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Posts Tagged ‘von Breyman’

For the next few weeks, I’ll be covering my California ancestors ~ my maternal ancestors! Since the only one I have done so far was my great-grandfather, William Adolphus George von Breyman, I’ll honor his wife this week, Wilhemine Sophia or Minnie, as she was known.  

First I must go back  to her beginnings ~ Minnie was born in New York in 1854 to immigrant parents, Frederick and Amelia Gode/Goda. The only thing I know of the parents is from two different census records, 1850 and 1870.

  • In 1850, Minnie was not born, but her sister Louisa was. Louisa was a year old and her father was a milkman. I’d been looking for a Lutheran Minister, since that was what my grandmother’s memoirs said! Just another family legend, I guess!
  • By 1870, Amelia is alone with the two girls – Minnie, age 15, is a domestic and Louisa, age 20, is a tasselmaker and Minnie was born in New York. I’d been looking her birth in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania where her father was a Lutheran Minister. That’s where my grandmother said she was born and that’s where subsequent census data states, also. Second family legend.

Sometime in the 1870’s Amelia took Minnie left New York and headed to San Francisco where Amelia had relatives. California families with names of Blum, Swank, Murdock and Wagner are supposed to be relatives of Minnie ~ this from letters written by her son to various members of the family. In 1877, Minnie marries and before Christmas that year she is a mother. Her husband is almost 20 years her senior and would die before their 25th anniversary. Minnie still had three young girls under ten (my grandmother was one of them) and several other children at home to care for. The family lived in Arbuckle for a while before moving to Sacramento close to a married daughter.

I have several pictures of my great-grandmother and I decided to share two of them on this blog; one taken either before she was married or shortly thereafter, when she was in the prime of her life and the other taken shortly before the end of her life.

Buried in Ventura, California

That move to Sacramento mentioned above is important for several reasons, the most important is the fact that my grandmother, Bertha, met the man she was married to for over 50 years in that city and because she did, I am.

And because Bertha met and married Henry Lindgren, Minnie was able to spend the last few years of her life in Hawaii. Henry Lindgren’s job took him to Hawaii, and when Henry went, he took Bertha, Minnie’s daughter. And because Bertha was in Hawaii, Minnie was able to spend the last few years of her life in sunshine and tropical weather, enjoying her daughter’s growing family.

The picture above was taken just months before her death, sitting in the yard at my grandparent’s home in Hilo, Hawaii. She is holding a large hibiscus in her lap. Shortly after this was taken, she boarded the Lurline and sailed back to California. She died 3 months later at her son’s home in Ventura on 13 March 1934 and is interred in Ventura in Ivy Lawn Cemetery. At the time of her death she had two sons, six daughters and twenty-nine grandchildren!

Minnie had traveled from New York, around the Cape to California, to Hawaii and back to California. She was loved and cared for by her family and left a legacy that will continue with each generation from now until eternity, and this is why I have honored her as

Linda’s Headstone of the week for week #11.

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Finding a candidate for my “Headstone of the Week” isn’t hard for me. I have literally thousands of headstone pictures in my database. Narrowing it down to just one is what is hard! This week, I decided on another Grandfather ~ a Great-Grandfather, this time!William Adolphus George von Breyman was born in Harburg, Hanover, Germany in 1835 and died in Cortina, Colusa County, California in 1901. He is buried in a cemetery in the small town of Arbuckle, California.

Headstones tell a part of the story, a very small part! By the time my great-grandfather was 15 years old, he was in California. Family legend has it that his older sisters got him employed on a ship that was sailing to California where he jumped ship in San Francisco. For a short while he panned for gold, as many did, and then decided the real way to make money was to pack in supplies and sell them to the gold seekers. He became a naturalized citizen in 1859. References have been found to him being a packer, farmer, vet surgeon, postmaster and at one time even co-owned a Fence Company in Sacramento. He spoke his native German in addition to English and Spanish and could write in each language, as well.

In 1854 when he was in this country for about 4 years, Wilhemine Sophia “Minnie” Goda was born in New York. Their paths crossed in California and in 1877 they would marry and become the parents of 10 children, with the 9th one being my grandmother, Bertha Emma. She was six years old when her father died at the young age of 66.

With many thanks to his children and their children, his story has been preserved. His eldest son was a prolific letter writer. Copies of his letters with tales of W.A.G. von Breyman’s values, work ethic and exploits have been shared with me. My great-grandfather’s diary, written in English and at times, Spanish, has also been shared. Life offered him many opportunites and he grabbed them as he passed thru.

That is why his headstone is my choice for Headstone of the Week #2.

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