Monday, September 1, 2008

Heirlooms the Austel family brought to America

Well, I've worked up sufficient background information on the Austel family that I can tell a story about some of our family heirlooms. The Austel Family brought a few household treasures with them when they immigrated to America. They embarked from Antwerp, Belgium, on Oct 24, 1903, in hte steerage compartment of the S.S. Finland of the Red Star Line. Eleven days later, on Nov 4, 1903, they arrived at the Immigrant Processing Station on Ellis Island. All their clothes and personal items were what they could carry in their hands. So, any "extra" or luxury items they carried on board must have been very dear.

I already mentioned the necklace and locket which contained a miniture portrait of the young Joseph Austel. One of my aunts, the late Mrs. Martha Schuster, nee. Imfang, told me about a watch fob that Joseph Austel carried with him all the time. It was made from the braided, auburn hair of his first wife, Maria, nee. Gutgsell. So, listen up all you auburn-haired descendants of Maria Gutgsell.

Another item is the cup shown below. It might have been a cup to hold tea or milk. The handle had broken off sometime in the past. The German expression, "Dein Wohl" (To your health) was painted on the side. My aunt told me that Joseph Austel liked to dip his Brot (bread) in his coffee before he slurped it down. This is the same person who remembers that her grandfather used to take the train from Braddock out to Evergreen Road, Ross Township in northern Pittsburgh, to visit her mother, Anna. Once he listened to his grandchildren singing and playing on the piano "twinkle, twinkle Little Star". He took out his hankerchief and wiped away a tear.

Another item that I actually have in my possession is also a ceramic cup. It is smaller than the one above, and I believe it might have been good for holding a small bouquet of flowers. This cup apparently belonged to Frieda Austel because "Freda" is painted on the cup. That makes this cup very special. Frieda was 20 years old when the family arrived in America. She was an epilectic and died in 1922, a month shy of her 39th birthday. Grandma Margaret wrote down in her little black book. "Frieda, died from "epileptischer anfall" (epilepsy). Mrs. Martha (Imfang) Schuster told me that she recalls visiting Frieda in a hospital run by nuns. She was dressed in black and her hands were tied to her bed. There is always a grain of truth in family tradition.

I was going to submit this blog entry to the 55th Carnival of Genealogy, "Show and Tell", but I have another special entry that I want to write about next- only 80 minutes before the submission deadline.


Earlier blog entry on Austel Family Line- First Geneation, with a picture of young Frieda Austel and the rest of the immigrant family, including a picture of the father, Joseph Austel, found in a small locket.

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