Monday, July 22, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - August Raatz: A Letter From My 2nd Grand Uncle to His Niece

I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted.  I was working hard and heavy on my family history research, and I guess I got a little burned out.  That all changed last week when I received a scan of this letter from my 2nd cousin that he had found.

I had hit a major brick wall with my 2nd great grandfather, Frank W. Raitz.  All I had on him prior to his immigrating to the United States was his birth year and place - May 1857 and Germany.  This made it pretty impossible to find out where he actually came from and who the rest of his family was.

Now comes this letter from his brother, Carl August Raatz.  To say I was excited doesn't really describe the feeling I had when I read the letter.  It contained enough information that I believe I have now found Frank's father and grandfather, as well as two additional brothers.  I'm still sifting through the information and finding more information.  It's a nice feeling to feel the bricks falling down.

The letter was written in 1934 to my 2nd great grandmother, Edith Irene (Raitz) Lusby.  The letter is dated March 31, 1934, and at the time August Raatz was living in Stettin, Germany.

Mrs. B. F. Lusby

Dear Niece and Children.  I received your letter of Feb 25th 1934 and before I opened it I felt that you are blood from my blood.  I feel very sorry with my family for the fate of your Father, my Brother. To be sure each other that we are relatives, I send you a photo of your parents wich your Father send me in 1889.

I served in the german Army and did not hear anything of him since as long as our Father was alive we had regular corresponding and after his dead I still corresponded with your mother, but only a short time fore she could not read the german language.  Before that your mother wrote me about the accident of your Father.  He is born on May 11, 1857 in Tempelburg, Neustettin (county).  My Father died on April 1894 in Stettin.  Besides me there is only one sister living of your Father, with the name Auguste Raatz.  She is widow and 70 years of age.  Julius and Karl are dead.  There is only the wife of Julius living, my wife and I, my children, wich all send you hearty greetings.

I am married since 1892, had 13 children. Voun of them are still alive, three are married and one daughter 24 years of age is living right at home.  Since 1895 I am working fore the Reichsbahn (Raylway) and was living the last 18 years of service first conductor and foreman.  Since the 1 of Aug 1931 I get a pension from the State of Prussia (Raylway).  On May 18, I will be 68 years old.

Right now I am compiling my pedigree and fore this I ask you fore your help.

Would you please send me the names of your father, mother, sisters, brothers?  All names, first, middle, and
last name with date of birth, marriage and dead and if no such date can be obtained any other date about something that happened on another date.  And if possible the same of your and there children.

If the Lords will and your desire, we can correspond as long as it please you.

Many hearty greetings
Your Onkel
August and Family

p.s.  Can you read the German language


  1. That is a wonderful letter! It makes you realize how long people have been interested in finding their roots! Good luck with your search.

    1. As I read the letter, I wished I could see that picture he mentioned, and wished I could see if she wrote him back with all the information he requested.

      From what I've been able to find so far, it looks like Frank is the only one who came to the US and the rest stayed in Germany.

  2. Hello! My great-great grandfather was Karl Raatz and he married Julia Thume. Their daughter was Margarete Raatz who was born in Stettin in 1897. Do you have any further information on your family tree to see if there is any connection?


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