I’ll be honest with you – I’ve spent a lot of time lamenting my place in the family.  Well, not so much my place because there is definitely something to be said for being the baby.  I think it’s more that I suffered from an “I don’t know where I fit in because all my cousins are so much older than me” complex.  It’s actually something my mom suffers from too since her siblings were and are so much older than she is.  We’re kinda weird in betweeners. 

But really that in between spot is actually the sweet spot. 

In a way, we’ve been made adopted members of every other sibling’s family unit – whether there’s room for us or not!  We cross over the family in a way that doesn’t happen much these days.  So, while it’s been years that most of the cousins have seen each other, I actually see a lot of you at least once or twice a year.  Sure, I’m the quiet one in the corner but I like being there!

And there’s another benefit too.  I get to experience a lot of things that the rest of you didn’t.  Kinda like this day a few years ago when some Schellharts and Wissmanns (and those cross-over Hendersons) got together for dinner.  Sitting on the left next to my dad is Louisa Wissmann – “Aunt Louisa” who was our de facto family matriarch for decades after the passing of our own matriarch in 1987.  Her daughter Mary – “Cousin Mary” – is between our own Uncle Bill and Aunt Betty.  And there I am on the end – that weird in betweener.        

There we were - three generations gathered around a table.  

Just like they were in 1938.

I told you we’d get to know the Wissmanns today so let’s go around the table and get acquainted.

In the center is Mathilda Horn Wissmann Schoener.  As family matriarch, she deserves her own post so we’ll cover her later.  

This is Alphonse and Louisa (nee Hoffeins) Wissmann’s family.  Alphonse was Nanny’s brother – the younger of the two brothers.  You might’ve known him as Uncle Al.  Alphonse and Louisa were married in February 1926.  Seated in front of them are their children – Al and Mary or Cousin Al and Cousin Mary.  

Cousin Al was the oldest of the Wissmann grandchildren – born in April 1927, he edged out Charles Schellhardt as oldest by just a few months.  Hey, we can’t all be #1 all the time!  Cousin Mary was born a few weeks after Bill Schellhardt in December 1928.  At least from the photos, it seems that the Alphonse Wissmann family and Schellhardt family were very close.  And always at the zoo.  We’ll get back to that another day.

This is older brother Alfred “Uncle Freddy” Wissmann and his wife, Catherine (nee Krotock).  Married in June 1926, they had three children who are seated in front of them.  Don’t mind the little girl in the corner picking her nose – that’s just Aunt Helen Schellhardt.  Oldest son Alfred was born in February 1928.  Daughter Kathleen was born in 1933 before being joined by younger sister Eleanor in 1935. 

Like our family, each of these families has branched off and grown into their own strong family trees.

But this picture from 1938 reminds us that we all started out from the same seedlings.

 Tomorrow, we’ll meet the other Wissmanns.  



Helen Knuttel
04/27/2013 2:18pm

Gee, did you have to point out that I was picking my nose? How about Eleanor? She was scratching her behind!!

07/29/2016 4:13pm

When we spend some time with our relatives then it’s become difficult for us to move ahead. The relative like cousin and other close relation may make us to stay and make ember such past moments when we pass together in prosper way.

10/09/2016 11:20pm

You family is so big! And I hope everyone inside it are friendly and love each other!

04/30/2017 12:59am

You are part of a big family, that is something to be proud of! What you are feeling is normal. It's normal to feel lost. What's important is you are serving your purpose in the family. At the same time, a family gathering just like what you've had is supposed to be a fun event, don't let your emotion spoil it. Next year, change your perspective!


You know a lot about your family! And you have this cool old photos! It's great!

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