On Jan. 23, 1943, my uncle, Frank Ebner Gartz, (photo in uniform, above) reported to the draft board in Chicago to start his training for WWII. So began the correspondence between him and family & friends, comprising almost 300 letters going both ways. I’m posting many of these World War II letters, each on or near the 70th anniversary of its writing. To start with his induction, click HERE.

This blog began in Nov., 2010, when I posted a century-old love note from Josef Gärtz, my paternal grandfather, to Lisi (Elisabetha) Ebner, my paternal grandmother, and follows their bold decision to strike out for America.

My mom and dad were writers too, recording their lives in diaries and letters from the 1920s-the 1990s. Historical, sweet, joyful, and sad, all that life promises-- and takes away--are recorded here as it happened. It's an ongoing saga of the 20th century. To start at the very beginning, please click HERE.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad...and G-G-G-Grandpa

Fred Gartz dob October 10, 1914
Fred Gartz, 1934
If you've ever taken a course in probability, you've undoubtedly learned to mathematically prove the Birthday Problem:  if you gather a relatively small number of people in a room, the likelihood that two will have the same birthday is much higher than seems possible without the "proof." (With just 23 random people in a room, there's a 50% probability that two of them will have the same birthday!) See the Wikipedia explanation of this phenomenon (if you care) at The Birthday Problem.

Birth Registration 10 October, 1769 for
Johannes Michael Görz
But what's the probability that my dad and his g-g-grandfather would have the same birthday? That's four men of direct lineage (dad, grandfather, great grandfather, g-g grandfather). We're not talking uncles or great aunts -- but directly back through his dad's side to the guy who started the Gartz (originally Görz) lineage in my grandfather's home town.

I won't do the math, but it seems to me a long shot -- sometimes called an amazing coincidence! So I'll just say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO my G-G-G Grandpa, Johannes Michael Görz,  born  OCTOBER 10, 1769 (no photo obviously, but here's his birth registration from Gerstheim, Alsace, before his Dad up and took the whole family (little Johann was just eight months old on this 1,000 mile trek) to Hungary, now Romania.

See Unraveling the Michael Mystery for details on discovering of this 242-year-old document.

And Happy Birthday, Dad: October 10, 1914 (he'd be 97), born 145 years after Johannes Michael.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

My father and his brother were both born on January 3rd (seven years apart). I was born on my grandfather's birthday (Oct. 24) but I was due to be born on my husband's birthday (Nov. 16th). I suppose if you asked enough people you would find some similar instances in their own family trees. The problem is that not enough people know their grandparent's and great grand parents birthdays!

Linda Gartz said...

So true! Probability-wise, this may turn out to be as likely as the Birthday Problem I wrote about. You certain have a LOT of common birthdays in your family. I just wonder if you matched up this particular relationship for the probabilities, what you'd find. To find a matching birthday for any given relative is probably great, as your family proves! Thanks for dropping by!