Historical research is funny. You go through dry times, and then, all of a sudden, a flood comes. It was like that this year with some ongoing research I had been doing on our family. One specific set of records alluded me. These dealt with the father of my grandmother, Elisabeth Dieser Gerk. Her Dad, Johannes Dieser, was an allusive historical character. The family had birth dates for him and did not seem to fit, and no document survived the years they spent in the GULAG.
I even entertained the thought that perhaps he was adopted, and we would never close that file! Given the difficulty it is trying to get archival materials from Russia already, I just chalked it up to an unfinished piece of historical research.
Well, I am amazed. After 30 years of looking, associates in the archives found the missing piece of history.
The Birth/Baptism record for my great-grandfather, Johannes Dieser. Born 29 January, 1874, and Baptized the next day…son of Valentin Dieser and Anna Margareta Belendir. He was born in Josefstal, which was part of the Catholic Parish of Marienfeld.
But that was not all. Here is a copy of the marriage record for my great-grandparents: Johannes Dieser and Marie Eva Heit.
It lists 3 weddings that day, (there could be more on another page). Of course it lists the parents of the Bride and Groom, Valentin Dieser and Anna Maria Bellendir for Johannes, and Adam Heit and Anna Margareta Gette for Bride Marie Eva.
Johannes will die in the spring of 1933, in the Caucasus, due to complications in surgery…in a weakened condition due to the Great Famine of the 1930’s. Marie Eva, my great-grandmother, will starve to death in the summer of 1933, in her village of Josefstal.
The next question I had was about my grandmother’s grandfather, Valentin Dieser.
In my interviews with her, my grandmother told me the story of how her father was so upset about losing his Dad at a young age. So upset, that one day he wanted to do to the cemetery to “dig” up his Dad…just so he could see him again…or be lose to his remains. My grandmother thought that her father was 2 when his father (Valentin Dieser) died. She also thought she remembered that her Mom was 10 or 11 when her father (Adam Heit) died.
So…I was given the death record for Valentin. It states that Valentin Dieser died on 12 October 1885 in Josefstal at the age of 55.
So…in my quest to prove my grandmother’s stories, I discovered that she was partially right…she just got the parents mixed up.
These are the “puzzles” I love to do….trying to find the missing pieces…