My name is Frank Wissel. I have been interested in geneology for many years, but I did not have much time to do very much with my family research until I retired from my job as a software engineering manager in May 2013. About 30 years ago I realized I was part Wendish and wanted to learn more about this part of my family's culture and background.Read More
Welcome to the Wendish Research Exchange's WendBlogs section. Here you will read the musings and advice from one of several Wendish Blogmeisters whom have generously volunteered their time to participate. Please recognize that responses to your comments may or may not be forthcoming, but you are certainly encouraged to comment.
Latest CommentsFrank Wissel (Symmank Family Pa…): Thank you for the additional information regarding the Symmank families. I appreciate the updates. I…
Melvin Symmank (Symmank Family Pa…): Correction:Gustav Herman’s children were: Otto Edward *4/10/1888, (Hermine)Alwine *1/12/1891, Herman…
Jeanette Mistiofs… (Welcome to Frank'…): First time I’ve seen your blog, very impressive Frank!!!
I have always found patents and inventions fascinating. A few years ago I found out that my Wendish great grandfather, Andreas Mattijetz, had been awarded six patents during a ten year period (1888 - 1898), thanks to the help of Kathe Richards and Weldon Mersiovsky of the Wendish Research Exchange. Since then I have been interested in finding other Wends who have been awarded patents. With the help of readers of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society quarterly newsletters, I have been made aware of the patents of August Schkade (one in 1889), Herman Symmank and Ernst Matthijetz (one in 1893 and one in 1896), and William Daniel Symmank (thirteen patents between 1959 and 1988). After writing about these people and their patents on my blog Frank's Findings on the Wendish Research Exchange, Weldon Mersiovsky asked me if I would be interested in looking for more Wendish patents. I thought, how hard could that be so I agreed to do it. It is much harder than I thought.
I started my quest by deciding my source of Wendish names would be the book written by Weldon Mersiovsky, Passengers on the Ben Nevis and Their Families. Weldon's book includes lists of Wendish families who immigrated to Texas between 1849 and 1860. I started my search with the families of 1849 and am now in the process of checking the families of 1854. The search can be tedious and frustrating at times. It can also be interesting and exciting. As I was going through my process, I found out that my first cousin Danny Mattijetz, who is also part Wendish, was awarded a patent in 2001. I took a break from my research, and with Danny's help, wrote a short article about Danny's patent for my blog Frank's Findings where I have also written about all the other patents listed above. After that, I went back to my research.
So far I have not found one additional patent that I can truthfully say was authored by a Wendish immigrant or ancestor. But I am not giving up! While searching the names of those who arrived prior to 1853, I have found patents issued in the last 50 years by people who share the same surname of some of the settlers. Could they be descendants of these early settlers? Sure they could, but for me to determine that, I would have to try to build their family trees. Other things I have found associated with some of the surnames are cancer research papers and addresses and telephone numbers of living people with the same or similar names. I also found websights with Arabic, Korean and Slavic characters. None of which I reviewed because I could not read them if I tried! I was getting a bit frustrated but I continued on.
When researching the names of the Wendish settlers who arrived in 1853 I was feeling better. At least while searching these names I found posts on the Texas Wendish Heritage Society webpage or the Wendish Research Exchange. Some of these posts were the writings of George R. Nielsen, Wendish historian. Others were links to Weldon Mersiovsky, Wendish genealogist, and some were even my own posts on Frank's Findings. At least I knew I was spelling the names correctly! Then it was time to start looking at the Ben Nevis passengers.
While searching for patents for Peter Fritzsche, I found eighteen patents awarded to Peter Fritzsche of Germany awarded between 1989 and 2004. If anyone knows if these two people are related, please let me know. I also found multiple patents for Carl Jaeger, and a Karl Jaeger. The first one I found was awarded to Carl Jaeger, citizen of Germany living in Seattle, Washington in 1910. There were two more for Carl Jaeger and Bertha Jaeger. The first one lists them "of Los Angeles, California" in 1912. The second patent in their names lists them in Houston, Texas in 1936. There was one more patent awarded to Carl Jaeger "citizen of Germany, residing at Waldhof near Mannheim" that was awarded in 1923. Another patent was awarded to a Carl Jaeger in 1951 but no details were available. There also are at least three more patents for a Karl Jaeger between 1931 and 1972.
I found two patents for Carl Lehmann. One was awarded to Carl Lehmann "citizen of Germany, residing at New York, in the county and state of New York" in 1890. The other one was awarded to Carl Lehmann "of Hamburg" in 1927. The patent awarded in 1890 falls in the timeframe for Carl August Lehmann born December 10, 1866 in Yegua, Texas except for the fact that he would not have been a "citizen of Germany."
Taking a break from searching for patents, I decided to read Weldon Mersivsky's post titled "Serbin in the News by Weldon Mersiovsky" on the Wendish Research Exchange, under Wendish Blogs, and part of Weldon's Wendish Works. While reading through Weldon's post, I found a reference to a patent awarded to a J. H. Dunk. After contacting Weldon I found out that J. H. Dunk was not Wendish but German. However, J. H. Dunk is a relative of Joyce Bise, the Executive Director of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society. Weldon had also contacted a cousin of Joyce's named Ray Mickan. Ray had knowledge of a story of the surname being changed from Dung to Dunk during the Civil War. You can find out everything I found out on my Frank's Findings post "The Discovery of J. H. Dunk".
Continuing to go through the list of the Ben Nevis passengers, I found that patents were awarded to the following people: two for Johann Nowak, one for Wilhelm Nowak, one for Peter Pampel, three for Adam Ritter, one for Hans Schneider, three for Michael Schneider, nine for George Schubert, three for Johann Schulze, four for Carl Schuster, two for Johann Sommer, one for Johann Spann, five for Andreas Urban, four for Johann Urban, seven for Michael Urban and four for Andreas Vogel.Read More
Last month I was reading through the post titled "Serbin in the News by Weldon Mersiovsky" on The Wendish Research Exchange website under the "Wend Blogs" on "Weldon's Wendish Works". I found the information to be very interesting. There were several references about some kind of disagreement between two doctors named Molette (also spelled Mallette and Molett) and Manning. There were also articles about train collisions, train wrecks, history, crops, rain and deaths. I found them all interesting but the one I did some research on was reported by the Hereford Register on May 31, 1901 and The Schulenburg Sticker on June 6, 1901. Both newspapers reported the awarding of a patent to "J. H. Dunk, Serbin, wire fastening clip." For those of you who have read my blog in the past, you know that I am interested in patents and have written about several Wends who have been awarded patents, so I had to research this one further. Finding the patent was easy, but the harder questions to find answers to: 1. Was J. H. Dunk German or Wendish, and 2. who was J. H. Dunk?
First, I tried to answer the question of was J. H. Dunk Wendish or German. I looked through the list of "Texas Family Names" found on the "Forum" of The Wendish Research Exchange but the name Dunk was not there. Then I looked through the books I purchased that contain the baptism and confirmation records from St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Serbin. There I found a baptismal record from 1860 that listed as a witness "Heinrich Wilhelm Dunk, only son of Johann Heinrich Dunk, farmer on Long Prairie Branch". Had I answered my second question while looking for the answer to my first question? Was Johann Heinrich Dunk the J. H. Dunk who was awarded the patent in 1901? So I turned to Weldon Mersiovsky, the expert Wendish Genealogist.
While I waited for Weldon's response to my email, I went on Ancestry.com and searched for Johann Heinrich Dunk who lived in Serbin, Texas. What I found was the grave of Johann Heinrich Dunk on findagrave.com which had some interesting information. First, Johann was born in Germany on April 14, 1814 and died in Paige, Texas on June 12, 1890. That ruled him out as the patent holder, but there was something else I found on the site: Johann Heinrich Dunk was born Johann Heinrich Dung, the name listed on the headstone. There was also a document attached to the site that was originally typed in German that someone had written the English translation on it, stating that Johann Heinrich Dong married Anna Elisabeth Hempel on November 11, 1837. That brought up a third question: when was Dung changed to Dunk?
About the same time as that discovery, I heard back from Weldon that Dunk is German not Wendish, but that John Henry Dunk is the great great grandfather of Joyce Bise, the Executive Director of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society. I traded a few emails with Joyce trying to find out more about the J. H. Dunk that was awarded the patent. I asked Joyce if she knew about the patent and if the Dunk name had originally been Dung. Joyce shared some of her family tree with me and did not know when the name had been changed from Dung to Dunk. I shared with her what I found regarding the name change and a copy of the patent. It looks like the name was changed when the family emigrated to the U.S. However, Weldon Mersiovsky spoke to another member of the Dunk family who had heard a story about the name change that had a different reason for the name change.
A first cousin of Joyce Bise by the name of Ray Mickan told Weldon that the family changed their name from Dung to Dunk during the Civil War because someone told him the difference between Dung and Dunk. This person fought for the Confederacy, but it is unknown whether or not he volunteered or was drafted. So I went to work trying to see if I could find this person.
While searching, I came across a record on Ancestry.com of an H. Dunk who served with the "5th Field Battery, Texas Light Artillery". Having already written about Julius Seydler having served with Cruzbauer's Battery of the 5th Texas Artillery, I went back to what I had found previously. According to the book Victory at Calcasieu Pass by Michael Dan Jones, the 5th Texas Artillery was predominately formed by Germans from Fayette County in central Texas. When I looked at the roster for Cruzbauer's Battery, I found the name of Henry Dunk. When I revisited the Ancestry record I noticed that for alternate names it had "Henry/Dung." Heinrich W. Dung/Dunk would have been about twenty three years old at the start of the Civil War so its possible that the story told by Ray Mickan is true. Putting everything together I received and discovered resulted in the information below.
Johann Heinrich Dung (grave stone found) and Anna Elisabeth Hempel had five children:
Heinrich W. (August 14, 1838 - January 7, 1911) (witness found in 1860 Baptismal record, possibly changed surname to Dunk during the Civil War),
Anna Elisabeth (September 9, 1842 - July 9, 1937),
Maria (August 2, 1844 - March 5, 1927),
Johannes Wilhelm (February 2, 1846 - March 8, 1926),
Dorothea Elizabeth (June 27, 1851 - January 27, 1885).
All five children were born in Prussia/Germany and all five, at some point, immigrated to Texas.
Heinrich W. Dunk, the eldest son of Johann Heinrich and Anna Elisabeth, married Anna Kattner. Together they had six children, three boys and three girls:
Frank (August 4, 1867 - March 3, 1947),
Pauline (October 1, 1869 - October 22, 1936),
William H. (September 1, 1872 - August 9, 1950),
John Henry (July 10, 1877 - August 26, 1950) (Patent Holder),
Bertha Marie (November 26, 1881 - May 6, 1958),
Amalie Mary (November 1, 1884 - February 5, 1960).
John Henry Dunk, the grandson of Johann Heinrich Dung and the son of Heinrich W. Dunk was the J. H. Dunk who was awarded a patent. The patent was filed for on November 6, 1900 and was awarded on May 21, 1901. The patent is number 674,403 with the title "Wire-fastening clip". It was designed mainly for metallic fence posts and the object of the invention was "to provide a cheap and simple construction of clip which may be adjustably secured to the fence-post in such manner that it may be readiy raised and lowered, whereby the wires may be spaced as desired without necessitating boring of the post."
The mystery of who J. H. Dunk was has been solved thanks to the help of Weldon Mersiovsky, Joyce Bise and Ray Mickan. I think all of us may learned a little something in the process.
I also tried to find the history of metal fence posts but I was unable to find anything definitive. I did find two patents for metal fence posts. The first was awarded in 1926 and the second in 1928. The one awarded in 1928 looked like it could have incorporated J. H. Dunk's patent but it did not mention it. I do not know how long the rights to an invention last, but I do know that the licensing rights are limited and had probably expired for J. H. Dunk's patent at the time of the 1928 fence post patent. Click on the links below to see the J. H. Dunk patent and the documents showing the name of Johann Heinrich Dung. The book Victory at Calcasieu Pass can be found online at http://library.mcbeese.edu/depts/archive/FTBooks/jones-victory.htm.Read More
Danny Mattijetz is my first cousin on my mother's side of the family. The Mattijetz family was a close knit family so we saw each other often as we grew up. We continued to stay in touch. Recently, we both started posting on Facebook, and that is where Danny found out I was looking for Wends who had been awarded patents. Danny contacted me and told me that he had been awarded a patent. The search was on, and I found his patent.
Danny's patent is number US 6,330,107 B1 and is titled "Multi-image display screen". Danny has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics from California State University in Los Angeles (Cal State LA), and used his knowledge to develop his idea. Danny designed a lens and screen system that used his knowledge of light and optical refraction to make a 2 dimensional image appear to be 3 dimensional. Danny submitted his design to the US Patent Office on March 4, 1999 and was awarded his patent on December 11, 2001. In an email, Danny told me "it was a fun project that probably would have worked, but it cost more and more money to pursue, so I finally gave it up. The end result would have been a television that could produce 3D without glasses or any other viewer." Below is Danny's description of his design.Read More
I was searching Google using the names of the Texas Wendish settlers to see if any of them had been awarded patents. While looking at the results of the search for "Herman Julius Seydler patent" I found one that piqued my curiosity. However, it was not about a patent but about a book detailing a Civil War battle. In the description of the search result, there was the name Julius Seydler. So, to find out more I clicked on the link and started reading.
What I found was interesting. The book is titled Victory at Calcasieu Pass. The battle took place on May 6, 1864 between a small group of Confederate soldiers on land and two Union gun boats where the Calcasieu River feeds into the Gulf of Mexico in the Southwest corner of Louisiana only 40 miles from the border with Texas. Thinking about the proximity of this battle to Texas, my curiosity increased and I looked further into it to find out who the participants were. Scrolling down, I found that Cruezbaur's Battery of the 5th Texas Artillery were participants.
The descrition of this group really caught my attention as "Almost to a man ... were natives of Germany...[and] most were residents of Fayette County in Central Texas." But I still had not seen anything about Julius Seydler so I scrolled the page some more and found rosters for all the units engaged in the battle. Scrolling down the list of the members of Cruezbauer's Battery of the 5th Texas Artillery, in the list of privates was the name Julius Seydler.
As I went back and read more about the battle, I found some translated letters from some of the participants detailing the battle. One of the letters was written by a member of Cruezbaur's Battery of the 5th Texas Artillery named Henry Kneip, "who settled in Round Top, Fayette County, Texas in 1852." He had two brothers, "Adolf and Ferdinand, apparently twins at 17, [who] served in another Confederate unit, Waul's Texas Legion."
If you look at the Hot Project/Topics on the Wendish Research Exchange you will find a write-up about the Civil War and Waul's Texas Legion. The particpation of the Texas 5th Artillery and their connection to Waul's Texas Legion and Central Texas are strong indications that the Julius Seydler was one of the Wends who emigrated to Texas in 1849. Herman "Julius" Seydler was born July 7 1832 and would have been about 29 years old at the start of the Civil War (from Weldon Mersiovsky's new book Passengers on the Ben Nevis and Their Families, page 123). I feel the information above is too coincidental to not be about the same Julius Seydler but I have not done any additional research to try to prove it. Could there be other Wendish men in this unit? Probably, but I have not delved into that.
To read about the battle of Calcasieu Pass look at the link http://library.mcneese.edu/depts/archive/FTBooks/jones-victory.htm
If you think there is something I should be researching, you can now contact me at FranksFindings on Facebook. I am currently looking for more Wends who have been awarded patents. If you know of anyone in your family who has been awarded a patent, or even you yourself, let me know and I will be happy to write about it. Currently, I am going through the passengers of the Reform and the Ben Nevis searching for new inventors.
I am also willing to research anything else you have an interest in, just let me know and I will try my best to find what you are curious about.
I am very excited and wanted to let you know that I have written my first book, and after sending it to at least a half a dozen publishers and receiving as many rejections, the book has been published. A big "Thank you!" goes out to Weldon Mersiovsky of the Wendish Research Exchange and Mr. Ron Lammert from HPN (Historical Publishing Network) without whom the book would not have been published. The book is titled A Voyage of Hopes and Dreams. Eighteen year old Andreas tells the story of his trip from Kaschel, Saxony to New Ulm, Texas that he took when he was 6 years old. The story is historical fiction. The dates used are the dates of the trip the 35 Wends took in 1853 and includes the joy of the birth of Andreas' sister Agnes during the voyage on the Reform, the heartache of the death of a 1 year old boy, the tragedy of the running aground of the brig Reform off the coast of Cuba, and the generosity of total strangers who helped the crew and passengers of the Reform to get to their desired destinations.
A Voyage of Hopes and Dreams is a quick read that can be enjoyed by both young and old. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the book, you can contact me directly by commenting on this post or you can purchase it at Amazon.com for $7.95 (I am offering it at the same price as Amazon but my price includes shipping). I would also love to hear any and all comments you have with regard to the book.
Herman Symmank and his grandson William Daniel Symmank were awarded a total of 15 patents in the United States during their lifetimes. Herman was awarded 2 patents with his co-author Ernst Matthijetz on their plow designs in 1893 and 1896. William Daniel Symmank was awarded 13 U.S. patents between 1959 and 1988. Del Symmank, son of William Daniel Symmank has helped me compile the information listed here.Read More
Weldon Mersiovsky sent me an email earlier this year and asked me if I could help a woman named Carol Watson find a patent issued to her grandfather. I agreed to take on the task and contacted Carol Watson. She told me that het grandfather was August Schkade and that he was born on September 22 in 1854. She also told me her grandfather was a miller and a ginner and thought that his patent was for a cotton gin.
I was able to find patent number 399,441 for a stamper attachment for a cotton gin issued to August Schkade on March 12, 1889. I emailed the patent to Anne Nash who is Carol Watson's daughter, and asked if they had any stories about August Schkade that they would like to share with me. I told them that I would like to write about August and his patent on my blog. The following story was dictated to Anne Nash by Carol Watson and sent to me:Read More
After the TWHS printed my article on Andreas Matthijetz's patents, Weldon Mersiovsky cotacted me and asked for my help. A reader of the article had told Weldon that she thought that a relative of hers had been awarded a patent for a cotton press and wanted to find it. Weldon asked me if I could help her out. I agreed, and after some research I found the patent and contacted the family. The family has agreed to give me some family history in the coming weeks. Once I get that information, I will post it on this blog with the family's permission.
I am interested in hearing more about Wendish inventions so if anyone has any information about patents by Wendish relatives, I would love to hear from you. I will post the information on this blog if you are willing to share the information with others. You can contact me by commenting on any of my blog posts.
In mid-2013, I looked at the Wendish Research Exchange website for the first time. I started to explore it from top to bottom. While I was exploring "The Wendish Research Project" Blog, I came across an item titled "Contemporary Materials Concerning the 1853 Emigration of Wends to Texas" by Dr. Joseph Wilson. What I found there verified something I had thought was true, but just could not find anything to prove it. I found that my mother's great grandparents and their family had migrated to Texas in 1853.
In addition, I also found that they were one of eight Wendish families who travelled together trying to get to Texas. They were all on the brig Reform when it ran aground off the coast of Cuba. I was excited and left a comment on the page. Then Weldon Mersiovsky, who had given me some help with my family tree and who had recommended I look at the Wendish Reasearch Exchange website, sent me an email.Read More
Andreas received an additional 3 patents from 1892 to 1898. Two were for farm equipement and the other one was for a metallic railroad tie. Between Andreas' last two patent submissions he moved his family from Texas to California. Why did he make that move? Why did he invent a metallic railroad tie?Read More
Andreas Mattijetz' first three patents were for a baling-press. His first design was awarded a patent in 1888. In 1890, Andreas redesigned the baling-press and was awarded his second patent. Andreas was evidently not completely happy with his baling-press design as he modified the 1890 design and was awarded his third baling-press patent in 1892. With these three patents, Andreas showcased his love for farming and his skills as a mechanical engineer.Read More
Did you know that Andreas Mattijetz, a Wend, was an inventor? Neither did I and he was my great grandfather (my mother's paternal grandfather). Thanks to Weldon Mersiovsky and Kathe Richards of the Wendish Research Exchange, I found out Andreas was awarded six patents!
Weldon Mersiovsky and I had been corresponding with each other through email about various relatives of ours for several months, when Weldon forwarded an email to me he had received from Kathe Richards. Kathe's email stated that she had 'googled' Andreas Mattijetz and found he had several patents. I did my own google search and found six patents. After I had shared the information with Weldon he asked me if I would like to write an article about Andreas and his patents. I was excited to do so and with Weldon's help, and the help of George Nielsen, I wrote an article that was printed in the Texas Wendish Heritage Society Newsletter. To read the article and to see what Andreas Mattijetz looked like, and to find out what happened after the article was published, click on the link below.Read More