My husband's family Immigrated May 19th 1884 from the Mecklenburg (Vorpommern) area of Germany. They sailed on the Harmonia out of Hamburg, to La Harve, France to New York, New York. Among the passengers were my husband's great grandfather and great grandmother, Ernst and Augusta Luecht. They also brought their daughter Erna. At the time, Ernst was 34 having been born in 1850 and Augusta was 35.
When they arrived they continued their journey to Chicago. Their children born later in the United States were Emil, Ernst, William, Walter. Walter was my husband’s grandfather.
My husband traced his father's family history back to the 1722 in Germany. He found that Ernst’ s father shared the name of the oldest member of the family we could find from 1722. His was Johann Christian Lucht born September 1828 in Stavenhagen. (a small village) we don’t know if the village later became the small city we visited. We assume so. It was fascinating to find so many family members through out the time since 1722 with similar names. Our opportunity to see these places came last year. This area was the former East Germany.
In his junior year of college, our son was a student abroad in Luebeck Germany. This happened to be in the same area that my husband’s family immigrated from before the turn of the century. It was not planned, but a happy accident of fate. We had known the name of the area of Germany which the family was from for a long time, yet were not aware of the proximity to the Fachhochschule Luebeck where our son would be.
A main street in Stavenhagen.
We decided to visit our son for his birthday in the spring and had the opportunity to visit some of the area on our own and also with a guide. We spent a lot of time in the country side, driving around, even through farmers fields on concrete ruts, on our first journey. In the former East Germany the language learned by people our age had been Russian at school not English as in West Germany, along with their school German. The first day we were out exploring, we ran into some language difficulties with the road construction and while we attempted to use the GPS it was not updated with detour information. Since our German was somewhat lacking with the locals and we did our best but did not get to the places we wanted to see. The second attempt we made was with an older school friend of our son and we were able to see much more and experience much more. We did not make it to the village of Grosse Helle and did not realize the true importance of this location until we got home, and did more research. We did visit Stavenhagen and spent some time there exploring.
Landscape Stavenhagen Area
At Christmas, earlier in our son's overseas experience, his sister visited with him and together they explored some older graveyards and church records with a pastor in Pinnow. We sent them as much information as we had at the time as we were continuing to discover more the entire year he was there.
"Katie and I went with friends to Schwerin and Pinnow, two places where out ancestors lived before coming to the United States. We searched through the graveyard in Pinnow, asked residents, even sat down in the local priests home to look through current church records to look for relatives. No matches, but what an exciting day! then dinner at a typical Mecklenburger restaurant...oh yeah and lunch was at the bar where Rammstein used to play before they were famous. Yeah, it was awesome!"
As I mentioned the family first arrived in New York and then went right to Chicago. There was already a strong German population in Chicago.
This is where my husband grew up near his great aunts Minnie and Louise and his great uncle Herman. They were the children of the maternal side of his father'ifamily and were Webers.
Just an interesting note, my husband is the most highly educated Luecht going back historically that we know of. You can check on most German census records the occupations of all your ancestors. Most men in the family were wheelwrights, cabinet makers, and that was also a tailor. My husband is very technical and mechanically inclined, as was his father and grandfather, so it was interesting to see this pattern.
In our travels we discovered that Lubkow was the other town mentioned from the same area which we missed also. The road work caused this to be inaccessible to us.
We did not realize the total significance of those towns at the time but knew they would be important to see. Originally the only information we had was the the family was from Mecklenburg. Mecklenburg is both a city and a region. It turns out that the family before it immigrated did live in the larger city of Mecklenburg. We were able to visit the palace in Mecklenburg and become acquainted with someone who knew a historian. They know the Mecklenburg families very well and are usually able to track down genealogy for people.
Our issue turned out to be that our original family was from Grosse Helle.
My husband had worked on his ancestry.com information for about a year before we actually were in the area visiting our son. Then this year as he continued to work on this he found just how close we really were to everything when we were there. He continues to work on all of this and is also planning to bring our children back , as a family to the area again to see more.
In the early part of our son’s overseas experience he took the bits of information that his father had collected and visited Mecklenburg and met up with a gentlemen whose family is both politically and historically connected to the area. If our family had actually been from the Mecklenburg city area, instead of just living there for a very short time before immigrating, then this person would have found out whatever they could about them for us. It happens that when this has been done in the past, they found interesting little anecdotes as to why that person would be immigrating, in once case it was because the person was a horse thief! We also found that our last name was almost like "Smith" or "Brown", in Germany, a very common name, so it was good that we actually found out through tracing our own lineage which Luecht family we were really from.
In a book called The Leadership Secrets of Bismarck by Jonathan Steinberg, there is a section written about the era when our ancestors, and many other from Germany, immigrated to the United States. Perhaps there are clues here in why they left Germany. In a review about the book by Michael Bernhard, he states: Bismarck’s strategy was to weaken his opponents through authoritarian suppression while building temporary political coalitions in order to enact his preferred legislation. The skillful execution of this strategy allowed him to keep control over the legislative agenda for 20 years, despite his lack of a natural parliamentary majority and the growing power of the middle and working classes.
Copyright 2012 by SheilaTGTG55