In my last post I wrote about my great-grandmother Clara Waldeck Mulder, of Caledonia, Michigan.
Today I have a confession to make. The Waldecks are my most unknown branch of the family.
And why? Waldeck is a fairly common name. There are two Castle Waldecks. Lots of places share the name Waldeck. There are many Waldecks listed on Wikipedia, including the first Waldeck, who was a count, and some Waldeck princesses. I bet there are a lot of paupers named Waldeck, too.
But so far I can’t find the town or region in Germany where my Waldeck family came from.
Look at the sorry state of the family tree:
Godfrey (Gottfried) and his wife Alvena (Alvina) immigrated to the United States with their family and then had more children. I don’t even know if all those children listed on this tree are theirs! Clara is.
And so is Godfrey (junior) because I remember him when I was young. He managed a grain elevator or something like that, but he also farmed his own land. He was blind from glaucoma when I met him, and he still walked down the road each day and drove his tractor in the fields. As an aside, glaucoma runs rampant in their family.
I know that Grandma used to like to go to the Waldeck family reunions, and I went to at least one myself, at a lake (of course).
Look at Alvina Waldeck above. The tree lists her as Alvina Neffka, as if that is her maiden name. But is it? I’ve also seen it listed as Noffke and on her death certificate her father was listed as Louis Koffler. Her mother was listed as Dora Couch.
Noffke is a German name, and so is Koffler. Neffka is not German. Neither is Couch.
One person I’ve spoken with has wondered if the family was more Polish than German, but I have no proof of that either.
I need some help with this and hope that somebody reads this blog and gives me some clues about the family!
I am going to take a stab at identifying the people in the photo.
Back row: Fred (according to a rumor, he was in a terrible accident), Ada Steeby (who had a daughter Ruth), Anna (did she marry a Stewart or Christianson or both), August (died in WWI, a bachelor)
Front row: Gottfried, Clara (my great-grandmother), Alvina, Godfrey
Looking at this photo and the names, can we write off Adolph, Rudolph, Max, Herman? Are they not part of our family? Or were they older, born in Germany, and already living their own adult lives when this photo was taken? And why isn’t Fred even on the family tree?!
You can see that I am going to need some help with this project!
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