When I first started researching my family history over 6 years ago, when I thought of the people I was discovering, I thought of names on a page and dates. I didn't really think about the person. I didn't think about their lives. Instead of thinking about a persons name, birth and death date, how long did that person live? What did they experience?
How would you describe your family?
The Jeckering Family:
I'm a 5th generation Jeckering born in America. My 3rd great grandfather- Gerhard J Jeckering was born in 1829 in Hesepe, Germany. He came to America a carpenter, married Maria Elisabeth Kluneman and he opened a grocery store- "Jeckering Groceries, Flour & Feed". His store was below his families apartment on East Third Street in Dayton, Ohio. He went by the name George instead of Gerhard, I can only assume to adapt to his new American home. He and Elisabeth (as she went by) had 7 children- all in the apartment above the store. All 7 children survived childhood, which is surprising. The children helped with the store, even the girls. His sons took over the store when George retired.
George died at a young age- 69. I'm not sure of how he died yet- I still need to obtain a death certificate. During his funeral, there was a woman who yelled out in anguish and fell to the floor. She died of a heart attack there in the church.
Many of George's children grew up to work in the grocery business, but many of them took a start with tool making thanks to his grandson- Louis Gerhard Brinkman (1886-1980)- (George's daughter- Elizabeth's son)- Louis started Brinkman Tool & Die which gave many people jobs, including men in the Jeckering family.
My 2nd great grandfather- Joseph Herman Jeckering was George and Elisabeth's 6th child. He was born in 1870 in Dayton- to first of my ancestral line to be born in America. He helped his father in the Jeckering Grocery store and later owned it. I don't know when this store closed. He also ended up buying his sister and her husband's grocery store- J.A. Heider Groceries & Meat- because her husband passed away. Joseph lost the store during the depression. Joseph then went to work as a clerk for Brinkman Tool & Die.
Joseph married Rose A. Horn (1872-1933) in 1899 at the age of 29. They had 7 children together, but only 4 lived into adulthood.
Joseph seemed to live a difficult life. He lost 2 grocery businesses and while he was helping build/or repair a roof of a church, he fell and punctured a lung. From census records, I can gather that Joseph and his wife Rose separated for some time, but never actually divorced. It was probably the hard times of the depression and all of the bad luck the family had occurred. When Joseph was only 60 years old, he was hit by a car while walking home from work. His injuries were too severe- the accident had punctured his good lung and he died a couple of hours later.
Joseph's first child was my great grandfather- Gerhard Cletus Jeckering. He was born in 1900 in Dayton, Ohio. Gerhard was a tool maker in many different areas. He married Josephine Dabuliewicz/Alexinas (1906-1965) at the age of 24. They had 8 children, but only 6 survived into adulthood. Gerhard outlived 3 of his children. Like his fathers before him, Gerhard died young, he was only 67 when he died of a heart attack.
Gerhard's first son, my grandfather, was Paul George Jeckering. He was one of his children who died before him. Paul was born in 1925 in Dayton. He seemed to have many talents and didn't really seem to have a lazy bone in his body- I wish I could have known him. During high school, Paul was in band and he took classes at Dayton Art Institute. There, he sculpted a life-size sculpture of Father Chaminade that he donated to the high school he graduated from- Chaminade Catholic High School. From what I've learned, the statue is still at the school. Paul also enlisted in the military while he was still in high school. In 1944, he graduated from Chaminade.
Paul was in the service until 1946. During his time in the military, he went to the Philippines and Japan. He wrote letters to his Aunt Mart. His letters were sweet and full of love for his family, but his grammar, spelling and handwriting was atrocious! -- very hard to read. Paul was a cook and even told his family about a time when he was baking a cake for the soldiers and a bomb went off near his tent-- could have killed him, but it didn't.
In 1947, Paul married Dorothy Jean Hendricks. In 1949, Paul found out that he had Lupus, but that didn't stop him from living. Paul worked at the National Cash Register and as a baker. He and Dorothy had 4 children between 1948 and 1954- the last one was born after his death in 1954. Paul died in January and his 4th child, Paul was born in April.