Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Follow your Dreams!

This is Sophie Regula Gubelmann. She was my great-great-grandmother. I know so very little about her. She was born in Switzerland and was married young to my great-great-grandfather Carl Stange who was 16 years her major. I was told she had reddish hair. I think I inherited the form of her hands. That’s pretty much all I know.

I once dreamed of her. I met her in the store in Stralsund that she ran after her husband’s early death. She wore a black dress as widows did, with a lot of underskirts. She walked up to me and told me to continue my search and not to give up. I awoke and wondered what this was all about. But it had felt very real.

The following week, I went to Stralsund to find out more. I went through the church records of St. Nicolai at the parish office, looked at the death records and found my great-great-grandfather’s cause of death and his place of burial in 1899. The next step was to find his youngest daughter Antonie’s confirmation record from around 1890. These records were kept at the church itself and the clerk was kind enough to go there with me and let me have a look. I stood in the sacristy, opened the book of confirmations on page 172 in the year 1893 and immediately saw a surname that sounded familiar. The record stated that this child named Sophie Charlotte Stange was the daughter of Carl Stange, born in 1879. But I had never heard of this girl before. I went back to the other records again and found her death at the age of 20 of consumption. And in fact she had been Carl and Sophie Stange’s daughter and my great-grandfather’s youngest sister. Only that no one had ever talked about her. I asked my mother, aunts and uncles, no one had ever heard of her. I called my grandfather’s cousin who had done research in this part of the family and could even remember her grandmother and her great-aunt Antonie. But she had never heard about this child either. 

She sent me a picture of two girls whom she had considered to be the oldest daughter Maria and the youngest Antonie. But as Maria had been 9 years older than Antonie and handicapped after a fall, it simply was more likely that these two girls actually were Antonie and Charlotte.

I still am puzzled by the fact that this child never was mentioned. I am sure that this was rather normal in those days, even though the child was certainly was loved and missed. But one person did not forget her and made sure that we started to talk about her again. And that was her mother Sophie Regula Stange, née Gubelmann, born in Switzerland, married young, with reddish hair.


  1. How fabulous that you were able to view the original church records. I think it was fairly common that families didn't talk about deceased siblings. My grandmother never knew that my grandfather had an older brother named John who lived into his early 20s and died around 1902. My grandparents didn't meet and marry until 1915, but never ever was John mentioned. She knew his other brother and two sisters, but no one ever spoke of John.

    1. Linda, I think there still are many of unknown relatives waiting to be found....


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