Walking across a cemetery near where I live this week, I happened to notice a gravestone where the names had been copied from the handwriting of the ones buried there:
The two resting in this grave are unknown to me; but seeing their signatures engraved on the stone like that led my thoughts to my own ancestors.
This the handwriting of my great-grandfather Samuel:
… found in this book …
… which is not a Bible but a selection of sermons by Martin Luther, printed in 1861.
The book was given to (or possibly bought by) my great-grandfather Samuel (born 1837) and his first wife Anna Sophia, in connection with their marriage in 1866.
Translated into English, the inscription to the left reads:
S. Emanuelsson & Anna Sophia Emanuelsson
Lord, Lead Us in Thy Truth for Thy Name’s Sake
In 1866 on 27th January we were united as husband and wife here on Earth. Oh faithful Jesus, keep us always in Thy love, that in the end we may celebrate the eternal Wedding with Thee in Heaven .
Samuel was 31 years old when they got married, and his wife 28. They got nine children together – the nine first names on the list to the right. Two of the girls died when they were only about 8-9 years old.
Anna Sophia died in 1894, aged 57 (only a few months after the death of her youngest daughter). Four years later, in 1898, Samuel got remarried to a young widow, Selma – my great-grandmother.
Selma also had one daughter from her first marriage (not included in the list in the Book).
Together, they had two more children. Their first, Sally, born 1900, was my paternal grandmother.
From my childhood, I remember (from my grandparents’ home) the portrait of the stern-looking man holding the note in his hand:
“LORD INCREASE OUR FAITH”
It always seemed a little odd to me, and I never knew the background, until after the death of my own father a few years ago. Among his notes on family history, I found an article written about Samuel by another relative. It seems that in 1884, Samuel was involved in the founding of a free mission covenant church (and was vice-chairman for a while). My guess is that the photo was taken in this context, and that the prayer on the note was their motto. (As far as I know, it’s the only photograph that exists of Samuel. If my assumptions about the occasion are correct, it would be showing him at age 47 or so, which seems about right.)
Samuel died in 1907. My grandmother grew up on the farm where she was born, together with her mother, her younger brother, and two or three of her older half-siblings (in a village not far from the town where I live).
[These photos – except the first one - have previously been shown in my family history blog Greetings from the Past.]
Linking to Friday My Town Shoot Out: Handwriting