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What Grandmother Never Knew

The Maier Family

My grandmother Eleanor was one who practiced high moral ethics and lived within the realm of social class values and acceptability. And her family knew it. She voiced her opinions and made it known when you were out of line.

She rarely discussed the fact that she grew up on a farm. She did not want to be thought of as a ‘country girl.’ She preferred to say that she spent her teenage years living with her grandparents, ‘in town.’ By the way, the town of Wynantskill, New York is still a rural area today. To Eleanor's credit though, there did live more people in that tiny town than on the isolated farm road where her parents lived.

Eleanor treasured this tiny picture of her grandmother, Louisa [Luise] Myers [Maier]. Louisa was born 16 October 1860 in Königsbach, Germany to parents Magdalene Fränkle and Christian Maier.[1] She came to the U.S. in the late 1870s. When the Social Security Administration was established in 1935 by President Roosevelt, Louisa had to obtain her birth record to apply. When the certified birth record arrived from Germany in 1936 she discovered that her parents were not married. Whether this information was shared at the time or not is unknown, but in later years Eleanor retained a copy of her grandmother's birth record. The fact that Louisa was born out of wedlock bothered Eleanor; she thought it was a shame for a child not to have parents who were committed to ‘do the right thing.’ What Eleanor never knew, but was discovered in 2014 was that, indeed, Magdalene and Christian were married – it just took them a few years. On 26 February 1863 in Königsbach, Germany [record below] the two were wed. [2]

Marriage of Magdalene and Christian, 1863

In fact, Christian and Magdalene would have another daughter, Katharina, born on 4 January 1863, just shortly before their marriage.[3] Unfortunately, the young Magdalene died on 19 July 1868 in Königsbach, Germany, just shy of turning 30 years old.[4]

I think my grandmother would have liked to have known this information before she died. I think she would have also liked to have known that since 2014, the Maier lineage has been researched and connected back four more generations, to Christoph Meyer’s marriage to Rosina Keinlin on 20 April 1717 in Mönsheim, Württemberg, Germany.[5]

I think of Eleanor and know that this information would bring a smile to her face. Maybe she is helping in her way, guiding a path to these records, waiting for the story to be told. Maybe her family is helping too. This is just one small chapter of their story.


[1] Königsbach, Germany, Delayed Birth Certificate, 1936, p. 27, #67, Luise Maier, County Court of Pforzheim.

[2] Evangelische Kirche Königsbach (Königsbach, Baden, Germany) Heiraten 1856-1961, p. 10, Entry #3, 1863, Maier-Frankle, FHL Microfilm #1272866, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[3] Evangelische Kirche Königsbach (Königsbach, Baden, Germany) Taufen 1836-1920, p. 104, Entry #2, 1863, Katherina Maier, FHL Microfilm #1272865, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[4] Evangelische Kirche Königsbach (Königsbach, Baden, Germany) Tote 1866-1962, p. 517, Entry #29, 1868, Magdalene Maier, FHL Microfilm #1272867, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[5] Evangelische Kirche Mönsheim (Mönsheim, Württemberg, Germany) Heiraten 1648-1892, 20 April 1717, Meyer-Kielin, citing Microfilm #1056675, Salt Lake City, Utah.

#Maier #Frankle #Rehm

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