A Foundational German/American Family
This is a growing series that will eventually all knit together as a portrait from the late 1600s until the mid 1900s. Components will fit a timeline. So far these articles all relate:
“The Pioneers of the Pioneers: ironwork innovators” explains my reason for writing this story as an introduction.
“Ore and Origins: pre-industry pioneers” Ten pioneering families* converge in 1700. Their story begins with an aggressive French king a desperate Rhennish Count and an ambitious Belgian engineer. The fates of the ironworkers are intertwined with the complex political shiftings on the border between France and Germany at the dawn of the industrial era. The source of a pioneering spirit these families made decisions that both changed personal history as well as reflect the histories of countries.
“Magnetic Migration: Ironworkers to Züsch” further explores the ten families but with a different map design to express the convergence of their migrations. Once assembling around 1700 to help revitalize the iron industry they worked at one company—the Zücher-Hammer— for almost 200 years. They were witness and victims to the most significant political changes of their time which took place on their land.
“Specific Schmitt: Surname Origin” portrays one of the family branches with their origins in an ancient and preserved German village. [I plan to add similar sketches here for the other nine surname histories.]
“Dedication and Definition” traces the transformation of three interlinking German families that converged in 1700. How they responded to the dictates of history and the decisions that they made are fundamental to who America became. Connecting to their experiences following their progress and traveling their path tells us who we are. To best understand these roots must begin with a genealogy chart setting the stage for momentum. These three Rhineland families stayed in one place interlinking with one another for almost 200 years. Within their data is a distant drama a questioning and defining of principles and a dedication to the concept of being rewarded for working hard. This illustration graphically expresses the relationships that changed history—both individually and representively.
“A Chart of Strategic Choices” records my challenges in designing this chart.
“Pioneer Schmitt: A Visual Biography” follows the courageous journey of a Schmitt family to the wilderness of the new world. The first of this branch to migrate, they homesteaded, farmed, started businesses, and thrived just north of Chicago.
“Rascal’s Revolt: A Memorial Tribute.” describes the personal side of a universal story of strife between empires and beliefs. It follows the experiences of one family vignette to represent the social forces upon them.
“Pioneering Patriot” honors my 3x great grandfather who served in the Civil War. A refugee from the German Revolutionary turmoil of 1848 he arrived as a young man in Milwaukee around 1853 only to then volunteer again to fight for his beliefs ten years later. Though not famous he sacrificed his health for his new country and his descendants will forever be grateful.
“Biography in Buildings” summarizes the Schmitt Story in six images—the first three representative and the second three documented.
In the process of creating this series and my family history, I have made connections with other cousin family historians. So I am reaching out to them for help in writing the conclusion to this series. Utilizing the features of LinkedIn to manage the project, I have created a matrix of growing illustrations. Asking cousins for reference images of ancestor houses, the visual biography of what happened to the Züscher-Hammer descendants in the new world will be told from where they lived. From 1850 to 1950, the collection will grow like a patchwork quilt, organized by surname groups. Of the ten original families, nine of the surnames survive and have added over a hundred more through marriages. Any descendant home will be included if reference is provided.
* The surnames for the ten pioneering families are:
Dellwo (including Dingmann, Huss, Kopp, Stemmer)
DeTemple (including Mergens)
Driessler (including Dahlman, Engleman)
Dupre (including Mathieu)
Fichter (including Baer, Brewer, Brooks, Carr, Collins, Dowd, Eckerman, Frere, Grimm, Hart, Kempf, Kluska, Koewler, Lutz, Martin, Mayer, Moser, Myers, Neumoyer, Ogden, Phillips, Rhodes, Roby, Rosenberger, Rosner, Schmitt, Schrock, Snodgrass, Snyder, Snell, Trout, Victor, Walker, Weaver, Weber, Woodhouse, Zapf)
Kölling (including Okrina, Bruers)
Lofi (including Eischeid, Hoover, Longfils, Oswald)
Mathieu (including Dupre)
Muno (including Baer, Dye, Hellman, Weber)
Schmitt (including Benesch, Fortman, Rafferty, Sebastian)
Liane Sebastian, illustrator, writer, editor, designer, content creator