Great-Grandma’s German Books

German was the predominate language spoken by my most of my ancestors.  My grandfather, Fred Kaiser, was born in Chicago, Illinois, however his parents were new immigrants when he was born, and they spoke only German in their home.  My grandfather did not learn English until he went to school.  He often talked about how he was behind in school because he did not know English.  He eventually caught up, but it sure made an impression on him.  I have a couple of books that belonged to his mother, Wilhelmina Kaiser nee Springer, that are written in German.  They are a Gesangbuch fur die Evang. Luth. Kirche[1] (hymnal).  It has her first initial and last name on the front cover (see below). 

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Another book from her is a small book of the New Testament[2] in German.  It was published in 1888 the year she emigrated from Germany, but I don’t know if she brought it with her or not.  She did write in it.  On the one page she wrote: “Mrs Wilhelmina Kaiser geborn Springer Dinkelsburl Bayern born 17 December 1869.  Father Karl Mother Margaret Springer.  October 31 1911.”  On the next page she wrote in German “Immigrating to America in July 1888 and arrived 3 August”  Mina Springer Dinkelsburl.” (see below). 

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Some of the words I cannot read.  If anyone reading this post can read it, I would appreciate your input. 

It’s amazing to me that these books have survived over 100 years, and that I have something written in my great-grandmother’s handwriting.  In her own little way, she was trying to let future generations know who she was, where she came from, who her parents were, and when she came to America.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  topic is Language.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst


[1] Philadelpia:  Lutheran Publication Society, Gesangbuch fur die evangelish lutherische kirche.  For sale by German Literary Board, Burlington, Iowa.  Copyright 1902 by the by the Hymnal Book Publishing Committee of the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States.

[2] New York: Americansche Bibel-Gesellschaft, Gegrunbet im Jabre 1816, 1888, New Testament.