Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pearls of Great Price

This week we learned about Pearls of Great Price and we ended up paying a great price in the process.  On Tuesday morning, we went to the Pastor's office in Ergersheim to review some more records.  This is the local area where we have had more contact with individuals. We really wanted to find current (last 150 years) records of births, marriages and deaths so that we could prepare some genealogy for these individuals and hopefully tie them into our ancestry line.  This was the last day that the office would be available to us until after their summer holidays.

We had now done this a few times, so we thought we knew what we were in for.  However, we did hear that this pastor had the original books for several hundred years.  Once again we awoke early and left our home by 6:30 to avoid the traffic issues that exist on the way to this location.

All went well and we arrived at the pastor's office soon after 8:30.   The secretary immediately showed us some very special books, which summarized genealogical records by surname over the last 500 years, all typewritten!  We were amazed.   There were two different books for different towns and she immediately showed us the Rückerts, which had many pages of entries in each book.  This was really amazing!  Someone had put a lot of work into this many years ago and had left us a pearl, just waiting for our arrival.   She went ahead and made some copies of selected pages in these books, including the Rückerts and several other names that we had identified as relatives.  As we discussed the cost of making paper copies, we had thought that she had said 6 cents (Sechs cent) and we proceeded.  

We also found books that had all of the births, marriages and deaths since 1564 typed onto pages for two different towns, which have plenty of our relatives.  This is absolutely amazing, since the biggest hurdle we have found in looking at these books is reading the handwriting and deciphering  the names and details for each person.  In these cases, this deciphering work has all been done, since the pages were all typewritten.  As I pondered the value of these records, I decided to take a copy of these complete books, feeling that many of these records will become valuable for us.  There were over 200 pages of these, but I felt it was well worth the effort.

We also took many photos of the more current books and some of the very old books, which are very hard to read.  We both worked as fast as we could and barely finished by noon, which was the closing time for the office.  As we had made copies we kept telling the secretary how many pages that we had  copied.  As we finished we asked to settle up with the secretary.  She came up with the following invoice for us, over 200 Euros, which is over $230.  Our misunderstanding of German had understood "Sechs cent" when the true cost was "Sechtig cent" or 60 cents per copy.

We always try to carry cash with us, because we never know who will accept a credit card.  I searched all of my bills and came up with 180 Euros.  Sister Rueckert had 20 Euros.  I asked if I could leave and go to a bank or ATM.  The Secretary accepted our 200 Euros as payment in full.

The actual invoice was for 211,60.  We came up short, but it was enough to be accepted as payment in full.

We gulped hard as we left the pastor's office and cancelled our plans for lunch, since we did not have any more cash with us.   We instead drove home and stopped and bought a few snacks at a gas station that did take a credit card.

Although we were surprised at the cost, we were so pleased to acquire the treasure that we had obtained.  It truly is a Pearl of Great price.

When we got home, I started looking at the Rückert information that we had received.  I found a Rückert on my grandfather's maternal line which was on my 9th generation of ancestors.  However, he had no family spouse or parents identified in my family history.  In this document I found this ancestor and his wife and children.  I also found him linked to two more generations.  Some were in Family Search but not linked to my line.  On this particular line I have extended my ancestors from 9 to 11 generations.  I have also identified over 30 individuals for temple work and I have just gotten started.

The Ruckert section of names
This shows the family of Wilhelm Rückert, born in the  1500s and his children.  In all there are 38 families identified and linked to this man who is my 11th generation grandfather.
This shows a genealogical chart for the 38 family entries, tying them all together.  They all are descendants of Wilhelm Rückert, my 11th generation grandfather 

Cover of the 200+ pages of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Buchheim and Pfaffenhofen

Original Books from the 1600s
Some of the old books at the Pastor's office
Sister Rueckert looking at the Pearls of Great Price with copies in hand and the old originals in the foreground.
Knowing now what I had received, we would have gladly paid the 200 Euros just to get what we did. It may have been a great price, but it was certainly a pearl.

I also have taken time to review some of the other records, including the photos that we took and have managed to find some of the family of the people that we have met and linked sone of them back a few more generations.  We are just getting started with this wonderful data, but feel extremely blessed.   My problem now is to concentrate fully on our Self-Reliance mission while I have all of these wonderful names just waiting for me to explore and identify. 

The rest of the week, has been good, with great conversations with our other senior missionary couples.  They are an inspiration to us as they make a difference in the countries where they serve.  We also have been able to spend time preparing for next week's Area Self-Reliance Committee meeting while Thomas King, our Area manager, has been on annual leave.

Our last class of our Finance self-reliance group got deferred to next week but we did have a nice dinner with Elder and Sister Rich, who serve as the Area Auditors.  They both served missions in Brasil and Elder Rich was the managing partner at Deloitte and Touche.  He started with Deloitte on the month that I left in 1979.

On Friday night, Elder and Sister Healy invited us to go with them to the Eltz Burg.  Some say it is the best castle in Germany.  Fitting into our theme, it may be the Pearl of all castles in Germany.  It has been in the same family since the 1200s and has been a residence to that family all of these years.  It was first built in the 1200s and added on over the next 500 years.  It is hidden in the forest out of view of normal traffic.  We parked and then walked for 15 minutes before the castle came into view.  When it did, it was amazing.

On the path to the castle, a beautiful grove of trees

The view of the castle as we came up the path.  We were looking into the sun, so the photo is not as clear.

Another photo closer to the castle, still in the sun

Better photo later in the day.  An amazing castle!
The inner court of the castle
Another close up of the Eltz Burg castle

With Elder and Sister Healy in front of the castle

Looking out of the castle to the surrounding area

Together in front of the beautiful view
Panoramic view of the Eltz Burg Castle
No photos where allowed in the residence sections of the castle, but we did receive a guided tour throughout.  Three families shared the residence through the early years and each had their separate living quarters.  Much of the structure is still over 500 years old and some of the floors are still from the 1200s.

Later we were able to see the family trees of the residents.  They are of one of the couples that were in the castle in the 1600s.  Their family trees date back to before 1200.  The two photos below are of their family trees at that point in time. So our blog continues where it began with family history from the 1500s and 1600s.  It appears that the idea of a "fan chart" which we love in our family history work was not invented in our time.  It existed a long time ago:

Fan chart of the wife

Fan chart of the husband