As you can see below I haven’t been able to spend much time on this blog. My brother and I have got as about as far as we can with the George Goldsmith Kirby mystery, although we have had a bit more info from a genealogist. I may even blog about this if I get the chance, but I was thinking of closing the blog down. That was before I got an email from Ann Harrington, explaining that her great great grandmother was Elfriede Sophie Beckmann and that she is the sister of Charlotte (Rudolphine Louise) von Beckmann who is my great grandmother. Ann explained that Elfriede married Wilhelm Meissner (nephew of John A. Roebling who built the Brooklyn Bridge) and joined Wilhelm in the wilds of Iowa near Reinbeck (see picture above of Elfriede and her family in Iowa).
Elfriede‘s father Ernst Christopher Frederich von Beckman (my great great great grandfather) married them at the Holzendorf church where he was pastor. Seems like Ann has only got as far back as Johann Ludwig Beckmann from Westenbrugge as far the Beckmann ancestry is concerned, and this is about as far as I could go to (see here). Would be great to know more about my Beckmann ancestors and interesting to know how the ‘von’ got added as well. Ann also has some translations of letters written in the 1870’s between family members. Apparently, Elfriede‘s mother was (Magdalena Wilhelmine) Louise Brockmann and her family was from Rostock, and I manged to trace back her family to a Juergen Georg Brockmann in the 1500s on the Brockmann Broockmann Brokmann and other families index on RootsWeb from a link Ann sent. Turns out that Louise Brockmann journeyed to New York after Ernst had died to see five of her Iowa grandchildren baptised on Staten Island New York. As Ann pointed out, must have been an interesting train trip back to New York with five young children in those days. Ann also thinks that Louise‘s father went to Russia in the War of 1812 and never returned, and according to family lore she was raised by an aunt and uncle.
It was really interesting to find out more about our German ancestors, as well as hear about the John A. Roebling engineering connection. Elfriede‘s nephew and my great grandfather was Ernest FitzHerbert Wright. The Wright family were at the centre of the Industrial Revolution and Ernest married Lucy Fox, who was the daughter of the British Civil Enigneer Sir (Charles) Douglas Fox. Ernest and Lucy were actually cousins as Douglas Fox had married Mary Wright who was the sister of Charlotte‘s husband FitzHerbert Wright. Sir (Charles) Douglas Fox was also son of the civil engineer Sir Charles Fox, who was knighted like his son for their work on The Crystal Palace pavilion. Anyway, many thanks to Ann for renewing my interest in family history.