Author Archives: brehmerts

Wrapping it All Up

Yesterday I spent the night in Newberry going over some last minute family history with my relative, Randolph Johnson, and with my Grandma.  I finally found the picture I have been anxiously awaiting for, the picture of my nazi tank commander relative, Commander Schaar (pronounced: Shaa).  I also found out that he would have been my great granduncle, and that he ultimately died of pneumonia on a the hospital ship, Lister.  He is in the picture below.

Tank Commander    HEB Home, Weihe Germany

 

I also found pictures of my first Brehmer relatives that came from Germany, and that they were from Weihe (pronounced ve-hee).  I thought it was really cool seeing a picture of their house in Weihe as well, which can be seen above in the picture beside Commander Schaar.  Apparently the Brehmer family came from a lot of money before the war in Germany.  A really interesting story that I found out about my family was that when Germany was divided and part of it was under control of Russia, my family got across the Russian controlled border and tied all their silver under their car so that it wouldn’t get taken by the Russians.  The silver was also engraved with HEB, which could have been Harmon Ernest Brehmer (either my 2nd or 3rd great grandfather).

War Ration Book     Ration Stamps

I also had another interesting find, which was my great grandaunt Lazelle’s war ration stamps.  I have never seen anything like these before, and thought that they were really awesome to see in person.  I also thought it was really cool to see her handwriting on the front of the stamp booklet, and the address that she was living at, at that time.  I also had no idea that she lived in North Carolina, so seeing that address on the front of the war ration book can help explain some of the areas of residence on her ancestry.com profile.

roanoke, VA     Wanted Ad     Train Ticket 2

I also found some documents on my great, great grandfather Fellers, who was the detective in Atlanta, GA.  I found some of the wanted posters for people he was searching for, as well as punched train tickets that he kept from his travels while looking for many of these criminals.  I also found a handwritten note for a person that he was going to look for, who was suspected to have cut a persons throat and killed them in Roanoke, VA.  I thought it was really cool looking at all these old documents, as well as the original train tickets during his travels as a detective.

Overall I have found lots of really cool information on my family, and was amazed to see many of these documents that my family has been keeping for all these years.  They were all really useful in my search.  After beginning this project, I have realized that this has now developed into a never ending hobby, and I am excited to see where all my future searches take me.  I am also really excited to go back to my grandparents house and look through more trunks of old family documents, because I have much more left to discover in those as well.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this course, and highly recommend it for future interims.

Exploring Old Family Photos

This week I traveled to West Columbia, SC to visit my grandparents to look at old family photos and go over some family history on their side of the family.  I found lots of really great pictures that I was able to scan into Ancestry.com, so I was finally able to match many of the names with faces on my Amick side.

Scan012               Scan013

This was one of the oldest pictures I was able to find of my great, great, great grandparents, who were Stablers (mom’s-mom’s side).  I was also able to find some of the original death records on this side of the family as well for my great, great, great grandfather (William Franklin Stabler).  Another interesting find I was able to make was a family photo of four generations of women on my mom’s side.  I thought this was really cool because it included my mom and all the way to my great, great grandmother.

group picture

 

My mom is the one standing down in the front, and from left to right it includes two of my great, great grandmothers; my great grandmother, and my grandma.

Tomorrow, I will be making my way back down to Newberry to gather more pictures and stories on my dad’s side of the family (Brehmer) for the last time, so I hope to find plenty of good finds.

Family from Newberry

This weekend I made my way down to Newberry, SC and visited my grandma to go through family records.  I was able to find out a lot of really interesting things about the Brehmer side of the family.  I found out that one of my great grandfathers was a detective in Atlanta, GA.  We even found records for the men he was searching for (wanted posters, personal writings, etc…).  I also found out that my dad has an old pistol of his, which we suspect was used in his detective work.  Unfortunately I did not have access to a scanner, but I brought lots of documents back to school to upload to Ancestry.com.

Henry Thomas Fellers Detective

 

This is the card for his detective agency in Atlanta.  (Henry Thomas Fellers)

IMG_3239 IMG_3249

I also made a trip to our old plantation home in Silverstreet, SC to look at some more records from the Fellers side of the family, such as family photos.  I found the original marriage certificate for my great great grandparents as well, and have attached it below.  It was stored along with the families birth, marriage, and death records as well.  I was able to bring these documents back to school with me  and scan them into Ancestry.com.  I thought these were really awesome and valuable pieces of family history.

Spearman:Fellers Marriage Document

Finally, I was able to take many pictures of my families graves in Silverstreet and Newberry.  Luckily I was able to use these graves to find the exact birth and death dates for many of my family members that I couldn’t find on record.  One thing that was a huge help when looking at gravestones was that I was finally able to find the exact name and date of birth and death for my great great great grandmother that married my great… grandfather from Germany.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find out her parents name in my search, but I will continue to look at more graves in hopes of finding it.

IMG_3282

This is her and great… grandfathers grave (who arrived from Germany).

 

Back to Germany… again

I spent this week tracing my family history back on my mom side, specifically my mom’s-mom’s side (Stabler).  After going through a book on their ancestry that was given to me by my grandma, I found that pretty much the entire Stabler side was from small town, Sandy Run, South Carolina.  I also once again found that these roots trace back to Germany.  My first relative on the Stabler side arrived in America in the early 1700s My oldest relative that I could trace on this side so far arrived in America in the early 1700s.  In addition, I found that my grandfather in the mid-late 1600s lived in Frudenslein, Germany.  This will now be the third branch of my family tree that I have found with roots in Germany, and judging by the other last names that I have not done research on, I am expecting to find a lot more relatives with roots in Germany.  This week I also talked to my great uncle Randolph, who went on a month long excursion through Germany, and even stayed with our relatives in Germany.  He has our whole family tree traced out through Germany and he wants to meet with me next week to trace my roots through Germany. I’m pretty excited about this to say the least.  Unfortunately I still do not have pictures or documents to upload, but I will have plenty after Saturday since I am taking a trip down to visit my grandma in Newberry.

Also, in class today I found out that Elijah and I share similar family names throughout Newberry county, so I am interested to see if I can find a connection between us this weekend while I am in Newberry.

Research Methods

I have spent the past week looking deeper into my family history; however, to my surprise, I was able to find a lot more information on my family without even using a computer.  Luckily, my grandma has kept a large bin full of family records (deeds, letters, awards, etc.) at her house that were uncovered from my family’s plantation home in Silverstreet, SC.  So, to get a hands on look at these I ventured down to Newberry, SC the other day to go through all of these family files.  This has probably been my greatest method of research so far on my family, as it has provided me with a ton of information as to what my family did instead of simply telling me who they are.  I found deeds to land and houses that date back to the early 1800s, and all that was written perfectly in cursive.  One thing that amazed me so much, as I was looking at these documents, was how perfect all of their handwriting was back then, and how document looked almost like a piece of art, written in cursive.

I was able to find several fascinating documents in this bin.  First, I was able to find lots of my great-great grandfathers confederate war medals, which we found in a book.  In addition, we even uncovered old confederate money ($5), which we had no idea was even hidden amongst all these documents.  It was found inside of one of his books, and fell out as we were skimming through the box.  In addition to these finds, we also found a deed to a room at the plantation home in Silverstreet, SC.  Fortunately, this helped us partially confirm a family story that I have always been told regarding the plantation home in Silverstreet.  The story was that my 3rd great grandmother was apparently a pretty feisty woman, and requested to have her own deed to her private room at this house, which had restricted access.  When this plantation home was passed down in a will, it underwent many renovations to restore the house, and one was to open up access to this room.  It was blocked off from the rest of the rooms, and the only access to it was to exit the house and enter this room from its own private door outside.  I thought  this was a pretty interesting find.

Lots of my other research has been done by searching through old family documents, and I have actually spent more time actively reading old letters, and deeds than I have working online to uncover my family history. In addition, I have been able to use books on my families history to discover the missing names in my family tree.  As soon as I get access to a working scanner in my apartment I plan on uploading many of these documents to Ancestry.com, so there should be many pictures and documents to come!

Uncovering Family History

Hello all, I’m Thomas Brehmer and am a senior psychology major at Wofford College.  Starting Christmas 2012 I began the process of uncovering and tracing my family history through Ancestry.com and lots of help from my family.  Luckily the Brehmer side (dad’s side) has books with our family history traced all the way back through Germany, and many pictures as well.  I was able to find out that I have a great, great uncle that was a tank commander for Hitler, and have even discovered a picture of him wearing the swastika.  I found it very hard to believe that I came from a family of Nazi’s in Germany, but at the same time I found it really interesting.  What I find even more interesting about this is that according to 23andme I have Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, so this makes for a conflicting family history.  However, I am expecting to possibly find this from my mom’s side (Amick).  So far in my family tree on Ancestry.com I have 200+ relatives entered, and have only scratched the surface of who all I have found.  Fortunately, I have been given several books containing my families history from both the Amick (mom’s side) and Brehmer (dad’s side), so these should be a great help in my search.  Just based on what I have found on Ancestry.com, I have been able to trace some relatives back to the 1700s, but I had to stop because I didn’t want to go too far back yet before having other relatives from other sides of the family as well.  In addition to tracing my family history, I was also able to find a letter on Ancestry.com that was written by the surname “Worthington” who was my great, great, great, great… (?) grandmother.  It was a letter of condemnation from her family for running away and marrying who was by great, great, great, great… (?) grandfather long ago.  After reading this letter I was able to find out that she was disowned from the family for 20 years before she reaccepted by her parents and other family members.  I was shocked upon finding this letter, but understand that it was very socially unacceptable for “fornication” in earlier times.  I think finding family secrets like this are fascinating, and I can’t wait to see what else I uncover over the next few weeks!  So I will sign off this time by saying that I believe that I am in for quite a surprising ride this month as I uncover my own family history, and I look forward to all it has in store.