Simple Man

Getting up early lead to an increase use of coffee (& cigarettes), developing a habit of midday naps (no good), and going to bed early (good). Luckily the ability to sleep for a pre-determined stretch of time returns – in younger years I was able to go to bed, tell myself  “You will sleep for five and a half hours” & wake up some minutes before the alarm went off ; I somehow lost this ability, but it works again.
Driving a large (engine & space), strong-pulling diesel with tons of torque is nice, I only have to take much care in rush-hour traffic. Sometimes I really wonder why people refuse to press down the pedal on the right – goodness, the car may move !
The kids relax, no one is crying and refusing to enter the car – a good sign. Even the girl who sits next to me twice a day and refuses to speak, seems to feel easier, she now puts on the safety-belt by her own and puts down the arm support of her seat by herself. Next we (me) will tackle the problem with the heating, so that she will use the air vents as she likes them and will regulate the heat on her side of the car as she likes it to be. I can only guess and do not want her to be fried or frozen – the greatest gift would of course be, if she’d say something, we’ll see.
The radio-program is still a matter of dispute, not loud and open, but silent and intense. I personally am appalled at some of the early morning programs because they are funny as a broken leg, play a strange assortement of music – seriously, how often can you hear “All she wants is another ba-beh” ? At the third latest one gets some disturbing ideas, me at last – or reduce groups, like “Queen” for example, to one single hit (Bohemian Rhapsody in this case) – it’s boring ! And no R&R, no Blues, no Funk – it’s hirnerweichend, brain-softening. I think I’ll use some Motown-samplers, Blues-collections & stuff on this. Nobody wants to hear the news in this vehicle anyway and my beloved classic station fell through. Perhaps Sam & Dave may stop the endless chatter of my co-driver, an interesting lady I would not want to have as an enemy, so careful there.
What astonishes me is that the engine does not heat up the car as I am used to by a gasoline engine. It takes at least two-thirds of the morning run until it becomes warm in the cabin, they sadly did not install additional heating it seems. But I’ll ask the garage-man about this, there are one or two switches I am still not sure about. In the morning I have to leave the village and go on a motorway to the city to pick up my co-driver and her son, from then onwards its driving within city limits. I’m freezing my arse off  in the first half an hour, and then – bang ! – it’s heating the place all over, all nice and adjustable. I had to buy hand cream today, because the skin of my hands is dry & chapped – yes, gloves are a nice invention, but the German Offizierhandschuhe I use are too insulating : I have no feeling of the driving wheel, and they are of no use when I have to fix wheelchairs & stuff, so they are good for the walk up to the car and scrapping off the ice from the windscreen. BTW Ford’s invention of the heatable windscreen is a god-send, really. Within some minutes, while I back the bus out of where it may stand, the front becomes clear ; with the air con going full blast there is no need to stand around idling, wasting fuel and making the neighbours angry : Wake up honey – I’m going to work !
I did not find time to go into the basement and look for the family papers. One good thing about driving “kidz” to school is the vacancies – and the next week is free : They call it “Winterferien” nowadays, it’s the week from Rosenmontag to Aschermittwoch, when it’s okay to have a hangover.
I managed to get rid of additional tons of papers and further clear my room, the janitor installed a working lamp right in front of my cellar compartment, so “dumpster diving” will start on Monday – right after I’ll have finished transferring money to my debtors : Having money coming in (preferably on a regular basis) is the other good thing about regular work.
One has to use what one has got – and I have the research for my own family at hand, triggered by that email I mentioned some days (weeks already – tempus fugit !) ago. I will use this on my business website and write about it there, perhaps it may attract some people, who are interested in what I do, want to see what I do, and may feel the need to give me a contract. But whatsoever – I like to do this, and actually even am in a position to do what I like, without fear for next month’s rent : I’m just a simple man any way !

Sunday Music

Finally I managed to clean my appartement – yippieyeah ! It will never be aseptic – basically it’s a book storage & books produce dust if nothing else – but the dust bunnies (in German Wollmäuse) had turned into dust whales and refused to move when I let some air in. Now I see the corners of my room again, a lot of paper is going to the bin. There is still a heap on the (clean) reading table, but it’s just a matter of taking in hand and deciding whether it stays or not, simply by answering the question : Will I read this ? Notes and copies of old articles – will I spend precious life time with this stuff ? The answer can be found in a second, so this heap will be treated in short time. A small change in the kitchen makes the cramped room look larger, additional bonus ! It’s still too cold to clean windows and take care of the balcony – it seems I’m in a premature spring cleaning frenzy !
I tried to find family documents in a box in my cellar compartment, but had to cancel the attempt : Too dark, too narrow & finally something fell on my head. I really wonder how I brought all the stuff into this place. The janitor will install a proper light and then I will dig me through things, surely some can go to the bin at once. I have no clue what I actually stored there – never looked at it in all the years, so it can’t be very important ; except for the papers. I always knew that they are there and that I’d have to read them one day, it just seems to be the right time to do this.
This Sunday Music is the first movement of Luigi BOCCHERINI’s (Ger., Eng., research) sixth symphony (don’t know the opus-number), performed by Europa Galante under Fabio BIONDI – hope you enjoy it !
The wind is back – oh Herr – but it blows away grey clouds, and no clouds means no snow, what is very good : Have a snow-free week !





Franz von Goethe

It’s too good not to write about.
Some days ago I read an article written by Tom APPLETON from New Zealand. Among other things, like f.e. the annoying contact with a ruthless tv-producer, he describes his visit to the gathering of a Maori clan. This family claims to be descended from J. W. von GOETHE (Ger., Eng.). Their ancestor went to school with Otto von BISMARCK (Ger., Eng., video), immigrated to kiwiland, married a famous maori poetess, and here they are.
My first reaction was a mean smile, simply because it’s a bit much. As far as I knew when I read it, old GOETHE had only one son who survived infancy, August, who died before his father without leaving behind any children, legal or not. The part with “I went to school with Bismarck” smells a bit like name dropping – in short, I thought an immigrant had given his family history a little boost ; or someone in the family has found explanations for possible similarities of names.
But I was corrected by Mr. APPLETON, who had written a large article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung* already thirteen years ago (and even another one in the 1980s), I will shamelessly use it here.

The Gottys state that their ancestor is a certain Johann Franz von GOETHE, according to the death certificate born 1809 in Germany, died on the 30th of April 1893, 84 years of age. He was married to Elizabeth RANGIHIRAWEA, also known as PUHIWAHINE (ca. 1816 – 1906) (lexicon 1966 ; lexicon new). Franzens father is said to have been a cavalry officer in the Prussian army called Antonia [sic] von GOETHE, his mother Emma – her maiden name not given. On the “denisation document” from 1849 Franzens year of birth is 1816 – that would fit with the allegation in his obit that he went to school with BISMARCK. Otto was born 1815, he went into the Plamannsche Institut (Ger.) in Berlin and hated it with every fibre of his heart. Said institute was closed in the 1830s, no archival sources seem to have survived.
Further research brought to light a Johann Georg GOETTE in Australia, who came 1833 into the country, after having lived in London since 1829 ; by profession a blacksmith he run a hotel near Sidney and died there 1864. This could be a brother to our Franz.
Franzens father, “Antonia” on the death certificate of Franz, is according to the Gotty family saga the son of “Lili”, his father is Wolfgang GOETHE.
LILI is the nickname of Anna Elisabeth SCHÖNEMANN (Ger., bio deutsch). GOETHE and LILI met around the end of 1774, she was 16, he ten years older. They fell in love at first sight, at Easter 1775 – fast courtship, indecent quick – they engaged. The SCHÖNEMANN family did not like the idea of that low-life writer-poet in their nice family – and that was that.
Four years later they met again, on the 16th of September 1779 in Straßburg (Ger., Eng.; have a look). Meanwhile LILI was married to the banquier Bernhard Friedrich von TÜRCKHEIM (fr.) for three years and had given birth some months ago to a legal child from this marriage. He is now a best-selling author in Europe, friend of a real Großherzog, and his title  “Geheimrat” is so new it still squeaks a bit.
If they hopped into bed they could have produced “Antonia” or better : Antoine, who is said to be born in 1780. The TÜRCKHEIMs stayed in France, went down the social ladder a bit, and finally moved to Paris. The illegal son of GOETHE would in this scenario have either grown up in his mother’s family or would have been given into a foster family. We do not know if he even existed.
21 years later LILI writes a letter to GOETHE. On the 25th of February 1801 she asks whether he could help a young man of merit (“einem Jungen, Verdienstvollen Mann behülflich zu seyn”). If he does something, and if yes, what, is unknown.
1806 the French come to Berlin, perhaps a young cavalry officer Antoine de Goette among them ? He may have served later in Westphalia, the new kingdom (Ger., Eng.) of Napoleon’s brother Jerome. After its collapse 1813 he may have looked for a new job, possibly with the Prussian army – Why not go to Berlin ? Where his wife Emma gives birth to son Franz 1816 ; who goes to school together with Otto, who later founds das Deutsche Reich.
The so very nice thing about this story is that nothing falsifies it.

Many thanks to Mr. APPLETON for sending me a copy of his SZ-article. If something’s wrong in my post, it’s all my fault.

* Süddeutsche Zeitung, SZ am Wochenende, Feuilleton-Beilage der SZ, Samstag / Sonntag, 21. / 22.September 1991, Nr. 219: Auf der Suche nach Goethes Whakapapa

I’m social now!

Finally I have brought a ton of links (at least it felt so) into this “NoowsReader” I already mentioned. I realized how many links came together – despite I have lost many some moons ago by accident, when I deleted two or three folders, absolutely scatterbrained: links of blogs, obscure news sites, simply interesting things etc.
And I realised how many bloggers stopped to blog, or do it with very long pauses between their single vital signs. So I keep some in a folder in the task bar of my browser, which I visit daily – it’s like a daily walk; ritualisiertes Tun (Ger., Eng.) of course; others will be visited by the machine, and I will be notified if something changed. Similar process for some news sites, just to have a kind of overview; other collections are topic-related, architecture for example.
The only thing that remains, is to make me use the service. Starting the computer and signing in to WordPress must now be followed by signing in to GoodNoows. I hope I’ll do better with this than with the google+account I still have. That’s next – I have to re-organize and focus this; I still nurture the hope that I could find one or two customers via this thing, but I doubt it. In the end it will be nice to watch and follow how people do genealogical research, and maybe I can be helpful when someone can not read their forefather’s scrawl. So I’ll probably read something, nod my head, and explain how to do research in Franconia, but I doubt that someone will send me into the bushes to read churchbooks again.
Another problem is LinkedIn. Especially since I was invited to it by a very nice fellow blogger, who added me to her contacts. I really should get my head around it.
The line between trullern and lethargy is very fine …