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