I received a very lovely letter tonight from one of Antonia Schmidt‘s grand-daughters. Fortunately for me, she and her brother both knew Antonia very well and spent a great deal of time with her. I’ve already gotten some great family stories about how Antonia was a wonderful cook who learned to speak English by reading cookbooks. I’m anticipating getting to know the sister of my great-great-grandfather much better as we go forward.
She was able to identify her grandmother in the photo of the Schmidt family from 1892:
In the photo you sent, Antonia is standing behind her mother and next to her brother.
This grand-daughter also confirmed something that had been whispered about in the Schmidt side of our family for many decades:
My brother ran our mitochondrial DNA scan and came up with the interesting news that through the Schmidt women and back he and I are biologically Jewish from eastern Europe. Since it only passes woman to woman it is an incredible marker. My brother, as a male could not pass it, and I have no daughters, although my sons are also biologically Jewish.
This was one of the rumors my mother had been fascinated with as a child. In fact we had guessed that Wilhelmine Winkelmann was likely the one to have had Jewish blood in her family. Having it confirmed like this was quite an exciting moment for my mother.
This is a photo that she attached to her letter. It shows Antonia Schmidt with her daughter and grand-daughter in Chicago about 1944.