When I started with my genealogical researches, I concentrated on my region, the Prignitz, but more and more I wondered whether some of our ancestors moved to America during the 18th or 19th century searching a better life as many other people did. Finally, I had success finding the homepage of Julie Ann Chitwood (Gehrandt).
Unfortunately I couldn’t get in touch with her. All the more surprising was when my brother who spent a year in the United States told me of a woman that might be related to us. In fact, he was talking about Julie and they had already sent emails to each other. That’s how we built up contact – contact towards a living American relative. We started to exchange our knowledge, but it took me an extremely long time and lots of effort to find a common ancestor. In August 2002 after almost five years I discovered the missing link.
Her grandparent Paul Robert Gustav Gehrandt emigrated on board of the “Kronprinz Wilhelm” from Bremen to New York in 1905. If you are interested in what happened to him and his descendants, you should visit Julie’s homepage. She did a great job presenting his fascinating story.
Julie’s grandfather was not our sole ancestor who moved to the new continent. About forty years before him, on October, 29th in 1869, an entire family arrived in New York, aboard the “Allemania”. Reading the heavily discussed book “Germans to America”, one gets to know that Chr. Gehrandt, a 42-year-old worker together with his wife Henriette and their children Aug. (15), Otto (7), Ernst (6), Alberte (5) and Gust. (1) immigrated into the USA.
According to my investigations the book means Ernst Friedrich Christoph Gehrandt, his wife Henriette Caroline, née Voss and their children August, Otto, Ernst, Albertine and Gustav Wilhelm Ferdinand. After their arrival in America, they moved westwards and finally settled in the state of Wisconsin. Their christian names adopted steadily to the new, English surrounding. Chris instead of Ernst Friedrich Christoph, Henriette became Hattie and the children’s names changed as well: Ernest (Ernst), Tina (Albertine), Gustave (Gustav Wilhelm).
In the census of 1900 you can find the following entry for Laffette township, Walworth County:
a) Gehrand, A.J. - Head - white Male - born Nov. 1869 ( 30 years old ) - single
year of immigration 1869, number of years in U.S. = 31
owned a mortgaged farm ( No. 36 )
b) Gehrand, Chris - Head's Father - white Male - born Jan. 1827 ( 73 years old )
married for 50 years ( since 1850 )
c) Gehrand, Hattie - Head's Mother - white Female - born Feb. 1828 ( 72 years old )
married for 50 years, 8 children, 5 living
d) Gehrand, Tina - Head's Sister - white Female - born Feb. 1864 ( 36 years old ) - single
This family corresponds in date of emigration, number (8), age and even names of its members with a family that originally lived in Schmolde and later shipped to the new world. The missing members August and Gustave were also registered in the census of 1900. At this time, August’s family (his wife Augusta, née Ganswindt and four kids) lived in Brighton Town, Kenoshaw County. A copy of the census can be find here.
Those people brought our family name from Germany to the USA. Today, there live their grandchilds, greatgrandchilds and even great-great-grandchilds. With some of them I have close contact. We share information and learn about our past. I want to thank all American relatives for their effort, their help and their friendship. Thanks to you our family tree is growing and developing well.