His complete name is Gotthilf David Siegfried Lentz.
Recently I visited a friend, a retired Methodist minister, who has been visiting her daughter in Seattle.
For years she lived and worked in Seattle. The family is from Vermont, and she spent much of her youth in Switzerland, where her father was stationed with the State Department, I think.
While we talking one evening, she mentioned my tweet. She was curious about the name. We figured out the God part, but didn’t get farther than that. So later I decided to use the Google, specifically Google Translate, and after learning the meaning of his name, I sent off a note to her.
“Just learned that Gotthilf is ‘God’s help’ in English.”
“That is fantastic…nice name.”
Get thyself on Twitter, Hager-Smith! And then ye may tweet me directly.¹
1. She is, or was, on Twitter, but hasn’t updated her account since 2014.
The images are from the Borntuchen church book, known in German as Kirchenbuch. This is the first time I’ve found Ludwig in any historical records. And there’s another unknown, his son Eduard. Most other surviving records from this branch of the family are in other church books.
I’ve included links to the image files of the complete record and the key at the top of the page.
In my pursuit of learning more about the family history, I discovered the names of three siblings — three brothers — of my great grandfather, a farmer born in Prussia who settled in South Dakota named Albert Fromke, which for some reason had been lost and not been passed down.
On this chart, Albert continues to be listed as the first born, a detail which I’ve always ignored for some reason.
The second born, another male, is new to me. His name was Friedrich Wilhelm Fromke. He was born in 1861 Borntuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern, Prussia. He died two years later, in 1863.
The next child unknown to me was Carl August Fromke, born in 1866 in Borntuchen. That’s all the information recorded.
The last brother, new to me, was Emil Gustav Fromke, born in Borntuchen in 1875.
Oddly, another brother who also immigrated to America, August Ludwig Fromke, isn’t included on this family tree. He was born on 1873 and died in South Dakota in 1909. He relocated to California for a while, but did not like life there and returned to South Dakota.
I wasn’t sure I’d ever find more information than what had been collected before me.
I began asking questions and taking notes on the family history in 1989, my first year of high school.
But the only info my mother had on her father’s grandparents were their names, and one was misspelled.
My maternal grandmother had them recorded as Carl Fromke and Caroline Rabe. Later, I learned that Rabe was incorrect. Her maiden name was Radde.
And now I know when she was born and when she died.
Name: Caroline Fromke
Maiden Name: Radde
Death Age: 49
Event Type: Sterbefall (Death)
Birth Date: 22 Januar 1830
Death Date: 27 Jul 1879
Death Place: Borntuchen, Preußen (Germany)
Civil Registration Office: Borntuchen, Krs Bütow
Father: Michael Radde
Mother: Eva Radde
Certificate Number: 22
My great grandfather was named Albert, and I’ve been wondering where the name originated — within German society, culture, history. In looking through famous Germans with the name I came across a Duke of Prussia named Albert.
Hence, the name Albert makes a lot of sense. Grandpa Albert’s parents, Carl Fromke¹ and Caroline Radde, must have been devout Lutherans too.
The name “was repopularized in the 19th century by the German-born Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.”
1. Carl’s name may be spelled Karl, with a K, not a C.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn, after someone sent me a response to a query I made, that someone had uploaded an image of a man I thought likely to be a brother of my great-grandmother. Unfortunately, the pic didn’t make it as a PDF attachment via email, only the very left portion of it. So, I went hunting for it myself on Ancestry. Thankfully, it didn’t take much effort.
Sure enough, he certainly looks like her, though I have yet to get a decent photo of her uploaded for posterity. Those eyes and the nose. So alike. I am convinced the two are brother and sister based on their photos alone.
Yet, another clue is the family tree attached to his obviously poorly photocopied image of a photograph. It lists his parents as Henry Lentz and Marie Schenovsky, precisely the same name of the mother of Augusta my grandmother had jotted down years ago.
Henry, however, is something different. Our branch of the family has Augusta’s father listed as Ludwig Lentz, not Henry. I tend to think that Ludwig is probably the correct one. That’s not a common name to confuse. But who knows for sure until we can get more documentation.
The Schenovsky name, however, is a mistake that must flow from a common source. The actual name, after years of including Schenovsky in drafts of the family tree, I learned is Scharnofske. It’s easy to see how the name was bastardized.
Friday, 27 January, 2006 8:38
It’s amazing and fascinating, but in my early research I’ve found that the Prussian Royal Family still exists. Thought you might be interested.
His response wasn’t mean, but there are many royal lines in Europe which continue. My naïvety must have amused him.