Digging Up the Past
Have you ever done a little digging into your family tree? If you’re fortunate enough to have an uncommon last name, like I do, this can make it incredibly easy. I don’t envy people named Smith who want to dig up those roots. With a name like mine, however, I’ve never met a Mechsner that I wasn’t related to, even if it was back a generation or two.
This got me to thinking about Mechsners in other parts of the world. You may have guessed that the name hails from Germany, so I decided to see what I could find. Surprisingly, I found some great starter information at www.houseofnames.com that told me the history of the name and from where it hailed. It also told me when people began to migrate to the United States, including a Hans Joachim Meissner (a variant on my name) who arrived in Philadelphia in 1753. This was all free information as well; I’m certain there is more to be had if I pay pay for the service. I even got to see the coat of arms which, go figure, is dominated by my favorite color red. (While this may be a coincidence, I’ve still decided to take it as a good sign.)
You can also find information on Ellis Island, as they have a list of millions of passengers on their website. There are a number of people with my exact last name that arrived in the early 1900’s as well. Take a look at www.libertyellisfoundation.org and you’ll find a lot of fascinating information on the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Google is a great way to find information you never knew you wanted! To give you a bit of information on me, I come from a very musical family. I sing and play piano and love jazz and the blues. My dad does as well, is an incredible blues guitarist, and plays a number of instruments by ear. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a website of another Mechsner who still lives in Germany with similar characteristics. He is a music professor in Stuttgart, plays piano, was in a jazz group, and has the same eyes and forehead as my father!
This is definitely going to get me to do some additional digging into my family. I am excited to pursue this and perhaps on my next trip to Germany take a detour into some family history!