After twenty years of wondering how all the scraps of information I have about my Biltz ancestors fit together, I’ve finally hit pay dirt!
My Franz Julius Biltz (1825-1908) was my great great great grandfather. He was born in Mittelfrohna in Saxony, Germany and emigrated to Missouri in 1839 with his older half-sister Louise Völker, who had joined the “Saxon Emigration” that formed the beginnings of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Franz became a pastor, and died in 1908 in Concordia, Missouri.
He led a very exciting and sometimes dangerous life. He had severed ties with his German family when he sneaked out of Germany at the age of 12. Years later he sought to reestablish ties to his German kin and this correspondence is still in existence. The letters name names and places but unfortunately do not go into great detail about how the various names mentioned are actually related. After all, both the writer of the letters and their recipients knew who everybody was.
Over the last few months I have been trying to make sense of all the tantalizing bits of information I have gathered. A few weeks ago I decided to try to get in touch with the archives for the region around Mittelfrohna. After many agonizing weeks of silence I finally got a response from the archivist. He put me in touch with a genealogist who lives very close to Mittelfrohna and who happens to be familiar with the family.
This genealogist wrote me by e-mail last weekend and you can imagine how thrilled I was when she confirmed some of the relationships I had deduced. But the greatest thrill was to see the name of Franz Julius’ father and mother, correctly identified as the father’s second wife. These were definitely the people I was looking for.
The genealogist provided me with a good amount of new information that I can already add to my database, including the name of Franz Julius’ grandfather and names of uncles and aunts that I had previously not known about. She offered to go look at the church books and other records for me for a small fee. You can bet that I’m going to take her up on this offer!
I still have to process the information she’s already sent me, and I will have to do the same with the results of the research she will be doing for me. I will be sharing the information I find out as soon as it’s all in. Aside from the members of the Martin L. Wyneken family like me – the little girl Franz Julius is holding in the photograph above grew up to be Mrs. Martin L. Wyneken I – there are a number of other Biltz descendants that I have been in touch with throughout the years. I will definitely get in touch with them with the new information.
Julius Biltz, his family, and his congregation witnessed and experienced some terrible atrocities committed by Southern-sympathizing “bushwackers” during the Civil War. You can read about some of these at https://blogs.lcms.org/2009/uncovering-history-6-2009/. Rev. R. Lee Hagan wrote a more detailed article for the Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly Vol. 88, No. 4 (Winter 2015). You can also read translations of letters Pastor Biltz and his wife wrote to family members about their trials during the war at https://books.google.com/books?id=g6NjrZIHzl0C&pg=PA171&lpg=PA171&dq=julius+biltz&source=bl&ots=Zb055nE3Ij&sig=ACfU3U0qIhnVPt-o8gdx5y9RfSc-dJ0sVA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjfu8OH0JzlAhUHWK0KHV0jDykQ6AEwB3oECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=julius%20biltz&f=false.
Did you get the email I sent you this morning? It was about Martin L. Wyneken IV picture taken in 1930. Is he directly related to you??? Mary Ann Wood
No, I didn’t receive anything from you by e-mail yesterday. As a matter of fact I can’t seem to find your e-mail address. I don’t understand that since I know we’ve corresponded.
I’d be interested to hear more about the picture. Yes, he’s directly related. Could you maybe try reaching me on Facebook? Or e-mail again?