Sorry for the premature posting last week, here is the true post:
With much thanks to my cousin Darren and other distant relatives who shared their findings online I have been able to trace my fathers bloodline to Dreisen Germany, which amazingly enough is within an hours drive from where we are living! From the records I have seen so far, my family has a strong connection to Dreisen and the neighboring villages of Standenbüh, Göllheim, and Marnheim. My 4th Great Grandfather, Martin was born in Standenbühl on February 9, 1783 and spent his life in Dreisen with his wife Maria Katharena. They had three children. The first two, John Martin (1818) and John Jacob (1833) were born in Baden-Baden Württemberg and the family returned to Dreisen before the birth of Katharina Margaretha (1839). The boys immigrated to New Jersey in 1852/53 and Katharine married and stayed in Dreisen.
In the United States John Jacob had 8 daughters and one son, Martin L. Alles. Martin is father to my Great Grandfather John Linton Alles. Anybody else see a family resemblance? I know who I see when I look at Martin’s picture.
While I have only tipped the iceberg in my genealogy research, it is clear so far that the Dreisen area is home to our family so it made the perfect first stop on my birthday road trip.
Dreisen is super tiny. The village is 3.49 square miles and has less than 1,000 residents many of whom are farmers. It felt great to be there. So many of the half-timbered buildings were still well preserved, lilacs were in full blossom, and the sun was shining brighter than ever.
We started our walk through the cemetery to see if we could find anything. Although I am sure Alles’ still live in Dreisen, I was not expecting to find much since in Germany cemetery plots are rented. Plots are rented for timeframes of 10-20 years and then the family must pay to keep the grave. If they do not pay, the grave is removed and the plot is reused. Often the plot is reused by the same family, but that is not always the case. After I learned this, it made sense to me why there are so many wooden gravemarkers. So, knowing that, I was not expecting to see many old headstones but to my surprise we found graves for two Alles’ who died in the 1990’s, one from the 1970’s and one from the 1950’s. Johann Alles (1891-1956) is of the same generation as my Great Grandfather. Now I need to try to figure out from which part of the tree his branch comes from. My guess is that my 4th Great Grandfather had brothers that I do not yet know about. It was a truly amazing feeling to find these stones and to realize the family must be very strong still in Dreisen to keep the graves alive.
It didn’t take much to walk through the tiny village so I pulled up google maps to see if anything interesting popped up that we might have missed and I almost fell over. On the map was a marking for Wernfried Alles. We walked to the point on the map and found a large farmhouse and barn. There were flower boxes on the windows, and an old man playing with what I am assuming were his grandchildren on the veranda. There was no name on the mailbox, and no sign anywhere confirming the address. We didn’t take a picture so we wouldn’t disturb the man, but I am left wondering is the old man’s name Werfried? Is that the name of a farming business? There is a phone number listed on the google listing, so maybe down the road a German speaking friend could investigate for us.
Just before leaving we stopped at the only place to eat in the village and got a bite to eat. I had a warm Fleischkäse on a bun and it was amazing! Fleischkäse is a meatloaf made of corned beef, pork, bacon and onions ground up and baked so that it looks like bologna with a thin crunchy shell. About a one inch slice was on my hard roll and now I have a favorite food to add to my list. To top it off, the little café had wines made of local grapes! Naturally I bought a Riesling bottle which is waiting for my family when they visit in August.
We didn’t spend too much time in Dreisen since we still had quite a drive to Schwangau but if I (or anyone else) finds some records and wants me to check out an address there I would be more than happy to go back.
Stopping in Dreisen was the perfect way to start our trip. From here we went south to Bavaria to visit Königschloss Hohenschwangau and Schloss Neuschwanstein two of the famed castles of King Ludwig II, then over to Salzburg, Austria, and rounded out the trip at Lake Chiemsee. I can’t wait to share the rest of this beautiful trip with you! It was only a week, but we saw so much that it feels like we were vacationing for much longer.
If you are interested in seeing what I have so far of the family tree, I would be happy to share, just let me know and to see more pictures of our stop in Dreisen check out my album on Flickr.