How much time do you have?

January 11, 2009


It all started with a comment from James Sanders, who read the post on Calvary’s dinner/auction fundraiser and was wondering if the Engelbrechts that we knew were related to some of his ancestors who were from around them parts.  My dad knows just about everyone and who their parents were and things like that that I can’t remember to save my life. So I thought I would call him and ask.

My initial thought was that Mom could read the comment to him and he could answer her and she could tell me what was up. A few minutes into the conversation I knew that things weren’t going to work out that way, so I just started typing everything that my dad was saying.  If you know my dad, you know that this sounds pretty much just like him. The conversation was about an hour, but there were times when I fell behind in typing and I’ve just summarized those parts.

If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, here’s the executive summary: No, there’s probably not a (close) connection between the two John Engelbrechts, but my dad did know two of the people mentioned, and their new church history book has at least some of and perhaps the whole family in it as well.

Here’s what it took to find out that information; All the words are my dad’s. (Lauren thinks it helps if you read it in a slightly southern accent.) You can usually tell what replies were by what he says. I didn’t even try to record what I said or what mom said…

Let’s say this dude, what’s his name? Charles Shoots? If James Sanders is 30 years old, then his mother is 60 years old and his grandmother would be 90 years old or more. I’m going rough age differentials. Now, James Sanders might be 70 himself, why I say that is that lots of old people get into genealogy. And if I take it right, my whole question is if James Sanders is kin to our John Englebrecht 

[Mom mentions something from the post]

Now hold on a minute, Jane. How did Calvary get into this conversation?

[Mom explains about the post these comments are for]

On the internet?

[My mom tries to explain the internet to my dad]

So he horned in on their conversation?

[More explaining about the internet]

Well, we have it all. Tell him for $45 he can have it. They come from St. Michael’s church over in Germany. They have pictures of the church and the Englebrecht tombstones. Did you sing at that church when you were over in Germany?

Do you have the Sommerer book? It went back into Germany, but I didn’t buy it because they only had two pages about our family. They had my great-grandfather’s discharge – that was one page signed by The Pathfinder. Well, it was supposed to be signed by The Pathfinder – it was signed by one of his aides. And a page on my grandfather’s family. I didn’t think that would be worth quite fifty dollars. But probably some of that other stuff over in Germany would have applied to our family. It was kind of written on Uncle Ralph’s side of the family.

A lot of the old records in the church book were translated for the first time from German for this new church book. Were you thinking of putting him in contact with John Englebrecht? My grandmother was an Englebrecht: granddaughter of [I didn’t quite catch who it was]. His [James?] grandmother was Mary, and it [the comment] names the kids in his family. Are you in front of a computer now? Did you call me just to aggravate me?

Seven children. That’s a typical family for around here, and I knew two of ‘em. I didn’t know Bill Englebrecht. I knew Herbert Popp as a kid. He’s been dead fifty years or more. His son is in his 80’s.

Andy married Edith, and they never had a child, and they’ve been dead 30 years.

Do you remember Albert Englebrecht? Do you remember the farm Uncle Ralph rented? Were you ever down there? Did you ever meet Albert? He was an old bachelor – he never married. He must have been a first cousin of these people. He must have been part of this family.

There was one Englebrecht family that had 10 boys in it. I only knew five of them. I think John Englebrecht was one of those brothers. That makes him related to quite a few …. no… I’m sorry. John Englebrecht was Wayne’s dad. I think John Englebrecht grew up around Kansas City, and I don’t even know if he was one of those ten. You know, some people just aren’t interested in genealogy at all.

Ok. I found it. Maria Friedericke Katherine Englebrecht. March 15, 1890. Father – John Englebrecht. Mother – Anny Buschbach. He needs one of these books. Tell him all of these records were in German. I think like the first 70 years, then they, well, you were baptized in Harvey, Illinois, and you should be in this book because you were confirmed in Honey Creek. Some people could be in this book at least five times. When they were baptized, confirmed, married – maybe two or three times, when they died and where they’re at in the cemetery.

I was born at Honey Creek, and I was confirmed at Honey Creek, and that would be all I’d be in there. Oh, and father of my kids. We just got these books today and I have a hard time finding stuff in ‘em. They’re like 350 pages and there might be 30 – 40 people on each page. My mother was, oh man, I’d have to look that up. [To Mom] – Look Mom up.

She could have been baptized at Honey Creek. She was confirmed in Jeff. [Jefferson City] Look this stuff up. She was born in 1898, she was married at Honey Creek, and, like, the first maybe 5 to 6 kids were baptized at Honey Creek; then they moved to Schubert’s. For 12 years or so, anyway, whoever was baptized or confirmed at Schubert’s wouldn’t be there. Here she is. Her father was Edwin Erhardt, and her mother was Elizabeth Beck.

[Here the conversation takes a sharp turn to the right and Dad relates another genealogy question someone asked him today.]

Where does… what was his name? Can you tell where James Sanders is from? Is he local there? Is he in New York?

[I tell him we don’t know.]

Do you know, we could have a lot of relatives in your area. Most of them wouldn’t be named Sommerer. Just like we have Williams and Bakers and Dittmers and Faulkners, Deetzes and Carrys.

I don’t know what to tell you about it. Are you going to try and communicate with this guy? Well, I’m just trying to figure out who he could contact to get one of these books. That would be too difficult. [To contact the church.] I have the books here. Well, he’s going to have to send me 45 dollars. Well, more that that – you have to have shipping charges on there. And what the hell happens if his check bounces? Sometimes checks take quite a while to bounce. The next month on your statement your check might bounce. ‘Course, with electronics and stuff they ought to be able to clear them in a day or two. I dunno – see if he wants a book, and if he does – call me back and we’ll see about some way to get him one. You might ought to ask his address. Hell, he could be down here at Meta. You know, we don’t know where he’s at.

James Sanders. That’s Ma Sanders’ boy. You know Beetle Bailey? On the bridge of his cap it says, “Ma Sander’s boy Jimmy L.” In the service, he must have been in the service. Have I told you this story before? He did a lot of weird things in the service, and one weekend the whole platoon was supposed to get leave so they could go into town. At the last minute they canceled the leave, so Jimmy L. Sanders stole a bus on the base and he rammed the front gate getting out to get to town. The guy who told the story said, “There were 32 of us on the bus.” [awkward pause] I guess you had to be there.

[At this point, Mom reads my reply to James Sander’s comment.]

“This is exactly the sort of question that gives meaning to the vast amount of ‘begat’ information that my dad has accumulated.”

Is that a direct quote? Is that on the internet? Is my Jimmy L. story on there, too?

I guess what confused me is when I heard, and Momma threw another quirk in there when she added Calvary to it, when I heard John Englebrecht and I automatically thought of our John Englebrecht, because we saw John and Becky in church this morning and I wasn’t thinking about another John Englebrecht.

But whoever the hell James L. Sanders is. The Hosterleins live across the street from Aunt Ada and Uncle Tony. Do you remember them living up there across the highway? She was Edie (Edith) – one of those seven kids, and her name was… you ought to print that off like Jane did and maybe you can decipher it better. I can’t decipher stuff on a screen as well as I can in print. But them two I knew for sure. The others, I’d have to have last names on them, but the boys are not ringing any bells with me.

Charles Englebrecht? Never, ever knew a Charles Englebrecht. I never knew a Bill Englebrecht. Do you think he wanted to know something or do you think he was making conversation? Well, whatever he had around here would be in that book.

What would be have to do to find Edie in that book, Jane? Would we have to know the year she was baptized? Can you look up Englebrecht? Did it give her name Hosterlein? Do you have to know the year to look them up?

[Here Mom offers some explanation about the make-up of the book.]

Let’s see – how about Charles? Well, were they in alphabetical order? Was there a Charles? Butch Tillman has a – I don’t know the word, fetish? – about the Stressners who lived down here on the farm, and we talked a couple of hours about it and he called last night and we talked about the Propts. But anyway, I asked Ralph Propts this morning in church and was told that Gilbert, the only Stressner that lived down here as a kid was Gilbert, and the only reason I know Gilbert is he married my second cousin sixty years ago and I didn’t even know it. He married Paul and [I didn’t catch that name] Meyer’s sister and they didn’t have any children. He always talked about comin’ out here and going hunting, but he never did. He asked nearly every year but never did.

He was born in this old farmhouse and I thought we were the only two born there. Ralph Propts told me there was one born to the Stressners who died about age twelve, and I never heard that story before from Mom or anybody. Looking in this book, there was a Stressner who was born and died the next day. He’s buried at Honey Creek. You know – an infant child. I didn’t even know that anything like that even existed.

[Mom says at this point that there’s another brother in here that James doesn’t even know about.]

Johann Heinrich Eduard Englebrecht. Edie Englebrecht. Could be Craig’s great-grandfather. You’ll have to ask Norma [Englebrecht]. Ask her if she’s related to Ma Sander’s little boy Jimmy L.

[Lotta stuff about names that I didn’t type.]

No, that’s the translating between the German and the English, and the preacher didn’t spell everything right. My Dad detested the name “Adolf”, and I think the pastor wrote that on a lot of his papers. His name was “Adolph”. There are some things like that you think a good translator would correct.

[More looking through the book.]

You know, there must have been a lot of Duenkels in those days. I wonder… you know, Lloyd, the first Sommerer who came to this country married a Duenkel. That lady did a lot of work to get this book put together. Betty Lorenzof, she was Pastor Boltman’s granddaughter. They moved back to Honey Creek, I don’t know, I can’t say exactly 10 – 20 years ago.

[More discussion about James Sanders’ relatives.]

What if she died and she never grew up? Lloyd, Butch Tillman was telling me this morning about one of his cousins, years ago, I’m talking about over 100 years ago, these people had five boys and the plague came through and all five of them died. Then they had five more and used the same names. And Butch said that that was confusing as hell. And I said that it wouldn’t be in genealogy because they didn’t have any kids. That’s like myself. I have no cousins by the name of Sommerer. I have cousins by 15 other names, but no Sommerers because Daddy’s brother never married, and so I have no cousins by the name of Sommerer. Well, I think you probably ought to let me go to bed.


About Lloyd

Lloyd Sommerer is a middle/high school teacher who likes to build websites, read books, grow beards, make fun of Lauren’s prototypes and eat the sauce of the picante.

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24 Responses to “How much time do you have?”

  1. kiwe Said on:



  2. Brad Said on:

    Was this some sort of sick test?

    I read the whole thing.


  3. Lauren Said on:

    If it makes you feel any better, Lloyd and I each had to type all that. He did when talking to his dad, then he read it to me so it would be in a more ‘post-friendly’ format.


  4. Brad Said on:

    I’m at school now, but I can’t stop wondering: Did the Duenkel who married the first Sommerer live in the Honey Creek area? Were there other Duenkels as well? Did any Duenkels marry a Deetz? That would make a good hyphenated name: Duenkel-Deetz. Even better if the woman’s first name was Donna. Donna Duenkel-Deetz. Even better if she was from Detroit and had a dachshund


  5. Beth Said on:

    Awww…I like your Mom and Dad. They make me smile just reading their conversation. 😀


  6. Deborah Said on:

    On a different note, I took the girls (7 years- and 5 years-old)for ski lessons yesterday (their first try ever). They did well. They didn’t fall off the chair lift and die.


  7. christina Said on:

    If she died and never grew up, how did she have grandchildren??? This sounds about like every conversation I have with Dad, except you left out the ……… long pauses between thoughts that leads to the complete change in topic. Thanks for the PG version, I’m sure the original had a lot of #@$#@ Jane’s in it!


  8. Aunt Lolly Said on:

    I am still laughing over your post! Thanks for making my day a little enjoyable. Your Great,Great Grand Mother was named Rosina B. (Dunkel)Sommerer, The Dunkels must have changed the spelling of their name, because now it is Duenckel, Like Cory Duenckel? I love you. A. Lolly


  9. Rudy Said on:

    It’s hard to be humble with ancestors like mine!


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