Monday, April 25, 2016

Grandpa Lange's Bible and New Mysteries

In early March with snow in the forecast for our home in northern Virginia, Pete and I headed south to Florida. In Jacksonville Beach on a beautiful morning, we attended the memorial service for Byron Vance, my cousin's husband. It was one of the most moving services I have ever attended. It was held on the beach in front of the American Red Cross Life Saving Station. There was a military color guard, a bagpiper, and the life saving squad rowed Byon's ashes out to sea and scattered them.

American Red Cross Life Saving Boat; personal collection

After the ceremony, we had lunch with Nancy's family and during our visit, Aunt Jeanne gave me one of the most meaningful gifts I have ever received -- Grandpa Lange's bible.[1]

Grandpa Lange's Bible; personal collection

Grandpa's bible was in German and contained several pages of family information about his family and that of his wife's, the Schalin family.

First page of Lange family information; personal collection

Eltern und Geschwitser des Ehemannes.

Ein weiser Sohn ist feines Vaters freude;
aber ein thörichter Sohn ist feiner Mutter Grämen.

Parents and brothers and sisters of the husband.

A wise son is his father's joy;
But a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

The handwritten information is translated as follows:

Gustav was born 12 February 1888
Traugott was born 16 October 1890
Richard was born 5 February 1900
Fridrich was born 30 July 1905

Second page of Lange family information

Familien = Chronik.

Erwählet euch heute, wem ihr dienen wollt...
Ich aber und mein Haus wollen dem HErrn dienen

Family = Chronicle.

Choose you this day whom ye will serve ...
But I and my house will serve the LORD.

Name, Geburtstag und Geburtsort des Ehemannes.

Name, date and birth place of the husband.

Fred Lange
Born on 26 October 1890. (It looks like 1899 was written first and then overwritten with 1890.)

Name, Geburtstag und Geburtsort der Ehefrau.

Name, date and birth place of the wife.

Katherina Magdalena Hirt
Born on 30 September
Ungarnia, Sanderfalva (which is current day Sanderfalva, Csongrad, Hungary)



23 June 1917
by Pastor Wutcki
in Winnipeg, Manitoba

The first page correctly lists four of the five Lange brothers with their correct dates of birth. Only brother Heinrich is missing. Also missing are the two sisters.

The second page is the page that created much confusion. The Fred who married Katherina Magdalena Hirt cannot be Gustav's youngest brother. He was born in 1905, according to my grandfather. Fred's granddaughter agreed and said her grandmother's name was Theofile Schrohschein and that Fred and Theofile were married in 1929. It must belong to Traugott, who Mom always called Fritz. He listed his birth date as 26 October when his birth registration indicated 16 October, but that can largely be explained away by the difference between the Julian calendar, which was still in use in Russia when Traugott was born and the Gregorian calendar.

According to family lore, Traugott "Fritz/Fred" immigrated to the U.S. via New York and went to Alabama. The family never heard from him again during the 1920s. Yet, Grandpa Lange and Traugott were together in Winnipeg after they both married there and Traugott gave his brother his bible.

The third page of family information included in the bible are the birth dates of Grandma Lange's siblings. My guess would be they were written by Grandpa Lange after they married in 1915. The handwriting is very, very similar, maybe identical, to the first two pages of family information.

Grandma Lange's Schalin siblings were included on the
third page of the family bible; personal collection

Did Grandpa Lange write all three pages? Did Traugott write the first two pages and Grandpa Lange the third? What does everyone else think?

[1]Aunt Jeanne is the widow of my mother's brother, Alfred Lange. Grandpa Lange was their father.

The Sibling Problem


  1. The handwriting on the three pages is so similar, I would guess all were written by the same person. I can imagine the confusion caused by the two brothers Trangott and Fridich both using "Fred" at one time or the other. Precious gift! ~ Cathy

    1. I agree the handwriting is very similar. I just can't figure out a logical explanation for the first page making it looked like either brother's bible; the second page making it look like it belongs to my grand uncle, Trangott "Fred" Lange; and the third page making it looked like it belonged to Grandpa Lange. So weird.

  2. What an incredible treasure. I am so glad it ended up with you. I agree, the handwriting looks similar to me too, especially the capitol G

    1. It is a treasure indeed. And knowing Trangott was in Canada was what was needed to breakthrough the brick wall that was his life!