Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Road Ahead and Behind

I'm starting this blog in the hopes that this will be a new avenue to finding out more about a branch of my family tree of which little is known.  I really had no interest in creating a blog.  Maybe this is a good idea; maybe it's a bad idea. Maybe, but I do have an interest in understanding who the Feitner family was.  I say "was" because it seems that part of the family line has all but ended. I hope I am wrong, though.

What I do know is dwarfed by what I don't know, and what I haven't been able to solve.

The story of the man who was my great-great-great grandfather begins with Jacob T. Feitner, a young German immigrant who came to New York City in 1860 when he was 21.  Five years later, he marries Anna Brenzel, also a German immigrant, and becomes a naturalized citizen.  Living on Cherry Street in lower Manhattan, Jacob is a barber by trade and works on Cathedral Street. They have two children: a son Jacob Theodore and a daughter, Anna.  By the mid 1870's, the family moves out of Manhattan to a brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn along with other up-and-coming families.  He would die there on the first floor of his home on September 11, 1878 of tuberculosis, leaving his wife to raise the children alone.

The Feitner family plot at Lutheran Cemetary.
Jacob is buried a few days later at Lutheran Cemetary in the newly acquired family plot.  And there is where the road ends.

Who were his parents? Did he have any brothers or sisters?  Was he any relation to John Feitner, the marble monument maker who had his business just a few blocks from Jacob's home in Brooklyn?

I visited Lutheran Cemetery and was no closer to finding any of these things out after my visit.  The family plot was bare, not a stone or monument to be seen; a victim of cemetery "modernization" in the 1950's.

His only son Jacob would also see an early grave. And so would his grandson.