|Lutheran Church Neppendorf|
After my brothers and I read the summarized history of the Gärtz (originally Gerz or Görz) family handed to us by the church secretary, Renate, when we visited my grandfather's church in his hometown of Neppendorf, Romania, we discovered the following highlights. Perhaps some may ring true for your family as well.
And Michael begat Michael, begat Michael, begat...(you get the idea!)
One generation after another named the first-born son in the family Michael. I’ll distinguish them with a birth year before the name. First-born girls were typically named after their mothers.
Pre-marriage messing around
The first (1771) Michael Gerz and his wife, Elisabeth, had seven children, including a Katarina born in 1807. This Katarina had an illegitimate child. According to the research, Katarina's church pastor “disciplined” her, whatever that meant. Makes me think of The Scarlet Letter. I wonder if the father of this “unehelicher Knabe” (boy out of wedlock) was “disciplined?” Hmmm. What do you think?
Poverty and old age wipe the slate clean
In 1852, at age eighty-one, 1771-Michael Gerz and his wife were forgiven a “loan” because of “old age and poverty.” Do we do that today? It makes me sad to think that he immigrated to Neppendorf to have a better life, yet clearly didn't make it.
Death by freezing
Present-day Gartz family in front
of Gartz family home, Neppendorf.
The Home to last 150 years
|1867 Michael Gärtz, half brother to|
my grandfather, Josef (with
his mother and sister in next photo.
They shared the same father,
1829 Michael, who was sixty
years old when Josef was born
Widowhood for Josef's mom
|Katarina Schnell/Gärtz, Josef, and Katarina|
I'd find out more about them in the most unexpected way. But first, some truly astounding discoveries in a small museum in the back of the Gärtz church, celebrating German life Neppendorf.