In my last posting I mentioned the architect Leopold Ernest Wyneken in San Francisco who has no direct connection to any of the other American Wynekens. Interestingly, there was another man, Friedrich Alexander Wyneken, who lived in the San Francisco Bay area, having studied in Berkeley, California and working later in San Francisco.
I know exactly where Leopold fits in to the Wyneken family tree in Germany; Friedrich, on the other hand, is a loose leaf. My sources provide no information whatsoever about his parents or where he came from. The only thing I have to go by is his dissertation at the University of California at Berkeley dated 1912 and titled “Rousseaus Einfluss auf Klinger” (“Rousseau’s Influence on Klinger”). It is interesting to note that this work was written in German. This comes as no surprise when one reads the “vita” he included with the thesis, a translation of which follows:
I received my primary, secondary and part of my college education in Germany and graduated from the University of California in 1906, after having attended that institution for one year and a half. A year later I received the degree of Master of Letters. I was also connected with the Department of German as an assistant from 1909 to 1912.
Research in the Internet provides some information concerning the year of his birth: The Library of Congress website gives the author’s birth year as 1866, and the 1920 federal census finds him in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania married to a woman named Gertrud. This census lists his age as 53, which is a good match for a birth year of 1866.
If we go by the information in Friedrich’s vita that he started his university studies in Germany and completed them in Berkeley, he might have been around 20 when he emigrated to the US. That would make the year of his emigration roughly 1886.
Leopold, on the other hand, applied for naturalization in 1886. At first glance, this would seem to be a good match. Perhaps Leopold brought his family, including his son Friedrich, across the Atlantic with him?
Unfortunately, this is all speculation. One of my sources states, for example, that according to one story Friedrich might have arrived in the United States in the 1860’s, which would make a father / son relationship between Friedrich and Leopold almost impossible. It is however unclear how true this claim may be. That would also pose the question why Leopold would have waited so long to become a US citizen? In 1886 he would have already been living in the country at least16 years.
I’m afraid it will take a stroke of good luck to find out more about Leopold’s immigration and to figure out who this mysterious Friedrich Wyneken in Berkeley and Philadelphia was.
The Wyneken Saber and a Cabaret Pianist
I have unfortunately been unable to come to a conclusion in finding the rightful owner of the saber I mentioned in an earlier post.
I believe I have located a descendant of Lieutenant Colonel Otto Gustav Felix Wyneken, the original owner of of the saber. Unfortunately, this woman is not particularly interested in my story. She seems to be concerned that I’m trying to pull off some kind of scam, and I can certainly understand that. I believe she’s the person I’m looking for but I’m afraid I’m going to have to give up on reuniting the saber with its rightful owners.
I might get back in touch with the elderly gentleman in Bavaria who currently possesses the saber to ask him whether he would be willing to pass it on to me for my own collection of Wyneken memorabilia. I doubt whether he will agree to that, however, but if by some chance he does, I will be sure to post about it.
In the meantime, though, just last week I chanced upon an interesting bit of trivia about Otto Wyneken’s youngest son, Wulff Joachim. The article in the German Wikipedia site about the musician Erich Einegg (1898-1966) claims that his birth name was Wulff Joachim Wyneken. My database lists the same birth date for Wulff as is given for Einegg, and in my notes I have listed that Wulff was studying music in Berlin in the mid-1920’s.
My database also has a note that Wulff was a retired lieutenant, but I’m beginning to wonder whether that might not be a mistake.
Einegg was apparently active in the cabaret scene and his name shows up quite a bit on the Internet because of the recordings for which he played piano. He also composed music, including the soundtrack for the postwar movie “Irgendwo in Berlin” (“Somewhere in Berlin”) from the year 1946 that depicted the life of German children in postwar Germany.
It just so happens that a Wyneken relative sent me a copy of this movie a number of years ago. I was under the incorrect impression that there was a Wyneken that appeared in the movie, but now I’m going to have to write my contact again to find out whether she realized that the music in the movie was possibly composed by a Wyneken.
I’m also going to have to research the claim that Erich Einegg was actually a stage name for Wulff Wyneken because the notes in the Wikipedia article are vague about where this information comes from.
Ah, research! That’s what genealogists love to do.