Friday, March 5, 2010

Karl Martens and The Gold Rush

I have not been on here this week as I turn my attention to homework assignments and reports and research neeeding to be completed for deadlines. But I decided that I could take an hour to turn on the NBC series we have all been whispering about, "Who Do You Think You Are?" and do some scannig at the same time.

I knew that this would be a good day for genealogists. Any time that our favorite obsession is prodcast on millions of televisions and treated with respect is a good day. What I did not expect is to get so entralled into the story. Unlike the series on PBS, this one focused on one person at a time and included them going through the process of accessing records at repositories around the country. While not everyone can afford to just get on a plane and travel from professional genealogist to another, the spirit of the finds and the belief that there are stories to be found is what I believe is the focus and basis here that will inspire so many.

It did the trick for me. You see, I have a great-great-great grandfather was one of those crazy dreamers who traveled to California during the Gold Rush. The story I had always heard as a child was that he had come back to Warrick County Indiana with 5 pieces of gold that were made into rings, yet no one knows whatever became of those rings. as i listened to the story tonight of Sarah jessica Parker's ancestor goiing to California I remembered that my beloved great-grandfather (the author of the journal I prize and the son-in-law of this man) had written something in his journal about this adventure. So I went to find the entry in the journal to see if it would yield any clues.

This is what the entry had to say:
"Myt wife's father, Charles F. Martin, was a German farmer. He came to America from Darmstadt, Hessen Germany sometime during the year 1849. I will say that I have been advised that Darmstadt in Germany is a city and that Hessen is a State there and that for one to say that I am from Darmstadt, Hessen Germany is just the same as to say that I am from Evansville, Indiana. Mr. Martin only had a few pennies when he landed in the city of New York state of New York. He was at that time just a poor, green, young German boy starting out upon the great and turbulant waters upon the bottomless ocean of time trying to make his way through the cold and unfriendly world upon his own resources and I will say that he by being studious, industrious, honest, upright, economical, well-behaved, quiet, sober, and by being everything that it took to be a good, reliable true gentleman in every sense of the word made it all right."

"He soon acquired a sufficient knowledge of the English language to get along all right and to make himself understood wherever he went or to whom he choosed to talk. He secured work in the Gold Mines of California and made money and saved it.... he had two good trades, one was that of Broom making, the other was that of a Cabinet maker, in fact he could use most any kind of tools being very ingeniously inclined by nature and was at home or handy with all kinds of carpenter's tools. "

Karl Martens, also called Charles, came back to Warrick County, Indiana and bought 125 acres of land, built a house, ran a farm, and married Sussannah Young or Jung, also from Darmstadt, Hessen Germany, and raised a large family. He is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, not far from his home.

A relative years ago had told me there were np records to find in California regarding the Gold Rush because of a fire, and I let that go since there were so many other ways to go in my research. But after watching tonight's episode, I have some hope, and some new ideas on my own research on this fascinating man.

That's why I will continue to watch the show. Inspiration comes from many sources, and I will take evry one of them.

Til next time,
enjoy your own journey


1 comment:

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Amen, Thanks!

Bill ;-)
Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"