Arthur Raymond)

Charles died in Auckland and Fanny in Timaru, John probably in Auckland also.  The the rest of the family died around the area of Christchurch.

The church that Peter and Elizabeth married in is very interesting.  The foundation stone was laid on St. John the Baptist's Day (24 June) 1864 and the stone-built church was consecrated on St. John the Evangelist's Day (27 Dec.) 1865. The Order of Freemasons took a considerable part in the building and was well represented at the opening. The church was designed by Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort (1825-1898) and Maxwell Bury (1825-1912). The Canterbury Association had planned that four churches should be built within Christchurch's 'Belts'. St. Michael's was built in 1851, St. Luke's in 1859 and St. John's in 1864. The fourth church, planned for Cranmer Square, was never built.

In 1871 the Meng family sent their letter for Karl Meng to Peter Schneider as Karl had moved from Tuahiwi to Ohoka and not told them.  It sounds like they heard through Kindenheim, a neighbouring village to Hohen-Sülzen.  There were many Kindenheimers who travelled to Christchurch, New Zealand and letters would have been received in the neighbouring village.

Peter Schneider was first a tailor in Lichfield Street, between Colombo and Manchester Street, next to the Oddfellows Lodge.   While living at Lichfield Street, on 12-06-1878 he advertised in The Star for someone to move two cottages for him!   He then moved to 164 Durham Street which is now the site of the South City shopping mall, so his house and premises don’t exist anymore.  He must have had a bit of land as he had an apple, plum, pear, peach and cherry tree and also grew outdoor grapes which he exhibited at the Canterbury Horticultural Society shows.  He received prizes for fruit many years running between 1886 to 1894, especially for his cherries and grapes.  It was even mentioned in The Star on 04-03-1887 that he exhibited a Hamburg grape growing in a kerosene tin bearing six big bunches of grapes.  On 10-09-1895 he exhibited New Zealand wine at an Industrial Exhibition held in Christchurch.

On 29-08-1879 it was written in The Star that Peter Schneider along with Heinrich Kissel (another friend of Karl Meng) and another man were granted naturalisation certificates the day before (28-08-1879).

On 21-03-1883 Peter Schneider was named as chairman of the German Concordia Society in Christchurch.

While living in his Durham Street house on 27-06-1884 Peter advertised in The Star for a boarder to live in a comfortable home with a piano.  It sounds as if he was very well set up. 

On 19-08-1885 Peter's friend and fellow Hohen-Sülzen emigrant, Karl Meng died.  Peter and Heinrich Kissel were executors of his will.  We are not sure quite what happened but it took a long time to sort out the will and Peter and Heinrich received 1885 pounds for administration which was a large cut of the will.  We definitely don't think they cheated Karl's family, but are not sure of the difficult circumstances around the will.


We do know that Sarah Winfield Meng, Karl Meng's widow and second wife, went overseas after Karl's death and Peter Schneider took one of the daughters in and looked after them for several months, making sure music lessons were continued.  Heinrich Kissel took the other two girls.  Peter was paid maintenance from the will, which could explain why their were so many expenses from the will.
Peter’s children went to Christchurch West primary school and were listed in the paper as winning many prizes, especially his daughter Fanny and son George.  Peter’s son George and his daughter Fanny completed degrees at Canterbury College (now known as University of Canterbury) and Fanny completed a BA in 1899.  George took a while to complete his degree as he was working as a school teacher as well.  He completed a BA in 1909.

George Peter Schneider married Alice Blackett on 08-01-1903 in Rangiora.  Alice was the daughter of Henry Blackett, a respected settler of Rangiora and whom Blackett Street was named after.  George was a schoolmaster in Rangiora at the time and would have been well respected in holding this position.  The couple  had two sons as follows:

Eric Benton Schneider (04-10-1900  -  1987)
George Raymond Schneider (1905  -  23-01-1919)

Peter Schneider died on 24-05-1920 at his home at 164 Durham Street, Christchurch aged 80.  It was only a few months after his death that the whole family changed their last name to Raymond.  I guess that Peter’s son George chose the name after his son George Raymond Schneider who died at age 13.  The whole family changed their names to Raymond, probably because of the stigma a German name had after WWI.  George Schneider was a respected teacher and maybe he wanted to keep a respectable front in his job.  On 17-12-1919 George Schneider was working as Headmaster at Allenton School, Ashburton and by 9-10-1920 he had resigned as Headmaster and been appointed as Inspector of Schools under the name George  Raymond.  He died on 20-10-1944 and is buried in Waimairi Cemetery, Christchurch. 

The following is the advertisement that the family placed in the Press on 5 October 1920, to let people know of the name change.  Charles Arthur Schneider put a separate advertisement in the newpaper in Auckland where he lived and worked as an engineer.  Click HERE to read it.  He changed his name a few weeks after his siblings.

CHP19201005 schneider changed name to Raymond  

I have yet to find a living descendant of the Schneider/Raymond family.  If you are a descendant please get in contact with me.  I have a large photo collection and possibly have photos of the Schneider/Raymond family in my possession which may be of interest to the family. 

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Meng Children's Stepmother


Sarah Winfield Potts (née  Brown)  (18-08-1830  -  20-06-1904)

Even though Sarah is not a blood relation she is a very interesting lady.  She was born on 18-08-1830 and christened at Dorking, Surrey, England 19-09-1830.  Her christening record gives her name as Sarah Wingfield Potts with just her mother Mary Anne Brown listed.  On her marriage record she states that her parents are James Brown and Mary Ann Weller.  It is possible that her father died before she was born, or the other possibility is that Mary Ann and James were not married and therefore James was not recorded on the baptism.

It has been hard to trace Sarah in England as her name Sarah Brown is very common but there was a possible census record for a Sarah Brown born in Dorking, Surrey, England around 1830.  She was in Lambeth, Surrey, England, in 1851, living in a house full of different people, her relation to them was a servant.

Sarah Brown 20
William Burgess 22
Emily Haydon 2
William Haydon 5
William Hayton 35
Ann N Houston 29
Fanny Houston 7
Mary Ann Houston 6
John Hute 20 


Sarah came to New Zealand aboard the Gananoque which sailed on 09-02-1860 and arrived on 09-05-1860 and is listed as a domestic servant aged 27.  Sarah was the Matron on the ship which meant that her passage to New Zealand cost nothing.  She was originally going to be sponsored out to New Zealand by Horatio Henwood and James Potts but on the passenger list she is crossed out as nothing needed to be paid.  

There was a writeup on the Gananoque in the papers which stated"

The Gananoque, one of the finest ships of her size which we have ever seen in our harbour, arrived on Wednesday from London, after the remarkably short passage of 85 days from Gravesend. She left the Downs on the 14th February, and rapidly cleared the channel, where very cold weather was experiencd for a day or two, and thence made excellent runs daily into the warmer latitudes, sighting the peak of San Antonio, on the 26th February N.E. trades, which had been met with early, were carried down to 3° 0' north, which latitude was reached on the 2nd March, when only 17 days out. About this time several vessels were seen and spoken. One was the ship Cornigha, from Calcutta for London, 69 days out. The passengers were much disappointed that they would not permit the sending of letters on board for home. The line was crossed on Thursday, March 8th, in longitude 23° 39' W., after which fresh breezes carried the Gananoque into the extreme west longitude reached, namely 31° 28': On the 17th March the island of Trinidada was seen and on the next and following days three foreign vessels passed in sight —a Frenchman, a Norwegian, and a Yankee. On the 29th March made Tristan d'Acunha, passed the longitude of the Cape on the 7th April, and sighted Prince Edward's Island on the 10th of the same month.  All the way from the Cape to New Zealand the pace was kept up in first rate style—one day's work showing 266 miles run over, and the rest there and thereabouts. Favorable winds were experienced on the coast and it was only too great a prevalence of southerly weather which prevented the approach to the port for 36 hours after its position was actually reached. The voyage is described by the passengers as having been most pleasant in all respects, and they give credit to Captain Morris, with his officers, and to Dr. Brown, the Surgeon Superintendent, as having been the promoting causes in this respect. Amusements of all kinds flourished on board among which—to prove the universality of the defence movement—the formation of a Rifle Corps and the drilling of the same was prominent, so long as the fine weather lasted and the ship was tranquil enough to permit the goose-step to be practised. The full and true-particulars of the voyage are written in the Gananoque Gazette,' a carefully edited board-ship journal, a file of which we have been permitted to peruse. The names and number of the passengers by the Gananoque, who are perhaps the best lot ever brought in, will be found below. The health on board throughout the whole voyage was generally excellent; except that a few cases of measles appeared before crossing the line, and disappeared again before the cold weather was reached. The two deaths which occurred were from causes as far as possible removed from epidemic.

Eighty five days was a quick journey for a ship to New Zealand.  Sarah as matron had the job of keeping the single women away from the single men and vice versa!  The matron never actually nursed the sick on board.  Being matron meant she got free passage out so she must have had a certain strictness required for the job.

Sarah followed James Potts (who she married on 11-06-1860 at St Michael’s, Christchurch) to New Zealand as she married him only a month after arriving in Christchurch.  They had two stillborn children and two children who survived the birth but didn’t live very long.

Stillborn Potts born and died 25-01-1862
James Leonard Potts died 24-02-1864 aged 11 days of debility
Stillborn Potts born and died 26-08-1865
Sarah Maud Potts died 13-03-1868 aged 8 months

James Potts died on 25-10-1879 aged 44, leaving Sarah a childless widow.   It must have been very heartbreaking for her.   

Sarah had quite a few property issues to sort out.  There was an ad in the Press dated 05-05-1880 which mentioned the rural sections that her husband had owned and how they were to be transfered into her name.

Press 5 May 1880 Land Transfer Act Notice for Sarah Winfield Potts  

She married Karl Philipp Meng on 28-01-1882.  This may have been a marriage of convenience so that Sarah could look after Karl's three daughters Mary, Katherina and Emma Magdalena and also to give herself some security, however it may have been love.  We will never know. 


Sarah Winfield  Meng (nee Brown) Mrs Potts


Once Sarah married Karl Meng, the Meng and Lord families had a close connection.  In the early days James and Sarah Potts lived out in Courtenay near to where the Lords lived and they knew each other.  The Lords included Sarah in their family, and she was legally family after Mary Meng and Edwin Lord married in 1893.  She is even in a family photo of the Lords dated between 1900 and 1904.  A Christmas card exists that was sent from Mrs Meng to Mrs Anderton, Edwin Lord’s Aunt. 

Katherina Fraser (née Meng) told her children that stories about wicked stepmothers were not always true.  Sarah must have been a wonderful stepmother to the three girls who had lost their real mother at such a young age. Mary Lord (née Meng) even named her daughter Dorothy Wingfield Lord, the Wingfield from her step-mother's middle name (which is usually spelt Winfield).

Karl Meng died in August 1885 and it is highly likely that Sarah travelled after his death.  She had a bit of money and travel would have eased her sorrow a bit.  A woman named Mrs S.W. Meng returned to Lyttelton in 1886.  We don't know where she came from, whether from England, Australia or just a local New Zealand port.  I suspect she went back to London as there was a Mrs Meng travelled from Lyttelton to Wellington on the s.s. Wanaka leaving 18 November 1885.  Then there is a Mrs Meng leaving Wellington on the Adelaide for London on 19 November 1885.  After 25 years in New Zealand away from her family and friends in the old country she must have decided to go back for a visit.  This is backed up by Carl Meng's will which states that several different people were paid for maintenance of the three children.  Mrs Hall was paid until 1 Feb 1886.  Mr Schneider took one child into his home and Mr Kissel took two children and they were paid on 1 March 1886 for maintenance.  The last payment to them was on 19 August 1886 for maintenance of the children.  Then Sarah arrived back and was paid maintenance.  



Karl Phillipe Meng_edited bw
Sarah Winfield Meng (nee Brown) bw


These pictures above of Karl and Sarah Meng were done on glass and are quite huge.  Probably taken around 1884 to 1885 before Karl died.

Sarah and Karl Meng lived at 30 Antigua Street and both died there.  Sarah owned a piece of land on the corner of Halkett and Antigua Streets when she died in 1904.  This was where she lived originally in the 1860s with James Potts and they rented out furnished apartments before moving to the Halkett area.  She split the land into 3 sections and gave one to each of her three stepdaughters.  Mary Lord still owned her place in the 1911 electoral roll. This section no longer exists and is located in the middle of Brougham Street.  All Sarah’s personal belongings such as household furniture, clothing, jewellery and ornaments went to her three stepdaughters.  She also left some money to relatives in England. Sarah's mother Mary Ann Brown, married John Risbridger and had eight children from 1834 to 1853.  So Sarah had many half brothers and sisters back in England.

Sarah Winfield Meng is buried in Addington Cemetery with her first husband James Potts and four children.


Receipt - Mrs Potts

 A receipt that had Mrs Potts written on the back.  She  bought ribbon, gloves and other articles from W. Strange & Co which were housed in Victoria House, Christchurch