Saturday, October 24, 2015

You've Met the Scotch-Irish; Now Meet the Germans

My grandfather, Joseph Lyle McCaskey, was all Scotch-Irish, but my grandmother, Karolina Schweinsberg, was German. Her parents (who would be my great-grandparents) were Johan F. Schweinsberg, (1831 - 1892) born in Prussia, and Philippine Jung, (1831 - 1906) born in Rheinland-Pfalz. I do not have a marriage date or an immigration date for either of of them, but their first child was born in western Pennsylvania in 1847, when they were both only 16 years old.

I can trace Johan's family back one further generation, and the Jung family for three generations, taking me to some great-great-great-great-grandparents living in Rheinland-Pfalz at the beginning of the eighteenth century. There are no details, however, beyond birthdates. Having found neither any horse-thieves or any relatives that seem closely connected to a great philosopher, I am content to let buried ancestors stay buried.

I was curious, however , about my grandmother's siblings -- wondering why I did not hear more about her brothers and sisters.  A little probing turned up some sad details.
  • John Fredrich was born in 1847 and died in 1886. That was before my mother's birth, so she would not have known that family.
  • Wilhelm J. was born in 1854 and died in 1887.  That makes two brothers who died in their thirties.
  • Johannes was born in 1855, and there is no further record of him, even in census listings.
  • Karolina was born in 1858 and died in 1933.
  • Karl Henrick was born in 1860 and died at age eleven.
  • Maria was born in 1862 and died at age nine.
  • Henrick A. was born in 1864 and was last heard of at the age of ninety-six. (Talk about a changling!)
  • Jacob was born in 1867 and died within his first year.
  • Fredrich was born in 1869 and died at age 3.
  • Emma Margaret was born in 1871 and died in 1942.
Family tally:
  • 10 births
  • 5 died in childhood
  • 2 died in their middle to late thirties
  • only 3 lived to their Biblical three-score and ten or beyond
With that in mind, take another look at the picture at the top of this page. That's Karolina Schweinsberg McCaskey seated on the left, and her mother, Philippina Jung Schweinsberg, on the right. That's Minnie (Wilhelmina) McCaskey Swick standing and holding baby Gladys Swick.

I grew up with an enlargement of that picture on my mother's dressing table, and I always wondered why they were all wearing black on what seemed to be a happy occasion. Now I understand. Poor Great-Grandmother Phillippina must have spend most of her adult life in mourning garments.

1 comment:

  1. I am learning something new with every blog. Thank you!