Tuesday, February 5, 2008
The Gailliot Line- Introduction to First Generation
The first image above includes Anton Gailliot and the five children by his SECOND wife, Johanna "Helene" Theodora Schlebusch. Relatively more recent portaits of individual family members were miniturized and superimposed on the larger family portrait. A copy of the original, larger portrait was emailed to me by Beth Holycross Gailliot. However, the whole project was made possible through an international effort. The portraits of the parents, Anton and Helene, were emailed to me two years ago by Gunter Lade who resides in Halle/Saale, in former East Germany. Gunter is descended from Elise Gailliot, on far left, who married Friedrich Meier. She and her descendents remained in Germany. Gunter is my third cousin, once removed; our common ancestors are Anton and Helene. Gunter stumbled onto one my genealogical web sites for my mother's branch of the family tree at GeneaNet. Gunter recognized the connection, and later sent me pictures, including his 3x great grandmother, Elise. He also sent me images from several family documents, called Familienbuchen in Germany, which linked him to the Gailliot family and eventually to me.
In the second image, birth and death dates are included- some dates are unknown or approximated. Two brothers in this first generation, Karl Anton and Heinrich Casper, eventually emigrated to America after which they anglicized their names to Charles and Henry. Henry was my maternal great grandfather. The genealogy behind these photographs has also been an international effort. The family portrait was probably taken in Wesel, Germany which turned out to be significant. Indeed, a very special relationship has developed between myself and Herr Rudolf Kerbitz, who is a resident of Wesel. Our initial contact was through a simple email inquiry. Some of my father's ancestors were from Pommern (Pomerania in English) and I posted a baptismal note from a Bertha Johanna Kramp on my Father's branch website. She was baptised in Beckel, Kries Stolp, Hinterpommern (now part of Pomorski, Poland) and her patron was a man named Albert Kerbitz. Though we have not made a genetic connection between Rudolf Kerbitz and my family yet, we continue to search for the identity of Albert Kerbitz so that perhaps we can determine a family link.
Wesel, Germany, lies on the right bank of the Rhine River near the mouth of the Lippe tributary. During WW II, about 90 percent of the town was destroyed by Allied bombs. Every building and every church was reduced to rubble and obviously many church records as well as other historic items were lost. Amazingly the City of Wesel was rebuilt and is thriving today. I visited the city in 2001, and took many pictures of the rebuilt town and particularly its two Catholic churches, St. Mariae Himmelfahrt (Assumption of the Virgin Mary) and St. Martini. And I visited my friend, Rudolf Kerbitz and his family.
Remarkably, Rudolf has been a great help in providing data and history to the Gailliot genealogy. He enjoys rummaging through flea markets and has discovered several graphics of what the former city and churches looked like before the war and has generously shared these items with me. One Christmas, Rudolf sent me a phonograph record of a concert performed in St. Mariae Himmelfahrt, where my great grandfather, Henry Gailliot, was baptized in 12 Feb 1862. Incidentally, the baptism was recorded on microfilm by the LDS church, which apparently survived in the archives at nearby Munster. Rudolf was instrumental in translating this record first into German from the Latin and then from German into English. Though the source of this particular record was the LDS church, there have been many other records which were obtained only through the efforts of Rudolf Kerbitz, such as a vintage map showing the likely home of Helene's maternal family, the Offenburg family. And, a photograph of the actual house and the chapel in the Offenburg's home town. There is so much more.
I can't resist giving one more example here. The Gailliot patriarch was a Schumachermeister- a Master shoemaker or cobbler. In an old city directory, Rudolf found a listing of the former address of Anton's cobbler shop at No 913 Kreuzstrasse. In addition, Rudolf discovered a vintage photograph of the same street which showed a distant view of Anton's cobbler shop. With the help of Adobe Photoshop, Rudolf focused, magnified, and rendered a picture of the cobbler shop which now hangs in my house. Can you imagine the good fortune.