Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lange Family Bible Unlocks the Life of Traugott Lange

Based on the transcriptions and translation I conducted on the three pages of family information in my Grandpa Lange's bible, which I received from an aunt in March, I believe the bible originally belonged to Grandpa's brother, Traugott Lange. The family lore about Traugott was that he immigrated to the United States from Russia sometime in the 1920s, went to Alabama and was never heard from again.

It turns out Traugott lived a very different life from what many in the family believed.

He was born on 16 October 1890[1] and his birth was registered in the parish of Rozyszcze, Volyn, Ukraine (at the time of his birth, it was part of Russia), to Carl August and Caroline (Ludwig) Lange. He was their second son, two years younger than my Grandpa, Gustav Lange.

Grandpa left Russia soon after his father died about 1905 and went to Essen, Germany, to work. He immigrated to Canada in 1911 and settled in Winnipeg, Canada, where he lived with his maternal uncle, Gustav Ludwig[2] and his wife Matilda Yeske. They lived at 386 Thames Avenue.

386 Thames Avenue, Winnipeg, Canada; courtesy Google Maps

Traugott followed his brother to Winnipeg about 1912. When the Canadian census for what became the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan was enumerated in 1916, Traugott lived at 386 Thames Avenue with Uncle Gustav and Aunt Matilda and worked as a laborer at an iron works.

He married Katherina "Kate" Magdalena Hirt on 23 June 1917 in Winnipeg. She was the daughter of Nicholas "Mike" and Anna Hirt and had been born in Sanderfalva, Csongrad, Hungary, on 30 September 1899. Her mother and three of her siblings had immigrated from Hungary in 1905 and joined her father and oldest brother in Winnipeg. She was Roman Catholic and Traugott was Lutheran. Traugott became a naturalized Canadian citizen about this time.

Katherina Magdalena Hirt is second from the left; the bridal couple is
Mathias John and Anna Rose (Hirt) Becker, 1916; courtesy of
member jay_barbara

Traugott and Kate had their first child, Peter Lange, on 5 March 1919 in Winnipeg. The next year, on 24 November 1920, the young family boarded a Canadian Pacific train and left for a long-trip across two countries to Maryland. They arrived in the United States at Noyes, Minnesota, indicated their destination was Cheltenham, Maryland, and they were going to see Traugott's brother, Gustav Lange. Gustav and his wife had moved to Maryland the year before after a buying a farm sight unseen. Was this when Traugott gave Gustav his bible?

When the 1921 Canadian census was enumerated in June, Traugott, his wife, and son, were lodgers at the home of his Uncle Gustav Ludwig, who had moved to 445 Riverton Avenue in Elmwood neighborhood of Winnipeg. On 30 August 1921 their daughter, Magdalene Elizabeth, was born in Dakota County, Minnesota.

Traugott and Kate received U.S. Alien Certificates in Winnipeg in 1923 from the U.S. Department of Labor after being examined by government officials prior to immigrating to the U.S. Traugott preceded his wife and children to Los Angeles, California. He likely stayed with his brother-in-law, Mathias Becker, who married Kate's sister, Anna Rose in 1916. Kate and her young children boarded Canadian Pacific train No. 110 in Winnipeg and arrived in Noyes, Minnesota, the same day. They told U.S. border officials their destination was 4204 Hubert Avenue in Los Angeles, the home of Traugott Lange.

Traugott Lange Alien Certificate; courtesy of
Katherina Magdalena (Hirt) Lange U.S. Alien Certificate; courtesy of

It is entirely possible the family returned to Winnipeg soon afterwards. There are several records, which indicated Traugott traveled from Winnipeg to Los Angeles in November of 1924. On those records, he said his wife, Kate, lived at 404 Tweed Avenue in the Elmwood neighborhood of Winnipeg.

However, by 1930 the family had settled permanently in Montebello, California. Traugott owned a home at 4470 Lovett Street, which was valued at $3,000; no occupation was listed on the census form.

Traugott Lange died on 13 April 1932 in Los Angeles County, California, at the age of 41. Six months later, Kate married Sandor "Sam" Egrasky on 1 October 1932 in Los Angeles County. He had been married before. On 27 February 1935 Kate and Sam had a son, Sandor Nick Egrasky, in Los Angeles County.

In 1938 Sam and Kate were listed in the Los Angeles city directory living at 4470 Lovett Street in Montebello -- the house she had lived in in 1930 with Traugott. They remained there when the 1940 census was enumerated. Kate and Traugott's children, Peter and Magdalene were enumerated with the Egrasky surname.

Tragott and Kate's son, Peter, became a U.S. citizen on 11 April 1941. He had changed his name to Peter Charles Lang (no "e" at the end) before he earned his U.S. citizenship. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942.

Kate became a U.S. citizen on 10 December 1943 and still lived at 4470 Lovett Street in Montebello.

Kate (Hirt) Egrasky petition for U.S. citizenship, 1941; courtesy

Sam Egrasky died on 19 September 1963 in Los Angeles County; Kate died on 18 December 1970. Kate's three children are all deceased.

[1]This is a Julian calendar date; it converts to 28 October 1890 in the Gregorian calendar, which was the calendar in used at the time Traugott lived in Canada and is still used today.
[2]More about Uncle Gustav Ludwig in a future post.

Grandpa Lange's Bible and New Mysteries


  1. Way to go Schalene! ~ Cathy

    1. It was an exciting couple of days once I sorted out the translation.

  2. Isn't it funny how different reality can be from the family stories? It always makes me wonder where some of the family stories came from.

    I can imagine how exciting this story was to uncover!

    1. I was dancing around the kitchen I was so excited!

      I had a by-marriage aunt who let's just say was prickly. Mom always told me to be nice to her because she had a terrible childhood. Her father left her mother and eight children in Africa (he was a missionary if you can believe it) with no money to get home.

      I learned the entire family did go to Africa in 1920, they were missionaries, and they were all back in the U.S. by 1929. The parents broke up much later. Mom was beyond irritated when she found out.

      I now take family lore with a grain of salt but sometimes those stories you have with which to work.