This website is dedicated to
Franklin Isaac Saemann - my Grandfather
Laura Charlotte Nickel Saemann - my Grandmother
Never knew my grandfather, he died in 1937. Only knew my grandmother as a sick woman in our home. A few scattered memories of sitting on her lap looking at all the “buddins” (buttons) down her dress; of her sitting before dawn in front of our living room console radio; and of her giving herself her insulin shot (yikes!). But I have learned much about them and you will, too, as you read about them in the pages to follow.
Joann Saemann River – my Mother
Without whom none of this would have been possible. She seemed not to have asked many questions. My dad actually knew more about her family than she did. But she loved hunting down tombstones in cemeteries, and as my touring companion on several genealogy trips, she did just that. She also sat waiting for me in a courthouse rotunda tatting while I was surfing through layers of dust and cobwebs to get at documents in musty basement file cases, lost and forgotten for 150 years. She was always amazed at what I found that day, and ever after that wanted to hear the story over and over.
Charlotte Saemann Kniazzeh
As one of my cousins wrote, “It was always a pleasure – and a privilege – to listen to them, no matter what the subject matter.” Especially Aunt Charlotte. It was she who illuminated our ancestors for all of us. She inspired and entertained, with stories that she remembers being told as a child by her own mother. She was an incredible woman. It must have been in the 1950s that she began her own quest for our roots. While teaching full time and working toward her Ph.D., she must have started doing family research at the Newberry Library or the Chicago Public Library. I do know that she took at least one trip to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, to where the Saemann and Brazelton families emigrated in the 1840s. She made a pilgrimage and research trip to Eastern Tennessee, where the Brazeltons were located early in the 19th century. More about this in a dedicated page. Without benefit of tape recorder or laptop computer, Charlotte and her daughter, Anna Laura, who accompanied her on these trips, laboriously hand copied dozens of pages of material, even whole chapters of books. Back at home, Aunt Charlotte not only typed out the notes, but transcribed old, hard-to-read letters that had been given to her by one of her aunts.
Aunt Char’s primary request of me was that I put out the Sheldon lineage chart. She wanted it in the hands of the family and in genealogy libraries. She asked me every time we spoke, how I was doing on the chart. At the 1987 “baton passing”, I promised her again that I would get it done. My own research efforts took on a life of their own, and I never again personally saw my aunt. I was gathering family data in quantum leaps, and I knew it would be a much larger project than she had envisioned. I simply could not produce the chart as she had it. It was finally necessary to tell her that I would get it done, but it would probably NOT be in her lifetime.
Charlotte’s last research goal was to discover our Burch (Birch) lineage. She had heard a story about a gold-headed cane. She knew there was a Birch in the Nickel family. I was always told that her grandfather’s name was John Francis Birch Nickel. I think she speculated that Birch might have been the maiden name of John F.’s mother. It has been the greatest disappointment of my genealogy research career, that I was never able to share the mind-boggling discovery of generations of our Burch line, our Nickel line, and several other families whose names she never heard! There will be whole sections on these discoveries! Oh, yes, they could have asked so much more of their parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. There are bunches of questions I would like to have answers to, but I am, truly, thankful for what they did gather, and especially to my Aunt Charlotte.
Mary Turman – my mother’s 1st cousin on the Nickel side
Mary did her genealogy work after retirement from the teaching field. She made several cross- country trips in search of family history. I think at first she was looking for some answers regarding some family squabbles in her mother's generation. It led her to extensive digging in the land records of Los Angeles County. And from there to deep probing into the Nickel-Burch lines, where she made two most significant discoveries. I can't wait to get those pages up where you will read all about it.
Rob loves to stay in touch with the family history. He wants to do everything he can to dig out the family roots, especially on the German side. There has been so much to find right here at home, I’ve never “made the crossing” to spend any time digging in the German records. Rob was the first of their descendants to set foot once again on the soil of the little German villages from whence our Saemann Emigrants departed back in the 1840s. You will be able to read all about his adventures there and see what he brought back.
For freely sharing his photos and memories and being intensely interested in it all. In California, he and Janey snapped together a cousin reunion. He spent a lot of thought and time to make copies of anything printed for all to share. We all brought what we had and everything was spread out for examination and discussion. Jim arranged a giant photo op and we all had a great time.
Brin and Celeste
For being interested.
My husband, Jim
Thank you. For allowing me all the time I have ever needed:
- to formulate, compose, and write hundreds of research letters;
- to spend whole days of vacation time in libraries in strange towns;
- in the courthouse basement amongst the cobwebs going through 100-year old boxes of rolled-up papers, while he kept “the littles” occupied;
- to ask questions of local farmers, map in hand, so that we find the exact quadrant, of the exact section, of the exact township and range, of ancestors' lands and then to take pictures;
- to tramp over cemeteries looking for “our stones”;
- and when we got home, to pour over the notebooks for days;
- to sort through my logical piles of stuff spread out on the floor, sometimes for a week;
- to go over hundreds of photographs and xeroxed documents with a magnifying glass;
- to pull it all together on the typewriter or computer;
- to build the genealogy web pages.
[And she calls this FUN?] It fascinates him that our family is as “together” as it is, and that we have such an interest in all this stuff.
All living children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and all
in any way descended from anyone appearing in this genealogy
You have inherited something from the people who appear here. I hope you are able to find something of value to you. Maybe you'll find something that connects with you in some way – a new feeling for a place where one of them lived out his life; a new appreciation for the struggles that our forefathers endured; an identification with a certain one because you see something of him or her in yourself. I dedicate this website and all that is contained here, to you, so that you may know this part of what you are made of.
John F. & Mary Althea Griffin Nickel – Emerson & Elvira Sheldon Griffin – Johann Michael & Elisabetha Baumann Saemann – Nathaniel & Electa Smith Sheldon – William & Diadama Saxton Sheldon – Jacob & Margaret “Peggy” Carper Brazelton – John & Lucy Jane Epperson Burch – Hannah Burch Nickel – John S.B. & Nancy Birdwell Nickel – John M. & Sarah Catherine Brazelton Saemann – Isaac & Jane Lemley Brazelton, and many more; it’s hard to name only these.
We wouldn't be here without you. Dare I say you are my favorites? It is so only because I feel that I know you in some small measure. You left a “paper trail” and I've walked down it. Sometimes brambles tried to obscure it, and I stumbled and scratched my way through. Occasionally it was possible to run down the trail. Eventually you were found – all worthy of the hunt. I've worked with you now; learned about your times and places. I’ve visited many of your towns, farms, and resting places. And I would now like to introduce you to the rest of the family.
Official Website of the
Saemann-Nickel and Related Families
This is the Dedication Page
Presentation © 2009 Joann Saemann
Updated - 23 February 2015
This candle was lit on September 11th, 2001, in memory of
those who perished at the hands of terrorists.
Keep it burning for our children.
This website was begun on Geocities. This logo was designed
by Nanny's Victorian Graphics - no longer on the internet.