Return to Seward Diary, August 2001

                                                                                                                                               Alice Imig Stipak2001
"Return to Seward Diary, August 2001, Entry #6"

Faces from the Past

Surnames: ANDERSON, BECKMANN, BOEKA, BOHMONT, CAMPBELL, CASE,
                  CLOOS, COOPER , COX, CRAVEN, CRUMBAKER, DENTON, FLEEK,
                  FLOWERDAY, FRERICHS, GEMBLER, GOLTL, GRAFEL, GRAFF, HAGEMAN,
                  HASS, HEALD, HEIMER, HOHL, HUGHES, IMIG, JENSEN, JONES, KAUFFMAN,
                  KELLER, KILPATRICK, KILZER, KIRK, MARX, MAURER, MAYER, MCGREW,
                  MEYERS, O'LEAR, PLEINES, ROCKER, SCHNEEBECK, SCHOEPF, SCHROEDER,
                  SHELTON, SIECK, URBANEK, YERK
                  [see many old photos at bottom of this page!]

Landmarks: SEWARD WATER TOWER


Thursday, August 9, 2001, late afternoon

Brian and I savored the next two hours we spent getting to know our warm, lively Imig cousin Della, sharing information and stories of family births and deaths, triumphs and tragedies.

While Della and I chatted happily about our Imig family tree and its many fruitful branches, Brian slipped out the sliding glass door with his camera to survey the nearby cornfield. You see, anywhere you are in Seward you are not far from a cornfield, or at least a field of its fraternal twin, milo.
CORN in Seward

Brian also photographed the pleasant retirement community Della and, until recently, our Hageman cousin LaVerne lived in.
Seward Retirement Community

Then he shot the north Seward water tower.
SEWARD WATER TOWER

After his walk, Brian returned and joined us. Time to show Della the Imig Book, I thought, and got out my copy.

The "Imig Book" is a 250-page comprehensive study of our Imig clan, courageously undertaken in the 1960's by Orin Jacob "Percy" Imig, son of Amelia MAURER and Jacob Imig, another of my grandpa's first cousins. My branch of the family didn't even know the Imig Book existed until the Golden Age of Genealogy dawned with the Internet. I then had the good fortune to reunite in cyberspace with my knowledgeable Illinois Imig cousin Cheri Backlund Salz, a foremost Imig family researcher dedicated to furthering Orin's work. Cheri kindly copied and mailed me Orin's two-part book, which I combined into one volume and reprinted to share with my California Imig family members.

Orin was, like most of us, a "double Imig," since both of his father's parents, Heinrich and Wilhelmina, were born Imigs and close cousins of each other. The first part of his heroic work, "The Peter IMIG and Maria Margaretha ROCKER Family: 1620-1969," focuses on his grandmother Wilhelmina's branch. The second part, "The Carl IMIG and Wilhelmina CLOOS Family: 1620-1969," documents his grandfather Heinrich's branch, which includes my own family.

Orin gathered information and old photographs from Imig cousins all over the U.S. and some back in Germany, and preserved many precious stories about the immigrant Imigs and their kin. In his books he narrates it all in a folksy, unpretentious manner. Among my favorite anecdotes are those describing preparations for the arduous Atlantic crossing by the group that included my great-grandfather Carl Imig:

"It was late in the year 1858, and a number of the Imig families were making preparations to take a long journey into a foreign land. New clothes had to be made and all of their belongings that they could not take along had to be sold or distributed among the relatives. All of their assets were turned into gold, and the women made vests and sewed the pieces of gold into them. These would be worn by the heads of the families, next to the skin, and never removed until they arrived at their destination, many weeks away. Everything that they could not wear was packed into bags and sacks of all colors and dimensions. The bags were homemade, so it would be unusual to see two of the same color or size. All that they could take with them is what they could wear or carry. In several of the bags were small packages, carefully wrapped in hog bladders. They contained the precious seeds with which they would make their start in the New World. They were packed in this waterproof material so they would not draw any moisture and start to germinate before they reached their destination... They were planted when they arrived and some of the seed was saved from year to year. Most of them produced even better than they had in the old world, especially the lettuce, and my Grandmother Wilhelmina Imig saved some of this seed and planted it every year for most of the years of her life."
As we sat on her couch pouring over Orin's Imig Book together, his third cousin Della (they share the same great-great-grandparents) recognized many names and faces. Soon, I was frantically scribbling notes in the margins, trying to keep pace with Della as she commented here and there, "These Imigs lived in Seward... He has cancer now... I know these people very well, here's their address."
Alice And Della Studying Imig Books 1
Alice And Della Studying Imig Books 2

One particularly amazing moment came when Della pointed to a photo of a smiling Emma Imig (1873-1963, on page 196) and then to a medium-sized framed watercolor on her wall. "Why, Emma painted that picture right there!"

We lifted our eyes to be greeted by a soft landscape in teal and magenta, a sturdy family of trees growing merrily at a peaceful river's edge. "Wow, you're kidding!" we said, and she let Brian take it down and photograph it.
Emma IMIG Painting
Emma IMIG Painting Close-up

Della said, "Just a minute," and went in the other room. To my delight, she soon returned carrying her own "Imig booklet," entitled, "Descendants of Jacob IMIG (Jan. 20, 1845 - May 11, 1896) and Wife, Catharina HOHL (April 29, 1848 - Sept. 23, 1903)." Jacob was the oldest brother of my great-grandmother Anna Imig, so I was eager to learn about this branch of our family.

A work of love and patience, the booklet was created in July, 1994 by Della's sister Wilma (Rocker) MAYER, "as a tribute to my mother, Marie (Imig) Rocker." Like Orin's work, it was privately printed in small quantities for her family.

The booklet opens with a handsome portrait of Jacob and his wife Catharina (Hohl) Imig.
Jacob and Catharina (HOHL) IMIG

The next page presents two group photos, the first of their growing family taken in early 1885, and the second of five of their children taken about 1906.
Jacob and Catharina (HOHL) IMIG FAMILY
5 Children of Jacob and Catharina(HOHL) IMIG

Wilma's beautifully organized genealogy introduces each of the thirteen children of Jacob and Catharina Hohl Imig, one at a time, with their own respective children, grandchildren, and so on, together with a photo page for each family group. [See photos of IMIG/HOHL family groups with listing of their 13 children at bottom of page]

She details the names, birth dates, marriages, and burial locations, when applicable, of all descendants of Jacob and Catharina. Her work preserves the legacy of her grandparents in 42 impressively organized pages of text, brought to life by many wonderful photographs. It includes a description of their German roots and even a map of the "Imig part" of Germany (note Pfalzdorf, Louisendorf, and -- get this - Imigshof!).
Germany Imig Map
Germany Imig Map Close-up

My eyes skipped merrily over the countless Imig names and faces like stones over a sun-bright pond, until they reached the thirteenth and last child, Edward Imig. Then I turned the page and my heart came to rest on two smiling, unmistakably kind faces in an old, slightly water-stained photograph.entitled, "The Ancestors: Parents of Jacob Imig."

Yes, glory be, there THEY were, Friedrich and Johanna Pleines Imig, our great-great grandparents, whose grave Brian and I had discovered just that afternoon in nearby Greenwood Cemetery. Their smile spread to my face, then his, as I showed Brian the treasured portrait.

Friedrich and Johanna had immigrated to America with their large family from Louisendorf, Kleve, Germany in 1871, then moved to Seward from the Imig stronghold of Minier, Illinois in 1877. Since Friedrich died in 1883, I guessed that the photo had been taken around 1880.

They looked every bit as sweet as I had imagined them when we gazed upon their lovely double-stone German-inscribed grave just two hours earlier.
Old Photo of Friedrich and Johanna (PLEINES) IMIG
Old Photo of Friedrich and Johanna (PLEINES) IMIG, oval

I couldn't stand it anymore. "Can I please borrow your book and copy it?" I blurted out. "I promise to bring it back safely tomorrow or Saturday, before we leave Seward." Della readily agreed, and I relaxed again.

I sat mesmerized by the love that poured out of this couple and into the room, spilling over all of us and soaking into the depths of our being. I looked up from the photograph of my ancestors and with a start realized that their presence was not confined to the page and to the past. They were in this room, at this very moment. Emma's painting glowed with their sweetness, and Della and Brian's faces sparkled with their generous nature, their joy of life...

[Coming next: Return to Seward Diary, August 2001: "Secrets of the Stones"]

Yours,
      Alice
      Alice Imig Stipak, a grateful granddaughter of Seward


*** The Jacob and Catharina (HOHL) IMIG FAMILY ***

First child: Friedrich and Elizabeth ROCKER IMIG
Surnames included in this family:
BOEKA, FLOWERDAY, GOLTL, GRAFEL, KAUFFMAN, KELLER, MARX

Second child: Jacob and Anna E. GRAFF IMIG
Surnames included in this family:
COOPER, HUGHES, KILPATRICK, KIRK, SCHROEDER

Third child: Conrad Imig (died aged 5)

Fourth child: Katharina IMIG and Nicholas GEMBLER
Surnames included in this family:
CRAVEN, FLEEK, JENSEN, MCGREW

Fifth child: William Imig (died as infant)

Sixth child: William Imig (died aged 1)

Seventh child: Wilhelmina IMIG and Edward HEIMER (no children)

Eighth child: Elizabeth IMIG and Fred SCHNEEBECK
Surnames included in this family:
COX, CRUMBAKER, DENTON, O'LEAR, SHELTON, WILLIAMS

Ninth child: Theresa Imig (died aged 2)

Tenth child: Conrad Imig (died aged 1)

Eleventh child: Marie IMIG and Jacob ROCKER
Surnames included in this family:
BOHMONT, CAMPBELL, CASE, SCHOEPF, URBANEK

Twelfth child: Otto and Margaret KILZER IMIG
Surnames included in this family:
ANDERSON, BECKMANN, FRERICHS, HASS, JONES, MEYERS, SIECK

Thirteenth child: Edward IMIG and Florence YERK
Surnames included in this family:
HEALD
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kindly report any problems with these photos or links to:
alice@stipak.com


Seward Diary Entries: 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5* 6 * 7

Seward Diary HOME * Seward Diary Surnames

Seward County, Nebraska HOME * Hageman Family HOME * Imig Family HOME
Updated 15 Sept 2001
Copyright Alice Imig STIPAK 2001. All rights reserved. Commercial use of this material is strictly prohibited.