Thursday, September 5, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - Family History Handwritten on a Church Brochure

I would have to say that the entire collection of correspondence, military records, miscellaneous papers, and ephemera that belonged to my maternal grandparents William Liming Redles and Leona Roberts is a treasure trove. There is so much to be learned about their lives tucked away in them. In addition, my mom has two large three-ring binders filled with family history, copies of photographs I had not seen before, current correspondence between my Aunt Catherine and several Redles and Rodelsperger cousins (here in the U.S. and in Germany), and more. I thumb through them every now and then, and I always spot something I hadn't noticed before. (Click on each image for a larger view.)

I'd seen the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church brochure before in one of my passes through the binder, but the other day, I finally read what my grandfather had written in the margins. He wrote about his family's relationship to this historic church in Philadelphia and added some church history. He probably sent this to my grandmother when he was courting her in 1922-1923. I'm so glad he wrote this! I learned something new, and now I have more research to do. What fun!

The front page of the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church brochure.

On the left side of the front page of the brochure (above) he wrote: "Grandfather Redles [John Adam Redles Jr.] & family were members of this church. He was a vestryman of this church for about 40 years. Father [George Albert Redles] was babtised [sic] (by sprinkling) in this church and later he was confirmed. Grandfather's funeral services at this church were held when I was 7 years old. I attended [this church and] remember the services." On the right side of this page he wrote: "Graves of Grandfather Redles, Grandmother Redles & 3 of their children [he drew an arrow pointing to the location of the graves]. Great, great, great Grandfather Sandar of Sweeden [sic] the 2nd Sweedish [sic] pastor is also buried in the churchyard. Great, Grandfather von Redlesburg [Johann Adam Roedelsperger] is also buried here." Wow! This is full of information.

Page 2 of the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church brochure

Page 3 of the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church brochure
At the top of page 3, he wrote "The church is now kept up on account of its early history."  The bottom says, "The Sweedish [sic] families intermarried with the English colonists. Long before 1842 the congregation thru marriage became English and were largely Episcopalians & no longer Sweedish [sic] Lutherans."

The last page of the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church brochure

The top of the last page says, "Beautiful stained glass windows shed softly colored lights on the interior. This is the oldest Protestant church in the United States if you count from date of the block house." He has an arrow pointing to "grandfather's pew for his family & himself" and one arrow pointing to where he sat "I remember sitting here during Grandfather's funeral services. I was then 7 yrs old." On the bottom of the page he wrote, "The old church is kept in excellent order. The old families are gone but endowments largely keep it going."

Now, back to what he wrote on the front page of the brochure. We have since found out that the original Redles family name was not von Redlesburg. Rather, it was Roedelsperger (I've also seen it spelled Rodelsperger and Rodelsberger). At some point, our immigrant ancestor Johann Adam Roedelsperger changed his name to John Adam Redles.

The surname Sandar is a new one! I'd never heard that one before. I was very excited and thought "Oh, goody, this should break down a brick wall!" I immediately began researching. It was fairly easy to find on the Gloria Dei Church's website that the name of the second Swedish pastor of this church was Andreas (or Anders or Andrew) Sandel and not "Sandar" as my grandfather had written. I don't think he's buried at the church, but two of his young sons Peter and Andreas are buried there (see a photograph of their headstones here). I'll write more about my research into Andreas Sandel in a later post, but so far, I've not found a connection to my family.

All in all, you just never know where you'll find clues about your family history! Had I not taken the time to finally read what my grandfather had written on this church brochure, I would have missed these tidbits!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday - Restoring John and Kate's House

A couple of months ago I went by the home of my maternal great grandparents John Taylor Roberts and Catherine (Kate) Margaret Young mainly to just visit the house but to also see the rebuilding progress. A fire on January 30, 2011, gutted the interior and burned off the roof and attic.  The first photograph was taken of the entrance hall in 2008 before it was renovated by the Valdosta Heritage Foundation who is current owner and who is restoring/rebuilding the house as funds allow. The second photograph was taken in 2013 after rebuilding had begun "post fire."

The entrance hall in my maternal great grandparents', John Taylor Roberts and Catherine (Kate) Margaret Young, house in 2008, three years before the January 30, 2011, fire that gutted the interior.
Rebuilding progress of the entrance hall as of July 27, 2013. Don't worry. I didn't go inside. I took this through the plate glass window on the front door. 

For further reading about this great house that we call the Big House (aka the Roberts House and the Wisenbaker-Wells-Roberts House) see The Big House and After the Fire. The photo behind my blog title was taken of the Roberts descendants on the side porch on the south elevation of this house.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

John Adam Redles Becomes a U.S. Citizen

I'd like to commemorate my maternal 3rd great grandfather Johann Adam Roedelsperger* for becoming a U.S. citizen on this date, September 3, 1827, 186 years ago!

*Various spellings of his surname: Rodelsperger, Rodelsberger

Johann Adam boarded the Brig Maria in Bremen, Germany, and landed at Philadelphia on October 5, 1802, to start a new life (click on the images for a larger view).[1] He was just 21 years old and was a turner by trade (turning wood on a lathe).[2]

Header of the ship's manifest for the Brig Maria

Ship's manifest for the Brig Maria.  Arrow is pointing to my 3rd great grandfather "Adam Rodelsberger."

Customs declaration for the Brig Maria with date of arrival of October 5, 1802.

He declared an oath to become a U.S. citizen on October 9, 1823, 21 years after his arrival, and his petition was approved four years later, on September 3, 1827. By this time, he had changed the spelling of his surname to Redles, married Sarah (Sallie) Rulon, and had several children, one of whom is my 2nd great grandfather John Adam Redles.

Naturalization record for John Adam Redles sent to me by my cousin Ken Redles. This is a copy of the original.
Glad you came to America, Johann Adam Roedelsperger (aka John Adam Redles)!


[1] All images of the ship's manifest and Customs declaration are from  "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 Aug 2013), Adam Rodelsberger, 1802.

[2]  Ralph Beaver Strassburger, LL.D. Pennsylvania German Pioneers: A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals In the Port of Philadelphia From 1727 to 1808.  Edited by William John Hinke, PhD., D.D., Second Printing, Volume II, 1785-1808 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1966), 116-117.