Update about blog

Come on over to my other blog, Alchemy of Clay and Living in Black Mountain NC, where the scenery and my ceramic arts life are combined. I've moved some personal blog posts, (as well as those that are about my ancestors) back here.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy Birthday to mom's grandpa

Once again I am looking into my great grandfather's history.
I know more today than I did a year ago.  There are still documents out there, and I just added 3 to his entry over in Ancestry's tree.

He was from Germany.  Lots of Texans were.  They came because of the same promise of a new life that people from other European countries were attracted to in the nineteenth century, attracted to Texas hill country especially.

But Grampa Charles Herman Miller had come to America when he was about 2 years old. And he didn't leave a record of who his father and mother (let alone grandparents) might have been.

He did however, apply three times for naturalization status, in the late 1930s.
He was a widower by then, his wife Eugenia Booth Miller having died in 1936...the first year he applied for citizenship.  I don't know why he applied again in 1937 and 1939, but there's his signature on each of the forms.  The one in 1937 has his picture on it as well.

He was still working at that time as a railroad conductor.  By the time he applied in 1939 he had retired at age 71.  (His actual birth date is within 5 years, since he gave different years on different forms throughout his life.) He lived until 1946, in San Antonio, TX .

But let me go back into the history of his family that I have been able to locate.  Just the generalities of life from Mecklengerg, Schwerin, Germany.  From the web I bring you this...

Ancestors in Specific Locations:
Mecklenburg, Germany
Today the province of Mecklenburg where (the author's) ancestors lived is called Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The modern state, formed after World War II, has much different boundaries that the Mecklenburg of the past. It takes in much of the old Mecklenburg duchies as well as a portion of the western part of Pommerania (the rest is now part of Poland).

In previous centuries, the map of Europe looked much different than it does today. Germany, as a nation, didn’t exist until 1871. In 1618, the most dominant German power was the Holy Roman Empire ruled by the Catholic Hapsburgs from Vienna. Germany was fragmented into many states, varying in size and power, ruled by semi-independent princes. The Reformation had also split the country, with most of the southern states remaining Catholic while the northern states converted to Lutheranism.

Mecklenburg historically was composed of duchies. At the time of the Thirty Years’ War, the province consisted of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, where (the author's) family lived, and Mecklenburg-Gustrow. (A division made in 1701, which lasted until the twentieth century, separated the land into Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Streltiz.) With an area similar to Connecticut, Mecklenburg-Schwerin was the bigger of the two duchies, and located on the western side.
The dukes of Mecklenburg squabbled constantly and mismanaged the duchies’ finances, often leaving the province in perilous circumstances. This enabled the greater powers that surrounded Mecklenburg to take advantage of the small, weak province. However, while in later history Prussia annexed much of the area around it, Mecklenburg remained independent until Germany’s unification in 1871.

Photo from Leslie Huber's site
Mecklenburg was known for being perhaps the most backwards of the German states. Fritz Reuter, the famous writer from Mecklenburg, often said that everything happened one hundred years later in his home province.

Life in Mecklenburg was different than life in other German states. However, it shared many characteristics and the people, of course, experienced many of the same events of history. 

Leslie Huber gives many more links, which I will follow in the future.  For now I'm glad to have a bit of background about the area my ancestors lived in, and why they were probably eager to come to wild Texas.

Whoever Charles Herman Mueller's parents were, they made a good decision to bring him to Texas.  In his obit there's a surviving sister mentioned, who I have still been unable to trace.  For this year's birthday I tried looking at ship manifests, but no luck for little Charles or sister Dora.

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