These are great-great-grandparents on my paternal side, Jacob Pape and his wife Elizabeth Gierse. This appears to have been taken somewhere later in their lives, probably well after my great-grandfather, John Pape, was born in 1851. Perhaps John brought the photograph with him when he emigrated from Bodefeld in Westphalia, Germany, to the United States in 1880. Or perhaps Jacob and Elizabeth mailed it to him in America sometime after that.*
Right now I don't know anything more about Jacob and Elizabeth, other than their names, and the fact that they lived their lives in Germany. Notice that they are holding hands in the picture. I do like that.
This picture was e-mailed to me by my second cousin Bill. Bill discovered me through Ancestry.com, when he was trying to learn about his father's family. Bill's father, Jack Bleidt, died when Bill was six, and his paternal grandmother, Martha Pape Bleidt, died when Bill was 14.
While I never met Jack, he and my dad, Fred Pape, were close. They were first cousins born only nine days apart, and they were even in first grade together. Today, Dad in Texas and Bill in Illinois are talking, and Dad is sharing some memories of the father Bill did not get much of a chance to know.
I did meet "Aunt Martha," who (sadly) outlived her spouse and both her children, as well as her parents and all six of her siblings. I remember after my grandfather Paul Pape, her brother, passed away in 1970, Aunt Martha and Dad went through some photographs Grandpa had, and she was able to identify many of the people in them. My parents have many of those photographs framed and hanging on their walls today.
Aunt Martha was a saver (like me), and so far Bill has shared 473 images of photographs and other items Aunt Martha (and perhaps Jack) saved over the years. There are some wonderful pictures in this collection that I've never seen before. Thanks to Bill, I'll be sharing them in future posts. This connection has made the Ancestry.com membership fee totally worthwhile.
[*ETA: Bill tells me that "Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother Pape" and "From Emma Pape Childs" are written on the back of this photo. Who is Emma Pape Childs? So far, I've found her, husband August S. Childs, and five children in the 1930 census in a Chicago suburb, and I know she was born around 1883. I don't know who her parents are or how she is related yet.]
© Amanda Pape - 2010