As promised, I’m getting to Mansuet. Sometime after I confirmed that there was a Rudy, I discovered the Czech archives. I mentioned that this changed my research big time. I started looking for Mansuet’s birth in the parish books. I had his birth date from his death certificate. Or what I thought was his birth date…the death certificate said December 25, 1863 but parish records proved it to actually be December 18, 1861. My Grandpa Joe filled this out and another thing I found odd was he only put Mansuet’s father’s name and not his mother’s – he put unknown for her. Even though Grandpa Joe’s grandpa had died back in Bohemia and his grandma had actually lived in St. Paul and hadn’t died until he was 22. So he knew her…did he not know her name? I guess maybe she was just Grandma Blaschko to him? After finding Mansuet’s birth record and confirming the correct date, I tracked down his siblings I knew of from what my grandma and Aunt Marie had told me (and found a couple that had never been mentioned). Based on the age of the oldest sibling, I searched for his parent’s marriage. I easily found it and luckily it listed their parents, so I worked my way back until I couldn’t anymore. I then went back to the Blaschko siblings to see who had married in Bohemia before they came over. I found Daniel and Monica had, as well as Mansuet and his wife, Anna Friedl. I was excited to find this information and wanted to know more since the entry had quite a bit of writing in it. I had struggled quite a bit when I first got into the archives since a) they are in German and b) some of the priests had hideous penmanship. You really learn to appreciate clear writing and some of it is quite beautiful. I had printed out the German alphabet as a reference and as I got familiar with the records I could usually make out names and dates, sometimes places. But I was gathering so many records I decided I needed help. I googled around and found a couple of websites that listed people who would translate parish records from the Czech archives for a fee. I chose the most important to test it out – the marriage record of Mansuet and Anna – who married on February 9, 1891 in Obermoldau. I emailed the information to the translator and waited. When I got it, I was pleased to find I had figured out the main stuff on my own, names, dates, etc. What I hadn’t been able to read was the fact that Mansuet and Anna needed a dispensation by the bishop at the time of their marriage due to the fact that they were 2nd cousins!! Turns out they shared a set of great-grandparents, Ignaz and Johanna Friedberger – Mansuet’s maternal grandfather, Johann Jakob Friedberger, and Anna’s paternal grandmother, Katharina Friedberger, were siblings. Wow, that was some big news. Couldn’t wait to tell my family about that one. Although, I knew from looking at the archives in detail that the same surnames show up over and over. These were small villages and they were made up of only so many families, I guess it probably happened a lot. Once I got over the shock of that, I realized that Manuset and Anna had married only two months before arriving in America…with what the ship document had said was their 6-month-old son…so Rudy was born before they married? More news to share with the family! I went back to the archives and started looking for him in late 1890. I had to go back a little further than I thought to August. He was born on August 10, 1890 which would have made him 6 months old when they married and 8 months when they left for America. His name was listed as Rudolf Friedl in the index but the actual entry said Blaschko. I also had his birth record translated and it was written in the record that the marriage of his parents legitimized his birth and his name became Rudolf Blaschko. So there was a lot going on right before they left Bohemia, it makes you wonder if this was a big scandal and a reason to leave? Another thing I realized is that when I found Rudy’s grave, the dates were different. The footstone says 1891-1899. Yet I had found his actual birth record and that date was August 10, 1890. And I had also found two sources for his death – the parish death records from St. Agnes and the entry in the death records at the Ramsey County Department of Health. Both said he died February 1898. Did they round the dates up or did they change them so it would appear he was born after they married? We will never know.
On a side note to all of this, a few years ago I got something from my grandma that had to do with Mansuet and Anna, some sort of certificate she wanted me to see. It was in a large cardboard envelope that was falling apart. When I took the certificate out of the envelope some pictures fell out. Most were very old, from Bohemia without names on the back (super frustrating). But one stood out to me, a couple with an elderly lady holding a baby – it was Mansuet and Anna with Mansuet’s mother, Anna, sitting in a chair holding a baby. Rudy. It must have been taken not long after they arrived in 1891. I had other pictures of Mansuet and Anna but never this young, and there was another family picture with Mansuet’s mother in it…but how lucky to come across a picture of Rudy. One of my biggest finds.