Let me start off by saying it wasn’t until July of 2019 that we even knew about Friedericke. She wasn’t listed on the Synagogue Vöhl website, and we hadn’t seen any mention of her anywhere else. And even when we did find out about her, we gave her the wrong name. Sort of. So let me tell you how we got from not knowing about her at all, to thinking we knew who she was, to REALLY knowing who she was.
From the Synagogue Vöhl website, we knew that Ascher and his first wife Sprinza had several sons and one daughter: Rebekka. According to Synagogue Vöhl website, Rebekka left home in 1858 at the age of 26, without a trade or profession, and immigrated to Kurhessen with assets equaling 10,000 guilders. Later, through our research, we learned about Bertha Rothschild Ballin.
In June of 2019, Camille and I were still absorbing everything we’d experienced during and learned from our trip to Vöhl the previous May, as well as getting ready for our extended family reunion in July. Camille had written a fabulous interactive pageant that everyone was going to take part in. It was, without a doubt, the highlight of our reunion!
Just a side note about the reunion. The descendants of Edward Otto Roth (my great-grandfather, grandson of Ascher Rothschild and Sprinza Sternberg) have gotten together for reunions every few years (give or take) since 1980. It’s been a small group, consisting of my mom and her kids, her brother, and their two cousins, Betty and Sandra, with their families. The first year we had the reunion we had all but about 3 people there. There were 17 of us. We’re not a big group, and there are zero first cousins on my generational plane, just 10 second cousins. We had a reunion in 2017, with just a handful of the EO Roth crowd and Camille. The reunion of 2019, though, had so many new faces that we needed nametags!
So that summer, Camille was writing the pageant, and I was on this crazy research binge, and I kept finding more information. Finally, about a week or two before the reunion, Camille told me I wasn’t allowed to find any new relatives until after the reunion, because she couldn’t keep re-writing the pageant! And what prompted this proclamation? The death certificate of Siegmund Salomon Rothschild. This wasn’t a new-to-us document. This was one we’d had for awhile, but we’d relied on the bare-bones basic translation provided by ancestry.com, which provided his name, age, year of birth, date and place of death, and his parents’ names. I’d been slowly, slowing re-learning how to read German, and I went back to review that document to see if I could make out any other details. And that’s when something caught my eye. At the very top of the document, it listed the name of the informant: Pfarrer Wilhelm Eberwein.
I skimmed through the document, got down to where it listed Siegmund’s religion. Yep, it said “israelischer”. So why would a Pfarrer — Pastor — be the informant? The next line after the good pastor’s name talked about where he lived (Offenbach), and the line after that read, “und zeigte an, dass sein Schwager, der Rentiner Siegmund Rothschild…” (Translation: “and states that the “Schwager” of the retiree, Siegmund Rothschild…”) Now, part of this document is written in what I would consider standard longhand for pretty much anywhere, but part of it, like the word “Schwager” was written in old German, and it’s a bear to figure out sometimes. Because of that, it took me a crazy amount of time to figure out what that word was, because for the longest time it looked like”Vifeaayor”, and I knew that was wrong! Once I remembered that first letter was a capital S, I found a website (that I haven’t been able to find since) that listed out words for different familial relationships. I went to the S section, and found “Schwager”. Brother-in-law. Wait, what?
It was about that time that I started thinking this pastor sounded familiar, and went to the only other document I knew of that had a pastor on it: the baptism record for Adolph Rothschild. And it was signed by pastor Wilhelm Eberwein. Who was this guy? And did he realize he was completely re-writing what I thought had happened in my family? Needless to say, I got to work researching the good pastor, and I found out quite a bit.
Ernst August Wilhelm Eberwein was born 8 May 1821 in Sellnrod Germany, son of Ernst Gottlieb Wilhelm Eberwein and Karoline Christiane Betz. He was baptized in Sellnrod on 24 May 1821. He studied theology at the Universitätsbibliothek Giessen, and graduated from there 25 May 1840.
We don’t as yet know how he met Friedericke, or when exactly they were married, but we’re guessing it was around 1850. This is based solely on the fact that their first child was born in 1851. Friedericke and Wilhelm had 4 daughters together. Caroline Amone Sophie Eberwein (14 June 1851 – 24 July 1916), Mathilde Eberwein (17 December 1852 – 10 Janurary 1914), Auguste Eberwein (17 June 1855 – 25 December 1940), and Louise Friedericke Franziska Fanny Eberwein Bindewald (22 December 1859 – 3 August 1908). Of the four daughters, only Louise married, and she had three children. Given how close together the births of Caroline and Mathilde are, it’s possible there was another pregnancy and/or birth between Mathilde and Auguste, as well as between Auguste and Louise. But if that kind of information exists, I haven’t found it yet.
The family seems to have moved a number of times, based on where Wilhelm was sent for his work. The oldest three daughters were born in Ulrichstein, but Louise was born in Burg Gemünden. And it was there on 1 June 1860, that Pastor Eberwein baptized my gg-grandfather, Adolph Rothschild. According to page 342 of the Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogthums Hessen, he was still the pastor of Burg Gemünden in 1862.
We know that Willhem and Friedericke were in Offenbach in 1877, when he was the informant of his brother-in-law Siegmund’s death, and that Wilhelm served as the Parish Administrator in Erlichshausen from 1897 – 1899.
In this undated photo below, we can see Pastor Eberwein in the middle of a group of children from his parish in Mörfelden, where he was a pastor from 1878 to 1898. The caption at the bottom of the photo translates as follows: “A state class of confirmants, in front of the snow behind the vicarage in Langasse, which was destroyed a few years ago. For 90 children, 36 girls and 54 boys, a new phase of life began at that time. We do not know the year the picture was taken or the vintage. But it must have been before 1898, because in the middle is Pastor August-Wilhelm Eberwein, pastor in Mörfelden from 1878 to 1898. The Eberweinstraße was also named after Pastor Eberwein. The almost uniform clothing is interesting. All young men with dark suits, bow ties and hats, or “Hartmann”. The wreath on the head of the young ladies, the hat, and the little bouquet on the lapel of the young men were obligatory at that time.” Given the style of dresses the young women are wearing, I would date the photo to around 1890. I did reach out to the publication DKP where I found this image to ask if they had any additional information, or even the original photograph that could hopefully be scanned, but they said this had been published in issue number 175, dated July 1985, that they did not have the original image, nor a digital copy of said image, and couldn’t tell me any more about it other than what was in the caption. Still, it does give us quite a bit of information about Pastor Eberwein.
At the aforementioned reunion, we presented Pastor Eberwein as the husband of Rebekka, who went by Friedericke.
Sometime after the reunion, Camille was contacted by Bill, a fellow Vöhler Jew descendant, who had found his relative on her virtual Vöhler Jewish Cemetery at findagrave.com. Several emails and a few weeks later, Bill shared some vintage newspaper articles with us, which led us to Bertha Rothschild Ballin’s estate dispute, which led us to getting copies of the documents of that dispute, which listed all the members of Bertha’s family. I know this next part is really lengthy, but I believe it’s important to show just how detailed Bertha’s estate documentation was and how many clues we received from it. (And, no, I don’t know why I didn’t think to add this to her blog post.) It lists her beneficiaries as follows:
“… the lawful heirs of the said Bertha Ballin now living are your orator, James Otto Rothschild of Hoboken in the county of Hudson and the State of New Jersey, Isaac Rothschild of the city, county, and State of New York, Moses Rothschild of Voehl in Prussia, Adolphus Rothschild of Petersburg in the State of Illinois, brothers of the full blood of said Bertha Ballin, deceased, Sophie Einstein of St. Louis in the County of St. Louis and State of Missouri, Justus Rothschild of the city of Brooklyn in the County of Kings and State of New York, a son and daughter of Sigmund Rothschild, deceased, a brother of the full blood of said Bertha Ballin, deceased, Richard Emanuel, Otto Emanuel, Victor Emanuel and Rudolph Emanuel of Rodenberg in Hanover, the three children and husband of Rebecca Emanuel, deceased, a sister of the full blood of said Bertha Ballin, deceased, a sister of the full blood of said Bertha Ballin, deceased, Frederika Eberwein of Hamburg in Germany, Sophia Flatau of Hamburg in Germany, and Fannie Hirschhorn of Frankfurt-on-the-Main in Germany, said Frederika Eberwein being a sister of the full blood of said Bertha Ballin, deceased, and said Sophia Flatau and Fannie Hirschhorn being daughters of Dr. Saly Rothschild, deceased, a brother of the full blood of said Bertha Ballin, deceased.” The documents go on to state that James Otto and Isaac are unmarried, that Moses is married to Caroline, that Adolphus is married to Kathinka, that Sophie is married to William Einstein, that Justus is married to Julia, that Richard, Otto, Victor, and Rudolph Emanuel are all unmarried, that Frederika is married to Pastor William Eberwein, that Sophia Flatau is married to Moritz Flatau, and that Fannie Hirschhorn is married to Isaac Hirschhorn. This is a LOT of information, and confirms much of what we knew. Things we didn’t know, however, were that Justus Rothschild had a wife and that her name was Julia; that the Emanuel family was related to us at all; and that Friedericke (Frederika) and Rebekka (Rebecca) were two different people. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m sorry the family had to go through this legal dispute, but I’m so grateful they did so we could have this fantastic wealth of information!
So, to everyone who was at the reunion and took part in the pageant, Friedericke was a heretofore unknown sister, who had NOT started off in life as Rebekka, and Rebekka was not married to Pastor Eberwein, Friedericke was.
I’ll end this post the way I normally begin them. Friedericke Rothschild was the 6th child and 2nd daughter of Ascher Rothschild and his first wife Sprinza Sternberg. She was born in Vöhl in 1827 or 1828. Friedericke passed away 10 May 1911 in Friedberg, Hesse, Germany., where she had been living with her daughter, Mathilde Eberwein. She had outlived her parents, her husband, her daughter Louise, and 9 of her siblings.
Next we’re going to be learning about Adolph Rothschild, my gg-grandfather. Fair warning: his information is going to be spread out over several posts, starting where most genealogical research starts: Family Lore. Until then, be safe, be healthy, be happy.