Monday, December 19, 2016

A family in a Box: Stojetz

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This little box of cards is what really started me off on my flourish of genealogical time travel. One or two of them were, from the start, quite clear. Josef Ganzl of Neubaugasse 57 was my grandfather. Marie Baumgartner (Fr Stojetz) was his mother-in-law. Eduard Stogetz (later Stojetz) was his father-in-law. Franz Stogetz would have been his uncle-in-law, had he lived a few years longer.


But, if those ones seem straightforward, they are not, all, quite. First, of course, there is the curious change of name. It seems to run in our family – I am only the latest, of many, to go deed-polling. But that’s another story.

It’s Eduard who has me a little puzzled. His card has been pencilled ‘1882’ on the back. So, twenty-twoish and a bachelor. And a k k Unterjäger! A corporal in the army? I thought my father’s memories had the odd hole in them. Eduard is supposed to have been apprenticed to a compositor, done his OE wandering round Switzerland, Italy, Austria as a farm hand and printer’s journeyman, and then opened a shop in Floridsdorf. All doubtless correct. But, hey Dad, there’s a fifteen years gap between the OE and the shop! How to investigate that? Perhaps, I thought, go back as far as I can?


 ‘As far as I can’ is the little painted Stammbaum, and Rudi’s birth certificate, which tells us that Eduard’s parents were Joseph (sic) Stogetz (1817-1880), machinschlosser or locksmith (‘for the National Bank’), and his wife Margarethe née Böhm. Great-greats to me. I have found only one trace of each of them, anywhere, beyond that piece of legal paper. Joseph is, in 1856, named as a ‘sämmtliche Schlosser’ in a press listing. Margarethe is listed in the Death Notices of 1865.

They must have been married circa 1851, after which they began a voluminous family. As the Stammbaum shows, Ernestine (1852), Aloisa (1856-7), Josef (1862) and Ludwig (1865) died as infants. So, also, did Adolph, at the age of one, at Alsergrund 41. I wonder how he missed his place on the Stammbaum. Two of the three children who survived their 35 year-old mother’s death, did not do so by very long. Marie (1853-1877) died, at 23, of Gehirntuberculose (brain tuberculosis) at what became the family’s longterm home at Josefstadt’s Florianigasse 46, and it was tuberculosis, too, that took Franz in 1883. Only Eduard remained.

But, actually, that was not so. I couldn’t work out why some of the birthdates of the children on the tree were duplicated. And why Mutter Margarethe was on one side and Mutter Theresia on the other. Two mothers? Sometimes, the most obvious things … After Margarethe’s death, Josef remarried. The lady was Theresia, almost-certainly the Witwe Hecher. And on the tree we see three children who look as if they are from her previous husband. Barbara 1852, Hermine 1866, and Karl 1869. Simple? Not.

Of Barbara I know nothing. But I do know Karl. Karl Josef Stogetz died at Florianigasse in 1870 aged 1 of ‘lungenentzündung’. Stogetz. So Joseph and Theresia must have been married by then. And Hermine? Well, I stumbled upon a Hermine, seamstressing at Florianigasse 46. But she wasn’t Stojetz. She was Hermine Hecher. I’ve found out, amazingly, that Hermine wasn’t just a ‘song of the shirt’ seamstress, she was a ‘tüchtiger Kleidernäherin’ and a wedding dress from her hand was sold some years ago at the Dorotheum (‘around 1900, cream-coloured silk, rich net lace decoration, top with pleated application, net lace trimming, silk lining, reinforcements, hook and push button fastener, floral elements made of wax pearls and wax leaves mounted on wire, train, good used condition, small parts missing’.) But the last bit of evidence came, as so often, from a graveyard. Buried in the one grave are Theresia Stojetz (d 20 January 1918), Max Hecher (d November 1914) and Hermine Hecher (d 1940).


I should add that (a?) Max Hecher ('Bernsteindrechsler') was a witness at the marriage of Rudi with Josef Ganzl, and that Rudi notes his passing ‘Onkel Max Hecher’ (there was an Onkel Max Ganzl too) in the baby book. Oberjäger Max Hecher of the 4th Jägerregiment, beim 2 Armee? His gravestone apparently bears his birth-date. 28 December 1873. Now hang on … whose baby are YOU!? And who is the Max Hecher in Eduard Stojetz’s Naturfreund group in the mid 20th century? Like Hermine’s dress, there are ‘small parts missing’ here. But I’m pressing on.

So, back to Eduard for some tidying up. 1882, in the army. Next sighting 1884, getting wed to Marie … Edward R? R for Rudolph, I think.


And, oh dear! Died. 19 Februar 1887: Stojetz Rudolphine, Buchbindergehilfen’s Tochter, 1 year VIII Florianigasse 46 Nierenentzündung. Nephritis. But four months later they had another daughter, christened Rudolphine again, who proved very, very, very much more durable. Nana.

Next sighting: March 1889: Ed Stojetz Papierverschleisser, IX Nussdorferstrasse 25, für Gratulationskarten Wunschpapiere, chromolith, Bilder, Merkantil-Druckforten, Stick, Schreib Zeichen und Laubsägevorlagen ….  OK, he’s working as a stationer … I wonder how long that went on for. 




It isn’t until 1896, that I finally see Eduard and Marie showing up in the Hauptstrasse in Floridsdorf, eventually in the shop in my photo, offering ‘Teppiche, Pferdedecken, Bettdecken, Kotzen’ ‘Solide Waare, Billigste Preise’. They seem to have stayed in the Floridsdorf area till 1916, when they sold up the shop and shifted back temporarily to Nussdorf, where my father remembers growing the wartime potatoes …


The later life of Eduard Stojetz and his (so my dad said) adorable, wise, kind wife was centred around the Floridsdorf Naturfreund group, a tramping, mountain-climbing and –rescue society in which not only the parents, but the children and eventually the grandchildren enthusiastically joined, 



and around the so-called ‘Social Democrat Party’, where ‘Genosse Stojetz’ (Comrade Stojetz), his wife, and little nana Rudi, who seems to have been quite the poetic demagogue, were tireless workers.


And then, in 1932, Marie died (the left-wing press obituaried her), Josef Ganzl died, father emigrated to New Zealand, and then there was war. And me.

 And I have to find out who those two remaining cards are ... Georg WHO? Eduard WHO?



Here we go a digging some more ...

Footnote: Thanks to Jörg Wassmer from the Jüdisches Museum, Berlin, I think I have identified 'Eduard'. Eduard Bürgel (with wife) schumachermeister of Lederergasse 23, practically next-door neighbours of the Stojetz family ... Georg Würl .... hmmm.




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