Friday, March 18, 2016

The Ludwig Breakthrough: Reporting from Brazil

Continued from The Ludwig Breakthrough: DNA and Chocolates

After entering the new information about Mom's second cousin DNA match into my tree so I could begin to look for source documents, I noticed Gottfried Ludwig and Ernestine Irrgang, my great great grandparents, now had hints. Those hints led to the same public family tree created by one other person who had Gottfried and Ernestine in their tree!

A closer examination of their tree revealed another daughter named Pauline Ludwig. This brought the total to possible children to three: my great grandmother, Caroline; "Daughter" Ludwig (now known to be Juliane), grandmother of Mom's new second cousin match; and Pauline. Apparently, she married Andreas Assenheimer somewhere in Volhynia. Their eldest child, Olga, was born there about 1908. Sometime before 1914, the family immigrated to Brazil!

Andreas and Pauline (Ludwig) Assenheimer family group; image courtesy

As I continued to review this tree, I discovered the family likely immigrated to Porto Alegre the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil sometime between 1908 and 1914 based on the birth dates and locations of their children.

Porto Alegre, Brazil, circa 1850 about fifty to sixty years before the Assenheimer
family arrived; image courtesy of Wikipedia

The majority of the population of Rio Grande do Sul are Brazilians of European descent. First came the Portuguese, but in 1824 German immigrants began arriving. They were brought over to populate the empty southern interior region of the state and to help protect that area from Brazil's neighbors. By the 1870s there were over 28,000 German immigrants living in the state.

After learning a tiny bit about this region of Brazil, it did not seem outside the realm of possibility that the Assenheimer family would go there on the eve of World War I. I still have much to do before I can confirm that Pauline Ludwig was a daughter of "my" Gottfried Ludwig and Ernestine Irrgang. But a check of the master pedigree database developed by the Society of German Genealogy in Eastern Europe (SGGEE) does include the same mother and father of Andreas Assenheimer, the husband listed in this tree of Pauline Ludwig. So we are off to a good start.

Getting serious about researching my eastern European ancestors has required a great deal of study and I still have much to learn. I think I'll set aside this Brazilian family aside for now as I will need to learn about the history of the country, the type of records that are available, and so much more. Discovering Pauline Ludwig was exciting, though.

Update: Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to put this family aside, I couldn't do it. I looked on the SGGEE website again and discovered an index for Russian records. A Pauline Ludwig was born 14 December 1878 but died on 9 August 1880. So either another daughter was born later and married Andreas Assenheimer or the public tree on Ancestry is incorrect and its creator, Pauline's great granddaughter, has misidentified her.

To be continued...


The Ludwig Breakthrough: DNA and Chocolates
The Ludwig Breakthrough: Discovering Some Great Greats

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