In my last blog I promised to write about my most exciting personal google find ever. Well here it is. I’ll give you some background first. My 3 x great grandfather, Carl August Schwartz was born in Büdingen in what is now Germany, in 1792. As a young man, he moved to Copenhagen in Denmark. I had often asked myself why he would have done that. Was it due to war, for work, for love, or was there even a reason? I journeyed to Büdingen in 2011, and asked staff and volunteers at the museum and archives there, and no-one had any answers.
Like many family historians, I often just randomly google the names of my ancestors to see if anything new appears. I had been given the tip to use the advanced search option and select Danish as the language. To my shock, I couldn’t believe how many results came up. Why hadn’t I known about this before?
I selected a link that looked interesting. It was the website of Bruun Rasmussen, a Danish auction house, and there I found this treasure. Two photos of the chess set my ancestor had made as his apprenticeship piece around 1815, and the following description.
Carl August Schwartz 1792-1858 was born in Büdingen near Frankfurt am Main. He moved to Copenhagen in 1813. He was familiar with the ivory turner trade since several members of his family worked as ivory turners. He followed his brother, Johan Georg Schwartz (1789-1864) who had started to work in their uncle Johan Adam Schwartz’s (1751-1835) workshop in Sværtegade a few years earlier. The chess pieces are traditionally regarded as being Carl August Schwartz’s apprenticeship piece. Provenance: The chess game has been in the family until now.
What a lot of information, and answers, in one short paragraph. Sadly, I was too late to bid in the auction, and as you can see, the website states: Provenance: The chess game has been in the family until now. I was saddened to hear that news, but I felt as though I had won the lotto with the information it provided. The chess set was sold for around $3000 Australian. I contacted the auctioneers, but they were unable to provide me with the details of the purchaser, and unwilling to pass on my details.
So, my advice is, google regularly and remember google is now much much more than just a search engine. Use the advanced search and change the language option to that of countries your ancestors may have lived in….it may just help you break down that brick wall. If you’d like some help on using google’s advanced search please feel free to Contact me, or refer to some great resources I listed in my last post.
Jacqui Rose Brock DipFamHist