Edenkoben / near Landau, Palatinate (Pfalz), Germany.  Remmick-Hubert Home Site. Letters from families connected to Edenkoben

Last Update: 7 Aug 2002


Page 100 of Edenkobern.Home.Site  

sm logo

Edenkoben. Home.Site, index page

Letter Sym


The following is just one of the many responses I've received via e-mail.


[Reprinted here with Sue Webb Bodishbaugh's permission]


Sue Webb Bodishbaugh



My mother-in-law cleaned house to move from a large home to a retirement home and gave me three boxes of what she called  "family junk." Each box was a treasure in itself: one was wood, handmade and beautifully carved by my husband's grandfather and  namesake, when he was in shop class in grade school. One black  and red tin box (grandpa's money box in his 1923 grocery store)  later was found to have come from Germany in the 1800s and inside were the treasures including more than 100 letters, birth certificates, German smallpox inoculations dated in the 1840s (giving the city/township where great-grandpa was born and his  age, as he was "9 months of age at this time"), Civil War  letters written to and from the battlefields. I digested and  gloried in this new information for a month but, as usual, so many answers produced so many questions. Then three of the  oddest things happened.

First, I went to our Family History Center and asked for help  obtaining copies of microfilms from Edenkoben, Germany.  "Edenkoben?" the nice lady asked. "Yes," said I. "Well, why  don't you just ask Charlie Doll. He's over there. His family is  from Edenkoben." As DOLL was one of the names mentioned in the  letters, and Edenkoben was a tiny dot on the German map, I was floored. Not only did Mr. Doll have the microfilms on hand, but  also he gave me the address of his cousin who authored the  history book 1600 YEARS OF EDENKOBEN, so we could correspond,  and he helped me with my beginning German language reading. Like any good teacher, he didn't do it for me; he just showed me the  way and picked me up every now and then when I faltered. I am  still amazed when I remember that night. "This genealogy stuff  is a piece of cake," I thought. Ha! It was a classic case of  beginner's luck.

Second, after stumbling over the tiny writing in faded purple  and blue inks written forward, sideways, and between the lines  in a foreign language, I passed a few copies through my law  firm's International Department. The paralegals, all of whom knew German, assured me these were not written in German. A  month later, I lunched with three letters spread before me, pondering my next step, when my boss passed behind me and  laughingly said, "That person writes just like my mother!" Both  daughter and mother are from Baden-Baden but it just so happened that mother was a teacher in a private girls' school in a  certain short time period in Germany during which three forms of the German language were required to be "proper." One was  Sutterlin/Zutterlain, the language of these letters. So, in her  mid-80s, with one good eye and a very large magnifying glass,  dear mother translated my letters to her daughter who typed them on her laptop and brought them to me on a disk. Mother would  only accept a very small fee for the letters brought many  delightful memories of Germany. She not only translated but,  ever true to her teaching background, gave me historical information I otherwise never would have known: "When she says,  'I knew you since you first got your three little scars . . .'  she is saying she knew him when he was nine months old, as that  is the age at which children were vaccinated for smallpox, and  in Germany, they made three little cuts or incisions, one above  the other, not like they do here with the round poking," and,  "When he says he is looking for a place in St. Louis, he means  he is looking for a job. That's how we said it." What a blessing.

Third, family stories were told but I could not find to verify great-grandfather and great-grandmother's marriage record or their son's birth record. Late one sleepless night, propped up  in bed with my reading light on, I poured over the letters in the three boxes on my lap. I was noting the dates and franking  on the envelopes, trying to put them into some sort of order and silently cursing my husband's uncle, as he had just told me,  "Those old letters? Mom kept them in the attic and on rainy days we used them to play school and made paper planes out of them,  sailing them out of the attic windows into the mud. There were a bunch of them at one time." Ugh! I removed them from the box one by one. The bedside light struck the bottom of the box from a  side angle and all of a sudden I noted a line of stitching -  black box outside and in, black bottom, black stitching?

All envelopes immediately came out and in the bottom I found, form-fitted and hand made so perfectly as to fit the box bottom  so tightly that it took a letter-opener and tweezers to get  beside and gently lift out a black leather pouch that held. It contained the marriage certificate and birth certificate. They  showed that grandpa was well on the way when the couple used  great-grandpa's railroad passes and eloped to a town where no  one knew them. How they explained this 10 - pound child's  premature birth is unknown. The beautifully decorated, elegantly written marriage certificate could not be displayed on the wall, for folks were known to count months on their fingers and they might talk.

For grandpa's entry into World War II to train American pilots, and with his "German sounding last name," great - grandma had to  do a lot of things, one of which was to file a delayed birth  certificate. I found it right away and it, of course, contained  "the" family history, doctored to fit the need.

My mother-in-law got the biggest kick out of this, as her  mother-in-law was so prim, proper, and always such a perfect lady. She'd died in the early 1950s and for 50 years the family  had passed the boxes around from Arkansas to Florida to Maryland and back to Florida, stored in great-grandma's dresser, without  finding that "hidden treasure."

After all these years, we finally unraveled the threads of the ERION / KAYSER / BODISHBAUGH family story. (Had to do it -- pun  intended!)

LBLETTERS  /  E-MAILS continued to next page 





Hubert Home Site

Remmick Home Site



Borodino Home Site