Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Unknown People from a German Photo album

The following photos are from an old German photo album that I own. When I say old, I mean an album dating from about the 1860s approximately. It is likely that it came out on the ship Sebastopol to New Zealand in 1863. I know it is German as it has come apart after its 150 odd years of use and inside some German newsprint was visible. Here are some of the photos inside. My ancestors were Elise and Karl Meng from Germany. Karl also had a second wife Sarah Winfield Meng, formerly Potts, nee Brown. So some of her photos are in there too, mainly ones sent from England. Their friends and family would have included the following family names such as Ellenberger, Griebel, Findt, Seyb, Kissel, Schneider. Also people from the areas of Kindenheim, Hohen-Sulzen and Friedelsheim, Germany. Also from the districts of Tuahiwi, Rangiora and Ohoka as well as possibly the Courtenay area where Sarah Winfield Meng lived for many years. Then if you take into account the people who have owned it over the years, there was my great great grandmother Mary Lord, nee Meng who may have stuck her own photos in there as well. It gets rather confusing. If anyone recognises any faces here as belonging to your family please let me know. My ancestors never named any photos and it has been a real challenge to name even a few of them.

The girl with the sailor style dress on has now been named as Clara Elizabeth Harris who married Thomas Baker!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Kate and William visit Christchurch, New Zealand

I know this is a family history blog, but I just couldn't resist posting the photos I took today of William and Kate on the visit to the Airforce Museum.

I was determined to see them today as I missed seeing the Queen properly back in 1986.  I was about ten years old and was waiting patiently with my Mum outside the Christchurch Museum.  I was so excited when the black car came around the corner of Worcester Blvd and into the main gates of the Botanic Gardens, right near us.  But then disaster struck.  A woman mooned the Queen just down from us.  I never saw it as my Mum shielded me from the terrible event.  The Queen must have seen it was going to happen and turned her head away.  She was on the side of the car nearest me, but all I saw was the back of her head.

Anyway, now I have seen her grandson William and the gorgeous Kate, looking radient in her beautiful red suit.  It was worth standing in the cold to see them.  Now I can forget the day I was cheated back in 1986!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sepia Saturday 223: Four photos

Sepia Saturday is a great thing!  Click here for more great photos and the stories about them.

The following is a set of four photos which are related to each other and which I scanned together at the same time, thereby creating a four photo postcard effect.  They are of the Friedelsheim Mennonite Church in the village of Friedelsheim, Germany. They are not old photos as I took them on a trip there in 1999, but they show quite old buildings.

The top left photo is of the inside of this small church.  My ancestor Jakob Ellenberger used to preach in here in the mid 1800s.  There was nothing ostentatious about it when I went for a look back in 1999.  I don't think the mennonite religion was that way inclined at all!

The second photo at the top is of a plaque on the outside wall of the church.  I was told what it said at the time, but most of it was lost in translation and now almost completely gone with time.  The bottom photo underneath the plaque photo is of Jakob Ellenberger's house which housed a family of 13!  It was tiny and they were so poor but they were pious and dedicated to God and from what I've learnt, were generally very happy.  The family didn't believe in war, so when Jakob's son, Jakob Nathaniel Ellenberger was called up for compulsory army training he instead emigrated to NZ in 1863, taking his sister (my great great great grandmother) Elise Katharina Ellenberger with him.  Because there were so many people to support in the family it was better for some of the family to move away and make their own fortunes elsewhere, so quality of life was also a big issue for the family.

The fourth photo of the stone tower is meant to be part of the old castle that stood in Friedelsheim.  I have a feeling this was partly rebuilt and is not the orginal by any means.  It is behind the small Ellenberger house.  In front of the house is a small courtyard and then the church.  These buildings are all part of a complex.

I visited in summer.  There were shady trees and vines in front of the entrance to this church and some of the Ellenberger women used to sit there and do their craftwork.  One can just imagine the relaxing slow pace of life that they would have experienced.  The simple life!

The buildings have changed somewhat from when my ancestors lived there, but hopefully not too much.