Monday, December 8, 2008

Adventskalender 2008 with a Family History

This is going to be an absolutely delicious blog entry. About a week ago, my good friend and fellow genealogist, Rudolf Kerbitz, and his family sent me an Adventskalender 2008. But this gift is very special for my family history.

The relatively large, 14 x 10 inch, Adventskalender features a winter scene of the Gross Markt in Wesel, Germany. One can see the Willibrordi Dom (Cathedral) in the center and the Rathaus on the left which is currently undergoing reconstruction. My (2x) great great grandfather, Anton Gailliot, and his first and second wives lived in Wesel. Anton and his first wife, Maria Dissel, lived right on the Gross Markt (Main Market Square) according to an 1843 Zivil Einwohner (city directory). Their apartment was located to the left and just off the edge of this picture. They most certainly would have looked upon a similar scene over 150 years ago. Anton Gailliot and his second wife, Helen Schlebusch baptized their son and my great grandfather, Heinrich Caspar Gailliot, at St. Maria Himmelfahrt Katholic Church, which is just around the corner from the Gross Markt. The year was 1862, and 20 years later, Henry emigrated to American sailing on the S.S. City of New York. Unfortunately, during the last days of WW II, over 90 percent of the town of Wesel was destroyed by Allied bombs. The Dom, the Gross Markt, the Rathaus and even the Catholic churches were completely demolished. However, it is a miracle that the surviving residents did not abandon the town after the war and have rebuilt the Dom, the churches, and the Rathaus. Indeed, the Rathaus is being restored to its original Gothic architecture.

The people of Wesel are proud of their town and their heritage and are reminding everyone by creating this beautiful Weseler Adventskalender. My Gailliot ancestors would have been very pleased. Their descendants are definitely pleased and grateful.

Oh yes, the delicious part: I have seen what lies behind the doors numbered one through eight. If you like chocolate then you will see my delight below:

In order of the door opened: a boot, French horn, Kris Kringle on a sleigh, an airplane (guess the reindeer got tired). Number 5 is a Tannenbaum, then a truck, and a sleigh with presents, and finally a house (probably a candy house don’t you think). We still have 17 more days to go in Advent season. I wonder what I will uncover. Whatever, I’ll post it here.

Actually, I am refrigerating the chocolate morsels until I see my grandchildren, then we will all share them together.

Froehlich Weihnacht, Rudolf, Ria, and family.

Late Entry, 8 Jan 2009: Well, I snacked my way to Christmas eve on chocolate morsels of our Advent calender. But I paused long enough to take a picture of the treats during the remaining days of Advent season. Well, most of them anyway:

1. Read my previous entry regarding the laying of the foundation stone for the reconstruction of Wesel's Rathaus.2. Previous entry: Introduction to the Gailliot Line, including Anton Gailliot, and his second family.

1 comment:

TK said...

Lucky you, Bob! What a great gift!