Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Amazing Phone Call Follow Up Part One

A few weeks ago I wrote about the phone call I got from a distant cousin who had letters and photos of the Albrechts. We arranged to meet at my lecture in Provo on March 1. Well, that was yesterday so I wanted to follow up.

By the time I got to the Provo City Library, Toni and Dave Walters were already there. Toni showed me two big, clear envelopes filled with papers and pictures. My heart started to thump as Toni began to pull out the contents. I have only begun to look at the things inside. I’m sure this will be a process that takes months. But, I have already discovered some treasures and I know there are many more. On the cover of The Journey Takers are pictures of Georg and Mina Albrecht. I had these remade from negatives that another distant cousin, Steve Taylor, sent me. Toni had the original. Here’s Toni and Dave with that original picture.

A few of the photos are labeled, but most aren’t. I’m super excited to post some of them here, but I will have to wait until I get home because I don’t have a scanner here. I tried to take pictures of them with my camera, but it’s not working out very well. It’s going to take some serious detective work to track down who these people are! (A note to all genealogists: LABEL your pictures!)

Perhaps even more exciting is a stack of letters and documents written in beautiful German script. Some of the documents are dated before 1880 when the Albrechts came from Germany to Utah. I’ve already seen some letters dated post-1880 and labeled from places where I know the family lived before they immigrated. I am guessing these are letters sent across the ocean between the Albrechts in Utah and the Albrechts still in Germany. So, you may be thinking, don’t I have the letters? Shouldn’t I know what they say? The answer is: I will know what they say - eventually. But it will take me a while. They are written in the old script and my German is rusty. I feel like I have the hidden family story right here in my possession now and it’s of course very frustrating that I can’t just sit down and read it. But, genealogy requires patience sometimes, doesn’t it?

A few of the letters are in English and are, of course, easier to read. One is a four page handwritten life history of Henry (Heinrich) Albrecht, the son of Georg and Mina Albrecht - the German journey takers. It tells a little about the family's life in Germany including a story of when Henry's little brother fell in an icy lake head first and Henry saved him by grabbing him by the feet and pulling him back out. There is also a letter that describes in detail the death of Sarah Harris (the daughter of the Edmond Harris and Karsti Nilsdotter - the other two journey takers).

I will report back in another week or so with more details – and some scanned images to share.

Tonight, I will speak to the Cache Valley Historical Society (and anyone else who would like to attend) at the Historical County Courthouse in Logan, UT. Then, tomorrow I have a signing at the Seagull Bookstore in Logan, a signing at the Seagull Bookstore near Ogden (in Harrisville) and then I’ll give a lecture at the Ogden Regional Family History Center. It will be a busy day.

I am on day 6 of this 11 day trip. It has been fun, but I am really missing my three kids at home (Christian came with me). They put 11 envelopes in my suitcase before I left – one to open each day that I’m here. Isn’t that cute? They have letters, pictures, and origami. Every time I open one, I just miss them more though!

Enough writing now though. I’ve got to go start trying to read those letters!

1 comment:

  1. While I appreciate the desire to delve right in, (I'd want to also), but just knowing I have a treasure to explore would be enough! So happy you have had this providential encounter!