I was talking with my nephew, Steve Spethman the other day, when he mentioned that he knew very little about his grandfather, Fredrick Albert Spethman. Being a genealogy buff, I simply could not resist the challenge that presented. He had a picture of his grandfather, and knew that he had died in Oregon, and his grandmother’s first name, Joanne. He also knew his great grandfathers name, Patrick Spethman, as his own son, Xander Patrick was named after that grandfather. And he knew his great grandmother’s name, Meta Spethman. It was enough. I was able to find his grandparents’ marriage certificate and a little bit more information, including an index concerning his World War II service. The rest will come as it always does, as other people add what they know to what I have found out. Once this kind of search gets started, it always has a way of growing.
That information was exciting for me, as Steve is pretty special to me, but then I got a big surprise. Steve’s 3rd great grandfather, Johann Joachim Daniel Spethmann, who Americanized his name to John, was born in Oldenburg, Germany. To many people I don’t suppose that this information would be so interesting, but my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s family has a long history in Oldenburg. It dates back beyond the time of Steve’s grandfather’s birth, and the Schulenberg family is still there today. I’m not saying that the Spethmann family and the Schulenberg family are related, although it is entirely possible, but considering the fact that Oldenburg wasn’t that large a town back then, it is quite likely that they knew each other. Maybe, they were even friends.
I realize that if you go back far enough, you will find that we are all related, as we all came from Adam and Eve, but as time has progressed, it is harder and harder to come up with the exact connections that exist between each of us. I have been able to find connections for Bob and me, on two sides of his family to one of mine. We are 10th cousins on one side and 12th cousins on another. That is such a strange thought to me, and now to find such a close connection with Steve’s family has added another interesting twist to the family history, and one that I am eager to explore. Time will tell if we are related in a way that can easily be figured…such as a marriage, and if it is the case, my guess is that I will stumble on that information, as I have in so many others, when I least expect to find such a connection. Nevertheless, finding this or any other information to add to the family history is always an exciting day, and in this case, it all started with the discovery of a common birthplace.