Get-together with the Spanish branch

At the beginning of August I received an e-mail message from Eduard Cabré Serrano who lives in a town outside of Tarragona, Spain. He introduced himself as a Wyneken descendant. I looked him up in my database but he had to give me a few more details before I could pinpoint where he fits into the family tree. I located the relationship, though.

Eduard himself has set up his own family tree in the Internet that is only visible to people he invites to participate. He invited me to join. When I logged in I saw that he had gathered all sorts of information about the various parts of his Spanish families and relatives. I knew about some of them but he, of course, has a lot more details.

I also saw that he has gathered some information about parts of the Wyneken family tree, especially those branches that are closely related to the Spanish branch. He of course is particularly interested in the branch that Erika Wyneken in Germany belongs to, as many years ago Erika visited her Spanish relatives in person. I have heard that all involved have very fond memories of that reunion.

I entered my own information into the website Eduard uses and all my direct ancestors up to my great great grandfather, who Eduard had already added to his information. Because I place utmost importance on keeping the information that people share with me confidential, this will be all the information I will add. The data I share on my web page — currently with a cut-off date of around 1900 — is, of course, all publicly available but otherwise all the data I’ve gathered will never be published on the Internet.

Eduard, Matthew and Maria

Eduard, Matthew and Maria

Last Monday at 7 p.m. was the appointed time so I went to Martinsbräu after work to meet them. We didn’t see each other at first but then we caught sight of each other. After some questioning looks we mutually decided that we had found the persons we were looking for. We went inside together and sat down at one of the long wooden tables. Eduard immediately pulled out a cardboard tube and extracted from it a very long, rolled up family tree he had printed out at home. We sat for a while poring over it together, he pointing out some of the highlights of his Spanish family connections and I locating the position on his tree where my branch of the Wyneken family starts.Anyway, it just so happened that Eduard and his wife Maria were planning a trip to Germany. He asked if it would be possible to meet somewhere in Freiburg so we could sit down and chat. I suggested we meet at Martinsbräu in Freiburg because it serves typical German food and good German beer, and he agreed.

We discussed some of the connections the Spanish Wynekens have with their nearest relatives in Germany. I was aware of the fact that Erika Wyneken once paid at least one visit to her Spanish relatives back a number of decades ago, during which, she has told me, her hosts were very open and hospitable and she remembers that trip with great fondness. — Just today I learned that Erika’s sister, Ruth, has also visited her Spanish relatives. — Amongt the many pictures Eduard and Maria showed me on the tablet computer they had brought with them were also some of Dieter Schulte and family, another person from this branch of the German Wynekens that I was in contact with quite a while ago. During our correspondence Herr Schulte told me of the visits back and forth between Germany and Spain that the relatives had paid each other.

At some point or other the waiter was able to break us away from our discussion so that we could order our meals. I recommended the meter long Bratwurst and the Schnitzel. They followed my suggestion while I ordered the large salad with mushrooms and turkey strips.

After our order was taken, Eduard pulled out two paper bags and told me that he had brought me some presents. I was very pleased to recognize a bottle of cava, Spanish sparkling wine, as well as a bottle of bath oil out of olive oil for my wife. Then he pulled a bunch of colorful, strangely shaped strings out and presented them to me proudly. I must admit that I didn’t recognize what they might be but he gladly cleared up my confusion. They are a new kind of specially patented shoelace! The knobs visible in the photograph flatten out when you pull on either end of the lace so that they can be threaded through the holes in the shoes, but then when you let go of the lace again the knots return and keep the laces from slipping. Thus, when you use these shoelaces you don’t even need to tie your shoes. It is quite an ingenious idea! I had never thought that it would be possible to improve the design of shoelaces, but I was wrong. Eduard told me that the Cabré family runs a company that manufactures all sorts of cords and ropes.

As the restaurant was rather busy it took a while for our food to arrive. No problem, though, because we kept on talking about all sorts of things. We continued our lively discussion after we had eaten our meal, too. We covered many topics: our respective families, Catalonia and the Catalan people and language, Catalan and Spanish history, Franco and the Spanish civil war, the house of Bourbon. I found out that Eduard’s grandfather, Eduardo Serrano, had a relatively close family relationship to Generalissimo Franco: Franco’s wife had a sister; this sister was married to Ramón Serrano, who was Eduardo’s brother. Ramón was also an influential politician until he fell into disfavor.

Every get-together has to come to an end sometime. We finally left the restaurant shortly before 10 o’clock, but before we did Eduard extended an invitation from his mother. She had told him to tell me that I and my wife and family were very welcome to come visit in Spain and stay in a house she owns there. I told Eduard that we are very grateful for the invitation and that we might very well take her up on the offer, although as neither Cindy or I are particularly fond of warm weather we would probably have to arrange the trip for a cooler season.

We ended our evening together in front of the Martinstor city gate of Freiburg, me heading off for the tram and they heading off for the parking garage. I hope they enjoyed this little family reunion as much as I did.

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