Saturday, November 01, 2008


Someday I'd like to look into my genealogical origins. Someday I'd like to do some actual research, but until I find the time for that, there's a great shortcut: George Wackenhut. Nobody in my family has achieved lasting fame, to my knowledge, except my first cousin twice removed, George. George is, to my knowledge, the only one of us with a Wikipedia entry. George rocked: he made a massive amount of money, he despised hippies, and he referred to the first President Bush as "that pinko." Notably, he had chairs in his office made out of dead elephants.

What's more, George has had an 800 page book written about him. Not a best-seller, but interesting to devotees of the security industry.

The book has an impressive family tree including my great great grandfather, Johannes Wackenhut. The tree stretches back to the earliest known Wackenhut, Aberlin. Includes coat of arms. Aberlin was born in "1475 in Egenhousen, deep in the Nagold region of the Black Forest in southwest Germany." He was a farmer and a judge and my Great (12) Grandparent.

Johannes emigrated from das Vaterland in 1881, the first of his family to leave. He had served in the Prussian Army, but was too young for any of Bismarck's wars. He headed to Pennsylvania, like many German immigrants, because William Penn had guaranteed religious freedom in his state. He lived at 2311 Adams Street in Philadelphia, which apparently was a crappy part of town then and doesn't look much better now.

He married Christina, whose head was shaped like a walnut, and they had my Great Grandmother, Caroline. She went by Carrie. Apparently she was Catholic, and my great grandfather, Joseph Scheule, who was Protestant, couldn't care less. Joseph's father threatened to disown him if he married her. So he married her. And his father disowned him.

Much later, Joe's father -- my great great grandfather, who'd also been born in Germany -- pleasant man that he was, sued the son he had disowned for support. The judge sided with Joseph.

Anyway, I think I'm going to read cousin George's biography.

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