About the time Josef Gärtz received his Military Draft Summons (see Drafted 100 years ago
), this photo was taken of my grandmother, Elisabetha, (known most often as “Lisi”). It was stored with other old photographs in an envelope on which she listed the contents, including this one: “Mein Bild in Großpold Kleider.”
[My picture in Großpold clothing]. (Grosspold was her home town—near Hermannstadt/Sibiu).
On the back she wrote: “Zur Erinnerung des Jahres 1910 19/6” [To Remember June 19, 1910]. Lisi was 22 about to turn 23. Did she give a copy of this photo to Josef to remember her as he went on his itinerant carpentry work?
This second photo is the earliest I have of my grandmother, posing with her father, Samuel Ebner, mother, also named Elisabetha, and older sister, Maria, born February 2, 1882. My grandmother is the little girl on the right, about six, so the date of the photo must be about 1893, (Lisi was born July 30, 1887).
We don’t know much about Lisi’s early childhood, but we do know that life wasn’t easy in rural 19th century Europe. Decades before antibiotics, vaccinations, and advanced medicine, death was intertwined with life, ever-present –lurking on roadways or horseback, in the swoosh of a scythe, stalking young and old, rich and poor alike. It came to the Ebner family often, each visit ending in heartache.
When my brothers and I went on a roots-finding mission to Romania in 2007, we found out just how often.
In my next post, you’ll get a first hand look at the
“Großpold Familienbuch” (Grosspold Family Book), maintained by the Lutheran Church in Lisi’s hometown, in which births, deaths, and marriages are recorded and what we discovered there.
As we get to know a little more about Josef and Lisi’s past, we’ll have a clearer picture of how they will create their future.