JT’s Family Tree
A very special thanks to Uncle Dick Brand, Marie Powlison, Amelia Pimsner and especially dear Arlene Pimsner. To all the others, who have provided names, dates, places, photos to copy and encouragement -- Thank you!!

03/03/21 -- Here I thought my research days were pretty much done. After over 50 years of seeking information on my family tree I recently discovered a BIG surprise! There is untapped research to do in, of all places, Missouri! It seems my great grandfather, Johann Dittmer, wasn't the first Dittmer to these shores. Oh no... his aunts and uncle (maybe uncles...) came here before him. And, I think even his mother came to America! So I have dusted off my research cap and am at it once again. (I sent a few messages via Ancestry.com to 5 or 6 DNA matches and hope to hear back from them soon. They are listed as 4-5th cousins!!) And to think, when Norm and I were traveling the highways and byways in the Midwest, we actually passed through the county of Lafayette Missouri multiple times! Yes, if I had know then what I know now, we would have definitely stopped... My researcher in Germany is working from THAT end and has been providing me with additional information on sisters born and living in Germany. (I had some of the information but definitely not what Ulrike has been sending me...)

05/20/19 -- I can't begin to explain my excitement! (You have no idea how I wish my dad was still with us so that I could share my most recent 'findings'.) Growing up, Dad always told us his grandfather was Alwin Franke and his grandmother's mother was Anna Pollakowski. Some years ago I had some research done on the Franke line so I know who Alwin's parents are. (Last year I mentioned I had found a sister of Alwin's also living in Chicago.) Not only have I found a sibling for Alwin, I may have also found two more!

Out of the blue, my former researcher told me she had access to microfilmed records for that part of 'Prussia' where my great grandmother, Eleanore Hellwig, came from. Eleanore has been my 'brick wall' for oh so many years. Suddenly, this wall has come tumbling down! Eleanore's father was Christian Hellwig and yes, her mother was Anna Pollakowski! Holy Cow! Between us, I have been able to find additional records which I share with Ulrike who then validates and translates for me. Eleanore was the youngest of her family and had many siblings - some of whom also emigrated to the U.S. I now have another whole generation for both Christian Hellwig (also shown as Hellwich) and Anna Pollakowski. Life is good!

12/18/18 -- So much to add! I am so excited that, thanks to DNA results (and modern computers), I have been in contact with a 3rd or 4th cousin from our May/Mai family! I love puzzles and this research has been an almost dead end for me. A few years back a very kind soul provided information she saw when looking at microfilm. I thought "this is it..." but most recently I have been emailing a 'cousin' from that family. His ancestor and my great great grandfather were brothers! Today I received a query on Ancestry.com from a descendent of another brother! And to think they lived in Chicago!

So, for now, I am updating my on-line data - just to keep it as current as possible. I will soon be digging into this other brother's family and may end up revising the website again sooner than later. Life is good!

07/01/18 -- Once again, it seems I have had a LONG span of time between updates. I don't intend for this to happen but some times that is how it goes... Sadly, in August 2016 dear Arlene Pimsner passed away. There isn't a day goes by when I don't think of a reason to give her a call... In September 2017, we purchased a home in Oregon - finally, my research came out of storage!  (Once settled, I started looking at my old research and 'discovered' a sister to my great grandfather, Alwin Franke! What a shock!)  Then April of this year, my first cousin, Tony Greenwood, passed away.

03/12/16 -- It is time for me to again provide an update. I have been spending time adding data to my family tree on Ancestry as well as adding and confirming data I have in this database. I recently gave a class in Williams CA having to do with not only HOW to trace your family tree but also how to organize your data collected. The bulk of my research is still in storage and will be staying there for the near future. But my class also identified resources available to those of us who DO family research. It was a fun day and I may be having a repeat class in April I am thinking. Cousin Nell Marie has been busily scanning photos from the collection her mom, Aunt Rita had. Aunt Rita passed away last year. Nell has shared a variety of photos I have never see so I am excited to have a better idea of what my great grandfather, Johann Dittmer, as well as all of his sons looked like not long before he died.

08/22/15 -- I can NOT believe I have allowed so much time to pass without updating this website! Yes, I have been busy but that is no excuse... We have traveled all around the U.S. visiting with family and friends. We spent a wonderful Easter with Aunt Shirley Dittmer and her kids and grandkids - two years ago! Good grief! We also visited with Pimsner kin in the Cleveland area on that trip - Arlene Pimsner (who is now 99 years young!) and Louise Tupper (and Louise's son, Karl who was in the process of moving...)

Last year we spent an awesome week with cousin, Cindy, in Wyoming. We enjoyed her company again this year but this time in South Dakota. (Because of the time of year being 'summer' we had great difficulties finding places to park our large RV so had to forego a visit in Cleveland. But we DID get to see Uncle Hank and Aunt Marian who live in Wisconsin!! And in this past spring we made a trip down to Arizona where we got to see Great Aunt Betty Brand who was 100 at that time. I understand Aunt Betty returned to the Chicago area for a high school reunion along with daughter Mary Catherine (who we also enjoyed spending time with as well as her hubby) and other family members.

05/05/13 -- Oh my, SO much time has gone by since my last on-line update. And so much has happened! Mom is now in heaven with Dad; we lost our dear pooch last fall (Summer's Place is named after our much loved pet); I've met via email new 'cousins' (Dan & Nina to name two...) and am happy to share my research with them. And how exciting to be able to add to MY family data - as much as I enjoy the hunt, I couldn't do it all without the hints, nudges and facts from kin across the world. Thanks to one and all!! I hope I am able to help add information to YOUR family tree :-)

09/11/11 -- Another year has come and gone...  Today is a perfect opportunity to recollect - those who have gone before us, served our (or some other) country valiantly - some have even given their lives in services - soldier, sailor, police or fire. Those of you who know me know I place a very high value on FAMILY!

These last few weeks have been not only busy but fruitful! I have been in contact with 'cousins' far and wide... Some have pointed me in new directions while others have corrected data collected over the years. I thank you for this contact! Without your input (Joe, Janine, Heinz, Duane to name a few) I would NOT be able to 'find' our missing kin!

09/08/10 -- I can't believe so much time has gone by since the last update! But I have been busy adding not only more 'kin' to the database but I've been corresponding with cousins - new and old. I love it when families come together like a puzzle and yes, I still have pieces missing but more holes are being filled!!

Brenda Racila has provide SO much information on the Brand side - she is descended from the brother of my Adam Brand! Way cool!< Joyce Floyd and Bill Bodenlos have added to the Pimsner side.

I went to a family reunion in May and met some very nice people - all related on the Pimsner side. And, I met a distant cousin who lives in Central California and her husband. Cathy (with a C) is descended from the Ballasch connection. Around the time I was thinking of this reunion, I connected with another Ballasch descendent - this was Kathy (with a K formerly of Southern CA)! Thanks for sharing your photos ladies!

01/30/10 -- Here goes another update! I have been fortunate in that many of the marriage certs I've ordered from the Cleveland Archives have been 'kin'. There are many more with common surnames found in my database but I've not yet been able to find a match or link. (I'm adding surnames to the Cuyahoga County USGenWeb Marriages page so if you see a marriage license you KNOW fits in my database, I'd appreciate your letting me know!)

It was pretty exciting to actually meet the granddaughter of Simon Pimsner as well as the great granddaughter of Theresia Ballasch. Both ladies are descended from the siblings of my great grandmother, Anna Marie Dittmer!

I recently started a blog for Pimsner research! I'm not sure I have enough subject matter to keep this up but I'm going to sure try! You can find it at: http://budlink.wordpress.com/

Next, other than adding to this database, I will be to create a mailing list AND a monthly 'family' newsletter. We shall see how THAT goes!

12/15/09 -- I'm loving the ability to do my research from the comfort of my home! I usually have about 6 websites open and move between them checking data as I go! If you haven't tried the FamilySearch.org 'pilot' search then you are in for a treat!

With that said, I have been adding information to the allied families of my Pimsner line. One of the surnames that keeps popping up is GEDEON. This name has married into every family!

11/23/09 -- I've been adding MORE data - almost on a daily basis. I'm not sure I could have done this without my computer since SO much information is now available at the click of a mouse.

I was saddened to hear cousin Larry Mielenz has passed away this month. I have SO missed our almost monthly telephone calls since the middle of summer when I realized he was not well. While on vacation I called Larry to confirm our finally getting to meet after all these years but Larry had to decline. He was just too ill for visitors. I spoke with him twice after returning home and figured he would not last much longer. You are in a better place, Larry.

I have been transcribing cemetery information for the Cleveland Genealogical Society. Eventually they will have an on-line database of ALL cemeteries with 'residents'.

10/25/09 -- Once again, I've been a busy girl! We took a long vacation in September to visit with various friends and family across the US. One of our stops was Cleveland Ohio. We met Louise and Karl (and Karl's lovely wife, Mary). Thanks to our awesome tour guides, I now have photographs of the church where Johann Dittmer and Anna Marie Pimsner were married! (Photographs of the church will be added at a later date) I also have an idea of the neighborhood the Pimsner's, Ballasch, Gedeon, etc families lived after moving to Cleveland from Metzenseiphen.

The three of us (Louise, Karl and I) met another Pimsner 'cousin' - Arlene Pimsner!! Oh happy days!! Descendents of 3 Pimsner siblings (Theresia, Simon and Anna Marie) actually visited for the first time. I was hoping for a 4th but Duane Frantz was unable to make it. Darn!

Norm and I were also able to meet another Pimsner 'cousin'. Kris from New York!! What a great tour guide we had when we stayed at her lovely home!

03/29/08 -- I've been a busy girl! Of course, my MAIN focus has been adding information to our Pimsner family and just last week, I found a 'missing' death certificate for Theresia (Pimsner) Ballasch! Imagine my shock and great joy! Along with this certificate I ended up finding 15 MORE! Some were not as 'newsy' and some added additional mystery to the project! But cousin Kris Pimsner and I were talking about some of my 'missing' data and we FOUND the clues to put the puzzle pieces together! Thanks, Kris!

Along with researching the Pimsner family, I have also had the great excitement of being contacted by yet another distant Dittmer cousin! Caroleen lives in the land 'down under' and thanks to research she and another cousin did some years back, we have found OUR connection! I will add Caroleen's family information to my database for the next time I update which, I hope, won't be almost a year away...

In the not too distant future, I will be printing all the Wurzbach and related family information specially for Aunt Shirley! I've been looking and looking for her ancestors but have had NO luck these last 10 years or so... And it's no wonder - I've been spelling the surname incorrectly which is why once I found the REAL spelling names kept falling into place! Hurrah!

My database has grown in leaps and bounds - and I've been having so much fun 'finding' missing kin!!

10/06/07 -- Almost a year has gone by since I last updated my website.. Oh I've been busy and I'm oh so thrilled to be able to say 'But there's MORE!' Especially since I received a most exciting piece of mail yesterday - a brown manila envelope arrived from distant cousin, Louise Tupper! Louise has provided me with the 'missing' Pimsner family (Theresia Ballasch descendents). Thank you SO much, Louise, for taking the time and filling in my blank spaces! You have helped me enter the missing puzzle pieces. Our family is now whole! 

And as you page around, you will notice a new 'look' to this data. I hope you like it! Jeannette

11/24/06 -- I have added additional information for the PIMSNER family! I have also checked and double checked data found using both Ancestry.com and Heritage Quest for all things Pimsner related!  Anyone viewing this data and having corrections and/or updates, PLEASE contact me!!  Other than the descendents of Steven (Stephen) Pimsner, all Pimsner's from Slovakia ARE related!!!  Jeannette

10/29/06 -- I have added NEW information for the PIMSNER family! Thanks to researcher, Michael Sura, a resident of Kosice Slovakia, I have additional generations for PIMSNERS living in Nizny Medzev (Metzenseiphen) Slovakia!! Michael has more data for me but until I fully understand 'who' is related and how, I will hold off adding these additional Pimsner names... 

02/27/06 -- I am adding some photos of my Lowrey cousins! I have also managed to find some additional Pimsner data so these web cards are slightly changed. For everyone I owe print-outs.. you are not forgotten!! I am recovering from major surgery and hope to get to these items by April. I 'may' be caught up by then ;-D

11/13/05 -- I have added NEW information for the PIMSNER family! Thanks to researcher, Michael Sura, a resident of Kosice Slovakia, I now have additional generations for PIMSNERS living in Nizny Medzev (Metzenseiphen) Slovakia!! Unbelievable!
You will also see Pimsner 'family' photos have been added! Thanks so much to cousin, Arlene!  How wonderful to have someone to share the Pimsner research with ;-)

07/17/2005 -- I have been busy talking with so many cousins (Mom's cousins, 2nd cousins, etc...) and I owe many of them print-outs for THEIR families... Data has been flowing in so quickly that no sooner do I get something printed and it's already out-of-date... I am also working on a GEDCOM file (minus my Hopp family data) for 2 cousins on the Brand side...

Thanks to Arlene Pimsner, I HAVE added the individual family photos and, thanks to Heinz Schleussner (and his wife) photocopies of original documents are being translated!!

05/25/05 I will soon be adding PIMSNER pictures!!  Cousin Arlene Pimsner has come through with both unbelievable pictures but also documentation!  Wait until you see!! Some of the items include these...

5/30/04 I updated the DITTMER information - at last!

04/25/04 I now have both the birthplace AND parentage of Johann Anton Christian Dittmer!  I will soon be updating my website to show his parents, grandparents and links to copies of 'official' documents.  This is way too cool!! Thanks to Silvi Harrfeldt of Genealogus Hamburg for all her wonderful help!  (Silvi has also provided additional information on the Pimsner family who, surprise, lived in and emigrated from Hamburg!)

02/17/04 -- Another BIG surprise!  I am now in contact with descendents of Jacob & Eva May!  Holly Liter sent an email message to Larry Mielenz who forwarded the message to me.  I have also 'corresponded' with Holly's mother, Pamela Liter.  Wow!  Talk about timing!! 

01/30/04...I received a wonderful surprise! Out of the blue I was given ALL the information I've been missing about Jacob May! Lucy Dunigan had a friend send me an email message. Lucy and I have spoken on the phone and sent letters... Lucy lives in the house Jake built in Trinidad Colorado! Lucy has provided dates as well as some old news article copies and an actual photo of the home taken in the very early 1900's.   Thank you so very much, Lucy for helping me answer the question "Whatever happened to Uncle Jake?"

I first got interested in my family tree while a Junior in high school -- oh, about 1968. I started asking questions and sending away for information (thank heavens, postage at THAT time was still manageable - about $0.08 - $0.10 a letter!) I was fortunate to strike up a correspondence with relatives and kin on many sides of my family. A coworker of mine shared her experiences in family research and told me about the vast holdings of the Mormon Church. Holy Cow! What a bonanza! After many years and many reels of microfilm, I have been able to put together what I think is a fairly accurate picture of my family background. I know I've missed some people and places and hope, as you look through this data, you will spot these errors and let me know!

A sad fact reinforced today is that many records have been destroyed over the years. Much of what I am after in the Chicago area no longer exists due to the Chicago Fire of 1870. Also, for some of my research in Europe, records were destroyed due to the many wars - 'world' caliber or not... I am so thankful (and grateful) the Mormon Church has microfilmed and/or photocopied so many municipal records. This is the only way we can view them in the 21st century!

Uncle Dick Brand was always very enthusiastic and encouraging! The more questions I asked the more answers he provided. This, of course, led to more questions with more answers, etc... He provided many of the original photos so I could copy them for my records. Luckily I was able to record his voice during a wonderful visit not long before he died. Aunt Betty recently contributed by updating their family data. She also recently sent me a CD her nephew had created with scanned images of some old family photos. Many of these photos have been added!

I am adding to the Brand family information thanks to a query by Kathy Laman. Kathy is a descendent of John Brand who was a brother to Adam Brand!! Kathy has been so kind in sharing the information she has about her line of Brands!

Thanks to Ulrike Bachmann's research, Mathias Brand has been found! (As well as his parents and grandparents!)

I have to give a BIG Thank you to a perfect stranger - Cyndi Gipp. Cyndi provided so much information I have been able to add to the FRANZEN picture. I am in the process of ordering the passenger ship manifest. This is such an exciting find for me as I have been looking for Anna Marie Franzen for over 30 years! Now I have also found her siblings AND her parents! Holy Cow! Thanks again, Cyndi! I could not have done it without you!

A newer correspondent and source of data is cousin Larry Mielenz. Larry answered a query of mine and lo and behold we determined we were related! (It's so much fun to find cousins!) Larry provided me with data HE has collected on the Mai and related families.
Some of the Pimsner data is old -- Amalia Pimsner, a distant cousin, was very gracious in answering my questions about a family I knew nothing about. She herself knew little about her kin not living in the Cleveland, Ohio area but shared a family groupsheet from another cousin.

I recently started adding to this family 'history' due to queries and access to some distant databases. I would really like to hear from anyone researching the Pimsner surname. For more information on this family and their place of origin, you can go to:

Here's a photo of Metzenseifen sent to me from cousin Kris Pimsner. Thanks, Kris!

My Hopp and Neander information is more recent. I've been working with Ulrike Bachmann (a professional researcher) in Germany for this research actually located IN Germany. Marie Powlison, the oldest of the Hopp cousins and my dad's Godmother, was my first HOPP informant and a wonderful correspondent for many years. I reread many of her letters and know she would be so pleased to see the information I have found on HER family.
Tom Dittmer has been most helpful in supplying the Dittmer data I have for the families of Anthony, Andrew and Carl Dittmer. I was fortunate to have both corresponded and met Aunts Julia and Rose some years back. I also met Tom and some of his siblings during that visit. Uncle Tony was my first source when I started my Dittmer research. He too provided me with some valuable information. [Hey Tom - please take a moment and get in touch with me. Are you surprised with all I've added since we last corresponded???]
A new 'direction' for research is the Hauser surname. Clara Brand married William Hauser. As of late, I've gotten many queries about this connection. I have Tom Ruhland to thank for the information I currently have.
One last person really giving me fits is my great grandmother, Anna or Eleonor Helwig Breagel Franke. She is proving a major mystery and quite difficult to obtain ANY information about. Luckily for me, there's now another sleuth on her trail! Barb Bloedorn of Plainfield Illinois is also researching this line as her husband is also a descendent of 'Annie'. If there's anyone else out there with information about this elusive woman, both Barb and I would really like to hear from you!!

If you are interested, I have researched the following information with regard to arrival in the United States. So far, I've managed to find 7 families!! (Once transcribed, I will be add links at each ship to the transcription showing information about the ship, passengers and crew.)

Surname Ship Port of Departure Arrival Date
Franzen  -  Theodor and family David Hoadley Marseilles to NY 21 April 1857
Mai - Anton and family Tampico Havre to NY 29 May 1867
Helwig  -  Eleanor/Anna and father? SS Odor Bremen to NY 8 Apr 1876
Dittmer  -  Johann Silesia Hamburg & Havre to NY 29 Aug 1881
Pimsner  -  Andreas and part of his family Gellert Hamburg & Havre to NY 24 Aug 1882
Hopp  -  Wilhelm & family Noordland Antwerp to NY 3 July 1884
Franke -  Alwin SS Wieland Havre to NY 12 July 1890