This map shows the states and capital cities
Wolfgang Egon Franke, was born in Horstmar, outside Dortmund, but raised in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein which is a port town on the Baltic Sea. At the onset of World War II he was posted in Cuxhaven and served as a radio man (Funkmeister) with the 3rd Räumbootsflottilla (Minesweeping Flotilla). Bremerhaven is the port from which he emigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1951.
For his ancestry, we look to Thüringen and
Sachsen-Anhalt. The boundaries and names of kingdoms and states
have shifted over the years, and for our purposes I have used the
modern state names and boundaries to describe locations.
The detail below shows the region in the red rectangle #1 from the map above to show Heldrungen, Laucha, Bibra and Weimar. (After World War 2 this area was contained within Soviet-occupied East Germany until re-unification on October 3, 1990.)
Below is a modern map depicting the same region showing more detail.
The above detail is from an historical atlas of the German Empire from 1883.
Our earliest Franke on record, Johann David Franke,
was a tenant farmer and community leader in Sachsenhausen,
Thüringen in 1746 when he married Anna Christine Hesse, the
cooper's daughter. He was Wolfgang Franke's GGG Grandfather.
The Church in Niederholzhausen, Sachsen-Anhalt where Johann Adam Franke married Maria Dorothea Saalborn
Johann Gottlieb Franke was the eldest child of Adam and his wife Maria Dorothea and was born in Gaberndorf in 1783 before the family settled in Niederholzhausen. Gottlieb became a master weaver and moved to Laucha an der Unstrut (on the Unstrut River). There, in 1830, he married Maria Rosina Gensel, daughter of Gottfried Gensel, a sheep farm owner from Schloss Heldrungen. (At the time of Gottlieb's marriage, his father is listed as Adam Franke from Niederholzhausen.)
Laucha an der Unstrut (view from the west looking east)
The church built in 1476-1496 is the large building centred in the upper right. Three generations of our Frankes were recorded there in the "Kirchenbücher" (Church books).
The map of Laucha seen below depicts the same area and shows "Obere Krautgasse", the lane where Gottlieb lived.
Laucha an der Unstrut - view to the church
Gottlieb's children were born in Laucha. His son, Carl Moritz Franke, married (Friedrike) Emilie Peter from Saubach near Bad Bibra in 1870 and they lived their whole lives in Laucha.
The town of Saubach where Emilie Peter's father was the miller.
Carl and Emilie's children, including son (Karl)
Franke, were also born in Laucha. One of Bruno's cousins from
aunt Therese, Minna Rössler, was married to the Bürgermeister
(Bernhard Thiel) of Laucha and later moved to Weimar
where she was widowed. Another cousin, Carl Franz Otto
was the Royal Prussian Oberrentmeister and also moved to Weimar.
In his younger years Bruno became an electrical mechanic in the Imperial Navy and then for the ocean liner company, Norddeutscher-Lloyd. Later, back in Laucha, he married Karoline Weber from Dortmund on Aug 2, 1914, just at the onset of World War I.
Laucha City Hall (Rathaus) where Bruno and Karoline were married.
The detail below shows the region in the red
from the map of Germany. In 1895, Karoline Weber was born in
Hörde, now part of Dortmund (lower
right). At age nineteen she married Karl Bruno Franke in Laucha.
Their children, Wolfgang and Lotti, were born in
Horstmar (area marked with green arrow) in 1915-16. Karoline and
the children lived here with her mother's family while Bruno was
serving in the Navy in Kiel during
family moved to Kiel at the end of the war. The children's birth
records were in the Standesamt (registry office) in Derne, which later
became part of Dortmund, while Horstmar later became part of nearby
Later, in 1937-38, Wolfgang taught elementary school in Hamborn, part of Duisburg on the River Rhein (lower left).
Maternal line research into
the ancestry of Carolyn
Colucci Franke also leads to Germany,
but this time to the southwest areas, Rheinland-Pfalz and
Baden-Württemberg. The earliest ancestor we've found to date
is schoolmaster Michael Gmelin,
who died in Weilheim an der Teck, Württemberg in 1576 of the
plague. He was Carolyn Colucci's 11G Grandfather.
As part of the emigration wave of the early to mid 1700's, three Germans (contemporaries of Johann David Franke) emigrated from this general region to Philadelphia under dismal conditions, seeking a better life. They were Johann Carl Schantz, Matthias Sommer and Jacob Treitz.
dot on the map above shows the location of Gondelsheim, Baden, from
where Johann Carl Schantz and his brother Jacob emigrated in
1749. Gondelsheim, a small town of just over 3,000, can be found
23 km northeast of the city of Karlsruhe, in the county of the same
name (Landkreis Karlsruhe).
Ultimately, the Schantz, Sommer and Treitz families (later a.k.a. Jones, Somers and Trites) left Philadelphia together and settled in Monckton Township, New Brunswick.
Useful Links:1) An 1883 atlas of the German Empire from the University of Wisconsin. http://www.library.wisc.edu/etext/ravenstein/
Site maintained by Norman Franke. Last modified June 26, 2009