Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Nattova" posts moved to new blog

     I've moved the "Natacha Nattova" posts to a new blog called
     Here are the blog posts that were once posted here and have been moved. Further posts have been added.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More on Otto Hänfler and his people

Marthe, Edith, Otto, c. 1938
     According to his own records, Otto Hänfler's parents were Gustaf Hänfler of Pietronke and Christiane Fischer of Charlottenburg. Last time (i.e., last post), I did a search for Hänflers in the Poznan Project database (a new database for records of 19th Century Poznan residents). Today, I did a search of Fischers, and that yielded the above (that's odd, for, earlier, I got nowhere because there were too many Fischers!). In 1832, Johann Geske married Christine Fredrich Fischer (a peculiar union considering the age difference; see), in Łabiszyn. Interestingly, the latter town is about 65 miles due east of Pietronke. That's pretty close.
     But we're likely barking up the wrong tree, since Otto's mother hailed from Charlottenburg, which is no where near Pietronke; it is in the Berlin area, well to the west. We know that Otto's brother lived in the Berlin area and that Otto and Marthe lived there for a time too. Dang.
     Here's something more positive. In my Hänfler search, I came across various Hänflers in a town called Laski. (There appear to be several Laskis in Poland.) Yesterday, I found a village or town by that name in or near Warsaw, which is very far to the southeast (relative to Pietronke). But, today, I noticed a village called "Laski" very near one of the other towns (Drozki) that comes up when searching "Hänfler" at the Poznan Project site. Is this the Laski of the Hänflers? Maybe so. (See maps below.)
     Maybe we're zeroing in on the Hänflers that produced Gustaf. We'll see.
     Another question is whether Otto Hänfler, or earlier Hänflers, were in some way connected to the "Leipzigers" that lived in that large estate situated near or at Pierotronke. Earlier, I noted that the Leipzigers (or von Leipzigs), a noble family, had connections to Meissen; and, of course, Otto Hänfler made his living, for a time, as an artisan for the Meissen porcelain people (which led to Otto and Marthe's living in Denmark for several years).
     It will be difficult tracking down the Fischer family (i.e., Otto's mother's family), I think, if they lived in or near Berlin, which appears to be the case. That area was, of course, heavily bombed and largely destroyed. It now appears that the Hänflers of Pietronke offer the hotter trail.
Approximate location of three cities mentioned in "matches" to Haenfler
in Poznan Project: Laski, Drozki, Wyszanow (see relative to Hanfler's
hometown, Pietronke (at upper left). There's a village called "Laski" 
seven miles to the east of Drozki--perhaps that is the correct Laski.
DETAIL above. Context below. Look for Drozki and Laski: location of some Hänflers

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Dear Sir,

I have read the entry on your blog with much interest. For several years I have been reading and researching the ethnic and political history of Polish-German borderlands. I thought you might be interested to know that a free online genealogical project called "Poznan Project" is aiming to index all XIXth century marriage records from the province of Posen. Perhaps you might find it helpful in tracing back some of your ancestors. By the way Pietronke and the Kolmar region is a very specific part of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland or what was later called "Posen") with strong German presence since XVIIth century. Several German settlements were established in the area already by the end of the XVIth century with most Germans arriving throughout the XVIIIth century in the aftermath of the 30-year war. German influx made Chodziez-Kolmar largely a German city, and the nearby Ujscie remained predominantly Polish. Kolmar was surrounded by a ring of German settlements. Pietronke is however a very peculiar case since it was one of the few villages around Kolmar/Chodziez with Polish majority. A sort of Polish "island" and as such it was the only village in the nearest area suitable for dialectological research after WW II along with the village of Prosna to the South. In most other villages around Kolmar German farmers predominanted and Poles constituted mainly mobile labour force so no stable local Polish dialect could ever develop. Pietronke however, partly because of its isolation, retained certain archaic features - some linking it with the dialects spoken North of the Netze, rather than mainland Wielkopolska/Posen. It also has to be said that many of the Germans became Catholics and there was a certain division between the Protestants and the Catholics. Intermarriage between Polish and German Catholics was relatively common and  families in the mixed areas were usually to an extent bilingual.  Should you ever need to know the relevant parishes - "Gemeindelexikon Posen" availabe  at www.wbc.poznan.pl/ may be useful. 

best wishes from Poland and many thanks for an interesting entry about a local family!

[Wojciech Witold witold_czyz@hotmail.com]

Approximate location of three cities mentioned in "matches" to Haenfler
in Poznan Project: Laski, Drozki, Wyszanow (see relative to Hanfler's
hometown, Pietronke (at upper left). There's a village called "Laski" 
seven miles to the east of Drozki--perhaps that is the correct Laski.
• Pietronke of Kreis Kolmar, Posen
• Pietronke, part 2
Re Herr Hänfler [Edith's stepfather]: 
• Otto Hänfler, Edith's "father"
• French kiss: the sad story of baby Peter
Explanation: Edith's biological father, Hermann Schultz (1901-1939), died in an accident in 1939. By then, Edith had already lived for several years with her father's sister, Marthe, who lived with her husband, Otto Hänfler, in Bärwalde, the Schultz hometown. Otto, who had been an artisan with the famous porcelain makers Meissen, hailed from Pietronke--in one of the German/Polish borderlands to which Mr. Witold refers above. Pietronke was fifty (?) or so miles to the southeast of Bärwalde.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lambrose Canyon from high above, 2014

1. CLICK on image to enlarge. Our post office address is "Trabuco Canyon," but, in truth, we live in Live Oak Canyon, which eventually dumps into Trabuco Canyon maybe 5 miles down the road. Our road is called "Lambrose Canyon," which is named after the former owners of our property. Bauers' Canyon is (I suppose) the contemporary name of the former Lambrose Canyon (the small canyon as opposed to the road). Sheesh.

     It's hot today, a Friday, and it's pretty dry too. A wildfire has broken out way into Silverado Canyon, ten or so miles to the northwest. Everybody's a little on edge when that happens (in Bauers' Canyon), but we've been through this so many times before. The scariest episode occurred back in 2007. That fire came within a quarter of a mile or closer (just northeast of us). We had to evacuate, but the fire was stopped along Live Oak Canyon Rd. Whew!
     The Google image above (#1) provides shaded strips representing roads, but some of that shading makes no sense. For instance, at the right (and 2/3 of the way down), one finds Lambrose Canyon Rd. heading (from Live Oak) due west and then curving rightward into another road labelled "Lambrose." That shaded "Lambrose" does not exist, of course. The Google image provides no indication where the real Lambrose goes after it reaches Bruce's place (see), so I've shaded in more or less where the actual Lambrose Canyon Rd. runs. See on the bottom right (I've labelled it).

2. A somewhat earlier image/map
     Inspired by my recent adventures on these pages, I've indicated (on image 1) where the old Lambrose Family picnic zone once was—very near where the present-day lower Bauers' Canyon starts (see red dot and shaded area)—during the era that stretched perhaps from the 50s (earlier?) up through the early 70s.
     I indicated the location of "Gilligan's Peak," just above the parking zone next to the main house. Ron will explain, of course, that that is not actually Gilligan's Peak, which, in truth, is at or near what I've labelled "Avacado Heights." Well, yes. But that spot is surely where G's Peak ought to be (it needs a name). Avacado Heights (my coinage) is a flat spot just above my place that provides access to our water tank. It includes a cluster of fruitful Avacado trees that have been visited often, in recent years, by Pa and his Avacado Kids.

I think this is near the "entrance" to Lambrose Canyon
(i.e., Bauers' Canyon), 1976. Here, we see Opa and his dog, Slipper; Ma. 

     Above: essentially, the Santa Ana Mountains (which comprise a portion of the immense Cleveland National Forest)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hangin' out in Orange, c. 1973

Ron, Annie, Ray, and probably Annie's '59 Bug (though it could be my '66 Bug).
Ron, Ray, Roy, Annie. We're sitting in the room edition of the Topaz St. house--
watching TV, it seems. Note the hideous volcanic rock on the wall at right.
Here's what the house looked like c. 1965 (note: garage at right)

Lambrose Canyon c. 1976

I think this is near the "entrance" to Lambrose Canyon
(i.e., Bauers' Canyon). Here, we see Opa and his dog, Slipper; Ma. 
Ray in the background? He would have been 15.
And what's that written on the Lambroses' old trailer?
Smith's "something"
Pa and Opa--on the ridge?
The file for this photo says 12-1973 (i.e., December of 1973). It appears to be the entrance of our Lambrose property. (I just looked. The trees don't seem to match. See below.)
We didn't begin building on the property until about 1975.


     Today, it occurred to me that the road of the "Opa" photo above isn't Bauers' Canyon Rd. but (what has come to be called) Lambrose Canyon Rd.--the road going from Live Oak Canyon and then past Bauers' Canyon. The photo below captures the perspective of the above "Opa" photo, according to my hypothesis:

     It's hard to see in the photo, but Lambrose Canyon Rd. does curve to the left in the background (as it passes the rental), just as the road does in the "Opa" photo. Today's photo used a lense that is narrower than the one used in 1976, and thus it does not show the area to the right with the ridge in the background. So I stood on the spot that, according to my hypothesis, the Opa shot is taken from, and I took a picture of the ridge. Here's a comparison of the shot of the ridge I took today vs. the top of the ridge in the Opa shot:

     Keep in mind that there is nearly forty years between these photos. I'm about 75% certain we have a match.
     I also took some photos of the area at which the old trailer once stood. (The eucalyptus trees tended to get in the way. I walked past them. I believe that all of the eucalyptus trees were planted by the Bauers since 1976.) 
     Naturally, even oak trees change a lot in forty years. Here's my attempt to match oak trees:

     What do you think? It's hard to say, isn't it?

Goin' to Disneyland

     I found this old (1950s?) family photo but I didn't know anything about it, though I could see “Casey Jr. Circus Train” emblazoned on the sign. I looked that up and discovered that it refers to an old ride at Disneyland, a place the family visited, in the 50s, before emigrating from Canada. The ride was a pet project of Walt's, for what that's worth.
     According to one website,
The Casey Jr. train ride was one of the original park attractions, opened in July 1955, a couple weeks after park opening due to testing. The scenery around the Casey Jr. train ride was quite drastic [?] from today. Park goers back in 1955 saw little around the train ride, as the Storybook Land Canal Boats and surrounding scenery did not come along until September 1956.
     At another site we learn that
Casey Jr. Circus Train was the first attraction in this location. ...For the first year of operation, Casey Jr. Circus Train was simply a train ride with very little to look at. When the miniature scenes were added to Canal Boats of the World (turning it into Storybook Land Canal Boats) in September 1956, riders were finally given something to look at. Since then, the attraction has remained largely unchanged.
      Here are some contemporary photos of the same ride:

Monday, August 18, 2014

413 S. Orange

Here is a relatively recent pic of my (Kathie and my) former home in Old Town Orange, located a couple of blocks from Hart Park.
A large tree used to stand immediately to the right of the house, creating much shade. Those notorious crazy, noisy green parrots used to visit the tree (by the hundreds, it seemed). Then, one day, it became clear that the tree was dying and it became necessary to have it removed before it fell over. Bummer.
There was an enormous tree with a large canopy in the backyard as well. One day, we heard a crack and it fell over, destroying part of the south fence. Luckily, no one was hurt! 
This is the house next door. We became pretty good friends with Davan Maharaj and his wife Abby. Nowadays, Davan is editor of the Los Angeles Times (Media Group). When we knew him, he was an ambitious young reporter. Abby was a beautiful (Kentucky) girl with a wonderful singing voice.
As I recall, this house, almost immediately across the street, sports a plaque indicating that it was built in the 1880s. (Our place had a plaque that indicated that it was built in 1903, years before the San Francisco Earthquake/Fire.)
Looking south, towards Hart Park
Looking north, toward the Orange Plaza

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A moment in time (1986?)

Ma's sister, Ilse, and her husband visited during the 80s.
Kathie, Ray, Franz, Ilse, Roy, Ron

Manny & Edith's 50th Anniversary Celebration

I do believe that Ma and Pa were open to the idea of a 50th Wedding Anniversary event, but, in any event, Ron and Susan took the ball and ran with it. Pretty soon, several of us were given tasks of various kinds. For the Bauers, it was an event of unprecedented planning and ambition. Was this in 2003? Think so.
(I just checked: I've posted about this celebration before. Oddly, I selected a different set of photos: 2001: Manny and Edith's 50th Anniversary)
As I recall, Jan was assigned the task of (or set about independently?) hiring the "mariachi band."  (No brass.) Those guys were great, a big hit. Jan paid for that.
I do believe that I was the official photographer, and I must say that a did a pretty lousy job. Somehow, for most of these photos, the lighting and composition is way off. Don't know why. It's not that I didn't try. Sheesh.
Perhaps the highlight of the event was Ron's slide show of old pics of the early days of Manny and Edith's union.
Kathie speechified a bit and did a grand job. She's very good at that sort of thing.

Jan, too, offered some heartfelt and entertaining sentiments.
Ron was the "show runner" as they say, nowadays (in the TV biz). Here he is with young Sarah, a very popular girl.

Oma playing with the little one
Some of Susan's family joined in. That's Ron's friend Tom at left.
As Pa often says, "a good time was had by all."
Among other things, Jan and I served as bartenders, plying our trade from the gazebo (in the background). I do believe I wore a big "cat in the Hat" hat. Ron gave me the stink eye. 
Sonya Eastman and Bruce Con
That's Ralph Kalisch at right. Nancy Miller is in the background.
More neighbors

Marianne and Hermann, watching Sarah

Jan's sister Marian was on hand
That's Jo-Anne's ex at right

The Eastmans