New Family History Info

 Carl Hohenwaldt


Learned some new things from Ancestry today regarding family heritage. According to the updated info, my DNA results are:

  • Germanic Europe 70%
  • Sweden 10%
  • Scotland 7%
  • England & Northwestern Europe 4%
  • Eastern Europe & Russia 3%
  • Ireland 3%
  • Wales 2%
  • France 1%

1% French! Who knew!

And this is interesting stuff about Carl Hohenwald, your great-grandfather and Clara’s grandfather. (The spelling is different, sometimes as Hollenwaldt.) He was born in Prussia, which we knew. Here it says he came from Briesen, Kries Pyritz, Pommern, Prussia. I looked up info for Kries Pyritz and found this short list of historic facts:

Pomeranian Genealogy
Kreis Pyritz

Kreis History
  • Pyritz became a Kreis in 1818, and was part of the administrative district of Stettin until 1945.
  • Pyritz received city rights in 1263, and a wall with eight towers and 26 guardhouses surrounded the city.
  • A large fire almost destroyed the city in 1496, and again in 1596.
  • Pyritz burned for the third time in 1634 during the Thirty Years’ War.
  • On 16-18 February 1945, a German counter attack changed the course of the World War II, prolonging it almost three months and dooming Pomerania and Silesia. The Soviets decided to clear out both provinces moving toward Berlin.
  • Kreis Pyritz was known for wheat fields, cattle, milling, brickworks, distilling, sugar, fishing, and colorful costumes with rich embroidery.
  • Lake Madü in Pyritz is ten and a half miles long.
  • The city of Pyritz is now known as Pyrzyce.
  • In 1919, The Agricultural Directory of Pomerania lists Captain R. Michels as a large property owner at Barnimskunow; he owned the land until 1945.
  • Regierungsbezirk (Administrative District) Stettin

So your great-grandfather was Pomeranian. He immigrated in 1882, lived in Outagamie County, Wisconsin, and died in 1930.

Also it turns out this area that used to be Pomerania might be where the Knights Templar hid the Holy Grail. This article popped up on CNN yesterday, coincidently:

#geneology #pomeraniaprussia #trowbridgegeneology #family history #paeschkegeneology #hohenwaldgeneology

Getting Ready


Sarah is getting married this summer. You would be so impressed with her now, how she has grown into a smart, kind, compassionate young woman. She is in love. And we are planning a summer wedding on Lake Union. Really wish you could be here for that.

So, it is a busy year. Lots to plan; lots to do. Dan is engaged as well. His fiance is out of the country currently. She needs to get to the states, but it’s complicated because her citizenship is the Philippines.  Dan is working on submitting paperwork. It will take some time.

There is a lot more going on and I begin each day just being grateful for the day, and trying to find the compassion in my heart for those I care about, and to remember that what is important is love, good health and kindness. I miss you. And I hope you have found some peace at last wherever you are.

#summerwedding #kids #missingdad #lakeunionwedding

Trying to Understand

Dad, I am trying to understand how you came to lose all 3 of your sons, and I guess I will never know why it happened this way because you are not here to be asked about it. I feel that they suffered just as much as you did with this loss in their lives. Because I don’t think they ever knew that you loved them. And you know the pain of that yourself; because you never felt love from your father, either. From what I have learned about each of them, and I don’t know much at all about either of them, I sense that they carry/carried a lingering hurt that can never be soothed. I long to reach out to them; but I know that won’t help, and what would I say to them anyway? And would they even want to talk to me? If anything, I am the one link to their father that they have.

I have been thinking about this a lot these past few days, and I needed to write it down. I still wish I could’ve known my brothers when I was growing up. It took years for me to come to understand why that would never happen. And now that the eldest one has passed away, I feel a sad sense of loss. And I feel a sadness for you, too. Because losing a child is so hard; I can only imagine. It is a missed chance. One I will never get back.

#lostsons #halfbrothers #familiesseparated #brokenfamilies



Saturday Afternoon Musings

Dear Dad,

It’s been a while, I know. I’ve been busy working my day job and doing art. Have several pieces headed to 2 different gallery shows, and I am really happy about that. You’d be proud of the work I’ve done, I think. It am happy that I have this flow going and enjoying the path that I am on now with my art.

Lately I’ve been researching family genealogy on Ancestry. After getting the DNA results it wasn’t too surprising to find I am about 55% Germanic and 30% England/Wales/NW-Europe and some Eastern Europe/Russia. Was a little surprised by the small percentages of Irish, Scottish and Swedish, though. So I am at the point where I am filling in extended family, and have plugged in your two first marriages and your 3 sons. I have just recently found Steve, and was surprised to see that he is using the Trowbridge name. All this time I had assumed that he was using Snyder. It looks like he had been married, but is not now, I am guessing. Didn’t see any evidence of any kids. Evie passed away in 2002 in Hanford, CA. Looks like Steve is now retired, and had gone to college when he was younger, and had studied business.

I am really pleased to have found these half brothers online and to see that they really exist. Unfortuantely, your oldest, Michael, passed away in the Fall of 2017, I think he was about 74 years old. He worked as an engineer, traveled the world, and was very involved in his church. William is living somewhere near Santa Rosa, I think. I never contacted either of them.

I think about our family, and how we moved around so much, and how disjointed that made me feel sometimes. I think it also helped me to be more resilient; but I wonder sometimes if it created within me a feeling of disconnection; like I am always trying to catch up. Like I am always feeling as if I am the last to know about something, or late to the game. I don’t know. Life is what you make it. And life for me has been pretty good; I can’t really complain. But I do feel like my voice has not been quite as heard, or as loud, as I would like it to be.

And with that, there comes a realization that to be assertive and to be the loud voice, you must take risks. Because there will undoubtedly be an outcome, a reaction of some sort, that you will have to react to. Maybe the moving around, the underlying uncertainty that was quietly there in our family life, maybe that took enough energy that I frequently felt I couldn’t take many risks; and if I did, the ground beneath my feet was just shaky enough to remind me to be overly cautious and careful.

And those times I was reckless were the times I threw that caution to the wind, and was overly reckless in order to satisfy the need to take chances. It’s a careless way to test the waters, and fortunately I have survived just fine, for the most part.

And I know that the lessons you and mom taught me were to take care of myself; do the right thing; don’t beat yourself up too much for past mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. So, I appreciate the guidance and love through those difficult times and the fact that you and mom were really good at making a new place feel like a comfy home every time we moved somewhere new.

With finding these half brothers, I have wondered a lot about what their lives have been like. Do they resent you? Do they remember you? How did you deal with leaving them, and losing them? I know it was hard; probably the hardest thing in your life to deal with. The loss is enough to bear; and the failure is, I’m guessing, pretty unbearable.

#halfbrothers #moving #familiesmovingaround #regret #losingyourkids



Midterms of Hope

Hi Dad,

We are voting and hoping. Boy, this has been a tough two years. And while I fear you would possibly align with some of the Republican agenda, in my heart I think you would be so appalled at the lying and shenanigans that have been going on. I mean, you could not write a movie this dumb! I don’t know…maybe you could and maybe it would be a hit at the box office, who knows?!

So people are voting like mad and hoping. If we can turn the Senate, that would make a lot of us feel really happy. But that is probably not going to happen. Just the house would be enough for now. Without that, instant depression and frustration.

It’s hard living like this, and seeing the daily stupidity and lies that just keep happening. I am hoping that today we celebrate not just Patrick’s 65th birthday, but some sort of political victory. The people need this.

So Much Anger

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 10.23.14 PM

Dear Dad,

What a strange trip it’s been. Trump is in the White House (no, I’m not kidding, and please don’t tell me that you would have voted for him). So much anger and divisiveness these past months. Women are fighting back about misogyny and are tired of not having a voice, and not being heard or listened to. So, my story is one of anger and frustration in the way I was brought up to think that my value was in how I looked, whether or not I had a perky personality, and how well I listened to authority (men). I don’t understand why you always seemed to undervalue women. Was it the times that you grew up in and lived in? Was it because you did not have a strong father figure in your life? Was it the abuse your mother suffered at the hands of your father? You always seemed like you were a thoughtful person deep down. But, society showed you the way, and that way was to not really value women as much as men, and to not really completely value yourself.

When I was 16, I was sexually assaulted by one of our close family friends, who I will not name here. I wanted to tell you and mom, but I didn’t feel that I could. I was afraid. I was confused. I was angry. I feared that maybe you wouldn’t believe me. So I kept it a secret for years. I have since talked about it, and in the social climate now, many women (and men) are telling their own stories about when they were sexually abused or molested. It is tough to hear, but it is good to get it out there because this has gone on for too long.

I think when we go through painful things, we have the opportunity to learn a lot. About ourselves, about others, about society. Not sure if our society is currently in a mood for learning, though, and that is frustrating and sad.

If you were here, I think you would want a fair and kind world for your grand children and future great-grandchildren. But you might struggle with the old line of the conservative Republicans since you were part of that Old Boy society for so long.

It’s time to try kindness and respect. It’s time to fight against disrespect and marginalization. We have to reach a new level of understanding and compassion in the country, in this world. Or I fear we will split into pieces and destroy many of the things we love about being human.

#misogyny #sexualbehavior #socialchange #oldschoolthinking #women #sexabuse #anger #divisiveness


Dear Dad, the losing of the people in our lives becomes more significant as we grow older. I am sure this is not news to you, for you endured the loss of your mother at a relatively young age, and then later in life you lost several of your sibs. You lived to see 4 of your siblings pass before you. Gerry died on Independence day, I think it was 2012. And Maxine passed a few years later. I am finding the loss of loved ones is a significant ache in my heart each time it happens these days. How can we go on without knowing that person is still here? That we will never see them again, never have a chance to speak with them, share a meal or receive a letter from them? A little ache in the heart every time.

So I do miss you, and I am reconciling the anger I have felt toward you these past 10 years since you died. It’s not so much a pure anger, but a hurt, and a sadness, and regret that I did not spend more time with you, and really talk to you in depth about life and family. We have so much time – and then suddenly, it’s gone. I felt bad for the way you went, that you were alone, and that we could not be there enough for you, even though we tried to do what we could.

Loss is something that makes us reflect, and hopefully inspires us to take some time and look around us and appreciate those people in our lives who we love and like and treasure. Each day is a new day, and each person is a light in our lives.

#loss #memories #family #remembering #grief


Dad with his mom

The Obit

Dad, I found Mike’s obit. He passed away in November 2017. He was 74. He led a good life. I wish I could have met him. I will share more about him later.

#lostbrothers #letterstodad #geneology #missedopportunity

Feeling Connections

Hi Dad,

I went to the Seattle Art Museum today with Pat to see the show that is currently there by Edward Weston. He is the photographer who took many photos of the native people who lived in the Pacific NW and in other places on the West Coast. His photos of the native people reflect their culture, and the cruelty of that time, as he shows many of the people who were affected by the white people coming and taking away so much of the native’s land and culture of the previous decades. He had a way of capturing the images of these people in an authentic and simple way. Although, some people have accused him of staging many of the photos, he is still widely respected for documenting hundred’s of tribal peoples and their heritage in photographs and writings that he made.

So, as I was looking at the many photographs on the walls of the Seattle Art Museum, I couldn’t help but picture in my mind the images I have been finding on the internet of our family’s ancestors from that same period. As I go through the lists of people that are coming up as I search the databases for the Trowbridge, Paeschke, Bartlett, Hohenwald and Scharli families, I see in my mind what I imagine that their lives could have been like. I have found old houses from addresses listed on census data sheets, where you once lived with your mother, and where Clint and Lydia, or “Lillie”, lived in Los Angeles, or further back at the turn of the 19th century when your parents were children and living in Wisconsin. Seems like a lot of our family’s roots are in Wisconsin.

So, I journey back there in my imagination. I remember you talking about Wisconsin, and Michigan, where your father was born.

I found the record of your father’s marriage to Flossie in 1934. I realized that is the same year you graduated from High School.

I also found a census record from 1930 for Los Angeles, that lists your father and mother, and you and your siblings all living together in a house in Montibello.

So much history. Now, many of you are gone, and there is no one to tell us about the old days. I will continue to search for what I can find about our family history, and hopefully leave a more complete story for my kids, and their kids, should they have any.

#family #nostalgia #wisconsinfamilyhistory #familyhistory #earlytwentiethcentury



The Journey Begins

Dear Dad,

This is a new journey for me, and my way to have conversations with you. I have been doing more genealogy research, and have found some interesting information. You probably knew that your grandfather, Hermann Paeschke, was born in Posen, Prussia in 1855, where present-day Posnan, Poland is. Your grandmother, Mary Paeschke, was born in Brandenburg, Germany, which may actually be present-day Berlin. Mary immigrated in 1871 and Hermann in 1874. It looks like they were married here in the States, in Wisonsin. I have a hunch that they immigrated into Canada, and then made their way south and settled in Milwaukee.

I have also come across some census records from 1930, Los Angeles, listing your parents, you and your siblings. You are listed at age 13, and Calvin is listed at age 17 and working in a furniture store.

Lots of online stuff to go through. I desperately want to talk to you, but you are gone now 10 years this December. I miss the conversations we used to have. You always remembered your teachers, and all the activities you did in High School, and you seemed to really miss those days. So, I decided, why not continue the conversation? Why not share with you what I am researching, and finding out? There is so much you would find interesting. And maybe you are out there, and maybe you will here these stories of our lives.

#geneology #paeschkefamily #prussia #posnanpoland #1930census #milwaukee #wisconsin