Friday, June 15, 2018

Iowa Family History Trip

I took a drive to southeast Iowa this week to scan in few photos and see what else I could find. To say this trip was a success would be an understatement.
In this post, I showed a poor photocopy of an old German military photo that was handed down in a family of "in-laws" to the Panther family. I sat down with owner of this photo, my second cousin who is also a family genealogist, and two descendants of the Clementine Panther / Joseph Eibes line. The distant cousin whose house we met at is a sweet 85 year old woman who obviously has been having some worsening Alzheimer-like symptoms in the past couple of months. While she had to introduce me to her brother sitting at the table a half dozen times and ask my name another half dozen times, her enthusiasm was infectious.

In addition, her reaction when I gave her a copy of the Panther family history book brought joy to my heart. It was as if she was just awarded a million dollars. While at her home, I got a good scan of the German military portrait, along with photos of her grandmother, Clementine Panther Eibes, who I only had one poor quality, copy of a copy of a copy, photograph of. In addition, she had a number of old family photos that no one knew who was in them. I plan on posting these to the Des Moines County, Iowa genealogy Facebook group. She hadn't taken down many of the pictures from the wall, and I wouldn't have wanted her to, and some of them were too large to be scanned or couldn't be taken out of the frames. For these, I just took photographs as they were. I also spent some time at the West Point and Fort Madison libraries and got a number of obituaries and newspaper articles. I'm sure I'll post some of those findings in future posts.

Here is the good scan of the German military photo that I am believing more and more could be of Moriz Panther, the brother of my great-grandfather, who died in the Austro-Prussian War.
People in German genealogy groups believe this is from the era of the
Austro-Prussian War so it could be Moriz Panther (1844-1866).

Here is a photo of Clementine Panther Eibes, the daughter of Ferdinand Panther and the niece of my great-grandfather, Alois Panther. This was a large photo still in the frame that I took a picture of. The glass created a lot of reflection from the flash or from the windows in photos taken without the flash. You can see where I edited in a portion from a photo taken without a flash. It's just a quick edit and not one I plan on keeping long-term.
Clementine Panther Eibes
My aunt also had a number of old photos I didn't have copies of. Here is a photo of my grandmother's sister, Mary Menke. She died in 1928 at the age of 22.
Mary Menke

Here is a photo of my grandmother, Elizabeth Menke and her brother Aloys, in about 1886.
Elizabeth and Aloys Menke

And finally is my favorite (or possibly second favorite if you count the military photo) photo I got on this trip. It is of my great-grandmother, Mary Harmeyer as a teenager, with another young lady I believe is her sister, but I do not know that for sure. Previously, the only photos I had of her were when she was around 70 years old or older.
Mary Harmeyer on left with unknown on right

What is the lesson for the readers? Ask your relatives if they have any old photos. My aunt knows I have the genealogy bug and she is very interested in it also. The problem is that she thought I already had these. In addition, if you hear about one photo you want to scan in, make an appointment with the person that has it and request that they bring out all of their old photos. You never know what you may find.


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