Grandma's picture

Grandma's picture
Grandma's Passport photo

Sunday, July 17, 2016

39 - Who was Alexander Schipka?

Before I return to the story of Grandma's Trip, I have to tell of an amazing connection that happened for one reader, Margit Pohl, who recognized a name in one of Grandma's letters. 

Here are excerpts from what she wrote to me:

For us a real surprise was contained in Chapter 36 Cecilia's letter home on June 17, 1936. She writes about having attended the funeral of Alexander Schipke on June 16.
Alexander Schipka
Alexander Schipka born 22 Feb 1874 married to Hedwig Tschöp born 15 Oct 1878 is my (Margit's) Grandfather on my mother's side.

  Here is a picture we have fortunately got from one of his daughters. It shows Alexander in uniform which seems to be from the Austrian-Hungarian period.

His name is Schipka, which in Czech means "Arrow". The picture looks like being taken by a professional photographer of that time.
When I wrote back to Margit, I asked when Alexander got married to Hedwig. I was curious because of the way Grandma mentioned that he had "often spoken about me and always asked questions"... It made me wonder if perhaps Grandma Cecile had left behind an admirer when she set sail for America the first time.  Here is Margit's reply to that question:

Elizabeth, your comments on Alexander and Cecilia makes us wonder, indeed, if Cecilia had left a "broken" heart in Nieder-Mohrau. Who knows. Returning after 35 years to come to his funeral ...  

Alexander Schipka, born 22 feb 1874, died June 1936 got married in 1903 to Hedwig Tschöp, born 15 Oct 1876, died 01 Aug 1954.

Alexander's widow Hedwig, my Grandma, lived in Nieder-Mohrau until we had to leave the country and died in Staufenberg / Hessen.

That's where my cousin Erni lives, a daughter of my mum's sister. Erni was 6 years old, when Alexander died and she remembers the funeral that your Grandma attended. 

Quite interesting! Grandma immigrated in 1901. Alexander did not get married until 1903. My Grandparents did not meet and get married until 1905. So it is possible that there were some broken hearts involved, but that is all just speculation at this point. It does add a little more dimension to the story!

I guess we will never know, but I thank Margit for sharing this information with me!

Another interesting twist, Margit started reading this blog because she heard about it from a cousin, who also happens to be a distant cousin of mine. The relations, though, are not on Grandma's side, but rather on Grandpa's side! It is indeed a small world! 

In fact, in the letter in entry #36, Grandma mentions that Alexander lived next to the Bernts. But which Bernts? There were Bernt relatives on both sides of the family tree......

I could go on, but it is time to get back to Grandma's travels. 


Story to be continued......

To read Post "40 - Grandma's Letter Home - 22 June 1936" Click here