Saturday, July 5, 2014


A number of my relatives were born and raised in Luzenhart and I was lucky to find a good history of the area and community on the web. The history of Luzenharttes back to 8th and 3rd century BC. My family lived in the town around the 1600 through 1700's. The community had remained Catholic during the Reformation when it was under the Austrian rule. During the thirty year war and war of the Palatine, South West Germany suffered tremendously. Villages were burned, people were terrorized and then the plague broke out in the middle of the 17th century. Wurttemberg whose population was 450,000 went down to 100,000. Then once again war broke out when France tried to extend its boundaries. Luzenhart was surrounded by Protestant towns at this time. In 1722 there was a tremendous fire which burned the forest in the Luzenhart area. By 1750 Luzenhart was converted from a farm to a village. There was a rapid rise in the number of basket weavers, broom craftsmen and flint dealers. There was an invasion of the feudal lord in 1784 and in 1789 there was an outbreak of the French Revolution and Wuttemberg joined Austria in the war.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Frederick K Kofferl

Frederick K Kofferl was born on October 11, 1871 the third child born to Henry Kofferl and Amelia Fahrenthal Kofferl. According to the 1875 New York State census he resided in Brooklyn on Johnson Street. By 1892 New York State Census he was still residing in Brooklyn on Johnson Street and was working as a Driver. According to the THE EASTERN DISTRICT of BROOKLYN ONLINE DIRECTORY His father Henry was listed as a Watchmaker at 182 Johnson Street. Named for General Jeremiah JOHNSON, originally Johnson Road, in 1845, later Johnson Street, After consolidation of 1855 it changed to Johnson Avenue. Johnson Street was opened in 1831 from Broadway to Bushwick Avenue.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gottlieb Fiederich Ohnmacht 1843

Matthaeus' brother Gottlieb Fiederich was born on August 24, 1843. He was the second oldest child born to Johann Ulrich and Elizabeth Katharina Ohnmacht and was my great grandfather. John Ulrich my great great grandfather worked as a woodcutter or lumberjack in Langenbrand. Around the time that Matthaeus and Gottlieb were born the country was going tharough a process of unification. This started at the end of the 18th century and continued till 1848. "Not until the Napoleonic conquests of the early 19th century was the old regime undermined and a comprehensive process of political modernisation set in motion." Reforms in the states of the French-occupied Confederation of the Rhine and a new awareness of the evident inferiority of the old order triggered reformist efforts in other German states, particularly in Prussia. At the same time, resistance against the French occupation contributed to the formation of a German nationalist movement, which not only sought the liberation of the French-occupied areas but also propagated demands for national unification and political self-determination. This was the end of the feudal state system in Germany.

Gottlieb married Anna Maria Rothfuss who was born in Oberlengenhardt on January 2, 1843. They got married in Langenbrand on Monday, March 29, 1869.

 The meaning of the name Rothfuss is as follows:
  1. German: from Middle High German rōt ‘red’ + vuoz ‘foot’, a nickname for someone who followed the fashion for shoes made from a type of fine reddish leather.
  2. according to another opinion a variant of Rotfuchs, from the Middle Low German form fos ‘fox’, a nickname for a clever person.

They had six children; Johann Friedrich b 1869, Gottlieb Fiedrich b 1871, Anna Maria b1873, Wilhelm b1879, Katharina b 1880, and Karl b 1885. Gottlieb Fiedrich died on April 29, 1899.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Keppler Connection

About the family's only claim to fame is that Matthaeus Ohnmacht was born to Johann Ulrich and Elizabetha Katharina Ohnmacht on April 30, 1834 in Langenrand. He married Anna Maria Keppler from Schoemberg on February 13, 1866. Anna Maria was a distant relative to Joannes Kepler (spelled both ways Kepler or Keppler) the mathematician, astronomer and astrologer who was born on December 27, 1571. Matthaeus and Anna Maria had nine children of which four survived childhood. He died and was buried in Langenbrand on April 18, 1919. Anna Maria was born on January 20, 1839 and died on October 9, 1896. The surviving children's names were Christine Barbara b1868, Anna Maria b1870, Katharine b1873, Christine Friederike b1877 and Rosine Barbara b1882.

Matthaeus worked as a lumberjack. Lumberjacks are workers in the logging industry who perform the initial harvesting and transport of trees for ultimate processing into forest products. The term usually refers to a bygone era (before 1945 in the United States) when hand tools were used in harvesting trees. Because of its historical ties, the term lumberjack has become ingrained in popular culture through folklore, mass media and spectator sports. The actual work was difficult, dangerous, intermittent, low-paying, and primitive in living conditions, but the men built a traditional culture that celebrated strength, masculinity, confrontation with danger, and resistance to modernization.  Some of the tools that he might of used:
"The first Keppler who became resident in Schomberg, is Peter born around 1620 in Calw. His father was Johann Georg, who was the beginning of the Crown host in Calw." It is the period after the thirty years war and the plague. Events that have largely wiped out the population in the area Schomberg and Langenbrand.  The French had invaded this area under Ludwig XIV. By the end of the 19th century the Keppler family continued to migrated from Schomberg to Wurzenbach.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


My grandmother Gertrude Grossholtz was born in Neuhausen, Germany which was part of Alsace Lorraine. The problem that I am having is determining which Neuhausen she was referring to on her marriage certificate. Is it Neuhausen ob Eck which is in Baden Wurttemberg on the southern side of the Swabian Alb. According to my sister my Grandmother was Catholic even though they brought the children up to be Lutheran. This fact would lead me to believe that she was from Neuhausen ob Eck and I have sent for information from a family history book by Hans-Georg Strizel entitled Ortssippenbuch Neuhausen ob Eck: Kreis Tuttlingen in Wurttemberg; 1633 - 1920.

"Neuhausen auf den Fildern is a municipality in the district of Esslingen in Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. It is located 13 km southeast of Stuttgart." I had an opportunity when I was visiting Langenbrand to visit this village in Baden Wuttemberg. This town had several churches and I was able to visit the church grounds as seen below. St. Urban and Vitus parish church is "located east of the main road in the middle of the village. A strong lining wall shields the church yard against the tiefergelegene road." A wedding was taking place at the time of my visit to the church and so I didn't feel comfortable entering the church.

This Neuhausen auf den Fildern was founded during feudal Germany.  According to the town website ".. each community in the area had two mayors, who were responsible for the accounting department.... The inhabitants of the village were divided into two classes the community's citizens and Sojourners. Only large potatoes were harvested in the second half of the 19th century. Fields were sold for a loaf of bread." A week's salary was a loaf of bread.

The village was until 1754 ruled only by the Lords of Neuhausen. Since 1655 it was a joint sovereignty of the Lords of Neuhausen and the Lords of Rotenhan. In 1806 it became part of Württemberg. 

Neuhausens was first documented in 1153 when the place was under local nobility, the Lords of Neuhausen. In the 14th century, the village under Habsburg rule and was associated with Austria. In the Reformation, all surrounding villages of Württemberg were Protestant; Neuhausen thus became a leading Austrian Catholic island. in 1769, the prince-bishopric of Speyer bought the place. The reorganization of southwest Germany by Napoléon Bonaparte first 1802 resulted belonging to the Grand Duchy of Baden, but already in 1806 Neuhausen came to the Kingdom of Württemberg. With the municipality reform of 1973,

The third village of Neuhausen Enz were my Grandmother could have come from is located in the district of Enz in Baden-Württemberg in Germany. Neuhausen is on the plateau between Nagold and Würm, also named Biet (from German Gebiet (area) between 430 and 570 metres sea level.

 The so-called Biet-villages to them belong Neuhausen and its districts too were probably created as forest homestead villages. The first documentary evidence followed later: 1073 Schellbronn, 1150 Neuhausen and 1157 Steinegg. Hamberg was mentioned documentary in 1453 the first time, but it is probably Hamberg to have been created in the 11. century on initiative of a Stein von Rechtenstein. They subjected the Freiherren von Gemmingen (barons of Gemmingen).

Monday, June 2, 2014


The 550-year-old Medieval church is
Langenbrand or Long fire is on the ridge between Enz and Nagold and coming from Pforzheim is the entrance gate to the overall community Schomberg . With its approximately 1,300 inhabitants , it is the second largest district after Schomberg. The municipality emerged from a forest clearing in the 1100s with six other municipalities.

The six municipalities of the area received with Langenbrand in 1404, its ecclesiastical center . In 1325 came Langenbrand along with Neuenbürg to Württemberg . The Thirty Years' War left deep scars in Waldhufendorf and even dysentery and plague did not spare the place. The population lived for centuries off agriculture and forestry, and before the 18th century, the brown iron ore mining. Shaping the townscape is a church originating from the 12th/13th century, which was completed in the 18th century around the upper part of the tower and the nave in its present form .

 Since 1984, Langenbrand is recognized as a health resort and contributes to the campsite and various hotels and guesthouses considerably to the number of overnight stays. Part of the overall community Schomberg Langenbrand was in the context of incorporation in 1975. Heavily frequented by clubs from all over Schomberg is the elaborately renovated in 2010 town house with multipurpose hall . Next to it is the newly built daycare " The Rappelkiste " went into operation in March 2013 , which is the all-day care and toddler groups for the total community of great importance. For 10 years a wind turbine can be found on the edge of the community. Currently, the community is concerned with the possible resettlement of additional wind turbines in Langenbrand.

By the end of the 20th century  papermaking played a major role in the history of  the community. Founded on May 1, 1883 the company Holtzmann , with the Wolfsheck , which belonged to closing the Stora Enso Group , the largest company in area was founded in 1991 and headquartered in Langenbrand since 2005. The company Fritz Automation is one of the few companies located here .

The village coat of arms  is an ancient forest character of a former mayor ( hence the name Schulz characters) was created . 

Langenbrand is one of the communities where the Ohnmachts originate. According to my records the furthest that the Ohnmachts go back in Langenbrand dates back to Johann George Ohnmacht who was born in Lutzenhardt in 1767 but was buried in Langenbrand in 1834. His son, Johann Ulrich Ohnmacht was born in Langenbrand On February 10, 1804 as well as his brothers and sisters. Johann Ulrich married Elisabeth Katharine Schwaemmle on June 9, 1839 in Langenbrand and they had their eight children in this town. One of the eight children was Gottlieb Frederich Ohnmacht who was born on August 24, 1843 he was my Great Grandfather. Both Johann and Elisabeth lived their whole life and were buried in the town. I have sent for the microfilm from the Mormans and hope that there is more information about the family. I am looking for the occupation of Johann George and Johann Ulrich Ohnmacht.

When I visited the town it was a small quaint community. There is a stone in the church yard with an Erik Ohnmacht's name on the stone. This was the home of my Grandfather, Gottlieb Frederich Ohnmacht, one of  Johann Ulrich's grandchildren born on October 3, 1871. He lived in this town for twenty-one years and worked as a goldsmith according to Immigration records. What made him come to America and change his profession? These are questions I have yet to answer.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Buster Brown Haircut

Anna Maule and her two sisters
Joe Koferl
Buster Brown was originally a comic strip character created in 1902 by Richard Felton Outcault, who was associated with the Brown Shoe Company. Buster, with his pageboy haircut, was based on a small child in Outcault’s hometown. 

This is a photograph of my Grandmother and father. My father is dressed in a dress typical of the period. I think that my father is either three or four years old in the photograph. This is the time when they were living in American Venice. You can see him with his Buster Brown Haircut. 

By the 1910's "Some mothers still dressed their younger boys in dresses, but the convention of dressing young boys in dresses and kilt suits became increasingly less ."

Why Did Boys Wear Dresses?

"It is interesting from an historical perspective to speculate as to why little boys were dressed as girls. Many qu estions come to mind. Many stress the practical factor of the ease of caring for small children in skirted garments. This was probably a factor, but practicality was not the only factor. Clearly the mother that lovingly dressed her son in frilly Little Lord Fauntleroy suits and curled his hair did not place practicality high on her priorities. Also the practicality arguement does not explain why some boys were kept in dresses well past the age of toilet training. Clearly more was involved andvpeople in past generations saw it important to distinguish the young boy from the man. Attiring boys in dresses did set them apart from men, but did not set them apart from adults--as until the 19th century they wore dresses much like their sisters and mothers. Why was the boy's costume not distinguished from that of a woman's? This question leads to some interesting insights into pschological power relationships and the staus of women in previous eras."  

The sailor suit fashion continued popular in the 1910s. Styles at the beginning of the decade were little changed than at the turn of the century, except that shorts and knickers largely replaced knee pants. By the end of the decade sailor suits were being worn by increasingly younger boys in Britain and America, although older boys continued to wear them in Germany and other European countries. Most American boys wore knickers, often including high school age boys. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

You Ought To Be In Pictures

The photograph on the left is of my Aunt Gertrude and her friend wearing a skimmer or boater hat.

A boater (also straw boater, basher, skimmer, cady, katie, somer, sennit hat, or in Japan, can-can hat) is a kind of men's formal summer hat. It is normally made of stiff sennit straw and has a stiff flat crown and brim, typically with a solid or striped grosgrain ribbon around the crown. Boaters were popular as casual summer headgear in the late 19th century and early 20th century, especially for boating or sailing, hence the name. 
To the right is a picture of my Aunt when she was under five years old. This is a lovely studio shot. For years my mother thought it was a picture of herself but my Uncle Al clarified it for us. If you look at the outfit she is wearing note the muff and bonnet typical turn of the century costume. The double breasted coat with an attached cape trimmed in what looks like velvet, were popular at the time. Gertrude was there first daughter and her parents chose to dressed her laviously.

While there is documentation to suggest that premade children's attire existed as early as 17th century Europe, it was not until the manufacturing age (or the age of mass production) that ready made children's garments were available to all social classes. Before the 1860s, ready made children's clothing was only purchased by the upper class. Tailors and "little dressmakers" visited the home of the wealthy, taking measurements and fitting garments to each child. However, by the end of the 19th century, fashion called for loosely fitted dresses and less tailored suits- allowing for a one size fits all industry.

Aunt Gertrude in her teens with
 Aunt Tillie, a friend of the family.
The sailor outfit that my Aunt is wearing in this photograph to the left looks like it was taken on some kind of boat. The sailor dress with a high waist and buttons down the front complete with a midi collar and bow was a popular style.  The photograph was taken circa 1917 -1919.

The photograph found to your right is of Aunt Gertrude and my Mother Tillie. My mother looks around the age of seven and is wearing a light coat which leads me to believe that it was Springtime. My Aunt Gertrude is wearing a black lace dress with a low waistline. Typical style of the 1920's this dress shows off a long pendent that could possibly a locket with her innitials on it that my Sister Barbara has in her collection.
The final photograph was taken of my Aunt Gertrude and who I think is her husband, John Clark. The photographs shows my Aunt wearing a long winter coat and sporting a picture hat. The dark coat with matching satin trim adds a beautiful accent to the coat with its fur trim. The photograph probably was taken in the early twenties.

Roaring Twenties

This is a photograph of my Aunt Gertrude dressed as a flapper during the time period. Note her hair was cut in a fashionable style, her head-dress typical style of the era and her stylish dress. When this photograph was taken she was in her late teens to twenty. Whether she was married or single at the time is hard to say. She was born in 1903 in New York but there is no record of her birth. She grew up in New York City, one of the cities that exemplified all the characteristics of the Roaring Twenties.

Gertrude married John C. Clark on April 11, 1923. I don't think there was a big wedding reception because they were married on a Wednesday probably by the Justice of the Peace. John C. Clark was not her parents choice but rather a marriage Gertrude rushed into. She drove a car and followed some of the era's traits. I'm not sure that she smoked but I do believe that she was breaking away from traditions of the German Immigrant family life and becoming her own woman. Once she married John Clark she no longer went home but rather her siblings would visit her at her new home. Her father, Gottlieb was upset with her decision to wed John Clark.

Flappers were a "new breed" of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms. Flappers had their origins in the liberal period of the Roaring Twenties, the social, political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of World War I, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe.

The Roaring Twenties is a term sometimes used to refer to the 1920s in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, characterizing the decade's distinctive cultural edge in New York City, Chicago, Paris, Berlin, London, Los Angeles and many other major cities during a period of sustained economic prosperity. French speakers called it the "années folles" ("Crazy Years"),[1] emphasizing the era's social, artistic, and cultural dynamism. Normalcy returned to politics in the wake of hyper-emotional patriotism after World War I, jazz music blossomed, the flapper redefined modern womanhood, and Art Deco peaked. Economically, the era saw the large-scale diffusion and use of automobiles, telephones, motion pictures, and electricity, unprecedented industrial growth, accelerated consumer demand and aspirations, and significant changes in lifestyle and culture. The media focused on celebrities, especially sports heroes and movie stars, as cities rooted for their home team and filled the new palatial cinemas and gigantic stadiums. In most major countries women won the right to vote for the first time. Finally the Wall Street Crash of 1929 ended the era, as the Great Depression set in, bringing years of worldwide gloom and hardship.[2]

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

American Venice

This is a photograph of my Grandmother, Anna Maule sitting on the fender of the car. The day looks beautiful for a trip to the beach or a picnic. Note the dirt road and crops that are growing on the side of the road lead me to believe it is late spring or early summer. Anna is dressed in a short sleeve dress and the driver is wearing a suit jacket. The boys in the car were wearing caps and probably had knickerbockers on because of the warmer time of the year. The photograph was taken at the end of the teens or early twenties.

My father grew up near or on the border of Copiague and Lindenhurst known as American Venice. We have photographs taken at the end of his road looking at the water. Here is a photograph to the right of my father taken near the back of the house. He is dressed in his little sailor outfit. To the left another photograph looking across the street at a neighbor's yard with my father in the foreground. I remember that my father took us to the area where he lived one evening during the summer. He showed us where he lived and told us that the area known as American Venice was originally used for film making before Hollywood became so important to the industry. According to the information that I found on the Internet they do not mention the film making industry but instead it was a real estate venture to bring more people to the suburbs before and after the Great Depression.

 Below is a photograph of my Uncle Billy who is standing on the dock near the canals. They lived on 487 John Street in Lindenhurst according to the 1920 Federal Census.The picture taken of my grandmother, Anna Maule probably taken at the end of their block near the canals. It looks like this was taken the same day as the one by the automobile.
Another photograph of my Uncle with either his brother taken the same day as the previous one on the dock near the canal. This picture was taken of the neighbor's home across the street. They lived in American Venice until 1925 New York Census where we find them living on Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst.

American Venice became a unique place to live through my fathers memories.

 "An ornate gazebo sat on an island in the middle of a laguna at the north end of a canal framed by striped mooring poles and gondolas imported from Italy. From their perch of towering columns, statues of winged lions invited passersby to come closer and explore, to saunter over arched Venetian bridges and past Italian-style villas.
This was once the scene not in Venice, Italy, but in American Venice, a unique community created in the 1920s in Copiague, just off the Great South Bay. The Great Depression and a surge of year-round residents eventually transformed American Venice into a conventional suburban neighborhood, and for years the Town of Babylon has been trying to recreate those golden days. But it would require acquisition of a site at the head of the canal, and the town has been unable to persuade the property owner to sell.
American Venice was the brainchild of real estate developers Victor Pisani and Isaac Meister, according to a new book, "Copiague" (Arcadia Publishing), by Babylon town archivist Mary Cascone. At a time when many communities on Long Island were still on the cusp of development, the pair decided to create right in the heart of Copiague an oasis dedicated to a city more than 4,000 miles away."

Friday, May 23, 2014

By The Sea, By The Sea

My Aunt Gertrude had a beautiful smile and eyes.  Here she is enjoying a day at the beach in her fetching bathing outfit circa late teens early twenties. If you look especially closer you can see beach chairs and a pavilion in the background of the photograph. I think that this bathing suit was styled after the two piece dress worn pre 1920 style. Note the long skirt, stockings and bathing shoes. I wonder what my Aunt would of thought of today's swimming gear. I think she would have liked the styles and how they looked and felt. You can tell from the photographs that I have of her she took great pleasure and effort when coordinating her outfits.

The photograph found below  is of a friend of my Aunt's probably taken the same day. The one to the right (middle) resembles my father's side relatives and is possibly of  his mother (left) And her sisters to the right. If you recognize any of the photographs please contact me by email or leaving a comment. The photograph found all the way to the right is of my Aunt with a 20's bathing suit possibly taken on a different day. You can see how the bathing suit is made of jersey fabric and shows off more of the figure.