Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When German Brandriet Eyes Aren't Smiling ...

I am an organizer. When I don't have an organizing project I can get into here on The Prairie, I organize other people's stuff. So after a couple of weeks with Catherine at Mom's, making order and scaling back, everything having to do with both Mom's and Dad's Family Trees, is in one room and in several mountainous piles.

I have my own Family Tree books, but digging around in all of this fun stuff it took to put them together has ended up being quite amusing. The photos, the documents, and the stories surrounding them have taken on a new importance for me. Maybe because one day I'll be in charge of every bit of it. And then I will have to hand it down to Catherine. She and I have a tremendous obligation to Grammie. We have to keep the information alive, current and ongoing. It's just that way. Grammie has devoted a major amount of her down time to both writing and producing my Dad's family's Tree. And she has devotedly maintained her own in one way or another. To let it go would surely be sinful.

This is Bernard and Caroline Koopman Brandriet with 8 of their 9 children. Their first son, John, died from Dipttheria at the age of 5. The Wabasha, Minnesota epidemic was their reason for moving to homestead in Waverly, Dakota Territory. Not North, Not South, not yet.

Bernard is my Great Grandfather. He was born in Luxemburg, Germany in 1846. He was the only Brandriet who came to the US. After settling in Wabasha he sent for Caroline and she traveled with her Father, from Luxemburg, to be reunited with her future husband. Talk about Love ... and someone stole her jewelry on the ship. In her Golden Years she would occasionally wander in her garden at night, trying to find it. My heart is breaking right about now. But she had a great life. Her 8 children stayed in the Waverly area and she lived to be 75.

My Great Uncle Ben, back row left, farmed in Waverly too. He married Lizzie Jorgenson and they had 7 children.

My twin Great Aunts, Elizabeth and Mary, are in the back to the right of Ben. Aunt Elizabeth was always "Auntie Dick". No one thinks this is crazy fun except me. She married Michael Bierscheid and had 3 children. Great Aunt Mary married William Halling and had 3 children as well.

Great Aunt Maggie, to the right of the twins, married John Kranz and had 12 children. That pretty much sums up her life.

My Great Uncle Theo, back row right, raised horses and was a self appointed Veterinarian, trusted by everyone in the area. I love that. He married Bridget Kiley and they had 1 child. Something's up with that. When Theo was elderly and alone he lived with us a couple of years. On a Sunday morning, Wendy followed him to early church, 2 blocks up 3rd Street and right in to the front door of Immaculate Conception. She was 3 years old and wearing her footie jammies. He brought her home and skipped the Service.

Matt, on Caroline's left had a Dairy Farm. He married Mary Byer and had 4 children.

My Aunt Anna, in the front on the right was "Auntie" to everyone. She never married and was dedicated to the Herbert Clark family. She worked for them 38 years and lived to be 90.

That's my Grandfather between Bernard and Caroline, their youngest, Albert Joseph Brandriet. He married Ethel Corey and they had 6 children. Ethel's ancestors lived in Salem and two of them, my Great x 5, I think, Grandparents, were pressed to death for practicing witchcraft. I think she used boiled sheep manure and butter on a neighbor's burn. Or maybe that's another story from another ancestor on the other side. I like the sound of it though. Pressing is being covered up with rocks until you go bye bye. Nice. Albert and Ethel's youngest child was my Father, Carroll Eugene.

No ... we were not always the smiling Brandriet's in our photos. But you can tell we are thinking about it. I really love my Peeps.


  1. Laurie, I had to laugh out loud at some of these shenanigans (although being pressed to death is not funny!) What's the saying, "You haven't fallen far from the tree..." Don't you go boiling any sheep manure now!

  2. oh Laurie, Iam reading your post since this morning and felt very interesting.

  3. Laurie,
    My name is Heidi Nelson. I was Heidi Brandriet... I'm Sam and Ben Brandriet's mom. Did you know that their uncle, Tom Brandriet has a family tree that dates back to the time before anyone immigrated to the US? Tom is Venard's son, so is the boy's grandfather, Gary. I always thought the Brandriet history was facinating, and my boys both have the dark brown Brandriet eyes. :)